Code of the District of Columbia

§ 7–661.01. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) "Attending physician" shall have the same meaning as provided in § 7-621(1); provided, that the attending physician's practice shall not be primarily or solely composed of patients requesting a covered medication.

(2) "Capable" means that, in the opinion of a court or the patient's attending physician, consulting physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist, a patient has the ability to make and communicate health care decisions to health care providers.

(3) "Consulting physician" means a physician who is qualified by specialty or experience to make a professional diagnosis and prognosis regarding the patient's disease and who is willing to participate in the provision of a covered medication to a qualified patient in accordance with this chapter.

(4) "Counseling" means one or more consultations as necessary between a District licensed psychiatrist or psychologist and a patient for the purpose of determining that the patient is capable and not suffering from a psychiatric or psychological disorder or depression causing impaired judgment.

(5) "Covered medication" means a medication prescribed pursuant to this chapter for the purpose of ending a person's life in a humane and peaceful manner.

(6) "Department" means the Department of Health.

(7) "Health care facility" means a hospital or long-term care facility.

(8) "Health care provider" means a person, partnership, corporation, facility, or institution that is licensed, certified, or authorized under District law to administer health care or dispense medication in the ordinary course of business or practice of a profession.

(9) "Hospital" shall have the same meaning as provided in § 44-501(a)(1).

(10) "Informed decision" means a decision by a qualified patient to request and obtain a prescription for a covered medication that is based on an appreciation of the relevant facts and is made after being fully informed by the attending physician of:

(A) His or her medical diagnosis;

(B) His or her prognosis;

(C) The potential risks associated with taking the covered medication;

(D) The probable results of taking the covered medication; and

(E) Feasible alternatives to taking the covered medication, including comfort care, hospice care, and pain control.

(11) "Long-term care facility" means a nursing home or community residence facility, as defined by § 44-501(a)(3) and (4), or an assisted living residence, as defined by § 44-102.01(4).

(12) "Medically confirmed" means the medical opinion of the attending physician has been confirmed by a consulting physician who has examined the patient and the patient's relevant medical records.

(13) "Patient" means a person who has attained 18 years of age, resides in the District of Columbia, and is under the care of a physician.

(14) "Physician" shall have the same meaning as provided in § 7-621(4).

(15) "Qualified patient" means a patient who:

(A) Has been determined to be capable; and

(B) Satisfies the requirements of this chapter in order to obtain a prescription for a covered medication.

(16) "Terminal disease" means an incurable and irreversible disease that has been medically confirmed and will, within reasonable medical judgment, result in death within 6 months.

(Feb. 18, 2017, D.C. Law 21-182, § 2, 63 DCR 15697.)


Section 7018 of D.C. Law 22-33 repealed § 18 of D.C. Law 21-182. Therefore the creation of this section by D.C. Law 21-182 has been implemented.

A certification dated June 6, 2017, that the fiscal effect of the Death with Dignity Act of 2016, D.C. Law 21-182, has been included in an approved budget and financial plan was published in the D.C. Register on June 16, 2017 (64 DCR 5670). Therefore the creation of this section by that amendment has been implemented.

Applicability of D.C. Law 21-182: § 18 of D.C. Law 21-182 provided that the creation of this section by § 2 of D.C. Law 21-182 is subject to the inclusion of the law’s fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan. Therefore that amendment has not been implemented.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) repeal of § 18 of D.C. Law 21-182, see § 7018 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-167, Oct. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 10802).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of § 18 of D.C. Law 21-182, see § 7018 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-104, July 20, 2017, 64 DCR 7032).