Working with the ESRD Patient
The Network has resources for healthcare providers to assist in clinical practice and to deal with difficult situations. If you are having difficulty placing a patient in an outpatient dialysis facility, your first resource is Medicare's Dialysis Facility Compare to search, and compare dialysis facilities in the United States and Territories. If you are still having issues placing patients in out patient dialysis facilities, please contact Network Staff to discuss options and potential interventions to overcome barriers to placement.
Resources for difficult situations
If provider staff are dealing with a situation that they feel may warrant a patient's involuntary discharge (IVD) or transfer (IVT), please be aware that the Network and State Department of Health MUST be notified when ANY notice of termination or transfer is given to a patient.
IVD/IVT places patients at extreme risk, and should be considered ONLY as a last resort. IVDs and IVTs are tracked by the Network and reported to CMS monthly. In addition, patients who do not have a Health Care Proxy or Emergency Contact Person are also considered at risk. In many cases, we have found that early interventions have prevented discharge, and we urge facility staff to identify patients who are at risk early and to contact the Network's Patient Services department for assistance.
Difficult to Place Patients: 30-day trial period
To address the growing problem of Failure to Place cases, the ESRD Network implemented a program to facilitate placement of these patients. The program was developed in collaboration with CMS and the NC, SC, GA Departments of Health with the following goals:
•To alleviate some of the risk that a dialysis unit assumes when it accepts a known Failure to Place patient
•To ensure that such patients receive the elevated level of support that may be needed to help them adjust positively to the outpatient setting.
Through the program, prospective dialysis units are offered a 30-day trial period during which they may accept a patient for treatment as if he or she is a “transient” patient. The unit accepts the patient with the understanding that there is no commitment to continue treatment after 30 days if the patient causes excessive disruption to the unit or exhibits threatening or violent outbursts. Participating units agree that if the patient refrains from these behaviors, the unit will accept the patient as permanent after the 30th day or the 12th treatment. This gives the unit staff members a chance to get to know the patient and begin to create a specific plan of care that will be implemented if the patient remains at the facility. This also gives the patient the opportunity for stability and continuity of care that is not available in the acute setting. Additionally, the patient gets the opportunity to decide if the particular dialysis unit is the right fit for him or her.
For more information please see this article or contact the Patient Services Department.
Treatment Barriers: Definitions
It is important for provider staff and patients to understand patient rights and responsibilities when it comes to access to dialysis. There are many factors that influence a person's choice of dialysis unit: Location, Insurance, chair availability and medical needs to name a few. Below are definitions and a link to the CMS Conditions for Coverage.
Prevent treatment barriers before they become an access to care problem. If a patient is at risk of IVD, IVT, or F2P, please contact the Network immediately
Access to care cases include those involving involuntary discharge (IVD), involuntary transfer(IVT), and failure to place (F2P).
An involuntary discharge is a discharge initiated by the treating dialysis facility without the patient’s agreement.
An involuntary transfer occurs when the transferring facility temporarily or permanently closes due to a merger, or due to an emergency or disaster situation, or due to other circumstances, and the patient is dissatisfied with the transfer to another facility.
Failure to Place
A failure to place is defined as a situation in which no outpatient dialysis facility can be located that will accept an ESRD patient for routine dialysis treatment.
For more Guidance on on Involuntary Transfer/ Discharge and Access to Care, please see our Involuntary Transfer/Discharge webpage.