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.

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.

2020-21 CDC Flu Vaccine Recommendations

CDC has published their recommendations for influenza vaccinations, suggesting that reducing seasonal influenza will help avoid confusion with pandemic COVID-19, and help relieve pressure on overloaded healthcare facilities.  Find the recommendations at https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/rr/rr6908a1.htm?s_cid=rr6908a1_e&deliveryName=USCDC_921-DM35682.

CDC HAN re Influenza

CDC has issued a HAN Health Advisory on Elevated Influenza Activity: Influenza B/Victoria and A(H1N1)pdm09 Viruses are the Predominant Viruses, summarized by:

“This health advisory notifies clinicians that influenza activity remains high in the United States.  Ongoing elevated activity is due to influenza B/Victoria viruses, increasing circulation of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses, and low levels of influenza B/Yamagata and influenza A(H3N2) viruses.  CDC’s influenza forecasts suggest that national influenza activity will remain elevated for several more weeks.  Because influenza activity is elevated and both influenza A and B virus infections can cause severe disease and death, this health advisory also serves as a reminder that early treatment with antiviral medications improves outcomes in patients with influenza.  Early treatment with antiviral medications is recommended for hospitalized patients and high-risk outpatients…  Clinicians should continue efforts to vaccinate patients for as long as influenza viruses are circulating, and promptly start antiviral treatment of severely ill and high-risk patients with suspected influenza without waiting for laboratory confirmation.”

Find the full HAN at https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00425.asp?deliveryName=USCDC_511-DM17072.

MAC Toolkits; Transplant, Transitions, Medications

The National Forum of ESRD Networks has introduced or updated several Medical Advisory Council (MAC) Toolkits.  Two new Kits include the Transplant Toolkit and the Medication Conversion Toolkit.  The Transitions of Care Toolkit was updated in mid-April.  Find them all at http://esrdnetworks.org/resources/toolkits/mac-toolkits-1, along with the existing Home Dialysis Toolkit, Medical Directors Toolkit, QAPI Toolkit, Medication Reconciliation Toolkit, Catheter Reduction Toolkit, Vaccination Toolkit, and Assurance of Diabetes Care Coordination Toolkit.

9/10 QIP PY2021-24

CMS has released the proposed ESRD QIP Technical Specifications for PY2021, 2022, and 2024.  Proposed changes include:

  • Elimination of Pain Assessment (NOT Depression Screening as indicated earlier), NHSN Healthcare Personnel Vaccination, Anemia Management, and Serum Phosphorous in PY2021.
  • New measures for Medication Reconciliation Reporting and Existing-Patient Transplant Waitlist for PY2022.
  • A new measure for Incident-Patient Transplant Waitlist in PY2024.
The proposed Technical Specifications can be found at https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/ESRDQIP/061_TechnicalSpecifications.html.  Comments on the proposals are due by September 10, 2018.  For more information see https://nwrnbulletins.wordpress.com/2018/07/11/cy2019-esrd-pps-proposed-rule/.

9/10 CY2019 ESRD PPS Proposed Rule

CMS has released a proposed rule for the CY2019 ESRD PPS, titled Proposed Updates to Policies and Payment Rates for the ESRD PPS, … QIP; and Payment for Renal Dialysis Services Furnished to Individuals with AKI and a fact sheet summarizing it.  The ellipsis in the title refers to durable medical equipment changes included in the same proposed rule.  Find the fact sheet at https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2018-Fact-sheets-items/2018-07-11.html.

The fact sheet includes summaries of:

  • Removing the Healthcare Personnel Vaccination, Pain Assessment, Anemia Management, and Serum Phosphorus reporting measures from the PY2021 QIP.
  • Restructuring domains and weights in the PY2021 QIP.
  • Expanding NHSN validation in both PY2021 and PY2022.
  • Adding measures for Percentage of Patients Waitlisted and Medication Reconciliation to the PY2022 QIP.
  • Adding a measure on Standardized First Transplant Waitlist Ratio for Incident Patients to the PY2024 QIP.

The proposed rule can be found on the Federal Register at https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2018-14986.pdf.  Comments must be received by September 10, 2018.

CDC HAN re HAV

CDC has issued a Health Alert Network Advisory on Hepatitis A Virus infections, especially among drug users and homeless persons.  The HAN includes recommendations for testing, vaccination, reporting, and other healthcare facility procedures.  For details see https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00412.asp.

2/22 CDC Injection Safety Webinar

CDC will present a free February 22, 2018 webinar on Empowering Nurses to Protect Themselves and Their Patients: Exploring Best Practices in Injection Safety.  For details and registration, see https://cc.readytalk.com/registration/#/?meeting=g3qmrx0o1rdc&campaign=j5n63qeujgek.  For recordings of previous webinars, see https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/training/safe-healthcare-webinars.html.