Hospice Program Law and Legal Definition

According to 42 USCS § 1395x [Title 42. The Public Health and Welfare; Chapter 7. Social Security Act; Title XVIII. Health Insurance for the Aged and Disabled; Part E. Miscellaneous Provisions], the term "hospice program" means “a public agency or private organization (or a subdivision thereof) which:

(A) (i) is primarily engaged in providing the care and services described in paragraph (1) and makes such services available (as needed) on a 24-hour basis and which also provides bereavement counseling for the immediate family of terminally ill individuals and services described in section 1812(a)(5) [42 USCS § 1395d(a)(5)],

(ii) provides for such care and services in individuals' homes, on an outpatient basis, and on a short-term inpatient basis, directly or under arrangements made by the agency or organization, except that--

(I) the agency or organization must routinely provide directly substantially all of each of the services described in subparagraphs (A), (C), and (H) of paragraph (1), except as otherwise provided in paragraph (5), and

(II) in the case of other services described in paragraph (1) which are not provided directly by the agency or organization, the agency or organization must maintain professional management responsibility for all such services furnished to an individual, regardless of the location or facility in which such services are furnished; and

(iii) provides assurances satisfactory to the Secretary that the aggregate number of days of inpatient care described in paragraph (1)(G) provided in any 12-month period to individuals who have an election in effect under section 1812(d) [42 USCS § 1395d(d)] with respect to that agency or organization does not exceed 20 percent of the aggregate number of days during that period on which such elections for such individuals are in effect;

(B) has an interdisciplinary group of personnel which--

(i) includes at least:

(I) one physician (as defined in subsection (r)(1)),

(II) one registered professional nurse, and

(III) one social worker,

employed by or, in the case of a physician described in subclause (I), under contract with the agency or organization, and also includes at least one pastoral or other counselor,

(ii) provides (or supervises the provision of) the care and services described in paragraph (1), and

(iii) establishes the policies governing the provision of such care and services;

(C) maintains central clinical records on all patients;

(D) does not discontinue the hospice care it provides with respect to a patient because of the inability of the patient to pay for such care;

(E) (i) utilizes volunteers in its provision of care and services in accordance with standards set by the Secretary, which standards shall ensure a continuing level of effort to utilize such volunteers, and (ii) maintains records on the use of these volunteers and the cost savings and expansion of care and services achieved through the use of these volunteers;

(F) in the case of an agency or organization in any State in which State or applicable local law provides for the licensing of agencies or organizations of this nature, is licensed pursuant to such law; and

(G) meets such other requirements as the Secretary may find necessary in the interest of the health and safety of the individuals who are provided care and services by such agency or organization.

Paragraph (1) referred to in the above definition deals with hospice care. It reads as below:

(1) The term "hospice care" means the following items and services provided to a terminally ill individual by, or by others under arrangements made by, a hospice program under a written plan (for providing such care to such individual) established and periodically reviewed by the individual's attending physician and by the medical director (and by the interdisciplinary group described in paragraph (2)(B)) of the program:

(A) nursing care provided by or under the supervision of a registered professional nurse,

(B) physical or occupational therapy, or speech-language pathology services,

(C) medical social services under the direction of a physician,

(D) (i) services of a home health aide who has successfully completed a training program approved by the Secretary and (ii) homemaker services,

(E) medical supplies (including drugs and biologicals) and the use of medical appliances, while under such a plan,

(F) physicians' services,

(G) short-term inpatient care (including both respite care and procedures necessary for pain control and acute and chronic symptom management) in an inpatient facility meeting such conditions as the Secretary determines to be appropriate to provide such care, but such respite care may be provided only on an intermittent, nonroutine, and occasional basis and may not be provided consecutively over longer than five days,

(H) counseling (including dietary counseling) with respect to care of the terminally ill individual and adjustment to his death, and

(I) any other item or service which is specified in the plan and for which payment may otherwise be made under this title [42 USCS §§ 1395 et seq.].

The care and services described in subparagraphs (A) and (D) may be provided on a 24-hour, continuous basis only during periods of crisis (meeting criteria established by the Secretary) and only as necessary to maintain the terminally ill individual at home.