State Licensure of Hospice
[28 Pa.B. 6349]
The Department of Health (Department) is currently accepting applications for licensure as a hospice under the passage of Senate Bill 996, signed into law as Act 95 of 1998, which amends the definition of ''health care facility'' in section 802.1 of the act of July 19, 1979 (P. L. 130, No. 48), known as the Health Care Facilities Act (Act). As a result of Act 95, hospice is now also included within the definition of a ''health care facility'' for licensure purposes. The amendment to the Health Care Facilities Act requiring the licensure of hospice takes effect on January 14, 1999.
Section 802.1 of the Act defines ''hospice'' as:
An organization licensed under this Act to provide a coordinated program of palliative and supportive services provided in a home, independent living environment or inpatient setting which provides for physical, psychological, social and spiritual care of dying persons and their families. Services are provided by a medically directed interdisciplinary team of professionals and volunteers and bereavement care is available to the family following the death of the patient. The term shall also be deemed to refer to services provided by such an organization.
Section 806(a) of the Act requires that no person shall maintain or operate or hold itself out to be a health care facility without first having obtained a license issued by the Department. However, section 806(g)(3) of the Act provides that:
Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, any organization which provides or coordinates the provision of volunteer services for Medicare-certified hospice providers in the hospice delivery systems of its community and which:
(i) used ''hospice'' in its name prior to January 1, 1990;
(ii) qualified for exemption from Federal income taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Public Law 99-514, 26 U.S.C.A. § 1 et seq.) prior to the effective date of the subsection; and
(iii) registered with the Department of State pursuant to the act of December 19, 1990 (P. L. 1200, No. 202), known as the ''Solicitation of Funds for Charitable Purposes Act,'' prior to the effective date of this subsection; may continue to use its name as heretofore.
Under section 3 of Act 95, which amends section 806(g)(2) of the Act, to require the Department to operate the hospice program under interim guidelines as set forth in that paragraph until the Department adopts its own regulations, the Medicare Conditions of Participation, Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, 42 CFR 418 et seq., will be used to regulate hospice organizations until the Department's ''hospice'' regulations are published as final. The Medicare regulations are accessible by visiting the Department's web site at www.health.state.pa.us.
Guidelines for Implementation Period
Medicare Certified Hospices
Organizations currently certified under Medicare as a ''hospice'' will be mailed licensure instructions to the address listed in the Medicare certification. Until the Department provides for a fee by regulation, upon receipt of an application and a $250 fee, all Medicare certified hospices will be sent a license for a 1 year period effective on the date the license is mailed to the hospice provider.
Prior to expiration of the licenses and by April 2000, half of the hospices will be surveyed onsite and half will be surveyed offsite by written survey. The Department's criteria for determining organizations to be surveyed onsite will be the length of time since the last onsite Medicare certification survey. The surveys will begin in April 1999.
Non-Medicare Certified Hospices
All organizations that are not Medicare certified and apply for licensure will be surveyed onsite. Successful survey results will be the basis for the issuance of the license to non-Medicare certified hospice providers.
If an organization falls under the definition of ''hospice'' in the Act and the organization is not currently Medicare certified, request an application for licensure at the following address:
Pennsylvania Department of Health
Division of Home Health Care
132 Kline Plaza, Suite A
Harrisburg, PA 17104
or visit the Department's web site, www.health.state.pa.us, to download a copy of the application.
Hospice organizations shall submit their licensure application to the Department by March 31, 1999, or inform the Division of Home Health of any delay or inability to apply by that date.
Questions regarding the Department's licensure of hospices should be directed to the PA Department of Health's Division of Home Health at (717) 783-1380. Alternatively, questions may be submitted to the Department at www.health.state.pa.us. Persons with a disability may also submit questions to the program at 132 Kline Plaza, Suite A, Harrisburg, PA 17104 in alternative formats, such as by audiotape, braille or using V/TT: (717) 783-6514 or Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at (800) 654-5984 [TT].
DANIEL F. HOFFMANN,
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 98-2124. Filed for public inspection December 24, 1998, 9:00 a.m.]
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