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.

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.

HDC on Safe Social Work and COVID-19

Home Dialysis Central has published a blog post on Dialysis Social Work During a Pandemic: Caring for Patients Safely, thoroughly reviewing what are permitted and required by:

  • CMS Conditions for Coverage,
  • Social Work licenses and training,
  • Medicare reimbursement rules and waivers,
  • Patient and staff safety,
  • Home dialysis,
  • Effective communication,
  • PPE,
  • Telehealth,
  • Comparative advantage,

all in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Find the post at https://homedialysis.org/news-and-research/blog/361-dialysis-social-work-during-a-pandemic-caring-for-patients-safely.

Medicaid Waivers for Home Patients

The Medical Education Institute has published a Home Dialysis Central blog post on Medicare Waivers: The Best Kept Secret in Dialysis Home Health Care, which describes a program that allows people who don’t normally qualify for Medicaid, but who have fragile health, to get Medicaid funding for home care anyway.  The program doesn’t cover dialysis itself, but it does cover home health care aides and other useful services.  State agencies administer waiver programs that help seniors and people with disabilities, to ensure that these vulnerable populations can live independently in their homes and communities, and/or age in place.  Thanks to these waivers, states can provide services to their residents that wouldn’t usually be covered by Medicaid.  If you are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, you can have and use both for the services you need.  The services they cover are not always the same.  For example, Medicaid offers coverage for things like personal care services while Medicare does not.  Find the MEI blog post at https://homedialysis.org/news-and-research/blog/346-medicare-waivers-the-best-kept-secret-in-dialysis-home-health-care.

3/4 KQF Kidney Disease Impact Conference

Kidneys Quest Foundation will present a free in-person one-day 2020 Kidney Disease Impact Conference in Los Angeles on March 4, 2020.  Conference topics will include improving renal health, preventing kidney failure, expanding options for kidney patients, dialysis, home dialysis, research, clinical trials, increasing available organs for transplant, transplant support, becoming a living donor, CKD and CVD, and pediatric CKD.

Invitation is extended to renal patients, social workers, registered nurses, dietitians, dialysis technicians, medical directors, administrators and organization managers, healthcare workers, friends and family of patients, and anyone interested in kidney disease and dialysis.  Attendance and onsite parking is free, and continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.  Continuing education credits for nurses, social workers, dietitians, and dialysis technicians are available for a $50 fee.  Pre-registration is required, and space is limited.  Register at:

Find complete details, including the Conference agenda and sponsor registration information, at http://kidneysquestfoundation.org/2020-kidney-disease-impact-conference.html.

2/5+ CCCC Annual Summit

The Coalition for Compassionate Care of California and the Children’s Hospice & Palliative Care Coalition will host their 2020 Annual Summit 5-6 May, 2020 in Sacramento, under the theme of Sharpening our Vision for Compassionate Care in the Face of Serious Illness.  Continuing education credits are available for nurses, social workers, physicians, pharmacists, chaplains, and nursing home administrators.  Summit timelines include:

For registration see https://ccccsummit.org/registration/.  For full details on the Annual Summit, see https://mailchi.mp/coalitionccc.org/2020summitsponsorship-745671?e=67e1ad4c31.

CCCC and CHPCC are merging; for details see https://coalitionccc.org/2015/11/childrens-hospice-and-palliative-care-coalition-becomes-program-of-cccc/.

3/1+ CA Dialysis Council Educational Conference

The California Dialysis Council will hold their 38th Annual Educational Conference 2020 in Rancho Mirage CA on April 2-4, 2020.  Topics include home dialysis, palliative care, nephrology social work, living with CKD, adherence, mental health, transplant, CEO and CMO panels, a legislative update, and a Network update.  Continuing education credits are offered for nurses, dietitians, and social workers.  Critical dates include:

  • Early registration deadline March 1, 2020.
  • Exhibitor registration deadline March 2, 2020.
  • Room reservation deadline March 12, 2020.
  • Online registration deadline March 27, 2020.
  • Conference April 2-4, 2020.

On-site registration at the conference is allowed.  For full details see https://www.californiadialysis.org/annual-conference.html.