NCMS Morning Rounds 5-27-21

Enjoy your Thursday NCMS Morning Rounds.

May 27, 2021

If you have not yet completed our 4-question survey on the NC Health Information Exchange (NCHIE) your input will help our advocacy on your behalf. Take the survey now. We also invite you to send us any questions you might have about connecting to the NCHIE. Simply reply to this email with your question and NCMS staff will work to get it answered. Thank you for engaging with us on this topic!

NCMS, NCPeds and Family Physicians Encourage COVID-19 Vaccine for Teens

Yesterday the NCMS, NC Pediatric Society and the NC Academy of Family Physicians sent a joint press release to statewide media urging families to get their teenagers vaccinated against COVID-19. Read the release here.

“As we have said since the first COVID-19 vaccine was authorized early this year, everyone who is eligible should get vaccinated. It is the most immediate and effective way to stop this pandemic,” said NCMS President Philip Brown, Jr., MD, in the release.

Currently, the Pfizer vaccine can be given to teenagers ages 12 and up. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) reports in North Carolina more than 100,000 children 0 to 17 years old have tested positive for COVID-19 and the percent of COVID-19 cases in children 17 and under has been increasing.

Earlier this week Moderna said its COVID-19 vaccine strongly protects kids as young as 12 in its clinical trials, which will likely put it on track to become the second option for that age group in the U.S. The vaccine producers also are in the midst of clinical trials with younger children.

Podcast on Role of Doulas in Supporting Women with Substance Use Disorders

The Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) recently released an informative podcast discussing the use of doulas in supporting women in recovery and treatment for substance use disorders.

Two doula certified peer recovery specialists from the Illinois Pregnant and Postpartum Women with Opioid Use Disorder Program, Melinda McMichael, and Joyce Miller, share their experience working at the intersection of substance use care and birthing support. Amy Chen, Senior Staff Attorney of the National Health Law Program’s Doula Medicaid Project and Jessica Stieger, AMCHP Program Manager for Infant Health and Certified Doula, also discuss the role of Medicaid, state public health and opportunities to promote doula care for people with substance use disorders.

Listen to the full podcast here.

Mark Your Calendar for the NCDA’s Summer Meeting, July 9-11

The NC Dermatology Association (NCDA) will host its 2021 Summer Meeting at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville on July 9-11.

The program features outstanding faculty who will address current topics of interest to the practicing dermatologist. The meeting includes a networking hub with vendors presenting products and services to help your dermatology practice. Learn more about the program here.

Register here.

In the News

CDC releases Breakthrough Infections report: 5 Notes, Becker’s Review, 5-25-21

Learning Opportunity

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is pleased to invite the public to attend 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 the 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.
CMS Quality Measurement: Where It’s Headed and How We’ll Get There
o Tuesday, June 15 from 3 – 4 p.m. (Register here)
o Thursday, June 17 from noon – 1p.m. (Register here)

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.
Driving Quality in the US: How CMS Evaluates its Measure Portfolio
o Tuesday, July 13 from 1 – 2 p.m.(Register here)
o Wednesday, July 14 from 3 – 4 p.m. (Register here)

Both webinars will provide information to key quality measurement resources available to the public. Each webinar will be offered twice this summer:
Please register in advance if you can attend, as space will be limited. We request that you please only register for an event if you plan to attend.

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 5-26-21

Happy Wednesday! Here's your NCMS Morning Rounds.

May 26, 2021

NC Medicaid Transition Resources

As the July 1 ‘go live’ date for Medicaid managed care nears, the state is offering a variety of resources to help in the transition. Access the Frequently Asked Questions documents on each topic noted below.

Also, the NCMS with the help of other health care organizations are creating a clearinghouse of resources and tips as well as a process in which we will collect input on any issues practices throughout the state encounter as we make this transition. We will use these reports in our conversations with the various health plans and the state to help ensure the challenges are addressed.

Watch your NCMS Morning Rounds and your email box for details on this process as the July 1 date approaches.

