According to Title 18, Section 1861 (dd) of the Social Security Act, 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
- (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.
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.
Updated hospice statistics are now available for calendar years 1998 to 2008 , and include the 20 most frequent diagnoses, the number of patients, average length of stay, and trends over time in length of stay, by diagnosis. (see "Downloads" below).
For a one-stop resource web page focused on the informational needs and interests of Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) hospices, go to the Hospice Center (see "Related Links Inside CMS" below).