Home Health & Hospice

More Rules Proposed for Homecare and Hospice

Homecare Insider, February 21, 2011

On February 2, 2011, the Federal Register Volume 76, No. 22, contained proposed regulations for Patient Notification of Right to Access State Survey Agencies and Medicare Beneficiary Notification of the Right to Access Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs). This proposed rule, for home health and hospice providers, would require that the Medicare certified providers make available to their Medicare beneficiaries information about their right to file a written complaint with the QIO in the state where they are receiving services, about the quality of care they are receiving or have received.

Providers would be required to give patients a written notice containing the QIO’s contact information. In addition, the rule also proposes to require that providers inform all patients about state agency contact information. Home health agencies already have existing regulations that require them to provide patients with state survey agency contact information, but this will now affect hospice providers as well. CMS believes that a factor contributing to the low volume of beneficiary complaint reviews is that beneficiaries are unaware of their right to voice their complaints to their state’s QIO. The proposed rule does not require a specific format and agencies will have the flexibility to design their notice and documentation process.

This proposed rule, when finalized, will revise the home health and hospice Conditions of Participation. Comments can be submitted for a period of 60 days to:

Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Attention: CMS Desk Officer, CMS-3225-P; Fax: 202-395-6974; or email to OIRA_submissions@omb.eop.gov