Happy May Day!

Enjoy your NCMS Morning Rounds.

  May 1, 2020

ICYMI: NCMS Offers Access to PPE

Dr. Katie Lowry of Robeson Pediatrics, an NCMS Community Practitioner Program practice, was glad to receive her much-needed masks provided by Carolina Complete Health.

As we announced yesterday, the NCMS is pleased to offer medical practices statewide a mechanism to procure personal protective equipment (PPE) through group purchasing. This two-pronged effort offers you a chance to place an online order through a joint group purchasing arrangement with the Charleston County (South Carolina) Medical Society and other state and local medical societies and/or to work with local North Carolina manufacturers to produce needed materials. The easy ordering process is detailed on this webpage.

Thresholds for the amount of PPE must be met before the orders can be placed, so this is not an immediate fix for your PPE needs. However, please think ahead to your longer term needs as the volume of in-person patient visits may begin to increase as stay-at-home orders and other restrictions are lifted in the coming weeks and months.

The NCMS has heard from our members that securing necessary PPE has been a challenge as practices have grappled with the many challenges in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. We responded by organizing the group purchasing effort described above, and we worked with Carolina Complete Health (CCH) and its subsidiary Carolina Complete Health Network to distribute PPE to primary care practices in North Carolina. The PPE was obtained by Centene and shipped directly to NCMS and CCH staff for distribution to those NCMS Foundation Community Practitioner Program (CPP) practices in need of PPE. We are grateful for this work, as we continue to do everything within our capabilities to mitigate the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

NCMS Legislative Update

The NC General Assembly session continued today, with the House passing their COVID-19 relief package, HB 1043 – Pandemic Response Act, with a vote of 117-1. No amendments were made to this bill, which compiled many of the policies that had been created from the House COVID-19 Working Groups.

The Senate passed its relief package yesterday, SB 704 – COVID Relief Recovery Act, and stark differences in each chamber’s funding amounts and priorities exist. Yet there also are areas of agreement. Both bills include medical liability protections.

The House and Senate Appropriations chairs hoped to reach an agreement today, but instead pushed the vote to Friday. The NCMS lobbying team is in close communication with legislators on the importance of our priorities and remains focused on our mission of improving the health of all North Carolinians.

View our NCMS legislative blog for more information on both bills.

Useful NCMS Summary of Regulatory Changes Due to COVID-19

NCMS staff has been carefully monitoring all of the federal and state regulatory changes prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic – and there have been many — and how they may impact your practice. To help you quickly access these new regulations here is a helpful grid.

The information includes updated federal regulations regarding Medicare, the Quality Payment Program deadlines, HIPAA and telehealth among others. The grid also includes regulatory changes prompted by Governor Cooper’s Executive Orders, measures taken by the NC Medical Board and advisories from the NC Department of Insurance. We will be updating these as new regulations are enacted.

Access this useful reference tool.

In the News

WHO Says No Evidence Shows that Having Coronavirus Prevents a Second Infection, CNN, 4-25-20

Learning Opportunity

Employee benefits experts from Poyner-Spruill will present “Benefits in the Time of COVID: Important Actions for Your Benefit Plans,” on Tuesday, May 5 from 5 to 6 p.m. Learn more and register for this webinar here.

PLEASE NOTE: Several upcoming medical specialty society meetings have been canceled.

The 2020 NC Dermatology Association Summer Meeting, scheduled for July 31-Aug. 2 at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, WV, has been canceled due to the continuing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020 NC Society of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery Annual Meeting, scheduled for July 24-26 at Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC, also has been canceled.

These groups are both considering meeting options going forward and will send notification about future plans to their respective memberships when available.