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Welcome to the December 16 edition of the Quality Insights Renal Network 4 e-newsletter. In this issue, we bring you information about upcoming patient engagement activities, Network 4 Council meeting dates for 2017, ESRD events, resources and much more. We encourage you to  contact us with any questions, concerns or suggestions.  Happy holidays and well wishes for a healthy new year from everyone at Network 4. 
PatientEngagementTaking patient engagement to new heights in 2017: Network 4 Patient Representatives Program update  
Quality Insights Renal Network 4 encourages all dialysis facilities to select at least one patient representative  (preferably a patient representative for each shift).  A patient representative can be a family member or a caregiver.

2017 is going to be a big year, and we are going to take Patient Engagement and our Patient Representative Program to a new height.  We will be working very hard to not only meet the needs of our facilities but also meet the needs of our patients.  Here is a review of what to expect in 2017.

Network 4 Patient Representative Support  

Network 4 will support its Patient Representatives in the following ways:

  • Each current Patient Representative will emailed a copy of the new 2017 Patient Representative Handbook by the end of December 2016. Each facility Social Worker will also be emailed a copy of the new 2017 Patient Representative Handbook. Please make sure your patient gets a copy of this handbook if they do NOT have email access.
  • Each Patient Representative will be emailed a Patient Representative Newsletter the last week of each month, which will contain helpful hints and encouragement for the role as a Patient Representative. Facility Social Workers will receive the Newsletter electronically for those patients who do NOT have an email address.  Please update the Network if your patient does have an email address of which we are unaware
  • Throughout 2017, each NEW Patient Representative will receive the 2017 Patient Representative Handbook by his or her facility.  Once facility staff have faxed the 2017 Patient Representative Application to the Network, the Network will:
    • Phone the new patient representative
    • Set up a 1:1 New Patient Training
    • Invite the new Patient Representative to attend the monthly Patient Representative Town Hall Meetings (see below)
  • Monthly Patient Representative Town Hall Meetings will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday of the first full week of each month at 2 p.m. on both days.  The meeting will be repeated so reps only need to attend one meeting. The meetings will focus on a topic followed by open forum discussion. The meetings and topics will be as follows:
    • January 4 and 5 - 2017 Plans and review of the New Patient Representative Handbook 
    • February 7 and 8 - Kt/V and What it Means to Me
    • March 7 and 8 - How to Improve Quality of Care
    • April 4 and 5 - Hints on How to Manage Fluid Needs
    • May 2 and 3 - Peer Mentoring and a Look at Hope
    • June 6 and 7 - Dietary Wows: How to Keep Your Phosphorus and Calcium in Balance
    • July Off - Happy Summer
    • August 1 and 2  - Support Groups Do Work
    • September 5 and 6 - Exercise Your Stress Away
    • October 3 and 4 - 2017 Network 4 Quality Improvement Activity Reports
    • November 7 and 8 - Holiday Planning - Hints on Creative Celebratory Eating
    • December 5 and 6 - Year Recap and What is in Store for 2018
  • On-Line Training Support will be developed in 2017 and will be made available for all Patient Representatives.  This training support will be on the following topics:
    • The Role of the Patient Representative
    • Becoming a Peer Mentor
    • How to start a Patient Support Group
    • How to participate in a Quality Improvement Meeting
    • How to participate in a Board Meeting
Additional Network 4 Patient Engagement Update and Activities 
Some of our Network 4 Patient Representatives and some of the Network 4 patients  who are not patient representatives have volunteered to work closely with the Network 4 staff and CMS to bring the patients' voice to the work we do.  These patients are known as Network 4 Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).  These SMEs make up a committee called the Patient Advisory Council (PAC).  This group meets once a month to discuss issues and to advise the Network on its quality improvement activities (QIAs).  The PAC has subcommittees that work on issues around transportation, emergency management, transplant awareness, support groups and clinical issues.  Please contact the Network if you have a patient who would like to become a SME.  Each SME will go through initial Quality Improvement Training and will be mentored by the Network 4 Quality Improvement Staff.

Additional Patient Engagement Activities for 2017
  • Network 4 will continue to develop and distribute a Patient Newsletter. This will be sent to each Network 4 facility Social Worker. We ask the Social Worker ensure there are enough copies for each patient in his or her units. Ask your patient rep to distribute these newsletters as well. We will send an English and Spanish version on the first week of January, April, July and October.
  • Network 4 will continue to post interesting and patient-centric information on its ESRD Network 4 Facebook page.
  • Network 4 will continue to post information on its website to assist patients in becoming engaged in their care.

PatientNewsletterlook for a new patient newsletter schedule in 2017
Network 4 will be implementing a quarterly distribution schedule for its patient newsletter in 2017. Look for both English and Spanish editions in March, June, September and December of 2017. 

ReducingInfectionWebinarWebinar: Reducing Infection in the Outpatient Dialysis Facility 
Join the  Reducing infection in the outpatient dialysis facility - Results of the Standardizing Care to Improve Outcomes in Pediatric End stage renal disease (SCOPE) Collaborative  webinar scheduled for January 31 at 3:00 p.m. ET.  The webinar is geared toward d ialysis providers, but is open to all. Free CEs will be offered.  Register here .  
Dial-In Number: 303-248-0285, Access Code: 6393927. For questions, contact
CouncilDatesMark your calendars: 2017 network council meeting dates
There will be four Quarterly Network Council meetings in 2017.  The main topic of discussion at each of the meetings will center around Patient Engagement and the Patient Representative Program.   Each facility is REQUIRED to have a facility staff representative attend one of the meetings EACH quarter.    

2017 Network Council Meetings Dates
  • January 10 and 11 : Both days at 2 p.m.
  • April 11 and 12: Both days at 2 p.m.
  • July 11 and 12: Both days at 2 p.m.
  • October 10 and 11: Both days at 2 p.m.

UpcomingWebinarUpcoming Webinar: Unique Strategies for Improving the Effectiveness of Exercise Training in Patients with Kidney Failure
Dr. Ken Wilund
Exercise for transplant patients and patients on dialysis can have huge benefits, including increased energy and feeling better both physically and emotionally. Dr. Ken Wilund, an expert in the exercise science field, will discuss the best types of exercises for patients with kidney failure, and how to successfully incorporate exercise into a patient's life.
  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017 1:00-2:00 p.m. (ET)

ESRDResourcesESRD resources

CMS Posts National Influenza Vaccination Week  
Although National Influenza Vaccination Week has passed (December 4 - 10), CMS recently posted some resources which may be beneficial for ESRD providers. These include a preventative services educational tool, information about influenza vaccination payment allowances and much more. Learn more

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 ncc@ncc.esrd.net or visit the ESRD NCC website

Executive Director
Quality Improvement Director
Quality Improvement Coordinator
Quality Improvement Coordinator
Patient Services Coordinator
Data Manager
Administrative Assistant
610 Freedom Business Center,  
Suite 102 
King of Prussia, PA 19406 
(610) 265-2418 
(800) 548-9205 (patients only) 
(610) 783-0374 (fax) 
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. ESRD4-120516