CDC has announced an August 21, 2019 EPIC (Emergency Partners Information Connection) webinar on Disasters—Keeping Volunteers, Workers, and Responders Safe. Find a link to that and to previous EPIC webinars and conference calls at https://emergency.cdc.gov/epic/learn/index.asp?deliveryName=DM6767.
This month’s CROWNWeb New User training will take place online on July 10, 2019. For details and registration see http://mycrownweb.org/pcw_lems/july-2019-new-user-training/.
The July CROWNWeb Newsletter is also now available, at http://mycrownweb.org/2019/07/july-2019-newsletter/. This issue focuses on KCER, the Kidney Community Emergency Response Coalition, and includes a Checklist for keeping all patient information up to date during an emergency, along with the usual handy list of links and other timely information.
The next CROWNWeb Town Hall will be held July 25, 2019. For more information and to register, see http://mycrownweb.org/events/. Transcripts and recordings of previous CROWNWeb Town Halls are also available at this link.
As an example of new regulations that allow utilities to preemptively shut off power to areas with high temperatures, low humidity, and high winds, Southern California Edison has announced that it may shut off power to parts of the Coachella Valley later this week (July 2-4, 2019); see https://www.sce.com/outage-center/major-outages. Different regulations apply to different areas, depending on perceived risk, as defined by the California Public Utilities Commission. You can find a good summary of these issues, including a map of the areas most likely to be impacted, at https://microgridnews.com/california-utilities-plan-power-shutoffs-to-avoid-2019-wildfires/. While these issues currently apply to California, they may soon also apply to Network 16 states.
Dialysis facilities are already required to be prepared for power outages, though many facilities share backup equipment because outages have been more local in the past. Facilities will want to review their backup power plans to include preemptive outages and consider whether sharing backup power equipment is still practical when all nearby facilities have also gone dark. Dialysis facilities with patients on home dialysis modalities, particularly home hemodialysis, will want to assure that all of their patients have access to adequate dialysis even if power is out for a week or more, which could occur if hot, dry, windy weather persists in an area. Facilities will also want to assure that their home patients are well trained in how to respond to preemptive outages. The occurrence of preemptive outages is intended to be announced by utilities in advance, but if weather changes rapidly, or individuals are difficult to locate, it may not be possible to notify everyone before the fact, so facilities may want to develop their own phone trees or other strategies, being mindful of HIPAA.
Since dialysis is not the only situation where patients and facilities are vulnerable to preemptive power outages, it may be helpful to coordinate with your county or regional Healthcare Coalition; see https://www.kcercoalition.com/en/resources/professional-resources/cms-emergency-preparedness-rule/state-healthcare-coalitions-list/california-healthcare-coalitions/ for contact information, or check with your county Health Department (Tulare, King, Kern, Orange, and Riverside Counties are absent from the KCER list). CMS requires all facilities to report to their Network any lapse in the ability of patients to have access to dialysis because of emergency events; for details see https://nwrnbulletins.wordpress.com/2019/06/04/notify-network-of-emergencies/.
A few resources that may be useful for facilities and patients in this context:
Wildfire season is here, and CMS requires all ESRD Networks to track the status of facility operations, and patient access to treatment, during emergency events at all facilities. If the operations of your facility, or ability for patients to have access to dialysis, are impacted by emergency events, please let your Network know right away.
- For Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska (Network 16), contact Lisa Hall or Ashley Thomsen at 206-923-0714, or by email at LHall@nw16.esrd.net or email@example.com. We also ask that you fill out and submit the Network Disaster Reporting Form at http://www.esrdnetwork18.org/machform/view.php?id=44393 (Network 18 will forward it back to Network 16).
- In Southern and South-Central California (Network 18), contact Eileen Rhodes or Anabel Galindo-Guerrero at 888-268-1539 or by email at ERhodes@nw18.esrd.net or firstname.lastname@example.org, and fill out the form at http://www.esrdnetwork18.org/machform/embed.php?id=16298.
You are reminded never to put PHI or PII in an email or online form. Examples include patient name or initials, birthdate, SSN, and other identifying information.
The Health Services Advisory Group will present a May 22, 2019 webinar on Dialysis During Disasters: The KCER Program. Find more information and register at https://hsagonline.webex.com/mw3300/mywebex/default.do?nomenu=true&siteurl=hsagonline&service=6&rnd=0.7966972207752958&main_url=https%3A%2F%2Fhsagonline.webex.com%2Fec3300%2Feventcenter%2Fevent%2FeventAction.do%3FtheAction%3Ddetail%26%26%26EMK%3D4832534b0000000456969e3e20f1f1940b9e65cd56c9568a782ca4a89f6fee4fd1541f22ca06dc52%26siteurl%3Dhsagonline%26confViewID%3D124175975841833421%26encryptTicket%3DSDJTSwAAAAQNV5M70e-J8VlqfacdON7uct5Kw2Gna-3JdJWrLP2NBw2%26.
CDC’s Emergency Partners Information Connection (EPIC) will hold an April 24, 2019 webinar on Cultural Competence in Preparedness Planning. When a disaster strikes a community, it often affects people of minority cultural backgrounds disproportionately. Cultural competency can help public health communicators reduce this disparity. Find more details and register for the webinar at https://emergency.cdc.gov/epic/learn/webinar_20190424.asp. See https://emergency.cdc.gov/epic/learn/index.asp for recordings of past EPIC webinars.
MEI’S Home Dialysis Central blog has published a post on Emergency Planning for Home Dialyzors. Find it at https://homedialysis.org/news-and-research/blog/302-emergency-planning-for-home-dialyzors.