BONENT understands the importance of obtaining and maintaining certifications. Thus, we are making every effort to make sure all operations continue to run smoothly and to keep all members and exam applicants informed, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Commitment from Staff
By mandate of the Governor of Maryland, the BONENT office was required to close in late March. Since then, all BONENT staff have been working remotely, to assure that all exam and recertification applications are processed without delay. By having our phones forwarded and access to our work computers from home, we have been responding to all calls and emails during regular business hours.
Communication with CMS
BONENT stays in constant touch with CMS and has communicated to its members and applicants that CMS ruling that allows patient care technicians to continue working even if they have not achieved certification within 18 months of hire, or have not met on time renewals. The same process ensued with the State of Ohio and the Ohio Board of Nursing.
Ensuring Safety of our Exam Applicants & Proctors
BONENT has been actively monitoring and responding to the rapidly changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of all applicants and proctors during the exam process.
In April, some exam locations were mandated to close by their state, or city, while some have been allowed to remain open. We have been in constant contact with all of our CBT and PPE exam candidates and proctors, to give them the most updated information relating to the cancelation of exams, while also providing convenient options to reschedule. Since BONENT exams are deemed essential, most of our CBT locations have since been approved to re-open on May 1st.
BONENT has worked with our testing centers to develop and implement safety criteria for all exam sites. We have informed our exam applicants of the safety precautions they need to follow onsite, during the exam process. In addition, all proctors have been informed of the required guidelines they must follow to ensure the health and safety of themselves and those taking the exam.
Knowing that it may be difficult for our members to complete the recertification process during this time, we have extended the grace period from 30 days to 90 days, for certifications due to expire March through June 2020.
It has been a busy two months at BONENT because we are committed to the safety and health of all of our members and applicants during this uneasy time. Stay safe and healthy!
May 5, 2020
CDC Staff Toolkit during COVID-19
The CDC has released a “Frontline Staff Toolkit for Outpatient Hemodialysis Facilities.” This new resource highlights the importance of infection prevention and control practices in outpatient dialysis facilities to slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Staff who are having frequent patient interactions and providing direct care in outpatient hemodialysis facilities are encouraged to watch and learn more about everyday infection prevention practices, as well as some additional practices that are essential during COVID-19. These brief educational videos can be viewed as a set or in segments as time allows:
Tips for Outpatient Hemodialysis Facilities during COVID-19:
- Video #1 - Infection Prevention Basics: Hand Hygiene & Environmental Disinfection
- Video #2 - Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Video #3 - Screening & Patient Placement
This toolkit is intended to be used along with other COVID-19 dialysis specific resources and ongoing activities within your clinic.
CDC Key Documents and Practical Tools:
- Interim Additional Guidance for Infection Prevention and Control for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 in Outpatient Dialysis
- COVID-19 Outpatient Dialysis Facility Preparedness Assessment Tool
- Factsheet for Patients - Keeping Patients on Dialysis Safe
- Factsheet for Facilities - How our facility is keeping patients safe from COVID-19
- Presentation for Facilities - Preparing Outpatient Hemodialysis Facilities for COVID-19
- COVID-19 Outpatient Dialysis Cleaning and Disinfection Webpage
- Considerations for Patients on Home Dialysis Webpage
- Screening Dialysis Patients for COVID-19 Webpage
- Dialysis in Acute Care Webpage
Thank you for your work and the lifesaving care you provide to patients on dialysis. Please feel free to share these resources widely within the dialysis community.
For more information, contact the CDC Dialysis Team atDialysisCoalition@cdc.gov
March 28, 2020
CMS (Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services)
ESRD Facilities: CMS Flexibilities to Fight Covid-19
Dialysis Patient Care Technician Certification: CMS is modifying the requirement at 494.140(e)(4) for patient care dialysis technicians which requires certification under a State certification program or a national commercially available certification program within 18 months of being hired as a dialysis patient care for newly employed dialysis patient care technicians. We are aware of the challenges that technicians are facing with the limited availability and closures of testing sites during the time of this crisis. CMS will allow patient care technicians to continue working even if they have not achieved certification within 18 months of hire or have not met on time renewals. Click for the full report.
March 23, 2020
COVID-19 BONENT Office Update
By mandate of the Governor of Maryland in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BONENT Executive Office will be closed as of 5 pm, March 23, 2020, BUT staff will be working remotely. Because we understand the importance of obtaining and maintaining your certification, daily operations will continue to run smoothly. We will continue to respond to emails and answer phone calls during regular business hours. We appreciate your understanding and patience during this unusual time. Stay safe and healthy!