Panel Management

What Providers Need to Know After Managed Care Launch

Provider Plan Lookup

Eligibility for Newborns

For more information about NC Medicaid Managed Care, visit the Medicaid Transformation website or the NC Medicaid Enrollment Broker website.

Reports of Myocarditis Occurring After COVID-19 Vaccination

In recent weeks, there have been rare reports of myocarditis occurring after COVID-19 vaccination with Moderna or Pfizer vaccines in the United States and Europe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is aware of these reports and has been closely monitoring myocarditis/pericarditis in multiple safety systems and will continue to evaluate reports of myocarditis/pericarditis occurring after COVID-19 vaccination and will share more information as it becomes available.

The CDC is advising clinicians to be on the lookout for early signs of myocarditis. Read the report here.

Myocarditis is the inflammation of the heart muscle and pericarditis is the inflammation of the lining outside the heart. In both cases, the body's immune system is causing inflammation in response to an infection or some other trigger.  While myocarditis can be serious, it is frequently mild and self-limited. Symptoms can include abnormal heart rhythms, shortness of breath, or chest pain. Both myocarditis and pericarditis have been reported as complications in patients with COVID-19.

While these reports are being further investigated, you should do the following:
• Consider a diagnosis of myocarditis or pericarditis in any evaluation of chest pain following COVID-19 or COVID-19 vaccination.
• Inquire about recent COVID-19 or COVID-19 vaccination in any patient presenting with symptoms consistent with myocarditis or pericarditis.
o Clinical features of myocarditis and pericarditis include chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath, electrocardiogram (EKG) changes and elevated cardiac biomarkers.
o Elicit a detailed history including vaccination status and potential exposures to COVID-19. Patients should be tested for COVID-19 infection using a molecular (PCR) test.
• Report cases of myocarditis or pericarditis within two weeks of any COVID-19 vaccination to the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS):
o It is recommended that the evaluating (not administering) provider report the incident to VAERS so appropriate clinical details can be reported accurately.

The CDC continues to recommend COVID-19 vaccination for people 12 years and older.

We Need Your Input on COVID-19 Vaccination in Your Practice

Please take just a minute to complete our ongoing survey of how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting your practice. This week’s survey leads off with questions about COVID-19 vaccination.

Your input is invaluable in guiding the NCMS’, the NC Medical Group Management Association’s and Curi’s advocacy on your behalf as well as developing resources to help you over the course of the pandemic. Thank you for your continued engagement!

In the News

CDC says vaccinated people can largely skip testing, shares new breakthrough case count, Becker’s Hospital Review, 5-21-21

Learning Opportunity

The Future of Behavioral Health After A Year of Isolation, Thursday, June 3 • 3-4 p.m.
The effects of continued and prolonged restrictions on daily life has impacted the mental health of the world’s citizens in profound ways. But the health care system is ill-prepared to deal with the massive challenges that a year of isolation, fear, and anger are certain to have produced, especially among children. This week on Stay Up to Date, discuss the outlook not only for demand for behavioral health, but who is poised to succeed in treating it.

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 May 21, 2021

While the NC House was relatively quiet this week, the NC Senate was busy with several legislative proposals including one bill, HB 395 – HIE Deadline Extension and Patient Protection, which would extend the deadline for connection to the state's Health Information Exchange (NC HealthConnex) for certain groups. To help inform the discussion, the NCMS circulated a survey asking you for input on your experience in connecting to the HIE. Thank you to those who have already responded. If you haven't yet weighed in, please do so here. The survey is only four questions long and your answers will be helpful as we advocate on your behalf on this issue.

Watch as NCMS Director of Legislative Relations Sue Ann Forrest, MPA, fills you in on other bills that are under consideration. And be sure to visit our legislative blog for summaries of all the bills we're tracking.


Watch the video.

NCMS Morning Rounds 5-21-21

It's finally Friday! Enjoy your NCMS Morning Rounds.

May 21, 2021

Don’t forget to take just a minute to answer four questions about the NC Health Information Exchange in this survey. Your input will help our advocacy on your behalf. Take the survey now.

