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Welcome to the August 18 edition of the Quality Insights Renal Network 4 (QIRN4) e-newsletter. In this issue, we bring you information about proposed rules, ICH CAHPS surveys, new initiatives to help kidney disease patients, ESRD events, resources and much more. We encourage you to contact us with any questions, concerns or suggestions. 
ESRDQIPPaymentYearannouncing dates for the esrd QIP Payment year 2017 preview period 
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is informing the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Network Organizations (Networks) that the Payment Year (PY) 2017 Preview Period for the ESRD Quality Incentive Program (QIP) began on August 15, 2016, and will conclude at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on September 16, 2016. The Preview Period provides an important opportunity for each facility to review and pose questions about its ESRD QIP scores and any potential payment reductions that may result. CMS will conduct a National Provider Call (NPC) about the PY 2017 Preview Period on the afternoon of August 2, 2016. Learn more about this NPC. 
CMSExtendsRuleCMS extends preview period to august 19 due to ssr calculation error
CMS has discovered an error in the calculation of the Standardized Readmission Ratio (SRR) that affects most facilities.  The measure has been recalculated and is available for preview in:
  • DFC: Quarterly DFC Preview for October Report  
  • DFR: FY 2017 Dialysis Facility Report

The footer of these Reports will note the August 2016 production date.  

Some planned readmissions were inadvertently excluded.  In the recalculation, 11% of facilities nationwide show an absolute difference in SRR of more than 0.05.  About 100 facilities changed SRR category on DFC.  Use the Comments and Inquiries tab on if you have questions on the SRR recalculation.  


Because of this error, the Preview Period will be extended to August 19 at 5:00 p.m. ET to allow review of the updated Reports.  The SRR information is the only change to the Reports.  Refer to this page for more instructions if necessary. 

CMSReleasesPPSCMS releases CY2017 ESRD PPS Proposed Rule
CMS recently released the Calendar Year (CY) 2017 End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Prospective Payment System (PPS) Notice of Proposed Rule Making (Proposed Rule). This rule includes provisions under which CMS proposes to change the ESRD QIP beginning in 2018 and conduct the program for Payment Year (PY) 2020.

CMS encourages ESRD QIP stakeholders to review the Proposed Rule, fact sheet, and informational video.

Please note that CMS representatives will not respond to comments or critiques about the Proposed Rule; instead, CMS encourages stakeholders, advocates, and others to use the formal comment period described in the rule. This forum is for CMS representatives to provide clarifications regarding proposed policies.

ESRD QIP PY 2020 Proposed Rule
On June 30, 2016, CMS published the ESRD QIP PY 2020 Proposed Rule in the Federal Register. CMS proposes updating the ESRD QIP for PY 2018 and PY 2019; it also proposes a measure set and scoring methodology for conducting the PY 2020 program.

The ESRD QIP is a pay-for-performance quality initiative that ties a facility's performance to a payment reduction over the course of a PY. Under the ESRD QIP, facilities that do not achieve a minimum Total Performance Score (TPS) with respect to quality measures established by regulation receive a reduction in their reimbursement for providing dialysis treatment.

CMS encourages ESRD QIP stakeholders and the general public to review the Proposed Rule and comment on its provisions by August 23, 2016, via, as described in the rule.

For More Information
For any questions about registration, please e-mail  
AuthorizingSurveyAuthorizing a Survey Vendor for the 2016 ich cahps fall survey  
All in-center hemodialysis (ICH) facilities that are switching to a different ICH CAHPS Survey vendor to administer the 2016 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey must change their vendor authorization on the ICH CAHPS website by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on August 31, 2016. Please note you must update the online vendor authorization only if the following applies:  
  • Your facility is participating in the ICH CAHPS Survey for the first time during the 2016 Fall Survey; OR
  • Your facility is switching to a different survey vendor to administer the 2016 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey; OR
  • Your facility entered the 2016 Spring Survey as the last survey period for which the vendor would administer the survey when you originally submitted the authorization form. If your organization will continue to use the same ICH CAHPS Survey vendor that was used to administer the 2015 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey, you do not need to update the online vendor authorization form.
If any of the above statements apply to your facility, you must update the online vendor authorization form for the 2016 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey on the ICH CAHPS website by the August 31st deadline. ICH facilities that served 30 or more survey-eligible patients in calendar year 2015 must administer both the 2016 ICH CAHPS Spring and Fall Surveys to be compliant with CMS quality reporting requirements. If the online vendor authorization form is not updated by the deadline, a sample will not be provided to a survey vendor, which means the 2016 Fall Survey cannot be administered. Read the official announcement.

