NCMS Morning Rounds 4-30-21

 Finally Friday! Here's your NCMS Morning Rounds.

April 30, 2021

Clarification: The headline in yesterday’s story about prescribing buprenorphine for opioid use disorder was misleading. The new guidelines may exempt you from certain certification requirements related to training and counseling, but an X-waiver is still required. Learn more here.

A Message to YOU from NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH

NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH speaks to primary care physicians and PAs in this video about providing the COVID-19 vaccine through your office. The goal is to make it easily accessible to as many people as possible.

Watch as Sec. Cohen describes a new vaccine allocation process and how you can participate in this important effort. To get all the details, please visit the step-by-step ‘roadmap’ to enroll in the NC Vaccine Management System (CVMS) and to request vaccine once enrolled and activated. Access that roadmap here.

Your Input is Important

Over the last year the NCMS, the NC Medical Group Management Association and Curi have consistently looked to you for input on the issues facing your practice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have gathered important data that has helped inform policymaking and resource development. Please take just a moment to complete our latest survey.

Thank you for your time and for your commitment to your communities. We’re in this together and are proud to support you and your practice through this tumultuous season.


Information Blocking Regulations Begin Now

The NC Health Information Exchange Authority (NCHIEA) or HealthConnex is committed to interoperability and information sharing, and has studied and monitored the 21st Century CURES Act information blocking regulations.

As of April 5, 2021, health care providers, health IT developers of certified health IT, and health information networks/health information exchanges are required to comply with the Cures Act. Additionally, health care stakeholders and participants will now benefit from more easily accessible electronic health information (EHI).

Until October 5, 2021, a portion of EHI that isn’t “blocked” and limited to the data elements based on the United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI Version 1) will be evaluated. This evaluation period will give participants an opportunity to gain more experience and education on information blocking regulations prior to the entire regulation coming into effect, including what is required for an exception.

For all technical questions about NC HealthConnex or its data-sharing capabilities, please contact the NC HIEA Provider Relations team at [email protected] or (919) 754-6912.

NC HealthConnex participants can find the Request for Release of Electronic Protected Health Information form here. All updated policies, including the NC HIEA Privacy and Security Policy and User Access Policy, can be found here.

In the News

Doctors More Likely to Prescribe Opioids to Covid ‘Long Haulers,’ Raising Addiction Fears, Kaiser Health News, 4-28-21

Learning Opportunity

Join us for this free webinar: "An Insider's View of the Medical Team Task Force" Wednesday, May 5, 2021 | 6 to 7 pm
Several legislative proposals under consideration at the NC General Assembly this session focus on modifying the regulation of Advanced Practice Providers (APP). Attend this webinar to learn more about the work of the NCMS’ Medical Team Task Force as its chair, Robert ‘Charlie’ Monteiro, MD, reviews the task force’s charge, the key issues it has addressed and its recommendations to the NCMS Board of Directors on PA team-based care.

Register today for what is sure to be an informative conversation.

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 4-28-21

Happy Wednesday! Here's your NCMS Morning Rounds.

April 28, 2021

Get an Insider’s Perspective on the NCMS’ Medical Team Task Force’s Work

Two legislative proposals -- SB345-PA Team-based Practice, which the NCMS supports, and SB249/HB277-The SAVE Act, which we oppose, -- are being considered at the NC General Assembly this session. Both aim to modify the regulation of Advanced Practice Providers (APP), albeit in very different ways. The NCMS’ Medical Team Task Force was charged several years ago with examining the current laws regulating APPs and whether the regulations need modification.

Please join the conversation on Wednesday, May 5 at 6 p.m. when Medical Team Task Force chair, Robert ‘Charlie’ Monteiro, MD, will review the task force’s charge, the key issues it has addressed thus far and its recommendations to the NCMS Board of Directors on PA team-based care.

Register here for this free, hour-long webinar.

NCMS Joins Other Groups in Urging Ban on Flavored Tobacco Products

The NCMS has joined with public health, health equity and other groups to urge the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to remove menthol cigarettes, flavored e-cigarettes and certain other flavored tobacco products from the market. The FDA has committed itself to respond by tomorrow, Thursday, April 29, to a citizen petition filed seven years ago calling on it to prohibit menthol flavored cigarettes.

