Report From the States

End-of-Life Care in West Virginia

Jerome C. Arnett, Jr., MD

A "Dear Colleague" letter signed by Alvin H. Moss, M.D., Project Director of the "West Virginia Initiative to Improve End-of-Life Care" informs West Virginia physicians:

"The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is providing $450,000 to the West Virginia Initiative to Improve End-of-Life Care. This initiative is holding a series of community dialogues throughout the state to learn the public's experience with end-of-life care in West Virginia. The enclosed brief survey provides an opportunity for you to give us your perspective. Please tell us what is working well and what is not in providing end-of-life care to your patients. How can the health care system be changed to enable you to take better care of your patients who are terminally ill?

"I request that you complete the enclosed brief survey so that we can have your input on how to best improve end-of-life care in West Virginia. Your participation is voluntary. Your responses will be kept confidential."

As a pulmonologist who provides care to the seriously ill, I wonder whether this is the foot in the door to begin a duty to die/euthanasia program via the public-private partnership of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and government authorities in my state.

Dr. Arnett is a pulmonologist in Elkins, West Virginia, and a member of the Editorial Board of the Medical Sentinel.

Originally published in the Medical Sentinel 1999;4(3);113. Copyright©1999 Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)