7/16 KCER After-Action Report Webinar

KCER will present a July 16, 2020 webinar for dialysis facilities on The Basics of Preparing an After-Action Report for an Incident or Disaster.  The webinar presents KCER’s template for After-Action Reports (“AAR”) and includes instructions for meeting the CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule for dialysis facilities, and specific guidance for AARs on your response to COVID-19.  Find more information in the flyer below.  Click HERE to register.  Contact KCER at kcerinfo@hsag.com for questions or assistance.

An AAR describes an event or process that for any reason you needed or wanted to respond to or improve, how you responded, your evaluation of the effectiveness of your response, and any improvements you recommend for “next time,” or to complete or enhance your response to the current issue.

Summer Provider Newsletters

Network Provider Newsletters for Summer 2020 have been published.  They include articles on:

  • Network Support for COVID-19.
  • The ESRD QIP.
  • New QIP website interface.
  • Staff Burnout.
  • Patient Psychosocial Needs.
  • NCC “Web Hub” for Patients (Network 16 only).
  • Seeking Volunteers for Spanish-Speaking PAC (Network 18 only).
  • Data Currency in CROWNWeb.
  • Links to Network Patient Newsletters.
  • Patient Emergency Preparedness.
  • Interruptions in Service.
  • KCER Newsletter.
  • Staff Changes.
  • Link to Events Calendar (Network 18 only).
  • Network email Updates.

Find them at:

7/8+ CMS PY2021 DFR/QIP Webinar

CMS has scheduled a webinar on the PY2021 ESRD DFR/QIP process.  We haven’t seen a timeline yet for the process, though there are rumors that the DFR data has become available.

The webinar is titled ESRD QIP: Previewing Your Facility’s PY2021 Performance Data.  There are three sessions, each repeating the same material, so you need to attend only one of them.  To register:

    • July 8, 2020, 11am PDT – Click here.
    • July 14, 2020, 11am PDT – Click here.
    • July 23, 2020, 11am PDT – Click here.

After you register, you will receive an e-mail containing a unique webinar link and audio details.  Do not share the link, as it will be unique to you.  If more than one staff member at your facility would like to attend, and you can maintain safe social distancing, you may join as a team.  The webinar will cover:

    • How to access and review your facility’s PSR and PLR.
    • How CMS calculated your QIP performance scores.
    • What your TPS means to your facility’s 2021 reimbursement.
    • When and where to ask questions.
    • Where to get help and additional information.

To learn more about the QIP and DFR (and DFC) Preview process, see https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/ESRDQIP/.  It’s not updated for PY2021 yet, but will be soon.

For more information on the PY2021 process, see https://mycrownweb.org/2020/06/py-2021-esrd-qip-preview-period-webinar/.  If you haven’t already made the conversion, note that you will need to use the new QIP User Interface in the updated version of EQRS; for details and instructions see https://mycrownweb.org/2020/06/esrd-qip-ui-phase1/.

For further assistance and to ask questions, use the CMS Quality Support ServiceNow Q&A Tool at https://cmsqualitysupport.servicenowservices.com/qnet_qa.

COVID-19 Adjustments to CMS Alternate Payment Models

CMS has published a web page on CMS Innovation Center COVID-19 Flexibilities detailing current and future changes to their proposed alternate payment models (Comprehensive ESRD Care, Kidney Care Choices) as a result of COVID-19.  Find the page at https://innovation.cms.gov/innovation-models/covid-19-flexibilities.

ASN KidneyNewsOnline also has an article on the subject, Significant Update from CMS on Voluntary Models and ESCOs Including Q&A, at https://www.kidneynews.org/policy-advocacy/leading-edge/significant-update-from-cms-on-voluntary-models-and-escos-including-qa.

HDC on Safe Social Work and COVID-19

Home Dialysis Central has published a blog post on Dialysis Social Work During a Pandemic: Caring for Patients Safely, thoroughly reviewing what are permitted and required by:

  • CMS Conditions for Coverage,
  • Social Work licenses and training,
  • Medicare reimbursement rules and waivers,
  • Patient and staff safety,
  • Home dialysis,
  • Effective communication,
  • PPE,
  • Telehealth,
  • Comparative advantage,

all in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Find the post at https://homedialysis.org/news-and-research/blog/361-dialysis-social-work-during-a-pandemic-caring-for-patients-safely.

