Welcome to a new week and your

NCMS Morning Rounds.

  May 11, 2020

REMINDER: Please answer these few questions about the LEAD Health Care Conference in October. Beyond helping to ensure the conference is helpful to you, you’ll have a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card. Answer these crucial questions now by clicking HERE.

NCMS Legislative Update

Last Monday, Governor Roy Cooper signed into law the two bills passed by the General Assembly over the previous weekend. At a signing event, NC House and NC Senate leadership stood with the Governor and said they looked forward to working together to address the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the state.

Read a summary of the COVID-19 Recovery Act funding and policy legislation the Governor signed on the NCMS’ Legislative blog.

This week the NC House COVID-19 working groups will meet to address health, education and other issues in response to the pandemic. If you have any issues you are facing in your practice that need to be addressed by the legislature, please reach out to NCMS Director of Legislative Relations Sue Ann Forrest, MPA at [email protected]. The NCMS advocacy team will be working closely with legislators in the coming days and weeks to be sure they fully understand the challenges you are facing.

In particular, we will be focused on telehealth. If you have examples of what telehealth policies and practices are working and which remain challenges, please let us know, so we can better describe the issues to legislators.

We also were pleased to host a call for NCMS members with NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) officials last Wednesday. We hope to have another call in which you can get your questions answered by those at NCDHHS. Watch your NCMS Morning Rounds and your email for details.

BCBSNC Extends Certain COVID-19 Related Policies

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced last Friday that it is extending its expanded telehealth measure through July 31, 2020 and will reevaluate if an additional extension is needed as July 31 approaches. Learn more about the telehealth extension.

The state’s largest commercial insurer also extended the deadlines for other COVID-19 related policy measures including waiving member copays, deductibles and coinsurance for COVID-19 related clinical visits and testing as well as allowing early medication refills and waiving certain prior authorization requirements. Get the details here.

Also, effective May 15, Blue Cross has said it will no longer cover hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine outside of a hospital setting. Late last month, the FDA updated its drug safety information regarding use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for COVID-19 outside the hospital setting or a clinical trial. The FDA cited the risk of heart rhythm problems. This announcement does not affect FDA-approved uses for malaria, extraintestinal amebiasis, chronic discoid erythematosus, systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. Learn more here.

GoFundMe Campaign to Procure Masks for Those at Risk

NCMS Foundation’s Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership faculty member Lawrence Greenblatt, MD along with his colleagues Eric Westman, MD, and Wickham Simonds, MD and medical students from Durham are trying to quickly mobilize large numbers of masks to give to those in the Triangle most at risk because of where they live or where they work.

To help the effort they’re calling ‘Covering the Triangle,’ Dr. Greenblatt has created a GoFundMe campaign with at $50,000 goal. As of last night, more than $27,000 had been raised and more than 30,000 masks procured. Learn more and consider a donation at the GoFundMe campaign page.

The project was recently featured in a Raleigh News & Observer article in which Dr. Greenblatt stated the need for the masks: “Evidence shows if you wear a mask, then there’s a lot less of the asymptomatic spread.”

Read the article.

In the News

To Strengthen the Public Health Response to COVID-19 We Need Community Health Workers, Health Affairs, 5-6-20

Learning Opportunity

Join Southern Regional AHEC for two upcoming Cape Fear Valley Hospital Grand Rounds sessions:

Duke Critical Care Specialist Paul E. Wischmeyer, MD presents ’Critical COVID Illness Recovery: Lessons Learned from Post ICU Syndrome’ on May 20 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Learn more and register.

Duke Family & Community Medicine Professor and School of Medicine Assistant Chief Diversity Officer Kenyon Railey, MD presents ‘Addressing Health Disparities During a Pandemic: Inaction & Inequity OR Inclusion & Innovation?’ June 3 from noon to 1 p.m. Learn more and register.