3/20 New Medicare Card Call

On March 20, 2018 from 11am to noon Pacific Time, CMS will host a Special Open Door Forum to give providers an opportunity to ask questions about the New Medicare Card Project.  Use this call to get answers to your questions, so you are ready to accept the new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier starting April 1, 2018.  For more information see https://www.cms.gov/medicare/new-medicare-card/nmc-home.html.  Address questions to NewMedicareCardSSNRemoval@cms.hhs.gov.

Participation Instructions: participant dial-in number: 800-837-1935; Conference ID #: 4588156.  TTY Communications Relay Services are available for the Hearing Impaired; dial 7-1-1 or 800-855-2880.

A transcript and audio recording will be at https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Outreach/OpenDoorForums/PodcastAndTranscripts.html a few days after the call.

CW/NHSN Validation Study

CMS has announced that the RELI Group will be conducting a data validity and reliability study on CROWNWeb and NHSN data.  They have randomly selected 335 facilities nationwide and sent a certified letter to each selected facility (or their LDO) in February with instructions on how to participate.  Facilities that are selected but do not respond will have their QIP TPS reduced by ten points.  For details see https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/nwrn.org/files/CMS/DVR.Memo.0118.pdf.


New Medicare Cards News

CMS has updated and expanded their NMC website for providers, at https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/Providers/Providers.html to include information on how remittance advices with HICNs or MBIs will be handled.  They’ve also published an NMC Mailing Strategy document, at https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/NMC-Mailing-Strategy.pdf.  New cards will be mailed to Alaska, California, and Oregon between April and June 2018, and to Idaho, Montana, and Washington in July 2018 and beyond.

They’ve also published Guidance on how to talk to patients about their new cards, with suggested language to use to keep everyone on the same page and avoid confusion, at https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/New-Medicare-Card-Messaging-Guidelines-July-2017.pdf.  The NMC Overview web page at https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/index.html has also been updated.

ESRD in the Budget Act of 2018

Kidney Care Partners (https://www.pr.com/press-release/744275) has summarized the ESRD-related provisions of the new budget law, H.R.1892 – Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018; the Act “will expand the use of home dialysis therapy through use of telehealth services; expedite patient access to quality dialysis care at newly certified facilities; and extend authority for Special Needs Plans (C-SNPs) without interruption in care.”  In addition, payments for non-emergency ambulance use are reduced.

While the legislation as passed and signed may not be effective until HHS converts it to administrative law, the original lawyerese can be found at:

2/22 QIP CY2018 Call

CMS will present a February 22, 2018 conference call on ESRD QIP: Final Rule for CY 2018.  Topics include the ESRD QIP legislative framework; measures, standards, scoring method, and payment reduction scale for PY 2021; modifications to PY 2019 and PY 2020 policies; and  a question and answer session.  The target audience includes dialysis clinics and organizations, nephrologists, hospitals with dialysis units, billers/coders, and QI experts.  For details and registration see https://blh.ier.intercall.com/details/f4ba4fb2628b47e98092bbf25f947707, and for a copy of the Final Rule, see https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-11-01/pdf/2017-23671.pdf.

QIP Q&A Tool

CMS has created a web page to answer questions anyone has about the ESRD QIP.  Find the page at https://cms-ocsq.custhelp.com/app/homeesrdqip/p/960 and a training video for it at https://cms-ocsq.custhelp.com/euf/assets/others/ESRD_QIP_QA_Intro.html.  The new page is also introduced on the QualityNet home page at https://www.qualitynet.org/.

CMS will continue using the ESRD QIP Mailbox to receive and process Extraordinary Circumstances Exception (ECE) requests and supporting documents, payment questions, and facility-specific information.  Likewise, facilities should continue to use their accounts on the QualityNet Secure Portal to pose formal inquiries and clarification questions during all preview periods.

Facilities and the public should not use any of these channels to submit Protected Health Information (PHI) or Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to CMS.

1/31 NHSN Deadlines

To meet the CMS ESRD QIP NHSN reporting requirements for PY2019, facilities must submit their final third quarter 2017 (July 1 through September 30, 2017) Dialysis Event data by January 31, 2018.  New or revised third quarter data entered into NHSN after January 31 will not be sent to CMS and will not be credited to your QIP scores.

Separately, for BSI monitoring required by Network contracts, your Network asks that facilities enter NHSN data during the month following the events; that is, December 2017 NHSN data should be entered before January 31, 2018.

While you can find everything you need to know about NHSN for dialysis at https://www.cdc.gov/nhsn/dialysis/event/index.html, CDC recommends these shortcuts to making sure your data is finalized for the QIP:

Contact the NHSN Helpdesk at nhsn@cdc.gov using subject line “Dialysis” with any questions.