Data Shows Many Have Foregone Preventive, Primary and Mental Health Care

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released data highlighting the continued impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) beneficiaries and utilization of health services. The data show that, from March through October 2020, beneficiaries have foregone millions of primary, preventive and mental health care visits due to the pandemic, compared to the same time period in 2019. Although utilization rates for some treatments have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, mental health services show the slowest rebound.

This decline in utilization is occurring at a time when preliminary evidence shows mental health conditions have worsened nationwide, which may have a substantial impact on long-term health outcomes. Medicaid and CHIP-funded mental health services, in addition to primary and preventative services, cover the majority of children, people living in poverty, those with special health care needs and many who are among racial and ethnic minorities.

To help close this gap in services, CMS is emphasizing mental health care in its recently launched Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign, a national outreach and enrollment initiative funded under the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) and the Affordable Care Act, that reaches out to families with children and teens eligible for Medicaid and CHIP.

Specifically, the data reveals a 34 percent decline in the number of mental health services utilized by children under age 19, compared to the same time period in 2019, and 22 percent decline in the number of mental health services utilized by adults aged 19 to 64, compared to the same time period in 2019.

The data does show utilization rates for certain primary and preventive services for children under age 19 have recovered to pre-pandemic levels, or have started to rebound across many areas of the country. While this recovery is encouraging, millions of services still need to be delivered to make up for those missed between March and October 2020.

Preliminary 2020 data shows 9 percent fewer childhood vaccinations for beneficiaries under age two (1.8 million services), 21 percent fewer child screening services (4.6 million services) among children under age 19, and 39 percent fewer dental services (11.4 million services) among children under age 19 when compared to pre-pandemic levels. This data takes into account increases in telehealth utilization of services via telehealth, which has shown a marked increase in the number of services delivered via telehealth surging 2,700 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic over previous years.

Review the data here. A fact sheet on the Medicaid & CHIP and the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency is available here.

RADx-UP CDCC Community Collaboration Mini-Grants Available

The RADx-UP CDCC Community Collaboration Mini-Grant Program is open to community serving organizations, faith-based organizations and tribal nations and organizations to help advance capacity, training, support and community experience with COVID-19 testing initiatives.

Many communities across the United States are facing more difficulties than others as they confront the COVID-19 pandemic. RADx-UP is working to help those communities most impacted by COVID-19 across the nation.

RADx-UP is researching COVID-19 testing patterns and data on disparities in infection rates, disease progression and outcomes and developing strategies to reduce disparities in COVID-19 testing by supporting projects across the country with established community partnerships.

The RADx-UP Coordination and Data Collection Center (CDCC) is led by the Duke Clinical Research and the Center for Health Equity Research at UNC-Chapel Hill. Learn more about RADx-UP here.

Read more about the RADx-UP CDCC Community Collaboration Mini-Grant Program here.

NCMS Book Club Begins The Beauty in Breaking Next Week

The NCMS Book Club will begin reading The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir by Michele Harper next Thursday, May 27. If you have not yet joined this online forum of colleagues interested in discussing interesting literature and ideas, please sign up today at this link.

A few top reasons why we think you’ll want to grab a copy of this selection and join us in the discussion include:

• Michele Harper, MD, is a female, African-American emergency room physician in an overwhelmingly white male profession. Her unique perspective on the challenges facing both healthcare and our nation is thought-provoking and fascinating.
• This “compelling page-turner” (Louann Brizendine, author of The Female Brain) is moving, beautiful, and inspiring. Despite the difficult subjects Harper tackles, she does so with a life-affirming vision towards a better future for herself and her readers.
• Despite being a book about her journey as a doctor, Harper’s stories about growing stronger from moments of “breaking” are genuinely universal and applicable to every reader.

We look forward to sharing in the spirited and insightful conversation between you and fellow book club members in our online community as we read The Beauty in Breaking together. These conversations are at the heart of what makes our book club such an enjoyable group!

