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Idaho Bill Forces Dying Patients to Go Doctor Shopping

  • Published: 2011-03-31 : Author: AARP Idaho
  • Synopsis: Idahoans and their families may soon have to go doctor shopping from their death beds.

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Idaho Senate Passes Bill To Force Dying Patients To Go Doc Shopping - AARP Deeply Disappointed as Legislation Complicating End-of-Life Care Heads to Gov. - Takes Roll Call on Bill to 180,000 Members.

Idahoans and their families may soon have to go doctor shopping from the worst place - their deathbeds, if the state legislature gets their way that is. Today, the Idaho State Senate passed a measure, House Bill 187, which affirms last year's conscience law, allowing all health care professionals in the state to refuse to honor patients' directives for legal end-of-life care and treatment. Over the past year, thousands of Idahoans have contacted their legislators to fix the issue.

AARP, which stands in strong opposition to HB 187, says it is government overreach into Idahoans legal rights and will vastly complicate end-of-life care. The legislation was co-sponsored by Senators Chuck Winder and Bart Davis and Representatives Julie Ellsworth and Thomas Loertscher. AARP has made today's vote part of its accountability efforts, and will take the Senate roll call to its 180,000 members in Idaho.

"Today, the Idaho Senate failed to stand up for the legal rights of the dying and terminally ill, just as the House did. This bill continues to leave patients' legal dying wishes in jeopardy, subject to someone else's conscience," said Jim Wordelman, State Director for AARP in Idaho. "This bill is government overreach, plain and simple - and at the worst possible time, the end of someone's life. AARP will let all of our members know who stood up for them at the State Capitol on this issue."

House Bill 187 is being touted as a "simple" bill to clarify the problematic conscience law in relation to end-of-life care and legal rights. AARP contends the bill is little more than smoke and mirrors, continuing to allow all health care professionals in Idaho to refuse to honor living wills and advance directives - legal documents - just as last year's conscience law did. The legislation also forces patients to have continued care, even when that is against their expressed and legal wishes.

"At one of the most emotional times in their lives, Idaho patients and their families will be left unsure of whether the care they want and are entitled to will be objected to or not," added Wordelman. "The real solutions to this issue have been ignored and so have the pleas of thousands of Idahoans who contacted their legislators urging them to tackle this problem."

The legislation, which has already passed the House, now heads to Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter's desk. AARP is urging the Governor to veto the bill.

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1 : Palliative Care Findings on Caregiver Depression, LGBT Partners, Moral Distress : Loyola University Health System.
2 : Defining the Changing Nature of Wisdom at the End of Life : University of California - San Diego.
3 : Blood Pressure Begins to Decline 14-18 Yrs Before Death : University of Connecticut.
4 : How Do Doctors Make Decisions When Managing Care for Critically & Terminally Ill Patients? : The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice.
5 : Is Quebec Dr. Assisted End of Life Law Too Restrictive? : University of Montreal.
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