A Periodic Newsletter from The Mid-Atlantic Renal Coalition | www.esrdnet5.org
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January 5, 2016 
MARC e-lerts 
The Mid-Atlantic Renal Coalition (MARC) distributes MARC e-lerts to share important information affecting the Network 5 renal community.  We hope you find this edition's reminders, educational opportunities, tools, and resources helpful.  
NOTE: To ensure delivery to your inbox, please add marc@nw5.esrd.net to your address book. 

Message from the Director
Happy New Year! As we begin a new year with a new contract, Network staff is preparing to roll out new quality improvement projects in the facilities. Projects will continue to support CMS' Three-Part Aim to provide better care, better health, at a lower cost for individuals with ESRD.  In 2016, Network staff will work with patients, family members, dialysis facility staff, and other renal stakeholders to improve the patients' experiences of care, decrease long-term catheter use, decrease and prevent blood stream infections, increase vaccinations, and decrease hospitalizations.  There will be an increased emphasis on data integrity for CROWNWeb and NHSN.  To learn more about what's in store this year, be sure to join our Virtual Council Meeting on February 25. 

We hope you enjoy this issue.

Nancy Armistead
Executive Director, MARC

2016 Goals & Recommendations
The MARC Board of Directors has approved goals and recommendations to focus Network 5 activities during 2016. Additionally, the Medical Review Board will examine other quality indicators (such as patient grievances, hospitalization, mortality, etc.) and conduct improvement initiatives as indicated. All dialysis facilities are expected to meet the requirements of the ESRD Quality Incentive Program for Performance Year 2016/Payment Year 2018.   Read the 2016 Goals & Recommendations.

Quality Incentive Program 
CMS Delays Release of Access to Care Study Methodology
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has delayed the release of the Access to Care Study methodology. In the CY 2016 ESRD Prospective Payment System (PPS) Final Rule, published on November 6, 2015, CMS stated its intention (80 Fed. Reg. 68,968, 69,068 (2015)) to release a methodology prior to the end of 2015, pursuant to the finalization of the PY 2017 Standardized Readmission Ratio (SRR) clinical measure for the ESRD QIP. CMS is currently finalizing the methodology for conducting this study and anticipates an early 2016 release.

Register for the PY2019 Final Rule Call 
Register now for the ESRD QIP: Payment Year 2019 Final Rule Call, which takes place on Tuesday, January 19 from 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. ET.

Do you participate in the ESRD QIP? During this call, CMS subject matter experts will discuss the final rule that operationalizes the ESRD QIP for Payment Year (PY) 2019. The performance period for PY 2019 will begin on January 1, 2017. Facilities and other stakeholders should take steps now to understand the changes to the program. A question and answer session will follow the presentation. Visit the ESRD QIP website for more information.

  • ESRD QIP legislative framework and how it fits in with CMS strategies to improve quality
  • Changes reflected in the final rule based on public comments
  • Final measures, standards, scoring methodology, and payment reduction scale that are applied to the PY 2019 programs
  • How the PY 2019 program compares to PY 2018
  • Where to find additional information about the program
Target Audience: Dialysis clinics and organizations, nephrologists, hospitals with dialysis units, billers/coders, and quality improvement experts.

Continuing education credit may be awarded for participation in certain MLN Connects Calls. Visit the Continuing Education Credit Information webpage to learn more. To register, visit MLN Connects Event Registration. Space may be limited, register early.

2744s Are Coming
Here is the timeline for the CMS-2744 Annual Facility Survey:
  • February 15: Deadline for generating the 2744
  • April 1: Deadline for submitting the balanced 2744 with any comments to the Network
The Outreach, Communications, and Training Team (OCT) will be publishing these dates on its website as well as coordinating training on completing the 2744 survey in the near future.

Patient Services
SMEs Needed for National Workgroups
Please post and distribute this flyer to patients in your clinic. The Network is seeking patients who are on the transplant wait list to serve on national workgroups with the ESRD Network Coordinating Center (NCC). Project topics are as follows: 

Project Topic
Grievances To ensure patients are aware of their rights and responsibilities and options for what to do when they have a concern.
ICH CAHPS To promote patient understanding of the survey and to encourage patient participation.
Infection & Vaccination To better recognize the patient experience with regard to infection and vaccination; to assist facilities in partnering with patients to promote safety.
Peer Mentoring To pilot peer mentoring modules in a group of facilities.

Non-Emergent Ambulance Transport Demonstration Program is Expanded
CMS has announced that, consistent with the requirements of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), it will expand the current prior authorization demonstration program for repetitive scheduled non-emergent ambulance transports beginning on January 1, 2016, to Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.  This will include non-emergency transports to and from dialysis facilities.  The current demonstration program is operating in three states (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina).   Read the complete notice here

Patient Resources
ESRD NCC Promotes #TogetherWeCan Campaign 
#TogetherWeCan is a national campaign, led by the ESRD National Coordinating Network (NCC), which shares how the kidney community is living well. Share the current story, Bill: 25 Years Living Well on Hemodialysis, with your patients.

AAKP Offers FREE HealthLine Conference Calls
The American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) presents monthly FREE HealthLine conference calls for patients. Encourage your patients to join the upcoming call:

January 14: Home Dialysis Is Right for You!

Find more information about these calls, and how to register. For recordings of previous HealthLine calls, visit the AAKP website.

AAKP Lists Patient Support Groups
The AAKP maintains a national listing of support groups for renal patients. Check out what is available in your area. Consider including information about your support group, and encourage others of which you are aware to do so, too.

ESRD NCC Patient Tools Now Available
New patient education tools are now available for download on the ESRD NCC website. Tools include:
These tools were developed with the participation of the National Patient and Family Engagement Learning and Action Network (NPFE LAN) and include the patient's perspective as well as clinical expertise. All of these tools can be found on the NCC website.

National Forum of ESRD Networks Tools Now Available
New tools are available for download on the National Forum of ESRD Networks' website. Tools are available for both patients and providers: 
  • For ESRD Providers: The Transitions of Care Toolkit (7th in the series) was developed for health care providers and practitioners as a reference tool giving information about challenges in transitions of care and suggestions to help create solutions.
  • For Providers, Patients, and Families: The Patients Speak educational video features the voices of Forum Kidney Patient Advisory Council members reading the words of anonymous patients and was presented at the Forum's 2015 Creating a Culture of Quality Conference. The Forum extends its appreciation to the ESRD NCC for assistance in putting these voices and important messages into video format. 

VirtualCouncilMtgSave the Date for the Virtual Council Meeting Webinar
The Network will be hosting its annual Virtual Council Meeting webinar on Thursday, February 25.  Registration is FREE and all dietitian, nurse, social worker, and technician attendees will be eligible to earn 1.0 continuing education credit for participation.  More information will be shared on the MARC website and in upcoming editions of MARC e-lerts as it becomes available. 

Register for the NANT Baltimore Chapter Winter Conference
Be sure to register to attend this local meeting of the National Association of Nephrology Technicians (NANT) where you can receive up to 8.1 contact hours. Learn more

Registration Now Open for Dialysis Care Quality Improvement Conference
The Dialysis Care Quality Improvement Conference will take place this January 25-27 in Orlando where senior industry experts from renal care providers will discuss the most pressing challenges and solutions for meeting performance standards in the ESRD QIP. Learn more and register today

Registration for NKF 2016 Spring Clinical Meetings Now Open
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) 2016 Spring Clinical Meetings offer an extraordinary networking and learning opportunity for kidney healthcare professionals. Participants will enjoy a cutting-edge program presenting the newest developments related to all aspects of nephrology practice. Taught by internationally acclaimed faculty, the program features specialized courses, interactive workshops and lively debates. The meetings will take place April 27-May 1 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, MA.

NKF Launches Professional Education Resource Center (PERC)
The NKF has launched its new Professional Education Resource Center (PERC). This resource center is designed for professionals committed to continuing their education and improving patient outcomes by offering online CME/CE courses. There are a variety of activities on carefully selected topics given by renowned faculty. New courses will continue to roll out and are free to NKF members; non-members pay a per-course fee. Learn more

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