Act 39, Vermont’s Patient Choice and Control at End of Life law, adopted in 2013, gives adults who are terminally ill and who are capable of making their own decisions the option to receive medical aid in dying (MAID) to be self-administered to bring about a peaceful death if and when the patient chooses. Vermont is among the eleven states that have similar laws providing end-of-life choice, covering 22% of Americans.
Safeguard System Fundamental to Act 39 is a comprehensive set of requirements and a carefully defined process. These procedures assure that legalized aid in dying is available only to those who are near death, competent to decide, and who have made the decision to request this assistance. The safeguard system is comprised of:
A strict set of five qualification requirements
A mandatory eight-step process
Documentation by the doctor filed with the Vermont Department of Health
Ten Years of Experience Since its passage in 2013, Act 39 has worked well and delivered peace of mind to Vermonters.
173 people qualified to use medical aid in dying from inception in 2013 through December 2022.
The Vermont Department of Health has received no complaints of abuse related to Act 39.
Doctors have prescribed end-of-life medication to patients in all parts of the state.
Every hospice organization in Vermont (except for services provided by the Veterans’ Administration) has demonstrated a commitment to the best possible end of life care, including supporting those patients who choose to use medical aid in dying.
Patient Choices Vermont provides educational resources on Vermont's Act 39, end-of-life choice, and medical decision-making. Please see the following pages:
Text of Act 39: Provides the text of Vermont's Patient Choice at End of Life law.