November 14, 2016
Important Updates

ESRD PPS: Policies and Payment Rates for End-Stage Renal Disease

On October 28, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule (CMS 1651-F) that updates payment policies and rates under the End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Prospective Payment System (PPS) for renal dialysis services furnished to beneficiaries on or after January 1, 2017. For more information see:


Three major topics within the final rule are:

  • Home and self-dialysis training add-on payment adjustment
  • Coverage and payment for renal dialysis services furnished to individuals with acute kidney injury (AKI)
  • Changes to the Payment Year (PY) 2019 ESRD QIP


Quality Improvement
Tune In to Safe Healthcare: Free Webinars from CDC for Healthcare Providers
Recent reports show that at least 30% of antibiotics prescribed in U.S. outpatient settings are unnecessary, and only half of all patients are receiving the right antibiotic.

In an effort to improve outpatient antibiotic prescribing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is releasing the Core Elements of Outpatient Antibiotic Stewardship. To discuss this new publication, CDC is offering a free webinar featuring CDC's Dr. Katherine Fleming-Dutra, medical epidemiologist with the Office of Antibiotic Stewardship in the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion.
Dr. Fleming-Dutra will discuss:
  • The importance of antibiotic stewardship in outpatient settings
  • The four core elements of antibiotic stewardship across various outpatient settings
  • Evidence-based examples of how to implement these core elements in your practice.
CE is available! There are no fees for CE.

Webinar: CDC'S Core Elements of Outpatient Antibiotic Stewardship
Date: Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 pm EDT
Sign up: Pre-register at no cost, and view additional details at
For more information and resources visit
NHSN Dialysis Component Webinars
The NHSN Dialysis Component is scheduled to be updated on December 10, 2016.  To learn about new features and updates, join us for a webinar on December 1 with an encore presentation on December 2.  Pre-registration is required (info below).  Contact the NHSN helpdesk with any questions:
For both webinars, listen-only audio will be available through your computer speakers.  No conference line is available, but attendees will be able to use the chat function to ask questions of the presenters.
Patient Services
Medicare Open Enrollment Ends December 7
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the 2017 premiums for the Medicare inpatient hospital (Part A) and physician and outpatient hospital services (Part B) programs. Click here for more information.

Helpful resources for your patients:
Visit to compare current coverage with all of the options in the area.
Review the Medicare & You 2017 handbook at
Patients with limited income and resources may be able to get extra help paying prescription drug costs. For more information, visit
Get one-on-one help from the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Visit
In 2017, patients who reach the "donut hole" in Medicare's prescription drug benefit (Part D) can save 60% on covered brand-name drugs and see increased savings on generic drugs while in the donut hole. Visit:
Are You at High Risk for Serious Illness from the Flu?
While the flu can make anyone sick, certain people are at high risk for serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia and bronchitis, which can lead to hospitalization or even death. The flu can also make long-term health problems worse, even if they are well managed. Groups of people at high risk include the following:
Follow these preventive steps to avoid getting sick with the flu:

For more information and flu resources, visit the CDC website

CMS Adds Patient Ratings to Dialysis Facility Compare
As reported in Nephrology News, CMS has announced that Dialysis Facility Compare will now include patient experience ratings from the In-Center Hemodialysis Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (ICH-CAHPS) Survey, which measures patients' perspectives on the care they received at dialysis facilities.

Six ratings on patients' experiences with care will be reported, including three that cover specific aspects of patient experience and three overall patient ratings of the kidney doctors, the facility staff, and the dialysis facilities. For each dialysis center on Dialysis Facility Compare, the site will include this patient experience information, the quality star rating, and detailed clinical quality information.

To continue reading the full article in Nephrology News, click here.

The New Emergency Preparedness Rule: Resources
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) has created Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE).  CMS and ASPR TRACIE are partnering to provide technical assistance and to share resources and promising practices to help affected providers and suppliers start or update the documents mandated by the CMS Emergency Preparedness Rule. 
For your ease, ASPR TRACIE developed the CMS EP Rule: Resources at Your Fingertips  document to allow access to all related materials with one click.
Reminder:  CMS issued the Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers and Suppliers Final Rule to establish consistent emergency preparedness requirements for healthcare providers participating in Medicare and Medicaid, increase patient safety during emergencies, and establish a more coordinated response to natural and human-caused disasters.
Data Management
CROWNWeb 5.0 New User Training
Are you new to CROWNWeb, or just need a refresher on new features or how to use the system?  CROWNWeb 5.0 New User Training is for you!  This informative, 90-minute course covers all the basic information a new CROWNWeb user would need to begin using the system. The next sessions for  New User Training will be held on Tuesday, December 13, 2016.
  Register now!
  • Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 2:00-3:30 PM ET - Registration

Use the Network Data Knowledge Base and Customer Portal
With the increase in data that must be submitted, as well as systems through which the data is collected, there are multiple ways in which you can reach the Network Data Support Team for help. 
*Please remember that you should NEVER include any patient-specific information such as Name, Date of Birth, Social Security Number, Medicare Claim Number, etc. The only patient identifier that can safely be communicated is the Unique Patient Identifier (UPI) from CROWNWeb.*
Upcoming Meeting & Events
December 13-15, 2016: CMS Quality Conference 2016, Aligning for Innovation and Outcomes, Baltimore, Maryland

IPRO End-Stage Renal Disease Network of New England, the ESRD Organization for Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, prepared this material under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents presented do not necessarily reflect CMS policy. CMS Contract Number: HHSM-500-2016-00019C.