March 2021
Announcements & Updates
World Kidney Day is March 11, 2021
As cited on https://www.worldkidneyday.org/2021-campaign/, "Kidney disease is a non-communicable disease (NCD) and currently affects around 850 million people worldwide. One in ten adults has chronic kidney disease (CKD). Being diagnosed with kidney disease can be a huge challenge, both for the patient and those people around them. Its diagnosis and management, particularly in advanced stages of kidney disease, impacts severely upon their lives by reducing their, and that of family and friends, ability to participate in everyday activities like work, travel and socialising whilst causing numerous problematic side effects – e.g. fatigue, pain, depression, cognitive impairment, gastrointestinal problems and sleep problems.

This year World Kidney Day continues to raise awareness of the increasing burden of kidney diseases worldwide and to strive for kidney health for everyone, everywhere. Specifically, the World Kidney Day Steering Committee has declared 2021 the year of “Living Well with Kidney Disease”. This has been done in order to both increase education and awareness about effective symptom management and patient empowerment, with the ultimate goal of encouraging life participation."

The following resources are available to promote World Kidney Day (WKD):
Tuberculin Skin Testing and the COVID Vaccine
Important CDC Guidance on Tuberculin Skin Testing (TST) and the COVID 19 vaccine.

For healthcare personnel or patients who require baseline TB testing (at onboarding or entry into facilities) at the same time they are to receive a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, CDC recommends:

  1. Place the TST prior to COVID 19 vaccination, then begin the vaccination series. This can be done simultaneously.
  2. Wait four weeks after completion of COVID 19 vaccine to administer TST if not given as directed above .

Those with TB exposure the prioritization of the risk of TB needs to be weighed with the importance of the vaccine. A physician should be consulted with this situation arises.

Information on COVID 19 Therapeutic Agents
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) would like to share the links below for Special Projects for Equitable and Efficient Distribution (SPEED) of COVID-19 Outpatient Therapeutics.

ECHO University: The Cutting Edge of Healthcare (1 Free SW CE)
Please join NY State Transplant Centers and Dialysis Providers for an educational case-based learning experience through Project ECHO University.

This service is provided by the New York Center For Kidney Transplantation.

Upcoming Sessions from 4:00 - 5:00 PM
  • Wednesday, March 17, 2021
  • Wednesday, April 21, 2021


To receive 1 NY State Social Work credit, per session you MUST: preregister, sign in on the chat during the presentation, and be on camera during the session.
COVID-19
Got the Shot? Combatting Vaccine Hesitancy Materials
The IPRO ESRD Network Program is advocating for all dialysis facility staff and patients to become vaccinated against COVID-19 to promote the best patient safety outcomes.

Over the past couple of months, many individuals remain hesitant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The IPRO ESRD Network Program developed and hosted two webinars to provide credible scientific information, with cited sources, to assist staff and patients in making informed decisions. Please share the following webinar recordings


Another best practice found to be motivating for patients and staff is to create a bulletin board in the facility showcasing attestations from staff and patients as to why they "got the shot".
Patient Services
An Anonymous Grievance Process
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requested for the Networks to educate facilities and patients to develop an anonymous grievance process. The IPRO ESRD Network Program staff discussed the process with Patient Subject Matter Experts (PSME) and obtained their feedback regarding Anonymous Grievances. They recommended the following options:

  • Postcard: Provide to each patient postage stamped postcards with the facility’s address.
  • Fax: Provide to each patient a cover sheet with the fax number to the facility.
  • Message Service: Have a dedicated voicemail service that is answered by a third party who can not identify the patient’s voice. They provide to the facility the information received only.
  • Online Form: Share with each patient a link to an online form for patients to report their grievance.
  • Suggestion Box: Place a suggestion box in your lobby for patients to leave messages to the staff regarding their concerns. 

For more information on how to support positive patient experience of care, and to download and print resources, please visit the Grievances and Concerns section of the IPRO ESRD Network Program website.
Dialysis Facility Staff Can Help Increase Patient Safety by Distributing Resources or Encouraging Distance Activities
Facilities can continue to support patient safety by providing access to printable educational resources and encouraging patient facility representatives to start to compile education stations on facility bulletin boards. 

Bi-weekly, patients receive a PAC Matters Newsletter from the Network, containing links to videos and critical support resources. Consider printing this out to have available for patients to pick up on their own or including them in new patient packets. Here is a link to our last issue: https://conta.cc/3bggfDX

The photo included is of an education bulletin board a patient put together at her dialysis facility in New England. Bulletin boards are a great way for patients to get the word out on new resources and education while social distancing! Please encourage your patient representatives to get involved by reserving a space for an education bulletin board at your facility and helping them come up with an unique focus area!
Depression and Bipolar Educational Resources for Providers and Patients
Annually, dialysis providers are asked to assess their patients for depression. These assessments result in follow-up plans that can include formal psychiatric assessments, and referrals for talk therapy. Each patient is different, and the effect of their own personal mental health can vary on other factors.  

