A Periodic Newsletter from The Mid-Atlantic Renal Coalition | www.esrdnet5.org
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March 3, 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
As spring approaches, we find that we're also ready to "spring" into action with our quality improvement projects. This issue of elerts shares a number of valuable resources to assist you in improving patient care at the facility level, including the ENGAGE program, AHRQ's Health Literacy Toolkit, patient resources, and upcoming educational opportunities. We recognize that quality improvement is data-driven, and to this end, we need to be mindful of the importance of CROWNWeb. The Network will be monitoring the completion of your Patient Attributes and Related Treatments (PART) data in CROWNWeb, and we'll be sending reminders to assist you in this process. More information about CROWNWeb downtimes and PART are included in this issue.

Finally, note that March 10 is World Kidney Day, a time to reflect on the importance of our kidneys to overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease. If you work in a dialysis setting, take a few minutes on this day to talk with someone about the work you do, or if you're a patient, talk to someone about your story and help raise awareness of how to live with kidney disease. 

We hope you enjoy this issue.   

Nancy Armistead
Executive Director, MARC

CMS Requests Public Comments on Planned Changes to the DFC Star Rating Methodology
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has contracted with The University of Michigan Kidney Epidemiology and Cost Center (UM-KECC) to review the methodology developed to produce the Dialysis Facility Compare (DFC) Star Ratings. A Technical Expert Panel (TEP) was held to evaluate and make recommendations on the DFC star rating methodology and display. CMS requests interested parties to submit comments on the resulting planned changes to the DFC Star Ratings methodology. Additional information is posted on the CMS website.  The Call for Public Comment period opened on February 16 and closes on March 16. 

CMS Proposes 2017 Payment and Policy Updates for Medicare Health and Drug Plans
CMS has released proposed changes to the Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug Programs in 2017 that will, if finalized, provide stable and fair payments to plans and make unprecedented improvements to the program for plans that provide high quality care to the most vulnerable enrollees. A general fact sheet on the 2017 Advance Notice and Draft Call Letter is available. Comments on the proposed Advance Notice and Draft Call Letter are invited from industry, seniors, consumer advocates, and the public and must be submitted by March 4. The 2017 Final Rate Announcement and Call Letter will be published on Monday, April 4.


CROWNWebDowntimeCROWNWeb, QIP 1.0.0 Will Have Downtime
CROWNWeb and QIP 1.0.0 will not be accessible beginning Wednesday, March 16, through Monday, March 21, due to extended system maintenance.

CMS has also implemented CROWNWeb restarts (occurring at 9:00 p.m. ET on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) effective February 24.

For the past several months there have been ongoing refresh issues with CROWNWeb - affecting the system's refresh time as users navigate through CROWNWeb screens - resulting in the system taking from a few seconds to 20+ seconds to display a new page or process submitted data.

CMS has been testing regular system restarts since October 2015, which have presented some improvements, and will continue to address the issue as the agency believes increasing the number of restarts will help ensure improved performance.

Each restart will take approximately one hour to complete and will continue until further notice. CROWNWeb users should continue to report any refresh issues to the QualityNet Help Desk at qnetsupport-esrd@hcqis.org or (866) 288-8912. 

CROWNWebNewsletterCROWNWeb Newsletter is Now Available Online
The March 2016 edition of the CROWNWeb Newsletter is now online. The CROWNWeb Newsletter focuses on user-specific topics, such as training, account management, use of the CROWNWeb system, and tips and tricks, as well as key technical aspects of CROWNWeb.

This month's featured stories include:
  • Have You Done Your PART?
  • Data Center Move - EQRS Systems Unavailable
  • CMS Implements CROWNWeb Restarts
  • CMS-2744 Instructions Available via CMS Site
  • CMS-2744 Training Recording Available
OPTN/UNOS Requests Public Comment on Policy and Bylaw Proposals
The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN)/ United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) has offered nine proposals, developed by its committees, for public comment. When the public comment period ends on March 25, each sponsoring committee will review the feedback it received and consider modifications to the original proposals. The OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors may then review and vote on these proposals at its meeting on June 6 and 7. Please provide your comments on these proposals. You may also continue to send general feedback to publiccomment@unos.org. Please submit all comments no later than March 25. For general questions about the proposals, please contact your Regional Administrator at (804) 782-4800.

OPTN/UNOS welcome your feedback on these proposals and other aspects of the public comment process as it continues to improve the way that it communicates with the community.
Thank you in advance for your careful review and feedback on these proposals.

Transplantation Education is Available for Professionals and Patients
On April 9, the Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation and the Capitol Association of Diabetes Educators will jointly host two concurrent educational programs on Transplantation: An Option. One session is for professionals (with CEs) and one is for patients. Both sessions will take place at the Greenbelt Marriott in Greenbelt, MD. 


Patient Services
ENGAGE20162016 ENGAGE Program is Underway
The 2016 ENGAGE Certification Program is underway. It's time to get your facility on track to be recognized as the Facility of the Year at the Annual Council Meeting. Here's what you need to know:
  • Facilities must enroll by March 31.
  • The program runs through August 31.
  • A Patient Engagement Learning & Action Network (PELAN) will support enrolled facilities by providing an all-teach, all-learn environment for brainstorming and sharing of best practices.
  • Watch for notifications about the March kickoff webinar.
Enroll today.

Peer Up! is Improving Disease Management among Dialysis Patients
The Peer Up! Program is featured in this month's QIO News, CMS' QIO Program newsletter. Read the article. For more information on Peer Up!, or to download the toolkit for use in your facility, visit our website

Standardized Outcomes in Nephrology (SONG) Initiative Aims to Better Understand Importance of Treatment Effects and Care
This international survey aims to find out what effects of treatment and care are important and relevant to kidney transplant patients, family members, kidney donors, caregivers, and health professionals. Participants are asked to rate the importance of different outcomes for people who have received a kidney transplant. This type of survey is called a Delphi survey as it is used to get everyone's opinion and to try to reach consensus on the most important outcomes to be included in research for kidney transplant recipients. Participants will be asked to complete three short (5- to 10-minute) surveys about three weeks apart during March and June. 

Facilities are Encouraged to Review ICH CAHPS Survey Administrator Name and Contact Information
The In-center Hemodialysis CAHPS (ICH CAHPS) Coordination Team occasionally sends e-mail messages containing important information regarding the ICH CAHPS Survey to ICH facilities. The e-mails are sent to the person within the facility who has been designated as the facility's designated ICH CAHPS Survey Administrator (SA). To make sure ICH facilities are up-to-date on all of the latest announcements regarding the Survey, it is important that facilities have the most current contact information listed on the ICH CAHPS website for the person designated as its SA. Facilities are encouraged to review the contact information (email address and telephone number) listed on the ICH CAHPS website for their designated SA. Visit the ICH CAHPS website to review and update the contact information

HealthLiteracyAHRQ Releases Health Literacy Toolkit for Primary Care Practices
Only 12 percent of U.S. adults have the health literacy skills needed to manage the demands of our complex healthcare system, and even these individuals' ability to absorb and use health information can be compromised by stress or illness. Experts recommend assuming that everyone may have difficulty understanding and creating an environment where all patients can thrive. Like with blood safety, universal precautions should be taken to address health literacy because we can't know which patients are challenged by healthcare information and tasks at any given time. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit - 2nd edition can help primary care practices reduce the complexity of healthcare, increase patient understanding of health information, and enhance support for patients of all health literacy levels. Here are additional tools for improving health literacy:
Learn more about how to improve primary care by visiting AHRQ's National Center for Excellence in Primary Care

WorldKidneyDayMarch 10 is World Kidney Day
Contact your local National Kidney Foundation (NKF) office for events related to World Kidney Day. Check out the official World Kidney Day website for additional ideas and information.

PatientResourcesPatient Resources
West Virginia's EDC Program Offers Free Classes to People with Diabetes
The Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) program is a national CMS initiative. EDC is administered by Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network in Delaware, Louisiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

EDC offers free classes/workshops using Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME). EDC classes/workshops help participants understand diabetes and its risks, as well as the importance of diet, exercise, keeping regular physician exams, receiving annual foot and eye exams, managing medications and much more. The classes/workshops teach participants how to live a healthier life in a fun, community-based environment.

"As a physician and nephrologist I found the EDC DSME classes most helpful for my Stage II and III chronic kidney disease patients," Dr. Julie Haddy with Kanawha Nephrology in West Virginia said. "These patients have had diabetes for many years and the classes have really helped to serve as an up-to-date refresher course for them. It not only encourages self-management of their healthcare, it also makes them more accountable."

Classes/workshops last approximately 1.5-2 hours and are scheduled once a week for six weeks. EDC does not conflict with other programs or treatment, and participants are referred to their physicians for all medical questions. Visit Quality Insights' website to learn more about EDC and view a schedule of upcoming classes/workshops. 

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:
March 10: "Mastering Social Media as a Patient Advocate"

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

PKD National Convention 2016
The Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) National Convention will occur at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, June 24-26. General registration is open through May 5. Learn more about registration and special financial aid opportunities.

AAKP Hosts National Patient Meeting
AAKP is pleased to announce its 2016 National Patient Meeting will be held in Nashville, TN, September 23-25. AAKP is looking forward to returning to Tennessee to build on the excitement, success, and education of last year's meeting. Registration opens in early spring.
Support Services
Urban Kidney Alliance, Inc. Hosts ESRD Family/Caregiver Support Group
This new group has its first meeting on April 5, and will meet every 1st Tuesday of the month at Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore, MD. View the flyer.

Tell Us about Your Support Groups
Does your clinic offer a support group? Will you welcome patients from outside your clinic? If so, please share your information with Renée Bova-Collis through email or call (804) 320-0004, ext. 2705. We'd like to help spread the word. 

NIH NINR Releases New Booklet on Palliative Care for Children
The National Institutes of Health's 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.

NKF 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.

NLDAC Provides Living Donor Financial Assistance
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 Social Security Forms Online
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, Medicare enrollment forms, medical decision appeals, and overpayment waiver requests. Of course, you can also apply for benefits and take care of other Social Security business online. For more information, read Disability.gov's Guide to Disability Benefits or call (800) 772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778) or your local Social Security office.
NANT Annual Symposium is Scheduled for March 21-24
The National Association of Nephrology Technicians (NANT) Annual Symposium provides up to four days of dialysis technician-focused education. Technicians who participate in all four days can earn 25 contact hours. View complete information  

NKF's 2016 Spring Clinical Meetings
Registration is now open. The National Kidney Foundation's SCM16 presents a unique opportunity for busy renal health care providers to learn new developments related to all aspects of nephrology. 

47th ANNA National Symposium Will Be Held in May
ANNA will be hosting its 47th National Symposium May 1 - 4 at the Marriott Louisville and Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, KY. The symposium provides opportunities for nephrology nurses to expand their knowledge, enhance clinical skills, and widen professional networks. For more information, visit www.annasymposium.org
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