Happy Thursday!

Here is your NCMS Morning Rounds!

  March 19, 2020

Remember: Check the sites below frequently for the most timely and credible information.
NC Department of Health and Human Services Covid-19 website
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website
• For immediate questions/concerns from members of the public, please call 866-462-3821.
Please note: This is a corrected email address for non-urgent health care provider questions, [email protected].
• For urgent provider or local health department questions, please call 919-733-3419 (available 24/7). Please do NOT give this number to patients and members of the public.
• The NCMS website also has culled a list of the most important resources based on what our members are needing. Access our Covid-19 site.

While all of the NCMS’ departments remain open for business, most of our employees are working remotely and may be unable to respond to you as promptly as they would otherwise. Please use email to communicate with us as much as possible. If you do not have a specific email address, our central email box, [email protected], is checked frequently, and your message will be routed to the proper person. You may also call our main number, 919-833-3836, and leave a voicemail, which also is being checked regularly, to be forwarded to the appropriate department.


Keeping up with Covid-19 – State Officials Brief Legislators on Latest Covid-19 Actions

Officials from the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), Department of Public Safety and Office of Emergency Management presented legislators in a conference call yesterday with an overview of the spread of Covid-19 the latest actions taken to contain and mitigate the spread of the virus.

As of 11 a.m. yesterday, there were 63 confirmed cases of infection in North Carolina with 6,519 total throughout the US in all 50 states. Officials reviewed the mitigation strategies implemented thus far as well as outlined the issues around supply shortages and accommodating those in need of child care and ensuring food and nutrition for those in need.

Securing personal protective equipment also was discussed. Medical workers are instructed to work through existing vendors and contracts to secure PPE. If you encounter a shortage, they advised that you contact your local health department or county emergency management department to request supplies. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Hattie Gawande ([email protected] or call 919-906-1899)

Review the slides used in the presentation to legislators for details.

Guidance for Treating Those with Substance Use Disorders

Earlier this week, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) posted COVID-19 guidance providing potential flexibility for Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs). Access the guidance here.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse warns that populations with Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) may be hit hard by this pandemic. Because it attacks the lungs, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could be an especially serious threat to those who smoke tobacco or marijuana or who vape. People with opioid use disorder (OUD) and methamphetamine use disorder may also be vulnerable due to those drugs’ effects on respiratory and pulmonary health.

The COVID-19 guidance includes approaches for providing pharmacotherapy for opioids use disorder patients exposed to infections and COVID-19, disaster planning, potential flexibility for take-home medication, OTP guidance for patients quarantined at home with the coronavirus, and Frequently Asked Questions.

Access the Drug Enforcement Administration’s guidelines on Use of Telemedicine While Providing Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) here.

Here is the most up-to-date information on responses to COVID-19 for the Substance Use Disorder Treatment field.

Radio Show Features NCMS’ Dr. Monteiro on Covid-19

Past NCMS President and member of the Durham Orange County Medical Society Robert ‘Charlie’ Monteiro, MD, was featured on WCHL radio in Chapel Hill speaking about Covid-19 from a medical perspective and what the public can do to stay safe and stem the spread of the virus.

Listen to the 12-minute segment.

In the News

Physician Practices Modifying Their Operating Model to Cope with Covid-19, Modern Healthcare, 3-17-20.

Learning Opportunity

Here are several upcoming — and ongoing — Covid-19 learning opportunities:

Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) and the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers Program (NC AHEC) are working together with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) are offering a webinar every Thursday evening from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. This webinar series will address new options for telephonic and telehealth delivery of care for Medicaid beneficiaries, provide a one-stop location gathering the latest information from NC DHHS and the CDC, and deliver practice support coaching to help practices implement new clinical workflows in response to the changing demands of COVID-19. The first webinar will be held TONIGHT, Thursday, March 19 at 5:30 p.m. Register here.

NCAHEC and NCDHHS will hold another Friday Forum, tomorrow, March 20, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. to answer your questions about Covid-19. Tune into this forum through your computer using this link: https://zoom.us/j/705979628 or you can dial-in for audio-only access using this number and access code: 1-646-558-8656,705979628#

Please note: Blue Cross NC’s “Virtual Rounds: Covid-19 and Telehealth” now will be held at 3 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, March 20, so as not to conflict with the Friday Forum. Leaders from provider systems and practices are invited to learn about Blue Cross NC’s recent measures to expand telehealth services and share your strategies for virtual care response to COVID-19. Register here.