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About the Heartland Kidney Network

About the Heartland Kidney Network

What We Are

Heartland Kidney Network is a non-profit corporation under contract with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to oversee the End Stage Renal Disease Program in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa. There are 17 other Networks with the same purpose across the United States.

Membership Committees

Heartland Kidney Network's organizational structure is capable of supporting all activities of the Network, especially the quality improvement and patient-centered services described in the Statement of Work (SOW) between the ESRD Network Organizations and CMS. In addition to Network staff, there are four primary committees: the Board of Directors, Medical Review Board, Network Council, and the Patient Advisory Council that oversee and direct Network activities. 

Elections to each of these committees (with the exception of the NC) are done in the fall of each calendar year. A Call for Nominations is made for any vacant positions, a Nominating Committee prepares a ballot of eligible candidates which is approved by the Board of Directors. Voting is done by the Network  Council (made up of Facility Representatives from each dialysis and transplant center in the Network region). Announcement are made in December of each year for the following term that begins in January. If you are interested in a committee, call the Network office or watch the website each September for Call for Nominations.  

Board of Directors (BOD)

The ESRD Network Board of Directors oversees and manages the operations of each of the ESRD Network contracts with CMS. The ESRD Network Board of Directors assures that each contract is effectively managed in accordance with the contract requirements and ensures strict adherence to corporate compliance and financial management policies and procedures.

Medical Review Board (MRB)

The Medical Review Board serves as the primary advisory panel for all Network quality improvement activities, including Fistula First/Catheter Last, quality improvement projects, patient grievances, special studies and surveys regarding the health care delivery to ESRD patients.

Patient Advisory Council (PAC)

The Patient Advisory Council (PAC) is a dynamic group of patients and professionals that help the Network respond to patient needs and seek ways to improve patient/staff relationships. The PAC represents a cross section of patient treatment modalities from across the Network. This committee provides an approach to patient-related issues and concerns that involve continuously seeking better ways to do things --- ways that lead to more informed patients and better treatment results. This committee acts as an advisory group to the Network's Patient Services Department. 

Network Council (NC)

The Network Council is representative of the membership of The Renal Network, and serves in an informational/advisory capacity. The Network Council includes a representative of each current Medicare approved end-stage renal disease facilities. Representatives are appointed by the Medical Director or the Administrator of each facility.

Who We Are

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Stephanie Smith

Executive Director


Areas of responsibility:

Financial Management, Government Liaison, Renal Community Liaison, Personnel Management.


Shane Perry
Quality Improvement Analytic Manager


Areas of responsibility:

Monitors QIA plans, facility level feedback and support, Network- and QIA-specific data summary reports and queries, Network and facility staff training, liaise between the data, QI and admin departments of Qsource, NW10 and NW12.


Debbie Ulm
ESRD Program manager


Areas of responsibility:
Board Liaison, general information calls and office management, special projects support, emergency/disaster planning, 5 Diamond program.  Monthly facility/community newsletter and Facebook.


Jeff Arnall, PMP
information manager


Areas of responsibility:
Computer Administration, Web Master, System & Data integrity, Data Requests, Annual Facility Surveys, Annual Report tables, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator.


DeeDee Velasquez-Peralta, LMSW
Patient Services Manager


Areas of responsibility:
Patient engagement (facility-, Network- and National-level support) and Share How You Care initiative.  Patient/facility information and education, patient newsletters, State Survey Agency contact. My Kidney Kit.  Oversees patient grievances including access to care issues, involuntary discharges, involuntary transfers, failure to place and at-risk.


Allison Wayment, MS
Patient Services Coordinator


Areas of responsibility:
Address and monitor patient grievances including access to care issues, involuntary discharges, involuntary transfers, failure to place and at-risk.  Patient and family member support and information.  


Sharlyn Bogner, MSN, RN, CNN, CCTC, CPHQ
Quality Improvement manager


Areas of responsibility:
Manages two Quality Improvement Activities (QIAs): transplant and home dialysis.  Patient grievance chart review.


Sandy Cannon


Areas of responsibility:
CROWNWeb data specialist, CMS forms processing in CROWNWeb (CMS-2728, CMS-2746, CMS-2744) and data quality management support.  General support for office.  


