State Rep. from Liberty files bill to align Missouri hospice inspections with federal regulations

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Tuesday, Representative Nick King, a Republican from Liberty, filed a bill to bring Missouri hospice inspections in line with the federal regulations, which require hospice facilities be inspected once every three years. If passed, Missouri hospice inspection requirements will mirror federal regulations, going from once per year to once every three years.

The hope is that the state will be able to actually get to each facility every three years, so the Health and Senior Services Department won't be breaking Missouri law.

When we told Missouri Representative Noel Torpey about our findings that despite Missouri's law requiring hospices to be surveyed once a year, the state was lagging, taking at least six years to inspect facilities; he said he was disappointed.

Rep. Torpey promised to do something about the law, and soon after that, he left the Missouri House, but he passed along the task to Representative King, who is now trying to make this bill law.

Elaine McIntosh, President and CEO of Kansas City Hospice and Palliative Care, says it's a good first step, but she and other hospice facility directors say they've been told the issue in Missouri is there isn't enough money for regular surveys.

"You can't do surveys if you don't have staff to do the surveys, so the accompanying action that needs to happen is a reasonable allocation of funds to the survey department in order to accomplish this," said McIntosh.