NCMS Morning Rounds 7-20-21

Here is your Tuesday NCMS Morning Rounds.

July 20, 2021

Don’t forget today’s Lunch & Learn Webinar -- Health Equity in Context.

Cornell P. Wright, MPA, Executive Director of the NC Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities is our speaker. Join us from noon to 1 p.m. today. Learn more and register here.

Letter Details Opposition to the SAVE Act

As reported previously, the NCMS along with several specialty societies met with legislators last week to discuss SB249/HB277 -- the SAVE Act, which would remove the current physician supervision requirements for nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists and certified registered nurse anesthetists within the definition of advanced practice registered nurse.

NCMS Past President and chair of the NCMS' Medical Team Task Force Robert 'Charlie' Monteiro, MD, spoke at the meeting about the NCMS' opposition to this proposal and about the importance of training and education to patient safety. The NCMS and numerous medical specialty societies sent a letter to legislators outlining our opposition to the SAVE Act. Read the updated letter here.

We need you, NOW, to act, engage, and communicate with your legislators on this issue. Please use the Find Your Legislator link and contact your legislator to discuss the importance of training and education, and why both are crucial to quality patient care.

Don’t Miss this Opportunity to Learn and Grow with Leadership College

The NCMS Foundation’s Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership (KIPL) is now accepting applications for its 2022 class of Leadership College scholars. This highly thought of program offers a comprehensive look at leadership development, bringing together a diversity of colleagues from a wide variety of specialties, practice models and geographic location within NC. Leadership College is unique because it also offers participants access to the NCMS’ special position in the state’s health care community with opportunities for a firsthand look at our advocacy efforts and our many other innovative initiatives.

If you would like to learn more, please submit a Leadership College interest form here or email Aubrey Cuthbertson at [email protected].

Learn more about the Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership and all its programs here.

Power Hour Is Cooling Off for the Summer

The NCMS Foundation’s Power Hour educational sessions are on summer break.

In the meantime, visit our archive of previous Power Hours to learn about some of the hottest topics of the last 18 months. Scroll through our Power Hour library here.

In the News

Treating the Unvaccinated, The New Yorker, 7-16-21

Learning Opportunity

Understanding Potential Menthol Tobacco Bans and their Impact on Communities of Color

Tomorrow, Wednesday July 21 from noon to 1 pm.

On April 29, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it would issue proposals within the next year to ban menthol cigarettes and all characterizing flavors in cigars. This session will outline the latest science on nicotine initiation, addiction, and cessation, the use of flavorings in tobacco products, as well as the disparate impact of menthol tobacco products on various populations, especially communities of color.
Expert panelists will also discuss key milestones of tobacco and nicotine-related policies at the state and federal level and outline the opportunities and challenges of implementing the FDA’s forthcoming menthol bans.

Register here.

If you have policies you'd like your NCMS Board of Directors to consider, please complete the Board input form here. Thanks for reading!


NCMS Political Pulse for July 16, 2021

This week, the NCMS along with several specialty societies met with legislators to discuss SB249/HB277 -- the SAVE Act, which would remove the current physician supervision requirements for nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists and certified registered nurse anesthetists within the definition of “advanced practice registered nurse. NCMS Past President and chair of the NCMS' Medical Team Task Force Robert 'Charlie' Monteiro, MD, spoke at the meeting about the NCMS' opposition to this proposal and about the importance of training and education to patient safety. The NCMS and numerous medical specialty societies sent a letter outlining our opposition to the SAVE Act. Read the letter here. And watch as NCMS Director of Legislative Relations Sue Ann Forrest, MPA, offers more detail on this meeting and other news from the General Assembly.

Watch the video


NCMS Political Pulse for July 2, 2021

The state's long awaited transformation to Medicaid managed care took place this week To aide in finding the resources and help you may need in this transition, the NCMS, working with our partners, has compiled necessary resources and a form to submit with any issues you encounter during this change. Access the page here. In other legislative action, several bills the NCMS supports including one regulating pharmacy benefits managers and one providing enhanced resources for school nutrition programs moved. Also, SB711- the NC Compassionate Care Act, which deals with medical marijuana unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. Watch as Sue Ann Forrest, MPA, NCMS Director of Legislative Relations, offers more information on the NCMS position on this and other important legislation.

VIEW THE VIDEO...

Please note you can always view the latest health care bill summaries and sign up for Action Alerts on our legislative blog: www.ncmedsoc.org/currentsession.


NCMS Morning Rounds 6-11-21

T.G.I.F! Enjoy your NCMS Morning Rounds.

June 11, 2021

Broad Health Care Coalition Supports Medicaid Extension for Postpartum Care

In a press release issued Thursday, June 10, 2021, the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS)  brought together a broad coalition of health care associations (NC Academy of Family Physicians, NC Pediatric Society, NC Obstetrical and Gynecological Association, NC Academy of Physician Assistants, NC Osteopathic Medical Association, NC Chapter of the American College of Physicians), representing thousands of physicians and PAs throughout North Carolina, to publicly declare our support for this important legislation (SB530 – Medicaid for Twelve Months Postpartum) extending Medicaid coverage for new mothers to a full year after the birth of their child. Research has shown that insurance during this critical postpartum period is associated with better outcomes for both mother and child.

“The NCMS has long supported efforts to reduce the rates of maternal mortality in North Carolina as well as policies that seek to improve maternal and infant health,” said NCMS President Philip Brown, Jr., MD. “Health challenges from pregnancy often extend up to a year postpartum, and a lack of insurance coverage is connected with worse outcomes for mothers and infants. The bill currently under consideration addresses this issue and is especially vital for women of color and immigrant women who disproportionately suffer from poor health and high maternal mortality rates.”

The state’s current Medicaid coverage for new mothers leaves roughly half of new mothers uninsured 60 days after delivery of their baby, according to the North Carolina Institute of Medicine’s (NCIOM) 2020 Perinatal Systems of Care Report.

Read full press release here.

White House Virtual Conversation TODAY!

On behalf of the White House COVID-19 Response Team and the U.S. Surgeon General, Primary Care Providers, Health Systems, and State and Local Health Officials are invited to a virtual conversation on Primary Care Providers, Health Systems, and the Next Phase of the Vaccination Rollout. The event is TODAY, Friday, June 11, from 3:00 – 4:00 PM ET.

The event will be an opportunity to thank primary care providers and health systems for their service to their patients, state, and country throughout the COVID-19 response and vaccine rollout. It will focus on the importance of primary care providers and health systems in further expanding efforts to administer vaccination programs and educate their patients on the vaccine, as well as the tools the federal government is providing to support them. It will also touch on how state and local health departments can help enable vaccinations at primary care provider offices.

The event will feature five conversations with primary care providers, health system leaders, and state health officials on innovative approaches they are taking to patient outreach and implementing vaccination program at primary care provider offices. Each conversation will be chaired by a different public health leader from the Biden Administration – Dr. Fauci, Dr. Walensky, Dr. Murthy, Dr. Nunez-Smith, and Dr. Choucair.

Again, join this conversation TODAY, Friday, June 11—3:00-4:00 PM ET.

Please click the following link during the event to attend.

A recording will also be available at this link after the event.

 ActionPPE Closeout Sale on Medical Supplies

With the pandemic waning, ActionPPE will soon be ending their online sales. As a final benefit to NCMS members, they’re offering a 30 percent DISCOUNT on items such as control syringes, needles, exam gloves and more!

To access this great offer, visit actionppe.org/ncms, and use code THANKYOU30

Discount expires on June 15, 2021!

It’s A Celebration!

The New Hanover-Pender County Medical Society is having a celebration, and you are invited. The event welcomes fully vaccinated physicians, NHPCMS members, their spouses or guests. See invitation below for details.

 

Please RSVP by Monday, June 14, 2021, by sending an email to [email protected] or calling 910-790-5800.

