2016 Quarter One Highlights

Dear NRAA Members,

Wishing you all a wonderful Spring! The NRAA and RSE have been very busy this past quarter and I am pleased to have the opportunity to share a number of key highlights. 

NRAA and RSE Board

Leadership Development

In January, during the NRAA and RSE Winter Board Meeting, Board Members and resources participated in a leadership development session focused on:

  • Roles and Responsibilities of board and staff
  • Strategic Thinking

New Investment Firm – Water Oak Advisors

The NRAA Finance and Investment Committee conducted a “closed” RFP last year, which included 11 firms.  We are pleased to announce our new engagement with Water Oak Advisors to assist the NRAA Finance and Investment Committee with managing NRAA investments.

NRAA Activities


The NRAA and RSE have enjoyed our initial engagement with our new Government Affairs team from Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas.  We look forward to further utilizing their political and health policy expertise in the coming months and years.  

Comment Letters

The NRAA has submitted four comments letters and has signed onto an additional two Industry letters. A copy of NRAA comment letters can be found in the NRAA Members Only Section under “Advocacy”.  

NRAA Comment Letters

  1. Senate Finance Workgroup Chronic Care (1/26/16)
  2. Public Comment on Hemodialysis Access and Kidney Transplantation Draft Measures for the ESRD QIP (2/26/16)
  3. NRAA Opposition to the FY 2017 President’s Budget Proposal for “increased payments” to the ESRD Network Program (3/4/16)
  4. Dialysis Facility Compare Star Ratings (3/16/16)

Industry Letters

  1. Kidney Care Partners: Public Comment on Hemodialysis Access and Kidney Transplantation Draft Measures for the ESRD QIP
  2. Alliance for Home Dialysis Support Letter CONNECT for HEALTH Act

Regulatory and Legislative Activities

The Mehlman Castagnetti team and NRAA leaders continue to discuss potential legislation that may impact kidney providers and the kidney community.  We continue to provide our perspective and substantive suggestions on potential integrated care legislation that might be introduced in the coming weeks/month.

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) and ESRD Seamless Care Organizations (ESCOs)

Last year, the Comprehensive ESRD Care Model began which has been designed to identify, test, and evaluate new ways to improve care for Medicare beneficiaries with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).  Currently, 14 ESRD Seamless Care Organizations (ESCOs) participate in the Comprehensive ESRD Care Model.

ESCO Participants

  1. Fresenius Medical Care: 7
  2. Davita: 3
  3. Dialysis Clinic, Inc: 3
  4. Rogosin Institute: 1 (Small Dialysis Organization)

Small Dialysis - ESCO

The NRAA held a call with CMMI earlier this year to learn about the current status of ESCOs and to share potential issues or challenges that small and independent dialysis providers faced with the current model.  We look forward to further discussion with CMMI and the potential opportunity for ESCOs to be re-opened in the coming year.

World Kidney Day – Kidney Caucus

The theme this year was "Kidney Disease in Children: Act Early to Prevent It!"  The NRAA was proud to support and attend a Congressional Briefing that was hosted by the American Society of Pediatric Nephrology (ASPN) on March 10, 2016.  We look forward to working further with ASPN.

Thursday, May 26 – NRAA Day on the Hill – Advocacy in Action!

The NRAA Day on the Hill provides you with the opportunity to attend face to face meetings with Representatives and Senators in order to tell your story and discuss your facility’s top priorities and concerns. Take advantage of “early bird registration” for the NRAA Spring Meeting and Day on the Hill in Washington DC on May 25-26!

New Format!

  • This year, Mehlman Castagnetti will be in charge of scheduling all appointments for you, helping to coordinate all meetings with Members of Congress and Hill staff, as well as helping you and your colleagues from NRAA to prepare for and navigate the halls of Congress.
  • The team from Mehlman Castagnetti will also make every effort to assign one of their lobbyists to staff each group of NRAA members that visits Capitol Hill.  
  • NRAA will provide talking points and written leave behind materials to ensure a successful visit.
  • The day will start with a group breakfast, followed by appointments.

Note: Register by April 30 to be sure that we have ample time to begin scheduling your appointments.

