urr vascular

Dialysis Adequacy, Infection and Vascular Access Reporting

The section 153c of MIPPA requires CMS to implement a quality based payment program for dialysis services effective January 1, 2012. CMS currently collects two monthly measurements of quality of care via the ESRD claims submitted by dialysis providers: hemoglobin or hematocrit as a measure of anemia management and urea reduction ratio (URR) as a measure of hemodialysis adequacy.

The source data for the two current quality measures are collected on dialysis provider claims. The anemia management quality measure uses the most recent hemoglobin or hematocrit lab value, collected using value codes 48 or 49 on bill type 72x. The hemodialysis adequacy measure uses the current month’s urea reduction ratio (URR) lab value, collected using Healthcare Common Procedure Coding Systems (HCPCS) modifiers G1 through G6 on hemodialysis line items (revenue center 082x and HCPCS 90999).

These two quality measures meet the minimum requirements as mandated in MIPPA section 153c. However, the URR measure of dialysis adequacy does not provide data for the entire ESRD dialysis population. Not having dialysis adequacy data for a segment of the dialysis population (peritoneal dialysis patients) is problematic in the development of a quality based payment program that will decrease provider payment by up to 2% based on quality outcome data because, with the missing data, CMS will not be able to assess all ESRD dialysis providers based on the same criteria.

MIPPA section 153c also requires the use of quality measures endorsed by a consensus organization. CMS recently reexamined and received National Quality Forum (NQF) endorsement for the ESRD quality measures. Both CMS and NQF found that dialysis adequacy is best measured by Kt/V (K-dialyzer clearance of urea; t-dialysis time; V-patient’s total body water) for both hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis patients. The NQF granted time-limited endorsement of URR for hemodialysis patients and recommended that CMS drop it in favor of Kt/V as soon as possible. While dialysis adequacy is measured monthly for in-center hemodialysis patients, dialysis adequacy is measured less frequently for peritoneal dialysis patients (at least every four months). Therefore, it is necessary to track both the date of the most recent measurement and the result of the most recent measurement.

Finally, MIPPA section 153c provides for the use of additional quality measures for the quality based payment program as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Two additional quality measures could easily be collected using HCPCS modifiers for hemodialysis patients to record vascular access. 

  • The first measure is use of an arteriovenous fistula with two needles, which is recognized as the best vascular access because it is associated with the least infections. 
  • The second measure is the use of any vascular catheter, which is recognized as the worst vascular access because it is associated with the most infections. 

Collecting vascular access data will allow CMS to develop a more robust quality based payment program in order to implement national policy without additional data collection burden on dialysis providers, who are already required to collect these data under the Fistula First Initiative.

Consequently, CMS will require the reporting of the Kt/V reading and date of the reading, vascular access and infection data on ESRD claims with dates of service on or after July 1, 2010. This new data reporting requirement will allow CMS to implement an accurate quality incentive payment for dialysis providers by January 1, 2012, as required by MIPPA, section 153c. The July 2010 implementation date is needed because the quality incentive payment must be in part based on provider improvement over time; thus, CMS requires an accurate measurement of baseline provider performance. The CMS will require that providers continue to report the existing G1 through G6 modifiers for URR at this time.

For more information please visit


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *