1/19+ CMS NTP Medicare Webinars

The CMS National Training Program will present two two-hour Understanding Medicare webinars, covering Medicare Program basics, at 10am PST on January 19 and 20, 2021. These webinars will be recorded and posted at http://CMSnationaltrainingprogram.cms.gov/?q=ntp-courses. CEU credits are not available.

The January 19 webinar explains Medicare enrollment and eligibility, SSA and CMS roles and responsibilities, cost and coverage under Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance), why enrolling on time is important, and an overview of Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policies. Register at http://CMSnationaltrainingprogram.cms.gov/moodle/course/view.php?id=118.

The January 20 webinar explains Part D (Drug Coverage), Medicare Advantage, coordination of benefits, how to detect and report suspected Medicare fraud, waste, and abuse, and resources to help answer policy and coverage questions. Register at http://CMSnationaltrainingprogram.cms.gov/moodle/course/view.php?id=119.

1/12+ CMS COVID Calls

CMS will hold an hour-long COVID “Office Hours” call at 2pm PST January 12, 2021. Call in to 833-614-0820 using access passcode 4688247, or use the audio webcast link at https://edge.media-server.com/mmc/p/p5jw6syi. They haven’t announced a second date, but they have indicated their intention to offer this call twice a month.

They will also offer a 1pm PST January 13, 2021 call on COVID-19 Vaccine Safety: A Fireside Chat with CMS, CDC, and front line staff and providers. Register in advance at https://cms.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_VQnfc77zTaOho3-yYrtGUA. After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. This call will be repeated at 1pm PST on January 20 and January 27, 2021.

Find more information and updates at https://www.cms.gov/outreach-education/partner-resources/coronavirus-covid-19-partner-toolkit.

FDA Warnings re COVID-19 False Test Results

The FDA has issued two different warnings about false negative COVID-19 test results:

They have warned that the Curative SARS-Cov-2 test may provide false results that could threaten the safety of patients and staff, providing details and recommendations at https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/safety-communications/risk-false-results-curative-sars-cov-2-test-covid-19-fda-safety-communication.

They have also warned that all SARS-CoV-2 molecular tests may provide false negatives on mutations of the virus, providing details and recommendations at https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-issues-alert-regarding-sars-cov-2-viral-mutation-health-care-providers-and-clinical-laboratory.

1/14 CMS NTP Medicare Update

CMS will present a January 14, 2021 National Training Program (NTP) webinar on Medicare Update and Education, wherein they will “share Medicare updates, tips for training preparation, and demonstrate how to use the NTP website to maximize your Medicare training experience.” NTP “provides support for partners and stakeholders, not-for-profit professionals and volunteers who work with seniors and people with disabilities, and others who help people make informed health care decisions.” Find out more about NTP at https://cmsnationaltrainingprogram.cms.gov/. Register for the January webinar at https://cmsnationaltrainingprogram.cms.gov/moodle/login/index.php.

1/7 ASN+ Webinar on Vaccine Safety in ESRD

ASN, AAKP, AKF, ANNA, CDC, NANT, NKF, RPA, and the Renal Healthcare Association (formerly the NRAA) are collaborating to sponsor a January 7, 2021 webinar on Safety and Efficacy of COVID-19 Vaccines in the Dialysis Population. Webinar topics will include available information about the safety and efficacy of the current COVID-19 vaccines for health care workers and patients with CKD, the risk of poor outcomes in those contracting COVID-19, the position of the sponsors on urging dialysis patients to get vaccinated, possible concerns about receiving the vaccine, approaches to discussing and defusing those concerns, and a strategy to share the provided information widely. Find more information and register at https://goto.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1416384&tp_key=2914871054.

1/19+ January EQRS Newsletter

CMS has issued the January EQRS News, featuring articles on the specifications required for computers used to access EQRS, PY2021 PSRs and PSCs, the lack of PART verification in EQRS, the ICH CAHPS Attestation, Clinical Closure deadlines, and the usual useful links to more information about EQRS and its environment, including the announcement of New User Training on January 19, 2021. If it’s required, the ICH CAHPS Attestation must be completed by March 1, 2021. Clinical Closure deadlines for September, October, and November 2020 have been extended to February 1, 2021. Find the January issue at https://mycrownweb.org/2020/12/january-2021-newsletter/, and a compendium of online EQRS, HARP, and QIP training resources at https://mycrownweb.org/education/.

1/12 CMS Webinar on CY2021 QIP

CMS will present an 11am PST January 12, 2021 webinar on the CY2021 (PY2023 and 2024) ESRD QIP Final Rule, and has promised to send out registration and login information next week. For more information on the CY2021 QIP, see https://www.cms.gov/files/document/esrd-qip-cy-2021-proposed-rule-final.pdf and https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/11/09/2020-24485/medicare-program-end-stage-renal-disease-prospective-payment-system-payment-for-renal-dialysis.

Possible New QIP Measures

CMS is in the process of deciding which new measures to add to its Quality programs. For the ESRD QIP, measures under consideration include in-center patient Coronavirus vaccination coverage, health care personnel Coronavirus vaccination coverage, and Standardized Hospitalization Ratio. For details see https://www.cms.gov/files/document/measures-under-consideration-list-2020-report.pdf – suggested new ESRD measures are summarized on p.82. Measures under consideration are being sent to the National Quality Forum’s Measure Applications Partnership (https://www.qualityforum.org/map/). After the “MAP” has evaluated them, measures still under consideration will be published in the Federal Register for public comment sometime after February 1, 2021.