Minnesota's End-of-Life Options Act gains momentum

February 2, 2024
3 min
Justin Hallen, VP Partnerships

Last week, we posted about the New York State Bar Association endorsing a medical aid in dying Act. Now, Minnesota has made a significant stride towards empowering individuals with choices at the end of life. Minnesota's End-of-Life Options Act has recently cleared its first legislative hurdle. This development not only marks progress in healthcare legislation, but also brings attention to the importance of advanced care planning (ACP) opportunities that will naturally flow from the Act's passing.

The Act aims to provide terminally ill individuals with the right to request life-ending medications from their healthcare providers. Modeled after similar laws in Oregon, Washington, New York, and other states, the Act emphasizes the need for compassionate and autonomous decision-making when faced with a terminal diagnosis. Supporters argue that this legislation offers a humane option for those suffering from unbearable pain or distress, enabling them to have more control over the timing and manner of their death. Minnesota's End-of-Life Options Act advancing through its initial legislative stages is a significant progress point and a poignant reminder of the importance of advance care planning, urging individuals to consider and communicate their healthcare preferences proactively.

By engaging in these discussions and documenting their wishes, people can ensure that their values and autonomy are respected. At Thanacare, we believe that having documented end of life wishes ultimately improves the end-of-life experience for individuals and their loved ones, enabling the prioritization of personal choices, which often aim for a quality of life. Dr. Madison, Thanacare CEO and co-founder, emphasizes the deep nature this Act promises to encourage, “seeing the first hurdle success of the End-of-Life Options Act is encouraging as we look to grow the number of conversations about end-of-life planning and navigating these complex and deeply personal topics. This Act’s hope is to foster a culture that values open communication, empathy, and the dignity of individual choices at the end of life.” ACP is a mechanism to bolster the activity that the End-of-Life Options Act represents, especially during critical moments. As the Act advances through the legislative process, we hope it prompts individuals to consider their own values and preferences, stimulating conversations around advance care planning within families and communities.

At Thanacare, we have created a simplified, person-centered approach, using technology and expert clinicians to help people document their end of life wishes, make those wishes portable, and make sure everyone is aligned on the desired plan. We very much looking forward to watching this Act progress through the chambers. We are also watching an effort that aims to pass remote online notarization of advance directives in Minnesota. Working towards more patient control of their end of life is important and if you or someone you know is interested in discussing end of life care planning, please visit our Schedule page to start the conversation.