How to get a hospice license

Hospices deliver an invaluable service to both patients and their families — they provide care and comfort for patients with terminal illnesses and help family members along the difficult road of end-of-life care.

To ensure that they provide good service, every hospice is required by law to have a license before admitting patients or offering services.

Licensure can sometimes be expensive and challenging to obtain, given the exacting regulations and state statutes that govern hospice care and the requirements for regular license renewals.

For example, a hospice license in Texas costs $2,625 and lasts for three years. The renewal fee is the same and extends the license for another three years — but if you’re late renewing, you’ll have to pay an additional $1,312.50. By comparison, a hospice license in Virginia costs $500 but requires annual renewals.

Still, starting a hospice can be rewarding and profitable. So whether you’re considering opening a hospice in a hospital or nursing home or as a home health agency, keep reading to learn how to get a hospice license.

How to get a hospice license: 4 common requirements

Note: The below requirements are general in nature. Exact requirements for licensure may vary from state to state, so be sure to do your due diligence in understanding your state’s requirements for a hospice license.

1. Submit an application as instructed

Abide by your state’s specific application instructions and fee amounts. For example, South Carolina mandates a $100 fee for a one-year hospice license. You must submit the application to the Department of Health and Environmental Control, making sure to include the hospice facility address, areas (counties) your facility will service, and bed capacity.

In many states, including South Carolina, you must apply for and maintain a license for each hospice location you operate (which incurs additional fees).

2. Employ sufficient personnel

To start a hospice program, you typically must employ at least four administrative roles (some may serve in more than one role):

  • Administrator
  • Alternate administrator
  • Medical or nursing director
  • Financial manager

There are also minimum staffing requirements, such as having at least one registered nurse and one additional direct care staff member on duty at all times. Some states may even mandate a staffing ratio by shift based on the number of patients at your facility.

All personnel must have a clear criminal background check, as required by law, and be trained in accordance with state regulations.

3. Document policies and procedures

Every hospice must document all policies and procedures addressing federal and state regulations and make them accessible at all times via hard copy or electronic file. This includes items related to patient care, rights, and actual hospice operations, along with any provisions of special care you offer (such as Alzheimer’s care).

4. Prepare for the onsite survey

Every hospice must pass an onsite survey (inspection) by the licensing staff of the regulating state agency. In Virginia, for example, the Virginia Department of Health will conduct this survey. Surveyors will review all documentation mentioned above — along with any other items required by your state — as well as the facility grounds and environment.

Noncompliance with any survey items will require submission of a written plan of correction. Failure to properly prepare or provide appropriate and timely assistance to surveyors can lead to cancellation of the initial survey and denial of your license. In Virginia, you can’t reapply for 120 days after license denial.

Other documentation requirements for licensure

Documentation is a critical part of obtaining hospice licensure in any state. Depending on the state, you may need a number of written items for a license, including

  • Proposed organizational chart
  • Emergency preparedness plan
  • Evidence of indemnity coverage
  • Business plan, working budget, and balance sheet

Job descriptions, qualifications, and specific responsibilities of the administrator roles 

How to get your hospice operations in tip-top shape with Jotform

Jotform Enterprise is a secure solution that enables efficient hospice operations. Not only can it help you ensure consistent processes, outcomes, and compliance with CMS regulations, it can also help your staff streamline intake and discharge with a number of easy-to-build forms:

  • Hospice referral form: Get all the details you need from hospitals and other referring organizations, including patient and physician information.
  • Hospice consent form: Ensure you have a proper record of a patient’s acceptance of care.
  • Hospice discharge summary form: Maintain a proper record of a patient’s discharge, including physician instructions and prescribed medications for care at home or another facility.

These and other hospice care forms help make your hospice admissions process more streamlined for patients and employees alike because they’re easy for administrators to create and easy for patient families to access. Plus, you can customize the forms in minutes with our no-code builder so they perfectly suit your hospice’s unique needs.

In addition, hospice administrators can assign custom permissions to different users, ensuring that only the right people see confidential patient information. Start building forms for your hospice business today.

Photo by Christian Bowen on Unsplash

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