The Death with Dignity Act requires that the Oregon Health Authority collect information pertaining to compliance (ORS 127.865 (2)) and to make available to the public an annual statistical report (ORS 127.865 (3)).
The Oregon Health Authority's role is limited to collecting information so that we can monitor compliance and provide a report regarding the effects of this legislation.
Confidentiality is critical and the Act specifically states that information collected is not a public record and is not available for inspection by the public (ORS 127.865 (2)). The protection of confidentiality conferred by the Death with Dignity Act precludes the Oregon Health Authority from releasing information that identifies patients or participants, to the public, media, researchers, students, advocates, or other interested parties.
The Oregon Health Authority will NOT confirm on a case-by-case basis whether an individual has used, or a provider has been involved with, Death with Dignity. We will not release a report when the first case occurs and we will not respond to questions regarding number of cases within a specific time period.
Within the principles of confidentiality, the Oregon Health Authority will publish an annual report which will include information on how many prescriptions are written, and how many people actually take the prescribed medication. The specificity of any data released will depend upon whether we can ensure that confidentiality will not be breached.
To reiterate, the Oregon Health Authority's role in reporting on the Death with Dignity Act is similar to other public health data we collect. The data are population-based and our charge is to maintain surveillance of the overall effect of the Act. The data are to be presented in an annual report, but the information collected is required to be confidential. Therefore, case-by-case information will not be provided, and specificity of data released will depend on having adequate numbers to ensure that confidentiality will be maintained.