As outlined in a letter to North Carolina’s Congressional representatives, the FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee in 2011 and the agency’s own scientific review in 2013 documented the substantial harms to public health caused by menthol cigarettes.

Tobacco use is a major contributor to four of the leading causes of death among Black Americans - heart disease, cancer, stroke and COPD. Youth e-cigarette use is another serious public health concern.

Read the full letter here.

April is National Minority Health Month

During National Minority Health Month, the US Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) and federal and non-federal partners will focus on the impact COVID-19 is having on racial and ethnic minority and American Indian and Alaska Native communities and underscore the need for these vulnerable communities to get vaccinated as more vaccines become available. The theme for National Minority Health Month is #VaccineReady. Learn more here.

Visit the website (English | Spanish) to access resources to spread the word on social media and to sign up to receive email updates, news and activities.

In the News

Does poor sleep mean a higher dementia risk? Here's what a new study found, Advisory Board, 4-26-21

Learning Opportunity

Tobacco Free Roadmap: Resources to Help Your Organization Prepare to Be Tobacco Free, Thursday, April 29 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Beginning July 1, 2022, as part of the NC Medicaid Transformation, all physical and behavioral health facilities that contract with Medicaid must be tobacco-free. Prepare your behavioral health organization to go tobacco free.

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 4-27-21

Enjoy Tuesday's NCMS Morning Rounds.

April 27, 2021

Join the Crucial COVID-19 Vaccine Effort

In order to vaccinate as many people as possible with the COVID-19 vaccine, the state now is prioritizing primary care offices as key vaccine access points. Harvard researchers estimate 17 million unvaccinated Americans will visit their primary care physician or PA in the next month, providing a great opportunity for vaccination.

“Our top priority is to make vaccines easily accessible to North Carolinians in settings they trust, so that as many people as possible are vaccinated as quickly as possible,” the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) said in an email sent to primary care practices last week. “Providers are encouraged to accommodate walk-in appointments and to offer vaccines as part of regular patient visits to provide the greatest flexibility and access to people wanting the vaccine. In these circumstances, getting vaccine to people who want the vaccine should be prioritized over ensuring that every dose is used in an open vial.”

To facilitate getting COVID-19 vaccine to primary care practices, the state has developed a step-by-step ‘roadmap’ to enroll in the NC Vaccine Management System (CVMS) and to request vaccine once enrolled and activated. Access that roadmap here.

Anyone age 16 and up is now eligible to receive the vaccine. Pfizer is the only vaccine currently authorized for those under age 18, but the state anticipates the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine may be authorized for adolescents 12 and up in the next couple of weeks. Pediatric and family medicine practices please take note – if and when the Pfizer vaccine is approved for the younger age group, the state will look to you to help vaccinate 12- to 15-year-olds.

The process to become enrolled and activated to provide the vaccine in your practice can take up to two weeks. Once your practice is enrolled, you will be able to request vaccine doses for the coming week. The state is encouraging primary care practices to get started now to help in the effort to get North Carolina’s population fully vaccinated. If you need help or have questions, please reach out to your Immunization Branch Regional Nurse Consultant with the contact information listed in this map. You may also call the COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Help Center at (877) 873-6247 and select option 1 for COVID-19 questions (Monday – Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

Once enrolled, a new allocation process for vaccine also has been implemented in which you may request the number of first doses of vaccine for the coming week with the opportunity each week to request more doses. The previous 7-day requirement to use up all the first doses no longer exists. You may request doses on an as-needed basis, but to be considered for additional doses you should have administered at least half of your allocated vaccine. Detailed steps are outlined in the roadmap here.

NC Medicaid Payments Deadline Changes

As previously reported in this newsletter, the Advanced Medical Home (AMH) Glidepath Payment program became effective April 1. This program offers time-limited payments to practices that have attested to contacting and testing criteria as an AMH Tier 3 provider as part of the transition to NC Medicaid Managed Care. The attestation deadline for June payments has changed. To be eligible for June payments, attestation MUST be completed by May 14 at 5 p.m.

Additionally, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has developed a reconsideration process for providers who either disagree with the outcome of the validation determination for the March payment or who missed the initial attestation deadline due to COVID-19 pandemic and public health emergency related circumstances.
For more information, please see the Advanced Medical Home Tier 3 Glidepath Attestation Payment Updates Medicaid bulletin article.