ICHCAHPSWebsiteChanges to the ich cahps website
As announced in an e-mail message sent to ICH CAHPS Survey vendors on August 1, 2016, the ICH CAHPS Coordination Team has changed the look and feel of the ICH CAHPS website. Most of the changes made were cosmetic; however, there were a few changes to key website operations and functions. A summary of the major changes to the ICH CAHPS website is listed below.  
  • The most recent announcements about the ICH CAHPS Survey will now appear on the home page instead of being available via the "New/Announcement" link in the "Quick Links" box.
  • The 'Quick Links' and "For Facilities' boxes have been consolidated, and will appear together on the right side of the screen.
  • All of the sub-menu items (links to the survey materials and the ICH CAHPS Survey Administration and Specifications Manual, Version 4.0) under the "Survey and Protocols" tab have been collapsed into one menu. All of these items are still accessible under the same tab; however, the sub-menu items will no longer be displayed.
  • The password retrieval process for users who have forgotten their password has changed. It is now a password reset process. If you have forgotten your password, follow the instructions below to reset your password.
    • Click on the "Reset Password" button that appears on the Login screen on the ICH CAHPS website.
    • Enter the username of the individual registered on the ICH CAHPS website on the Reset Password screen, and then click the "Send Reset Link" button.
    • The system will automatically send an e-mail message containing a link to use to reset the password.
    • When you receive the e-mail message, click on the password reset link in the email. When that link is clicked, the system will take the user to a page where he or she can then create a new password.
  • The process for updating user contact information, including e-mail addresses, has changed. To update your e-mail address, follow the instructions below:
    • Log onto the ICH CAHPS website.
    • Click on your name in the upper right-hand corner of the web page (next to "Logout").
    • Click "Edit Profile" on the right side of the screen.
    • Click on the "Manage Account" tab.
    • In the Email Address field under Account Settings, delete your "old" email from the field and enter your new email address.
    • Click on the "Update" button at the bottom of the page.
Please contact the ICH CAHPS Survey Coordination Team at (866) 245-8083 or via e-mail at if you have any questions or need more information about the recent changes to the ICH CAHPS website.  
FDAAlertsandRecallsalerts and recalls

PharmaTech LLC Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall Due to Potential Risk of Product Contamination

Amikacin Sulfate Injection USP 500 mg/2 mL (250 mg/mL) and 1 Gram/4 mL (250 mg/mL) Vials by Teva: Recall - Glass Particulate Matter

NewInitiativeNew Initiative Aims to Help Kidney Disease Patients Keep Their Jobs

A new research and policy collaboration, called the KidneyWorks Initiative, aims to help Americans with chronic kidney disease who are not on dialysis maintain their jobs and slow their disease. The American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) and the Medical Education Institute (MEI) launched the initiative on Capitol Hill. Learn more from this article featured in Nephrology News & Issues.

TransformingHealthcareTransforming Healthcare: Taking Dialysis Out of Clinics and into the Home

Check out this article from the Silicon Valley Business Journal about a pilot project that aims to get twice as many patient to choose home-based care.

StrategiestoImproveStrategies to Improve Access Management in Dialysis Patients
Check out this article from Nephrology News & Issues about the importance of vascular access and ways to improve usage rates.

CMSModifiesCMS Files Proposed Rule that Modifies terms of the esrd qip for py2018-2020
CMS has filed a Proposed Rule, to be published in the June 30, 2016 Federal Register. The new Rule would modify terms of the ESRD QIP for PY2018-2020, provide payment for patients with acute kidney injury, and include many other changes. Comments on the Proposed Rule must be submitted by August 23, 2016.

Proposed changes to the ESRD QIP include:
  • Revised technical specifications for the Hypercalcemia clinical measure in PY2018
  • A new Patient Safety Domain encompassing an NHSN reporting measure and BSI clinical measure, valued at 15% of facility TPS in PY2019 and 10% in PY2020
  • An SHR Standardized Hospitalization Ratio clinical measure for PY2020
  • A new Ultrafiltration Rate reporting measure for PY2020
  • Replacing the Mineral Metabolism measure with a new Serum Phosphorus reporting measure in PY2020
View a summarized Proposed Rule here. Read the full Federal Register article with instructions for commenting. 

ReminderReminder: Please use new facility closure reporting tool on qirn4 website
QIRN4 has developed a new form on its website for reporting facility closures and service interruptions. Please make note of this change and reset any bookmarks you may have previously had with a link to the old survey.

GolfTournamentKidney Foundation 
of central pa's 9th annual kidney classic golf tournament 
Join the Kidney Foundation of Central PA (KFCP) on Monday, September 19, 2016 at the West Shore Country Club in Camp Hill, PA for a fun golf-filled day to benefit a great cause.  The tournament will include individual and team challenges, a putting contest, raffle prizes, and a sports memorabilia silent auction.  Proceeds from this event help support essential KFCP programs such as the nationally-recognized Patient and Family Partner Program, the Patient Emergency Assistance Fund, and Camp Kydnie. Learn more
AAKPMeetingAAKP National Patient Meeting Registration Now Open
Registration is now open for the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) National Patient Meeting on September 23-25 in Nashville, TN. Three major themes at this year's Convention will be:
  • Increasing Living Organ Donation (including a workshop on "Having Your Donor Find You" on September 22)
  • Engaging Patients: How Voices and Choices Shape Your Future
  • Food, Drugs and Safety
ExperienceofCareRegister for the Experience of Care webinar series
A three-part webinar series sponsored by the American Association of Kidney Patients will focus on The Experience of Care: Patients and Providers as Partners. CEs for nurses and social workers are available without cost. Separate registration is required for each of the three webinars.  
AdvancesinPDAdvances in Peritoneal Dialysis - Third Annual Symposium
The Third Annual Advances in Peritoneal Dialysis Symposium will be held at New York's Mt. Sinai Icahn School of Medicine on September 9. Continuing education credits are available. Learn more and register.  
ESRDResourcesESRD resources  
Vascular Access Coordinator Resource Manual  

Check out this manual from the ESRD National Coordinating Center (NCC).   


ESRD Network 1 Vaccination Brochure

Check out this brochure from ESRD Network of New England, which focuses on the importance of vaccinations.


Why Am I Cold? Poster

QIRN4 adapted this poster for use from the ESRD Network of New England.    


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 or visit the ESRD NCC website

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King of Prussia, PA 19406 
(610) 265-2418 
(800) 548-9205 (patients only) 
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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. ESRD4-081716