Provide better end-of-life care, even if it is not cheaper

Hospital costs for dying patients vary widely and some savings may be possible, but studies have not identified specific changes that would significantly reduce spending on end-of-life care, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, writes in this New York Times opinion piece. Still, he says, there are good reasons for improving end-of-life care, and that requires better training for physicians and nurses and it means every hospital must offer inpatient and outpatient palliative care. Also, hospice eligibility should be based on patients' needs, not an unreliable estimate of how close they are to the end of life.

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