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What is the hospice governing body?

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What is the governing body?

In accordance with the Conditions of Participation, a Medicare certified hospice agency must have a governing body. The governing body has ultimate responsibility for the hospice agency, including legal and financial authority. Medicare Conditions of Participation require that the governing body is informed of the ongoing activities at the hospice agency, including patient care delivery issues and all QAPI activities. The governing body must also appoint a qualified hospice administrator – a hospice employee with the necessary education and experience – who is responsible for hospice daily operations.

The governing body must meet at least quarterly and must maintain written minutes of its meetings.

There are two Conditions of Participation – 418.100 and 418.58 – that relate to the hospice governing body.

Condition of Participation 418.100

This Condition of Participation defines a standard that the governing body is responsible for management of the hospice agency, including its fiscal operations, provision of services, and continuous quality assessment and performance improvement (QAPI) efforts. The governing body also assumes full legal authority of all hospice operations. It further specifies that the governing body should appoint an administrator that reports to the governing body and who is responsible for hospice agency daily operations. The hospice administrator must be a hospice employee and must have necessary training, education, and experience.  CMS does not specify the process by which an administrator should be selected by the governing body. If a hospice agency has multiple locations, the governing body is responsible for administration, supervision, and services for all locations as well as for any arranged services.

Condition of Participation 418.58

This Condition of Participation discusses requirements of a hospice agency’s QAPI program. The governing body must ensure that the hospice agency maintains and implements an ongoing quality improvement and patient safety program.  Program performance must be monitored on a regular basis. Further, the governing body must ensure that one or more individuals are selected to lead the organization’s QAPI efforts.

The hospice agency’s organization documents must specify that the hospice governing body is responsible for the QAPI program.  Additionally, the governing body specifies the frequency of data collection and level of detail of data collected by the QAPI program.

Are there any state regulations?

State hospice licensure regulations may impose additional requirements on the hospice governing body.  They may also have specific requirements on the administrator that is selected by the governing body. A hospice is required to meet the most stringent requirements (whether state or federal). 

Surveyors will check that all conditions are met. A hospice agency should maintain evidence of the governing body’s role and activities. Governing body authorizations and activities should be documented in governing body meeting minutes, company organization documents, and company policies and procedures.

Where can you find out more?

CMS Conditions of Participation –  Governing Body