Welcome to a new week of NCMS Morning Rounds.

Dec. 7, 2020

Governor’s Council for Health Care Coverage Convenes

NCMS Board member Merritt Seshul, MD, and NCMS Executive Vice President and CEO Chip Baggett, JD, are the NCMS’ representatives to Governor Roy Cooper’s Council for Health Care Coverage, a bi-partisan, blue ribbon commission charged with improving health care access through consensus legislation in the 2021 Legislative Session. Here is the list of Council participants.

The Council convened for its first meeting last Friday. Read the agenda here.

The Council includes 36 representatives from state health care organizations, business, nonprofits and government and reflects a variety of political perspectives. Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University is convening the council. He has worked in both Republican and Democratic presidential administrations.

“I think that there are core principles that we can agree to, like the fact that more people in North Carolina deserve health insurance,” Cooper said in an interview this week with The Associated Press. “This is not just purely a Medicaid expansion issue.”

Watch your NCMS Morning Rounds for updates on the Council’s work.

NCMS Legislative Update

A couple newsy items of note to report from last week.

Governor Roy Cooper and NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH briefed the media last week on the distribution plans for the COVID-19 vaccine once it is approved by the federal government.

North Carolina is slated to receive 85,000 doses in the first round, which will go to frontline health care workers. The following round of vaccines delivered to the state will be allocated to long-term care patients and those with two or more chronic diseases. Sec. Cohen indicated that more vaccines will be available later in January. Review the National Academy of Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NC Institute of Medicine’s Vaccine Prioritization Framework here.

As reported earlier in your NCMS Morning Rounds (read the story here), the NCMS Policy Committee met last week to consider three draft policies: tobacco, telehealth and digital equity. Thank you to those who participated in the survey on these policies and submitted comments. The Committee approved the tobacco policy to be recommended to the NCMS Board of Directors. Discussions will continue in the committee on the other two draft policies.

The tobacco 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.

Finally, the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Education met last week and NCMS staff was there to listen in. The committee reviewed a NC Department of Public Instruction report, which indicated that students statewide are in need of more mental health services. Read our NCMS Legislative blog to learn more about this report and the committee’s work.

NC Institute of Medicine Welcomes New President and CEO

The NC Institute of Medicine (NCIOM), the quasi-state agency that offers non-partisan information on issues of relevance to the health of North Carolinians, welcomes Kathy Colville, MSPH, MSW to its top leadership role. Colville takes the helm from interim director Michelle Ries, MPH, who has served in the post since August when long-time President and CEO Adam J. Zolotor, MD, DrPh departed. Ries returns to her previous position as Associate Director when Colville begins her new role on Jan. 4.

“It is an honor to lead the NCIOM at such a crucial time for our state and country,” Colville said in a statement. “The NCIOM brings together people from all corners of NC who care deeply about the health and well-being of our communities, who find common ground and identify the changes we need to make together. I look forward to helping leaders across NC ask the crucial questions and make the tough calls we need in order to make strong systems that help us all thrive.”

Colville most recently led the Healthy Communities department at Cone Health, leading teams that improved access to health care and improve social conditions that affect health. She previously worked in public health and hospital emergency preparedness. Learn more about Colville’s background here.

And congratulations!

In the News

The 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rule: What You Need to Know, The Advisory Board Forum, 12-2-20

The 2021 QPP Rule: The 5 Big Changes You Need to Know, The Advisory Board Forum, 12-2-20

Learning Opportunity

DON’T FORGET — the NC Institute of Medicine’s Virtual Annual Meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 8 from 2 to 4 p.m. Panelists and speakers will discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on population health and the financial impacts of foregone care. Register here.

Upcoming Webinar: Promoting Vaccine Awareness on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at noon or Thursday, Dec. 10 at 3 p.m.

Vaccine hesitancy and the resulting decline in vaccinations can leave young children and communities vulnerable to otherwise preventable diseases. In addition, declines in routine and preventive care visits during the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in an overall reduction in care, including maintaining vaccination schedules.

This free webinar will focus on the factors leading to a decline in vaccination rates and some actionable strategies for improving vaccination rates particularly in health centers and free clinics. Resources to promote vaccine awareness and administration safety will be provided.

Learn more and register here for the Dec. 9 time or here for the Dec. 10 time slot.


If you have policies you’d like your NCMS Board of Directors to consider, please complete the Board input form here. Thanks for reading!