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House Bill No. 5629

Public Act No. 04-81

AN ACT CONCERNING HOSPICE SERVICES IN RURAL AREAS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2004) (a) For purposes of this section, "rural town" means towns having either seventy-five per cent or more of their population classified as rural in the 1990 federal decennial census of population, or in the most recent such census used by the State Office of Rural Health to determine rural towns, or towns that are not designated as metropolitan areas on the list maintained by the federal Office of Management and Budget, used by the State Office of Rural Health to determine rural towns and "permanent part-time employee" means an employee who is employed and on duty a minimum of twenty hours per work week on a regular basis.

(b) A home health care agency licensed pursuant to chapter 368v of the general statutes that provides hospice services in a rural town and is unable to access licensed or Medicare-certified hospice care to consistently provide adequate services to patients in the rural town may apply to the Commissioner of Public Health for a waiver from the regulations licensing such agency adopted pursuant to chapter 368v of the general statutes. The waiver may authorize one or more of the following: (1) The agency's supervisor of clinical services may also serve as the supervisor of clinical services assigned to the hospice program; (2) the hospice volunteer coordinator and the hospice program director may be permanent part-time employees; (3) the program director may perform other services at the agency, including, but not limited to, hospice volunteer coordinator. The commissioner shall not grant a waiver unless the commissioner determines that such waiver will not adversely impact the health, safety and welfare of hospice patients and their families. The waiver shall be in effect for two years. An agency may reapply for such a waiver.

Approved May 10, 2004