Halfway through the week! Enjoy your

NCMS Morning Rounds.

  April 15, 2020

Reminder: See bottom of this newsletter for information about help sessions today and tomorrow to access the Presence telemedicine platform, which the NCMS is offering at no charge to practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NCDHHS Requests CARES Act Funds for Medicaid Providers

Yesterday, NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH asked US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma to dedicate a portion of the $100 billion CARES Act Provider Relief Fund to those health care professionals who serve Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured.

“Federal strategies to support and stabilize health care providers have, to date, relied heavily on Medicare to distribute federal payments, including using the Medicare program as the vehicle for distributing $30 billion from the Provider Relief Fund and determining the size of the payments received by each provider,” Sec. Cohen wrote in a two-page letter to Azar and Verma. “While this is an efficient and effective way to quickly disburse federal funds to providers serving Medicare beneficiaries, other strategies are needed to shore up those health providers more heavily reliant on Medicaid. These providers are essential to providing care to low-income beneficiaries and the uninsured.”

Sec. Cohen points out that many pediatric, ob-gyn, mental health and safety net practices rely more heavily on Medicaid and should be taken into account when disbursing the CARES Act funding. She asks that a portion of the $100 billion in relief funds authorized under the CARES Act be set aside for essential Medicaid providers and that CMS enlist state Medicaid programs to quickly distribute the funds to the at-risk Medicaid providers in their states in a way that reflects specific needs in each state.
She goes out to outline how such a program could be set up and provide relief to struggling practices in North Carolina. Read the full letter.

This Week’s ‘Power Hour’: Dealing with COVID-19 Upheaval

The last few weeks have been unsettling for most, if not all individuals in our communities and around the world. Everyday life has been dramatically changed and these changes have impacted how we live, work and interact in whatever we do.

There are many questions to be asked as a result of this upheaval: how are our patients doing? Our peers and colleagues? Or our own families and friends? How are people dealing with and making sense of COVID-19 and how well are systems responding? What behaviors do we see among the people we meet? What signs of stress and anxiety are coming to the surface within ourselves and among our co-workers? How do we take care of ourselves as providers while also taking care of loved ones? And how do we balance our care for patients with caring for our families?

This Friday, April 17 from 1 to 2 p.m., join a ‘Power Hour’ chat about the mental health aspects of working in health care during these times and what issues people are dealing with. Moderated by NCMS Vice President of Rural Health Systems Innovation Franklin Walker, MBA and Harold Kudler, MD, you will have the opportunity to listen and converse with NC Psychiatric Association (NCPA) President-Elect Zach Feldman, MD; President of the NC Council of Child & Adolescent Psychiatrists Therese Garrett, MD; and fourth year adult psychiatry resident Nkechi Conteh, MD, about the behaviors we notice around us and how we can handle them. This is an opportunity to share knowledge and learn from each other about the impact of a pandemic on our behavior and stress levels, and to think about how we can integrate our perspectives to achieve better outcomes for our patients, for ourselves and for our families.

The ‘Power Hour,’ brought to you by the NCMS Foundation’s Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership (KIPL), aims to provide a forum for ongoing conversation, collaboration and community. Tune in to the ‘Power Hour ‘weekly to hear from different experts, decision makers and influencers on a variety of topics. The format is informal and conversational and sessions are easy to access through Zoom. Register for this Friday’s ‘Power Hour.’

‘Power Hours’ will be recorded and made available through your NCMS Morning Rounds and on the KIPL webpage.

Resources to Understand Prior Authorization and Coding During COVID-19

The AMA recently produced two resources you may find helpful. The first tracks the rapidly evolving prior authorization policy changes health plans and prescription drug plans are making in response to COVID-19. The second offers coding guidance to reflect the most recent information released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Access the Prior Authorization Policy Changes Related to COVID-19 here.

The Coding Guidance document includes 18 different treatment scenarios and recommended coding for each. Download ‘Special Coding Advice During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency’ here.

In the News

States United on Reopening Economies: ‘Science – Not Politics’ – Will Guide Decisions, NPR, 4-13-20

Learning Opportunity

The American Academy of Public Health and the National Academy of Medicine invite you to the next in the series of COVID-19 Conversations webinars, which will focus on ‘Crisis Standards of Care During COVID-19.’ The webinar will be held TODAY, Wednesday, April 15 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The conversation will include an overview of and challenges for adapting crisis standards of care to rapidly evolving clinical care guidelines for the disease; practical considerations for state health departments and hospital systems; and ethical considerations and decision-making around crisis standards of care. Learn more and register.

Reminder: Sessions to help you access Presence, the telemedicine platform offered by the NCMS at no-charge to you during the COVID-19 pandemic, will be held at the times listed below. Please call or click on the appropriate link to have an expert walk through the onboarding process. Be sure to have an internet connection and your NPI number available when signing in to the session.

TODAY, Wednesday, April 15:

7:30 a.m.
Join Zoom Meeting: https://therecoveryplatform.zoom.us/j/92993467952
Meeting ID: 929 9346 7952
One tap mobile +16465588656,,92993467952#

Join Zoom Meeting https://therecoveryplatform.zoom.us/j/96280402133
Meeting ID: 962 8040 2133
One tap mobile +16465588656,,96280402133#

5:30 p.m.
Join Zoom Meeting https://therecoveryplatform.zoom.us/j/97240344510
Meeting ID: 972 4034 4510
One tap mobile +16465588656,,97240344510#

TOMORROW, Thursday, April 16:

7:30 a.m.
Join Zoom https://therecoveryplatform.zoom.us/j/97211518011
Meeting ID: 972 1151 8011
One tap mobile +16465588656,,97211518011#

Join Zoom https://therecoveryplatform.zoom.us/j/98752933925
Meeting ID: 987 5293 3925
One tap mobile +16465588656,,98752933925#

5:30 p.m.
Join Zoom Meeting https://therecoveryplatform.zoom.us/j/98862662010
Meeting ID: 988 6266 2010
One tap mobile +16465588656,,98862662010#