Enjoy Your Thursday NCMS Morning Rounds

April 16, 2020

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

And don’t forget the Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership’s ‘Power Hour’ tomorrow, Friday, April 17 from 1 to 2 p.m. for a conversation with colleagues and psychiatric experts on the actual and potential mental health toll the pandemic is exacting in the health care profession and beyond. Learn more and sign up.

NCMS Supports Federal Advocacy Efforts

Yesterday the American Medical Association (AMA) with the support of the NCMS and most other state and national medical societies sent a letter to Congressional leadership outlining various items needed by the health care community to successfully respond to and financially weather the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter outlines a variety of additional steps necessary to “protect patient access to care by preserving the viability of physician practices as part of the nation’s essential health care system.” Areas addressed include refinements to the Medicare Advance and Accelerated Payments program; direct financial support to practices including grants and interest free loans and additional funding for small business loans through the Small Business Administration. The letter also discusses liability issues and urges Congress to provider broader liability protections for physicians and PAs.

Read the letter.

Resources for Treating OUD During COVID-19

During this challenging time for everyone those involved with treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) may be facing additional obstacles. Federal agencies have updated guidance on prescribing and use of telemedicine during this public health emergency.

Below are several sources of information and resources if you are treating patients with OUD. Also, please keep in mind the NCMS Foundation’s Project OBOT, which offers a collaborative approach to treatment, is also making the Presence telemedicine platform available at no charge for the immediate future.

Resources for Treatment Providers:
SAMHSA DEA Buprenorphine Telemedicine Guidance: This updated guidance, released on March 31, 2020, recommends that opioid treatment programs (OTPs) and DATA-waivered physicians should feel free to prescribe and dispense buprenorphine to new patients for OUD maintenance following an evaluation over the phone. This guidance temporarily relaxes new patient initiation protocols for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

SAMHSA OTP Guidance for Patients Quarantined at Home with Coronavirus: This guidance from SAMHSA outlines steps that should be taken to ensure that people with opioid use disorders are able to continue to use their medications safely during quarantine.

COVID-19 Intervention Actions: Providing Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder: This resource from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials provides a list of OTP guidance from the Federal government and states across the U.S.

Please Let Us Know of Practice Closures

As communicated earlier, the NCMS is working with NC Medicaid to assess potential medical practice closures in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. NC Medicaid will need to redirect Medicaid beneficiaries as closures occur across the state.
If your practice/facility closes in response to COVID-19, or if you become aware of others that close, please let us know and we will relay the information to NC Medicaid.

Even if you do not see Medicaid patients, it would be helpful to be aware of practice and facility closures as we monitor the COVID-19 impact.

The information that NC Medicaid has requested includes:
• Practice/Institution Name
• Specialty
• Does the practice see Medicaid patients
• # of Locations
• Location cities
• NPIs for Affiliated Providers (if available)

Additional information regarding closures would be welcome as well, such as if the practice has provisions for transferring patient care, closure duration, etc.

Please respond to: [email protected] with this information. And please feel free to share this email with colleagues and other practices. Thank you for helping us assist the NC Medicaid program in its efforts to avoid gaps in care.

In the News

Opinion: Will 2020 Be the Year That Medicine Was Saved? The New York Times, 4-15-20

Learning Opportunity

The Office of Rural Health (ORH) and NC AHEC are co-sponsoring a weekly webinar series each Monday from noon to 1 p.m. to address the role of virtual visits in responding to COVID-19. The webinars will enable providers to pose questions directly to telehealth subject matter experts. Recordings and transcripts of previous webinars dating back to March 30 are available here.

Please submit any questions for subject matter experts in advance of Monday’s webinar to [email protected] by noon on the Friday preceding the webinar.

You can access the webinar each week through Zoom at this link or dial in number:
Join the Zoom meeting room or dial-in at (646) 558-8656 with webinar ID 985 104 650

Also, don’t forget Friday’s Forum with NC Division of Public Health subject matter experts. The forum will be held as usual, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Please send questions to [email protected]. You can access the forum from your computer by clicking on this Zoom meeting link or calling in at +16465588656,,705979628# (mobile) or (646) 558-8656 or (301) 715-8592 Webinar ID: 705 979 628

Reminder: The sessions to help you access Presence, the telemedicine platform offered 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 with you. Be sure to have an internet connection and your NPI number available when signing in to the session.

TODAY, 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#