Welcome to a new week and your

NCMS Morning Rounds.

  May 4, 2020

Special NCMS Call with Sec. Cohen on Wednesday

Mark your calendar for this Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. when NCMS members will have the opportunity to hear firsthand from NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH. Sec. Cohen will address the myriad issues facing the medical community during the pandemic as well as considerations as the state weighs lifting some restrictions.

Watch your email for details on how to join the call.

NCMS Legislative Update

Over the weekend the NC General Assembly approved a COVID-19 relief package that included a variety of policy provisions and $1.5 billion in spending to respond to the pandemic. Of the NCMS’ legislative priorities for the session several made it into the final legislation, which is now being considered by the Governor.

Medical liability protections are included in the final legislation. Your strong response to our Action Alert calling on legislators to support this provision had a definite impact on this positive outcome. Thank you for responding! With lobbyists prohibited from being in the legislative building due to the social distancing restrictions, we will likely call on you again in the coming weeks to contact your representatives through our Action Alerts to make sure they hear firsthand what is important to you during this unprecedented situation. If you aren’t signed up to receive them, you can do so now at this link.

Telehealth payment parity, another of our priorities, did not make it into the final legislation, however, discussions are ongoing. The House COVID-19 working groups will continue to meet and legislators will return to Raleigh in two weeks, so the NCMS advocacy team, with your help, will continue to impress on legislators the importance of telehealth parity for your practice.

The spending portions of the legislation include $125 million in small business relief, administered through the Golden Leaf Foundation; a 5 percent increase in Medicaid reimbursement for fee-for-service providers; approximately $1 million to go to the Old North State Medical Society to study health disparities; funding for the NC Department of Health and Human Services to pay for COVID-19 testing and funds for the NCMS to help procure personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical practices.

For a more detailed summary of what is contained in this bill, visit our legislative blog.

Joint Survey Reveals Practice Challenges, Trends

The joint NCMS, Curi, NC Medical Group Management Association (NCMGMA) survey that many of you may have been completing each week over the last month, has revealed some interesting and useful data relative to the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on medical practices across the state. Below is a summary report of the data collected thus far along with a second document, which comments on several notable trends.

The survey will continue to be sent weekly, so please continue to add to this important source of information to help us inform policymakers and legislators as well as how we can help you as you respond to the pandemic and its impact.

If you are not currently receiving requests to take the survey each week, please email us at [email protected] and ask to be added to the Urgent Practice Data Survey list.

Read the summary report here.

Read our analysis of the trends revealed thus far.

In the News

Fear of Coronavirus Propels Some Smokers to Quit, Kaiser Health News, 4-30-20

Learning Opportunity

The National Academy of Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic and the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) are hosting a joint webinar, ‘Helping People with Addiction Stay Connected During COVID-19,’ on Thursday, May 7 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This 90-minute webinar will provide insights on issues of access to addiction treatment and recovery services, and will include targeted guidance on how to effectively keep patients connected to this essential care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more and register.