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 Video: Telehealth Coverage, Payment, Billing

CMS has released a video providing answers to common questions about the Medicare telehealth services benefit coverage, payment, and billing.  CMS is expanding this benefit on a temporary and emergency basis under the 1135 waiver authority and Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act.  Find the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdb9NKtybzo.

CMS: Relief from QIP Reporting

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 esrdqip@cms.hhs.gov.  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 esrdqip@cms.hhs.gov.”

Medicare and Medicaid Telehealth Expansion

CMS has announced expansion of payment for Medicare and Medicaid Telehealth services to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.  For more information see:

New CMS ACO and ESCO Resources

CMS has added many new tools to it’s Accountable Care Organization home page, including several on ESRD Seamless Care Organizations.  Examples from February 2020 include these Case Study PDFs:

  • Keystone ACO’s Health Navigator Program to Identify and Close Care Gaps.
  • Atlantic Dialysis Management Services’ Patient Navigator Program.
  • Centers for Dialysis Care’s Patient Advisory Committees.

The Comprehensive ESRD Care Model page has also been recently updated.  Find links to all these and more at https://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/aco/.

New CDC MMWR on Coronavirus, Billing Code

CDC has issued an MMWR on the current coronavirus threat.  It says,

“COVID-19 is a serious public health threat.  Cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in the United States, primarily in travelers from China and quarantined repatriates, and also in two close contacts of COVID-19 patients.  Currently, COVID-19 is not recognized to be spreading in U.S. communities.  If sustained transmission in U.S. communities is identified, the U.S. response strategy will enhance implementation of actions to slow spread in communities.  Implementation of basic precautions of infection control and prevention, including staying home when ill and practicing respiratory and hand hygiene will become increasingly important.”

Find the full report at https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6908e1-H.pdf?deliveryName=USCDC_921-DM20815.

However, the Washington Post tells us today that ” ‘Ultimately, we expect we will see community spread in the United States,’ Nancy Messonnier, a top official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters.  ‘It’s not a question of if this will happen but when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illnesses.’ ”

CMS has also created a new billing code specific to testing for the COVID-19 virus.  For details see https://www.cms.gov/outreach-and-educationoutreachffsprovpartprogprovider-partnership-email-archive/2020-02-20#_Toc32923423.