CDPH Releases 2018 Data on the End of Life Option Act

Originally posted on July 10, 2019

2018 Data Report includes new data points and cumulative data

July 10, 2019

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today released the 2018 Data Report on the End of Life Option Act (EoLOA). This latest report on the End of Life Option Act covers the period from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2018, and reflects information on individuals who were prescribed aid-in-dying drugs and died in 2018, as well as cumulative counts for the period commencing January 1, 2016. New in the report this year are four data points which were not previously reported:
  • Patient informed family of decision: 87% reported informing family; 3% did not inform family; 2% had no family to inform, and for 8% it was unknown.
  • Class of drugs prescribed: 37% of patients were prescribed a sedative; 35% a Cardiotonic/Opioid/Sedative; 18% other; and 10% unknown.
  • Physician or trained healthcare provider present at the time of ingestion: 54% had a physician or trained healthcare provider present; 25% did not; and for 21% it was unknown.
  • Place of death (setting and/or location): 92 of patients died in a private home; 4% in an assisted living residence; 2% in a nursing home and 2% in an in-patient hospice residence.
The report also includes cumulative data: Between June 9, 2016, when the law came into effect, and December 31, 2018, prescriptions have been written for a total of 1,108 people under the Act and 807 individuals (72.8 percent) have died from ingesting the medications. The 2018 data indicates that 452 individuals received prescriptions under the End of Life Option Act in that year. That figure appears to be down from a total of 577 individuals who received prescriptions under the Act in 2017. Other key 2018 data points include:
  • Of the 452 individual who received prescriptions, 337 died following their ingestion of the prescribed medications, including 23 individuals who received prescriptions prior to 2018.
  • Of those who died, 88.7 percent were 60 years of age or older, 94.4 percent had health insurance and 88.1 percent were receiving hospice and/or palliative care.
CDPH is required to provide annual reports, including information on the number of prescriptions written and the number of known individuals who died using aid-in-dying drugs as part of the End of Life Option Act legislation. The data is collected from the forms that participating patients and providers are required to complete and submit to the state. The information is aggregated by CDPH to protect the privacy of the participants.

The state does not report on all of the data elements it currently collects on EoLOA, which is an area of concern for CCCC and other stakeholders. We believe that the state has a duty to be as transparent as possible in sharing the EoLOA data, and we have requested that CDPH either report on all of the data collected on the forms or release the de-identified data to independent researchers to analyze. CCCC is pleased that the state included information on the four additional data points in the report this year. The data helps the state, researchers, and others to evaluate and monitor trends in the use of the law.

More Information

For general information on the EoLOA law, visit CCCC’s EoLOA page here. To view and download the 2016 and 2017 EoLOA Data Reports and access provider and patient reporting forms, visit CDPH’s EoLOA page here.