CDC, FDA Lift Pause on J&J COVID-19 Vaccinations

Late last Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lifted the 10-day pause on the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine after the review by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The expert panel, in a 10-4 decision, voted to recommend vaccinations resume but with a warning label on the vaccine about the risks.

The pause in J&J vaccinations came after six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot were reported among the 6.8 million doses of the shot administered. As of last week, a total of 15 cases of thrombosis have been reported through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. All of the cases occurred in women between ages 18 and 59, with symptom onset six to 15 days after vaccination.

During the pause, medical and scientific teams at the FDA and CDC examined available data to assess the risk of thrombosis involving the cerebral venous sinuses, or CVST (large blood vessels in the brain), and other sites in the body (including but not limited to the large blood vessels of the abdomen and the veins of the legs) along with thrombocytopenia, or low blood platelet counts. The available data suggest the chance of this occurring is very low, but the FDA and CDC will remain vigilant in continuing to investigate this risk, according to the agencies. They determined that the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks in individuals 18 years of age and older.

Health care providers administering the vaccine and vaccine recipients or caregivers should review the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers Administering Vaccine (Vaccination Providers) and Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers, which have been revised to include information about the risk of this syndrome, which has occurred in a very small number of people who have received the J&J COVID-19 Vaccine.

In the News

Electric Scooter Company Spin To Offer Free Rides To Charlotte Health-Care Workers, Charlotte Business Journal, 4-21-21

Learning Opportunity

Stories of resilience told by people whose lives have been impacted by the overdose crisis.
Centering lived experience is core to the work we do across the state to respond to the overdose crisis. To create a space for storytelling and sharing lived experience, the Duke Opioid Collaboratory, NC DHHS’ Injury and Violence Prevention Branch, and The Monti, will host a virtual event (using Zoom) that builds community through storytelling.

Learn more and register for this free event 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 4-23-21

It was another busy week at the NC General Assembly as the crossover deadline on May 14 approaches. This is when all bills filed need to have passed from one chamber to the other in order to continue being considered this legislative session. Several bills we've been monitoring moved through committee, including SB-345 -- PA Team-based Practice, which passed through the Senate Health Committee unanimously and moved on to the Commerce and Insurance Committee. Watch as NCMS Director of Legislative Relations Sue Ann Forrest, MPA, updates you on other proposals  and encourages you to take action to oppose the SAVE Act by calling your legislator. Find their contact information here. 

Watch the video.

NCMS Morning Rounds 4-23-21

Finally Friday! Here's your NCMS Morning Rounds.

April 23, 2021

Don’t forget today’s Power Hour! Join us at noon for a stimulating discussion on health behaviors and what health care professionals can do to ensure clear communication with patients as well as underlying assumptions vs. patient understanding and the importance of building trust. Participants will also touch on the current pandemic and its impact on health behaviors. Register here for what is sure to be a lively conversation.

Efforts to Get Everyone Vaccinated Against COVID-19

At both at state and national levels officials are pushing to get everyone vaccinated to help stop the devastation wrought by COVID-19. One group that may be challenging to vaccinate is seniors who are homebound. This article made me think about the members of my church who are homebound. This article details some of those challenges.

To help ensure this group has access to the vaccine, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has a list of who will provide in-home vaccination to housebound people listed by county. Access this useful resource here.

Also, be sure to get the latest on vaccinating your patients in an upcoming webinar, Tuesday, April 27 at 6 p.m. ‘Navigating Ahead- Vaccinating Your Patients for COVID-19’ is co-sponsored by NCAFP, the NC Pediatric Society, the NC Psychiatric Association, the NC AHEC Program and Community Care of North Carolina. Now that the vaccine-eligible population has grown to all adults and a childhood vaccine is on the horizon, more and more medical practices are or will be administering vaccines, either in partnership with others or in their own offices. Hear from your colleagues who are thinking through the “nuts and bolts” of patient vaccinations.

You can join the Zoom meeting by clicking here or dial in at 646-558-8656 using webinar ID 131 899 801.

Progress is being made in vaccinating our population in North Carolina. More than 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered through the federally supported vaccination center that opened March 10, 2021 in Greensboro. The Greensboro clinic will be extended through May 27 and will continue to provide the Pfizer vaccine. While appointments are encouraged and available online at or by phone at 888-675-4567, walk-in and drive-up vaccines are also available without appointment.

