CMS Provides Grace Period for Enforcement of New Hospice Regulation

On December 23, 2010, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its plan to delay mandatory compliance with the new rule requiring that hospice providers conduct a face-to-face encounter for certain hospice patients prior to recertification. Although the Final Rule for Changes in Certification Requirements for Home Health Agencies and Hospices (Final Rule) became effective on January 1, 2011, the CMS responded to concerns expressed by the hospice industry about the implementation of the new face-to-face requirement and instructed its contractors to provide a threemonth delay in the enforcement of the new rule. As a result, hospice providers have until April 1, 2011, to ensure that their documentation for recertification is in compliance with the new requirement for face-to-face encounters. The delay also applies to a new face-to-face encounter requirement for home health.

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