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CMS extends its staffing exemption for hospices through 2020

Source: Home Health Line

Hospices battling the ongoing nursing shortage have two additional years to use contract nurses due to “extraordinary circumstances,” CMS has announced.

“This designation enables those hospice agencies, which are unable to provide a sufficient number of nursing staff directly to meet the needs of its patients due to the national shortage, to utilize contracted staff in addition to their full-time nursing staff,” the director of CMS’ Quality, Safety and Oversight group wrote in a Dec. 21, 2018, memo to state survey agency directors.

The extension continues through Sept. 30, 2020.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics continues to forecast a shortage of nurses through 2024. In some situations, hospices may find that the shortage creates a temporary impact on the ability to provide nursing services — and that might lead to access to care issues, according to the memo.

Related link: View CMS’ memo at https://go.cms.gov/2Snyj49.