9/28+ CMS NTP Open Enrollment Bootcamp

The CMS National Training Program has announced webinar topics and registation details for their September 28-29, 2022 Open Enrollment Period Bootcamp, which will be held from 10am to noon PDT each day. The Bootcamp introduces Medicare Program updates and resources and is intended for those who help Medicare recipients make informed decisions about their 2023 health care coverage.

September 28: Medicare Plan Finder basics, updates, and user tips, information about The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022, including details about new costs for insulin and vaccines in 2023, and Q&A. Registration at CMSnationaltrainingprogram.cms.gov/moodle/course/view.php?id=227.

September 29: Medicare OEP overview, general program and cost updates, OEP Media outreach campaigns, Call Center overview and activities, vaccination campaigns, State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) overview and OEP resources, and fraud awareness and prevention. Registration at CMSnationaltrainingprogram.cms.gov/moodle/course/view.php?id=228.

9/19+ Fungal Disease Awareness Week

September 19-23, 2022 is Fungal Disease Awareness Week. CDC has published a list of ten questions that discuss the circumstances and symptoms of common fungal infections, titled Fungal Infections: Protect Your Health, also available in Spanish. For full details on Fungal Disease Awareness Week see https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/awareness-week.html.

9/17+ Patient Safety Day, Conference

The theme of the UN World Health Organization’s September 17, 2022 World Patient Day this year is Medication Safety. Find details at https://www.who.int/news-room/events/detail/2022/09/17/default-calendar/world-patient-safety-day-2022. Closer to home, the Oregon Patient Safety Commission is also highly involved – see https://oregonpatientsafety.org/tools-and-best-practices/world-patient-safety-day-2022-medication-safety for information on their program.

OPSC is also collaborating with the Foundation for Healthcare Quality, the Washington Patient Safety Coalition and the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council to present the 19th Annual Northwest Patient Safety Conference on “Advancing Patient Safety in Today’s World,” online October 18-19, 2022. For information and registration see https://www.qualityhealth.org/wpsc/wpsc-events/patient-safety-conference/.

9/8+ EQRS Town Hall, New User Training, Newsletter

EQRS will hold a September 8, 2022 Town Hall webinar featuring EQRS Data Submission Deadlines, New EQRS Features including Vaccination Module, Admission in Support of Transplant feature, Parathyroid Hormone Reporting Fields, and EQRS FAQs. Register at https://mycrownweb.org/pcw_community_events/september-2022-town-hall-2/.

The September EQRS New User Training will be held on September 20, 2022. For more information and registration see https://mycrownweb.org/2022/09/nut-september-2022-announce/.

The September issue of the EQRS Quarterly Newsletter is also available, at https://mycrownweb.org/2022/09/september-2022-newsletter/. It includes notes on the CY2023 ESRD QIP, and all of the usual news on EQRS operations.

9/2+ CMS Email Down

CMS email is transitioning from HHS to CMS itself over the holiday weekend, and the process will take several days. All CMS email accounts will close down late on Friday September 2, 2022, until early on Tuesday, September 6. Any email sent to CMS accounts will receive a notice saying that the address does not exist. Please hold all emails for CMS until Tuesday. There is a notice but no details at https://www.medicaid.gov/.

8/28+ WA Only: FAQ re End of COVID CofN Waivers

Certificates of Need and Construction Reviews for ESRD facilities in Washington State were waived to allow a faster response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On August 1, 2022, Washington DOH announced that those waivers would end, and provided a timeline for that process, as described at https://nwrnbulletins.wordpress.com/2022/08/03/8-4-wa-only-covid-cofn-waivers-to-end/. Washington DOH has added a web page of Frequently Asked Questions about the process, at https://doh.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2022-08/FAQ-COVID-19WaiverOffboarding.pdf. The timeline includes August 28 deadlines.

8/23+ Late August Events

  • August 23-September 1, 2022: CMS National Training Program Webinars. Details and Registration at https://cmsnationaltrainingprogram.cms.gov/moodle/login/index.php:
    • August 23 – Medicare Scenarios (Casework Session)
    • August 24 – CMS and SAMHSA: Federal Partners addressing Behavioral Health
    • August 25 – Medicare Plan Finder
    • August 30 – Medicare Current Topics
    • August 31 – The Public Health Emergency (PHE) and CMS Programs
    • September 1 – Marketplace to Medicare: What You Can Expect

8/4+ WA only COVID CofN Waivers to End

Urgent information about COVID waivers: Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Inslee issued Proclamation 20-36 which waived certain certificate of need (CN), construction review (CR), and facility licensing requirements to allow health care facilities to rapidly adapt and expand to meet the demands for surge capacity. The Governor has announced his intent to rescind Proclamation 20-36 on October 27, 2022. Facilities that utilized the waivers to address surge must either revert their operations or take immediate action to move toward compliance by October 27, 2022. WA DOH will provide health care facilities a glide path to come into compliance, but you must act quickly to submit letters of intent and applications as described below. If your health care facility took advantage of the waivers in Proclamation 20-36 and you plan to maintain these changes beyond October 27, 2022, you must comply with state law applicable to your license type. This could include obtaining a certificate of need, obtaining construction review approval, and/or updating your license.

