Enjoy your first NCMS Morning Rounds of June.

June 1, 2021

NCMS Legislative Update

This week at the NC General Assembly several bills of note for physicians and PAs were moving quickly including HB395 — Extend Deadlines for Mandatory HIE Participation, which would extend the deadline for connection to the state’s Health Information Exchange (NC HealthConnex) for certain groups, including psychiatrists. This legislation passed through both chambers and currently is on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature. Thank you to everyone who responded to our survey on whether your practice is connected to the HIE. Your input provided crucial information as legislators considered this bill and gave NCMS staff insights into your challenges and how we can develop resources to respond.

Other legislative proposals being heard include SB257 – Medication Cost Transparency Act, which sets out criteria for regulation of pharmacy benefit managers. The NCMS supports this proposal, which is moving quickly through the process and will likely pass both chambers.

HB947 – The GREAT Broadband Expansion Act, which we believe is indeed a ‘great’ bill providing strong financial investment in ensuring broadband access in rural and underserved communities, is swiftly making its way through the House and we are hopeful the senate will also move quickly to provide this funding. The NCMS has long been supportive of the GREAT grant program as it would expand broadband and enhance access to telehealth, education and job opportunities.

While legislators are busy considering a wide variety of bills, there is still no budget proposal. Usually at this point in a long legislative session spending proposals have been presented and negotiations are underway. This delay in the budget process means the session will likely continue for quite a while. It also presents you a great opportunity to contact your legislators to discuss your biggest concerns and where you’d like to see funds allocated. If you don’t already have your legislator’s information for ready access in your contacts, here is where you can easily find it.

Breakdown of Medicaid Enrollees

As the July 1 ‘go live’ date for the state’s transition to Medicaid managed care approaches, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) recently released the total number of Medicaid enrollees in each of the five pre-paid health plans that will be providing Medicaid services.

For those beneficiaries who did not select a plan during the open enrollment period, which ended May 21, the state auto-assigned them using a process (outlined here) in which existing relationships with a primary care provider were prioritized. The state said that 97 percent of those eligible were enrolled in a plan that includes their current PCP in network. Read the state’s announcement here.

The breakdown of enrollees in each plan is as follows:

Urban Institute Equity Scholars

In recent months, the Urban Institute has escalated its efforts to provide timely, evidence-based, research and analysis to inform policy and advance racial equity. Towards this goal, Urban is launching its Equity Scholars program offering emerging and established scholars the opportunity to deepen their own research on race, equity, and/or structural racism while contributing to equity-focused analyses underway at Urban.

Application deadline is TODAY: June 1, 2021

Learn more.

In the News

A New Tool Tracks Health Disparities In The U.S. — and Highlights Major Data Gaps, STAT, 5-26-21

Learning Opportunity

MIPS Improvement Activities and Promoting Interoperability Performance Categories for the 2021 Performance Year, Wednesday, June 9 from 1 – 2:30 p.m.
CMS subject matter experts will provide information on:
• Participation basics for the improvement activities and Promoting Interoperability performance categories
• Reporting and scoring requirements
• Resources and support

Register here.

If you have policies you’d like your NCMS Board of Directors to consider, please complete the Board input form here. Thanks for reading!