NCMS Morning Rounds 4-12-21

Welcome to a new week of NCMS Morning Rounds.

April 11, 2021

Key Differences Between PA Team-Based Practice and SAVE Act Proposals

To help clarify the differences between the two proposals currently being considered by the NC General Assembly around PAs and advance practice nurses, the NCMS has developed a side-by-side comparison chart to clearly distinguish the content of SB345 – Physician Assistant Team-based Practice and SB249/HB277—The SAVE Act. We also are in the process of developing a comprehensive FAQ document to address your questions and concerns about these proposals, the current statutes as well as the NCMS’ policies on scope of practice and team-based settings.

Stated broadly, the most important differences between these bills are:
SB345 – Physician Assistant Team-based Practice, which the NCMS supports, has
1) a career entry requirement of 4,000 hours of supervised practice;
2) an additional 1,000 hours of supervised practice if there is a medical specialty change;
3) a focus on the promotion of team-based settings and enhanced supervisory arrangements.

SB249/HB277—The SAVE Act, which the NCMS opposes, completely removes required supervision in all circumstances regardless of practice setting and/or clinical experience.

For a more detailed comparison access the comparison chart here.

PPE AND COVID-19 Tests Available through the NCMS

Just a reminder that the NCMS is still offering personal protective equipment (PPE) for purchase through our ActionPPE supplier. You can shop conveniently online at this link on the NCMS website. PPE available includes gowns, face shields, gloves and a variety of masks.

In addition, the NCMS is partnering with ActionPPE, which has negotiated a special group buy on FDA approved Covid Rapid Antigen Tests. These test, which can be done in a provider’s office in just 10 minutes, are being offered at below market prices.

This is a one-time group purchase of 100k American-made COVID Antigen Test Kits for medical professionals only. Reserve your Covid test kits today as stock will be allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis. Remember to use your NCMS discount code: NCMS-SAVE5. Order now.

Getting Ready for Medicaid Transformation

With the warmer weather the series of webinars on the state’s move to Medicaid managed care are now being called ‘Back Porch’ chats rather than ‘fireside’ chats. The next in the series, which is presented by the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) in partnership with NCAHEC, will happen this Thursday, April 15 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and will address a variety of hot topics around the launch of Medicaid managed care, which will happen on July 1.

Learn more and register here.

To generally stay up to date on this massive shift, be sure to read the most recent NC Medicaid Bulletins at the Bulletin webpage here. Some of the latest issues cover:

• New and Amended Clinical Coverage Policies – March 2021
• Last Month to Submit Program Year 2020 Attestations
• Quality Strategy Update Draft Posted for Public Comment
• Quality Report and Quality Measurement Technical Specifications Manual Posted
• Primary Care Provider Practice Reassignment for Some Beneficiaries
• Community Alternatives Program for Children Waiver Renewal Stakeholder Engagement

In the News

Younger Healthcare Workers Especially Stressed By COVID-19, Poll Finds, Becker’s Hospital Review, 4-6-21

Learning Opportunity

Join us for the next free Lunch and Learn Webinar: "Diabetes Prevention Program", Tuesday, April 20 | noon to 1:00 pm
This presentation will address the growing epidemic of type 2 diabetes in primary care and will discuss actions that physicians and care teams can take immediately to identify and manage their patients with prediabetes, including referral to an evidence-based lifestyle change program.

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 4-8-21

Enjoy Thursday's NCMS Morning Rounds.  April 8, 2021

Don’t forget tomorrow’s (Friday, April 9) Power Hour beginning at noon. Our guests will focus on black maternal health.

Health inequity in the US has become more apparent during the pandemic, with COVID-19 disproportionately ravaging populations of color. Statistics confirm similar health outcomes for this population in other areas like maternal health. The US has the worst maternal mortality rates overall compared to other developed countries, with black mothers at least three times more likely to die in childbirth than white mothers. Black babies have a mortality rate almost four times the rate of their non-Hispanic white counterparts.
Join us as we hear what some of our community members are seeing in this area and what actions are being taken to address and improve the health outcomes for black mothers.

Register here.

COVID-19 Testing Pilot Program Underway

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), in partnership with Labcorp, is piloting a program to provide 35,000 no-cost, home test collection kits to North Carolinians receiving Food and Nutrition Services and/or are disabled and experiencing barriers to getting tested.

Eligible North Carolina residents can request a Pixel by Labcorp™ COVID-19 PCR Test Home Collection Kit be shipped overnight directly to their homes. The test kit includes test supplies (nasal swab, sample container, etc.), detailed instructions and prepaid specimen return shipping materials to make mailing samples back to Labcorp for testing easy and convenient. Results are typically reported back to the individual within 24 to 48 hours from the time the specimen is received at the lab. Once processed by Labcorp, test results are accessed by the customer via the Pixel by Labcorp website.

The program’s initial pilot is designed to provide testing resources to individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 or who may have been exposed and are members of the following eligible populations:
• Beneficiaries of North Carolina Food and Nutrition Services (formerly called the Food Stamp Program), who may have difficulty accessing existing state-funded testing sites and resources
• Persons with disabilities such as cognitive/intellectual, physical and sensory, substance abuse, mental health and other disabilities that impact their ability to access COVID-19 testing sites

Learn about eligibility, see frequently asked questions and request and receive a test kit through the pilot program here.

It’s Not Too Late -- Join the NCMS Book Club and Meet With Matt Haig!

The NCMS Book Club is currently reading the international best-seller The Midnight Library. We would love to have you join us for our current reading period culminating in a live, exclusive Q&A session with in-demand author Matt Haig!

There is no cost to participate in this club -- you just need a copy of the book to enjoy. Book club members connect through a private online forum where participants discuss the book and learn from one another. Our book club will spend about 10 weeks on each book, so you'll have plenty of time to read. Sign up here.

If you are not yet a book club member, sign up now so you can participate in what is sure to be an interesting conversation about what led Haig to write The Midnight Library and to ask him your burning questions. If you’re already a club member, you should have received the registration link to this exclusive event in your email.

Curi Acquires Health Care Data Analytics Company

Curi, which provides professional liability and other lines of insurance, wealth management and advisory services to physicians, announced that it has acquired the health care data analytics and advisory company, Arrowlytics. Building on an existing five-year relationship between the two organizations, the acquisition will strengthen Curi’s suite of advisory services for physicians and their practices by adding a data-driven solution to help their businesses thrive.

Arrowlytics’ Aspire platform pulls critical data from disparate sources into one system, allowing practices to monitor and improve results across a variety of performance categories—from online reputation management, to practice growth and optimization. Coupled with consultative support from a team of seasoned health care industry experts from both Arrowlytics and Curi, the solution will allow practice leaders to make more informed decisions to assess, adjust and ultimately grow their business.

“Running a medical practice gets more challenging every year, and we have been proud to help our member physicians and their practices navigate these challenges for more than four decades,” said incoming Curi CEO and NCMS Foundation Trustee Jason Sandner. “At Curi, we are always looking for new ways to support our members, and bringing the team and solutions from Arrowlytics into the Curi family will allow us to offer new data-centered solutions and services to the healthcare leaders that we serve.”

The Arrowlytics Aspire platform will support the advisory products and services that Curi has been actively developing with input from its member community for years—from enhancements to risk management, to health policy guidance, to practice retirement plan solutions, to well-being offerings, and more. The offering will be especially valuable in light of the numerous financial and operational challenges that practices are facing during this period of transition in service delivery models.

Learn more here.

In the News

Will Vaccines Roll Out In Time To Stop Emerging Variants? Here's What Experts Say, Advisory Board, 4-6-21

Learning Opportunity

2021 Virtual Primary Care Conference, April 7 @ 8 am - April 9 @ 5 pm
Conference tracks will cover areas including: billing and coding, clinical, executive leadership development, and care management, with sessions dedicated to COVID, social determinants of health, and diabetes 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 Morning Rounds 4-5-21

Happy Monday! Enjoy your NCMS Morning Rounds.

April 5, 2021

NCMS Legislative Update

This week is ‘spring break’ for legislators, who last week were hurrying to file bills before heading out of town.

While legislators were focused on two education bills being pushed by House and Senate leadership on summer school and reading for the state’s children, other bills of note for physicians and PAs deserve special mention.

As mentioned previously, SB345 – PA Team-based Practice is a proposal that modernizes how physicians supervise PAs, recognizing training and education and focusing on team-based care. The NCMS supports this legislation, which is a product of the NCMS’ Medical Team Task Force’s work over two years. The NCMS joined the NC Academy of Physician Assistants in issuing a media statement when this bill was introduced. Read that statement here.

NCMS staff also is developing an FAQ document outlining the Task Force’s formation and charge as well to answer your questions about the legislative proposal. Watch your NCMS Morning Rounds for this document. In the meantime, please email any questions you have to [email protected] so we can respond to you and include the answers in our FAQ document, which will be updated frequently.

HB61 – Local Communicable Disease Programs/Funds, which provides additional state funding to health departments to fight COVID-19 as well as other infectious diseases. This bill has moved on to the House Appropriations committee for consideration.

The first proposal dealing with surprise billing was filed last week. SB415—Greater Transparency in Health Care Billing was introduced and we will be monitoring it closely.

SB486 – Reform Courts and Jails is an extremely lengthy bill, but included in it is a provision of particular interest to obstetricians and gynecologists on shackling pregnant women who are incarcerated.

SB255 – 2021 AOC Legislative Changes includes provisions that could impact medical liability. We are closely watching this proposal.

Please visit our NCMS legislative blog for daily updates on action at the NC General Assembly. This will be a quiet week as legislators enjoy their break, but get ready for busy weeks ahead as bill filing deadlines approach and the budget negotiations begin.

Tax Season is Here –NCMS Dues Deductibility Statement

Federal law requires the NCMS to notify members that a percentage of dues paid by members is not deductible in accordance with IRC section 6033 regarding professional dues. Dues to the NCMS and component societies are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes but a portion may be claimed as a business expense.

For tax year 2020 it is estimated that 14 percent of NCMS dues is non-deductible. Component societies deductibility amounts for 2020 are as follows:
• NC Dermatology Association: 100 percent non-deductible
• NC OBGYN Society: 28 percent non-deductible
• NC Orthopaedic Association: 48 percent non-deductible
• NC Society of Eye Physicians & Surgeons: 69 percent non-deductible

For 2021 it is estimated that 12 percent of the 2021 NCMS dues amount paid by members is not deductible with IRC section 6033 regarding professional dues.

If you made charitable contributions to the NCMS Foundation (thank you!), you can review your giving history on your NCMS profile page. If you have already created a profile, simply go to the membership tab at the top of our homepage (www.ncmedsoc.org) and click on ‘My Homepage’ where you’ll find a link to ‘View My Giving History.’

If you do not have an NCMS profile, we encourage you to create one – it’s simple, quick and will help you manage your NCMS account. Just go to ‘login’ in the black bar at the top of our homepage or click on this link: https://www2.ncmedsoc.org/login. Follow the prompts to create your profile and access information about your NCMS membership and giving anytime.

Friday’s Power Hour Focuses on Black Maternal Health

Please join us this Friday, April 9 at noon when our NCMS Foundation Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership virtual Power Hour will focus on black maternal health.

Health inequity in the US has become more apparent during the pandemic, with COVID-19 disproportionately ravaging populations of color. Statistics confirm similar health outcomes for this population in other areas like maternal health. The US has the worst maternal mortality rates overall compared to other developed countries, with black mothers at least three times more likely to die in childbirth than white mothers. Black babies have a mortality rate almost four times the rate of their non-Hispanic white counterparts.

Earlier this year, democratic Sens. Alma Adams (NC), Michael Bennet (CO) and Corey Booker (NJ) introduced the Black Maternal Momnibus Act of 2021, which includes 12 provisions addressing racial and ethnic disparities aimed at better outcomes for – and saving the lives of -- black mothers and their children. Join us as we hear what some of our community members are seeing in this area and what actions are being taken to address and improve the health outcomes for black mothers.

Register here.

In the News

'More confidence about the results': FDA authorizes two rapid coronavirus tests for home screening, USA Today, 4-1-21

Learning Opportunity

Xavier University of Louisiana's Virtual Health Disparities Conference, April 7 - 8
Look forward to:
• Award-Based Student Poster Competition (Abstracts)
• An Engaging and Interactive Town Hall Meeting
• 6th Annual John Ruffin Lecture
• Valuable networking opportunities

Learn more and register here.


NCMS Political Pulse for April 2, 2021

With legislators looking forward to their 'spring break' next week, there were a flurry of bills filed this week. Watch as NCMS Director of Legislative Relations Sue Ann Forrest, MPA, highlights several that are of particular interest to physicians and PAs, including SB345-PA Team-based Practice; the first bill focused on surprise billing and several that could impact medical liability. For a daily update and summaries of all the legislation filed that we are monitoring, please visit our NCMS legislative blog.

 

Watch the video.


NCMS Morning Rounds 3-31-21

Welcome to Wednesday's NCMS Morning Rounds.

March 31, 2021

Doctors’ Day Special Recognition

Leading up to yesterday’s Doctors’ Day celebration of all you do, the NCMS Foundation offered a chance to extend special recognition to individual physicians by donating $10 to the Foundation in their honor. Thank you to the generous donors who felt moved to publicly pay tribute to the following individuals. And thank you once again for all you do for your patients each and every day!

Adeel Siddiqui, MD
Terry Grant, MD
Gary O. Bean, MD
Bill Ferrell, MD
Rachel Keever, MD
Katie Lowry, MD
Lyndon Jordan, MD
Connette McMahon, MD
Josiah Duke, MD
Christopher Hasty, MD
Philip Perdue, MD
Christopher Barsanti, MD
Michelle Jones, MD
Jennie Byrne, MD, PhD
Darlene Menscer, MD
Tracy Eskra, MD
Karen Smith, MD
Dana Chambers, MD
Eileen Raynor, MD
Rachel Keever, MD
Holly Biola, MD
Danielle Mahaffey, MD
Joseph Pinkerton, MD

NCMS Leadership Development Programs Recruiting Now

The NCMS Foundation’s Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership currently is recruiting fr 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 foundational 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].

Please Help Us Track COVID-19 Trends

Since the beginning of the pandemic last March, the NCMS, NC Medical Group Management Association and Curi have regularly surveyed our membership on issues they are experiencing due to the pandemic. Over time this information has helped inform our advocacy and resource development on your behalf.

Please take a moment to help us to continue to assess the impact on your practice of the COVID-19 pandemic by taking this week’s survey.

TAKE THE SURVEY

Read a summary of the key takeaways from 2020 here.

In the News

Senate Reaches Deal To Extend Medicare Pay Bump For Health Care Providers Through 2021, STAT News, 3-23-21

Learning Opportunity

Eliminate Tobacco Use Summit 2021, Wed and Thurs, April 14-15
The Eliminate Tobacco Use Initiative convenes an annual summit addressing the key areas of policy, prevention/education and cessation.

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 3-29-21

Welcome to a new week of NCMS Morning Rounds.

March 29, 2021

Tomorrow is the big day – Doctors’ Day!

Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 30, is the annual observance of Doctors’ Day, a time to honor you and the amazing work you do.

This year Doctors’ Day has special significance. Physicians – and PAs – have been front and center working tirelessly to continue to care for people during a global pandemic. We recognize you and the invaluable professional and personal sacrifices you have made over the past year!

And we want to give you an opportunity to recognize your colleagues. Consider sending an e-card to show a colleague you care and recognize their contributions in honor of Doctors’ Day. If you chose, their name will be publicized in the NCMS Morning Rounds newsletter and on our social media platforms. To make it even more meaningful, the proceeds from each $10 card goes to support the work of the NCMS Foundation. Learn more about the Foundation and its many programs to improve access to care in North Carolina.

Click here to send a 2021 Doctors’ Day e-card today.

NCMS Legislative Update

Last week the budgeting process continued at the NC General Assembly as Governor Roy Cooper introduced his budget proposal. Several components of note include a call for Medicaid expansion as well as funding for the state’s transition to Medicaid managed care; allocations for minority health program expansion and a veteran suicide prevention program among many other items. For a more complete look at the Governor’s budget and to get a sense of his priorities, visit our NCMS legislative blog for a summary.

The Governor’s budget presentation is only one part of the process. Legislators are continuing to hear from various groups in their subject specific appropriations committees. Each chamber will present a its budget proposal and then negotiations to reconcile everyone’s priorities will begin. Watch our blog and your NCMS Morning Rounds newsletter for updates throughout this session.

Other bills of note that were filed last week include:

HB289 – Broadband Mapping Funds which allocates $1 million to identify areas in the state in need of broadband access or improvements. This has become a priority for the NCMS as use of telehealth has increased during the pandemic and those without broadband do not have good access to the technology necessary.

HB395 – Extend Deadlines for Mandatory HIE Participation is a proposal to extend the deadlines for psychiatrists and other health care providers to participate in the statewide health information exchange (HIE) network until 2022.

SB345 – PA Team Based Practice would update laws and regulations to better reflect the team-based environments in which the vast majority of PAs work. The proposal ensures PAs are regulated and licensed by the North Carolina Medical Board and differentiates the requirements between early-career and experienced PAs. This proposal is the result of  work by the NCMS’ Medical Team Task Force.

As previously reported, last week the NCMS and the NC Academy of Physician Assistants issued a media statement when this legislation was introduced on Wednesday. Read the joint statement here to learn more.

Finally, a big thank you to those who have already responded to our Action Alert expressing opposition to HB 277 / SB 249 - The SAVE Act. This legislative proposal would allow nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists and certified nurse midwives to practice without the supervision of a physician, essentially creating the authority for the independent practice of medicine.

A record-setting 2400+ emails were sent to legislators using this alert and 300 new people registered for this and future grassroots mobilizations. If you haven’t responded yet, please do so at this link. And please share it with your colleagues and networks.

Beware of This Scam!

The North Carolina Attorney General’s office recently released a fraud alert warning licensed medical professionals about sophisticated fraud schemes that make it appear that the professional’s regulatory board is contacting them about an urgent and sensitive matter.

A common ploy is to inform the licensed individual that his or her information is being used for criminal activities that are under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) or other law enforcement agencies. Often, the scammer demands payment in order to prevent suspension of the individual’s professional license. Frequently, the scammers “spoof” the appropriate licensing board’s telephone number so that the call may appear legitimate to the medical professional.

If you receive any communication, via telephone or letter, that demands immediate payment, the North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB) advises you NOT to provide any personal or financial information to the individual or individuals requesting it.
• If you are speaking with the caller, HANG UP;
• If you receive a letter that provides a telephone number, DO NOT CALL IT. Scammers may use technology that makes it appear you have dialed the actual North Carolina Medical Board when, in fact, you are speaking with a con artist.

You may wish to contact the Medical Board at 919-326-1100 or [email protected] to report the communication received and confirm the current status of your license. You may check the status of your license online by entering your last name and first name in NCMB’s “Look up a doctor or PA” tool. The Office of the Attorney General also recommends that scams be reported to its Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.

Learn more about how to protect yourself in this notice from the NCMB.

In the News

'Not Just The Most Vulnerable': Who Gets 'Long COVID', Becker’s Hospital Review, 3-23-21

Learning Opportunity

Thrown Under the Bus: Young People’s Mental Health in the Pandemic Era (Virtual), April 8 @ noon to 1 pm 
Join this year's UNC School of Medicine's Merrimon Lectureship. This year, Vikram Patel, MBBS, PhD will be speaking

Learn more 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!

 


Morning Rounds for March 26, 2021

Happy Friday! Enjoy your NCMS Morning Rounds.

March 26, 2021

Joint Statement with NC Academy of Physician Assistants

Yesterday the NCMS and NC Academy of Physician Assistants issued a joint media statement in support of the recently introduced legislation SB-345- PA Team-Based Practice. This proposed legislation would update laws and regulations to better reflect the team-based environments in which the vast majority of PAs work. The proposal ensures PAs are regulated and licensed by the North Carolina Medical Board and differentiates the requirements between early-career and experienced PAs.

Read the joint statement here to learn more.

Help a Fledging Health Care Professional While They Help You

If your practice is interested in training the next generation of health care professionals, but you’re not quite ready to host medical students, the MedServe Fellow program may be for you.

Fellows are recent college graduates who have completed a pre-medical curriculum and are taking time off before medical school to get clinical experience. They spend 2 years as full-time employees in clinics in both clinical (e.g. medical assisting) and public health (e.g. outreach) roles. The MedServe program provides quarterly skill trainings and ongoing supportive curriculum for fellows to ensure they arrive at your clinic prepared and knowledgeable about our changing health care landscape.

Cost of hosting Fellows is shared with MedServe's philanthropic funds.

Learn more here.

Weekly Reminder: NCMS, NCMS Foundation Board Openings

The NCMS and NCMS Foundation leadership nomination process is underway. Please consider a leadership role for yourself or a worthy colleague.

The NCMS Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the NCMS, seeks to improve access to quality health care for all North Carolinians. The Foundation’s portfolio of programs demonstrates our commitment to this vision. Learn more about each of these programs here.

If you have something to contribute to the NCMS Foundation’s mission, then consider serving on its Board of Trustees. A full description of what is expected of trustees along with details on the nomination process are outlined in this document. Nominations are due by Aug. 30, 2021.

In addition, the NCMS’ Nominating and Leadership Development Committee is seeking nominations for individuals to serve on the NCMS Board of Directors, NC American Medical Association (AMA) Delegation and on the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee itself. Nominations are due by May 17, 2021.

An overview of each of the roles on the NCMS Board of Directors, AMA delegation and Nominating and Leadership Development Committee along with details on the nomination process are included in this document.

In the News

You've Been Vaccinated. What Happens If You Catch The Coronavirus Anyway? Advisory Board, 3-24-21

Learning Opportunity

2021 Quality Payment Program Overview Webinar, Thursday, April 8 at 2 PM 
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is hosting a webinar to provide an overview of the Quality Payment Program (QPP) for the 2021 performance year. This 101-level presentation will discuss ways to participate through the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Payment Models (APMs).

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 March 26, 2021

Watch as NCMS Director of Legislative Relations Sue Ann Forrest, MPA recounts the week's events at the NC General Assembly. Governor Roy Cooper introduced his budget proposal as the budgeting process continues; a variety of other legislation was filed including bills on broadband needs, Health Information Exchange connectivity deadlines and PA team-based practice. Thanks to everyone who responded to the Action Alert -- more than 2,400 emails were sent to legislators opposing SB345 -- the SAVE Act. If you haven't yet taken action, please access the alert here and let your state representatives know where you stand on this bill.

Get daily updates on what is happening at the state legislature on our NCMS legislative blog here.

 

Watch the video.


NCMS Morning Rounds 3-25-21

Enjoy your Thursday NCMS Morning Rounds.

March 25, 2021

Take Action! Your Voice Makes a Difference

If you haven’t already accessed our Action Alert expressing opposition to HB 277 / SB 249 - The SAVE Act, please consider doing so now. This legislative proposal would allow nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists and certified nurse midwives to practice without the supervision of a physician, essentially creating the authority for the independent practice of medicine.

Education, training and experience are essential in health care decision making. Ignoring the need for additional training when providing additional authority puts patients at risk.

Send this Action Alert now. So far, we’ve had the biggest response ever to this call to action with over 2,000 emails sent to legislators. Thank you to those who have already responded. Your voice as a health care professional constituent is key to our advocacy efforts

Medicare Sequester -- Grassroots Advocacy at the Federal Level Also Needed

Congress has just over a week to decide whether to extend Medicare sequester relief to physicians until the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. If the extension is not adopted, an across the board 2 percent cut to Medicare payments will go into effect.

Please reach out to Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis to urge them to support S748 – The Medicare Sequester Relief Act.

The AMA has an easy way for you to reach out to the Senators on this legislation. Access their grassroots message on S748 here.

This bill is bipartisan and would prevent the cuts for the duration of the public health crisis. The proposal recognizes that due to COVID-19 physician practices are already facing a steep decline in revenue and additional payment cuts could jeopardize operations unless the moratorium on the Medicare sequester is kept in place until the end of the pandemic.

Please act now since time is short before action must be taken. Contact the Senators now!

Practice Survey Results on COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts

The results of our most recent survey of North Carolina medical practices with particular emphasis on the COVID-19 vaccination are available in this summary.

Just over a third (32 percent) of responding practices identified patient volume as their foremost concern with vaccination issues the second most pressing concern for 16 percent of respondents. Those COVID-19 vaccine concerns included access to the vaccine for patients as well as vaccine hesitancy among practice staff and patients and having adequate staffing for vaccine clinics. See all the results here.

As we have for the past year, the NCMS, Curi and the NC Medical Group Management Association will continue to send our survey regularly to identify trends among North Carolina practices as the state continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and its various impacts.

In the News

'Vaccine Passports' Are Coming. But Not All Experts Are Sure That's A Good Thing, Advisory Board, 3-23-2021

Learning Opportunity

Mitigating Burnout and Maintaining Provider Satisfaction During Vaccination Rollouts (Webinar), Wednesday, March 31 at noon

The COVID-19 pandemic forced health centers to change the way health care is delivered. Virtual health care visits were widely and quickly implemented and staff were redeployed to accommodate the demand for testing. This rapid change in health care delivery came with significant challenges including changes in staffing and care team makeup, furloughs, lack of PPE at the beginning of the pandemic, and fear of infection for those in direct contact with patients. As health centers continue to meet community needs related to the pandemic and engage in mass vaccination efforts, it will be important to consider lessons learned over the past year. In this webinar series, we will explore provider burnout and satisfaction in the context of the pandemic, lessons learned, and strategies that health centers can take to minimize burnout and maintain provider satisfaction in the next several months.

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 3-22-21

Welcome to spring and Monday's NCMS Morning Rounds.

March 22, 2021

NCMS Legislative Update

If you haven’t already accessed our Action Alert expressing opposition to HB 277 / SB 249 - The SAVE Act, please consider doing so now. This legislative proposal would allow nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists and certified nurse midwives to practice without the supervision of a physician, essentially creating the authority for the independent practice of medicine.

Education, training and experience are essential in health care decision making. Ignoring the need for additional training when providing additional authority puts patients at risk.

Send this Action Alert now. Your voice as a health care professional constituent is key to our advocacy efforts.

Another bill of note introduced last week is HB329 – Chiropractic Care Copayment Parity. This proposal prohibits insurers from offering a health benefit plan that imposes any limitation on treatment or levels of coverage if performed by a chiropractor unless a comparable limitation is also imposed on the medically necessary treatment if performed or authorized by a physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner. It also prohibits insurers from offering a health benefit plan that imposes a copayment amount charged to the insured for chiropractic services that is higher than the copayment amount for the services of a primary care physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner for a comparable medically necessary treatment or condition.

At its meeting last week the Joint Appropriations Committee on Health and Human Services heard presentations on mental health and specifically telepsychiatry. See the agenda and presentations at the committee website here. Two proposals currently under consideration SB161 – NC Statewide Telepsychiatry Program/Funds and HB209 – Support Statewide Telepsychiatry Program call for funding for telepsychiatry programs. The NCMS supports increased funding for programs that address the dire need for mental health services. Last week, as previously reported in your NCMS Morning Rounds, the NCMS joined with the NC Psychiatric Association in a media statement highlighting the increased needs due to the pandemic. Read the statement here.

Finally, HB316 – Support Maternal Health/Extend Medicaid Coverage, directs the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) to implement continued Medicaid eligibility of pregnant women for 12 months postpartum beginning on April 1, 2022.

To keep up with all the bill filing action each day at the NC General Assembly, be sure to check our NCMS legislative blog regularly.

Reminder: Tomorrow is Diabetes Alert Day!

Just a reminder that tomorrow, March 23 is Diabetes Alert Day, and the NC Diabetes Advisory Council is hosting a webinar to review NC’s Guide to Diabetes Prevention and Management.

If you haven’t already registered, click here and register today! This webinar will discuss prediabetes and diabetes in NC, provide an overall review of the Guide, and address actions that individuals/organizations can take to decrease the burden of diabetes in NC.

Arm Yourself: COVID-19 Vaccine Planning and Resources

This month’s NCMS Foundation/NC Medical Group Management Association Lunch and Learn webinar will address COVID-19 vaccine planning and resources with guest speaker Bill Shenton, JD, a partner at Poyner Spruill. Be sure to join in this webinar tomorrow, Tuesday, March 23 from noon to 1 p.m.

This presentation will provide an overview of key considerations in planning a COVID-19 vaccine administration program in a medical practice and will touch on some available resources that can be accessed to prepare.

Topics covered will include:
• Planning and organizing the effort
• Selecting and training staff to administer vaccine
• Administration of the vaccine and documenting immunizations
• Planning for contingencies
• Addressing HIPAA compliance issues

Learn more and register here.

In the News

What Amazon Care’s Nationwide Expansion Means For The Telehealth Industry, STAT News, 3-18-21

Learning Opportunity

Addiction and COVID-19: A Conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Nora Volkow, Tuesday, March 23 from 2 to 3:30 PM

Addiction Policy Forum invites you to a webinar with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), both part of the National Institutes of Health, about the intersection of addiction and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Topics covered will include the impact on people with substance use disorders, the latest on safe and effective vaccinations for COVID-19, and the unique challenges that the pandemic has presented for people in recovery.

Register here.

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