CMS awards five year $110 million in ESRD Network funding to continue improvements in quality and access to care for people living with end stage renal disease

By: Patrick Conway, M.D., MSc, Acting Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer, CMS

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded $110 million in end stage renal disease (ESRD) Network funding for the 18 ESRD Networks to seven entities. These seven entities will work over a five year contract period, 2016 – 2020, to continue efforts in improving quality of care and access to care for individuals with irreversible kidney disease who require dialysis or transplantation to sustain life.

ESRD beneficiaries make up less than one percent of the Medicare population, but account for 7.1 percent of the Medicare spending. The ESRD Networks, created by statutory mandate in 1978, were developed to improve cost-effectiveness, ensure quality of care, encourage kidney transplantation and home dialysis, provide assistance to ESRD beneficiaries and providers, and increase ESRD Network Program accountability.

The following entities have been awarded ESRD Network Contracts:

AWARDED ENTITY ESRD NETWORKS
IPRO 1,2,6,9
Quality Insights ·        3,4,5
Health Services Advisory Group (HSAG) ·        7,13,15,17
Alliant Health Solutions ·        8,14
Qsource/Network Strategies and Innovation (NSI) ·        10,12
Renal Network of the Upper Midwest ·        11
Health Insights 16,18

The 2016 – 2020 ESRD Network Contract requires the 18 ESRD Networks to deploy interventions that target patients, dialysis/transplant providers, other providers, and/or stakeholders to substantively impact specific areas of focus. ESRD Networks’ quality improvement activities will incorporate the attributes of innovation; rapid cycle improvement; teamwork; customer-focus; and sustainability. Specific quality improvement activities will include efforts to impact the ESRD population by increasing Pneumococcal and Hepatitis B vaccination rates in dialysis patients; reducing the use of long term catheters for vascular access and reducing hospital acquired infections. Additionally, ESRD Networks will work on Pilot Projects to increase transplant referrals, increase home dialysis rates, improve quality of life and reduce hospitalizations for persons with ESRD.

During the 2013 – 2016 ESRD Network Contract Cycle, ESRD Networks saw great successes. These successes included leadership in Patient and Family Engagement through learning and action network activities. Additionally, ESRD Networks have moved arteriovenous fistula (AVF) vascular access use to above 60 percent nationally. Also, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control, and in support of the ESRD Quality Incentive Program, ESRD Networks assisted over 99 percent of the nation’s dialysis facilities in enrollment in the National Healthcare Safety Network. This 2016 – 2020 Contract represents the first time that CMS has awarded the ESRD Networks a five year contract. This will allow ESRD Networks to implement quality improvement activities over a more continuous timeframe with the goal of reaching and engaging more patients and providers as partners in this life-sustaining work.

This announcement is part of a broader effort to transform our health care system into one that works better for the American people. After completing a large, national, full and open competition for our ESRD Network Program, we are excited to work with these seven entities over the next five years to improve the quality of care for people living with end stage renal disease. More information on the activities of the ESRD Networks can be found at http://www.esrdncc.org.

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