DFC January Update

CMS has announced that new data on the care quality of dialysis facilities is now available on Dialysis Facility Compare (DFC), the website that allows patients and health centers to view and compare quality data about dialysis facilities.  CMS uses this data, organized into a series of measures, to create a 5-Star Rating system that can help patients make educated decisions about where to get their dialysis treatments, as well as to assist them in speaking with their healthcare team regarding their care.

The January revision has updated information for Standardized Transfusion Ratios, Standardized Mortality Ratios, Standardized Hospitalization Ratios, Standardized Readmission Ratios, vascular access types (fistula and catheter), bloodstream infections, hemoglobin management, and the CAHPS survey on in-center hemodialysis patient experience.  The July 2017 DFC data for dialysis adequacy, hypercalcemia, serum phosphorus, and the facility Star Ratings will remain until the next update.

Find DFC at https://www.medicare.gov/dialysisfacilitycompare/#.

If you’re computer-savvy, you can download supplementary DFC data from https://data.medicare.gov/data/dialysis-facility-compare.

UNOS, CDC on Zika

UNOS/OPTN has issued a bulletin covering Guidance for Organ Donation and Transplantation Professionals Regarding the Zika Virus. The bulletin includes notes about transfusion.  Much information remains unknown, and the Guidance revolves around recent donor travel history and risk considerations, with the warning that vulnerability to Zika may also mean vulnerability to Dengue and Chikungunya.  For details see https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/news/guidance-for-organ-donation-and-transplantation-professionals-regarding-the-zika-virus/ .

CDC has also issued a HAN Health Alert on Zika, HAN #392, CDC Recommendations for Subsequent Zika IgM Antibody Testing.  It warns healthcare facilities that they may need to collect a second blood sample if they don’t hold back and refrigerate a portion of the original sample for additional testing.  Find the HAN at  http://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00392.asp .

Zika is a nationally notifiable condition.  As of mid-June, 48 cases of the Zika virus had been lab-confirmed in (all of) California, and 13 cases in Oregon (7), Washington State (5) and Montana (1), all travel-related.  The spread of Zika in the US is tallied at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/united-states.html .  Travel locations vulnerable to acquiring Zika via mosquitoes are listed at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information .