8/18+ CW New User Training, Town Hall

CROWNWeb has announced an August 18, 2020 New User Training and an August 27 Town Hall, and published an August CROWNWeb News newsletter:

The August News features articles on:

The CROWNWeb Clinical Closure deadlines are August 31, 2020 for July data, November 2 for August data, and November 30 for September data, but your Network may require earlier data submission.

Guides for Patients to Dialysis Facility Compare

The National Forum of ESRD Networks has published introductory guides to the Dialysis Facility Compare (DFC) internet application that compares facilities on their general characteristics (such as whether they offer home dialysis or stay open after 5 pm), their quality of care (such as how they compare to other facilities on infection control), and the experience of their patients (such as whether patients found their doctors to be caring and to communicate well).

The guides describe what, why, and how a patient might use DFC.  Find them at:

Find DFC itself at https://www.medicare.gov/dialysisfacilitycompare/.

CMS QIP CY2021 Proposed Rule Webinar

CMS has posted a webinar on the QIP CY2021 Proposed Rule (see https://nwrnbulletins.wordpress.com/2020/07/10/9-4-comments-due-re-proposed-changes-to-qip/).  Find a PDF of the presentation slides, an audio recording, and a PDF of the transcript of the webinar at https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/ESRDQIP/99_EduResources.

8/31 PY2021 QIP Preview Period Ends

In a call with the Networks, CMS has indicated that the ESRD QIP Preview Period for PY2021 will run from July 29, 2020 to 11:59 pm PDT August 31, 2020 (which is 10:59 pm AKDT August 31, 2020, and 12:59 am MDT September 1, 2020), superseding a previously indicated date range of July 15-August 17.  CMS has also indicated that the previous limit of one Formal Inquiry per CCN has been relaxed – there is no longer any limit on the number of Formal Inquiries a facility can submit.  The advice to submit them early enough to allow CMS to respond, and you to reply, before August 31 is presumably still in effect.

7/1 CMS: COVID-19 QIP Exceptions Expire

In a July 16, 2020 email, CMS  “would like to inform the ESRD QIP community that the COVID-19 exceptions granted under the March 27, 2020 CMS Memo have ended.  Therefore, Quality Reporting Requirements for Renal Dialysis Facilities should resume effective July 1, 2020.”  They’ve updated the Exceptions Fact Sheet accordingly, and answered new questions addressing the Composite Kt/V measure, hypercalcemia, and isolation facilities.  Find it at https://qualitynet.org/files/5f0da6ccb8112700239dca2c?filename=ESRD_QIP_COVID19_FAQs_071420.pdf.  Direct questions to the QualityNet Q&A form at https://cmsqualitysupport.servicenowservices.com/qnet_qa?id=ask_a_question.  The original March 27 Memo can be found at https://www.cms.gov/files/document/guidance-memo-exceptions-and-extensions-quality-reporting-and-value-based-purchasing-programs.pdf.

9/4 Comments Due re Proposed Changes to QIP

CMS has presented for publication in the Federal Register a new proposed rule on changes to the ESRD PPS/QIP.  Public Comment must be received by September 4, 2020.  “In addition to the annual technical updates for the ESRD PPS, the proposed rule proposes the following:

  • “An addition to the ESRD PPS base rate to include calcimimetics in the ESRD PPS bundled payment;
  • “Changes to the eligibility criteria and determination process for the transitional add-on payment adjustment for new and innovative equipment and supplies (TPNIES);
  • “The expansion of the TPNIES to include new and innovative capital-related assets that are home dialysis machines;
  • “A change to the low-volume adjustment eligibility criteria and attestation requirement to account for the COVID-19 PHE;
  • “An update to the ESRD PPS wage index to adopt the new OMB delineations with a transition period. …
  • “The following updates to the ESRD QIP:
    • “Scoring methodology changes to the UFR reporting measure;
    • “Updates to the NHSN validation study.”
  • “This proposed rule also provides information received from two manufacturers whose products, a dialyzer and a cartridge for a home dialysis machine, are being considered for TPNIES in CY 2021.”

The (slightly edited) quotations are from the ESRD PPS CY2021 Proposed Rule Fact Sheet (CMS-1732-P) at https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/end-stage-renal-disease-esrd-prospective-payment-system-pps-calendar-year-cy-2021-proposed-rule-cms.  Find the Federal Register entry, which is scheduled to be published on July 13, 2020, at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/07/13/2020-14671/medicare-program-end-stage-renal-disease-prospective-payment-system-payment-for-renal-dialysis.

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.

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.