View all text of Subpart B [§ 418.20 - § 418.30]

§ 418.26 - Discharge from hospice care.

(a) Reasons for discharge. A hospice may discharge a patient if -

(1) The patient moves out of the hospice's service area or transfers to another hospice;

(2) The hospice determines that the patient is no longer terminally ill; or

(3) The hospice determines, under a policy set by the hospice for the purpose of addressing discharge for cause that meets the requirements of paragraphs (a)(3)(i) through (a)(3)(iv) of this section, that the patient's (or other persons in the patient's home) behavior is disruptive, abusive, or uncooperative to the extent that delivery of care to the patient or the ability of the hospice to operate effectively is seriously impaired. The hospice must do the following before it seeks to discharge a patient for cause:

(i) Advise the patient that a discharge for cause is being considered;

(ii) Make a serious effort to resolve the problem(s) presented by the patient's behavior or situation;

(iii) Ascertain that the patient's proposed discharge is not due to the patient's use of necessary hospice services; and

(iv) Document the problem(s) and efforts made to resolve the problem(s) and enter this documentation into its medical records.

(b) Discharge order. Prior to discharging a patient for any reason listed in paragraph (a) of this section, the hospice must obtain a written physician's discharge order from the hospice medical director. If a patient has an attending physician involved in his or her care, this physician should be consulted before discharge and his or her review and decision included in the discharge note.

(c) Effect of discharge. An individual, upon discharge from the hospice during a particular election period for reasons other than immediate transfer to another hospice -

(1) Is no longer covered under Medicare for hospice care;

(2) Resumes Medicare coverage of the benefits waived under § 418.24(e); and

(3) May at any time elect to receive hospice care if he or she is again eligible to receive the benefit.

(d) Discharge planning. (1) The hospice must have in place a discharge planning process that takes into account the prospect that a patient's condition might stabilize or otherwise change such that the patient cannot continue to be certified as terminally ill.

(2) The discharge planning process must include planning for any necessary family counseling, patient education, or other services before the patient is discharged because he or she is no longer terminally ill.

(e) Filing a notice of termination of election. When the hospice election is ended due to discharge, the hospice must file a notice of termination/revocation of election with its Medicare contractor within 5 calendar days after the effective date of the discharge, unless it has already filed a final claim for that beneficiary.

[70 FR 70547, Nov. 22, 2005, as amended at 79 FR 50509, Aug. 22, 2014; 84 FR 38544, Aug. 6, 2019]