The hospice must designate a physician to serve as medical director. The medical director must be a doctor of medicine or osteopathy who is an employee, or is under contract with the hospice. When the medical director is not available, a physician designated by the hospice assumes the same responsibilities and obligations as the medical director.
(a) Standard: Medical director contract.
(1) A hospice may contract with either of the following -
(i) A self-employed physician; or
(ii) A physician employed by a professional entity or physicians group. When contracting for medical director services, the contract must specify the physician who assumes the medical director responsibilities and obligations.
(b) Standard: Initial certification of terminal illness. The medical director or physician designee reviews the clinical information for each hospice patient and provides written certification that it is anticipated that the patient's life expectancy is 6 months or less if the illness runs its normal course. The physician must consider the following when making this determination:
(1) The primary terminal condition;
(2) Related diagnosis(es), if any;
(3) Current subjective and objective medical findings;
(4) Current medication and treatment orders; and
(5) Information about the medical management of any of the patient's conditions unrelated to the terminal illness.
(c) Standard: Recertification of the termina terminal illness. Before the recertification period for each patient, as described in § 418.21(a), the medical director or physician designee must review the patient's clinical information.
(d) Standard: Medical director responsibility. The medical director or physician designee has responsibility for the medical component of the hospice's patient care program.