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Improving the understanding, detection, and management of kidney disease.

March 1, 2011

Get Involved During National Kidney Month This March

March is National Kidney Month - a good time to find out what you can do to protect your kidneys and help family and friends protect theirs. NKDEP has free tools and resources that can help! Check out our list of 10 things you can do to get involved!

Important Changes to GFR Calculators on NKDEP Website

The Original MDRD and Schwartz equation calculators for estimating glomerular filtration rate (GFR) are no longer available on the NKDEP site. This change came about because major in vitro diagnostics manufacturers have changed their creatinine methods to make them more accurate. At this time, all laboratories should be using creatinine methods calibrated to be traceable to an isotope dilution mass spectrometry (IDMS) reference measurement procedure, along with calculators modified for use with these methods.

Find the IDMS-traceable GFR calculators and more information on the NKDEP website. Laboratory personnel who are unsure about their creatinine methods should check with their suppliers.

Provider Education Video Series Expands to Include Spanish-language Videos

To support and encourage conversations in Spanish between health professionals and patients, NKDEP recently developed a series of short web videos in Spanish to assist health professionals in answering common chronic kidney disease (CKD) questions. Complementing the existing provider education videos - with links between the English and Spanish-language videos as appropriate, topics include CKD and risk factors, treatment, testing and diagnosis, and dialysis and transplantation. The Spanish language selected for these videos is free of idioms and mannerisms so it can be clearly understood by all Spanish-speakers from various nationalities and/or origins. The main video page has been refreshed to include easy navigation to the key topics and the Spanish-language video section.

NKDEP Coordinating Panel Discusses EHRs, the Impact of CKD in the Hispanic/Latino Population

NKDEP held its annual Coordinating Panel meeting on December 7, 2010, in Bethesda, MD. The meeting discussion focused on two main topics that will help inform future NKDEP activities: health information technology and electronic health records (EHRs), and the impact of CKD in the Hispanic/Latino population.

Terry Cullen, MD, MS from Indian Health Service presented on the importance of identifying a standard set of data points for EHRs that could support quality improvement efforts in CKD. She explained that providers need to be included in discussions about the meaningful use measures related to CKD. If providers are very clear about what they need from EHRs (e.g., measures, reminders, design of products), then vendors can tailor products to their needs. She added that codes for patient education should be developed and included in EHRs to support provider reimbursement for educating patients. There are currently no standard, endorsed education codes.

Larissa Avilés-Santa, MD, MPH, FACP, FACE from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, presented an overview of the Hispanic/Latino population in the U.S. and ideas for how NKDEP can effectively address the needs of the at-risk Hispanic/Latino community. Dr. Avilés-Santa explained that while the Hispanic/Latino population is often considered to be homogeneous, it is actually very diverse. This misconception about commonalities across the Hispanic/Latino population leads to many incorrect assumptions and misguided health messages. Therefore, health communication efforts, including those related to CKD, must consider the diverse cultures and customs of the various subpopulations.

Learn more about these presentations and read the full meeting summary report.

Renal Nutrition Forum highlights NKDEP's CKD Diet Initiative

NKDEP welcomed the opportunity to describe the Program's efforts to help educate dietitians on managing patients with CKD (who are not on dialysis) in a recent issue of Renal Nutrition Forum. Renal Nutrition Forum is a quarterly publication of the Renal Dietitians Practice Group (RPG) of the American Dietetic Association (ADA). Members of RPG have contributed to NKDEP's initiative since its inception, first by participating in a needs assessment roundtable discussion, followed by providing feedback on draft nutrition resources at ADA's annual meetings, and now by helping to promote the resulting materials to dietitians who provide medical nutrition therapy to patients with CKD. The full article, published with permission on the NKDEP website, describes the research and materials development process, highlights available materials, and announces upcoming activities. For more information about the initiative, please contact Eileen Newman at

Translating CKD Research Workshop Summary Report Now Available

The Workshop on Translating CKD Research into Improved Clinical Outcomes was held on October 18 and 19, 2010. Sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, this meeting focused on Type 2 (T2) translational research for CKD. The purpose of the workshop was to identify research questions for T2 research in CKD; share lessons learned from T2 research in other diseases; and identify opportunities to collaborate across various disciplines and settings. The meeting summary report is now available.