In the News

Why Experts Are So Worried About The 'Delta' Coronavirus Variant, Advisory Board, 6-9-21

Learning Opportunity

Join the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for its two upcoming webinars titled CMS Quality Measurement: Where It’s Headed and How We’ll Get There and Driving Quality in the US: How CMS Evaluates its Measure Portfolio. These webinars will illuminate audiences on CMS’s efforts to enhance the quality of quality measures. In the first webinar, CMS will discuss goals for advancing quality measurement in the next 5-10 years, focusing on streamlining measures to reduce burden and the transition to digital quality measures. CMS staff will provide an overview and highlight key components of its newly finalized Digital Quality Measurement Blueprint. The second webinar will walk audiences through CMS tools and processes, specifically the MMS Blueprint, Pre-rulemaking process, Quality Measure Index, and Impact Assessment, to evaluate the quality of its quality measures throughout the measure lifecycle. Both webinars will provide information to key quality measurement resources available to the public. Each webinar will be offered twice this summer:

  • CMS Quality Measurement: Where It’s Headed and How We’ll Get There
    • Tuesday, June 15, 2021, from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., ET (Register here)
    • Thursday, June 17, 2021, from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., ET (Register here)
  • Driving Quality in the US: How CMS Evaluates its Measure Portfolio
    • Tuesday, July 13, 2021, from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., ET (Register here)
    • Wednesday, July 14, 2021, from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., ET (Register here)

For questions about the webinar, please contact [email protected].

If you have policies you'd like your NCMS Board of Directors to consider, please complete the Board input form here. Thanks for reading!


NCMS Morning Rounds 6-10-21

Happy Thursday! Enjoy your NCMS Morning Rounds.

June 10, 2021

Physicians Still The Top Choice For Patients According To National Tracking Poll 

Conducted between April 29-May 2, 2021, the Morning Consult’s National Tracking Poll sampled 2,200 adults on health care usage and trust. The interviews were conducted online and the data was weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on gender, educational attainment, age, race and region. In general, the study found adults were more likely to say they would select a physician’s office over a retail health clinic or an urgent care center for a variety of health care services, though there were significant differences by the age of the respondent.

  • 59 percent of adults said they trust their primary care doctor a lot, while 24 percent said they trust the healthcare industry, and only 15 percent said they place a lot of trust in retail health clinics.
  • 70 percent of adults would select a physician’s office for wellness checkups, and 67 percent for blood work, while 62 percent would select a physician’s office for diagnosing and treating common illnesses and 56 percent for vaccinations.
  • 84 percent of adults said cost of services is somewhat or very important when it comes to retail health clinics.
  • There was a significant difference by age of almost 30 percent between adults under 35 and those 65 or older when it came to their preference for getting a wellness visit, treating a common illness, and getting blood work done at a physician’s office. Almost half of adults under 35 said they would go to a physician’s office for this care, while more than four in five adults 65 or older would go to a physician’s office.

 Click here to view the full report.

Reminder: Electronic Visit Verification Implementation - Claim Adjudication Based on EVV Data Began June 1, 2021

 NC Medicaid ended the pay and report period for Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) claims on May 31, 2021. Claims submitted for Dates of Service June 1, 2021 and after will be required to validate EVV data prior to claims adjudication. There are two edits for EVV that will be applied if the claim submitted does not have the required EVV data. Once applied, these edits will pend for an identified number of days to allow for the issue to be resolved prior to denial of the claim.

 For claim lines with a Date of Service on or after 6/01/2021, the edit will pend for seven days then cut back units to the sum of the verified units.

Providers utilizing Sandata, the State’s EVV solution, should ensure that all visits are verified in the EVV portal prior to submitting claims. A visit with the status of verified, means there are no exceptions. Clearing or resolving all exceptions on an incomplete visit updates the visit status to ‘verified.’ Providers utilizing an alternate EVV (Alt EVV) solution may confirm verified visits with their vendor and may also view visits in the Sandata Aggregator.

For more information about EVV, please visit the NC Medicaid EVV webpage.

June is National COVID-19 Vaccine Month of Action

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “We Can Do This” COVID-19 Community Corps has kicked off a month-long mobilization effort to get our communities vaccinated by July 4th!  The National Vaccine Month of Action is a collaborative effort with thousands of national organizations, community-based partners and everyday people, serving as trusted messengers, listening to people’s concerns, and helping them make informed decisions about COVID-19 vaccinations.

