1/11 New CfC: 3rd-Party Payment

CMS has published a new rule in the Federal Register pertaining to Conditions for Coverage for ESRD Facilities – Third Party Payment.  Comments can be made until January 11, 2017.  The new Conditions will be effective January 13, 2017.  Because CMS has determined that current practices can significantly harm patients, they have shortened both the public comment period and the effective date of the rule.  Find the new rule at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/12/14/2016-30016/medicare-program-conditions-for-coverage-for-end-stage-renal-disease-facilities-third-party-payment .

Choosing a Facility

We’ve added the November Monthly Patient Bulletin to the Network 16 website.  This issue is all about selecting a facility for dialysis, with an emphasis on Medicare’s Dialysis Facility Compare website, https://www.medicare.gov/dialysisfacilitycompare/ .  If you haven’t gotten a copy of the Monthly Patient Bulletin, you can find one at https://www.nwrn.org/patients-a-family/ptedres/mon.html .

11/1 SSN Removal Call

On November 1, 2016 CMS will hold an Open Door Forum conference call on the removal of Social Security Numbers from Health Insurance Claim Numbers (HICN).  HICNs will be replaced by randomly created Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBIs) starting in 2018.  For more information see https://nwrnbulletins.wordpress.com/2016/09/29/mbi-replaces-hicn/ .  

The call well be held at 11am PDT, 800-837-1935, conference ID 98745631.  For TTY services, dial 800-855-2880.  CMS requests that participants dial in at least fifteen minutes before the scheduled start time.  

CMS has also advised that between now and 2018, all patients and facilities should make sure that their mailing addresses are kept current.  MBIs will be mailed to patients, and facilities will have to ask patients for their MBI.  Patient addresses in the Medicare, SSA, and CROWNWeb databases should all agree, with a correct and complete address to which the US Postal Service delivers.

MBI Replaces HICN

Over the next three years, CMS will replace their traditional Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) patient identifiers with a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI).  New Medicare Cards will be sent to all Medicare beneficiaries starting in April 2018, and all providers will be expected to have modified their software to accept MBIs by then.  Between April 2018 and December 2019, either the HICN or the MBI will be accepted by CMS.  After December 2019, the HICN will no longer be accepted.  

The MBI will have eleven characters, numbers and upper-case letters only.  A 2015 law (MACRA) requires CMS to remove Social Security Numbers (SSN) from Medicare identifiers.  You may encounter the new acronym SSNRI, for the CMS SSN Removal Initiative.  For more information see https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/SSNRI/Index.html and https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/SSNRI/Providers/Providers.html .

Access to Dialysis; AAKP Meeting

We’ve placed the September 2016 issue of Network Consumer News, the Northwest Renal Network patient newsletter, on the Network 16 website at https://nwrn.org/patients-a-family/ptedres/ncn.html .  This issue covers access to care, involuntary discharge, and Network 16’s grievance process.  This month we’ve included a Spanish edition, a large-print version, a feedback form, and a flyer about the September 23-25, 2016 AAKP National Patient Meeting in Nashville.

For more information on the following details about the AAKP Meeting, see https://www.aakp.org/images/downloads/AAKP_ConvBroch_2016_online.pdf 

  • AAKP is partnering with the Living Kidney Donor Network to present a free September 22, 2016 workshop on Having Your Donor Find You 
  • To arrange for dialysis while in Nashville, schedule it by August 31, 2016
  • To  receive conference rates at the AAKP Meeting hotel, you must reserve your accommodations by August 31, 2016
  • To receive discounted airfare from Southwest Airlines, make reservations by September 7, 2016
  • Continuing Education credits are available for RNs, MSWs, and RDs

8/18 Compassionate Care Webinar

The Coalition for Compassionate Care of California (CCCC) will present an August 18, 2016 webinar on The End of the Rainbow: What matters most to LGBTQ persons during serious illness.  The webinar will cover key components of diversity, challenges of managing a diverse staff, and skills in creating protocols.  One CEU will be available for nurses and social workers.  Find more information and register at http://coalitionccc.org/training-events/webinars/ .

The same web page includes descriptions of and links to previous webinars and their recordings, including sessions on advance planning, intimacy, delirium, palliative care, communication, reimbursement, depression, California’s new EOL law, and POLST*.  Many more webinars, tools, and resources can be found at http://coalitionccc.org/training-events/

The CCCC Annual Palliative Care Summit will be held in Sacramento CA March 13-14, 2017, and CCCC is now calling for presentations.   Find out more at http://coalitionccc.org/training-events/annual-conference/cccc-annual-summit-call-presentations/ ,  http://coalitionccc.org/training-events/annual-conference/ (including links to presentations from earlier Summits),  and http://ccccsummit.org/ .

* POLST, or Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, serve the same function for current-time treatment, as Advance Directives do for future treatment.  For more information on POLST, see http://www.polst.org/advance-care-planning/polst-and-advance-directives/ .

Organ Donation Campaign

The UNOS website summarizes the efforts recently coordinated and announced by the White House to increase organ donation, at https://www.unos.org/unos-announces-efforts-to-increase-the-number-of-transplants/ .  Regional institutions involved include UCLA, University of Washington, OHSU, NKC, and DCI.  Their contributions are listed along with the many others in the White House Fact Sheet, a full 16-page list of campaign actions, at http://go.wh.gov/Zrasw2 .  Find summary press releases from NKC at http://www.nwkidney.org/news/northwest-kidney-centers-to-participate-in-white-house-organ-summit and DCI at http://www.dciinc.org/dialysis-clinic-inc-announced-commitment-to-increase-organ-donation/ .

In a related action, some health insurers are now covering donor travel costs when the recipient is insured by them; see http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/10/unitedhealthcare-to-pay-for-kidney-donors-travel-expenses-to-encourage-donation.html for details.