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.

New USPHS Guidelines for Infection and Transplant

The CDC MMWR has published a document entitled Assessing Solid Organ Donors and Monitoring Transplant Recipients for HIV, HBV, and HCV Infection — U.S. Public Health Service Guideline, 2020., describing advances in infection detection and treatment since the previous 2013 edition, with recommendations for organ procurement organizations and transplant centers.  It doesn’t cover COVID-19 organ damage or transmission.  Find the Guideline at https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/rr/rr6904a1.htm?s_cid=rr6904a1_w.

KDIGO-ISN Video Series

KDIGO has released a series of recorded webinars and other presentations from their collaboration with the International Society of Nephrology, including videos of:

  • Update on CKD Mineral Bone Disorder KDIGO Guidelines 2017
  • Diagnosis and Management of Atrial Fibrillation and Heart Failure in Patients with CKD
  • The Kidney and HIV: Implications for Treatment and Prevention
  • Hepatitis C Guideline Update
  • Dialysis Initiation, Modality Choice, & Prescription
  • Coronary Artery & Valvular Diseases
  • Blood Pressure in CKD
  • Glomerular Disease
  • AKI in 2019: What Has Changed since the KDIGO Guidelines in 2012?
  • Blood Pressure and Volume Management in Dialysis
  • Potassium Controversies
  • Kidney Problems in Oncology
  • Clinical Practice Guideline on the Management of Blood Pressure in CKD
  • Kidney Transplantation and Cardiac Disease
  • Clinical Practice Guideline: Diabetes Management in CKD

They plan to add at least four more this year.  Find them all on the KDIGO-ISN YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm7zHM_wBaPbQxRDJwyvqMg/videos.

4/23 ASN Webinar on Transplant & COVID-19

ASN wil present an April 23, 2020 webinar on Challenges in Transplant Program Operations in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implications for Patients & Referring Providers at 1:30 pm PDT, in which transplant nephrologists will discuss the impact of COVID-19 on kidney transplant programs, patients awaiting transplant, and post-transplant care.  Register at https://www.asn-online.org/store/webinar.aspx?evt_key=7ff6ab2d-d562-44a2-8716-dd6101805ad3&g2w_key=4655990146176221964.

New CDC HAN on COVID-19 Coronavirus

CDC has issued a new HAN Health Alert on the COVID-19 Coronavirus, titled Updated Guidance on Evaluating and Testing Persons for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).  Find it at https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/2020/han00429.asp.  An excerpt:

“Clinicians should work with their local and state health departments to coordinate testing through public health laboratories.  In addition, COVID-19 diagnostic testing, authorized by the FDA under an EUA, is becoming available in clinical laboratories.  This additional testing capacity will allow clinicians to consider COVID-19 testing for a wider group of symptomatic patients.  Clinicians should use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested.”

See the two previous posts for other important current updates on COVID-19.

New CDC HAN and COVID-19 News

  • CDC has issued a new HAN Health Alert on the COVID-19 Coronavirus, titled Updated Guidance on Evaluating and Testing Persons for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).  Find it at https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/2020/han00429.asp.  See next post for more information.

>2/21 Revised CMS State Operations Manual

CMS has published revisions to the State Operations Manual, including Appendix H – ESRD Facilities, Appendix X – Organ Transplant Program, and Appendix Z – Emergency Preparedness.  Find the revised Manual, which is effective as of February 21, 2020, at https://www.cms.gov/files/document/r200soma.pdf.  The 700-page manual lacks page numbers or other indications of which appendix you’re reading, but online PDF readers provide page counts in the upper left-hand corner, or at the top of the screen.  Changes include:

  • pp. 175ff: Appendix H – ESRD Facilities.  Guidance to Surveyors in Appendix H is extensively revised throughout, including updates to the regulatory text based on requirements set forth in the 2008 Conditions for Coverage and revisions based on recent Federal Fire Safety Requirements.
  • pp. 614ff: Appendix X – Organ Transplant Programs.  Revisions include Survey Protocol Tasks, and occasional other revisions scattered throughout.
  • pp. 657ff: Appendix Z – Emergency Preparedness.   Major revisions are included throughout.

New Reports: USRDS, OPTN, SRTR, UNOS

The US Renal Data System (USRDS) 2019 Annual Data Report: Epidemiology of Kidney Disease in the United States has been released on paper.  The online version was released in November 2019.  Find the Report at https://www.ajkd.org/issue/S0272-6386(19)X0003-7, and the USRDS ADR page at https://www.usrds.org/adr.aspx.

The Annual Data Report of the OPTN and SRTR (the US Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network and the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients) is now available, documenting data pertaining to the period 2007-2018.  Find it at https://srtr.transplant.hrsa.gov/annual_reports/2018_ADR_Preview.aspx.  Find the OPTN home page at https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/ and SRTR at https://www.srtr.org/.

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) has published new vision and mission statements.  Find them at https://unos.org/news/introducing-unos-new-mission-and-vision/.

2/14+ National Donor Day

Donate Life Northwest remind us that February 14, 2020 is National Donor Day, and provides links to facilitate its celebration at https://mailchi.mp/donatelifenw.org/february-2020-donate-lifeline?e=d7486be0ed.  This web page also provides information about their March 12, 2020 Volunteer Orientation course in Portland, their Fundraising Team for the April 24-26, 2020 Eugene Marathon, planned giving, and their Threads of Life quilting project (quilt squares are due February 17, 2020).

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.