The bill enacts the "Colorado End-of-life Options Act" (act), which authorizes an individual with a terminal illness to request, and the individual's attending physician to prescribe to the individual, medication to hasten the individual's death. To be qualified to request aid-in-dying medication, an individual must be a capable adult resident of Colorado who has a terminal illness and has voluntarily expressed the wish to receive a prescription for aid-in-dying medication by making 2 oral requests and a written request to his or her attending physician. An individual who requests aid-in-dying medication may rescind the request at any time, regardless of his or her mental state.
The act outlines the responsibilities of the attending physician, including:
- Determining whether the requesting individual has a terminal illness, is capable of making an informed decision, and is making the request for aid-in-dying medication voluntarily;
- Requesting the individual to demonstrate proof of Colorado residency;
- Referring the individual to a consulting physician to confirm that the individual is qualified to request aid-in-dying medication;
- Providing full disclosures to ensure that the individual is making an informed decision; and
- Informing the individual of the right to rescind the request at any time.
An attending physician cannot write a prescription for aid-in-dying medication unless at least 2 health care providers determine that the individual is capable of making an informed decision. The attending or consulting physician is to refer the individual to a licensed mental health professional if he or she believes the individual's ability to make an informed decision is compromised. The attending physician cannot write a prescription unless the mental health professional communicates, in writing, that the individual is capable.
The bill grants immunity from civil and criminal liability and from professional discipline to a person who participates in good faith under the act. The bill also specifies that actions taken in accordance with the act do not constitute suicide, assisted suicide, mercy killing, homicide, or elder abuse.
A health care provider is not obligated to prescribe aid-in-dying medication, and a health care facility may prohibit a physician from writing a prescription for a resident of the facility who intends to use aid-in-dying medication on the facility's premises.
A person commits a class 2 felony if the person purposely or knowingly:
- Alters or forges an aid-in-dying medication request without the terminally ill individual's authorization;
- Conceals or destroys a rescission of a request for aid-in-dying medication; or
- Coerces or exerts undue influence to get a terminally ill individual to request, or to destroy a rescission of a request for, aid-in-dying medication.