1/15 NCC Patient Event on COVID and Home Dialysis

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/.

1/12 CMS Webinar on CY2021 QIP

CMS will present an 11am PST January 12, 2021 webinar on the CY2021 (PY2023 and 2024) ESRD QIP Final Rule, and has promised to send out registration and login information next week. For more information on the CY2021 QIP, see https://www.cms.gov/files/document/esrd-qip-cy-2021-proposed-rule-final.pdf and https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/11/09/2020-24485/medicare-program-end-stage-renal-disease-prospective-payment-system-payment-for-renal-dialysis.

Possible New QIP Measures

CMS is in the process of deciding which new measures to add to its Quality programs. For the ESRD QIP, measures under consideration include in-center patient Coronavirus vaccination coverage, health care personnel Coronavirus vaccination coverage, and Standardized Hospitalization Ratio. For details see https://www.cms.gov/files/document/measures-under-consideration-list-2020-report.pdf – suggested new ESRD measures are summarized on p.82. Measures under consideration are being sent to the National Quality Forum’s Measure Applications Partnership (https://www.qualityforum.org/map/). After the “MAP” has evaluated them, measures still under consideration will be published in the Federal Register for public comment sometime after February 1, 2021.

Patient-to-Patient COVID Poster

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.

CDC: Monitor Vaccine Recipients

CDC says that during administration of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, “appropriate medical treatment used to manage immediate allergic reactions must be immediately available in the event that an acute anaphylactic reaction occurs following administration of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccine providers should observe patients with a history of anaphylaxis (due to any cause) for 30 minutes after vaccination. All other persons should be observed for 15 minutes after vaccination to monitor for the occurrence of immediate adverse reactions.” See https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/pfizer/clinical-considerations.html for a full description of all CDC recommendations around the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, including triage and adverse reaction reporting instructions near the bottom of the web page.

Navigating EQRS Bottleneck

Upcoming EQRS Service Center (nee Help Desk) Hold Times

Due to EQRS Clinical data deadlines being extended and the annual 2744 report, the EQRS Service Center is expecting an increase in volume of calls and emails between January 4 and March 31, 2021, resulting in longer wait times. CMS recommends the following to minimize wait times and ensure successful data submission:

Use a Single Method to Report Issues— Due to the increase in volume at the Service Center, and to minimize backlog of contacts, please use only one method of reporting for the same issue – either email or phone. Cases are processed in the order received regardless of the manner in which the Service Center was contacted. Please allow time for processing.

Submit Your Data Early— We encourage you to submit your monthly clinical data early, if possible. Early submission will allow you plenty of time for Service Center assistance if needed.

Call the Service Center at Off-Peak Hours— We strongly recommend calling the Service Center during off-peak hours, before 7am or after 11am PST.

For additional information on EQRS please visit https://www.mycrownweb.org for guides and instructional materials that may answer your question and keep you from waiting on hold for extended periods. Contact the EQRS Program at 866-288-8912, Monday through Friday, 5am-5pm PST, or by e-mail at qnetsupport-esrd@hcqis.org.  Customers who are hearing impaired can dial 711 to be connected to a TRS Communications Assistant.  Please have information available about the specific issue you are calling about, such as CCN, patient UPI, or MBI number to better assist you. Wait times are usually longer between 7am and 11am PST.

CDC Vaccine Safety Surveillance

Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS): https://vaers.hhs.gov/

VAERS is a website operated by both the CDC and the FDA to monitor vaccination safety. Here you can report adverse events for all patients regardless of the plausibility of the vaccine causing the event or the clinical seriousness of the event. This helps the nation monitor the safety of the vaccine for all patients; we can rapidly detect potential side effects and identify rare adverse events. For COVID-19, the FDA will issue VAERS reporting requirements under the EUA. To report an adverse event to VAERS, you can submit a report online at  https://vaers.hhs.gov/. If you need help, call 800-822-7967, email info@VAERS.org, or watch the instructional video https://youtu.be/sbCWhcQADFE.

V-safe: Active safety monitoring for COVID-19 vaccines https://vsafe.cdc.gov/

V-safe is a new CDC smartphone-based monitoring program for COVID-19 vaccine safety. It uses text messaging and web surveys to check-in with vaccine recipients after vaccination. Participants can report side effects and health impact events after COVID-19 vaccination and it includes active telephone follow-up by CDC for reports of significant health impact. V-safe conducts electronic health check-ins with vaccine recipients daily for the first week post-vaccination and weekly until 6 weeks post-vaccination, additional health checks at 3, 6, and 12 months post-vaccination, and the timeline resets at 2nd dose. CDC asks that healthcare providers get as many people to use v-safe as possible by giving them the one-page info sheet at the time of vaccination (https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdhhs/v-safe-information-sheet_709444_7.pdf) and educating patients on the importance of enrolling in v-safe.