New Jersey Health Care Policy Guides End-of-Life and Related Bioethical Issues
Between 1996 and 1998, the New Jersey Citizens' Committee on Biomedical Ethics, Princeton, N.J.—a group with expertise in fostering discussion among citizens, health care professionals, and policy makers—reconstituted itself as New Jersey Health Decisions in an attempt to broaden its focus from end-of-life and bioethical issues to the larger arena of health care policy.
New Jersey Health Decisions accomplished the following:
- Sponsored, along with the Medical Society of New Jersey and the New Jersey Hospital Association, a daylong conference entitled "New Jersey SUPPORT Summit: Care and Caring at the End of Life."
- Sponsored two annual Intensive Bioethics Conferences. The conferences addressed such issues as managed care and physician-assisted suicide.
- Sponsored two conferences entitled "Using an Ethics Committee in Your Long-Term Care Facility."
- Sponsored a conference entitled "Pain, Palliation, and Hospice Care " in association with the Southern New Jersey Ethics Alliance.
- Conducted a statewide health care values survey with the Center for Public Interest in Polling at Rutgers University's Eagleton Institute of Politics.
New Jersey Health Decisions broadened its focus in some ways but did not achieve the chief goal of the grant, which was to transform itself into a broader organization, choosing instead to continue to put its time and energy into bioethics and end of life care.
However, an unexpected prominence of end-of-life issues during the grant period enhanced the stature of the organization in the state's health care community because of its focus on bioethical issues.