For those facilities requiring a Certificate of Need:

  1. By August 28, 2022, facilities must submit a Letter of Intent to WA DOH conforming to WAC 246-310-080. Letters of Intent must describe the increase in capacity and/or new locations the facility wants to maintain and be accompanied by a patient transition plan should DOH not approve the application. Send the Letter of Intent to COVIDwaiver@doh.wa.gov.  
  2. By October 27, 2022, facilities must submit a CN application and the appropriate fee to WA DOH following existing CN application processes and requirements. Facilities must also submit applications to modify their facility license within this same timeframe, as appropriate. If your CN application is denied, you must execute your patient transition plan and revert your operations to your previously approved CN.
  3. Exception: Health care facility types on a concurrent review cycle for CN applications (including ESRD facilities) will be required to submit a second Letter of Intent, CN application, and appropriate fee in compliance with WA DOH’s published schedule the next time the application cycle opens. Facilities must also submit applications to modify their facility license within this same timeframe, as appropriate. If your CN application is denied, you must execute your patient transition plan and revert your operations to your previously approved CN.

For those facilities requiring Construction Review:

  1. By August 28, 2022, facilities must submit a construction review application to COVIDwaiver@doh.wa.gov and appropriate fee. Applications must include a clear description of the scope of work (physical changes, additions, renovations) made to the facility.
  2. By October 27, 2022, facilities must submit formal engineering plans, functional programs, and associated documentation needed to evaluate compliance with the state licensing rules OR submit a technical assistance application to WA DOH to confirm the scope of work and establish documentation requirements. Facilities must respond quickly and in good faith to correct non-compliant construction, eliminate hazards within the environment and complete the review project.
  3. By January 25, 2023, and every 90 days after that until the project is fully approved, submit to WA DOH quarterly progress reports that address project status, updates since the last report, and planned completion date.

Following the process above will not adversely affect a facility’s CN, CR, or license application. Failure to follow the steps outlined above will be considered non-compliance and the department may take appropriate enforcement action. If you have any questions about what actions you should take now, technical assistance is available at COVIDwaiver@doh.wa.gov.

Informational Webinars: WA DOH will also host webinars about the glide path described above on the following dates:

8/8+ New EQRS Vaccination Tab and Module

Beginning approximately August 8, 2022, EQRS users will be required to enter any new vaccination data for Hepatitis B, Influenza, and Pneumococcal vaccinations on the Manage Patient screen under the new Vaccinations tab in EQRS, shown at right.

During the new Vaccination Module rollout, the most recent vaccination records for patients will be migrated from the Manage Clinical screen and will be visible on the new screens. On approximately October 1, 2022, the vaccination fields will no longer appear on the Manage Clinical screen.

Additionally, this new EQRS reporting process for vaccinations is an event-based reporting process. This means that EQRS users must submit vaccination data when a vaccination event occurs. A vaccination event occurs when a patient:

  • Receives a vaccine dose administered by the reporting facility.
  • Receives a vaccine dose by an outside provider with documentation.
  • Receives a vaccine dose which is self-reported with or without documentation.
  • Does not receive a vaccine dose offered by the reporting facility.

In addition to reporting vaccination information when a vaccination event occurs, facilities must also review patient vaccination history and enter any confirmed vaccination information into EQRS upon each patient admission to the facility. Facilities have until approximately October 1, 2022 to fully transition their Hepatitis B, Influenza and Pneumococcal vaccination reporting process in EQRS to the new Vaccinations Module (shown below) that is located under the Vaccinations tab on the Manage Patient screen.

For more information about the new EQRS reporting process for vaccinations, please refer to the EQRS Vaccination Data Submission Requirements and Frequently Asked Questions resource at https://mycrownweb.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/EQRS-Vaccination-Data-Submission-Requirements-and-Frequently-Asked-Questions-FAQ_vFINAL508.pdf.

If you are having technical issues with the EQRS user interface, contact the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality (CCSQ) Service Center, Monday-Friday 5am-5pm Pacific Time, at 866-288-8912, qnetsupport-esrd@cms.hhs.gov, or https://cmsqualitysupport.servicenowservices.com/ccsq_support_central. For general EQRS questions and questions about the ESRD QIP, please use the QualityNet Q&A Tool at https://cmsqualitysupport.servicenowservices.com/qnet_qa.

The notice from EQRS does not mention COVID-19 vaccinations, which are usually considered separately from Influenza vaccinations.

Pediatric Transplant Testing Eased

CDC has announced that the US Public Health Service Guidelines for infectious disease testing has been eased for solid organ transplant candidates less than 12 years old. Candidates who have been tested at least once since birth need no longer undergo additional testing for HIV, HCV, and HBV prior to transplant, because the risk of blood loss from testing is now deemed to be larger than the risk of infection. For full details see https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7126a2.htm.