2015 - 2016 LEGISLATURE
February 11, 2015 - Introduced by Senators Risser,
Erpenbach and Miller, cosponsored by Representatives Pope,
Berceau, Ohnstad, Sargent, Billings, Hintz, C. Taylor, Subeck, Zamarripa,
Sinicki, Johnson, Kahl and Bowen. Referred to Committee on Health and
1An Act to repeal
979.01 (1r); to amend
979.01 (1) (intro.) and 979.01 (1g); and 2to create
16.009 (2) (q), 146.82 (2) (a) 8m., chapter 156 and 979.01 (1j) of the 3
statutes; relating to: permitting certain individuals to make requests for
4medication for the purpose of ending their lives and providing penalties.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill permits an individual who is of sound mind, is not incapacitated, is at
least 18 years of age, is a resident of Wisconsin, and has a terminal disease to request
voluntarily medication from his or her attending physician for the purpose of ending
the individual's life in a humane and dignified manner. The bill authorizes the
individual's attending physician to issue a prescription for the medication if specified
requirements are met. Further, the bill creates a statutory request for medication
authorization form and requires that the Department of Health Services (DHS)
prepare and provide copies of the form for distribution to certain facilities,
associations, and persons.
The bill establishes the following requirements that must be met before an
individual's attending physician may issue a prescription in response to the
individual's request for medication:
1. First, the requester must orally ask his or her attending physician for the
medication. Then, not fewer than 15 days later, the requester must again request
the medication, using a valid request form that is substantially in the form specified
in the bill, is in writing, is signed in the presence of three qualified witnesses and
dated by the requester, is made voluntarily, and is filed in the requester's patient
health care record. After the written request is filed, the requester must orally ask
his or her attending physician a second time for the medication. The attending
physician may not prescribe a medication to fulfill a request for medication until at
least 48 hours after the second oral request.
2. The requester's attending physician must determine that the requester
meets the requirements for making the request; must inform the requester of his or
her diagnosis and prognosis, the probable results of taking the prescribed
medication, and the alternatives to doing so; must refer the requester to a consulting
physician for review; must, if the requester may be suffering from a psychiatric or
psychological disorder, refer the requester to a psychiatrist or psychologist for
review; must, in the requester's patient health care record, document certain
information and certify that requirements have been met regarding the request;
must ask the requester to inform his or her next of kin about the request; must inform
the requester that the request is revocable and offer him or her the opportunity to
revoke it; and must report information about the request to DHS on a form prescribed
3. A consulting physician to whom the requester is referred must medically
confirm the attending physician's diagnosis and determination that the requester
meets the requirements for making the request. Any psychologist or psychiatrist to
whom the requester is referred by the attending or consulting physician must
determine and certify in writing that the requester is not suffering from a psychiatric
or psychological disorder, including depression, that causes impaired judgment.
The bill specifies that, if the requester is a resident of a nursing home or
community-based residential facility, at least one of the witnesses to the written
request for medication must be a residents' advocate designated by the Board on
Aging and Long-Term Care. The bill also specifies procedures by which a requester
may revoke a request for medication and provides that making a request for
medication does not revoke or otherwise modify a declaration to physicians or health
care power of attorney that a requester may have. The bill provides that making a
request for medication does not constitute attempted suicide and that taking
medication under a fulfilled request does not constitute suicide. The bill establishes
penalties for certain actions with regard to the request for medication, but prohibits
a health care facility or health care provider from being charged with a crime, being
held civilly liable, or being charged with unprofessional conduct for failing to fulfill
a request (except that an attending physician who refuses to fulfill a valid request
and fails to make a good faith attempt to transfer the requester to another physician
who will fulfill the request may be charged with unprofessional conduct), for
fulfilling a valid request, or for acting contrary to or failing to act on a revocation of
a request unless the health care facility or health care provider has actual knowledge
of the revocation.
This bill also provides that, when a patient dies as a result of a request for
medication under the bill, a physician or other person having knowledge of the death
need not report the death to the sheriff, medical examiner, or coroner of the county
or the police chief of the community where the death took place, as is required for
certain deaths, including suicides, under current law.
Because this bill creates a new crime or revises a penalty for an existing crime,
the Joint Review Committee on Criminal Penalties may be requested to prepare a
report concerning the proposed penalty and the costs or savings that are likely to
result if the bill is enacted.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
16.009 (2) (q) of the statutes is created to read:
(q) Designate residents' advocates under s. 156.19.
146.82 (2) (a) 8m. of the statutes is created to read:
(a) 8m. To the department under s. 156.09 (8) (g).
Chapter 156 of the statutes is created to read:
In this chapter:
"Attending physician" means a physician who has primary responsibility 10
for the care of the requester and treatment of the requester's terminal disease.
"Comfort care" means palliative care, as defined in s. 50.90 (3), or supportive 12
care, as defined in s. 50.90 (4).
"Consulting physician" means a physician who is qualified by specialty or 14
experience to make a professional diagnosis and prognosis with respect to the 15
"Department" means the department of health services.
"Health care facility" has the meaning given in s. 155.01 (6).
"Health care provider" has the meaning given in s. 155.01 (7).
"Incapacity" has the meaning given in s. 155.01 (8).
"Multipurpose senior center" has the meaning given in s. 155.01 (9).
"Patient health care records" has the meaning given in s. 146.81 (4).
"Request for medication" means a request for medication under the 4
requirements of this chapter for the purpose of ending the requester's life in a 5
humane and dignified manner.
"Requester" means an individual who makes a request for medication.
"Residence" has the meaning given in s. 46.27 (1) (d).
"Responsible person" means the attending physician, a health care 9
provider serving the requester, an inpatient health care facility in which the 10
requester is located, or the requester's spouse, child, parent, brother, sister, 11
grandparent, or grandchild.
"Social worker" means a person certified under s. 457.08 as a social worker, 13
advanced practice social worker, independent social worker, or clinical social worker.
"Terminal disease" means an incurable and irreversible disease that has 15
been diagnosed by an individual's attending physician and medically confirmed and 16
that will, within reasonable medical judgment, cause death within 6 months.
17156.03 Authorization to make request.
An individual who is of sound mind, 18
has attained age 18, has residence in this state, does not have incapacity, and has a 19
terminal disease may voluntarily make a request for medication for the purpose of 20
ending his or her life in a humane and dignified manner. An individual for whom an 21
adjudication of incompetence and appointment of a guardian of the person is in effect 22
under ch. 54 is presumed not to be of sound mind for purposes of this section.
23156.05 Requester rights, responsibilities, and limitations. (1)
requester may receive a prescription that fulfills a request for medication unless he 25
or she has made an informed decision. An informed decision under this chapter
means a decision by an individual to request and obtain a prescription for medication 2
so as to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner that is based on an 3
appreciation of the relevant facts and is made after having been fully informed by 4
the attending physician of all of the following:
(a) The individual's medical diagnosis.
(b) The individual's prognosis.
(c) The potential risks associated with taking the medication to be prescribed 8
under this chapter.
(d) The probable result of taking the medication to be prescribed under this 10
(e) The feasible alternatives, including comfort care, hospice care, and pain 12
In order to receive a prescription for medication to end his or her life, a 14
requester shall do all of the following:
(a) Make an oral request for medication for the purpose of ending his or her life 16
to his or her attending physician.
(b) No fewer than 15 days after making the oral request for medication under 18
par. (a), complete a valid written request for medication under s. 156.07. The written 19
request under this paragraph may not be completed until a consulting physician 20
completes the examination and report required under s. 156.11.