The Husch Blackwell Hospice Team has been receiving reports from hospices throughout the country that nursing facilities are prohibiting hospice workers from entering the facility to provide essential end-of-life care to hospice patients. Such access is being denied pursuant to visitor restrictions. However, hospice personnel are not visitors but are recognized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) as essential health care personnel who must be given access.
Hospices and their nursing facility partners have a shared responsibility to ensure the health and safety of hospice patients residing at facilities. Denial of facility access to properly trained and equipped hospice personnel is contrary to federal nursing facility regulations and CMS instruction. Moreover, national long-term care associations, such as LeadingAge and the American Health Care Association, have acknowledged and deferred to CMS’s guidance on permitting facility access by hospice workers.
Husch Blackwell has prepared a tool, available for download, that hospice providers can use to inform nursing facilities of their legal obligations to provide hospice personnel with facility access. The tool can be e-mailed or otherwise provided to your nursing facility partners. Additionally, we have compiled several resources, also available for download, that support the right of facility access by hospice workers.