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance has two resources to assist patients with understanding their own individual follow up plan. The first resource provides education on treatment. This information can provide clarity to a patient that has fears about what treatment would look like for them. The second resource is a worksheet to be filled out by the patient assisted by the social worker or their caregiver to assist them in identifying the help they need.  The two resources together can help a patient learn about their diagnosis, and help them choose what next steps are best for them in their mental health journey to wellness. Please share these resources with staff and patients.

Improve Anxiety Through Peer Mentoring
Dialysis, End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), and the COVID-19 pandemic has created times plagued with heighten stress and anxiety. Peer Mentoring as an active intervention has been correlated with an enhanced feeling of belongingness, improved patient satisfaction, engagement, and treatment retention. Increased feelings of stress and anxiety are commonly associated with traumatic and life-altering events, the mentor-mentee relationship allows for anecdotal exchanges and the sharing of coping mechanisms. Peer mentoring relationships and continuous engagement allow for mentees to learn coping mechanisms that were previously effective for long-term dialysis patients. Mentees can adopt these learned coping mechanisms to assist with their short-term anxiety. Peer Mentoring increases patient relatability and provides them with an increased sense of hope and encouragement.

For more information on how to support a peer-to-peer, and to download and print resources, please visit the Peer Mentoring section of the IPRO ESRD Network Program website.
Data Systems and Reporting
Annual Facility Survey in EQRS
On January 29, 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) updated the ESRD Quality Reporting System (EQRS) to allow facilities to complete the CMS-2744 Annual Facility Survey for Calendar Year 2020.

Dialysis facilities complete the CMS-2744A and transplant centers complete the CMS 2744B. The CMS-2744 captures the patient and treatment counts that occur at the facility annually. Dialysis facilities and transplant centers will report information from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.  

IPRO ESRD Data Department started the 2744 process for 2020 calendar year. Please make sure 2744 forms are in "Submitted for Review" status by April 19, 2021.  

2020 Annual CMS Facility Survey Timeline
  • March 19, 2021: Generate 2020 CMS-2744 form 
  • April 19, 2021: Survey should be in "Submitted for Review" status without errors and warnings. 

QualityNet Help Desk Support
If reports are not working, please contact the QualityNet Help Desk at 866-288-8912 (Monday - Friday 8am to 8pm EST) or via e-mail at qnetsupport-esrd@hcqis.org.

IPRO ESRD Network Program Helpdesk
Please visit the IPRO ESRD Network Program Helpdesk Portal to:

If you have any questions or need assistance, please email the IPRO ESRD Network Program Data Support team at IPROESRDHelp@iproesrdnetwork.freshdesk.com (do not forget to enter the CCN number) or call (516) 268-6426.

We look forward to working with you to ensure accurate data and finalize the 2744s this year!
Information Systems Technical Assistance
The IPRO ESRD Data Department provides technical assistance using a customer support system. This is one place for your data submission needs for various systems such as CROWNWeb, NHSN, Dialysis data or Quality Incentive program. In order to meet the needs of our facilities, the new system will provide support:

  • Email: To reach the Network Data Support Team by email, send requests for assistance to IPROESRDHelp@iproesrdnetwork.freshdesk.com. The help can be a return email providing information about the data submission from our knowledge base or a phone call from the staff.

  • Support Portal: By registering for the IPRO ESRD Network Support Portal, you will be able to quickly and easily submit questions and requests for assistance directly to the Network Data Support staff. You can register for the portal by going to http://help.esrd.ipro.org and selecting “Sign Up”.

  • Knowledge Base: The Network Data Team has documented answers to a multitude of “Frequently Asked Questions” and have posted them to the Knowledge Base on the Support Portal. You can browse the different knowledge items, and if you still need help, you can register for the portal and submit a ticket for help. The Knowledge Base can also be located at http://help.esrd.ipro.org.

NOTE: When submitting a request to the Network, 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.

For more information, please visit the Network website.
Network Staff Directory
Susan Caponi, RN, BSN, MBA, CPHQ
CEO, IPRO ESRD Program
(516) 209-5619

Jeanine Pilgrim, MPH, PMP, CPHQ, CHES,CPXP
Network Program Director
(516) 209-5365

Anna Bennett
Emergency Manager/QI Coordinator
(516) 209-5474

Erin Baumann, LMSW, MSL
Patient Services Director
(516) 209-5348

Jaya Bhargava, PhD, CPHQ
Regional Operations Director
(203) 285-1215

Shasha Aylor, MBA
Data Analyst
shasha.aylor@ipro.us
(919) 463-4520
Laura Edwards
Administrative Coordinator
(516) 209-5672

Elena Balovlenkov, RN, BSN, MS
Quality Improvement Director
(516) 209-5416

Danielle Andrews, MPH, MSW, GCPH
Community Outreach Coordinator
(516) 209-5549

Kathryn Betts, MSW
Patient Services Coordinator
kathryn.betts@ipro.us
(919) 463-4529

Sharon Lamb
Data Coordinator
(516) 209-5459

Mac Bulloch, IMBA
Data Analyst
mac.bulloch@ipro.us
(216) 755-3052