Halfway through the week. Enjoy your NCMS Morning Rounds!

  August 12, 2020

NCMS Urges Congressional Action on Surprise Billing

NCMS Executive Vice President and CEO Robert W. Seligson, MBA, MA sent a letter this week to each member of the NC Congressional delegation urging them to continue efforts toward a proposal that effectively addresses the harm caused by surprise medical bills, holds patients harmless, provides fair compensation for services rendered and protects access to care. Read the letter.

Surprise medical billing is a widespread and costly problem in the United States, and the need to address it has been highlighted during the current pandemic. Research shows that 41 percent of insured adults nationwide were surprised by a medical bill in the past two years alone, and that two thirds of adults worry about their ability to afford an unexpected medical bill.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released a report on surprise billing calling for Congressional action. Read the report from HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

The NCMS has long advocated for reforms to protect patients from surprise bills, and in November 2019, the NCMS Board of Directors adopted a policy framework to guide our advocacy. The NCMS seeks a solution that addresses the issue proactively by shifting the focus from reacting to the surprise bill after the fact, to preventing it in the first place. This could be accomplished by identifying the areas where surprise billing is most likely to occur and negotiating charges before they are billed, perhaps by requiring them to be arbitrated in advance of services being rendered. Learn more about the NCMS’ proactive approach to this issue.

Earlier this year, NCMS President Palmer Edwards, MD, DFAPA, and other NCMS leaders traveled to Washington, D.C. to lobby the NC Congressional Delegation on this issue.

Celebrating Our Community Health Centers!

This week is National Health Center Week (Aug. 9 – 15), a time to celebrate and raise awareness about the mission and accomplishments of health centers over the past five decades and particularly during the current pandemic.

North Carolina has 42 Community Health Centers with over 270 sites across the state, providing innovative ways to provide preventative and primary care to more than 600,000 patients, many of whom are part of underserved communities.

Each day of this week focuses on a different aspect of Community Health Center’s work. Learn more about each topic and how you can help in your community here.
Sunday: Public Health in Housing Day
Monday: Health care for the Homeless Day
Tuesday: Agricultural Worker Health Day
Wednesday: Patient Appreciation Day
Thursday: Stakeholder Appreciation Day
Friday: Health Center Staff Appreciation Day
Saturday: Children’s Health Day

Your Vote by Mail Questions Answered

With the November election just 88 days away, and with the current pandemic making physical distancing important, the NC State Board of Elections wants to be sure you have answers to your questions about voting by mail as an option this year.

This comprehensive list of FAQs outlines everything you need to know about how to vote by mail and avoid potentially crowded polling places. The document includes links to requesting a mail in ballot and how to cast your vote.

Access this useful document now.

In the News

Which Masks Best Stop the Spread of COVID-19? Duke Researchers Tested Them to Find Out, Raleigh News & Observer, 8-10-20

Learning Opportunity

As part of the State’s continuing efforts to ensure providers have the information they need, State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer Betsey Tilson, MD, MPH, and State Epidemiologist Zack Moore, MD, MPH, will provide brief updates on the State’s COVID-19 response and will respond to questions this Friday, Aug. 14, from 12:30 to1:30 p.m.

Please send questions in advance to [email protected].

To participate in this Zoom call, connect through this link or dial in at 1-646-558-8656 and enter meeting code 705979628#