10/22 HHS Rule to Facilitate Living Donation

The HHS Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has published a Final Rule on Removing Financial Disincentives to Living Organ Donation, effective October 22, 2020.  The Rule aims to reimburse organ donors more appropriately.  Find the Rule in the Federal Register at https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-09-22/pdf/2020-20804.pdf.  Find a discussion of public comments on the Rule and HRSA response at https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-09-22/pdf/2020-20805.pdf.

10/29+ EQRS New User Training

On November 9, 2020, CMS will incorporate the roles and functionality of its legacy CROWNWeb system into the ESRD Quality Reporting System, EQRS.  This rollout will introduce new steps users must follow to submit facilities’ administrative and patients’ treatment-related data directly to CMS.  Online EQRS New User Training will be held on October 29, 2020 and repeated on November 4, 2020.  Find more information and register for the Training at https://mycrownweb.org/2020/09/nut-oct-2020-announce/.

3RNet Rural Jobs Network

3RNet, the National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network, is a nonprofit organization that connects health care facilities in rural or underserved areas and health professionals looking for work.  They have representatives or “members” in all fifty states, the Mariana Islands, the Veterans Administration, and the Indian Health Service.   Find these representatives, and full details about the organization for both facilities and professionals, at https://www.3rnet.org/.  The web pages specific to Networks 16 and 18 states are:

The Office of Rural Health at the Washington Department of Health is subsidizing the 2020 series of introductory 3RNet Academy courses so Washington healthcare facilities can attend for no charge:

  • October 6, 2020 – Recruiting for Retention: Using Candidate Motivations to Strategically Market
  • October 20, 2020 – Combating Isolation in Rural and Underserved Recruiting
  • November 3, 2020 – Compensation Trends for Providers: Balancing Financial and Lifestyle Needs
  • November 17, 2020 – Avoiding Burnout through a Managed Scope of Practice
  • December 1, 2020 – Recruiting for Team Based Care in Rural and Underserved Communities
  • December 15, 2020 – Building Support for Your Recruitment Efforts at the Local Level

Find more information about the 3RNet Academy and courses at https://academy/3rnet.org/why-attend.html and https://academy.3rnet.org/agenda.html.  Register at https://academy/3rnet.org/register.html using coupon code 2021WA at checkout.  The webinars will be recorded, so registrants can watch them on their own schedule.  For questions about 3RNet: info@3rnet.org or 800-787-2512.  For questions about the Washington program: Faith Johnson at faith.johnson@doh.wa.gov or 360-236-2815.

9/30 NKF/CDC Webinar on Influenza & COVID-19

NKF and CDC will co-host a free September 30, 2020 webinar on Protecting Yourself and Your Patients: Preventing Influenza in the COVID-19 Era, focused on taking the steps to prevent influenza during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Influenza can be associated with serious illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths, especially in people with certain chronic medical conditions, such as those with CKD at any stage, including patients on dialysis and transplant recipients.  This webinar will provide an overview of the implications of influenza vaccinations among healthcare professionals caring for kidney patients.  Also, strategies for encouraging influenza vaccination among patients and others will be discussed.  The webinar offers 0.50 CME credit.  Find full details and register at https://education.kidney.org/content/webinar-protecting-yourself-and-your-patients-preventing-influenza-covid-19-era.

CMS Publishes ETC Payment Model

CMS has released information about the long-awaited ESRD Treatment Choices (ETC) Model, which “aims to test whether greater use of home dialysis and kidney transplantation for Medicare beneficiaries with ESRD will reduce Medicare expenditures, while preserving or enhancing the quality of care furnished to beneficiaries with ESRD.”  The newly published information includes:

NW16/OR Medicare Wildfire Assistance

CMS has prepared a press release summarizing the steps that Medicare has taken in Oregon to help make health care available to wildfire victims, including opening special enrollment periods to allow out-of-season initiations or changes to Medicare coverage, various kinds of assistance to healthcare facilities, and help to displaced dialysis patients.  Find the press release at https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-offers-comprehensive-support-oregon-due-wildfires.

2020 Flu Season

CDC has published (non-COVID-19) flu vaccine recommendations for the 2020-2021 season.  Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the spread of respiratory illness, like flu, this fall and winter is more important than ever.  Find the 2020-2021 recommendations at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/acip/summary/summary-recommendations.htm.  Also available in Spanish and eight other languages.*

Medicare Part B covers one flu shot per flu season and additional flu shots if medically necessary.  Flu shots are free for Medicare patients.  Pneumonia and flu shots can be given during the same office visit; find recommended schedules at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/adult.html.

CDC, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee recommend that all U.S. health care workers get annual flu shots.

Find More Information at:

* To find the non-English versions, go to the links above, then click on “Español” or “Other Languages” – these links are either in the upper right corner of the page, or between the title and the text of the document.

9/22+ NCC COVID-19 Webinars

The ESRD Network Coordinating Center will present two webinars in their COVID-19 series:

  • September 30, 2020 webinar for providers on Organ Donation – Impacts of COVID-19.  One CEU is available.

For details and registration, and recordings of earlier NCC COVID-19 webinars and “quickinars,” see https://esrdncc.org/en/covid-19/covid-webinars/.

CDC Evacuation Advice

CDC has launched a new web page on Natural Disasters, Severe Weather, and COVID-19, to provide information on how people can stay safe during and after natural disasters during the COVID-19 response.  The page and a few of its useful links follow:

Understand that your planning and preparation may be different this year because of the need to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Give Yourself Time: Give yourself more time than usual to prepare your emergency food, water, and medicine supplies.  Home delivery is the safest choice for buying disaster supplies, but it may not be an option for everyone.  If in-person shopping is your only choice, take steps to protect your and other’s health when running essential errands.

Pack Your Go Kit: If you need to evacuate, prepare a “go kit” with personal items you cannot do without during an emergency.  Include items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, bar or liquid soap, disinfectant wipes (if available), and two masks for each person.  Masks should not be used by children under the age of 2.  They also should not be used by people having trouble breathing, or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Keep Your Distance: When you check on neighbors and friends, be sure to follow social distancing recommendations (staying at least 6 feet from others) and other CDC recommendations to protect yourself and others.

Read more about COVID-19 specific key disaster messages in Hurricane Key Messages: COVID-19 Annex (Spanish), in addition to the Preparedness and Safety Messaging for Hurricanes, Flooding, and Similar Disasters (Spanish).