CMS FAQ Sheet on COVID-19 Extraordinary Exceptions

CMS has released a FAQ Sheet on Extraordinary Circumstances Exceptions Policy as a resource to answer questions related to the COVID-19 Exceptions and Extensions that were outlined in the March 27, 2020 COVID-19 Quality Reporting Programs Guidance Memo.  Find a summary of the Guidance and a link to the FAQ sheet at https://www.qualitynet.org/esrd/esrdqip/participation#tab4.

CDC 5/3 COVID-19 Guidance Updates

In the last few days, CDC has published updated versions of various guidance.  The web pages listed below include new changes that may impact how dialysis facilities operate:

We will continue to review revisions and new guidance as they become available.  Many links to important COVID-19 information can be found on the Network websites at https://www.nwrn.org/Emergency-Prep (Network 16) and http://www.esrdnetwork18.org/emergency/ (Network 18).

5/26+ CMS Shareholder Engagement Calls

CMS is hosting weekly Stakeholder Engagement sessions to share information related to the agency’s response to COVID-19.  These sessions are open to the healthcare community and provide updates, share best practices, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.  Conference lines are limited so we encourage you to join via audio webcast on your computer or smartphone web browser.  You are welcome to share this invitation with your colleagues and professional networks, but these calls are not intended for the press.  Call recordings and transcripts are posted on the CMS podcast page at: https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Outreach/OpenDoorForums/PodcastAndTranscripts.

Targeted Updates for Dialysis Organizations on the agency’s latest COVID-19 guidance, also featuring leaders in the field sharing best practices, with an opportunity to ask questions if time allows.  Wednesday May 27, 2020, 2:30-3:00 pm PDT, toll-free 833-614-0820, passcode 6152699, audio webcast link https://engage.vevent.com/index.jsp?eid=5779&seid=2123#/main/simplify.

COVID-19 Office Hours Calls are an opportunity for providers to ask questions of CMS officials about temporary actions that allow increased capacity, expanded workforce, patient priority, and telehealth.  Tuesday May 26, 2020, 2-3pm PDT, toll-free 833-614-0820, passcode 8977438, audio webcast link https://engage.vevent.com/index.jsp?eid=5779&seid=2012#/main/simplify.

Lessons from the Front Lines with representatives from CMS, FDA, and the Coronavirus Task Force, along with front-line clinicians.  Friday May 29, 2020, 9:30-11:00 am PDT,  toll-free 877-251-0301, passcode 6350189, audio webcast link https://engage.vevent.com/index.jsp?eid=5779&seid=2075#/main/simplify.

6/1 Comments Due on CMS Flexibility Rules Change

CMS has published an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period on the Flexibility changes in Medicare rules made on March 31, 2020.  The Comment Period will expire June 1, 2020.  For details and comment see Medicare and Medicaid Programs: Policy and Regulatory Revisions in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=CMS-2020-0032-0013.

New 4/8 CDC Guidance on Essential Worker Exposure

On April 8, 2020 CDC “issued new guidelines aimed at getting workers who have been exposed to the coronavirus in critical fields back to work faster.  Under the old guidance, workers were told to stay at home for 14 days if they were exposed to someone who had tested positive for the coronavirus.  The new guidelines will allow critical workers who have been exposed [to] go back to work as long as they are asymptomatic and follow conditions like taking their temperature before going to work, wearing a face mask at all times and practicing social distancing at work as much as possible” (The Hill, 4/8/20, https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/491912-cdc-issues-new-guidance-for-essential-workers-exposed-to-coronavirus).  Find the CDC Guidance itself, Implementing Safety Practices for Critical Infrastructure Workers Who May Have Had Exposure to a Person with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19: Interim Guidance, at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/critical-workers/implementing-safety-practices.html.