Welcome to a new week of NCMS Morning Rounds.

March 29, 2021

Tomorrow is the big day – Doctors’ Day!

Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 30, is the annual observance of Doctors’ Day, a time to honor you and the amazing work you do.

This year Doctors’ Day has special significance. Physicians – and PAs – have been front and center working tirelessly to continue to care for people during a global pandemic. We recognize you and the invaluable professional and personal sacrifices you have made over the past year!

And we want to give you an opportunity to recognize your colleagues. Consider sending an e-card to show a colleague you care and recognize their contributions in honor of Doctors’ Day. If you chose, their name will be publicized in the NCMS Morning Rounds newsletter and on our social media platforms. To make it even more meaningful, the proceeds from each $10 card goes to support the work of the NCMS Foundation. Learn more about the Foundation and its many programs to improve access to care in North Carolina.

Click here to send a 2021 Doctors’ Day e-card today.

NCMS Legislative Update

Last week the budgeting process continued at the NC General Assembly as Governor Roy Cooper introduced his budget proposal. Several components of note include a call for Medicaid expansion as well as funding for the state’s transition to Medicaid managed care; allocations for minority health program expansion and a veteran suicide prevention program among many other items. For a more complete look at the Governor’s budget and to get a sense of his priorities, visit our NCMS legislative blog for a summary.

The Governor’s budget presentation is only one part of the process. Legislators are continuing to hear from various groups in their subject specific appropriations committees. Each chamber will present a its budget proposal and then negotiations to reconcile everyone’s priorities will begin. Watch our blog and your NCMS Morning Rounds newsletter for updates throughout this session.

Other bills of note that were filed last week include:

HB289 – Broadband Mapping Funds which allocates $1 million to identify areas in the state in need of broadband access or improvements. This has become a priority for the NCMS as use of telehealth has increased during the pandemic and those without broadband do not have good access to the technology necessary.

HB395 – Extend Deadlines for Mandatory HIE Participation is a proposal to extend the deadlines for psychiatrists and other health care providers to participate in the statewide health information exchange (HIE) network until 2022.

SB345 – PA Team Based Practice would update laws and regulations to better reflect the team-based environments in which the vast majority of PAs work. The proposal ensures PAs are regulated and licensed by the North Carolina Medical Board and differentiates the requirements between early-career and experienced PAs. This proposal is the result of  work by the NCMS’ Medical Team Task Force.

As previously reported, last week the NCMS and the NC Academy of Physician Assistants issued a media statement when this legislation was introduced on Wednesday. Read the joint statement here to learn more.

Finally, a big thank you to those who have already responded to our Action Alert expressing opposition to HB 277 / SB 249 – The SAVE Act. This legislative proposal would allow nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists and certified nurse midwives to practice without the supervision of a physician, essentially creating the authority for the independent practice of medicine.

A record-setting 2400+ emails were sent to legislators using this alert and 300 new people registered for this and future grassroots mobilizations. If you haven’t responded yet, please do so at this link. And please share it with your colleagues and networks.

Beware of This Scam!

The North Carolina Attorney General’s office recently released a fraud alert warning licensed medical professionals about sophisticated fraud schemes that make it appear that the professional’s regulatory board is contacting them about an urgent and sensitive matter.

A common ploy is to inform the licensed individual that his or her information is being used for criminal activities that are under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) or other law enforcement agencies. Often, the scammer demands payment in order to prevent suspension of the individual’s professional license. Frequently, the scammers “spoof” the appropriate licensing board’s telephone number so that the call may appear legitimate to the medical professional.

If you receive any communication, via telephone or letter, that demands immediate payment, the North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB) advises you NOT to provide any personal or financial information to the individual or individuals requesting it.
• If you are speaking with the caller, HANG UP;
• If you receive a letter that provides a telephone number, DO NOT CALL IT. Scammers may use technology that makes it appear you have dialed the actual North Carolina Medical Board when, in fact, you are speaking with a con artist.

You may wish to contact the Medical Board at 919-326-1100 or [email protected] to report the communication received and confirm the current status of your license. You may check the status of your license online by entering your last name and first name in NCMB’s “Look up a doctor or PA” tool. The Office of the Attorney General also recommends that scams be reported to its Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.

Learn more about how to protect yourself in this notice from the NCMB.

In the News

‘Not Just The Most Vulnerable’: Who Gets ‘Long COVID’, Becker’s Hospital Review, 3-23-21

Learning Opportunity

Thrown Under the Bus: Young People’s Mental Health in the Pandemic Era (Virtual), April 8 @ noon to 1 pm 
Join this year’s UNC School of Medicine’s Merrimon Lectureship. This year, Vikram Patel, MBBS, PhD will be speaking

Learn more 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!