12/31 Old HICNs Valid for Only Six More Months

There are only six months to go on the transition to the New Medicare Card.  To help prevent identity theft, the New Card removes a patient’s Social Security Number from their Card and replaces it with a new, randomly-assigned “Medicare Beneficiary Identifier” or MBI.  MBIs must be protected as confidential PII.  All patients should have received their new card by now, barring mailing address problems.  After December 31, 2019 billing with the old “Health Insurance Claim Number” or HICN will be disallowed.  If your facility has patients that don’t have a New Card, refer to https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNMattersArticles/Downloads/SE18006.pdf for instructions.  Railroad Retirement Board Medicare cards are going through a parallel transition.

Free CDC Infection Control CEs

CDC is presenting several new free CE-available online Infection Control training programs:

  • The first two of eleven webinars in the States Targeting Reduction in Infections via Engagement or STRIVE program, which include Foundational Infection Prevention Strategies: Competency-based Training, Audits and Feedback, and Hand Hygiene. Find these at https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/training/strive.html.  The other nine courses are due by October, and include:
    • Personal Protective Equipment
    • Environmental Cleaning
    • Building a Business Case for Infection Prevention
    • Strategies for Preventing HAIs
    • Patient and Family Engagement
    • C. difficile Infection
    • MRSA Bacteremia
    • CLABSI
    • CAUTI

Warning: Medtronic MiniMed Insulin Pumps

The FDA has warned that certain Medtronic MiniMed Insulin Pump models are not protected from hackers, who could alter the insulin settings.  Medtronic is replacing the inadequately protected pumps.  For recommendations on protecting yourself while awaiting a replacement, a list of models and software versions involved, and more information, see https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/safety-communications/certain-medtronic-minimed-insulin-pumps-have-potential-cybersecurity-risks-fda-safety-communication.

8/7 CCCC Webinar on Medical Cannabis

The Coalition for Compassionate Care of California will present an August 8, 2019 webinar on Medical Cannabis: Patient Education for Safe and Effective Use.  Continuing Education credits are available for nurses and social workers.  For details and registration see https://www.eventbrite.com/e/webinar-medical-cannabis-patient-education-for-safe-effective-use-tickets-64247330495?aff=ebapi.

7/4 NW18 UCLA CORE Kidney Program Festival

The UCLA CORE Kidney Program has announced that they’ll be participating in the 115th Annual Huntington Beach Fourth of July Parade & Festival.  For more information on this and other UCLA CORE Kidney and UKEEP events, see https://www.uclahealth.org/core-kidney/upcoming-events.  For instance, their webinar on Alport Syndrome is coming up on July 11, 2019, as well as UKEEP’s patient meeting on High Blood Pressure on July 14.  Recordings of past UCLA CORE Kidney and UKEEP webinars, on topics such as Transplantation, Fabry’s Disease, Adult PKD, and more, can be found at https://www.uclahealth.org/core-kidney/past-events.

They’ve also announced the date for their 2020 UCLA Kidney Health Fair & Spirit Walk for Kidney Disease, May 17, 2020.  Find more information at https://www.uclahealth.org/core-kidney/kidney-health-fair.

7/15 NW18 Quality Conference 2019

Comagine Health ESRD Network 18 will hold its Annual Quality Conference 2019 in Los Angeles on July 15, 2019.  Topics include:

  • A Patient Panel Discussion on Patient Perspectives on Adherence to Treatment
  • New Changes to the ESRD QIP and How it Impacts Facilities
  • De-escalation of Disruptive Behaviors and the Social Work Role in Patient Advocacy
  • CROWNWeb Question and Answer
  • And More!

The program is designed for Facility Managers/Administrators, Nurses, Social Workers, Dietitians, Technicians, Medical Directors, and any other staff that would benefit from a great learning opportunity.  4.5 Nursing or Social Work CE credits are available.  For details and registration see http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07egas42064eea495b&llr=gfuz7mxab&showPage=true.

2019 Kidney Walks

NKF has scheduled 2019 Kidney Walks for the following places and dates:

There appear to be none scheduled for Washington, Oregon, Montana, or Alaska.  For more information on Kidney Walks, see https://secure2.convio.net/nkf/site/SPageNavigator/kidney_walk_splash.html.

Hot Weather Health

The Oregon Health Authority has announced a #SummerBummer collection of strategies for Preventing and Responding to common hot-weather risks, including drowning, poor air quality, mosquito-borne and tick-borne illnesses, algal blooms, fecal beach bacteria, food poisoning, and extreme heat.  Find their recommendations at https://www.oregon.gov/oha/ERD/Pages/StaySafeHealthyWithSafetyTipsFromOHAAsSummerKicksOffJune21.aspx.

CDC has a comparable program that sends out a weekly email on Five Minutes or Less for Health Weekly Tip, which also covers skin cancer, hydration, and communicable diseases.  Review their Tips or sign up at https://www.cdc.gov/family/minutes/tips/summersavvy/index.htm.

Homeland Security’s “Ready.gov” website has a thorough discussion of how to stay cool and safe in extreme heat, at https://www.ready.gov/heat, and one to help you Prepare Your Home for Wildfire Season at https://www.ready.gov/wildfires.

And of course people with ESRD have special issues with food and water in the summer:

New Interactive NKF CKD Education Tool

NKF has launched Kidney Pathways, an interactive education tool that uses an online kidney health assessment to provide a series of steps for people at any stage of CKD to learn about their condition and how best to respond to it.  Start the Kidney Pathways program by answering the question on the right-hand side of the screen at https://www.kidney.org/phi/1245/health.  Find a description of the tool at https://www.kidney.org/news/national-kidney-foundation-unveils-kidney-pathways-curated-kidney-health-education-curriculum.

8/12 CMS RFI on Patients over Paperwork

CMS is requesting public comment on future phases of their Patients over Paperwork program, with comments due by August 12, 2019.  Find the Federal Register notice at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/06/11/2019-12215/request-for-information-reducing-administrative-burden-to-put-patients-over-paperwork.  The CMS Patients over Paperwork web page is at https://www.cms.gov/about-cms/story-page/patients-over-paperwork.html, and a press release on the RFI at https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-seeks-public-input-patients-over-paperwork-initiative-further-reduce-administrative-regulatory.