Welcome to a new week of NCMS Morning Rounds.

July 26, 2021

NCMS Legislative Update

While last week was supposed to be a lighter week at the General Assembly, several health-related bills did continue to move through committee.

HB96–Allow Pharmacists to Administer Injectable Drugs, was heard in the Senate Health Committee and referred to Senate Rules. The NCMS has been working with a variety of stakeholder groups to modify this bill and has been able to make several positive changes. Review the details of its progression here.

The NCMS lobbying team continues to work closely with several specialty societies to make changes to HB415 — Update Chiropractic Laws.

SB711 — NC Compassionate Care Act, which seeks to legalize medical marijuana, was heard in the Senate Finance Committee last week where the discussion focused on the financial aspects of legalization of marijuana for medical proposes. There are still several Senate committees that need to consider this bill before it would be presented on the Senate floor for a vote and possibly move to the House for consideration.

With many legislators out of town to attend a national legislative conference this week, it does promise to be a quieter at the legislative building. Watch your NCMS Morning Rounds for any news or check out our legislative blog for the status of key legislation we’re tracking.

Remember, if your specialty or county association or practice would like a legislative update from the NCMS’ Director of Legislative Relations Sue Ann Forrest, MPA, please let her know at [email protected]. Last weekend, she provided an enlightening update to the surgeons at their annual meeting and would be happy to speak to you and your group.

Bringing the COVID-19 Vaccine Home

To help facilitate access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for those who cannot leave home, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is partnering with Piedmont Triad Regional Council Area Agency on Aging (PTRC AAA) to provide free COVID-19 vaccinations to people with limited mobility. This new initiative expands PTRC AAA’s successful local at-home vaccination program to communities across the state.

Caregivers, providers, or individuals may access the program by calling the At-Home Vaccination Hotline at 866-303-0026 at any time or by visiting www.ptrc.org/covid and filling out the registration form.

Within three business days, a PTRC Vaccination Specialist will connect with the individual to schedule their at-home vaccination.

There is increasing urgency for people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as the highly contagious Delta variant is rapidly spreading in North Carolina. Clinical trials among thousands of people have proven that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for anyone age 12 and over. All protect against severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19, including the Delta variant. More than 160 million Americans have been safely vaccinated.

Don’t Miss This EHR Incentive Opportunity!

Less than four months remain to apply for up to $8,500 through the NC Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.

Your practice would need to attest for Program Year 2021 as soon as possible. If the NC EHR Incentive Program receives the signed attestation by Aug. 31, 2021, the NC EHR Incentive Program will review the attestation, and if needed, conduct outreach before NC-MIPS closes on Oct. 31, 2021.

No attestations will be accepted after Oct. 31, 2021. There will be no exceptions to this Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) deadline.

Learn more about eligibility and how to apply here.

In the News

Vaccinations Rise in Some States with Soaring Infections, The Associated Press, 7-23-21

Learning Opportunity

The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine is offering a workshop on the Utility, Feasibility, Security, and Ethics of Verifiable COVID-19 Credentials for International Travel, Aug. 3-5 beginning at 11 a.m. each day and ending around 1 p.m.
What are the opportunities and challenges for COVID-19 verifiable credentials to improve safe travel?

This workshop will explore issues that need to be addressed to have effective, feasible, and secure ways to document and provide health information before international travel, and to ensure the request is ethical and does not exacerbate inequities. Speakers from domestic and international governments, multilateral health and business organizations, academia, and private and nonprofit sectors will contribute their perspectives. Learn more and 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!