SC 2/26 Free Kidney Health Check

NKF will sponsor a free kidney health check in Los Angeles on February 26, 2017.  For more information see the poster, Are You the 1 in 3 at Risk for Kidney Disease? at .  Keep an eye on the Network 18 Calendar at to stay up to date on other southern California events of interest to patients.

HIPAA FAQ re Loved Ones

The HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has issued a new FAQ clarifying that the HIPAA Privacy Rule permits disclosures to loved ones regardless of whether they are recognized as relatives under applicable law.  The FAQ, while applicable in a variety of circumstances, was developed in large part to address confusion following the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting about whether and when hospitals may share protected health information with patients’ loved ones.  In particular, the FAQ makes clear that the potential recipients of information under the relevant permissive disclosure provisions of the law are not limited by the sex or gender identity of the person.  

In tandem, OCR is updating its existing Guidance on several provisions within the HIPAA Privacy Rule that recognize the integral role that a spouse often plays in a patient’s health and health care.  Consistent with a recent Supreme Court decision, OCR is issuing updated guidance that makes clear that the terms marriage, spouse, and family member include, respectively, all lawful marriages (whether same-sex or opposite-sex), lawfully married spouses and the dependents of all lawful marriages, and clarifies certain rights of individuals under the Privacy Rule.

Find the Guidance and a link to the FAQ at .

1/31 CDC Free CE Infection Webinar

On January 31, 2017 – today at noon PST – CDC will present a free webinar on Reducing Infection in the Outpatient Dialysis Facility – Standardizing Care to Improve Outcomes in Pediatric ESRD.  Continuing education credits are offered for Physicians, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses, Health Educators, Medical Residents, and Administrators.  For details and registration see .

Recalls: Fresenius HD Systems

The FDA has announced a Class 2 recall of all serial numbers of the Fresenius HD Systems 2008T, 2008K, 2008K2, and 2008K@Home Series because the machines do not execute the indicated UF rate when the UF rate, goal, or time is adjusted using the up/down arrow keys and then subsequently canceled with the ESC key.  Until Fresenius issues and installs a software upgrade, all users are advised to use the numeric keys to adjust values, then use the CONFIRM key to save the values.  For full details see: 

2/7 CW Deadline Extension

CMS has announced that the January 31, 2017 deadline for entering November 2016 clinical data has been extended to February 7, 2017.  The extension includes

  • November 2016 clinical data
  • Pain assessment
  • Depression screening
  • ICH CAHPS Survey attestation for the ESRD QIP

All originally due by January 31, 2017.

Concerns about Care

The January Patient Flyer/Poster on Helping Navigate Kidney Disease has been added to the Northwest Renal Network website.  It describes how Networks can confidentially help patients whenever they have a concern about their care, and provides the toll-free phone number, 800-262-1514, that patients in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska (Network 16) can call for help.  Find the flyer at .  

Procedures in other states and Networks will be similar.  Patients in Southern Central and Southern California (Network 18) can call 800-637-4767.  For other areas of the US, see .

CROWNWeb Personnel Info

According to the CMS Data Management Guidelines at (p.36), information about key staff members must be updated in CROWNWeb within five business days of staff changes.  It is important that facilities keep this information current so that the Network can contact appropriate staff at facilities as needed for the day to day operation of the Network. 

2/20 NANT Annual Symposium

The 2017 NANT Annual Symposium will be held February 20-23 in Las Vegas NV.  Registration is now open, and attendees registering prior to January 31, 2017 will receive free business cards.  Corporations registering multiple attendees receive discounts.  Up to 26.3 continuing education contact hours are available.  Find full details at .

CDC HAN on Seoul Virus

CDC has issued an HAN Health Alert on Seoul Virus, a hantavirus, which can be contracted from pet rates and can result in potentially fatal Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS).  The primary source of the Virus in the US is in the Midwest, but infected rats have been found in much of the US.

Seoul virus is transmitted from rats to people.  People who become infected with this virus often exhibit relatively mild or no symptoms, but some develop HFRS (, which can result in death in approximately 1–2% of HFRS cases.  Symptoms include fever, severe headache, back and abdominal pain, chills, blurred vision, redness of the eyes, or rash.  HFRS is characterized by a prodromal phase with non-specific symptoms and can progress to hypotension, decreased urine output, and renal failure, which often resolves after a diuretic phase.  Coagulopathy and pulmonary edema are rare complications.  Laboratory findings include low platelets, elevated white blood cell counts, electrolyte abnormalities, elevated blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine, and proteinuria.  Find the HAN notice at .