Faced with a terminal diagnosis, Hawai‘i residents deserve the full range of options for care at the end of life, including medical aid in dying. Medical aid in dying allows terminally ill adults to get a prescription they can take to end their life peacefully.
Thanks to the tireless work of dedicated Compassion & Choices supporters and volunteers, on January 22, 2021, SB 839 was filed in the Hawai‘i State Senate. This bill would make crucial amendments to the Our Care, Our Choice Act. On March 9, 2021, it passed the Senate floor with a 21-4 vote. But our hopes for passage were dashed on March 12, 2021, when the House assigned SB 839 to 4 committees. Despite the many efforts from Compassion & Choices staff, supporters and contractors, this effectively shut down the bill this legislative session by creating too many hurdles with too little time to clear them all. We will continue to work with our supporters, partners, and legislators to educate everyone about why these updates to legislation are critically important to ensure access to the Our Care, Our Choice Act for all Hawaiʻi residents, and we are hopeful about our chances at passing similar legislation in 2022. Sign our petition to show your support for these changes.
- Attend an Event in Hawai‘i: Participate in virtual activities related to medical aid in dying and advance care planning.
- Volunteer With Us: Join other passionate and dedicated individuals to work to re-enact legislation that improves care and expands end-of-life choice.
- Follow us on Facebook.
- Sign our petition to show your support for improving the Our Care, Our Choice Act.
Education & Outreach
In January 2020 alone, Compassion & Choices participated in multiple events with volunteers and supporters, including a successful panel discussion on the one year anniversary of the Our Care, Our Choice Act’s implementation. Learn more about the Hawai‘i Our care, Our Choice Act.
Tools and Resources
Learn whether you are eligible for the Hawai‘i Our Care, Our Choice Act.
Use our step-by-step guide to chart your journey.
Recursos en Español
Recursos en Español.
Get answers to your questions about COVID-19 and end of life care.
Resources for Providers
Find resources tailored to the needs of healthcare providers.
Dementia Values & Priorities Tool
Use our tool to document your preferences to make sure you get the care you want.
What’s Happening Now
Compassion & Choices is working in 2021 to protect and expand access to the Hawai‘i Our Care, Our Choice Act. The OCOCA empowers terminally ill, mentally capable Hawai‘i residents, with six months or less to live, the option to take a prescription in their final days that will end unbearable suffering and allow them to die peacefully.
However, this compassionate end-of-life option can be very difficult to access. One in five eligible terminally ill residents don’t survive the mandatory minimum 20 day waiting period and due to Hawai‘i’s severe doctor shortage, too many terminally ill patients are still unable to access medical aid in dying.
Qualified Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) stand ready to serve, but as the law is written, they are prohibited from prescribing medical aid-in-dying medication to their patients–even though they are authorized to prescribe Schedule II drugs for any other medically advised reason. SB839, inspired by the Hawai‘i Department of Health’s recommendations to the legislature, will allow APRNs to support dying patients under the OCOCA and will allow the prescribing provider the ability to expedite the waiting period if an eligible patient is unlikely to survive it.
These simple but critical improvements can make all the difference to a dying person who is unable to access the law as it’s currently written.
- On January 22, 2021, a bill (SB839) was filed in the Hawai‘i State Senate that will make crucial amendments to the Our Care, Our Choice Act.
- On February 11, 2021 the bill passed out of the Senate Healthcare Committee with a 4-1 vote.
- On February 25, 2021 the bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 4-3 vote.
- On March 9. 2021 the bill passed the Senate floor with a 21-4 vote.