In the News

Is it safe to 'mix and match' Covid-19 vaccines? Here's what early research shows, Advisory Board, 5-18-21

Learning Opportunity

Stigma of Addiction Summit, June 10 from noon to 6 pm
This free, half-day, virtual, action-oriented summit will be entirely dedicated to understanding, addressing, and eliminating the harmful impacts of stigma on people who use drugs.

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 5-19-21

Here is your Wednesday NCMS Morning Rounds.

May 19, 2021

Join us at noon this Friday, May 21, for the Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership’s Power Hour when we will host a discussion focused on mental health and indigenous populations.

In 2019, nearly 20 percent of Native American adults experienced mental illness and the suicide rate among American Indians and Alaska Native youth is 2.5 times higher than the rest of the US. Learn the facts about mental health issues among indigenous populations, the possible causes and what can be done to eliminate the health disparities that exist.

Learn more about this virtual forum and register here.

Map Helps Practices with Vaccine Outreach Efforts

The NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has shared a new interactive map based on census tract data the shows the highest rates of social vulnerability (red areas) and the lowest rates of COVID-19 vaccination (smallest turquoise circles. The map also includes the ability to see where COVID-19 vaccine providers and community-based organizations that have offered to support vaccine events are located.

This information is useful to help focus the efforts to get as many North Carolinians vaccinated against COVID-19 as quickly and as fairly as possible. The map can also be accessed from If you have questions, please reach out to charlene.[email protected].

In other vaccine-related news, NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH and pediatrician Kenya McNeal-Trice, MD, will discuss vaccinating adolescents ages 12-15, tomorrow, Thursday, May 20 at 5:30 p.m. Learn more and register for this virtual discussion here.

NCDHHS also has information for you, your teen-aged patients and their parents at this link as well as social media posts to help you get the word out to your patients about getting vaccinated. Access the social media toolkit here.

Victimized Provider Project

Each year, Medicare providers have their identities stolen and used to bill Medicare for services, diagnostic tests, or medical equipment that was never provided or not medically necessary. When persons or entities inappropriately bill Medicare and receive payment using a provider’s stolen identity, the legitimate physician or provider may be held liable for any overpayments.

CMS’ Center for Program Integrity (CPI) works with providers who claim to be victims of identity theft, and who have suffered financial liabilities in the form of Medicare overpayments or debts, through the Victimized Provider Project (VPP). This program attempts to validate and remediate a provider’s claims as an identity theft victim.

Learn how to spot signs of identity theft and protect yourself here.

In the News

Can Covid-19 Vaccines Stop The 'Double Mutant' Variant? Here's What Early Research Shows, Advisory Board, 5-17-241

Learning Opportunity

Specialized Therapies, Optical and Hearing Services, THURSDAY, MAY 20 | 5:30-6:30 PM
Please tune in for a number of important Medicaid updates at the next Back Porch Chat Webinar on Medicaid Managed Care Hot Topics. Abigail DeVries, M.D., Associate Medical Officer Consultant, NC Medicaid, Division of Health Benefits, NC Department of Health and Human Services will host the event, which will include presentations on:

• Optical & Hearing Services Follow Up
• Specialized Therapies in Standard Plan
• Network Adequacy Update
• Open Enrollment Update
• Advanced Medical Home Tier 3 Glidepath Attestation Payment Reconsideration Process and Attestation Reminder
• What Ifs of Managed Care
• Q&A

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 5-17-21

Welcome to a new week of NCMS Morning Rounds.

May 17, 2021

NCMS Legislative Update

Last week at the NC General Assembly nearly 100 bills quickly moved through committees and 45 were voted on in either the House or Senate in advance of Thursday’s crossover deadline. While all proposals technically are ‘alive’ until the session officially ends, crossover marks the completion of the first stage of the General Assembly’s work for this long session with the winnowing out those bills with the support necessary to pass through at least one chamber. With crossover behind them, legislators in the House and Senate now will shift their focus to the state budget process, and hope to have a spending plan in place for the start of the state’s new fiscal year on July 1.

While you can see the many bills we are monitoring on our legislative blog here, several among those that remain active after the crossover deadline deserve special mention.

