Thinking of Starting a Hospice Agency? You Do Not Have To Go It Alone.

In 1974 the Connecticut Hospice, established in New Haven, Connecticut, is credited with starting the modern-day American hospice movement.  Since this time the number of hospices has grown to over 6,100 across the nation, with the majority being free standing independent agencies.  If you are thinking of starting a hospice agency, many factors, from accreditation to the hiring and training of personnel, need to be taken into consideration first.  The process can seem overwhelming.  However, our team of experts at 5 Star can help you every step of the way.  We take a customized approach with every client.  Below is a list of just some of the items you need to consider before you open the doors of your hospice agency:

Applications, Applications, and More Applications!

Initial steps include the completion of state applications, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) 855 packet, the OCR (Office for Civil Rights) Clearance Process and other Medicare paperwork.

Next applications for accrediting organizations must be completed.  The same three organizations we have discussed in previous blogs regarding home health agency accreditation also accredit hospice agencies.  Again, these organizations include Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC), Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP) and the Joint Commission (TJC).  All of this paperwork can be very cumbersome and difficult to navigate.  However, our team of experts at 5 Star can assist you through this application maze.

Recruiting Staff

Hiring the right type of personnel and in the proper order is critical.  This process should begin with the recruitment of an Administrator and Patient Care Director.  Next, hospice staff consisting of RNs, Aides, Volunteer Coordinator, Bereavement Coordinator, Chaplain, MSW, Medical Director and billing support should be hired.  Since 2003 the 5 Star team has been putting their years of staffing experience to work for hospice start-ups.  We can assist with reviewing resumes, conducting phone screenings, and interviewing candidates onsite.

Now it is Time to Train Your Staff

Once your staff is hired, the 5 Star team can provide all types of training that can be conducted onsite or virtually.  First, you will need to run employee orientation sessions.  Next, your team should be educated on hospice Conditions of Participation (COPs), state regulations, accreditation standards, case management, required documentation, legal issues and almost any other topic necessary to operate your hospice agency.
Also we can assist with ensuring your hospice agency is in compliance.  Some of the areas we cover include operational process flow, HR files, organizational charts, IDT, staffing requirements, and SNF coordination.

Let’s Talk About Ongoing Operations

Even after your hospice agency is established we can provide ongoing consulting via email, telephone calls, webinars, and onsite visits.  We can even prepare you for upcoming surveys.  Our team of former and current surveyors can perform mock surveys right onsite with your staff.

Documentation is Key

Every agency needs manuals to ensure procedures are being conducted properly.  In addition, hospice clinical record forms are necessary to run your operation.  Currently, the following list of materials are offered by 5 Star:

  • Hospice Clinical Record Forms (electronic versions available).  After initial purchase, you may use these forms on an on-going basis without incurring any additional fees.
  • Administrative Policy and Procedure Manual
  • Job Description/Competency/Performance Appraisal Manual
  • Quality Improvement Manual
  • Clinical Procedure Manual

In Conclusion

Without the proper support and resources, starting a hospice agency can be very difficult.  However, you do not have to go it alone.  On average our consultants have 20 plus years of experience in the healthcare industry, and they can put it to work for you.  We can help you to achieve your goal of owning and operating a successful hospice agency.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Sources:  National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, September 2015

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