12/1 Zoom Support Group

Bob Crabtree and Don Chriscaden, founders of The Road Back to Life, are starting a Zoom kidney patient support group on December 1, 2020 at 2pm PST, with a calendar of future meetings to be posted. By way of introduction, Don says, “This is intended to be a time when we can feel free to talk about anything, from just saying hello to discussing what life has brought your way. This will be a time to talk to friends or make new friends in an informal environment. Let us learn to talk to people and laugh, cry or whatever is appropriate again.” Join the meeting at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88934911182.

HDC Post on Implicit Bias

MEI’s Home Dialysis Central blog has published a post on Combating Implicit Bias in Home Dialysis, summarizing research and tools on implicit bias, and how we might become more aware of our own implicit bias, which we all have. From the post:

“Our human tendency is to treat people outside of our own in-group(s) as ‘other,’ and therein lie our interpersonal and intergroup challenges. In the early days of humans, ‘others’ may well have been rivals for food or territory, but today many of us live close together in enormous population clusters. Some of our most urgent existential threats are only likely to be successfully addressed by collaboration, not competition. We need to learn new ways to work together, perhaps even to survive as a species. And, in healthcare particularly, we need to rid ourselves of biases that could harm patients.”

In one example from research, dialysis staff responded to cardiac arrest with CPR for 91% of white patients but only 85% of black patients and 77% of Asian patients. In another, home dialysis was offered more often to white patients than to others. Find the post at https://homedialysis.org/news-and-research/blog/399-combatting-implicit-bias-in-home-dialysis.

New Kidney School Module on Work

MEI has added a new module (#17) to Kidney School on Kidney Failure and Your Work Life, covering work-friendly treatment options, how to keep a job or get back to work, talking to an employer about health issues, ways to deal with symptoms, accommodations and how to ask for them, and what to do about discrimination. Find MEI’s Kidney School at https://kidneyschool.org/mods/ and scroll down to find the new modules.

11/23+ OPTN Organ Allocation Changes

The OPTN Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation Committees will host a November 23, 2020 webinar on Information for Transplant Candidates about Upcoming Changes to Kidney and Pancreas Policies. These changes are intended to create more consistent access to kidney, pancreas, and kidney-pancreas transplants. The new policies include updates to the definition of medical urgency, and changes to the allocation of organs and prioritization of candidates, which will be based on distance rather than regions. Organs from Alaska will be allocated based on distance from Seattle.

The new policies will take effect December 15, 2020, and transplant centers can revise their candidate urgency information to take advantage of the new policies starting December 1. Find details about the changes at https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/news/pre-implementation-notice-removal-of-dsa-and-region-from-kidney-and-pancreas-allocation-to-go-into-effect-dec-15/ and register for the webinar at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/2542491307617944591.

CMS QIP Wildfire Exceptions

CMS is granting exceptions under Medicare quality reporting and value-based purchasing programs to renal dialysis facilities located in areas affected by the Oregon Wildfires and designated as emergency disaster areas by FEMA, including Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Coos, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington, and Yamhill Counties.

Impacted facilities in other areas may request exceptions for CMS review on a case-by-case basis.

Request exceptions using the Extraordinary Circumstances Exception (ECE) form at https://qualitynet.cms.gov/files/5d0d36e1764be766b0100cad?filename=HQR_ECE_Req_FormFeb2019.pdf. The ECE form must be signed by the dialysis facility CEO or designee and be submitted via email to the ESRD QIP Mailbox at esrdqip@cms.hhs.gov. This form and corresponding evidence must be submitted within 90 days of the Extraordinary Circumstances event for the ESRD QIP. For further assistance contact the CMS ESRD QIP at esrdqip@cms.hhs.gov.

11/18 AAKP HealthLine on Lupus

AAKP will present an 18 November 2020 HealthLine webinar on Bringing Lupus Nephritis out of the Shadows. Register at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/5772024139670617614 and find more information about AAKP HealthLine, including recordings of past events, at https://aakp.org/programs-and-events/aakp-healthline/.

11/17 AAKP HealthLine on Holidays

Many concerns loom over traveling and congregating for holiday events and celebrations while the COVID-19 pandemic is expanding rapidly – for some Network states, peak numbers of daily confirmed new cases are running several times higher than they were in the summer.* AAKP will present a free November 17, 2020 webinar on COVID-19: Kidney Patient Planning for a Safe Holiday Season. The webinar will cover what high risk, immune compromised individuals – such as kidney patients – can do to remain safe while still being able to enjoy the holidays. Register at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6197870490714912781. Find more information about AAKP HealthLine, and recordings of previous webinars, at https://aakp.org/programs-and-events/aakp-healthline/.

*https://www.bing.com/search?q=coronavirus+statistics.

11/13 NKF Kidney Care Symposium

The NKF Northern California and Pacific Northwest chapters will present its professional education 52nd Annual Medical Symposium: Kidney Care 2020 and Beyond online November 13, 2020. Sessions will cover measurement, home dialysis, telemedicine, and innovation. Up to 6.5 CME/CE units will be available. Find details below, and a detailed agenda and registration link at https://www.kidney.org/events/local-event/52nd-annual-virtual-medical-symposium.

11/17+ EQRS September Deadline Extended

CMS has announced that the deadline for submitting September 2020 clinical closing data into EQRS has been extended till January 4, 2021 in order to allow users more time to get up to speed on EQRS. Starting November 9, 2020, EQRS will perform the data entry role CROWNWeb has been doing. Find more information and links to recorded EQRS training material at https://mycrownweb.org/education/. Online EQRS New User Training will be offered November 17, 2020; find details and register at https://mycrownweb.org/pcw_lems/november-2020-new-user-training-2/.