There are plenty of ways to take action near you or virtually. You can find more opportunities to participate here.

 In the News

CDC: Milder, Shorter Illness For Fully Vaccinated People Who Develop Breakthrough Infections, Becker’s Hospital Review, 6-8-21

Learning Opportunity

Carolina Medical Home Network (CMHN ) Care Management Training, June 14 @ 8 am - June 22 @ noon

Due to COVID-19 and the need to minimize costs, Carolina Medical Home Network (CMHN) will be offering an initial Care Management training in multiple half-day sessions June 14, 2021-June 22, 2021 from 8am-12pm. The training team will incorporate approaches that encourage hands-on learning and application of material where applicable in this virtual environment.

To support targeted learning, breakout sessions will be offered to tailor the content for the roles of care manager and care coordinator.

The richness of the content will ensure all care managers and care coordinators are fully prepared to succeed in the landscape of Managed Medicaid. Attendees will administer a pre and post assessment to evaluate their competency for each subject covered during this training.

There is a cost of $275 for the training and participation is mandatory for Care Managers and Care Coordinators within the first six months of go-live.

Click here for more information and to get tickets.

If you have policies you'd like your NCMS Board of Directors to consider, please complete the Board input form here. Thanks for reading!


NCMS Morning Rounds 6-7-21

Here's your Monday NCMS Morning Rounds.

June 7, 2021

NCMS Legislative Update

Last week was a busy one at the General Assembly. The budget process has started. However, the House and the Senate have been unable to reach an agreement on a spending amount, both in recurring and non-recurring dollars. The House decided to move forward with their own process, having each individual appropriations committee to meet to discuss their priorities. The Health Appropriations Committee on the House side met to discuss some legislators’ top priorities. There will be a lot to come in upcoming weeks on budget updates, so stay tuned.

While a lot of Senate dialogue was spent on confirmation of the Governor’s pick for secretary of the NC Department of Environmental Quality last week, several bills moved through the process, including SB257 -- Medication Cost Transparency Act. There was an amendment in the Senate, so this bill will go back to the House. We will continue to update you on this bill’s progress.

HB453 -- Human Life Nondiscrimination Act/No Eugenics moved through two Senate committees. We expect it to move through Rules and the Senate floor, likely, this week. The NCMS believes this bill interferes with the physician-patient relationship and we stand with the North Carolina Obstetrical & Gynecological Society (NCOGS) in opposing this bill.

HB224 -- Occupational Therapy Interstate Compact is currently sitting on the Governor’s desk. We’ll update you when—or if—the Governor signs this bill.

SB116 -- Putting North Carolina Back to Work Act has received a lot of attention from the media and garnered discussion on the House side. It passed the House late on Thursday and has been sent back to the Senate for concurrence. More to come on this bill.
It’s likely to be a budget-filled week this week. Stay tuned for updates.

Are You Up to Speed?

The North Carolina Broadband Survey is designed to gather information on locations in the state without adequate internet access and speeds.

The information gathered from the survey will:
• Provide clear data to guide investment of funds through the state’s Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology grant program
• Inform research and policy recommendations
• Support strategic targeting of additional funding streams

The survey is a collaboration between the N.C. Department of Information Technology’s Broadband Infrastructure Office and the Friday Institute for Education Innovation at NC State University.

The survey takes about 5 minutes to complete and is available in both English and Spanish. Participants are encouraged to also take the optional internet speed test to connect survey data with broadband speed information.

Take the survey.

Prior Approval Requirement for High Tech Imaging Terminating July 1, 2021

Effective for dates of service on or after July 1, 2021, prior approval (PA) for high tech imaging services (ultrasounds, computed tomography [CT], magnetic resonance [MRI] and positron emission tomography [PET]) will no longer be required for North Carolina Medicaid fee for service (Medicaid Direct) beneficiaries.

Beginning July 1, 2021, providers who contact eviCore will be notified that a beneficiary either does not require PA thorough Medicaid Direct or will be referred to the beneficiary’s prepaid health plan for assistance. PA is still required for high tech imaging services for delegated beneficiaries for dates of service prior to July 1, 2021. Retroactive eligibility will continue to be managed by eviCore.