Membership & Marketing

We are proud to serve our members and provide access to timely and relevant education, advocacy, and services.  Beginning last year, we launched our 'Stand Strong With Us’ campaign encouraging kidney dialysis providers, organizations, professional, and vendors to become an active and engaged member.


We are pleased to be focused on expanding our membership within the following four areas including independent, pediatrics, physicians, and hospital based programs. We are developing additional campaigns, content and educational opportunities as recruitment tools for these areas in 2016.

To start, we have developed a pediatric Educational Webinar series, launching in early Q2. In addition, the NRAA continues to maintain an active Physician Relations committee which has led to us collaborating with the RPA with our MD Workshop / Symposium in 2015 and again this Fall.


NRAA continues to create unique ways to provide valuable information to our members and the greater dialysis community, across all channels. In 2015, we began developing infographics to highlight specific key areas such as 2015 Year in Review and World Kidney Day. In addition, we have introduced different content formats to Renal Watch such as Q&A and Guest Authors.

In Q1 we also introduced our "Member Spotlight" program highlighting individual and company members with a focus on why they became an NRAA member. This content allows us to highlight membership benefits by leveraging testimonial feedback from our current members. We encourage you to share your story with us!

For more information, please contact us at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Industry Awards

The NRAA is a proud Patron Sponsor of AAKP Medal of Excellence, which honors a number of industry leaders. A special congratulations to Katrina Russell, NRAA Past President and NRAA Mark Zawiski Award winner for excellence in Nursing! Other Medal of Excellence Award Winners included:

Physician Category
Richard Gibney, MD
Edward Jones, MD, MBA
Nursing Category
Katrina Russell, RN, CNN
Karen Walton-Brown, RN
Social Work Category
Wendy Funk Schrag, LMSW, ACSW
Dietitian Category
Linda McCann, RN, CSR, LD
Rita Dimmitt-Solomon, RD, CSR, LDN

RSE Services


We are proud to continue to offer an efficient and reliable electronic CROWNWeb data submission solution for independent, regional and community based dialysis providers as an alternative to manual data entry.  Today, we have certified 16 EMR Vendors to submit through the NRAA HIE for CROWNWeb. For more information about the NRAA HIE for CROWNWeb, please visit http://www.renalexchange.com/nraa-hie-for-crownweb/

RSE Benchmark Reports

At the end of the last year, RSE Benchmark Tool 6.0 was released which is a comprehensive set of reports periodically updated throughout the year to offer the most current data available. The reports offer national cost and quality benchmarking data for the U.S. dialysis industry.

Release 6.0 updates the previous version, including:

  • Cost, clinical and quality metrics for 2010-2014
  • An updated set of 2014 cost statistics, calendar year 2014 clinical and quality metrics
  • The new 2015 Star Ratings


The RSE offers NRAA Members access to 9 ICH-CAHPS Preferred Vendors including their proposal, pricing matrix, and data collection services. For more information, please visit http://www.renalexchange.com/ich-cahps/

Renal Purchasing Group

As an RSE partner, the RPG is the largest GPO that exclusively serves dialysis and nephrology. The RPG is committed to bringing their members the tools they need to provide quality patient care while keeping operating cost low.

New Resources

Beginning in 2016, the NRAA and RSE welcome a number of new resources to assist the NRAA and RSE in providing programs and services. 

1) New NRAA Managing Director at Fernley & Fernley

Jonathan Uitto has been named the new Managing Director for the NRAA at Fernley and Fernley.  Before joining the NRAA, Jonathan worked in a variety of capacities with the New York State Society of Physician Assistants, The Association of Fundraising Professionals – Greater Philadelphia Chapter, National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, Eastern Nursing Research Society, and Association of Oncology Social Work.

2) New Government Affairs Firm

A warm welcome to David Thomas, Dean Rosen, Lauren Aronson, and Sohini Gupta from Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen  & Thomas. Their bipartisan political and health policy experience will be a benefit to the NRAA and RSE in the coming months and years.

3) New Finance Investment Firm

Water Oak Advisors will work closely with the NRAA Finance and Investment committee with managing the NRAA Investments.


A special thank you to the NRAA and RSE Board leaders for their time and commitment in serving the NRAA and RSE.  I look forward to seeing many of you at the upcoming NRAA Spring Meeting and Day on the Hill from May 25-26!


Marc Chow, MS
Executive Director