Happy Monday! Enjoy your NCMS Morning Rounds.

June 28, 2021


NCMS Legislative Update

Last week the Senate budget was released. At over 400 pages, it’s a lengthy bill. A summary is available on our legislative blog. The Senate included exclusive provider organization (EPO) language that has already passed the Senate but has not been taken up in the House yet. SB505 (Medical Billing Transparency) was also included word for word. This is a negotiating tool often used both on the House side and Senate side, including policy in the budget as a negotiating tool between the two chambers. We will be following closely throughout the process.

SB711 (NC Compassionate Care Act) received a committee hearing this week. This bill would allow the use of medical marijuana in North Carolina for certain types of conditions. For more details and specifics about this bill, be sure to visit our legislative blog. NCMS policy states that we support research. This bill does include a specific piece on the research component within the UNC system. We are supportive of that piece. Our Ethical and Judicial Affairs committee is creating a subgroup to look into this issue in more detail. Be sure to watch your email for an opportunity to provide input on this issue. This bill did not receive a committee vote. It was heard for discussion only.

NCMS President Philip Brown, MD, made several legislative visits over a two-day period last week. He met with several legislators on your behalf, as well as on the behalf of the NCMS. We would love to have each of you at the legislative building, so be sure to register for a White Coat Day.

New Telehealth Legislation Introduced in Congress

In late May, two new telehealth bills were introduced in Congress: The Telehealth Improvement for Kids’ Essential Services (TIKES) Act of 2021 and The Permanency for Audio-Only Telehealth Act. The push toward permanently expanding certain telehealth flexibilities is partially consistent with Medicare Payment Advisory Commission’s recommendations to extend the flexibilities for further evaluation to first determine whether they should be permanently extended. It is also indicative of Congress being amenable to making some telehealth policies permanent. Both bills are summarized below:

HHS Releases Revised Reporting Requirements and Timeline for Provider Relief Fund

On June 11, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released revised reporting requirements for recipients of the Provider Relief Fund (PRF). This announcement includes expanding the amount of time physicians will have to report information, aims to reduce burdens on smaller practices, and extends key deadlines for expending PRF payments for recipients who received payments after June 30, 2020. Key updates include:

In the News

A Crucial, Overlooked Question on the New Alzheimer’s Drug: When Should Patients Stop Taking It? STAT, 6-24-21

Learning Opportunity

Faith-Based Toolkit, Tuesday, June 29th, 1:00-1:30 pm ET

The HHS We Can Do This campaign is a national initiative working hand in hand with trusted leaders and community organizations to continue to build confidence in COVID-19 vaccines and get more people vaccinated. This campaign offers tailored resources and toolkits for stakeholders to use to provide COVID-19 vaccine information to at-risk populations.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is partnering with the campaign to offer several webinars to walk through each toolkit and its resources and train community organizations, local voices and trusted leaders to use the campaign tools for vaccine outreach efforts to diverse communities.

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!