Chicago — Two meetings this week, one a gathering of chief medical officers starting here today, and one hosted by Kidney Care Partners  in  Washington, D.C., have the potential to improve the quality of dialysis patient care in the United States. Today, nephrologists Tom Parker (Renal Ventures Management), Allen Nissenson (DaVita Inc.) and Doug Johnson (Dialysis Clinic Inc.) will begin "From innovation to application: A CMO symposium."

The 1-½ day gathering of chief medical officers and their clinic administrators from around the country will look at ways to improve dialysis care. Because of the short time frame, they are sticking to specific topics. "You will note that the agenda is limited.  Missing is integrated care, missing is health information technology, missing are many issues pertaining to our patients such as patient-centered care, rehabilitation, satisfaction," the organizers wrote in a note to attendees that contained the final program.  "Missing is manpower issues and all sorts of processes and outcomes.  Yet, there is a conviction by the organizers that unless our patients are doing better with few hospitalizations, less mortality, feeling better, all else pales. These must come first and they can only come from those who deliver the care, we the providers.The conference goals are to identify the issues that, if solved, will have the greatest impact on outcomes."

The issues to be explored include:

  • Education: is there value in preparing patients for dialysis care in CKD Stages 3-4? Do outcomes improve among informed patients?
  • Conservative care vs. renal replacement therapy: What are the objective tools and techniques that are available to weigh the benefits?
  • Avoiding unnecessary hospitalizations and rehospitalizations in dialysis patients: What programs are effective?  What is the role of extra cellular volume control?
  • Adequate nutrition: Is there evidence that changing albumin is sustainable and does that translate to better outcomes?

Work groups are also being formed among attendees to focus on particular topics.

NN&I will be covering the meeting; look for updates at

Kidney Care Partners will hold a national summit in Washington, D.C. on Thursday to develop what it calls a national "blueprint" on quality. The blueprint is intended to develop recommendations for Medicare's ESRD Quality Incentive Program (QIP) and identify internal quality improvement drivers and research priorities.

Kidney Care Partners says the summit meeting agenda will track closely with the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) National Quality Strategy (NQS) aims for better care, healthy people and communities, and affordable care. The blueprint document, once final, will be made publicly available as a report. The summit is closed to the public and media. Kidney Care Partners says a statement summarizing progress and next steps will be released the following day. The final document is estimated to be completed by this summer.

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