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December 11, 2023 Mist | 53°F
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 57D: Hospice programs; licensure; limitations

Section 57D. The department shall, after a public hearing, promulgate rules and regulations for the licensing and conduct of hospice programs. A hospice program means palliative and supportive care and other services provided by an interdisciplinary team under the direction of an identifiable hospice administration to terminally ill patients with a limited life-expectancy and their families. Services shall be provided to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs experienced during the course of their illness, death and bereavement at home, in the community and in facilities.

These services shall include, but not be limited to, physician's services, nursing care provided by or under the supervision of a registered nurse, social services, volunteer services and counseling services provided by professional or volunteer staff under professional supervision. Hospice is a centrally coordinated program ensuring continuity and consistency of home and inpatient care provided directly through an inpatient facility operating under its hospice license or through an agreement.

The department shall issue for a term of 2 years and renew for a like term a license to maintain a hospice program to any organization it considers responsible and suitable to maintain such a program. The department may issue not more than 8 licenses under this section to maintain an inpatient hospice program and shall promulgate regulations to govern the issuance of licenses to such programs. Hospice program licensees shall be subject to suspension, revocation or refusal to renew for cause. The department shall determine the fee and renewal of the license. Prior to issuing a new license, and every 4 years thereafter, the department, in consultation with the Hospice and Palliative Care Federation of Massachusetts, shall review the number of inpatient hospice facilities operating under this section, as well as the demand for such facilities, and make recommendations on the appropriate number of inpatient hospice facility licenses that should be available in the commonwealth. The department shall report its recommendations to the executive office of health and human services and the joint committee on public health.

A hospice program may not operate in the state or use the word ''hospice'' or ''Hospice Program'' without a hospice license issued by the commissioner.

A person not licensed to provide hospice services under this chapter shall not use the word ''hospice'' in a title or description of a facility, organization, program, service provider or services or use any words, letters, abbreviations or insignia indicating or implying that the person holds a license to provide hospice services.