HB96 – Allow Pharmacists to Administer Injectable Drugs which would have allowed pharmacists unrestricted authority to administer any type of injectable. Working with our medical specialty society partners, the NCMS was able to narrow the scope of the language in the proposal to allow only injections pursuant to a prescription, only in individuals over age 18 and mandates reporting back to the prescriber. These changes make the proposal better and safer for patients. We will continue to monitor this legislation so watch your NCMS Morning Rounds newsletter and NCMS Political Pulse video in the coming days for updates.

The other bill of note, SB575 – Pharmacists Improve Public Health Needs, made it through the Senate chamber, but only after the NCMS and our partner medical specialty societies were able to narrow the list of drugs pharmacists would be allowed to prescribe to four – contraceptives, smoking cessation, PEP and pre-natal vitamins. The NCMS and our medical specialty society partners are continuing to work with bill sponsors on the language in this proposal. Watch this newsletter for updates.

As legislators turn their attention to the state budget, now is a great time to reach out to your legislator to discuss not only pending legislation like the bills mentioned above, but also policy priorities to include in the state’s spending plan. If you don’t already have a relationship with your representatives, here is where you can look up how to contact them to begin the conversation about what is important to you as a physician or PA constituent.

Three Ways to Learn About the NC Medical Board's Year

Information about the NC Medical Board’s Annual Report, which gives a comprehensive overview of the Board’s activities for 2020, is available in three formats – in its customary electronic version of the written report, in a short, 2-minute video and also in a podcast.

The report includes licensee demographics, licensing and enforcement data and highlights of NCMB’s work throughout the most recent calendar year.

Access the electronic version here; watch the video here and listen to the 21-minute podcast here.

NCMS Leadership Development Programs Recruiting Now

The NCMS Foundation’s Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership currently is recruiting for two of its programs – Leadership College and Health Care Leadership and Management. Both programs are project-based and focus on developing authentic leadership. That means alumni of the programs have looked inward to examine their own strengths and weaknesses as leaders to understand how to be most effective in driving positive change as part of the larger health care team as well as in the broader community.

The Institute’s Leadership College delves into an individual’s leadership development. Each participant works on a year-long project involving a real-world issue where they can demonstrate their newly acquired leadership insights. At the culmination of the program each scholar summarizes their research findings in a TEDTalk-style presentation we call MEDTalks. You can watch the wide variety of previous years’ presentations here.

Learn more about and apply for Leadership College here.

The Health Care Leadership and Management track has a finance and management component as well as leadership development focus. This year-long course places special emphasis on deeper leadership development and skills that include strategic planning, negotiation and financial literacy and application.

Learn more about and apply for Health Care Leadership and Management here.

Both programs boast small class sizes with lots of personal attention and interaction with faculty and colleagues. The courses went virtual during the pandemic but are now moving toward a hybrid of virtual and in-person sessions.

Interested in hearing from alumni about their Kanof Institute experiences? The Summer 2020 issue of the NCMS Bulletin online magazine features a variety of Kanof Institute alumni recounting their ‘leadership journeys,’ and how the programs helped them each define what leadership means to them and how they currently are using the skills they gained. Read these profiles here.

If you have any questions about the programs, please contact Aubrey Cuthbertson [email protected].

In the News

CDC Backtracks Saying Fully Vaccinated People Can Go Maskless Indoors, STAT, 5-13-21

Learning Opportunity

The NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Immunization Branch invites you to attend a live training session on Tuesday, May 18 from 6 to 7 pm on ‘Becoming a COVID-19 Vaccine Provider: We Need YOU!’ Register here.

This training will help primary care practices understand the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccination Program and show how to enroll in North Carolina’s COVID-19 Vaccine Management System (CVMS). CVMS is a secure, cloud-based vaccine management solution for COVID-19 that enables vaccine management and data sharing across providers, hospitals, agencies and local, state and federal governments on one common platform. For more information, please visit the NCDHHS CVMS website 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 14, 2021

We are through crossover week at the NC General Assembly and on to the budget process in the coming week. Watch as NCMS Director of Legislative Relations Sue Ann Forrest, MPA explains what's next as well as several important pieces of legislation that moved through the House and Senate chambers and will continue to be considered as the long session progresses.

