Enjoy Thursday’s NCMS Morning Rounds.

Dec. 3, 2020

NCMS Policy Committee Takes Up Tobacco, Telehealth, Digital Equity Policies

At its regular meeting on Tuesday evening, the NCMS Policy Committee reviewed three draft policies – tobacco, telehealth and digital equity. After a thorough discussion, the group did approve the tobacco policy to be recommended to the NCMS Board of Directors.

The policy to be recommended is:

The NCMS supports a tobacco free society where all public spaces are free of tobacco in all forms (including smoke and vapor).

The NCMS supports funding and access to initiatives and programs aimed at education, prevention and cessation to aid in the reduction of tobacco use across North Carolina, especially in children/teens.

Committee chair, Laura Gerald, MD, MPH, reiterated that this new committee is still perfecting its process, but is committed to making sure all committee members, who were selected for their policymaking expertise are heard, that NCMS member input is weighed, that all existing NCMS policies are considered and that the Guiding Principles document approved by the NCMS Board of Directors is followed to ensure the committee is addressing issues from a population health perspective.

“We want to be clear and transparent in our deliberations,” Dr. Gerald said.

The NCMS membership and specialty societies were surveyed and asked to comment on the draft policies prior to the meeting to help inform the committee’s discussions.

Both the draft telehealth and digital equity policies generated robust discussion around how telehealth and digital equity impacts patient access, safety and physician reimbursement. The committee agreed to continue discussion on these policies at its upcoming meeting. No recommendations to the Board of Directors were made on these policies at this meeting.

CMS Releases 2021 Medicare Physician Payment Schedule Final Rule

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2021 Medicare Physician Payment Schedule Final Rule earlier this week. The rule will take effect Jan. 1, 2021. Read the rule here.

NCMS and AMA staff continue to analyze the provisions, so watch your NCMS Morning Rounds for updated summaries in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the AMA has offered a brief overview of some key elements here.

Permanently Adding Coronavirus as Reportable Disease

The NC Commission for Public Health has proposed a rule amendment seeking to permanently include novel coronavirus infections and novel coronavirus infections causing death on the list of reportable diseases and conditions. These changes were originally made under emergency and temporary rulemaking. Review the proposal in the NC Register (Vol. 35, Issue 11) on pages 1107 to 1110 here.

A public hearing will be held Dec. 18, 2020 at 10 a.m. by teleconference. You can dial in at (919) 715-0769 (no access code is necessary). Comments also may be submitted to: Virginia Niehaus, CPH Rulemaking Coordinator, 1931 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1931; email [email protected] Comment period ends: Feb. 1, 2021

The proposed effective date for this permanent amendment would be April 1, 2021.

In the News

CDC to Shorten COVID-19 Quarantine to 10 Days; 7 With Test, The Associated Press, 12-2-20

The PPE Crisis Didn’t Go Away: Across the US, Grassroots Networks Are Trying to Fill the Void, STAT, 12-1-20

Learning Opportunity

Join a lively and informative session with the Durham-Orange County Medical Society on Wednesday, Dec. 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. During this virtual meeting the group will welcome Executive Dean at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine Cristy Page, MD, MPH, Professor and best-selling author Nicole Swiner, MD and NCMS Director of Legislative Relations Sue Ann Forrest, MPA to the discussion. For those in the area, dinner is available for pick-up at the University Club. CME also is available. 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!