Easing end-of-life care 

End-of-life care is always a difficult issue.In New Jersey it’s also one that is both costly and aggressively pursued: The latest Medicare study by the nonprofit Dartmouth Atlas, which analyzes nationwide variations in healthcare, found that nearly 25 percent of New Jerseyans spent a week or more in the hospital intensive care unit in their last six months, compared with the national average of 15 percent. In that time they saw an average of 11 doctors, compared with eight for the nation. Medicare spending averaged $65,436 in the last two years of life in New Jersey, compared with $53,441 for the U.S., according to the Dartmouth Atlas review of 2003 to 2007 Medicare data.  (Fitzgerald, NJ Spotlight)