Welcome to a new week and

Your NCMS Morning Rounds!

  March 23, 2020

Quote of the day: “You know how our firefighters run into a burning building? As health care workers, [responding to Covid-19] is our building! It is our responsibility to take care of our communities.”
–Newton Family Physicians practice administrator, Melissa White

Note from your NCMS: Starting this week, we will email you the latest updates on response to Covid-19 as soon as state and federal agencies issue them. They will be easily searchable in your email inbox with the subject line ‘NCMS COVID-19 ALERT‘ and a brief description of the information contained within. All information will also be posted on our Covid-19 website. Timely information is particularly important as we enter a new phase in responding to Covid-19. Watch for updated guidance from NCDHHS in the next few days about screening and testing protocols.

Your NCMS Morning  Rounds will focus on our legislative and regulatory work on your behalf resources for your well-being and other news crucial to your practice — both Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 related.


Notes from Friday’s NCDHHS/NCAHEC Covid-19 Forum

NCDHHS State Epidemiologist Zack Moore, MD, MPH and other state officials along with NCAHEC Director Hugh Tilson, Jr., JD, MPH hosted another online Forum on Friday afternoon to answer questions from health care professionals regarding response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Here are a few notes from that call:

  • Updated clinical guidance: Dr. Moore issued updated health care provider guidance on Friday afternoon in light of the new phase the Covid-19 response has entered now that there is confirmed community transmission of the virus. He said that the number of reported cases will likely accelerate rapidly from this point. Read the latest guidance on the NCMS’ Covid-19 webpage.
  • Supply chain issues for personal protective equipment (PPE): If you have shortages of PPE, Dr. Moore said to call your local Emergency Management headquarters, which are tracking needs. If you are not able to reach them, he said to call your local health department or the new 2-1-1 information line.
  • To assess your exposure risk as a health care provider, NCDHHS’ epidemiologist Victoria Mobley, MD, MPH directed people to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. A helpful table is located about half way down this page.
  • Well-child visits should continue: Dr. Moore stressed that pediatric practices should continue routine well-child visits since the current situation will likely continue for months and “we don’t want a large unvaccinated cohort as we come out of this,” he said.
  • Drug treatments: Drs. Moore and Mobley also addressed information circulating about not using ibuprofen to treat Covid-19 symptoms. They clarified that the concerns about using ibuprofen “have not been conclusively demonstrated.” They also said that using the anti-malarial drug chloroquine as a treatment has not been documented for the general population.
  • How about stethoscope cleaning? Dr. Moore said that the Covid-19 virus is not a “particularly hearty virus” and can be eliminated on a stethoscope with regular cleaning solutions.

The next Friday Forum will be Friday, March 27 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#

Maintaining your wellness

Stress and anxiety levels are high everywhere, but physicians and PAs face a particular burden during this pandemic as you rally to care for the health of your patients and the public. Below are just a few resources to help you maintain your health and well-being. The NCMS is working to offer more comprehensive wellness resources. Watch your NCMS Morning Rounds for information about those in the coming days.

NCMS Legislative Update

The NCMS is working for you behind the scenes to amplify for state and federal officials what we’re hearing your challenges are as you grapple with responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the federal level, Congress is in the process of passing the last of three stimulus bills to address the economic toll this pandemic is taking on the country. We are working closely with our national partners at the AMA and the Physicians Advocacy Institute to help ensure you have the resources necessary and that regulations are relaxed appropriately so you can care for your patients.

Some of these efforts are outlined in this March 19 letter from the AMA to Congressional leadership.

At the state level, your NCMS advocacy team is working closely with legislators and agency officials to make sure your needs are being met. We want to hear from you about the challenges you are facing and how we can address them through policymaking. Please contact NCMS Director of Legislative Relations Sue Ann Forrest, MPA, [email protected] with your insights and ideas.

Over the weekend the NCMS Board of Directors and the NCMS Foundation Board of Trustees both held virtual meetings to discuss how to respond to this pandemic. Watch your NCMS Morning Rounds this week for a summary of those discussions.

Finally, we want you to know we understand the immense pressure and stress this situation is putting you under. We thank you for your incredible and essential service to our communities in responding to this unprecedented situation. We want to hear from you about how we can help. In an effort to help you care for yourself, we are putting together wellness resources and programs that you’ll be hearing more about in the coming days. Thank you!

In the News

An Updated Guide to the Coronavirus Drugs and Vaccines in Development, STAT, 3-19-20

Learning Opportunity

The Accountable Care Learning Collaborative is offering a virtual conference on Prioritizing Health Value in the Face of COVID-19 on March 24-25. There is no question that the Coronavirus pandemic will continue to impact the health care industry and the national economy. Advancing value in health care now becomes even more critical to two national priorities: providing citizens the best care and health possible without losing our nation’s competitive position in the global economy. This virtual event will feature former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Gov. Mike Leavitt and other prominent health care leaders who will share their perspectives on the impact the novel Coronavirus will have on the movement to value-based care. Learn more and register.


 NCMS’ departments remain open for business, but 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.