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Welcome to the February 11 edition of the Quality Insights Renal Network 4 (QIRN4) e-newsletter. In this issue, we bring you important updates for the renal community, tools and resources, special announcements and much more. We encourage you to contact us with any questions, concerns or suggestions. 
ParticipationICHCAHPSSurveylearn about participation in the 2016 ich cahps survey
In-center hemodialysis (ICH) facilities that served 30 or more survey-eligible patients in calendar year (CY) 2015 must administer the In-center Hemodialysis CAHPS Survey (ICH CAHPS) in the spring and fall of CY2016 to comply with quality reporting requirements for the 2018 payment year.

All ICH facilities should read this announcement in its entirety to determine whether they are required to participate in the ICH CAHPS Survey in CY2016 and if so, review the steps that need to be taken.

Learn more
CMSThreeNewQualityMeasuresCMS to add three new quality measures in cy2016 qip to dialysis facility compare website
Starting in October 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will add the three new quality measures included in the Calendar Year 2016 Quality Incentive Program (QIP) to the Dialysis Facility Compare website. Those measures are:
  • Bloodstream Infection in Hemodialysis Outpatients
  • CAHPS (Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers) In-Center Hemodialysis Survey
  • Pediatric Peritoneal Dialysis Adequacy: Achievement of Target Kt/V 

Learn more. Visit the Dialysis Facility Compare website

MARCPeerUpProgrammarc program trains dialysis patients to be mentors and mentees with a result of reduced Missed dialysis treatments
The Mid-Atlantic Renal Coalition (MARC), which serves as ESRD Network 5, has developed a program for training dialysis patients to be mentors and mentees. A test of the program has successfully reduced the number of missed dialysis treatments. Missed and shortened treatments can result in fluid management problems, unhappy patients and unnecessary hospitalizations.  The program is briefly described in Nephrology News & Issues.  Network 5 has made all of the materials for the program, which they call Peer Up!, available for free download. The Peer Up! Toolkit includes six sections:
  • Background and Overview
  • Program Management
  • Recruitment and Retention
  • Mentor Training
  • Patient Support Resources
  • Assessment and Evaluation

Both mentees and mentors reported improvements in psychosocial and physiological factors.

PatientNewsletterQIRN4 Introduces new Patient Newsletter
QIRN4 recently released the February 2016 edition of its patient newsletter. This newly-designed edition features information on quality improvement projects for 2016, an update on the Patient Advisory Committee (PAC), national patient learning and action network opportunities and much more. Download the February 2016 QIRN4 patient newsletter
NationalProviderCallSlidesNational provider Call Slides are now available
The informative slides from the January 19, 2016 National Provider Call on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) PY2019 QIP Final Rule are now available for download

PreparingWinterWeatherget prepared for winter weather
When a winter storm or the possibility of one is approaching your geographical area: 

Patients: Make sure you stay in communication with your facility for updates and stay current with local news updates via radio, television, the internet or social media.

Facility Staff: Encourage your patients to stay in communication with the facility for updates and stay current with local news updates via radio, television, the internet or social media. Report all alternative treatment schedules or facility closures due to inclement weather to the Network. 

Learn the Signs of Hypothermia
Winter is just around the corner, and it's time to think about cold weather safety; specifically hypothermia. Hypothermia is a dangerous drop in body temperature, usually caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hypothermia is particularly dangerous because a person may not know it's happening. Some signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, and slurred speech.

The CDC offers tips for helping someone who may be experiencing hypothermia, including:
  • Get the victim into a warm room or shelter;
  • If the victim has on any wet clothing, remove it;
  • Warm the center of the body first using an electric blanket, if available; and Get medical attention as soon as possible
Immunization GraphicFluSeason2Flu Season Has begun: severe influenza illness reported by the cdc
Please encourage all patients who have not yet received an influenza vaccine this season to be vaccinated against influenza ASAP. 

There are several influenza vaccine options for the 2015-2016 influenza season, and all available vaccine formulations this season contain A(H3N2), A(H1N1)pdm09, and B virus strains. CDC does not recommend one influenza vaccine formulation over another. 

DialysisComponentUsersDialysis Component users: 2016 Outpatient dialysis center practices survey is Now available
The 2016 Outpatient Dialysis Center Practices Survey (required for Dialysis Event reporting) is now available in NHSN. Please contact the NHSN helpdesk for questions and enter "Dialysis" in the subject line.
ESRDResourcesESRD resources  
QIRN4 Develops Hospitalized Patients Blood Culture Tracking Tool 
Through an initiative of the QIRN4 healthcare-associated infections (HAI) learning and action network (LAN), a blood culture tracking tool has been developed for use with hospitalized patients. CMS is launching an initiative to improve the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) data quality related to the reporting of positive blood cultures (PBCs) obtained within 1 day of hospitalization. The use of this tool is NOT a requirement, but we encourage you to review this tool to determine if would be of value to use in your facility to increase PBC reporting.

New Booklet on Palliative Care for Children is Available
The NIH National Institute of Nursing Research provides a booklet for families regarding supportive medical and non-medical care for children suffering from a chronic disease such as CKD, called Palliative Care for Children: Support for the Whole Family When Your Child Is Living with a Serious Illness. Download a copy

National Kidney Foundation Develops New Website for Hispanic/Latino Cultural Concerns
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) has created a new website addressing cultural concerns that Hispanic/Latino patients, donors, family, and friends may have about kidney transplantation, including cultural misconceptions, treatment options, steps to become a living donor, risks and benefits of donation, financial issues, and immigrant issues.  The website is available in both English and Spanish.

Living Donor Financial Assistance is Available
The National Living Donor Assistance Center (NLDAC) is a federally funded program that provides financial assistance for living donors to travel to the transplant center for their evaluation, surgical procedure, and medical follow-up appointments.  Approved applicants receive a controlled value card to pay for their travel, lodging, and food up to a total of $6,000.  Eligibility is based on the recipient's household income.  For more information, call (888) 870-5002 or visit the website.

Find Important Social Security Forms Here
The Social Security Administration's website has many forms you can download, print and fill out. Available forms include applications for disability benefits and child's insurance benefits, enrolling in Medicare, appealing a medical decision and requesting a waiver on an overpayment. Of course, you can also apply for benefits and take care of other Social Security business online. For more information, read's Guide to Disability Benefits or call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778) or your local Social Security office.
Check out the ESRD NCC Information Exchange 
The ESRD Network Coordinating Center (NCC) provides centralized coordination and support for the Medicare ESRD Network program. Each month, the ESRD NCC distributes an e-newsletter, known as the Information Exchange, that compiles the most important information from numerous ListServs and publications related to renal health. To sign up to receive this informative newsletter, please contact the ESRD NCC at or visit the ESRD NCC website

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610 Freedom Business Center,
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(610) 265-2418
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This bi-weekly e-newsletter will serve as our primary method of communicating important news and updates. We encourage you to visit our Web site for the most up-to-date information or to contact us with questions, comments or suggestions.

This material was prepared by Quality Insights Renal Network 4 under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The contents do not necessarily reflect CMS policy.

Publication No. ESRD4-012516