The Husch Blackwell Hospice Team has been receiving reports from hospices throughout the country that nursing facilities are prohibiting hospice workers from entering the facility to provide essential end-of-life care to hospice patients. Such access is being denied pursuant to visitor restrictions. However, hospice personnel are not visitors but are recognized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) as essential health care personnel who must be given access.

Hospices and their nursing facility partners have a shared responsibility to ensure the health and safety of hospice patients residing at facilities.  Denial of facility access to properly trained and equipped hospice personnel is contrary to federal nursing facility regulations and CMS instruction. Moreover, national long-term care associations, such as LeadingAge and the American Health Care Association, have acknowledged and deferred to CMS’s guidance on permitting facility access by hospice workers.

Husch Blackwell has prepared a tool, available for download, that hospice providers can use to inform nursing facilities of their legal obligations to provide hospice personnel with facility access. The tool can be e-mailed or otherwise provided to your nursing facility partners. Additionally, we have compiled several resources, also available for download, that support the right of facility access by hospice workers.

The Husch Blackwell Hospice Team are problem-solvers, and we are here to provide you with support, guidance, ideas, and strategies in the face of this unprecedented pandemic. If you are having challenges with facility access issues or any other issue related to the coronavirus, please let us advocate for you, develop materials to help you trouble-shoot, or otherwise be of assistance to you. We are here to serve.

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Photo of Meg S.L. Pekarske Meg S.L. Pekarske

Meg has devoted her legal practice to serving the everchanging legal needs of the hospice industry. As chair of Husch Blackwell’s Hospice and Palliative Care Practice Group, she manages the firm’s hospice practice. In working day in and day out with hospice clients

Meg has devoted her legal practice to serving the everchanging legal needs of the hospice industry. As chair of Husch Blackwell’s Hospice and Palliative Care Practice Group, she manages the firm’s hospice practice. In working day in and day out with hospice clients across the country, Meg is intimately familiar with the operational challenges of hospices and has the experience to address the full spectrum of legal issues facing the industry, from routine regulatory compliance issues to multimillion dollar Zone Program Integrity Contractor (ZPIC), Medicaid and other government audits. Additionally, Meg routinely advises hospices on palliative care program development, innovative inpatient unit structures, fraud investigations and a wide range of contracting issues. With an extensive background in long-term care, Meg brings a unique perspective and skill set to helping hospices create successful partnerships with nursing homes and assisted living facilities and providing quality end-of-life care to patients.

Photo of Bryan K. Nowicki Bryan K. Nowicki

I lead the litigation and internal investigation efforts within Husch Blackwell’s Hospice and Palliative Care Practice Group. I work with hospices and healthcare providers across the country on a range of litigation, regulatory, compliance, and business matters. I represent clients in False Claims…

I lead the litigation and internal investigation efforts within Husch Blackwell’s Hospice and Palliative Care Practice Group. I work with hospices and healthcare providers across the country on a range of litigation, regulatory, compliance, and business matters. I represent clients in False Claims Act lawsuits, state and federal government fraud investigations, and audits by Zone Program Integrity Contractors (ZPICs), Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs), and Medicaid Integrity Contractors (MICs). I also conduct and manage internal investigations of hospices and health care providers regarding a range of compliance matters.

Photo of Andrew Brenton Andrew Brenton

Andrew is part of the firm’s coast-to-coast Hospice & Palliative Care Team, working with clients on a broad range of regulatory concerns, from compliance to business growth. He answers questions that might otherwise keep clients awake at night. Andrew and the team…

Andrew is part of the firm’s coast-to-coast Hospice & Palliative Care Team, working with clients on a broad range of regulatory concerns, from compliance to business growth. He answers questions that might otherwise keep clients awake at night. Andrew and the team also help navigate clients through a wide range of Medicare and Medicaid audits, fraud and repayment investigations, and contracting issues.