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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Right to Die & Euthanasia

Mission: To improve care and expand choice at the end of life. We support, educate and advocate.

Results: 2009 Milestones On January 1, the Terminal Patients’ Right to Know End-of-Life Options Act, AB 2747 (Berg-Levine) goes into effect in California. Read more about the Terminal Patients’ Right to Know End-of-Life Options Act here. Compassion & Choices calls on the Obama Administration to repeal last-minute regulations allowing denial of medical services based on health care worker religious beliefs. On March 5, Washington’s Death with Dignity Act begins implementation. As the health insurance reform debate heats up in Washington and around the country, Compassion & Choices aggressively responds to mis-information campaign launched by opponents of end-of-life choice to undermine a key provision of health insurance reform. Recent action and statements indicate the end-of-life consultation provision may survive in a final health care bill. Read more about end-of-life choices in health insurance reform here. On October 7, Compassion & Choices Legal Director, Kathryn Tucker, files suit in Connecticut on behalf of two Connecticut physicians, Gary Blick and Ron Levine, asserting that the Connecticut statute which makes a crime of assisting someone to “commit suicide” does not reach the conduct of a physician providing aid in dying. Read more about Blick at al v. Connecticut here. On October 29th, Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon stood with leaders of the House of Representatives as they unveiled House Resolution 3200, Section 1233, the Life Sustaining Treatment Preferences Act of 2009 that would provide coverage under the Medicare Program for consultations regarding POLST. Senator Jay Rockefeller champions end-of-life care in his in his report to the Senate Finance Committee's health care reform legislation. Compassion & Choices continues work to assure end-of-life choice remains a key component of final health insurance reform package. On October 13-14, Compassion & Choices hosts “Dignity & Choices, A Symposium on End-of-Life Advocacy” in Washington, DC. Two days of discussion, exploration and study, Dignity & Choices provides an opportunity to promote principles and practices that focus on patients. Physicians, social workers, nurses, attorneys and advocates for end-of-life choice filled the National Press Club to hear aspects of end-of-life care rarely discussed and illuminate the way forward. Watch video highlights from Dignity & Choices here. On December 31, the Montana Supreme Court ruled in favor of the landmark case brought by Compassion & Choices (Baxter v. Montana) affirming that it is not against public policy of the state of Montana for a physician to provide aid in dying to a mentally competent, terminally ill individual. Read more about Baxter v. Montana here. 2010 Milestones The Older Women’s League (OWL) devotes its 30th anniversary Mother’s Day Report to end-of-life choices and hosts a Capitol Hill policy briefing on the issue. The report features a piece, “Aid in Dying: A Matter of Elder Justice and Civil Rights,” by Kathryn Tucker, Compassion & Choices Director of Legal Affairs. On June 2 Blick et al v. Connecticut is dismissed without reaching the merits, on sovereign immunity grounds, denying plaintiffs the opportunity to make their case to distinguish committing “suicide” from a mentally competent terminally ill patient ingesting medications to bring about a peaceful death. New York passes the Palliative Care Information Act (PCIA) in August. The law, drafted by Compassion & Choices and modeled after a similar measure in CA, requires healthcare workers to provide information and counseling on end-of-life options.. Compassion & Choices files the groundbreaking lawsuit Hargett v. Vitas seeking accountability for the unnecessarily painful death of 43-year-old mother of three, Michelle Hargett-Beebee, who was never informed of the availability of palliative sedation. This is the first case in the nation to allege that failure to tell a patient about palliative sedation falls outside the standard of care. 2011 Milestones Legislative opponents introduced SB 116 in Montana, to nullify the Montana Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Baxter v Montana, a case litigated by Compassion & Choices. The Montana Medical Association testified in official opposition to the measure. On February 16 the Montana Senate Judiciary Committee declined to adopt this measure, preserving the option of aid in dying for Montanans. A bill amending Washington’s Death with Dignity Act, SB 5378, fails to pass out of committee, in response to Compassion & Choices proactive efforts and voter support. SB5378 would have amended the section of DWDA specifying deaths under the Act do not constitute “suicide.” Compassion & Choices launches successful public campaign throughout Oregon to defeat HB 2016, a bill requiring all terminally ill patients who request aid in dying to undergo psychiatric evaluation. The Oregon House HealthCare Committee holds no hearing or work session on HB 2016.

