Beginning August 26, 2013, skilled nursing facilities participating in Medicare and nursing facilities participating in Medicaid (collectively referred to as “long-term care facilities”) that choose to arrange for the provision of hospice care through an agreement with one or more Medicare-certified hospice providers will be required to have in place a written agreement with the hospice(s) specifying the roles and responsibilities of each entity. CMS published a Final Rule establishing this requirement in the June 27, 2013 issue of the Federal Register.

According to CMS, long-term care facilities and hospices often provide many of the same services, and CMS believes that, as a result, “there is a clear potential for residents to receive duplicative and/or conflicting services.” CMS seeks to address this concern by requiring long-term care facilities to have written agreements with the Medicare-certified hospices that operate in their facilities setting forth details with respect to at least eleven specific issues. For example, the agreement must set forth “[t]he services the hospice will provide,” “[t]he hospice’s responsibilities for determining the appropriate hospice plan of care,” and “[a] communication process including how the communication will be documented between the [long-term care facility] and the hospice provider, to ensure that the needs of the resident are addressed and met 24 hours per day.”

A copy of the Final Rule is available by clicking here.