Emergency Preparedness and Kidney Disease: An Introduction to the Kidney Community Emergency Response (KCER) Program

Emergency Preparedness and Kidney Disease: An Introduction to the Kidney Community Emergency Response (KCER) Program

March 1, 2017

March 1, 2017 - For people receiving dialysis or living with a kidney transplant, planning for emergencies and disasters can be the difference between life and death. Dialysis and kidney transplant patients must take special preparedness measures to ensure their own health and safety during and after disasters.

The Kidney Community Emergency Response (KCER) Program provides technical assistance to End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Networks, kidney organizations, and other groups to ensure timely and efficient disaster preparedness, response, and recovery for the kidney community.

The KCER program also serves as the leading authority on emergency preparedness and response for the kidney community by providing structure and guidance that addresses the needs of emergency management officials and the ESRD community nationwide. During 2016, KCER assisted during hurricanes Hermine and Matthew, provided support and resources during the devastating Louisiana and West Virginia flooding, and is currently monitoring the active winter weather in 2017.

 KCER Program Activities

The KCER Program provides a wide array of services year-round and during disasters. These services and support activities include:

  • Emergency and Disaster Management: Support and coordinate ESRD networks, providers, beneficiary groups, patients, and other stakeholders during an emergency situation.
  • Providing Technical Assistance for ESRD Networks, Facilities, and Patients: Provide education, distribute national emergency/disaster campaigns, and conduct community needs assessments.
  • Maintaining Active Workgroups: Support six workgroups which focus on a specific area for preparedness and response activities. Workgroups meet quarterly, or sometimes more frequently, usually via teleconference. Workgroup activities and meeting minutes may be requested here.
  • Issue Treatment and Medicine Recall Alerts: Monitor for treatment and medical recall notices related to dialysis services and inform community as appropriate.

The KCER program also produces a monthly resource, KCER Watch, that provides timely and pertinent information related to emergency preparedness. The goal of KCER Watch is to facilitate the exchange of information, sharing of resources, and advancement of knowledge and expertise among ESRD and emergency management stakeholders.

KCER Watch is also located on the KCER Website at: www.kcercoalition.com/kcerwatch Please feel free to provide comments and feedback!  

The KCER Program's disaster preparedness resources and activities help save lives, improve outcomes, empower patients and families, educate healthcare workers, build partnerships with stakeholders, promote readiness in the community, and support the ESRD Networks. KCER is a program under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Our History

The first National Disaster Summit for the kidney community was held in Washington, D.C., in January 2006. During the Summit, the KCER Program was formed in an effort to minimize disruption to dialysis and transplant services during emergencies.

The KCER Program continues to hold annual Summit meetings to promote emergency preparedness in the kidney community. The Program is made up of members that represent the entire kidney community, including:

  • Patient and professional organizations, nurses, technicians, dietitians, social workers, and physicians
  • Patient subject matter experts
  • Providers, including independent dialysis facilities, large dialysis organizations, and transplant facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Suppliers
  • ESRD Networks
  • State emergency and State Survey Agency representatives
  • Federal agencies, including CMS                    

We invite you to contact us to find out more about KCER.

KCER Hotline: 866.901.3773 

Email: KCERInfo@hsag.com   

Fax: 855.232.KCER (855.232.5237)

Twitter: @KCERProgram

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KCERCoalition

KCER Staff:

Sally Gore, MSW, MBA, PMP - KCER Project Director - SGore@hsag.com 

Keely Smith, BS - KCER Manager - KSmith@hsag.com 

Jerome Bailey, BA - KCER Communications Director - JBailey@hsag.com

Beverly Whittet, RN CDN, CPHQ - KCER Coordinator - BWhittet@nw7.esrd.net 

Beverly Whittet, RN, CDN, CPHQ

Beverly Whittet, RN, CDN, CPHQ, has18 years of end stage renal disease (ESRD) quality improvement and nursing experience, with over 10 years as a Clinical Nurse Manager in an outpatient dialysis setting. She currently serves as the American Nephrology Nurses’ Association (ANNA) Administrative Practice Publishing Leader, and in addition to being a KCER Coordinator, she is the Patient Services Director for HSAG: The Florida ESRD Network (Network 7).