CMS Extends Designation of the Current Nursing Shortage as an Extraordinary Circumstance

PUBLISHED: Dec 27, 2018
Relevant to: Hospice

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) has extended the designation of the national nursing shortage as an extraordinary circumstance for an additional two (2) years – until September 30, 2020. This designation enables those hospice agencies, which are unable to provide a sufficient number of nursing staff directly to meet the needs of its patients due to the national shortage, to utilize contracted staff in addition to their full-time nursing staff.

With this extension, CMS is eliminating the previous requirement that the hospice agency must notify CMS of its use of contacted nursing staff during extraordinary circumstances and submit justification for such use to its State Survey Agency. According to CMS, this notification/justification is not required by 42 CFR 418.64.

In this new memorandum CMS clarifies that compliance with the regulation for use of contracted staff will be reviewed as a part of the routine survey process. Hospice agencies should remember that when contract services are utilized the hospice agency must maintain all professional, financial and administrative responsibility for the services provided.

Included with today’s StayAlert! Notice are example policies related to the use of contracted services as well as a link to the CMS memorandum.

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