Welcome to Wednesday’s NCMS Morning Rounds.

Nov. 11, 2020

The NCMS Offers PPE Options

The NCMS has two options to help you acquire the personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to protect yourself, your staff and your patients during the pandemic.

The first option is specifically for eligible independent practices and offers FREE PPE thanks to an appropriation from the NC General Assembly. To find out more about whether your practice qualifies to receive this PPE, visit this webpage to learn more. Even if you currently have adequate PPE, we encourage you to order this free equipment to stockpile for later use. The appropriation must be spent by the end of the year, so order today.

The second option is a group purchasing arrangement the NCMS has with other medical societies called ActionPPE. You may shop for and order a variety of PPE at this webpage, including masks, gloves, gowns and face shields.

Right now, ActionPPE also is offering a special purchase of Honeywell H910 Plus NIOSH N95 respirators available for $3.85 each. The orders are due by Nov. 23 and will begin shipping on Dec. 14. Visit this site for more information on pre-ordering these masks.

Some Insight on the PPE Supply Chain

NCMS partner ActionPPE, a consortium of state and county medical societies that have come together to leverage group purchasing power and connect with reputable PPE suppliers, is working hard to expedite PPE deliveries to meet the needs of medical workers. According to ActionPPE, our domestic production capacity is insufficient and it takes time to get products into the US from overseas.

Receiving goods out of China takes an average of 39 days by sea to journey from the manufacturer to your office. Sea freight is the main transport mode since many flights have been grounded since the start of the pandemic earlier this year. It would have taken an average of about 10 days if goods were transported by air. Deliveries can be further delayed if the vetting of imported products fails US standards, according to ActionPPE representatives.

If you have ordered PPE through either the free PPE program administered through the NCMS Foundation or the NCMS’ group purchasing option, please be patient. Our PPE team is kept apprised of ship dates and the orders currently out for delivery. Learn more here.

State Moves to Support Native Americans

The NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority recently announced they have contracted to support the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) in addressing the health needs of Native American Medicaid beneficiaries.

This Indian Managed Care Entity is the first of its kind in the nation and will establish a new delivery system called the EBCI Tribal Option. This is a managed care option for federally recognized tribal members and other individuals eligible to receive Indian Health Services.

The EBCI Tribal Option will manage the health care for NC’s approximate 4,000 Tribal Medicaid beneficiaries primarily in Cherokee, Graham, Haywood, Jackson and Swain counties. The program will have a strong focus on primary care, preventive health, chronic disease management and providing care management for high need members.

Enrollment will begin in March 2021. The EBCI Tribal Option is part of the state’s transition to Medicaid managed care, which will launch on July 1, 2021. In addition to the Tribal Option, Medicaid beneficiaries will be able to choose from five prepaid health plans – AmeriHealth Caritas, Healthy Blue, United Healthcare, WellCare and Carolina Complete Health (serving regions 3, 4 and 5).

In the News

Flu Activity Gradually Increasing: 5 Notes From CDC’s FluView Report, Becker’s Hospital Review, 11-6-20

STAT-Harris Poll: Most Americans Won’t Get a COVID Vaccine Unless it Cuts Risk By Half, STAT, 11-10-20

Learning Opportunity

In honor of The Great American SmokeOut, Natalie Rich of the Durham County Health Department will present ‘Tips for Quitting Smoking During the COVID-19 Pandemic’ on Thursday, Nov. 19 from 10:30 to 11 a.m. The latest research shows that smoking and vaping increases the risk of getting COVID-19 and having more serious COVID-19 symptoms. But quitting during a pandemic presents unique challenges. Learn more about why this is the ideal time to quit and strategies to offer patients to quit for good! 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!