Do you want to how much hospice care cost per patient in Florida? If YES, here is a 5-step guide on how to apply and get hospice care license in Florida. Hospice, also called palliative care, offers clients a safe and caring environment as they prepare to pass on. These patients are kept comfortable, while receiving round the clock medical attention. Family members are offered support and education as they prepare for the passing of a loved one.

Both non-profit and for-profit hospices receive funds from multiple sources. For some, charitable donations and grants make up a huge portion of their revenue. Additionally, they are reimbursed by private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid for each terminally ill patient they care for. Most facilities are reimbursed on a per diem basis, offering a set payment amount for each day the patient is enrolled in the program, regardless of services required.

How Much Do Hospice Agencies Make Yearly

For patients who require around-the-clock home nursing care, the hospice is reimbursed on an hourly basis. Final payment amounts vary each year, but the average for routine care is approximately $146/day. If continuous care is necessary, Medicare reimburses at an hourly rate of approximately $40/hour.

According to reports, successful hospice care business owners in Florida make about $120,000 to $175,000 in profit. Specifics vary depending upon: the number of patients the business cares for, the average billable hour rate for services provided, and the number of hours each patient is provided each month. This figure, minus expenses and financing cost determines the total annual profit.

What Florida Law Says About Hospice Programs

Florida is the only state that requires new hospice programs to operate as not-for-profit corporations, and it is 1 of 12 states that comprehensively regulate the growth of hospice programs using a Certificate of Need process. Both the Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) and the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) have responsibilities for Florida hospice programs.

DOEA establishes rules in consultation with AHCA to guide provision of hospice care, and AHCA regulates hospice programs through a Certificate of Need (CON) process and Licensure. Potential hospice programs generally apply for a CON to operate in Florida after AHCA determines that an unmet need exists.

The CON process regulates the number of hospice programs that can operate in Florida and requires programs to demonstrate their expertise, financial capacity, and commitment to serve terminally ill individuals and their families as well as the communities in which they live.

Both state and federal laws mandate that hospice programs provide a set of core services including needed medical care, pain management and palliation, and bereavement care and counselling to help patients and families deal with the emotional aspects of dying.

In addition to the core services, all Florida hospice programs offer ancillary services that the programs tag essential to patients’ care although not reimbursable by Medicare, Medicaid, or private health insurance. These ancillary services can include programs that benefit patients and their families as well as community programs such as crisis intervention and school bereavement counselling. These programs in Florida serve patients who meet certain diagnostic criteria, regardless of their age or ability to pay.

To be eligible for hospice services in Florida, patients must receive a referral from their attending or primary physician based on a diagnosis of a terminal illness with a life expectancy of one year or less. Patients also must elect to receive palliative rather than curative treatment.

How To Obtain Hospice Care License In Florida

A Certificate of Need is needed before you can apply for a hospice license in Florida.  Information on the certificate of need process may be found on the Agency’s website at http: /  / ahca.myflorida.com / CON – FA. However, the required forms for hospice licenses are available at the Agency website, http: /  / ahca.myflorida.com / homecare.

Once on the Home Care Unit homepage, click on Hospices. The forms necessary for licensure are listed under Licensure Application and Related Forms; instructions are included on each form. Below are few necessary steps to follow when obtaining a hospice license in Florida.

1. Complete The Form

The licensing process in Florida typically involves completing necessary application forms accompanied by a license fee. When completing the application, all supporting documentation must be supplied. If a question on the application does not apply, please indicate so by writing in “N/A” or “not applicable.”  You are advised not to leave items blank.

If the correct fees $25 are not included, the application will be returned. Note that within 30 days of receiving the application, Home Care Unit staff will complete a review of the documents submitted. (Applications are reviewed in the date order that they are received.).

2. Send All Needed Documents

If all mandated documents are not received, a letter will be sent to the applicant stating what is needed to complete the application. After that, if the missing items are not provided within 21 days of the providers’ receipt of the omissions letter, the application will be withdrawn from consideration and the applicant notified. However, the licensure fees are not refundable.

Once the application has been reviewed, all missing items received and both the administrator and financial officer have cleared level 2 background screening, the Home Care Unit will notify both the applicant and the assigned Agency field office that an initial survey needs to be scheduled.

3. Prepare For Inspection

At this point, the Agency field office will contact the applicant to schedule a specific date for the initial inspection. Note that scheduling is dependent on the field offices current workload and priorities. The applicant is mandated to be ready for the inspection when the surveyor arrives and the administrator or a designee, who is familiar with all aspects of the daily operation, must be present.

To prepare for the inspection, you are advised to visit the State Regulation Set used by surveyors on the Agency’s website http: /  / www.ahca.myflorida.com / homecare.  Once on the Home Care Unit home page, click on Hospices and choose State Regulation Set used by surveyors.”

The regulation set contains the needed licensure standards that must be met, and it comes directly from the State law and rule, Chapters 400, Part IV, and 408, Part II, Florida Statutes, and Chapters 58A – 2 and 59A – 35, Florida Administrative Code.

Every of the listed standards must be implemented in advance of the inspection. Since no services may be provided until a license is issued, the standards that pertain to actual operations are not checked on the initial inspection.

4. Correct the Few Remaining Deficiencies

Once the hospice surpasses all the required standards, the field office will recommend licensure. If a few deficiencies are identified at the time of the inspection, the hospice will be offered the opportunity to correct those deficiencies by submitting an acceptable plan of correction to the field office within 10 days of receipt of the inspection report. Then, a revisit may be needed to determine if the plan of correction has been put in place. Failure to meet the licensure standards will result in the field office recommending denial of the licensure application.

5. Collect Your License

After the inspection process is complete, the field office will forward the completed licensure inspection report to the Home Care Unit. It takes about two weeks for the field office to prepare the report. Immediately the Home Care Unit receives the inspection report and a recommendation for licensure from the field office, a two-year license will be issued.

The average estimated timeframe from receipt of an application to issuance of license is between 120 and 150 days. The timeframe for completing the application process depends greatly upon how quickly the hospice submits a completed application package.

Conclusion

Hospice programs exist throughout Florida. All Florida hospice programs are Medicare and Medicaid certified and fully licensed. To realize long – term success, you have to maintain a commitment to networking within the medical and religious community. You also have to choose your Board of Directors to include the talent and experience required to run a successful program. Make sure you staff your facility with caring, knowledgeable employees and volunteers.