Dietitians and Diabetes Educators talk about NKDEP materials

NKDEP has launched its own YouTube channel, showcasing responses to NKDEP materials from dietitians and diabetes educators from around the country. Participants at the 2010 American Association of Diabetes Educators and American Dietetic Association meetings offered impromptu reviews of NKDEP's patient education and nutrition materials. The educators in the videos discuss how they have used the materials, and the responses they received from patients, friends, and family members. Find these videos on the NKDEP YouTube channel along with NKDEP's Provider Education videos.

CMS Expands Telehealth Services for Kidney Disease Education

CMS expanded its coverage for the provision of Kidney Disease Education (KDE) Services as of January 1, 2011, allowing qualified providers to bill for KDE provided via telehealth services. This change comes exactly one year after CMS began covering KDE for those with stage four kidney disease under Medicare Part B. Approved under change request 7049, individual and group KDE services provided via telehealth capabilities can be billed using HCPCS codes G0420 and G0421, respectively. Other relevant telehealth services that can now be billed include individual and group diabetes self-management training services and group medical nutrition therapy services. More information about the change request and claims processing is provided on the CMS web site.

NDEP Develops New Family History Campaign to Raise Awareness of Diabetes Risk


The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), a joint program of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has developed a new campaign to focus on family health history as an important risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. According to recent statistics, one quarter of the 26 million adults in the U.S. with diabetes have the disease and do not know it. Many people do not find out they have diabetes until they are faced with serious health problems, including kidney disease. As the prevalence of diabetes continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly important to prevent or delay the disease and its complications by raising awareness of the factors that place people at increased risk. People who have a mother, father, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes are at increased risk for developing the disease. Additionally, women who have had gestational diabetes have a lifelong risk for getting diabetes, and the child from that pregnancy is at increased risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes. Although people cannot change their family health history, knowing about it can give them the information they need to work with their health care team to take action and change the lifestyle factors that put them at risk.

The NDEP has several resources available to help health care professionals educate patients about family health history as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Spread the word with NDEP's Family Health History Type 2 Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes posters. Encourage people at risk to start the health history conversation in their family with NDEP's 4 Questions You Should Ask Your Family About Diabetes & Family Health History. They can even test their knowledge about family history and diabetes with NDEP's Family Health History Quiz. In addition, use NDEP's Small Steps. Big Rewards. Your GAME PLAN to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes Information for Patients and Health Care Provider Toolkit to help people assess their risk for developing diabetes and implement a program to prevent or delay the onset of the disease. For more information and resources to prevent and manage diabetes, visit NDEP at

CDC Releases Updated Diabetes Fact Sheet

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released the National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 2011. The Fact Sheet provides the latest data on the impact of diabetes, pre-diabetes, and gestational diabetes on the U.S. population, including prevalence, incidence, and mortality across several different demographics. It also addresses the complications of diabetes, such as kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke, and how these complications can be prevented. The Get the Facts on Diabetes page highlights some of the key findings, including disparities by age or race/ethnicity.

New Data from AHRQ on Health Care Use and Expenses for Kidney Disease

The Agency for Health Care Reform and Quality (AHRQ) recently released a statistical brief on annual health care use and expenditures for kidney disease among adults from 2003 to 2007. The data includes expenditures for ambulatory and hospital care, and prescribed medications to treat kidney disease. Key highlights include: 3.7 million adults reported getting treatment for kidney disease annually; medical spending to treat kidney disease totaled on average $25.3 billion per year; more than half of the expenditures for kidney disease were on the treatment and care performed during ambulatory care visits; and 40 percent of the total expenditures to treat kidney disease were paid by Medicare.

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Page last updated: March 1, 2012