Welcome to another week of summer and your NCMS Morning Rounds.

  July 6, 2020

NCMS Legislative Update

Election day is a few months away, but now is the time to educate yourself and make decisions not only on who you want to vote for, but also how you intend to vote this November. The NCMS is here to help.

First, some background on the electorate in our state. There are approximately 7 million registered voters who are relatively evenly distributed by party affiliation with 2.5 million registered as democrats, 2.1 million as republicans and about 2.3 million registered as unaffiliated. The last presidential election in 2016 saw the state’s highest voter turnout in history. Another interesting tidbit – physicians generally are 9 percent less likely than the general population to vote, which is why the NCMS wants to be sure you have all the information you need to cast your vote this year.

A great source is the NC State Board of Elections website, where you will find information including:
How to register or make changes to your registration if you’ve moved since last you voted. If you have an NC driver’s license or state issued ID, you can now register or make certain changes to your registration online.
Who is on your ballot. In the coming weeks you will be able to see who your choices are and begin to research who will get your vote. Access who is on your particular ballot through the voter lookup tool.
How to request an absentee ballot if you want to vote by mail instead of in-person at a polling place. Anyone can request an absentee ballot and, thanks to newly adopted bi-partisan legislation, you only need one person to sign your ballot as a witness and it does not need to be notarized. You need to request the absentee ballot by Oct. 27, that’s a week before the election, and then return the completed ballot to your county Board of Elections by 5 p.m. on Election Day, which is Tuesday, Nov. 3, this year.

Casting your vote is a crucial way to make your voice heard!

Diabetes Prevention Goes Virtual in the Triangle

The YMCA of the Triangle, an NCMS partner in Our Community Health Initiative (OCHI) and Diabetes Prevention Programs, wants to make physicians and PAs aware that its medical membership program now has a virtual option.

Since the pandemic began in March, the Y has created virtual alternatives for each of the evidence-based programs they offer, including the Diabetes Prevention Program.

The virtual classes will begin in July. Visit the YMCA of the Triangle website for specific program dates.

The Y’s Medical Membership programs include:
• LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, to help adult cancer survivors build strength and energy levels
• Moving For Better Balance
• Diabetes Prevention Program
• Weight Loss Program
• Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program
• Y Fit Kid – Healthy Weight & Your Child

This flyer has information for you as a referring physician or PA and this brochure gives your patients information about the programs, which we hope will soon expand beyond the triangle to the state’s YMCA network.

The NCMS and the YMCA of the Triangle have partnered to offer a seamless way for you to refer patients to these programs and to receive feedback on their progress. We also are working with the AMA to promote Diabetes Prevention Programs like that offered at the YMCA, all through the OCHI platform. Learn more about our efforts to connect you and your patients with these community programs.

NCMS Business Alliance Member Announces Vaccine News

NCMS Business Alliance member Pfizer Inc. along with its partner BioNTech SE, announced last week some preliminary, yet encouraging, news on developing a COVID-19 vaccine.

The news involves the most advanced of four investigational vaccine candidates from the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine program, Project Lightspeed. The preliminary data demonstrated that the vaccine could be administered in a dose that was well-tolerated and generated dose dependent immunogenicity.

The initial part of the study included 45 healthy adults, ages 18 to 55. The most commonly reported side effect was injection site pain and no serious adverse events were reported. Pfizer and BioNTech will use this information to determine a dose level and select among the multiple vaccine candidates to progress to a large global trial that could involve up to 30,000 healthy participants. This could begin late this month, if the companies receive regulatory approval.

If the ongoing studies are successful and the vaccine candidate receives regulatory approval, the companies expect to manufacture up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and potentially more than 1.2 billion doses by the end of 2021.

Learn more here.

In the News

Hollowed Out Public Health System Faces More Cuts Amid Virus, Associated Press/Kaiser Health News, 7-1-20

Learning Opportunity

Researchers from RTI will present their findings on how alcohol consumption has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, July 14 from 2 to 3 p.m. Learn the different ways in which drinking has changed during the pandemic and its implications for public health. 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!