Enjoy your Monday NCMS Morning Rounds 

March 8, 2021

It’s All About YOU on March 30

This year the annual Doctors’ Day observance 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 was a busy one at the NC General Assembly. As the budget process begins in earnest, the Joint House and Senate Appropriations Committee on Health and Human Services met last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to kick off its discussions of Medicaid and the impending transition to Medicaid managed care. Committee members heard from NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH and others from NCDHHS as they consider appropriations for the coming biennium. The committee will meet again this week. You can access the documents from each of the meetings at the Committee page here.

Other legislative proposals continue to be filed and make their way through committees. Some to note include:

HB 93 – Require Naloxone with Opioid Scripts, which would require members to prescribe an opioid antagonist, such as naloxone, when prescribing opioid medications for patients. As reported last week in your NCMS Morning Rounds, the NCMS has spearheaded the opposition to this proposal and submitted a letter to legislators outlining our objections, which was endorsed by more than two dozen specialty and county medical societies.

Read the full letter and see the list of signatories here.

HB196 – COVID-19 Response and Relief has many health care provisions including an extension of the 5 percent Medicaid fee-for-service ‘bump’ and clarifies the medical liability protections enacted during the public health emergency. Other sections of the bill include a $3 million allocation to update and improve the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Management System (CVMS) and $15 million for the NC Policy Collaboratory at UNC-Chapel Hill to develop and manage a plan for an initiative to implement alternative COVID-19 surveillance methods throughout the State. Read about other proposed allocations in the bill summary on our NCMS legislative blog.

Another interesting new bill is HB214—Grant Program to Reduce COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy. This would fund a competitive grant program designed to improve North Carolina’s COVID-19 vaccination rate among historically marginalized populations by partnering with minority businesses to conduct or host public communications, health or educational initiatives, community vaccination events, social media initiatives or other activities.

HB209 – Support Statewide Telepsychiatry Program was introduced by the NC General Assembly’s only physician, NCMS member Rep. Kristin Baker, MD, (R-Cabarrus). This bill would appropriate $1 million to East Carolina University Center for Telepsychiatry and e-Behavioral Health for the statewide telepsychiatry program known as NC-STeP to be used to establish five new STeP program sites in underserved areas.

Read the latest on new legislation filed by checking our NCMS legislative blog regularly for daily bill summaries.

A Vaccine for Everybody! Please Spread the Word

In the ongoing effort to ensure that historically marginalized populations, including people with disabilities, have access to the COVID-19 vaccine, NC Emergency Management is working with the federal government to ‘set aside’ vaccine doses in Groups 1, 2 and 3 right now and Group 4 starting on March 24 to help make sure everybody gets vaccinated. They are asking NCMS Morning Rounds readers to help spread the word about a mass vaccination clinic opening in Greensboro this Wednesday, March 10, where these ‘set aside’ doses will be available.

The FEMA-supported COVID-19 Community Vaccination Center will be held at Four Seasons Town Centre in Greensboro beginning Wednesday, and will be open for 8 weeks, operating seven days a week with the capacity to provide up to 3,000 vaccinations per day. Please forward this to any community-based organizations or contact you may have in your community if you are within easy traveling distance of Greensboro. The vaccination clinic will have options for drive-thru service in the parking lot and walk-in service in the space formerly occupied by Dillard’s department store.

Half of all vaccination appointments from March 10 through March 14 (that is 7,500 appointments) will be set aside for individuals from historically marginalized populations who are able to access vaccine appointments.

If you have contact information for those in your community who are able to help organize and possibly make vaccination appointments for people please send it to Nishika Ramchandani at [email protected]

In the News

The Short-Term, Middle-Term, and Long-Term Future of the Coronavirus, STAT News, 3-4-21

Learning Opportunity

Healthcare System Cybersecurity Response: Experiences and Considerations (Webinar), March 18, 2021 I 1:30-2:45 PM

As part of our nation’s critical infrastructure, health care facilities large and small must be proactive and move quickly to protect themselves from cyberattacks that could directly impact the health and safety of patients and the community at large. According to medical health experts experienced in cybersecurity preparedness, cyberattacks are identified as the top threat in many health care systems’ annual Hazard Vulnerable Analyses (HVA). Health care systems, government agencies, and other partners have worked diligently to defend against the growing number of cyberattacks on the health care industry.

Learn more and register 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!