The National Forum of ESRD Networks has published their flyer on What Kidney Patients Need to Know about the COVID-19 Vaccine in Spanish. A link to it has been added to the Forum’s web page on Resources & Links for Kidney Patients, along with the English version and many other documents on COVID-19 and CKD. Find it at https://esrdnetworks.org/resources-news/covid-19-information-resources/resources-for-kidney-patients/.
National Patient Safety Awareness Week (PSAW) is March 14-20, 2021. Some useful resource collections:
- Institute for Healthcare Improvement PSAW pages, http://www.ihi.org/Engage/Initiatives/Patient-Safety-Awareness-Week/Pages/default.aspx. They include a free March 16, 2021 expert panel discussion on Workplace Violence: Protecting Healthcare Workers – register at http://www.ihi.org/education/WebTraining/Webinars/workplace-violence-protecting-health-workers/Pages/default.aspx.
- The ESRD 5-Diamond Patient Safety Program, assisting dialysis facilities to improve both staff and patient awareness of specific patient safety areas, promoting patient safety values, and building a culture of patient safety in every dialysis facility, https://5diamondpatientsafety.org/Home.aspx. The Program includes a COVID-19 Module.
- Center for Patient Safety PSAW Toolkit, https://forward.centerforpatientsafety.org/psaw-toolkit-download – sample tabletop trifold below.
The National Forum of ESRD Networks has assembled from various sources a library of useful factual information for people with kidney disease about COV-19 and the vaccines. Find it at https://esrdnetworks.org/resources-news/covid-19-information-resources/resources-for-kidney-patients/.
CMS has announced a Special COVID-19 Open Enrollment Period for people having difficulty finding health insurance, spanning February 15-May 15, 2021. For details see https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/2021-special-enrollment-period-response-covid-19-emergency. Rules and procedures can be very complicated. Your dialysis facility Social Worker may be able to provide help or direct you to other assistance. You can also connect to free detailed, unbiased advice on navigating the health insurance labyrinth, tailored to your specific situation, from a trained expert in health insurance options, rules, and procedures, at https://www.shiptacenter.org/.
Rules and procedures also vary by state; a quick overview for the six states in ESRD Networks 16 and 18 follows:
Alaska: For details see https://www.healthinsurance.org/alaska-state-health-insurance-exchange/. No apparent Special COVID-19 Open Enrollment Period, but a “qualifying event” (https://www.healthinsurance.org/obamacare/qualifying-events-that-can-get-you-coverage/) may create one for you.
California: For details see https://www.healthinsurance.org/california-state-health-insurance-exchange/. State-specific Special COVID-19 Open Enrollment Period February 1-May 15, 2021.
Idaho: For general details, see https://www.healthinsurance.org/idaho-state-health-insurance-exchange/. No Special COVID-19 Open Enrollment Period, but some insurance plans are open all year (https://www.healthinsurance.org/idaho-short-term-health-insurance/#renew), and if you have a “qualifying event” (https://www.healthinsurance.org/obamacare/qualifying-events-that-can-get-you-coverage/), you can enroll anytime.
Montana: For details see https://www.healthinsurance.org/montana-state-health-insurance-exchange/. No apparent Special COVID-19 Open Enrollment Period, but a “qualifying event” (https://www.healthinsurance.org/obamacare/qualifying-events-that-can-get-you-coverage/) will create one just for you.
Oregon: For details see https://www.healthinsurance.org/oregon-state-health-insurance-exchange/. No apparent Special COVID-19 Open Enrollment Period, but a “qualifying event” (https://www.healthinsurance.org/obamacare/qualifying-events-that-can-get-you-coverage/), including loss of employer-sponsored health insurance, can create one just for you.
Washington: For details see https://www.healthinsurance.org/washington-state-health-insurance-exchange/. Special COVID-19 Open Enrollment Period February 15-May 15, 2021.
The NKF/ASN Task Force on Reassessing the Inclusion of Race in Diagnosing Kidney Diseases has been collecting information and testimony about health care disparities for Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/ Alaska Native, Asian American, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander people, and about kidney function measurement, patient safety/standardization, new or innovative approaches to kidney function measurement, and measurement or reporting that does not include race. They will hold a January 22, 2021 public forum for patients, family members, and other public stakeholders. Register at https://kidney.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_vVdJli2uRJKIgi4zlc8hfw. Find more information at https://www.kidney.org/content/nkf-asn-task-force-reassessing-inclusion-race-diagnosing-kidney-diseases.
NKF will present an 8am PST January 11, 2021 program on COVID-19 Vaccine Webinar and Facebook Live: What Kidney Patients Need to Know about the COVID-19 Vaccine. Find details and register at https://www.kidney.org/content/flu-covid-19-webinar-facebook-live.
The FDA has issued two different warnings about false negative COVID-19 test results:
They have warned that the Curative SARS-Cov-2 test may provide false results that could threaten the safety of patients and staff, providing details and recommendations at https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/safety-communications/risk-false-results-curative-sars-cov-2-test-covid-19-fda-safety-communication.
They have also warned that all SARS-CoV-2 molecular tests may provide false negatives on mutations of the virus, providing details and recommendations at https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-issues-alert-regarding-sars-cov-2-viral-mutation-health-care-providers-and-clinical-laboratory.
ASN, AAKP, AKF, ANNA, CDC, NANT, NKF, RPA, and the Renal Healthcare Association (formerly the NRAA) are collaborating to sponsor a January 7, 2021 webinar on Safety and Efficacy of COVID-19 Vaccines in the Dialysis Population. Webinar topics will include available information about the safety and efficacy of the current COVID-19 vaccines for health care workers and patients with CKD, the risk of poor outcomes in those contracting COVID-19, the position of the sponsors on urging dialysis patients to get vaccinated, possible concerns about receiving the vaccine, approaches to discussing and defusing those concerns, and a strategy to share the provided information widely. Find more information and register at https://goto.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1416384&tp_key=2914871054.
The ESRD National Coordinating Center will present a January 15, 2021 online event for patients on Home Dialysis During COVID: Lessons Learned. The objective is to demonstrate best practices, share patient experiences, and discuss the benefits of home therapy. Find more information and register at https://esrdncc.org/en/covid-19/covid-webinars/.
The National Forum of ESRD Networks Kidney Patient Advisory Council has developed a poster to encourage their fellow patients to stay strong and continue to be diligent about using COVID-19 safety precautions. They understand the challenges patients have faced in 2020 and they want to send an encouraging message to stay safe and healthy. Please consider printing this poster and sharing it with your kidney patients. The poster is free to download from the Forum website at https://esrdnetworks.org/resources/coronavirus-information-resources/resources-for-kidney-patients/covid-19-poster-for-kidney-patients/view.