Watch the video.

NCMS Morning Rounds 5-14-21

Happy Friday! Here's your NCMS Morning Rounds.

May 14, 2021

Has Your Practice Returned to Pre-COVID Office Procedures?

This week our regular survey includes questions on whether procedures implemented during the pandemic such as checking patient temperatures and social distancing in waiting areas have changed recently. Please take just a moment to complete this survey to help track the evolving impact the pandemic has had on your practice.


Since March 2020, the NCMS, the NC Medical Group Management Association and Curi have been collecting data from these regular surveys to help us advocate on your behalf with policymakers and to develop resources you can use. Thanks to your participation we have a clearer understanding of how North Carolina medical practices have responded to the pandemic and the challenges you face. Thank you!

Position Available on NC Respiratory Care Board

The NCMS has the opportunity to fill a position on the NC Respiratory Care Board. The Board licenses respiratory care practitioners and ensures the qualifications and activities of those engaged in respiratory care are in accord with law and in the best interest of the public. The Board shall issue and enforce standards for the licensure of respiratory care practitioners, but the Board is not a Board of arbitration and has no jurisdiction to settle disputes between private parties. Learn more about the Board here.

Here is some of what would be expected of you as an appointee to the Board:

  • Quarterly Board Meetings: Second Thursday of July, October, January, and April
  • Quarterly Board Committee Meetings: First Friday of September, December, March, and June
  • Members are assigned at least one committee per the Board Chair. The expectation is that they participate in Board Meetings to fulfill 21 NCAC 61 .0101.

The contact for the NC Respiratory Board is its Executive Director William L. Croft, Ed.D, Ph.D., RRT, RCP, who may be reached at (919) 878-5595.

If you are interested in serving on the Board, please contact Evan Simmons at the NCMS, [email protected] by May 18.

NC Medicaid Updates – Today is an Important Day

Today, Friday, May 14, is the last day of open enrollment for Medicaid Managed Care when Medicaid beneficiaries can pro-actively select a pre-paid health plan (PHP) and primary care provider (PCP). This one-pager can help your patients with this process. The fact sheet is available in Spanish here. Those who do not actively select a health plan or primary care provider by the deadline will be auto-assigned.

Today also is the deadline to attest for a June payment as an Advanced Medical Home (AMH) Tier 3 practice. Those who have successfully attested to meeting Glidepath payment eligibility in NCTracks in the previous cycle do not need to do so again.
The NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has developed a reconsideration process following the validation of the provider submitted attestation information. You have the option of requesting an AMH Glidepath Payment reconsideration under the following circumstances:

*You missed the attestation deadline due to hardships related to the COVID-19 pandemic, or
*You disagree with the outcome of the validation determination.

The deadline for submission of Reconsideration Requests is May 23.

For more information, please see the Medicaid bulletin article 'Advanced Medical Home Tier 3 Glidepath Attestation Payment Updates.'

For more information about the transition to NC Medicaid Managed Care, visit the Medicaid Transformation website or the NC Medicaid Enrollment Broker website.

In the News

As America 'Turn[s] The Corner' Against Covid-19, When Will Social Distancing Guidelines Change? Advisory Board, 5-10-21

Learning Opportunity

NC Asthma Summit 2021 – Reimagining Asthma Care in a Digital World, Wednesday, May 19 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month – join with colleagues to learn more during this live morning webinar. Hot topics include COVID-19 & Asthma. Telehealth, ACES & Asthma and new/updated asthma guidelines.

The NC Asthma Summit is a collaboration between the Asthma Alliance of North Carolina (AANC) and UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC.

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 5-6-21

Enjoy your Thursday NCMS Morning Rounds.

