HDC Blog Post on Dialysis, Travel, and COVID-19

Home Dialysis Central has added a post to their blog called Dialysis Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic.  It’s important for dialysis patients to know and accept that they are at higher risk for serious complications if they get COVID-19, because they have kidney failure.  This is true for any ESRD patient, not just those who are 65 or older.  According to CMS, during the first half of 2020 Medicare patients on dialysis were more than twice as vulnerable to COVID-19 infection compared to non-dialysis Medicare patients, and more than four times as likely to require hospitalization.  Find the HDC post at https://homedialysis.org/news-and-research/blog/372-dialysis-travel-during-the-covid-19-pandemic.

Guides for Patients to Dialysis Facility Compare

The National Forum of ESRD Networks has published introductory guides to the Dialysis Facility Compare (DFC) internet application that compares facilities on their general characteristics (such as whether they offer home dialysis or stay open after 5 pm), their quality of care (such as how they compare to other facilities on infection control), and the experience of their patients (such as whether patients found their doctors to be caring and to communicate well).

The guides describe what, why, and how a patient might use DFC.  Find them at:

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

HDC Blog Post re Patient Power

Home Dialysis Central has published a new blog post on The Power of the Patient Voice that cites many examples of how influential the voices of patients have been in CMS policies and regulations, especially those around home dialysis.  Find the post at https://homedialysis.org/news-and-research/blog/369-the-power-of-the-patient-voice.  In it they mention the ESRD PPS Proposed Rule on Medicare coverage and regulations that CMS publishes every year, and that Home Dialyzors United will next month remind all dialysis patients of your right to comment, and how to do it.  If you’d like to read ahead, find a link to the 2021 PPS Proposed Rule at https://nwrnbulletins.wordpress.com/2020/07/10/9-4-comments-due-re-proposed-changes-to-qip/.

HDC Post on Telehealth and Home Dialysis

Home Dialysis Central has published a new blog post called Getting the Most out of Telehealth for Home Dialysis Patients, describing what’s covered and what isn’t by COVID-19-related and other laws and waivers, what current facility policies are likely to be, features to be taken advantage of, and tips for success.  Find the post at https://homedialysis.org/news-and-research/blog/363-getting-the-most-out-of-telehealth-for-home-dialysis-patient.

New NCC Kidney Patient Web Hub

NCC has created an internet “hub” for patient education information, their ESRD NCC Patient Web Tool, to help people find resources created by patients for patients.  It’s major subsections include COVID-19. transplant, home dialysis, infection prevention, well-being, new patient information, and the Kidney Community Emergency Response Coalition or KCER.  Find it at https://thekidneyhub.org/.

AAKP Coronavirus Survey

AAKP is asking dialysis patients to take a survey on their experience with and concerns about COVID-19.  AAKP’s introduction follows:

“AAKP works closely and constructively with Federal and state officials on health issues of concern to both the general public and those who are immunocompromised – like kidney patients.  As we have in the past with flu and vaccines, we are interested in relaying your insights about the Coronavirus to relevant officials so that their actions and communications are better informed and responsive to your concerns.  As a dialysis patient, has the Coronavirus impacted your thinking or behavior?  What communication, if any, have you, as a dialysis patient, received with your healthcare team and/or dialysis facility?  TAKE A FEW MINUTES, TELL US YOUR THOUGHTS!  AAKP will share insights gleaned from you with the brave medical and scientific professionals fighting the Coronavirus! … Answers and any comments provided will not be attributed to any individual – the FLASH SURVEY is completely anonymous.”

Find the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DialysisandCoronavirus.  They do not indicate how long the survey will be available.

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.

NW16 3/1 NKF Community Symposium, Portland

NKF will present their Annual Kidney Community Symposium in Portland on March 1, 2020, featuring sessions on The Future of Kidney Care, Home Dialysis, Living Donation, and the presentation of the Elizabeth Kemble Friends of the Kidney Community Award.  For details and registration, see https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/nwrn.org/files/N/PKG/PKG2020PtSymp.pdf.