The WSJ Health Blog posts (WSJ article, More Choices Drive Cost of Health Care) interesting statistics on end of life care costs according to the latest Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care edition (due out today).
The report shows:
. . . that the cost of individual medical services isn’t the big driver of Medicare spending, at least for chronically ill patients in their last two years. It’s the intensity of care, such as the number of specialist visits and days in the ICU. . .According to the map graphic West Virginia comes in low in the "below $37,500" category showing the average Medicare Spending during the last two years of life for chronically ill patients.
As the costs of our health care system increase over the coming years we will likely see an increased focus on looking at the end of life care issue vs. costs of health care in those remaining years. These bring to the front a variety of medical, ethical and legal questions.