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Southwest Health opts out of Colorado’s aid-in-dying law

‘Additional planning’ needed, CEO says
Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez.

Southwest Health System will opt out of a medical aid-in-dying law that Colorado voters approved in last November’s election, according to a Jan. 5 news release from the company.

The hospital board of directors unanimously voted to opt out of Proposition 106, which allows a terminally ill adult to end his or her life. CEO Kent Rogers recommended the board vote to opt-out after discussions with the hospital’s medical staff, according to the release.

“We discussed this with the executive committee of our medical staff and agreed that actively aiding in a person’s end of life is going to take some additional planning,” Rogers said in the release.

Proposition 106 passed with 64.5 percent of the statewide vote in the Nov. 8 election. In Montezuma County, it passed with 59.25 percent of the vote, 7,334 to 5,045. It was signed into law Dec. 16.

Southwest Health representative Haley Saunders said Friday there is a lack of information on medical aid-in-dying, since Proposition 106 is a new law.

“It’s about the resources that we have and about the experience for the family,” she said.

Provisions of the law allow for organizations to opt in at a later date, and Saunders said Southwest Health will continue to evaluate the issue.

The new law won’t affect advanced medical directives, CPR directives or declarations saying that life-sustaining procedures be withheld or withdrawn, according to the release.


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