NC Medicaid is in the process of end dating clinical coverage policy 1K-7, Prior Approval for Imaging Service that will be effective July 1, 2021.

To assist with this transition, NC Medicaid requests that imaging claims with dates of service prior to July 1, 2021, be submitted by Sept. 30, 2021.

In the News

A pandemic upside: The flu virus became less diverse, simplifying the task of making flu shots, STAT, 6-2-21

Learning Opportunity

Hot Topics with Health Plan Chief Medical Officers, Thursday, June 17 | 5:30-6:30 PM
Hosted by Shannon Dowler, MD, Chief Medical Officer of the NC Division of Health Benefits, the Medicaid Managed Care webinars on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month are dedicated to bringing you late breaking information and guidance on NC Medicaid’s transition to Managed Care.

Learn more and register here.

If you have policies you'd like your NCMS Board of Directors to consider, please complete the Board input form here. Thanks for reading!


NCMS Political Pulse for June 4, 2021

The budget process is underway -- sort of -- at the NC General Assembly. Neither the House nor Senate could agree on a spending amount, so each chamber's appropriations committees are meeting to discuss spending priorities. This will likely continue into next week and beyond as legislators work through a budget for the biennium. Some other legislative proposals did continue to move. Watch as NCMS Director of Legislative Relations Sue Ann Forrest, MPA, describes those bills. Keep up with all the daily activity at the NC General Assembly at the NCMS legislative blog here.

 

Watch the video.


NCMS Morning Rounds 6-4-21

Happy Friday! Here's your NCMS Morning Rounds.

June 4, 2021

Please Share Your Experience!
The next issue of the NCMS Bulletin e-magazine will focus on health behavior and social determinants of health. We’d like to include tips on successful techniques you use to engage with your patients, establish rapport and build trust. Likewise, what barriers, if any, do you encounter in trying to build that trusting relationship with your patients? Please take just a minute to share your thoughts here. We will include selected comments in the upcoming magazine. Thank you!

Don’t forget TODAY’s Power Hour: Health Equity in Palliative and End-of-Life Care

The pandemic dramatically highlighted the depth of health disparities in our country, but illness and death rates are not the only sources of health inequity in this country. There are also substantial differences in the care that patients with serious illnesses receive near the end-of-life that are based on race or socioeconomic status.

Please join your colleagues for this week’s Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership (KIPL) Power Hour, today, June 4 at noon, when our discussion will focus on health equity as it relates to palliative and end-of-life care. Our guests will offer their insights on striving to achieve equal access to palliative and end-of-life care, addressing each patient’s unique psychological, social and spiritual needs as well as pain and symptom management. Health equity issues impact each of these areas and we invite you to explore them with us.

Learn more and register here.

Vax Up or Mask Up

NCDHHS has launched a new public campaign encouraging North Carolinians to "Vax Up or Mask Up” to support the new guidance that lifts many of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions.

The campaign provides downloadable flyers and social media graphics in both English and Spanish to help transition from the 3 Ws messaging (Wear, Wait and Wash) to the new "Vax Up or Mask Up" campaign. Materials are available for download in the COVID-19 Communications Toolkit.

Increasing Equitable Vaccine Distribution

A new tool created by NCDHHS that maps social vulnerability and vaccination rates by census tract has helped North Carolina vaccine providers increase vaccinations by 50 percent in 89 underserved communities.

“This mapping tool is another great example of how we and our providers continue to rely on data to drive our work and help every North Carolinian have easy and convenient access to a COVID-19 vaccine,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, MD, MPH.

The department has focused on 90 census tracts identified as having high social vulnerability, low vaccination rates and no COVID-19 vaccine providers as of April 24. Of these 90 census tracts, 89 have achieved a 50 percent increase in vaccinations since April 24 with the state’s targeted outreach efforts.

The NCDHHS census tract COVID-19 map is updated weekly. For more North Carolina vaccination data, visit the state's vaccination dashboard.

In the News

Changing the equation: Researchers remove race from a calculator for childbirth, STAT, 6-3-21

Learning Opportunity

2021 Society for Advanced Bronchoscopy (SAB) Summit – Virtual, June 12, 2021, 7:30 AM - 3 PM

This annual summit will provide updates in advanced bronchoscopy and pulmonary medicine topics provided by a diverse group of physicians to an audience of fellow physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses and respiratory therapists.

