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What is Hospice?
  • HospiceHospice is a special concept of care designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when a life-limiting illness no longer responds to cure-oriented treatments.
  • Hospice care neither prolongs life nor hastens death.  Hospice staff and volunteers offer a specialized knowledge of medical care, including pain management.
  • The goal of hospice care is to improve the quality of a patient's last days by offering comfort and dignity.
  • Hospice care is provided by a team-oriented group of specially trained professionals, volunteers and family members.
  • Hospice addresses all symptoms of a disease, with a special emphasis on controlling a patient's pain and discomfort.
  • Hospice deals with the emotional, social, and spiritual impact of the disease on the patient and the patient's family and friends.
  • Hospice offers a variety of bereavement and counseling services to families before and after a patient's death.
Hospice agencies are licensed by the state to provide care within the minimum health and safety standards established by regulations and rules.  The Department of Health enforces the standards by periodically conducting unannounced surveys of these agencies.
Medicare may pay for services provided by Hospice Agencies who voluntarily seek and are approved for certification by the federal Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  CMS contracts with the Department of Health to evaluate compliance with the federal hospice regulations by periodically conducting unannounced surveys of these agencies.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
Please click here to be taken to our FAQ page.
All of the forms and regulations are accessible by using Adobe Reader.  If you need the free viewer, click here to download it.
State Statute: Hospice
The passage of S.B. 996-97 effective January 14, 1999, amended the definition of a "health care facility": "to include hospice and requires that no person shall maintain or operate or hold itself out to be a health care facility (hospice) without first obtaining a license issued by the Department of Health."
The Federal Medicare Conditions of Participation, Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, 42 CFR Part 418, Subparts C, D, and E are being used as interim guidelines to regulate hospice organizations until the Department of Health's regulations are published as final.
State Licensure Regulations for Hospice
Application for State Licensure
For persons interested in the application process for state licensure of these agencies, here are the steps to follow:
You may request an application by calling (717) 783-1379, or download all of the forms below.
  1. Once you have completed all of the forms, submit the completed application with fee to: Division of Home Health, 132 Kline Plaza, Suite A, Harrisburg, PA 17104-1579.
  2. After we reviewed all of your application material, the Division will issue your license.  Please keep in mind the length of time for the licensure process depends on the accuracy of information provided.
If you have any questions, click here to find the nearest Division field office.
Application for Federal Medicare Certification
Federal Medicare Regulations: Hospice
Note: State licensure as a Hospice is a requirement for Federal certification.
For persons interested in the application process for Medicare certification for a Hospice, here are the steps to follow:
  1. Request a copy of the federal Medicare regulations for Hospice and an application from the Division of Home Health, or click on the link above for the regulations and for the forms, click on the links under Medicare Forms.
  2. More information concerning Medicare Certification is available by clicking here.
  3. Submit the completed application materials to the Division of Home Health.
  4. Submit the completed CMS-855A Enrollment Application to the selected Fiscal Intermediary.
  5. After review and acceptance of the application materials and notification from CMS of the approval of the CMS-855A, the Department will conduct a survey before recommending the agency for Medicare certification.
Medicare Forms
The forms below are all in pdf format.
Please submit four (4) copies of CMS Form 417
Please submit four (4) copies of CMS Form 1561
Click here for the application needed to participate with your Fiscal Intermediary.
Other Hospice Links
For information on Hospice agencies in your area, click here for the county map, or click here for a complete listing.  For a listing of Hospice branch  agencies, click here.