Geographic areas served: Nationwide

Community Stories

27 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Compassion and Choices is a great nonprofit that helps everyone all over the US. With it's great work they are doing, they are achieving and educating the consumers, nurses and doctors. Being able to learn your options and having the choice is very important.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have donated to C and C for the last 13 years. Their work matters and they do such much with a limited budget. Advocating for choice at the end of life is not an easy topic and therefore raising money to do the important work is not easy.
I have known my donations will be used well advocating and supporting patients and families on those tough end of life decisions.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Compassion & Choices is a superior non-profit: well-organized, effective and competent in all those critical areas that make a donor want to give and give.

3 Norma C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization has been at the forefront for years in teaching folks how to prepare for dying: Advance Directives, withholding invasive treatments where the side effects are sometimes worse than the illness, supporting terminally ill people, and providing consul to folks at the end of their lives. More recently, they have been very active in the legislative side of the right-to-die using medically prescribed drugs. This is an idea whose time has come...and I'M ALL FOR IT. And if someone is not "for it"....that's fine too...but legally we should have a choice. This organization is helpful for anyone who will eventually die...all others should put their money into saving the planet....no sense living forever if the earth doesn't go along with the program!

1 Bonnie104

Client Served

Rating: 5

These dedicated people are simply amazing. The subject of Compassion and Choices makes it somewhat difficult to speak to certain people. Yet they have a staff to handle everything including reluctant family members, who may want to put off speaking about death with dignity. I have been observing for several years. I have raised money for them. I speak out to those who may not know about this organization. And they have helped me. They have wonderful councilors and talking to them is free. As the population ages and medical policies change it is more important than ever for people to think ahead. Compassion and Choices is as good as it's name. It helps people make and keep choices and they do this with great compassion. They are growing and becoming more effective as more and more people learn about them. I want to help them in any way that I can.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

When my mother was at the end of her life, the doctor could not give her pills she could take for a peaceful death with her family gathered around her. Instead, we had to suffer with her for several weeks as she starved herself to death. And as it turned out, I was not able to be at her bedside when she died.
I am therefore very hopeful that the District of Columbia Council will soon pass a Death With Dignity Bill, so that if I or my husband should find ourselves in a similar situation, two doctors could give us pills with which to end our lives, with our children around us.
Because we feel so strongly about this issue, we are enthusiastic supporters of Compassion & Choices and its work to make a dignified death possible. I'm proud to give this organization a top rating as a Great Non-Profit!
Sarah G Epstein
Washington DC

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Compassion and Choices is a powerful non-profit offering advocacy, education, and support to people at the end of their lives. The goal of the organization is to educate, consumers, medical personal, medical entities like hospitals, insurance companies, Hospices, and legislators about Medical Aid in Dying which has been legal in Oregon since 1997.
They also provide direct support to the dying, their families, and their medical providers. In every state in the country. They are an advocacy group that has worked hard to pass Medical Aid in Dying in Oregon, Washington State, Montana, Vermont, California, and are on the ballot in Colorado.
As a national organization they are second to none in utilizing their donations to the maximum. It always amazes me what so few people can accomplish with so little! I nominate them as an outstanding non-profit!!!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This charity supports a cause I believe in. I have been a supporter of Death with Dignity bills for many years.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A very responsible organization that provides valuable information and forthright advocacy for an important cause.

2 susan barry

Donor

Rating: 5

I learned of Compassion and Choices by name from a close friend's daughter who represented it in California. I of course knew of the much needed assisted-dying options legally in progress or process in some states, but had no idea of the vast resource and personal consultant aid this remarkable organization also offers. (For example the two C and C -initiated Directive Forms regarding dementia and end-of-life measures,"My Particular Wishes," which you can add to your Advance Directive.) The free service of a personal voice and name "there" for you --during the challenging terminal stage of life--is simply beyond superlatives. As someone with a hospice background, I am proud to support and heartily recommend this nonprofit. Susan Barry, Horseshoe Bay, TX