Beginning April 1, 2020, the Coalition for Supportive Care of Kidney Patients will hold a weekly half-hour Open Discussion for Professional Providers of Supportive Care for Kidney Patients with COVID-19. If you have concerns about how to address the supportive care needs of kidney disease patients who have COVID-19, join members of the Coalition’s Executive Committee (Alvin Moss, MD; Dale Lupu, MPH, PhD; Elizabeth Anderson, LCSW, DSW; Glenda Harbert, RN, CPHQ, CNN) weekly for Open Discussion. All professional providers of supportive care of kidney patients are welcome. It is hard to know what we will all need the coming weeks. Attendance is free. If you feel stuck, have questions, or want to connect with colleagues, join the Discussion any Wednesday at 11:30 am Pacific Time, at https://zoom.us/j/376000936. For more information, see http://go.gwu.edu/opendiscussion.
ASN will present an April 2, 2020 webinar on Hospital Care and Treatment Options for COVID-19 Positive Patients with ESKD and AKI that will address key areas of concern in the management of COVID-19 positive patients receiving RRT in the hospital setting, including treatment options, staffing, and safety. Register at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/4478274981960155148.
There’s no link yet, but ASN has also promised an April 9 webinar on Considerations in the Home Dialysis Setting.
Recordings of the two previous ASN COVID-19 webinars are available at:
- COVID-19 Information for Providers of Dialysis Services (March 11, 2020), https://www.asn-online.org/ntds/resources/Webcast_2020_03_11_COVID-19.mp4.
- CDC Recommendations and Policy Updates for Current Challenges in the Dialysis Setting (March 26, 2020), https://www.asn-online.org/ntds/resources/Webcast_2020_03_26_COVID-19.mp4.
CMS has issued a press release titled Trump Administration Makes Sweeping Regulatory Changes to Help U.S. Healthcare System Address COVID-19 Patient Surge that introduces and summarizes actions to increase hospital capacity, rapidly expand the healthcare workforce, put patients over paperwork, and further promote telehealth in Medicare. To locate these resources, see:
- The full press release, at https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/trump-administration-makes-sweeping-regulatory-changes-help-us-healthcare-system-address-covid-19.
- Details on COVID-19 waivers and guidance, on the CMS Coronavirus Waivers and Flexibilities web page at https://www.cms.gov/about-cms/emergency-preparedness-response-operations/current-emergencies/coronavirus-waivers.
- A summary of ESRD-specific waivers and flexibilities, at https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-19-esrd-facilities.pdf.
On March 22, 2020 CMS announced relief from QIP-related reporting requirements for CROWNWeb and the ESRD QIP. Find the full CMS press release at https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-announces-relief-clinicians-providers-hospitals-and-facilities-participating-quality-reporting. An excerpt follows:
“CMS will not count data from January 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020 (Q1-Q2) for performance or payment programs. Data does not need to be submitted to CMS for this time period… No data reflecting services provided January 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020 will be used in CMS’s calculations for the Medicare quality reporting… programs. This is being done to reduce the data collection and reporting burden on providers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
CMS published an additional bulletin on March 27, https://www.cms.gov/files/document/guidance-memo-exceptions-and-extensions-quality-reporting-and-value-based-purchasing-programs.pdf, with ESRD information on pp.9-10. This bulletin clarifies the original and includes new information on NHSN QIP relief, and information on opting out of the relief:
“Dialysis facilities should be aware of the potential subsequent impact to a facility’s total performance score (TPS) when data are excluded from score calculations. Facilities impacted by COVID-19 may elect to opt out of the CMS granted exception by emailing the request to the ESRD QIP at email@example.com. The email must be sent by the dialysis facility’s chief executive officer (CEO) or designee. We are requesting that a dialysis facility make this request within 90 days of March 22, 2020. For further assistance regarding the ESRD QIP information contained in this message, please contact the ESRD QIP at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
CDC has released a new HAN Health Alert Advisory on Severe Illness Associated with Using Non-Pharmaceutical Chloroquine Phosphate to Prevent and Treat COVID-19. The Summary includes “Chloroquine phosphate, when used without a prescription and supervision of a healthcare provider, can cause serious health consequences, including death. Clinicians and public health officials should discourage the public from misusing non-pharmaceutical chloroquine phosphate (a chemical used in home aquariums). Clinicians should advise patients and the public that chloroquine, and the related compound hydroxychloroquine, should be used only under the supervision of a healthcare provider as prescribed medications.” Find the CDC HAN at https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/2020/han00431.asp?deliveryName=USCDC_511-DM24285.
ASN will present a March 26, 2020 webinar on COVID-19: CDC Recommendations and Policy Updates for Current Challenges in the Dialysis Setting. Topics will include personal protective equipment, discontinuation of isolation, variation in interpretation by states and potential lack of uniform application of CDC recommendations, patient transportation challenges, telemedicine waivers, and QIP waivers. Find more information and register at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6032221362410158859.
You can find a recording of ASN’s March 11, 2020 webinar on COVID-19 Information for Providers of Dialysis Services at https://www.asn-online.org/ntds/resources/Webcast_2020_03_11_COVID-19.mp4.
CMS has released a new 6-page ESRD Provider Telehealth and Telemedicine Tool Kit. Contents include:
- 1135 Waiver Information
- CMS Telemedicine General Policy Guidance
- Telehealth Implementation Guide
- State Statute Guidance
- Basics on Setting up Telehealth
- Telehealth Technical Assistance
- Selecting a Vendor
- Patient and Community Resource
Find the new Toolkit at https://www.cms.gov/files/document/esrd-provider-telehealth-telemedicine-toolkit.pdf.