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Protection of Conscience Project

www.consciencelaws.org

Service, not Servitude

Introduction

The following protection of conscience provisions are found in the California statute that legalizes assisted suicide.

Assembly Bill No. 15
CHAPTER 1
An act to add and repeal Part 1.85 (commencing with Section 443) of Division 1 of the Health and Safety Code, relating to end of life.

[Approved by Governor  October 05, 2015. Filed with Secretary of State  October 05, 2015. ]

443.14.

(b)    A health care provider or professional organization or association shall not subject an individual to censure, discipline, suspension, loss of license, loss of privileges, loss of membership, or other penalty for participating in good faith compliance with this part or for refusing to participate in accordance with subdivision (e).

(e) (1)    Participation in activities authorized pursuant to this part shall be voluntary. Notwithstanding Sections 442 to 442.7, inclusive, a person or entity that elects, for reasons of conscience, morality, or ethics, not to engage in activities authorized pursuant to this part is not required to take any action in support of an individual's decision under this part.

(2)    Notwithstanding any other law, a health care provider is not subject to civil, criminal, administrative, disciplinary, employment, credentialing, professional discipline, contractual liability, or medical staff action, sanction, or penalty or other liability for refusing to participate in activities authorized under this part, including, but not limited to, refusing to inform a patient regarding his or her rights under this part, and not referring an individual to a physician who participates in activities authorized under this part.

(3)    If a health care provider is unable or unwilling to carry out a qualified individual's request under this part and the qualified individual transfers care to a new health care provider, the individual may request a copy of his or her medical records pursuant to law.

443.15.

(a)     Subject to subdivision (b), notwithstanding any other law, a health care provider may prohibit its employees, independent contractors, or other persons or entities, including other health care providers, from participating in activities under this part while on premises owned or under the management or direct control of that prohibiting health care provider or while acting within the course and scope of any employment by, or contract with, the prohibiting health care provider.

(b)     A health care provider that elects to prohibit its employees, independent contractors, or other persons or entities, including health care providers, from participating in activities under this part, as described in subdivision (a), shall first give notice of the policy prohibiting participation under this part to the individual or entity. A health care provider that fails to provide notice to an individual or entity in compliance with this subdivision shall not be entitled to enforce such a policy against that individual or entity.

(c)     Subject to compliance with subdivision (b), the prohibiting health care provider may take action, including, but not limited to, the following, as applicable, against any individual or entity that violates this policy:

(1) Loss of privileges, loss of membership, or other action authorized by the bylaws or rules and regulations of the medical staff.

(2) Suspension, loss of employment, or other action authorized by the policies and practices of the prohibiting health care provider.

(3) Termination of any lease or other contract between the prohibiting health care provider and the individual or entity that violates the policy.

(4) Imposition of any other nonmonetary remedy provided for in any lease or contract between the prohibiting health care provider and the individual or entity in violation of the policy.

(d)     Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent, or to allow a prohibiting health care provider to prohibit, any other health care provider, employee, independent contractor, or other person or entity from any of the following:

(1) Participating, or entering into an agreement to participate, in activities under this part, while on premises that are not owned or under the management or direct control of the prohibiting provider or while acting outside the course and scope of the participant's duties as an employee of, or an independent contractor for, the prohibiting health care provider.

(2) Participating, or entering into an agreement to participate, in activities under this part as an attending physician or consulting physician while on premises that are not owned or under the management or direct control of the prohibiting provider.

(e) In taking actions pursuant to subdivision (c), a health care provider shall comply with all procedures required by law, its own policies or procedures, and any contract with the individual or entity in violation of the policy, as applicable.

(f)     For purposes of this section:

(1) "Notice" means a separate statement in writing advising of the prohibiting health care provider policy with respect to participating in activities under this part.

(2) "Participating, or entering into an agreement to participate, in activities under this part" means doing or entering into an agreement to do any one or more of the following:

(A) Performing the duties of an attending physician as specified in Section 443.5.

(B) Performing the duties of a consulting physician as specified in Section 443.6.

(C) Performing the duties of a mental health specialist, in the circumstance that a referral to one is made.

(D) Delivering the prescription for, dispensing, or delivering the dispensed aid-in-dying drug pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of, and subdivision (c) of, Section 443.5.

(E) Being present when the qualified individual takes the aid-in-dying drug prescribed pursuant to this part.

(3) "Participating, or entering into an agreement to participate, in activities under this part" does not include doing, or entering into an agreement to do, any of the following:

(A) Diagnosing whether a patient has a terminal disease, informing the patient of the medical prognosis, or determining whether a patient has the capacity to make decisions.

(B) Providing information to a patient about this part.

(C) Providing a patient, upon the patient's request, with a referral to another health care provider for the purposes of participating in the activities authorized by this part.

(g)    Any action taken by a prohibiting provider pursuant to this section shall not be reportable under Sections 800 to 809.9, inclusive, of the Business and Professions Code. The fact that a health care provider participates in activities under this part shall not be the sole basis for a complaint or report by another health care provider of unprofessional or dishonorable conduct under Sections 800 to 809.9, inclusive, of the Business and Professions Code.

(h)    Nothing in this part shall prevent a health care provider from providing an individual with health care services that do not constitute participation in this part.

443.16.

(a)    A health care provider may not be sanctioned for any of the following:

(1) Making an initial determination pursuant to the standard of care that an individual has a terminal disease and informing him or her of the medical prognosis.

(2) Providing information about the End of Life Option Act to a patient upon the request of the individual.

(3) Providing an individual, upon request, with a referral to another physician.

(b)    A health care provider that prohibits activities under this part in accordance with Section 443.15 shall not sanction an individual health care provider for contracting with a qualified individual to engage in activities authorized by this part if the individual health care provider is acting outside of the course and scope of his or her capacity as an employee or independent contractor of the prohibiting health care provider.

(c)    Notwithstanding any contrary provision in this section, the immunities and prohibitions on sanctions of a health care provider are solely reserved for actions of a health care provider taken pursuant to this part. Notwithstanding any contrary provision in this part, health care providers may be sanctioned by their licensing board or agency for conduct and actions constituting unprofessional conduct, including failure to comply in good faith with this part.