On May 14, 2015, the Board of the Georgia Department of Community Health (the Department) voted unanimously to repeal the current Rules for Hospice, found at Chapter 290-9-43, and publish amended Hospice Rules under Chapter 111-8-37. As AGG previously discussed in an earlier posting, along with moving the Rules for Hospice from the Department of Human Resources to the Department of Community Health, the Department also made a number of changes to update the Rules, including:

  • Modifying the definitions of hospice, family unit, home care, patient and palliative care in the rules, and adding a definition for “advanced and progressive diseases;”
  • Updating requirements regarding a hospice’s maintenance of a business e-mail address for the receipt from the Department of inspection reports and licensure communications;
  • Adding assisted living communities as another type of licensed facility in which the hospice may provide services to residents.

For more information regarding the changes made to update the Rules, see Georgia Department of Community Health Proposes Changes to Hospice Rules, or click here. At a May 14th Board meeting, Mary Scruggs, the chief of DCH’s Healthcare Facility Regulation Division, noted that no written comments were provided by April 22, 2015, the last opportunity to comment on the proposed Rules. Thus, there were no changes to the Rules as drafted prior to the April 21, 2015 public hearing and the Board voted to pass the Rules in the same form. The revised Rules can be found here. Hospices should be mindful of the fact that the Medicare Conditions of Participation also govern the delivery of hospice services to Medicare beneficiaries and must be complied with as well.