Code of Virginia

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

Code of Virginia
Title 32.1. Health
Chapter 5. Regulation of Medical Care Facilities and Services

Article 7. Hospice Program Licensing.

§ 32.1-162.1. Definitions.

As used in this article unless a different meaning or construction is clearly required by the context or otherwise:

"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 which are experienced during the final stages of illness, and during dying and bereavement. Hospice care shall be available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

"Hospice facility" means an institution, place, or building owned or operated by a hospice provider and licensed by the Department to provide room, board, and appropriate hospice care on a 24-hour basis, including respite and symptom management, to individuals requiring such care pursuant to the orders of a physician. Such facilities with 16 or fewer beds are exempt from Certificate of Public Need laws and regulations. Such facilities with more than 16 beds shall be licensed as a nursing facility or hospital and shall be subject to Certificate of Public Need laws and regulations.

"Hospice patient" means a diagnosed terminally ill patient, with an anticipated life expectancy of six months or less, who, alone or in conjunction with designated family members, has voluntarily requested admission and been accepted into a licensed hospice program.

"Hospice patient's family" shall mean the hospice patient's immediate kin, including a 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 hospice patient's family by mutual agreement among the hospice patient, the relation or individual, and the hospice team.

"Identifiable hospice administration" means an administrative group, individual or legal entity that has a distinct organizational structure, accountable to the governing authority directly or through a chief executive officer. This administration shall be responsible for the management of all aspects of the program.

"Inpatient" means the provision of services, such as food, laundry, housekeeping, and staff to provide health or health-related services, including respite and symptom management, to hospice patients, whether in a hospital, nursing facility, or hospice facility.

"Interdisciplinary team" means the patient and the patient's family, the attending physician, and the following hospice personnel: physician, nurse, social worker, and trained volunteer. Physician assistants and providers of special services, such as clergy, mental health, pharmacy, and any other appropriate allied health services, may also be included on the team as the needs of the patient dictate.

"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, rather than the treatment aimed at investigation and intervention for the purpose of cure or prolongation of life.

1981, c. 346; 2007, c. 397; 2022, c. 151.

§ 32.1-162.2. Exemptions from article.

The provisions of this article shall not be applicable to:

1. A hospice established or operated for the practice of religious tenets of any recognized church or denomination which 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.

2. Any hospice located in the Commonwealth that after initial licensure is accredited by any organization recognized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for the purposes of Medicare certification.

1981, c. 346; 2010, c. 790.

§ 32.1-162.3. License required for hospice programs; notice of denial of license; renewal thereof.

A. No person shall establish or operate a hospice or a hospice facility without a license issued pursuant to this article unless he is exempt from licensure pursuant to § 32.1-162.2.

B. The Commissioner shall issue or renew a license to establish or operate a hospice or a hospice facility upon application therefor on a form and accompanied by a fee prescribed by the Board if the Commissioner finds that the hospice or hospice facility is in compliance with the provisions of this article and regulations of the Board. The Commissioner shall notify by certified mail any applicant denied a license of the reasons for such denial.

C. Every such license shall expire at midnight December 31 of the year issued, or as otherwise specified by the Board, and shall be required to be renewed annually.

D. The activities and services of each applicant for issuance or renewal of a hospice license shall be subject to an inspection and examination by the Commissioner to determine if the hospice is in compliance with the provisions of this article and regulations of the Board.

E. No license issued pursuant to this article may be transferred or assigned.

1981, c. 346; 2003, c. 526; 2007, c. 397; 2010, c. 790.

§ 32.1-162.4. Inspections.

The Commissioner may cause each hospice licensed under this article to be periodically inspected at reasonable times. However, no hospice shall receive additional inspections until all other hospices in the Commonwealth have also been inspected, unless the additional inspections are (i) necessary to follow up on a preoperational inspection or one or more violations, (ii) required by a uniformly applied risk-based schedule established by the Department, (iii) necessary to investigate a complaint regarding the hospice, or (iv) otherwise deemed necessary by the Commissioner or his designee to protect the health and safety of the public.

Notwithstanding the foregoing or any other provision of this article, any hospice organization that has obtained accreditation as provided in subdivision 2 of § 32.1-162.2, may be subject to inspection so long as such accreditation is maintained but only to the extent necessary to ensure the public health and safety. If any such hospice fails to comply with the provisions of this article or with the regulations of the Board relating to public health and safety, the Commissioner may revoke the exemption from licensure and require such hospice to be relicensed before it can again qualify for an exemption pursuant to § 32.1-162.2.

1981, c. 346; 2010, c. 790; 2017, c. 465.

§ 32.1-162.5. Regulations.

