Important Quality Incentive Program Changes For Dialysis Providers: ESRD Patient Input Requested

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All dialysis patients (In-Center and Home) can now comment on proposed changes to the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Quality Incentive Program until August 12th at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) website. The purpose of the project is to develop quality measures that can be used to promote the delivery of high quality care to Medicare beneficiaries with ESRD. The public comment period provides an opportunity for the widest array of the public and interested parties to provide input on the measures under development and can provide important suggestions not previously considered by the measure contractor or its technical expert panels.

Recommended Reading: Proposed Cuts to Medicare (ESRD) Program Will Limit Dialysis Patients' Care

These measures are important because they are used to determine the quality of renal dialysis service provided under the Medicare program and can offer solutions for improvement. The quality-incentive program rewards outcomes of treatment rather than just steps taken by clinics. Given the proposed 9.4 percent cut to dialysis payments in 2014 many facilities will face challenges implementing strategies to achieve these quality measurements. However, believes that these quality measurements are an important way to drive patient-focused services.

Recommended Reading: Dialysis Treatment Option Which Is Found To Be Comparable to Cadaveric Kidney Transplant 

Current Proposed measures for 2014 include:

  • Anemia management: Patient informed consent for anemia treatment and hemoglobin above 12 g/dL.
  • Adequacy: A Kt/V measure for Hemodialysis (HD), Peritoneal Dialysis (PD), and Pediatric Hemodialysis patients.
  • Vascular access care: Arterial Venous (AV) fistula use, catheter use.
  • Bone Mineral: Measuring hypercalcemia to determine metabolism management
  • Patient safety: National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) bloodstream infection in hemodialysis outpatients.
  • Iron Therapy: Use of iron therapy in pediatric patients.
  • Other Illnesses: Gathering data on presence of one or more disorders in addition to ESRD.

Recommended Reading:Cuts by Congress Could Threaten Quality Dialysis Care for CKD encourages you to submit comments to CMS about ways to improve dialysis care. It is easy! Simply email your comments and recommendations to:  Do not include personal health information in your comments but be as specific as possible about recommended changes and additions. Do not be shy, you may submit general comments on the entire set of measures or simply provide comments to individual areas. Your feedback is critical to ensure quality care for dialysis patients, especially now with looming financial cuts being considered. 

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 "ESRD QIP Changes for PY 2016 Get Little Attention as Dialysis Providers Focus on Bundle Payment Cut." Nephrology News and Issues.

"Comment Period Open for Proposed ESRD Quality Measures." Renal Business Today