More than 1 million people and their families are cared for by hospice each year, many with the support of hospice volunteers.
Durham, NC (PRWEB) February 21, 2015
Every year 400,000 trained volunteers provide more than 19 million hours of service in hospice care in the United States. Volunteers provide companionship to people living with a serious illness and help their family caregivers in a variety of ways. A hospice volunteer program brings value to the patients and their families as well as hospices, but they have to follow some specific regulatory requirements to be compliant. Managers of volunteers at times struggle with understanding the various Medicare regulations that affect a volunteer program. It is not just the §418.78, Volunteer Services condition, but other hospice Medicare (CoPs) and standards that are a subject of confusion.
Medicare Hospice Conditions of Participation
Volunteers must provided day-to-day administrative and/or direct patient care services in an amount that, at a minimum, equals 5 percent of the total patient care hours of all paid hospice employees and contract staff. In addition to that, there are several key regulations that need attention, time and resources to become compliant in 2015. For the purposes of the CoPs, volunteers are considered employees and the same requirements for orientation, training and criminal background checks apply.
- Hospice must maintain, document and provide volunteer orientation and training as per hospice industry standards;
- Although federal regulations never specified training program length, the hospices are required to review their state hospice licensure regulations for any requirements; and
- Check NHPCO’s, “Hospice Volunteer Program Resource”, which suggests a 16-hour training program.
How to Have a Compliant Volunteer Program
It’s imperative to understand volunteer regulations found in the Medicare
CoPs and demonstrate practical applications for compliance. Providers need to develop a plan for setting program goals, measuring and reporting outcomes. AudioEducator is conducting an audio session on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2015 at 1 PM ET, where expert speaker Charlene Ross, MSN, MBA, RN will shed light on the Medicare’s CoPs that impact a volunteer program, and provide answer to a few critical questions:
- What do you need to be survey ready?
- What can count as volunteer hours and what cannot?
- What type of information belongs in a volunteer personnel file?
- What happens if there is not a volunteer to meet the patient / families need?
For more information, http://www.audioeducator.com/hospice/volunteer-program-02-24-2015.html
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National Hospice Palliative Care Organization