Stephanie Huskey
Quality Improvement manager


Areas of responsibility:
Manages two Quality Improvement Activities (QIAs): HAI/BSI & mental health/depression screening.

Network Goals

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Federal Register (HHS § 405.2112 and 405.2134) refers to the ESRD Network’s responsibility to formulate Network-specific goals and the dialysis facility’s responsibility toward participating and pursing Network goals. As directed, the Heartland Kidney Network’s Medical Review Board has set performance goals that every dialysis facility is expected to achieve; most are pursuant with national standards and guidelines. The State Survey Agencies utilize Network goals and initiatives as a guideline during their evaluation process and receive a copy annually from the Network. Heartland Kidney Network supports the CMS ESRD Quality Incentive Program (ESRD QIP). 

For more information on the CMS ESRD Quality Incentive Program, visit:



AIM 1: Better Care for the Individual through Beneficiary and Family Centered Care

Domain:  Patient and Family Engagement

Project:  My Life, My Choices: Knowledge is Power

  • Facility will enroll and actively participate in the project utilizing the MY KIDNEY KIT (MKK) and MY KIDNEY CALENDAR and make the MKK accessible to their beneficiary population to increase patient engagement at the facility level.

Project:  Network Patient Representative (NPR)

  • Facility identification of a Network Patient Representative (NPR).

Project:  Learning and Action Network (LAN)

  • Facility participation in Learning & Action Network (LAN) campaigns and Quality Improvement Activity (QIA) as designated including reporting.

Domain:  Patient Experience of Care

Project:  Grievances

  • Facility will follow the internal and external grievance processes.
  • Facility participation in Network Grievance Quality Improvement activity (QIA) if designated.

Project:  ICH CAHPS – an ESRD QIP Measure

  • Facility administers, using a third party CMS approved vendor, the In-Center Hemodialysis CAHPS survey (ICH CAHPS) in accordance with specifications available at and submits (via CMS-approved vendor) survey results to CMS.

Project:  Quality of Life

  • KDQOL Survey will be conducted annually or more often as needed. Results will be reviewed in Plan of Care and QAPI meetings.

Project:  Network Posters

  • Facility will display the Network, Patients’ Rights & Responsibilities and Patients’ Concerns (grievance process) posters.

Project:  Performance Score Certificate (PSC)

  • Facility will print and display their PSC prominently in a public area for the calendar year in English and Spanish within 5 days of release.

Domain:  Vascular Access Management

Project:  Arterio Venous Fistula (AVF) Use – an ESRD QIP Measure

  • All facilities will be expected to achieve facility specific AVF goal based on the CMS Network calculation. National goal for fistula use is a rate greater than 68% in all hemodialysis patients.

Project:  Long Term Catheter (LTC) Use – an ESRD QIP Measure

  • All facilities will be expected to achieve facility specific LTC goal based on the CMS Network calculation.  Facilities will minimize catheter use.  National goal for LTC use is a rate less than 10%.  LTC is defined as a catheter in use for longer than 90 days.

Domain:  Patient Safety

Project:  National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Bloodstream Infection (BSI) Monitoring – an ESRD QIP Measure

  • Facilities certified to provide hemodialysis services are required to submit accurate and timely Dialysis Event Surveillance data in NHSN each month.
  • Facilities should reduce their BSI rate through measuring and monitoring positive blood cultures reported in NHSN and including this topic in their QAPI process.
  • Facilities providing hemodialysis services will complete internal, monthly audits of CDC-recommended practices.
  • All facilities, regardless of certified services offered to patients, will submit Healthcare Personnel Safety (HPS) summary influenza vaccination surveillance data.

Project:  Emergency Preparedness

  • All facilities should plans in place (including back-up plans) and provide education to all staff and patients.
  • Facilities will notify the local emergency management office at least annually.
  • Facilities must notify the Network in the event of disruption of services.
  • All facilities should conduct an emergency annual drill.

Project:  Qualified and Trained Staff

  • Facility staff will meet personnel qualifications and demonstrated competencies needed to perform the specific duties of their positions.

Projects:  Vaccinations

  • Patients will be offered vaccinations against Influenza, Pneumonia and Hepatitis B.

Domain: Patient Access to Care

Project:  Involuntary Discharges

  • Facility will, as mandated, notify the Network and State Survey Agency prior to any involuntary discharge.


