Hospice industry blasts final compliance program

Hospice representatives say the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General's (OIG) final compliance program for hospice incorporates few of the changes they were hoping for when they submitted comments on the draft plan this summer. The guidance puts hospices on notice about a litany of potential trouble spots. But Karen Woods of the Washington, DC-based Hospice Association of America (HAA), says many of those risk areas have never been substantiated.

For example, the OIG wants hospices to develop standards of conduct for "all affected employees" including "affiliated providers operating under the hospice's control." But HAA argues that few of these providers are affiliated with hospices. "This is particularly true of attending physicians. It is unrealistic to expect that a hospice program could assure that these providers adhere to the hospice's standards of conduct."

The hospice compliance program guidance is available on the Internet at www.hhs.gov/oig. Click on the "What's New" link.