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NCMS Morning Rounds.

  July 15, 2020

State Health Officials to Answer Your COVID Questions

State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer Betsey Tilson, MD, MPH and State Epidemiologist Zack Moore, MD, MPH will hold office hours this Friday, July 17 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. to answer your questions on the state’s COVID-19 response and provide a brief update.

These weekly calls have helped to keep health care professionals informed about the response to COVID-19 as well as allowed state officials to hear your concerns. You may send your questions in advance to this email address: [email protected].

To participate in the call, the Zoom link is:
For audio only access dial the following number and code: +16465588656,,705979628#

NCIOM Report on Improving Serious Illness Care in NC

The North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) has released a report on ‘Improving Serious Illness Care in North Carolina’ that provides a roadmap for North Carolina health care professionals, state agencies, advocacy organizations, professional associations and health care payers to support individuals with serious illness, their caregivers, and their communities.

Completed earlier this year, the report is the culmination of the work of a 60-person task force. NCMS Senior Vice President for Health System Innovation and Deputy General Counsel Melanie Phelps, JD, served on the task force, which developed 30 recommendations focused in four key areas:

  • Health system and social change to address serious illness care;
    • High-quality person-centered care;
    • Engagement with patients and families to meet goals of care; and
    • Development of the health and human services workforce and infrastructure to support serious illness care.

The July-August issue of the North Carolina Medical Journal delves more deeply into the report including personal stories and policy analysis around serious illness care in North Carolina. Access this issue of the Journal here.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, serious illness care is touching a record number of North Carolinians and some of the report’s recommendations call for immediate attention. For instance, task force recommendations concerning access to telehealth services and improving advance care planning take on new urgency.

Arising out of the report, the North Carolina Serious Illness Coalition was formed to implement its recommendations and to develop statewide partnerships to educate and create some needed changes. Learn more about the Coalition, which has a diverse membership of 120 individuals representing over 70 stakeholder organizations. The NCMS is represented on the Coalition’s Executive Committee.

Over the past several months in response to COVID-19, the Coalition has pushed for solutions to help families develop advance directives and living wills, reducing barriers that prevent people from getting these legal documents in place.

Read the NCIOM’s report on ‘Improving Serious Illness Care in North Carolina’ here.

Updated COVID-19 Resources

The NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) recently updated a number of its COVID-19 resources to help you track the impact of the virus and provide your patients with the latest guidance including the location of ‘pop-up’ testing sites. These and other resources also are always available on the NCMS’ COVID-19 webpage.

Updated resources include:

In the News

How Pandemics Wreak Havoc – And Open Minds, The New Yorker, 7-20-20

Learning Opportunity

Reminder: this month’s NCMS Foundation, NC Medical Group Management Association Lunch & Learn Webinar on Tuesday, July 21 from noon to 1 p.m. will focus on ‘Special Olympics North Carolina: Creating inclusive health for people with intellectual disabilities.’

Learn about the health equity challenges people with intellectual disabilities face and how Special Olympics North Carolina is doing its part to help build inclusive, healthy communities. Speakers are Ellen Fahey, MS, and Annie Tane of Special Olympics North Carolina. Learn more and register.

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