A. The Board shall prescribe such regulations governing the activities and services provided by hospices as may be necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare. Such regulations shall include, but not be limited to, the requirements for: the qualifications and supervision of licensed and nonlicensed personnel; the standards for the care, treatment, health, safety, welfare, and comfort of patients and their families served by the program; the management, operation, staffing and equipping of the hospice program or hospice facility; clinical and business records kept by the hospice or hospice facility; and procedures for the review of utilization and quality of care. To avoid duplication in regulations, the Board shall incorporate regulations applicable to facilities licensed as hospitals or nursing homes under Article 1 (§ 32.1-123 et seq.) and to organizations licensed as home care organizations under Article 7.1 (§ 32.1-162.7 et seq.) that are also applicable to hospice programs in the regulations to govern hospices. A person who seeks a license to establish or operate a hospice and who has a preexisting valid license to operate a hospital, nursing home, or home care organization shall be considered in compliance with those regulations that are applicable to both a hospice and the facility for which it has a license.

B. Notwithstanding any law or regulation to the contrary, regulations for hospice facilities shall include minimum standards for design and construction consistent with the Hospice Care section of the current edition of the Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospital and Health Care Facilities issued by the American Institute of Architects Academy of Architecture for Health.

C. Regulations for hospices shall require each hospice facility to establish a protocol to allow each patient to receive visits, consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and as directed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Board, during a public health emergency related to COVID-19. Such protocol shall include provisions describing (i) the conditions, including conditions related to the presence of COVID-19 in the hospice facility and community, under which in-person visits will be allowed and under which in-person visits will not be allowed and visits will be required to be virtual; (ii) the requirements with which in-person visitors will be required to comply to protect the health and safety of patients and staff of the hospice facility; (iii) the types of technology, including interactive audio or video technology, and the staff support necessary to ensure visits are provided as required by this subsection; and (iv) the steps the hospice facility will take in the event of a technology failure, service interruption, or documented emergency that prevents visits from occurring as required by this subsection. Such protocol shall also include (a) a statement of the frequency with which visits, including virtual and in-person, where appropriate, will be allowed, which shall be at least once every 10 calendar days for each patient; (b) a provision authorizing a patient or the patient's personal representative to waive or limit visitation, provided that such waiver or limitation is included in the patient's health record; and (c) a requirement that each hospice facility publish on its website or communicate to patients or their personal representatives, in writing or via electronic means, the hospice facility's plan for providing visits to patients as required by this subsection.

D. During a declared public health emergency related to a communicable disease of public health threat, regulations governing hospices shall require each hospice facility to establish a protocol to allow patients to receive visits from a rabbi, priest, minister, or clergy of any religious denomination or sect consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and subject to compliance with any executive order, order of public health, Department guidance, or any other applicable federal or state guidance having the effect of limiting visitation. Such protocol may restrict the frequency and duration of visits and may require visits to be conducted virtually using interactive audio or video technology. Any such protocol may require the person visiting a patient pursuant to this subsection to comply with all reasonable requirements of the hospice adopted to protect the health and safety of the person, patients, and staff of the hospice.

1981, c. 346; 2007, c. 397; 2020, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 10, 11; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 525.

§ 32.1-162.5:1. Notice to dispenser of patient's death; disposition of dispensed drugs.

A. Any hospice licensed by the Department or exempt from licensure pursuant to § 32.1-162.2 with a hospice patient residing at home at the time of death shall notify every pharmacy that has dispensed partial quantities of a Schedule II controlled substance for a patient with a medical diagnosis documenting a terminal illness, as authorized by federal law, within 48 hours of the patient's death.

B. Any hospice licensed by the Department or exempt from licensure pursuant to § 32.1-162.2 shall develop policies and procedures for the disposal of drugs, including opioids, dispensed as part of the hospice plan of care in accordance with the provisions of § 54.1-3411.2.

2015, c. 668; 2018, c. 95; 2020, c. 739.

§ 32.1-162.6. Revocation or suspension of license.

A. The Commissioner is authorized to revoke or suspend any license issued hereunder if the holder of the license fails to comply with the provisions of this article or with the regulations of the Board.

B. If a license is revoked as herein provided, the Commissioner may issue a new license upon application therefor if, when, and after the conditions upon which revocation was based have been corrected and all provisions of this article and applicable regulations have been complied with.

C. Suspension of a license shall in all cases be for an indefinite time and the suspension may be lifted and rights under the license fully or partially restored at such time as the Commissioner determines that the rights of the licensee appear to so require and the interests of the public will not be jeopardized by resumption of operation.

1981, c. 346.

§ 32.1-162.6:1. Possession or administration of cannabis oil.

Hospice and hospice facility employees who are authorized to possess, distribute, or administer medications to patients shall be permitted to store, dispense, or administer cannabis oil to a patient who has been issued a valid written certification for the use of cannabis oil in accordance with § 4.1-1601.

2020, c. 846; 2023, cc. 740, 773.