Vermont Legislature and Governor Scott enact Senate Bill 74

April 27, 2022

Governor Scott today signed Vermont Senate Bill 74. Patient Choices Vermont and Compassion & Choices extend gratitude to the Vermont Legislature and Governor Scott for enactment of this bill which updates and improves the state’s Patient Choice at End of Life Law, Act 39.  The bill passed with strong bi-partisan support.

Act 39, adopted in May 2013, enables terminally ill Vermonters who are capable of making their own medical decisions the option to request and receive medication that they can use to bring about a peaceful death if and when they so choose.

With the passage of Senate Bill 74, a patient can now make the required requests for medical aid in dying by video telemedicine when their doctor determines that this approach is appropriate. The bill also eliminates the additional 48-hour delay at the end of the process before a patient can receive the prescription and corrects what was a technical deficiency in the immunity clause of Act 39.

It was the voices of people like who had struggled through the Act 39 process that brought these issues to the attention of the legislature.

“My daughter, Karen Oelschlaeger would be pleased to know that by speaking about her experience with medical aid in dying she had a positive influence that will benefit future patients. Thank you to the Vermont legislature for passing S.74.” – Linda Oelschlaeger.
“These updates to the law are consistent with other medical aid-in-dying laws across the country and will help ensure access for those who want to consider it,” said Kim Callinan, President and CEO of Compassion & Choices.
“We look forward to updating medical and hospice providers about the changes in the law, which we expect to make for a smoother, less stressful process,” said Betsy Walkerman, President of Patient Choices Vermont. “On behalf of Vermonters who highly value the availability of medical aid in dying, we thank all those, especially the House and Senate Committees who received updates about end-of-life care and who carefully considered the improvements to the law.”

Compassion & Choices
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Patricia A. González-Portillo
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