It’s Tuesday and time for your

 NCMS Morning Rounds!

 Feb. 18, 2020

NC Congressman Murphy Speaks Out on Surprise Billing

NCMS member and Congressman Greg Murphy, MD, (R-District 3) spoke to the US House Education and Labor Committee last week on the surprise billing legislation under consideration. Watch his remarks.

Congress currently is weighing three proposals to help ensure patients are not hit with unanticipated charges after care and services are provided, often in an emergency. This article briefly describes the legislation under consideration.

NCMS President Palmer Edwards, MD, DFAPA, and NCMS Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel Chip Baggett, JD, were in Washington, DC last week speaking with Congressional leaders about the NCMS’ recommendations on the best way to address the surprise billing issue. The NCMS Board of Directors at its November 2019 meeting adopted the following policy framework to guide our advocacy efforts around surprise billing:

“The NCMS supports protecting patients from unanticipated bills due to non-network medical services through up-front, equitable financial arrangements.
Board members agreed this would help eliminate surprise bills and preserve the physician-patient relationship firmly in keeping with the NCMS’ values and mission.”

Learn more about the NCMS’ proactive approach to the issue. And watch your NCMS Morning Rounds for updates on the progress of the legislation on Capitol Hill.

Weekly Flu Update: 9 More Flu-related Deaths In NC

For the week ending Feb. 8, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) reports another nine flu-related deaths, including a child under age five, the youngest victim so far this year. The total number of deaths in North Carolina stands at 75 for the season, which started Sept. 29, 2019. The number of people statewide who tested positive for the flu hit 1,342 last week. Nearly 400 people were admitted to North Carolina hospitals with acute respiratory illness. Review the latest state statistics.

Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows that flu activity is ‘high.’ The CDC reports 78 pediatric patients have died of the flu, including 10 last week. They estimate that so far this season there have been at least 22 million flu illnesses, 210,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 flu-related deaths nationally. See the CDC’s latest report.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: In its latest report, the CDC shows 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States. None of those are in North Carolina. Review the CDC’s COVID-19 report.

The North Carolina Division of Public Health’s Communicable Disease Branch is taking proactive steps to be prepared for potential cases in North Carolina, including following the latest CDC recommendations related to surveillance, evaluation and response. The Division of Public Health will also be working with local health departments and hospitals statewide to provide updates on surveillance and response plans. Learn more.

NCMS Shares Insights with Brody Medical Students

NCMS Director of Legislative Relations Sue Ann Forrest, MPA, spent Saturday morning with ECU Brody School of Medicine students discussing advocacy and health policy.

“They’re impressive! And ready to vote and advocate now,” she wrote on Twitter after her session with the medical scholars.

Forrest and NCMS Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel Chip Baggett, JD, are touring the state speaking with physicians and PAs and students about NCMS legislative priorities, the upcoming short legislative session and the 2020 elections. If you would like to arrange a meeting for your group, please contact Forrest at [email protected] or 919-833-3836.

In the News

The Global Responders: Who is Leading the Charge Against the Coronavirus Outbreak, STAT, 2-17-20

Learning Opportunity

The Duke Center for Healthcare Safety and Quality will hold its Patient Safety Leadership Course, April 6-8 at the University Club in Durham. The course brings together science, psychology and patient safety exploring the patient safety literature to understand evidence-based strategies for improving health care worker well-being while simultaneously impacting the quality of care delivered to patients. Participants will have the chance to network and build a robust toolkit of resources to take back to their work settings. After passing a knowledge assessment, participants will also be certified Patient Safety Officers. Learn more and register.