In 2023, Oregon and Vermont both passed laws removing residency requirements from their medical aid-in-dying (MAID) legislation, after the successful lawsuits of Gideonse v. Brown in Oregon and Bluestein v. Scott in Vermont. This means that, unlike in most states that have Death with Dignity legislation, qualified healthcare providers in Oregon and Vermont are now able to work with qualified non-residents seeking access to their aid-in-dying laws.
However, the process of locating and accessing medical aid in dying can still be difficult and complicated for patients and their friends and families. This resource answers some common questions from non-resident patients seeking care in Oregon and Vermont, their families, and their qualified healthcare providers.
What are the requirements for MAID?
Residency is no longer a requirement to access MAID in Oregon or Vermont, but prospective patients must still adhere to all other state requirements. Patients must be:
- Diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to death within six months or less, as confirmed by two qualified healthcare providers;
- An adult in a state where such a law is in effect;
- Capable of making and communicating healthcare decisions;
- Capable of self-administering and ingesting medications without assistance; and,
- Acts voluntarily without coercion.
How do I find a qualified healthcare provider who can help me access MAID?
There are multiple ways to find a practicing qualified healthcare provider in either Oregon or Vermont. You may contact End of Life Choices Oregon or Patient Choices Vermont for a referral, or reach out to us at email@example.com to be connected to a referral service.
You can also request a direct referral from your current healthcare provider, who may be able to contact a willing healthcare provider in Vermont or Oregon on your behalf. Like any other medical referral, they may be able to transfer medical records and care to the new healthcare provider.
Can I take the medicine back to my home state with me?
No. Everything, from health assessments and formal requests to obtaining and administering the medication, must be done in the state where you are seeking MAID (either Oregon or Vermont). You must be present in this state for each step in the process.
Will my friends and family be at legal risk for helping me access MAID in another state?
While Death with Dignity laws protect anyone who assists a patient in accessing MAID in their state, and to date no one has ever been charged, this is new territory and those protections may not extend outside of the state. Some states criminalize actions related to assisting in a suicide, which may apply to people who help you travel to another state to access MAID. Consider consulting an attorney to decide the degree of risk in your state.
As the treating or consulting qualified healthcare provider, how do I support non-resident patients seeking to request MAID?
Healthcare providers should be sure to complete all parts of the MAID process with both the patient and healthcare provider physically present in the authorized state for both in-person and telemedicine visits.
Know that medical aid-in-dying laws and their safeguards may not extend if a patient leaves the authorized state and ingests the medication in another state. You may wish to screen patients accordingly or notify them of this restriction.
*Medical Aid in Dying in Oregon and Vermont for persons residing outside of the state: What patients need to know. Compassion & Choices, 7/31/2023.
**Medical Aid in Dying: best practices for physicians and other health care providers supporting or otherwise in contact with individuals requesting medical aid in dying who are non-residents. Compassion & Choices, 7/31/2023.