AIM 2:  Better Health for the ESRD Population

Project:  Increase Hepatitis B and Pneumococcal Pneumonia Vaccination Rates

  • Participating units will achieve at least a five percentage point increase in both hepatitis B and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccinations.

Project:  Dialysis Care Coordination with a Focus on Reducing Hospital Utilization

  • Participating units will achieve at least a two percentage point reduction in the rate of patients admitted to a hospital.

Project:  Improve Transplant Coordination

  • Participating units will achieve at least a five percentage point increase in the rate of eligible patients referred for transplant.

Project:  Promote Appropriate Home Dialysis in Qualified Patients

  • Participating units will achieve at least a five percentage point increase in the rate of eligible patients with home hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis referral.

Project:  Support Improvement in Quality of Life

  • Participating units will either achieve a ten percentage point improvement of KDQOL items 1-36 or achieve a six percentage point improvement in KDQOL items 13-16, 17-28 and 29-36.


AIM 3:  Reduce Costs of ESRD Care by Improving Care

Domain:  Anemia Management

Project:  Hemoglobin – an ESRD QIP measure

  • Facilities will measure percentage of Medicare patients with a mean hemoglobin value greater than 12 g/dL.
  • Facilities will report ESA dosage (as applicable) and hemoglobin for each patient at least once per month in CROWNWeb.

Domain:  Dialysis Adequacy – an ESRD QIP measure

Project:  Adult Hemodialysis Population

  • Facilities will report per patient values monthly in CROWNWeb and measure percent of hemodialysis patient-months with spKt/V greater than or equal to 1.2.

Project:  Pediatric Hemodialysis Population

  • Facilities will report per patient values monthly in CROWNWeb and measure percent of pediatric in-center hemodialysis patient-months with spKt/V greater than or equal to 1.2.

Project:  Peritoneal Dialysis Population

  • Facilities will report per patient values monthly in CROWNWeb and measure percent of peritoneal dialysis patient-months with Kt/V greater than or equal to 1.7 Kt/V (dialytic + residual) during the four month study period.

Domain:  Mineral Metabolism

Project:  Hypercalcemia – an ESRD QIP measure

  • Facilities will report per patient values monthly in CROWNWeb and measure proportion of patient-months with 3-month rolling average of total uncorrected serum calcium greater than 10.2 mg/dL.

Project:  Phosphorus

  • Facilities will report per patient serum phosphorus values monthly in CROWNWeb.

Domain:  CROWNWeb

Project:  Timely, Accurate and Complete Data Submissions

  • CMS-2728 Forms – ESRD Medical Evidence Report – are required to be submitted through CROWNWeb within 45 days of a patient initiating renal replacement therapy.
  • CMS-2746 Forms – ESRD Death Notification – are required to be submitted through CROWNWeb within two weeks of the date of death.
  • Facilities will validate patient roster in CROWNWeb (i.e., Patient Attributes and Related Treatment – PART) by the 10th calendar day of each month.
  • Facilities will work through Action List Items in CROWNWeb within 30 days. While several facilities provide data in batch through electronic data interchange to CROWNWeb, it is each unit’s responsibility to ensure that accurate, timely and complete information is submitted monthly with respect to facility demographics, facility personnel, patient demographics, patient admissions/discharges, treatment, clinical and vascular access data.

Domain:  Network Council

Project:  Network Council Facility Representatives

  • Facilities will appoint a representative to serve on the Heartland Kidney Network Council.  This is usually the Facility Administrator.
  • Duties of the Network Council Facility Representative include:
  • Vote on open positions for the Medical Review Board and Board of Directors during Heartland Kidney Network’s Annual Board Elections
  • Provide feedback on Network activities
  • Serve as liaison to the Network, i.e., sharing information distributed directly to your attention with the rest of the unit staff and patients when appropriate or when requested by the Network
  • Sign and return documents that support Network projects and activities, e.g., the Network Facility Representative Roles and Responsibilities Attestation
  • Participate in Network Council meetings

Heartland Kidney Network

For a listing of staff and direct contact numbers, see the About Us tab

Main phone: (816) 880-9990
Patient toll free: (800) 444-9965
Fax: (816) 880-9088

920 Main St. Suite 801
Kansas City, MO 64105