It’s a new week and a fresh

NCMS Morning Rounds.

  July 13, 2020

NCMS Legislative Update

Legislators were back in Raleigh briefly last week to take up several proposals in committee and attempt to override vetoes by the Governor. None of those veto override votes, the majority of which centered on the reopening of particular businesses like bowling alleys and wedding venues, were successful. As always, visit our NCMS legislative blog for summaries of all the bills we’ve been tracking that could impact your practice.

One proposal of particular note that made it to the Governor’s desk for his consideration is SB232 – Repeal Death Invest Conf/Masks/Health & Safety. This bill would allow North Carolinians to continue to legally wear face masks for public health purposes. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the legislature had temporarily suspended until August the 1950s statute that prohibits wearing a face covering in public. This bill also includes a provision to repeal a controversial piece of an already vetoed bill (SB 168 – DHHS & Other Revisions), which related to death investigation records.

The NC House and Senate formally adjourned on Saturday with plans to reconvene on Wednesday, Sept. 2, to solely consider appropriations of federal funds in response to the pandemic and any nominations or appointments. Once they conclude their work in September, the legislative short session will be officially concluded.

Community Health Worker Initiative to Help Underserved

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has issued a Request For Proposals for an initiative that will send up to 250 Community Health Workers to historically underserved areas with high COVID-19 caseloads. Starting in August, teams of trained frontline public health professionals will connect North Carolinians affected by COVID-19 with needed services and support.

“This new team of Community Health Workers is a critical workforce focused on assisting people struggling with the complex impacts of this pandemic,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH.

Community Health Workers will be responsible for connecting North Carolinians to medical and social support resources, including diagnostic testing, primary care, case management, nutrition assistance and mental health services. NCDHHS will contract with one or more state-based organizations to recruit, train and manage Community Health Workers deployed to areas with high COVID-19-related needs. Working in coordination with local health departments, this corps of community health workers will also have access to the state’s NCCARE360 platform to connect individuals with needed non-clinical services like food, housing and transportation.

The Community Health Workers initiative will run through December, with the possibility of renewal. The initiative will serve North Carolina communities identified as having high COVID-19 caseloads and historically marginalized populations.

The Community Health Worker RFP is available for review here.

For another perspective on the state of our public health system, this article highlights how the pandemic has stressed a system already on the brink.

YMCAs Statewide Offer Virtual Health Programs

As we reported earlier this month, the YMCA of the Triangle, an NCMS partner in Our Community Health Initiative (OCHI) and Diabetes Prevention Programs, is offering its evidence-based medical membership programs virtually to help members develop and maintain healthy habits despite the fact that workout facilities at Y’s throughout the state are closed due to the pandemic.

For those who practice outside of the Triangle whose patients could benefit from these programs, the following are the virtual medical membership programs and the Ys where they are now being offered beyond the Triangle.

Diabetes Prevention:
• Avery
• Southeastern
• Cleveland County
• Catawba Valley
• YMCA of Western North Carolina
• Greensboro
• Eastern Carolina YMCA

Healthy Weight and Your Child
• Southeastern

Moving For Better Balance
• Southeastern

LIVESTRONG (a program to help adult cancer survivors build strength and energy levels)
• Greensboro
• Avery

Weight Loss
• Avery

These medical membership programs have proven highly effective in helping patients develop and maintain healthy habits. For more information on how the NCMS is partnering with the YMCAs to offer a seamless way for you to refer patients to these programs and receive reports on their progress, visit our OCHI webpage.

In the News

Schools or Bars? Opening Classrooms May Mean Hard Choices, The Associated Press, 7-10-20

Learning Opportunity

Mark your calendar: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill invites you to the 26th National Health Equity Research Webcast that will take place on Friday, Sept. 11 at 2 p.m. on Zoom. This year’s webcast will be a live 90-min. interactive webinar. Registration is FREE and opens today July 13. All participants are required to register for this event. Learn more and register.


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