May 2023 Newsletter Extra: MAID in the News, Washington State

Washington State passed an improved law for Medical Aid in Dying. ESSB 5179, which will come into effect mid-summer, allows for the following changes in its original law:

  1. Expanded number of medical providers who can write prescriptions for MAID including Physicians Assistants and Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners.
  2. A shortened waiting period from 15 days to 7 days after the first order of request is made.
  3. Expanded prescription order choices: mail, courier, and authorized pick up.

Because of the high demand of patients who were trying to qualify for MAID, Washington was having trouble finding enough physicians to be “Attending Physicians” (the one who writes the prescription). With this change in law, hopefully the process of applying for medication will be eased and stress taken off the shoulders of the physicians who have been willing to participate.

41% of Washington’s medical providers are under Catholic supervision. Many medical doctors, who personally support MAID, cannot do so because of their employment agreements. Most counties in Washington have identified a small group of “BFF” (best friends forever) doctors who prescribe, but the demand is high. Other states report a similar problem. With the addition of Physicians Assistants and ARNP’s, patients should be able to identify a provider faster.

Shortening the waiting period to 7 days is a godsend for some patients who are dying. Additionally, time is saved by quick delivery and/or pick up of the medications. There is one pharmacy who will deliver anywhere in the state!