CMS to require dialysis centers to submit clinical data online

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) this month will start requiring all 5,500 federally certified dialysis centers in the U.S. to submit facility-wide and patient-level data electronically through its CROWNweb system, CMS official John Allison said during a Monday symposium at the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference, which takes place in Las Vegas this week.

CMS collaborated with the National Renal Administrators Association to enable dialysis centers to submit the data via the CONNECT Gateway to the Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN), Allison said.

The biggest dialysis chains--DaVita, Fresenius, and Dialysis Clinic Inc.--will transmit the data in batches via EDI, according to an article in Renal Business Today.

Among the data elements to be submitted are patient admission and discharge history, medical evidence report, death notification forms, patient attributes and related treatment, and clinical values for hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and vascular access.

CROWNweb has been underway since 2008, but some independent dialysis centers are still having difficulties sending the data to CMS electronically. Allison said that very small operations would use health information exchanges to submit data.

This is the second instance of CMS using NwHIN to provide connectivity to a class of providers, he noted. In the first case, the Electronic Submission of Medical Documentation (eSMD) program, providers who are being audited can submit requested documentation online via NwHIN.

In the first phase of the eSMD program, which went live last September, the online communication is one-way from providers to CMS. Beginning next October, CMS will also begin sending online requests to providers for information, Allison noted. The intermediaries that enable providers to connect to NwHIN include clearinghouses, health information exchanges, and CMS-certified vendors, including recovery audit contractors (RACs).

To learn more:
- see the Renal Business Today article

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