Guilford County was selected for a vaccination site by FEMA and the CDC as an area with significant underserved or marginalized populations. The site is organized and operated by the state and staffed through the U.S. Department of Defense. It is supported with resources from Guilford County, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, including the Division of Emergency Management and the North Carolina National Guard, and NCDHHS.

NCMS President Has New Position

Novant Health recently announced several leadership updates as its integration with New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) continues.

Effective May 1, current NCMS President Philip Brown, Jr., MD, will be the system’s chief community impact officer. In this role, as part of the Novant Health diversity, inclusion and equity team, Dr. Brown will be charged with engaging the community in advancing health equity. He was previously the executive vice president and chief physician executive at NHRMC.

Congratulations, Dr. Brown!

Get a Start on Your Summer Reading with the NCMS Book Club

Believe it or not, summer--and therefore, summer reading--is just around the corner! We would love to have you join our NC Medical Society Book Club and connect with your colleagues via stimulating discussions on exciting books. From late May through the end of July, we will be reading The New York Times bestselling memoir The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir by emergency department physician Michele Harper.

Harper tells the poignant true story of her journey toward self-healing. Each of the patients Harper writes about taught her something important about recuperation and recovery; how to let go of fear even when the future is murky and how to tell the truth when it's simpler to overlook it.

Our book club connects through a private online forum for participants to discuss books and learn from one another. We spend about 10 weeks on each book, so there is always plenty of time to read each book! Sign up and learn more about our next book here!

In the News

FDA: Make Medical Apps Reliable, Not Risky, STAT News, 4-21-21

Learning Opportunity

The Road to Equity: Examining Structural Racism in Health Care, Tuesday, April 27, 1 – 4:30 p.m. and Wednesday, April 28, 1 – 4:45 p.m. 
Guest speakers from various federal and partner agencies will share their insight and experience during the forum. Sessions will discuss the impact of COVID-19 on health disparities and initiatives to promote equity, as well as CMS and other federal agencies’ roles as equity partners in increasing access to care and strengthening the capacity of the health care industry.

Learn more and register for Day 1 here.
Learn more and register for Day 2 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 4-22-21

It's Thursday and time for your NCMS Morning Rounds.

April 22, 2021

Dr. Crockett speaks at Tuesday's press conference at the NC General Assembly.

NCMS, NC ObGyn Society Support Dignity for Incarcerated Women Proposal

On Tuesday the NCMS and NC Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (NCOGS) issued a joint media statement in support of NC House Bill 608 -- Dignity for Women Who Are Incarcerated. This legislative proposal, introduced on Tuesday, addresses the health needs of incarcerated women and their babies by codifying standards of care for women’s health and perinatal care.

Rep. Kristen Baker, MD (R-Cabarrus), the only physician in the NC General Assembly, is one of the bill’s co-sponsors. At a press conference held at the General Assembly just after the bill was filed, Rep. Baker and the co-sponsors were joined by Kerianne Crockett, MD, a Greenville Obstetrician-Gynecologist and NCOGS board member, who spoke emotionally about one of her patients.

“Nearly two years ago I took care of a patient who was in detention at an area jail during her pregnancy. She was restrained with ankle and wrist cuffs during her labor, delivery, part of her post-partum time. She also suffered the devastating loss of her infant,” she said. “In the months that followed, I grappled with my own grief over her loss and thought nonstop about how her difficult and heartbreaking experience was turned into a traumatic one by the shackles she was forced to wear.”

The proposed legislation would protect the health and safety of mother and baby by prohibiting shackling of pregnant women in the second and third trimesters, during labor and delivery and allowing only limited restraint for six weeks post-partum. Also, the bill insists mothers receive adequate nutrition to support their baby’s health and welfare.

Read the NCMS’ and NCOGS’ media statement here.

Improved Communication Access Pilot Project

The NC Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DSDHH) has partnered with the NC Division of Health Benefits to establish a pilot initiative to improve access to communication services for deaf, blind and hard of hearing patients – and their companions – who have Medicaid and Health Choice.

One reason many medical practices are resistant to providing communication accommodations is the cost related to these services. Through this initiative, practices can register to be reimbursed for communication access services such as American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART). Register here.

Examples of visits covered are medical appointments, eye exams, in-home health care, mental health counseling sessions and more.

Learn more about this initiative here.

For more information about this pilot service, please reach out to the Medicaid Communication Access Coordinator at [email protected] or (984) 884-1093.

More Telehealth Funding Available

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced that applications for Round 2 of funding for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program will be accepted beginning on April 29 and ending on May 6. The $249.95 million federal initiative builds on the $200 million program established as part of the CARES Act.

You can learn more about this funding opportunity in a webinar this Friday, April 23 at 1 p.m. Access the webinar at this Zoom link.

Community Health Centers are encouraged to consider applying.

  • The application will be fairly simple. Applicants must provide some basic data, but no extensive narratives are required.
    • Given the scoring system that the FCC has established, community health centers are well-positioned to be approved for funding – particularly those who applied in Round One (last spring/ summer) but were not funded.
    • Applicants can receive up to $1 million to support 100 percent of the cost of services and supplies needed to expand telehealth.

Learn more about this opportunity here.

In the News

New Coronavirus Variant Found In Texas, Becker’s Hospital Review, 4-20-21

Learning Opportunity

Priorities on the Health Horizon: Informing PCORI's Strategic Plan Webinar, April 27 | 11 am – 2 pm
The meeting will be anchored by two compelling, forward-looking questions:
-What will it take to create a patient-centered learning health system (with respect to infrastructure, technologies, and engagement)?
-How can PCORI use its research strategies, unique role, and activities to improve patient experience, outcomes, and value in health and health 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 April 16, 2021

Even though the NC General Assembly was on their spring break last week, many bills were filed especially in the Senate to meet the filing deadline. Watch as NCMS Director of Legislative Relations Sue Ann Forrest, MPA describes some of the proposals introduced including a bill giving pharmacists authority to prescribe certain medications, several bills concerning medical liability, proposed legislation that would extend the mandatory deadline to connect to the state's Health Information Exchange (HIE) and a slew of public health focused proposals. For a comprehensive list of all the many bills we're tracking, please visit our Legislative blog here.

And please use our Action Alert, if you haven't already, and encourage your colleagues to use it to let legislators know about our opposition to SB249/HB277 -- the SAVE Act. Here is the link to that alert.

Watch the video.

NCMS Morning Rounds 4-16-21

Friday and your NCMS Morning Rounds have arrived!

April 16, 2021

Navigating COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) held an emergency meeting Wednesday to look more closely at the thromboembolic events associated with the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine. Review the presentations and updates from that meeting here.

The committee did not make a recommendation, indicating they will continue to assess the data and risks and will reconvene in a week to 10 days. In the meantime, the CDC’s and Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recommended pause in the administration of the J&J vaccine will continue. North Carolina officials suspended use of the J&J vaccine earlier this week.

American Medical Association President, Susan R. Bailey, MD, recently hosted a webinar with Peter Marks, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the FDA. The conversation focused on the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine. View the webinar at this link.

In North Carolina, health care practices continue to combat vaccine hesitancy, strive for equity in vaccine administration and address the logistics of ensuring everyone in the community is vaccinated against COVID-19.

On Tuesday, April 27 at 6 p.m. NC AHEC is bringing together physicians who are in the thick of this effort to share their experiences in getting their patients vaccinated.

Speakers include Garett Franklin, MD, Cary Medical Group/Raleigh Medical Group, Greg Adams, MD, Blue Ridge Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine in Watauga County and Rasheeda Monroe, MD.

Click here to Join the Zoom meeting room on your computer, or dial-in at (646) 558-8656 using webinar ID 131 899 801.

Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership Now Accepting Applications

The NCMS Foundation’s Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership is now accepting applications for its 2022 classes of scholars for its Leadership College and Health Care Leadership and Management programs. The application deadline is June 30.

If you would like to learn more about these programs, please submit an interest form (see below) or email Aubrey Cuthbertson at [email protected].

Submit a Leadership College interest form here.

Submit a Health Care Leadership and Management interest form here.

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

Project OBOT Supporters Receive Glaser Award

Blake Fagan, MD, and Eric Morse, MD were both recently awarded the Frederick B. Glaser Award at the Addiction Medicine 2021 conference. The biennial award, given by the Governor’s Institute and the NC Chapter of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), honors addiction medicine physicians for achievement and meritorious service in the domains of substance use disorder treatment, education, research and leadership.

Dr. Fagan, a family physician at the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) in Asheville and a professor in the Department of Family Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill, has served as the co-director of the Office-Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT) services provided at MAHEC’s Family Health Center since its inception in 2015. He is part of the NCMS’ Opioid Task Force and supportive of the NCMS Foundation’s Project OBOT. Dr. Morse, an addiction and sports psychiatrist, is the medical director for two Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) and a program physician at five Morse Clinics across the Triangle.

Both physicians have been pivotal in increasing access to medication assisted treatment for opioid use disorder in NC through extensive training, mentoring and technical assistance to other physicians and advanced practice providers.

Congratulations Drs. Fagan and Morse!

In the News

The US Paused Use of J&J's Vaccine. What Happens Next? Health Care Dive, 4-14-21

Learning Opportunity

Navigating Ahead on Vaccinating Your Patients with COVID Vax, Tuesday, April 27 | 6–7 PM
Now that the vaccine-eligible population has grown to include nearly all adults, and a childhood vaccine is on the horizon, it is likely that more and more medical practices will be administering vaccines, either in partnership with community partners or in their own offices.

Come hear from your colleagues who are thinking through the “nuts and bolts” of patient vaccinations.

Join meeting here. Or dial in at (646) 558-8656 using webinar ID 131 899 801.

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 4-14-21

Enjoy your mid-week NCMS Morning Rounds.

April 14, 2021

CDC and FDA Recommend Pause in Administration of J & J COVID-19 Vaccine

On Tuesday, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) announced it will follow the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to suspend administration of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine.

The CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving six reported US cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. The type of blood clot, a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets. The six cases occurred in women between ages 18 and 48 with symptoms occurring six to 13 days after vaccination.

Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered. Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given, according to the CDC and FDA. It is important for the health care provider community to be aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot.

Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare. People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider. Health care providers are asked to report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System here.

Today the CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases. Until that process is complete, these federal agencies are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution.

You can watch a videotaped media briefing with officials from the CDC and FDA as they brief reporters and answer questions about their recommendation here.

As of Monday, more than 6.8 million people in the US have received the J&J vaccine, while about 98 million people have received the Pfizer vaccine and 85 million the Moderna vaccine. According to the CDC, about 9 million J&J shots have been distributed, but are now on hold due to the CDC’s and FDA’s recommendation.

NCMS Foundation’s Our Community Health Initiative Has New Partner

The NCMS Foundation’s Our Community Health Initiative (OCHI) has announced a new partnership with IndividuALLytics to provide remote patient monitoring and behavioral health integration for comprehensive chronic care management, leveraging the company’s precision medicine model.

"We are pleased that IndividuALLytics is joining our team, which will enhance the scope and scale of services provided by OCHI," said NCMS Vice President for Rural Health Systems Innovation Franklin Walker, MBA. OCHI offers medical practices a way to seamlessly collaborate with and connect patients to community based organizations providing services that improve health. For instance, OCHI offers a referral platform in which physicians and PAs can easily refer patients to evidence-based diabetes prevention programs and others offered through the YMCA in communities throughout the state.

“OCHI has done a great job making it easier for organizations like the YMCA to manage Diabetes Prevention Programs,” Walker said. “Our success with OCHI has allowed us to engage the assistance of the American Medical Association to expand and share this simple to use platform nationally.”

“IndividuALLytics offers our community-based organizations and health provider customers additional expertise in deploying and managing state of the art data collection processes, including physical, biometric and disease specific, which increases the physician’s ability to manage care,” according to Reynold Yordy, founder and Chief Technology Officer for IndividuALLytics.

Michigan-based IndividuALLytics, Inc. employs patent-pending individualized N-of-1 treatment protocols for precision management of chronic illness and employs a comprehensive solution for remote patient monitoring along with a mobile application for patient engagement and multidisciplinary virtual care teams to determine and administer these individualized treatment protocols.

OCHI, part of the NCMS Foundation, uses a software platform that provides custom EHR functionality to community-based organizations allowing them to participate in a collaborative and integrated approach to health. The program enables individual and group interactions, whether face-to-face or virtual, to assist in managing individual care plans. OCHI enables physicians and PAs and community-based organizations to collect and digitally exchange relevant data with the expectation of demonstrating positive health outcomes. Learn more about OCHI.

Resources to Encourage NC Medicaid Enrollment

The NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has launched a public messaging campaign to encourage Medicaid beneficiaries to enroll in NC Medicaid Managed Care. The “Choose Your Path to Better Health” campaign includes a variety of television and radio spots that are airing in English and Spanish as well as internet and social media messages.

NC Medicaid community partners, advocates, health care providers and other stakeholders may use these materials to help share the word about NC Medicaid Managed Care and the open enrollment period, which runs through May 14. This toolkit includes the advertising listed above plus digital images and flyers that can be printed and posted.

In addition to the Choose Your Path campaign, NC Medicaid is promoting the enrollment period using social media posts, community webinars and events, as well as a prior press release and a Medicaid bulletin.

In the News

Fully Vaccinated But COVID-19 Positive? 4 Notes On Breakthrough Case Prevalence, Becker’s Hospital Review, 4-12-21

Learning Opportunity

Diabetes Prevention & Best Practices Learning Collaborative (LC)
This Learning Collaborative (LC) will consist of four virtual sessions, focused on the current and future landscape of diabetes among migrant and seasonal agricultural workers (MSAW), as well as recommendations for how to best support this community. This LC is designed for Health Centers, community health workers (CHWs), and other enabling service staff who interact with the MSAW community.
Session 2 – April 20, 2:30 – 4 pm
Session 3 – April 27, 2:30 – 4 pm
Session 4 – May 4, 2:30 – 4 pm

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 4-13-21

Happy Tuesday! Enjoy your NCMS Morning Rounds.

April 13, 2021

TODAY: Learn More About Reimbursement for Treating COVID-19 Uninsured

Today, Tuesday, April 13 at 2 p.m. the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) is offering a webinar for you to learn more about the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program. Participating providers are reimbursed at Medicare rates for testing, treating and administering COVID-19 vaccines to uninsured individuals.

If you have conducted COVID-19 testing to uninsured individuals, provided treatment for uninsured individuals with a COVID-19 diagnosis on or after February 4, 2020, or administered COVID-19 vaccines to uninsured individuals you can begin the process to file claims for reimbursement.

Familiarize yourself with this process here, and learn more and file claims here. You can also view Frequently Asked Questions about the program.

And join HRSA officials today at 2 p.m. to learn more. Register here for the webinar.

CDC Declares Racism Serious Public Health Threat

Last week the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Rochelle P. Walensky MD, MPH, declared racism a serious public health threat. Read her public statement here.

In her remarks she also highlighted the CDC’s new website, ‘Racism and Health,’ which will serve as the hub for the agency’s efforts to combat this public health threat and serve as a catalyst for greater education and dialogue around this critical issue. The webpage contains information on structural racism, social determinants of health and their impact on health outcomes in communities of color. Access the website here.

NC Academy of Family Physicians Podcast Focuses on Diabetes Prevention

The latest episode of NCFM Today, the NC Academy of Family Physicians podcast hosted by NCAFP Executive Vice President Greg Griggs, MPA, CAE, features NCMS Board member and DiabetesFreeNC physician champion Karen Smith, MD, and NCMS Vice President for Rural Health Systems Innovation Franklin Walker, MBA.

Dr. Smith, a family physician in Raeford, NC, describes how she screens patients and refers them to one of our state's Diabetes Prevention Programs. Walker talks about how physicians can get involved in the Diabetes Free NC initiative, part of a wide-ranging coalition of organizations including the NCMS Foundation and the AMA. Learn more here.

Listen to the 18-minute podcast here.

In the News

Scientists Work Toward An Elusive Dream: A Simple Pill To Treat Covid-19, STAT News, 4-9-21

Learning Opportunity

Enhancing Knowledge and Skills in Adult Mental Health, April 29, 2021 9:15 AM - April 30, 2021 4:45 PM
Part of this conference will focus on the impact of COVID-19 on the behavioral health system and on individuals of color. It will reflect on the grief and loss we have all experienced and continue to experience since the pandemic began. Our keynote speaker, Dr. Sy Saeed, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at East Carolina University, will outline the impact of COVID on our mind and body, the magnitude of our current behavioral health workforce shortage, and the benefit of telepsychiatry in addressing these issues. We will also offer sessions that focus on whole person care, psychopharmacology, cultural diversity focusing on Latinx and African American clients, mental health literacy and the stigma of mental illness, PTSD, and use of cannabis in treating mental illness. Nursing credit offered - target audience is psychiatric, substance use, and advanced practice nurses and nurse practitioners.

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!