Welcome to another week and your Monday  NCMS Morning Rounds.

  April 20, 2020

NCMS Legislative Update

Last week was a busy one as federal and state officials work to more fully understand and address the financial and policy needs of their constituents, and the NCMS continues to advocate on your behalf.

In the NC General Assembly, the House COVID-19 Health Committee met last Thursday to discuss priorities for the coming session, slated to convene on April 28. They reviewed the various ‘buckets’ of needs, including those impacting health care professionals. You can review all of the documents from the committee’s meeting and hear an audio recording of the proceedings here. The committee is scheduled to meet again this Thursday at 9:30 a.m. The NCMS is reviewing all recommendations of the committee as they develop bill language. Keep up to date on our Legislative blog.

The NCMS remains focused on the priorities approved by the NCMS Legislative Cabinet, which include:
• Telemedicine Parity
• Tax deferral
• Medical Liability
• Financial Relief

Also, last week the Midwifery Joint Committee, the entity with the authority to adopt administrative rules governing nurse midwives, met for an emergency meeting last Wednesday, April 16, to consider proposals designed to modify the practice of nurse midwives in response to the COVID-19 epidemic.

The Committee initially intended to consider the following proposed waivers:
1) temporary waiver of physician supervision for those current midwives who want to work outside their usual practice during the emergency—example to volunteer
2) temporary waiver of physician supervision for those retired or inactive midwives to return to the workforce for purposes of responding to the emergency-example volunteer, birth center, etc.
3) temporary waiver of national certification examination for those newly graduating nurse midwives expected in May –example-many already have job offers, but testing centers are not open

However, the Committee ultimately decided to only consider the waiver of national certification examination proposal after receiving numerous requests from stakeholders for more time to provide feedback and to review supportive data for the other temporary waivers. The remaining proposals were tabled for consideration at a subsequent meeting to be scheduled in the near future.

Following discussion, the Committee approved an order allowing new nurse midwife graduates who have not taken the required national certification testing to be issued a temporary license. The license will be valid until August 1, 2020, or until the current State of Emergency is suspended if sooner than August 1, 2020, and will permit a nurse midwife to practice under the supervision of an on-site physician or certified nurse midwife who has been practicing for a minimum of two years.

Watch your NCMS Morning Rounds for updates on this issue in the future.

Pandemic Response Network Makes Changes to Encourage Participation

As reported earlier in your NCMS Morning Rounds, DukeHealth has introduced the Pandemic Response Network study, which features a 28-day symptom monitoring program without geographic or age restrictions and allows for community informed surveillance to enhance the detection of potential COVID-19 prevalence. The program will help anticipate the course of the illness and timing of needed resources. The study will help everyone learn more about COVID-19 and support participating practices. Learn more and sign up here.

Now, the Pandemic Response Network is making changes to allow greater ease of participation. Soon all materials will be available in Spanish and the Network has already brought on Spanish-speaking team members to reach out to Spanish speaking participants when needed. Also, the team is working on creating a text-based survey tool for those with a flip phone. The Network is able to accommodate registering/consenting new members via a phone call with a member of the team entering all the data. Previously, interested individuals had to do this via smartphone or computer.

Here is a one-page flyer for health care workers with information about the study.

Here is a one-page flyer for patients with information about the study.

NCMS Award Nominations Open

Despite the upheaval wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, some things remain reassuringly unchanged – recognizing outstanding health care professionals for their service. As we do every year, the NCMS is seeking nominations for two awards – the E. Harvey Estes, MD, Community Service Award and the John Huske Anderson Award.

The E. Harvey Estes, MD, Physician Community Service Award recognizes a physician who has an outstanding record of community service that reflects well on the medical profession apart from their work or identification as a physician. Download the nomination form here.

The John Huske Anderson Award recognizes a layperson whose contributions have had a positive impact on the medical profession and the public health in North Carolina. Download the nomination form here.

Nominations are due to Evan Simmons, [email protected] by Aug. 1, 2020.

In the News

‘It’s Not Over Until It’s Over’: 5 Things to Know About Hitting the COVID-19 Peak, Kaiser Health News, 4-17-20

Learning Opportunity

Two offerings this week promise to help you cope during this unprecedented time:

Navigating COVID-19: Your Resiliency: Protecting Your Practice’s Human Capital webinar will take place on Tuesday April 21 from 6 to 7 p.m. Presenting will be Allan Chrisman, MD, DLFAPA, Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences for the Duke University School of Medicine. Dr. Chrisman will speak on promoting a sense of “Safety, Self- and Community-Efficacy, Connectedness, Calming and Hope.” Click here to connect or dial: 646-558-8656 using Webinar ID: 131 899 801

Curi Benefits Solutions will present a free webinar on Wednesday, April 22 at noon on ‘Caring for Yourself and Others During the COVID-19 Pandemic.’ Topics will include recognizing the physiological impacts of COVID-19; constructive and positive ways to cope; overcoming isolation and tools to maintain your well-being during this turbulent time. Learn more and register.