Virginia Regulatory Town Hall

Final Text


Regulations for Hospice Licensure - technical changes
Stage: Final

Part I
Definitions and General Information

12VAC5-391-10. Definitions.

The following words and terms when used in these regulations shall have the following meaning unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

"Activities of daily living" means bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, bowel control, bladder control and eating/feeding.

"Administer" means the direct application of a controlled substance, whether by injection, inhalation, ingestion or any other means, to the body of a patient by (i) a practitioner or by his authorized agent and under his supervision or (ii) the patient at the direction and in the presence of the practitioner as defined in § 54.1-3401 of the Code of Virginia.

"Administrator" means a person designated, in writing, by the governing body as having the necessary authority for the day-to-day management of the hospice program. The administrator must be a member of the hospice staff. The administrator, director of nursing, or another clinical director may be the same individual if that individual is dually qualified.

"Attending physician" means a physician licensed in Virginia, according to Chapter 29 (§ 54.1-2900 et seq.) of Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia, or licensed in an adjacent state and identified by the patient as having the primary responsibility in determining the delivery of the patient's medical care. The responsibilities of physicians contained in this chapter may be implemented by nurse practitioners or physician assistants as assigned by the supervising physician and within the parameters of professional licensing.

"Available at all times during operating hours" means an individual is available on the premises or by telecommunications.

"Barrier crimes" means certain offenses specified in § 32.1-162.9:1 of the Code of Virginia that automatically bar an individual convicted of those offenses from employment with a hospice program.

"Bereavement service" means counseling and support offered to the patient's family after the patient's death.

"Commissioner" means the State Health Commissioner.

"Coordinated program" means a continuum of palliative and supportive care provided to a terminally ill patient and his family, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"Core services" means those services that must be provided by a hospice program. Such services are: (i) nursing services, (ii) physician services, (iii) counseling services, and (iv) medical social services.

"Counseling services" means the provision of bereavement services, dietary services, spiritual and any other counseling services for the patient and family while the person is enrolled in the program.

"Criminal record report" means the statement issued by the Central Criminal Records Exchange, Virginia Department of State Police.

"Dedicated hospice facility" means an institution, place, or building providing room, board, and appropriate patient care 24 hours a day, seven days a week to individuals diagnosed with a terminal illness requiring such care pursuant to a physician's orders.

"Dispense" means to deliver a drug to the ultimate user by or pursuant to the lawful order of a practitioner, including the prescribing and administering, packaging, labeling or compounding necessary to prepare the substance for that delivery as defined in § 54.1-3401 of the Code of Virginia.

"Employee" means an individual who is appropriately trained and performs a specific job function for the hospice program on a full or part-time basis with or without financial compensation.

"Governing body" means the individual, group or governmental agency that has legal responsibility and authority over the operation of the hospice program.

"Home attendant" means a nonlicensed individual performing personal care and environmental services, under the supervision of the appropriate health professional, to a patient in the patient's residence. Home attendants are also known as certified nursing assistants or CNAs, home care aides, home health aides, and personal care aides.

"Hospice" means a coordinated program of home and inpatient care provided directly or through an agreement under the direction of an identifiable hospice administration providing palliative and supportive medical and other health services to terminally ill patients and their families. A hospice utilizes a medically directed interdisciplinary team. A hospice program of care provides care to meet the physical, psychological, social, spiritual and other special needs that are experienced during the final stages of illness, and during dying and bereavement. Hospice care shall be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week hospice as defined in § 32.1-162.1 of the Code of Virginia.

"Inpatient" means services provided to a hospice patient who is admitted to a hospital or nursing facility on a short-term basis for the purpose of curative care unrelated to the diagnosed terminal illness. Inpatient does not mean services provided in a dedicated hospice facility.

"Interdisciplinary group" means the group responsible for assessing the health care and special needs of the patient and the patient's family. Providers of special services, such as mental health, pharmacy, and any other appropriate associated health services may also be included on the team as the needs of the patient dictate. The interdisciplinary group is often referred to as the IDG.

"Licensee" means a licensed hospice program provider.

"Medical director" means a physician currently licensed in Virginia, according to Chapter 29 (§ 54.1-2900 et seq.) of Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia, and responsible for the medical direction of the hospice program.

"Medical record" means a continuous and accurate documented account of services provided to a patient, including the prescription and delivery of the treatment or care.

"Nursing services" means the patient care performed or supervised by a registered nurse according to a plan of care.

"OLC" means the Office of Licensure and Certification of the Virginia Department of Health.

"Operator" means any individual, partnership, association, trust, corporation, municipality, county, local government agency or any other legal or commercial entity responsible for the day-to-day administrative management and operation of the hospice.

"Palliative care" means treatment directed at controlling pain, relieving other symptoms, and focusing on the special needs of the patient and family as they experience the stress of the dying process. Palliative care means treatment to enhance comfort and improve the quality of a patient's life during the last phase of his life.

"Patient" means a diagnosed terminally ill individual, with an anticipated life expectancy of six months or less, who, alone or in conjunction with designated family members or representatives, has voluntarily requested admission and been accepted into a licensed hospice program hospice patient as defined in § 32.1-162.1 of the Code of Virginia.

"Patient's family" means the hospice patient's immediate kin, including spouse, brother, sister, child or parent. Other relations and individuals with significant personal ties to the hospice patient may be designated as members of the patient's family by mutual agreement among the patient, the relation or individual a hospice patient's family as defined in § 32.1-162.1 of the Code of Virginia.

"Patient's residence" means the place where the individual or patient makes his home.

"Person" means any individual, partnership, association, trust, corporation, municipality, county, local government agency or any other legal or commercial entity that operates a hospice.

"Plan of care" means a written plan of services developed by the interdisciplinary group to maximize patient comfort by symptom control to meet the physical, psychosocial, spiritual and other special needs that are experienced during the final stages of illness, during dying, and bereavement.

"Primary caregiver" means an individual that, through mutual agreement with the patient and the hospice program, assumes responsibility for the patient's care.

"Progress note" means a documented statement contained in a patient's medical record, dated and signed by the person delivering the care, treatment or service, describing the treatment or services delivered and the effect of the care, treatment or services on the patient.

"Quality improvement" means ongoing activities designed to objectively and systematically evaluate the quality of care and services, pursue opportunities to improve care and services, and resolve identified problems. Quality improvement is an approach to the ongoing study and improvement of the processes of providing services to meet the needs of patients and their families.

"Staff" means an employee who receives financial compensation.

"Supervision" means the ongoing process of monitoring the skills, competencies and performance of the individual supervised and providing regular face-to-face guidance and instruction.

"Terminally ill" means a medical prognosis that life expectancy is six months or less if the illness runs its usual course.

"Volunteer" means an employee who receives no financial compensation.


12VAC5-391-40. Exemption from licensure.

A. According to § 32.1-162.2 of the Code of Virginia, this chapter is not applicable to a hospice established or operated for the practice of religious tenets of any recognized church or denomination that provides care and treatment for the sick by spiritual means without the use of any drug or material remedy, whether gratuitously or for compensation. Such a hospice shall comply with the statutes and regulations governing environmental protection and life safety. This chapter is not applicable to hospice programs described in § 32.1-162.2 of the Code of Virginia.

B. The hospice program must file a request for exemption from licensure in writing to the director of the OLC. The request shall contain documentation explaining the hospice program's relationship to the practice of religious tenets of a recognized church or denomination.

C. The hospice program shall be notified in writing that the exemption from licensure has been registered.

D. Exempt hospice programs shall remain subject to complaint investigations in keeping with state law.