12/12+ Fall 2019 Provider Newsletter and Archive

We’ve published the Fall 2019 ESRD Network 16/18 Provider Newsletters.  Find them at:

We include links to earlier issues at the end of this post.  Most content is the same for both Networks, but not all.  We’ve marked where they differ, and we’ve used blue type where information in one version also applies to the other Network.  The Fall 2019 issue feature articles on:

  • Quality Improvement:
    • 2020 Quality Improvement Activities, which we expect to begin before Christmas.
    • Changes to the ESRD QIP, which include changes to measures for the Transplant Waitlist, Medication Reconciliation, Transfusions, and BSIs.  We’ve scheduled a December 12, 2019 webinar to summarize these QIP changes (and the many other measures that aren’t changing).
    • Opioid Awareness and Pain Management.
    • Diabetes Self-Management.
  • Patient Services:
    • Managing Patient Expectations to help create a calm and conflict-free environment.
    • The Dialysis Patient Depression Toolkit.
    • Patient Newsletters in English and Spanish for each Network.
  • Data:
    • The importance of Keeping Patient Information Up to Date, especially patient addresses, which are critical for tracking everyone in emergencies and disasters, for identifying home facilities and transplant centers near the patient, for receiving notices like the New ESRD Patient Orientation Packet, and for monitoring patient clusters so your organization can effectively plan where to locate new facilities.
    • A mini-lesson on how to admit a new patient into CROWNWeb if they do not have an SSN or MBI.
  • Emergency Preparedness:
    • Fire Danger Power Shutoffs and Fire Resources in California (NW18 version).
    • The new ESRD Facility Emergency Preparedness Final Rule that went into effect on November 29, 2019 (NW18 version but also relevant to NW16).
    • New KCER document on Emergency Disconnect Procedure for In-Center Hemodialysis Patients (NW16 version but also relevant to NW18).
    • Notify the Network of any Interruptions in Service.
    • KCER Newsletter.
  • Notify the Network of any Personnel Changes.
  • Upcoming Events!

We also list events of interest to Dialysis Facilities, Transplant Centers, and staff, on our Facility Calendar, via the link at the top of this page.

Find previous issues at:

1/1 HIC Numbers Invalid in 2020

As of today, HICNs are still being used to identify patients on 14% of Medicare claims.  Starting in four weeks, these claims will be returned, as MBIs are required after December 31, 2019.  Find all the information you need on the conversion to MBIs at https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNMattersArticles/downloads/SE18006.pdf.

9/11 New Medicare Card Forum

CMS will hold a September 11, 2019 Open Door Forum on the New Medicare Cards and MBIs (Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers), which become mandatory on January 1, 2020.  For details on the Forum see https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Outreach/OpenDoorForums/Downloads/09112019NewMedicareCardODFAgenda.pdf.  HIC numbers will no longer be valid after December 31, 2019.  If you do not have an MBI for any of your patients, or you have other questions, see the CMS MLN Matters booklet on New Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI): Get It, Use It, at https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNMattersArticles/downloads/SE18006.pdf.

12/31 Old HICNs Valid for Only Six More Months

There are only six months to go on the transition to the New Medicare Card.  To help prevent identity theft, the New Card removes a patient’s Social Security Number from their Card and replaces it with a new, randomly-assigned “Medicare Beneficiary Identifier” or MBI.  MBIs must be protected as confidential PII.  All patients should have received their new card by now, barring mailing address problems.  After December 31, 2019 billing with the old “Health Insurance Claim Number” or HICN will be disallowed.  If your facility has patients that don’t have a New Card, refer to https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNMattersArticles/Downloads/SE18006.pdf for instructions.  Railroad Retirement Board Medicare cards are going through a parallel transition.

MBI News

CMS has reported that more then two thirds of Medicare claims now use the MBI instead of the HIC number.  All claims must use the MBI by the end of 2019.  Medicare has published two handy references to help:

New Medicare Cards Delivered

When you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old red-white-and-blue Medicare card, but do not destroy your Social Security card, Medicare Advantage plan card, or drug plan cards.  If you belong to a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare drug plan (Part D), continue to use these cards when you get health care services or fill a prescription.  Dispose of your old Medicare card carefully, as it contains Personally Identifiable Information (PII) that can be used for identity theft.  Your dialysis facility will probably have a shredder if you don’t.  New Medicare Cards, and your Medicare Beneficiary Identifier on it, are also confidential PII that should be closely guarded.

New Medicare cards have been mailed to all Network 16 and 18 patients.  If you haven’t received yours, call 1-800-MEDICARE.  Call center representatives can check the status and help you get your new card.  Meanwhile, use your current Medicare card to get health care services.  While your old card will be good through the end of 2019, you want to get and use your new card as soon as you can.

NMC Mailings to WA, ID, MT

CMS has begun mailing New Medicare Cards to beneficiaries in Washington, Idaho, and Montana.  Mailings are already complete to California, Oregon, and Alaska.  For more information see:

New Medicare Card News

New Medicare Card (NMC) mailings to Alaska, California, and Oregon have been completed.  Anyone in those states who did not get a new card, should print a Still Waiting for Your New Card? handout from:

And then either:

  • Sign into https://www.mymedicare.gov/ to see if their card has been mailed.  If so, they can print an official card.  If they do not already have an account, they need to create one.
  • Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).  There might be something that needs to be corrected, such as updating their mailing address.

Mailings to Idaho, Montana, and Washington will not begin till August at the earliest, and probably considerably later.  CMS is committed to mailing new cards to everyone with Medicare by April 2019.  Until December 31, 2019 health care providers and suppliers can use either the former SSN-based HIC Number, OR the alpha-numeric MBI (Medicare Beneficiary Identifier) on the new cards, for all Medicare transactions.

Additional resources: