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  1. Kennedy, Jennifer MA, BSN, RN, CHC


Beginning January 1, 2011, as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act healthcare-reform law that was signed in March 2010, Medicare requires that all patients entering their third or later hospice benefit period must have a face-to-face encounter with a hospice physician or nurse practitioner (NP) to validate hospice eligibility. Medicare has allowed NPs to function as a patient's hospice attending physician since 2003, but they may not certify or recertify a patient's terminal illness or function in the role of the hospice physician in the hospice interdisciplinary team. The allowance of Medicare for the NP to complete the hospice face-to-face encounter allows a greater role for a NP in the realm of hospice care.