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.

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).

9/16 NCC Tip Sheets on Multigenerational Living

The supplement the September 16, 2020 NCC COVID-19 webinar on Living in a Multi-Generational Household, NCC has produced one-page tip sheets in English and Spanish on Staying Safe in Multigenerational Households (Cómo mantenerse seguro en un hogar mul generacional).  Find more details and register for the webinar at https://esrdncc.org/en/events/2020/september-2020/covid09162020/?date=9/1/2020.  Find the tip sheets below:

NCC COVID-19 Mental Health Handbook

The ESRD National Coordinating Center has published a new 17-page booklet called The COVID-19 Mental Health Toolkit: Helping Renal Professionals Support the Well-Being of the ESRD Community.  It was developed by Network professionals and patient volunteers to serve as a guide for renal healthcare staff to help patients manage their well-being, and includes sections on taking action, increasing awareness, building community capacity, incorporating telemedicine, and getting ahead of the issues.  Find a copy at https://esrdncc.org/contentassets/abe8671eadac49c691c0f40eef52ef18/covid19mhtoolkit07312020508.pdf.

Toxic Waters

Now that high summer and higher temperatures have arrived, Harmful Algae Blooms (“HABs”) are an increasing threat to recreational and subsistence uses of bodies of fresh- and salt-water.  HABs can impact, sometimes fatally, harvesting of water- and shoreline-dwelling animals and plants, drinking, swimming, wading, and boating.  Pets and children are particularly vulnerable because they can rush into water before you even realize they’re out of the car.  The Oregon Health Authority advises,

“Don’t go into water that looks foamy, scummy, thick like paint, pea-green, blue-green or brownish red.  A good rule of thumb for you and your pet is: When in Doubt, Stay Out!”  (https://www.oregon.gov/OHA/PH/HealthyEnvironments/Recreation/HarmfulAlgaeBlooms/pages/index.aspx).

Bear in mind that most waters are not monitored for toxicity, so the lack of a warning sign is not enough to assure safe use.  The following websites provide information on identifying and responding to toxic waters and their impacts, and include alerts on the few, most popular, waters that are monitored and posted:

The Washington website is also available in Spanish, Somali, and Viet.  As an example of a posted warning, Odell Lake near Willamette Pass, between Eugene and Klamath Falls OR, has recently been posted; see the Oregon website above.

CMS Training on Medicare for People with ESRD

The CMS National Training Program includes a wide variety of webinars, slide decks, recorded videos, and CE offerings on a spectrum of Medicare-related topics.  Browse their list of topics at https://cmsnationaltrainingprogram.cms.gov/browse-topics?q=browse-topics&name=E.  One of their slide decks is called Medicare for People with ESRD, with sections on eligibility, enrollment, coverage, options, and  additional resources.  Find Medicare for People with ESRD at https://cmsnationaltrainingprogram.cms.gov/?combine=ESRD%20Networks&q=global-search.

HDC: Insurance 101 for Social Workers

MEI’s Home Dialysis Central blog has published a post on Insurance 101 for Dialysis Social Workers.  The objective is to help assure that people with Chronic Kidney Failure avoid inaccurate advice that can be very costly.  The complexity is remarkable – even insurance experts should review the article for anything they may have overlooked.  Find the post at https://homedialysis.org/news-and-research/blog/367-insurance-101-for-dialysis-social-workers.

Just a few examples:

  • You must have paid Social Security taxes for a specific length of time to be eligible for Medicare to cover treatment for chronic kidney failure.
  • Medicare coverage starts in month 4 for in-center dialysis, but starts in month 1 for home dialysis.
  • Medicare part A is free, but it’s Part B that pays for dialysis, and it’s not free.
  • If you don’t sign up for Medicare Part B or D when you’re first eligible for part A, you’ll pay a lot more for them.
  • A few of the terms and acronyms that complicate matters: work credits, Medicare Advantage, Medigap, Medicaid, Medi-Cal, primary payer, Medicare assignment, MA, QMD, SLMB, COBRA, QHP, ACA.

Summer Provider Newsletters

Network Provider Newsletters for Summer 2020 have been published.  They include articles on:

  • Network Support for COVID-19.
  • The ESRD QIP.
  • New QIP website interface.
  • Staff Burnout.
  • Patient Psychosocial Needs.
  • NCC “Web Hub” for Patients (Network 16 only).
  • Seeking Volunteers for Spanish-Speaking PAC (Network 18 only).
  • Data Currency in CROWNWeb.
  • Links to Network Patient Newsletters.
  • Patient Emergency Preparedness.
  • Interruptions in Service.
  • KCER Newsletter.
  • Staff Changes.
  • Link to Events Calendar (Network 18 only).
  • Network email Updates.

Find them at:

New COVID-19 Resources: Telehealth, Patient Safety

We’ve added several new COVID-19 resources to our collection, two for providers on Telehealth and a cartoon to explain what’s going on to patients who’ve been out of the loop about the Coronavirus: