Enjoy your Friday NCMS Morning Rounds.

Dec. 18, 2020

Distribution of Financial Recovery Program Funds Begins

The NCMS Foundation-administered Financial Recovery Program (FRP) will begin distributing reimbursement funds within the week to eligible practices that applied for this state-allocated funding. From the beginning of October until the end of November, the FRP has been collecting and reviewing applications from medical practices statewide that have been struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning next week, 643 practices representing 3,830 providers will be receiving funds. The average grant per practice is just under $38,000. Nearly 70,000 requests were received through the FRP portal representing $44 million.

This massive undertaking to distribute the $25 million allocated to the NCMS Foundation by the NC General Assembly in a matter of months involved 1,338 email conversations between NCMS staff and consultants and practices throughout the state.

“The need is great among medical practices in our state and I am thrilled to begin the distribution of this money to help those struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic,” said NCMS Vice President for Innovative Solutions Franklin Walker, MBA. “The success of this program shows how effective and beneficial such collaborative work can be.”

The NCMS advocacy team worked closely with the NC Academy of Family Physicians, the NC Pediatric Society, the NC College of Emergency Physicians, the NC Academy of Physician Assistants, the NC Obstetrics and Gynecology Society and the NC Dermatology Association in order to secure the state appropriation that funded the FRP.

Walker also brought in Reynold Yordy and his team at Greenlight Ventures to create and launch — in record time — the portal necessary to accept and vet online applications from practices. The Greenlight Ventures also provides the technology that powers the NCMS Foundation’s Project OBOT and Our Community Health Initiative programs.

“It was a privilege to be part of a project that provided so much assistance to our frontline health care workers,” Yordy said. “By leveraging the technology we created, we were able to distribute a significant amount of money in a very short timeframe, while ensuring all auditing could be performed in an efficient manner.”

If you are a practice expecting FRP reimbursement funds, you should receive them in time to make your holidays a little brighter this year.

Answers to Your COVID-19 Vaccine Questions and More

If you have questions on the COVID-19 vaccine, mark your calendar for Tuesday, Dec. 22 from 6 to 7 p.m. when NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Chief Medical Officer and State Health Director Betsey Tilson, MD, MPH, will host an update and Q&A session on the state’s COVID-19 vaccination distribution plans. This is in follow-up to this week’s webinar on the vaccine.

Access the webinar on Tuesday at this Zoom link or by phone at (646) 558 8656; Meeting ID: 131 899 801 or one-tap mobile access +16465588656,,131899801#

If you missed the earlier Dec. 15 briefing, you may listen to a recording of the session here or view the presentation slides here.

If you have questions on the COVID-19 Vaccine Management System (CVMS), two office hours sessions are being held this morning, Dec. 18:
• Office Hours Session #6: from 7:30-8:10 a.m. Zoom link Passcode 866520
• Office Hours Session #7: from 8:30-9:00 a.m. Zoom link Passcode 246050

For a more general update on the state’s COVID-19 response Dr. Tilson and State Epidemiologist Zack Moore, MD, MPH will hold a webinar today from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. In addition to the updates and open discussion, DHHS will provide a brief update on the program for reimbursement for COVID-19 related primary care services for individuals. To participate via zoom, click here. Or for audio only, dial (646) 558-8656 or (301) 715-8592 and use Webinar ID: 705 979 628.

For more information on the vaccine distribution plan and resources to discuss the vaccine with your patients, visit https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines#resources.

Racism and Discrimination in Health Care: Experiences Today; Actions Going Forward

Two of the most pressing concerns currently facing the country are the long-standing issue of racial discrimination and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The issues have merged with the pandemic taking a disproportionate health and economic toll on people of color.
As vaccines become available, prioritizing racial equity will become increasingly important for mitigating these disparities and preventing further widening of the going forward, especially as early polling indicates that people of color are more hesitant to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

To learn more about this topic listen in to this archived recording of the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and the Morehouse School of Medicine’s Satcher Health Leadership Institute interactive web briefing, held last Friday to discuss addressing systemic racial discrimination in the health care system and meeting the moment to earn trust among individuals and communities as COVID-19 vaccines come to market.

In the News

As COVID Strain on Health Systems Magnifies, Preventive Care Has Not Yet Bounced Back, NC Health News, 12-15-20

Learning Opportunity

DON’T FORGET today’s Power Hour from noon to 1 p.m. when our guests, Emergency Medicine clinicians, will discuss how emergency departments are dealing with the surge in COVID-19 cases and what may lie ahead. Also, they will share how they are coping with their own stress and workload.

Guests include Jennifer Parker Cote, MD, Vidant Health; Charul Haugan, MD, UNC Rex; Mike Utecht, MD; Veterans Affairs, Durham and Stephen Small, MD, Mid-Atlantic Emergency Medical Associates. This is an opportunity to share knowledge and learn from each other about the current situation and its impact. Learn more and register here.


The first Duke-UNC Tobacco Treatment Specialist Training Course for 2021 will take place beginning in March. Early bird registration is open through Jan. 15. The primary aim of the program is to train health professionals to provide evidence-based treatment for tobacco use and dependence. The program provides an impactful education experience for a wide variety of professionals, including clinicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers and public health policymakers. This work is integral to women’s and children’s health. 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!