NNCC Email Newsletter | July 2019

Monday, July 29th, 2019

almeida_pflieger_resize_219776.pngNNCC has selected Aspirus Langlade Hospital Kidney Care in Antigo, WI, as the recipient of its first Quality Improvement Award.

Renal Dietitian Toni Pflieger, RD, CD, and Kidney Care Manager Jesus Almeida, BSN, RN, CNN, submitted an application for the project, "Two for the Road - Protein Supplement Program,” for the 2019 award. The goal of their nutrition project, which began in August 2018, was to improve albumin levels of patients who qualify for protein supplementation.

According to Pflieger and Almeida, the program was launched because many patients on the protein supplement program didn’t eat before their dialysis treatment or didn’t have a quality source of protein with their meal.

“We wanted to provide protein before and after dialysis to give patients a net gain in protein and promote a positive nitrogen balance,” they said.


Pflieger and Almeida knew that once the albumin levels were improved, patients would have stronger immune systems resulting in better wound healing, overall health, and quality of life.


They achieved their goal. Monthly albumin levels rose and reached the levels specified by CMS guidelines. There was another positive outcome of the program: Thanks to the faster improvement in albumin levels, Pflieger and Almeida said they were able to remove patients from the protein supplementation program.


In their application, Pflieger and Almeida shared advice for others.

“Never give up on quality improvement for your dialysis patients,” they wrote. “Looking at the patient as a whole and not just lab results, improves patient care.”

About the Award

NNCC developed the Quality Improvement (QI) Award to recognize an individual or organization participating in a QI project that promotes optimal patient outcomes in nephrology. Award recipients are chosen each summer. The recipient organization receives the award during a ceremony at their facility in September.


The award is presented personally by the NNCC President or an NNCC commissioner. Recipients receive $1,000 and an engraved plaque. A poster featuring a picture of the winning individual or organization is also displayed at the NNCC exhibit booth at national meetings and announced in all NNCC publications.

Effective as of July 1, 2020, the CNN-NP eligibility criteria will be changed to a minimum of 2 years and 2,000 hours working as a nephrology nurse practitioner within 2 years of applying to take the exam. Questions? Please contact NNCC at nncc@nncc-exam.org


The NNCC Board of Commissioners has approved a new policy for those taking the CCHT-A certification examination. For all CCHT-A exam applications

received on 8/1/2019 and beyond, if an individual is CCHT certified and takes the CCHT-A exam but doesn’t pass, NNCC will automatically recertify the CCHT credential, effective for 3 years from the time the CCHT-A examination was taken. 


What does this mean for you? If you’re a CCHT working at an advanced level of practice, you may now apply to take the CCHT-A exam without fear that you will lose your credential if you don’t pass the exam.

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Apply Now for the CNN-NP Career Mobility Scholarship

Keep the forward momentum of your career going with some help from NNCC. We offer $5,000 career mobility scholarships to Certified Nephrology Nurse Practitioners (CNN-NPs). Let us support you in reaching your education goals! Click here for the application, and apply by November 30, 2019.

Visit NNCC Booth at Fall Conferences

NNCC will be exhibiting at the following upcoming meetings. Please stop by our booth to get answers to your questions about certification/recertification and discover new resources for your practice.


National Renal Administrators Association (NRAA)

October 2-4, Huntington Beach, CA


ANNA Fall Meeting (ANNA)

October 12-14, San Diego, CA


American Society of Nephrology (ASN)

November 5-9, Washington, DC


Infographic Outlines New Payment Models Proposed by Trump’s Executive Order

The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) has published an infographic showing how CMS proposes the models would work. ASN also has an online primer about the Advancing American Kidney Health Initiative. (Kidney News Online, 7/10/19)

CVS Health Launches Clinical Trial for New Home Dialysis Machine

CVS Health is starting clinical trials that will include up to 70 patients at sites across the U.S. (Healio/Nephrology News & Issues, 7/17/19


Industry Voices—The Lifesaving Approach to Organ Transplant

More than 113,000 men, women and children were on the national organ transplant waiting list as of January, according to HHS. Living donor chains are a part of the solution. (Fierce Healthcare, 7/17/19)


Black, Older Patients Less Likely to Use Hospital Patient Portals

A new study reports that black patients are less likely to use patient portals than white patients, even when the technology is presented at the bedside. The results will help identify and ultimately solve patterns of racial inequalities in health care in America today. (Modern Healthcare, 7/17/2019)