Learn more and register here.

If you have policies you'd like your NCMS Board of Directors to consider, please complete the Board input form here. Thanks for reading!

 


NCMS Morning Rounds 6-1-21

 Enjoy your first NCMS Morning Rounds of June.

June 1, 2021

NCMS Legislative Update

This week at the NC General Assembly several bills of note for physicians and PAs were moving quickly including HB395 -- Extend Deadlines for Mandatory HIE Participation, which would extend the deadline for connection to the state's Health Information Exchange (NC HealthConnex) for certain groups, including psychiatrists. This legislation passed through both chambers and currently is on the Governor's desk awaiting his signature. Thank you to everyone who responded to our survey on whether your practice is connected to the HIE. Your input provided crucial information as legislators considered this bill and gave NCMS staff insights into your challenges and how we can develop resources to respond.

Other legislative proposals being heard include SB257 – Medication Cost Transparency Act, which sets out criteria for regulation of pharmacy benefit managers. The NCMS supports this proposal, which is moving quickly through the process and will likely pass both chambers.

HB947 – The GREAT Broadband Expansion Act, which we believe is indeed a ‘great’ bill providing strong financial investment in ensuring broadband access in rural and underserved communities, is swiftly making its way through the House and we are hopeful the senate will also move quickly to provide this funding. The NCMS has long been supportive of the GREAT grant program as it would expand broadband and enhance access to telehealth, education and job opportunities.

While legislators are busy considering a wide variety of bills, there is still no budget proposal. Usually at this point in a long legislative session spending proposals have been presented and negotiations are underway. This delay in the budget process means the session will likely continue for quite a while. It also presents you a great opportunity to contact your legislators to discuss your biggest concerns and where you’d like to see funds allocated. If you don’t already have your legislator’s information for ready access in your contacts, here is where you can easily find it.

Breakdown of Medicaid Enrollees

As the July 1 ‘go live’ date for the state’s transition to Medicaid managed care approaches, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) recently released the total number of Medicaid enrollees in each of the five pre-paid health plans that will be providing Medicaid services.

For those beneficiaries who did not select a plan during the open enrollment period, which ended May 21, the state auto-assigned them using a process (outlined here) in which existing relationships with a primary care provider were prioritized. The state said that 97 percent of those eligible were enrolled in a plan that includes their current PCP in network. Read the state’s announcement here.

The breakdown of enrollees in each plan is as follows:

Urban Institute Equity Scholars

In recent months, the Urban Institute has escalated its efforts to provide timely, evidence-based, research and analysis to inform policy and advance racial equity. Towards this goal, Urban is launching its Equity Scholars program offering emerging and established scholars the opportunity to deepen their own research on race, equity, and/or structural racism while contributing to equity-focused analyses underway at Urban.

Application deadline is TODAY: June 1, 2021

Learn more.

In the News

A New Tool Tracks Health Disparities In The U.S. — and Highlights Major Data Gaps, STAT, 5-26-21

Learning Opportunity

MIPS Improvement Activities and Promoting Interoperability Performance Categories for the 2021 Performance Year, Wednesday, June 9 from 1 – 2:30 p.m.
CMS subject matter experts will provide information on:
• Participation basics for the improvement activities and Promoting Interoperability performance categories
• Reporting and scoring requirements
• Resources and support

Register here.

If you have policies you'd like your NCMS Board of Directors to consider, please complete the Board input form here. Thanks for reading!

 


NCMS Political Pulse for May 28, 2021

This week at the NC General Assembly several bills of note to physicians and PAs were moving quickly including HB395 -- Extend Deadlines for Mandatory HIE Participation, which passed through both chambers and currently is on the Governor's desk awaiting his signature. While legislative proposals are being heard, there is still no budget proposal, which is usually being negotiated at this point in the legislative session. Watch as NCMS Director of Legislative Relations Sue Ann Forrest, MPA, fills you in on what this may mean for you.

 

Watch the video.