The effect of the Medicare regulations on hospice practice: Enhancing staff performance
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The purpose of this paper is to examine the federal hospice regulations (42 CFR 418.50-.100) and identify from these standards key characteristics that help define important aspects of palliative hospice care. The other purpose will be to examine these requirements to determine what these standards say or imply about the functioning of the hospice staff within the certified program. We assert that in order for a certified program to function in the capacity outlined in the federal hospice requirements, both the administration and staff need to understand, and then practice, the complex role delineated within the Congressional Law and ensuing regulations. The Medicare hospice regulations are a recognized program standard throughout the nation. These requirements, finalized in 1983, were developed by the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) as a result of the Congressional Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA, 1982). Since the promulgation of these regulations, hospices wishing to gain certification have had to adapt and mold their program focus and clinical procedures to meet this legislative mandate. Although some hospice administrators may perceive the Medicare requirements simply as hoops to be jumped through in order to gain funding, in truth, these regulations stand as a benchmark in the history of American hospice care. In their totality, the rules set forth a system of health care that is singular in program design.
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