This page provides basic information about being certified as a Medicare and/or Medicaid hospice provider and includes links to applicable laws, regulations, and compliance information.
A hospice is a public agency or private organization or a subdivision of either that is primarily engaged in providing care to terminally ill individuals, meets the conditions of participation for hospices, and has a valid Medicare provider agreement.
Hospice care is an approach to caring for terminally ill individuals that stresses palliative care (relief of pain and uncomfortable symptoms), as opposed to curative care. In addition to meeting the patient’s medical needs, hospice care addresses the physical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs of the patient, as well as the psychosocial needs of the patient’s family/caregiver. The emphasis of the hospice program is on keeping the hospice patient at home with family and friends as long as possible.
Although some hospices are located as a part of a hospital, nursing home, and home health agency, hospices must meet specific Federal requirements and be separately certified and approved for Medicare participation.
A hospice may use contracted staff for core services only under extraordinary circumstances (i.e., to supplement hospice employees in order to meet patients’ needs during periods of peak patient load.) If contracting is used, the hospice must continue to maintain professional, financial, and administrative responsibility for the services in accordance with current regulations and policy.
Chapter 2 - The Certification Process (PDF)