CMS Extends Exceptional Circumstance Exemption for Hospice Employment of Nurses
October 10, 2014 10:17 AM
In a October 3 Survey & Certification letter, S&C 15-01-Hospice, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) extended the period of time for hospices to qualify for an “extraordinary circumstance” exemption when they believe that the nursing shortage has affected their ability to directly hire sufficient numbers of nurses. The policy will remain in effect until September 30, 2016 and CMS will re-evaluate the policy prior to that time.
The exemption is only applicable to the employment of nurses, not social workers or counseling services - i.e. chaplains - which are other core hospice services. The exemption allows hospices to contract for nursing personnel instead of having to employ them directly. In cases where the hospice would like to use the exemption, they must notify their state agency. This agency will maintain the notification and necessary accompanying information as well as validate the need for the exemption during surveys.