CMS Gives Hospice Community Relief by Agreeing to Three-Month Grace Period before Enforcing New Regulation

Dec 23, 2010, 17:36 ET from National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Dec. 23, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Relief has come to the hospice and home health communities in the form of a grace period involving a regulation that has caused much concern among the provider community.  Earlier today, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services agreed to a three-month suspension in enforcement of what is known as the "Face-to-Face" certification requirement – a new rule scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2011.  

The new face-to-face requirement places more stringent processes in place for certification and recertification of patients. Both the hospice and home health industries are affected.

Leadership from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization met with CMS officials on Monday, December 20 with the request for a delay.  CMS agreed to consider the options.  

The final decision to extend a grace period from enforcement was issued by CMS just hours ago.  

This announcement from CMS does not eliminate the requirement that hospice providers implement the face-to-face requirement on January 1, 2011.  However, CMS informed its Medicare Administrative Contractors — who are involved in compliance — that they are suspending enforcement of the Face-to-Face rule for the first quarter of 2011.

NHPCO will work with CMS — as the organization has been doing — during the transition period to answer additional questions and mutually resolve ongoing interpretations and implementation processes.

NHPCO has prepared a list of frequently asked questions to assist hospice providers with compliance of the new regulation, available at


Jon Radulovic

NHPCO, Communications


SOURCE National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization