Guidelines and Resources

A patient's vascular access is their lifeline.

  Provider Information

For Vascular Access Quality Improvement Activity Information, click here.

Increasing the number of patients receiving dialysis via arteriovenous fistulas (AVF) and reducing long-term catheter (LTC) use for dialysis access is key to providing optimum care for your patients. A dialysis patient is identified as having a LTC when he or she has been dialyzed with a catheter for 90 days or longer, regardless of whether the catheter has been replaced.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has set two quality goals for facilities, that are linked to the QIP. These are:

  1. Each hemodialysis facility's AVF rate should be greater than or equal to 68%
  2. Each hemodialysis facility's LTC rate should be less than or equal to 10%

The Fistula First Catheter Last (FFCL) site has information for both providers and patients about access care and improving outcomes. Included on this site are resources for you as the provider, your patients, and vascular surgeons.

The  Networks are focusing on reducing the rate of LTCs at facilities with a rate of 10%.

Vascular Access Progress Planning Resources: VAP Worksheet, VAP Reporting Form, Patient Resources for Vascular Access Planning

Patient Information

Vascular Access is an important part of your dialysis care. You should be aware of your access options, as well as how to check your access daily. The "One Minute Access Check" can help ensure that your access if functioning properly and avoid complications associated with access dysfunction.

Lifeline for a Lifetime-How to Check Your Access


Dialysis Patients Speak: A Conversation About the Importance of AV Fistulas