May 6, 2021

NCMS Issues Joint Statement to Encourage COVID-19 Vaccination

Yesterday the NCMS and the NC Academy of Family Physicians issued a joint media statement urging all eligible North Carolinians to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Now that more medical practices are receiving vaccine supplies, patients have yet another way to access the vaccine in a familiar environment where they can have their questions answered by their trusted physician or PA. Read the statement here.

If you have questions or would like to participate in the vaccination effort, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has this ‘road map’ to guide you through the process, including how to request allotments of vaccine to accommodate your patient population. View the road map here.

FDA Bans Menthol Cigarettes – Celebrate No Menthol Sunday on May 16

Last Thursday, the FDA announced it is beginning the process of banning menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. This action is a critical step towards addressing the tobacco use epidemic and tobacco-related disparities. Read the announcement here.

Despite decades of successfully reducing tobacco use in the U.S., the progress has not been equitable. Specific populations, who have been targeted and disproportionately impacted by tobacco use, continue to use tobacco at higher rates. For example, 85-90 percent of African American cigarette smokers choose menthol flavored cigarettes, while only 30 percent of white cigarette smokers do. Studies show that mentholated cigarettes make smoking easier to start and more difficult to quit than do other cigarettes.

If implemented and equitably enforced, the FDA’s ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars will keep these products off the market, and at the same time will not penalize those who purchase or possess tobacco products.

Learn what the Durham-based Center for Black Health & Equity has planned for the international No Menthol Sunday on May 16 here.

Update on Information-Blocking Rules from the 21st Century CURES Act

The regulation implementing the 21st Century CURES Act’s prohibition on information-blocking went into effect on April 5 despite the fact that many provider groups are voicing concerns that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has not offered adequate guidance for them to determine how to comply. At present, U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) lacks the authority to penalize health care providers for non-compliance; nonetheless, all providers will need to come into compliance with these rules at some point in the future, and doing so raises substantial legal, technical and training issues.

For more information about the new data-blocking requirements, see the following resources:
• This site has some general information:
• The American Medical Association has issued a brief entitled “How do I comply with info blocking and where do I start?”
• HHS has extensive FAQs available here:

Reminder: there was a session at the Primary Care Conference about Information Blocking. If you registered for PCC you can still access a recording of the session through the conference website

In the News

FDA Expected To OK Pfizer Vaccine For Teens Within Week, AP News, 5-3-21

Learning Opportunity

Financing that Rewards Better Health & Well-Being Workshops -- A Free Workshop Series
May 25 | 2 to 5:30 pm 
May 28 | 1 to 4:30 pm 
June 2 | 2 to 5:30 pm

The discussion in this National Academy of Medicine series will address five objectives:

  1. Describe the deficiencies in our current health delivery and financing systems for creating health and sustaining health care delivery in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    2. Identify and describe alternative payment models demonstrating major transformations in health care delivery and financing, address those deficiencies, and summarize their characteristics and designs.
    3. Describe how integrated financing approaches can be used to redirect payment for individual services that may be unnecessary or even harmful toward payment for care of the whole person, equitable population health outcomes, improved patient and provider experience, and reduced per capita costs.
    4. Evaluate how care models using integrated financing have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic to create whole person-population health and remain financially viable.
    5. Identify practical strategies and financing approaches that effectively reward whole person-population health.

Day 1 of the workshop series will focus on envisioning an integrated health care delivery and financing system.
Day 2 of the workshop series will focus on examining innovative models and levers underscored during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Day 3 of the workshop series will focus on a roadmap for integrated payment approaches to efficiency, effectiveness, and equity.

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 4-30-21

Get the latest on what has been happening at the NC General Assembly this week in this video with NCMS Director of Legislative Relations Sue Ann Forrest, MPA. As the legislative session progresses several bills we've been tracking are moving through committee including SB345 -- PA Team-based Practice, which moved through the Senate Commerce and Insurance Committee. To learn more about the NCMS' support of this legislation, be sure to tune into our webinar on Wednesday, May 5 at 6 p.m. Learn more and register here.

Other bills we continue to monitor include those on surprise billing, EPO plans and pharmacists prescribing treatments. Watch and learn more below.

Watch the video.