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You and Your End Stage Renal Disease Network

Did you know that there are special organizations called End Stage
Renal Disease (ESRD) Networks which offer a wide range of resources for ESRD patients
and families as well as provide guidance and oversight for dialysis and
transplant facilities across the nation? The Medicare ESRD Program, a national
health insurance program, was established in 1972. In 1978 the formation of the
ESRD Network Organizations was authorized. There are 18 Networks in total and
each Network covers a specific geographical region of the country. Dialysis and
transplant patients can contact their local Network for various reasons. It is
important that you are familiar with your Network, know how to contact them and
are aware of what services and resources are available to you. In this article
you will learn some of the main areas in which your Network can be of

To File a Grievance:
Each Network has a Patient Services Department which receives, investigates and
works to resolve complaints surrounding patient care at any ESRD Certified Facility.
Grievances can be filed by patients, family members, care givers, care
partners, staff members and any other individual who has concerns regarding
patient care. Network staff is committed to identifying any quality of care concerns
or patient safety issues that may be present and/or related to the complaint
filed. The Network staff will work with the person who filed the complaint and
the facility involved to assist in increasing communication, patient engagement
in care and mutual respect between the patient and the treatment team.
Warranted trainings on boundaries, professionalism or any other issue identified
will be recommended or provided by Network staff. We understand that ESRD treatment
is a team effort and that each patient is the most important member of that
team. It is the goal of the Network not only to confirm that an issue is
present, but to assist in finding reasonable solutions; so that a patient’s
treatment can continue uninterrupted and consistent care can be maintained in a
positive and healing environment.

There are several things that Networks cannot do or provide. The
Network does not have the authority to terminate or hire facility staff. The Network
does not have the authority to change staff schedules or assign a specific
staff member to your care. When medically necessary, most facilities are willing
to work with the Networks to find a resolution that is beneficial to all
parties involved. All cases are unique and are treated as such. The Networks
cannot provide direct financial assistance and will refer callers to the appropriate
organizations that can assist them.

Requests for Educational Materials: Each Network also serves as an information bank of ESRD related
educational materials and resources. These materials are free of charge and
will be provided to callers upon request. With all the various organizations
and resources available, the Networks strive to help patients obtain basic information
on ESRD in a simple and patient friendly manner. Call your local Network for
additional information on the materials available in your area.

Locating a dialysis facility: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services maintain
information on all ESRD Certified Facilities, which is made available to the
public by a service called Dialysis Facility Compare. This information can be
reached by visiting: http://www.medicare.gov/Dialysis. This tool can assist patients in finding local facilities for
regular treatment or facility locations when you travel. Basic information
about services provided and the quality of care for each facility can be gained
using this site as well. The Network is available to assist you in navigating
this site or can look up information for you.

Patient Advisory Committee involvement: Each Network is required to establish and maintain a Patient
Advisory Committee. The committee is composed of patients from the Network area;
projects or activities are chosen by the committee and carried out by the
patient members. Membership is established through an application process. The
application process, membership requirements and committee activities vary from
Network to Network. Contact your local Network to learn more about your Patient
Advisory Committee and how you can become a member and get more involved in the
ESRD community.

Quality of Life: Networks nationwide strive to improve quality of care, increase patient satisfaction in
services rendered by the Networks and facilities and engage more patients and families
in the treatment of their ESRD. Dialysis and transplants are methods of medical
intervention that are intended to not only lengthen one’s life, but to allow
one to experience a higher quality of life. Networks can provide information on
obtaining Vocational Rehabilitation (career) services, information on treatment
modality options, local support groups, volunteer opportunities, community
involvement and much more. Contact your local Network today and learn how you
can get involved, obtain education and resources or to simply see what the
Networks are all about. Visit http://www.esrdncc.org to get contact information and links to all Network websites. The Networks were
established to ensure that all ESRD patients are receiving the best care
available. Getting patients and families involved in their care and providing
educational resources to the community is our mission. Together we can change
the way ESRD patients experience care and begin to improve patient health
across the nation.

Know which department you need to be connected with in order to
address your needs or concerns. The information on the next page is provided by
Network 18. Other Networks department listings may vary.

Quality Improvement Department

QI Concerns and/or Questions
Clinical Performance Measures
QAPI Workshops and Projects
Patient Care/Facility Operations Questions
Emergency Preparedness


Patient Services Department
Patient Advisory Committee
Patient Services Issues
• Grievances
• Vocational Rehabilitation
• Educational Materials
• Behavioral Issues
• Involuntary Discharge
Quality of Care Consultation
Data Department
Special Data Reports
Completing and/or Tracking Required Forms
• Accuracy & Compliance
• Annual ESRD Facility Surveys (CMS-2744)
• Death Notifications (CMS-2746)
• ESRD Medical Evidence Report Forms (CMS-2728)
• Patient Activity Report (PAR)
• Patient Address Verifications
Administrative Department
New Facility Membership
Facility Information Form (FIF) Changes and/or Corrections
Facility Membership Agreements
Facility Directories