Governor signs Eggman bill ensuring terminal patients informed of rights

SACRAMENTO – A bill ensuring that terminally ill patients are informed by their physician of their right to hear of end-of-life care options was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday.

Under current law, health care providers are required to provide a terminally-ill patient with comprehensive information and counseling regarding their end-of-life options, but only upon the patient’s request.

Despite this requirement, a recent report from the California HealthCare Foundation finds that Californians frequently do not receive the care they would prefer at the end of life.

Assembly Bill 2139, authored by Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton, modifies existing law by requiring the healthcare provider to notify terminally ill patients  or their decision makers of their right to comprehensive information and counseling at the time of diagnosis, or at a subsequent appointment at which treatment options are discussed.

AB 2139 was supported by Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the California Commission on Aging, and the California Hospice and Palliative Care Association, among other groups.