Happy Tuesday! Enjoy your NCMS Morning Rounds.

  August 25, 2020

Flu Season in the Time of COVID-19

Encouraging patients to get their flu shots this fall has taken on new urgency during the current pandemic. The annual influenza epidemic results in an estimated 12,000 to 61,000 in the US each year since 2010 depending on the influenza virus strain. With the COVID-19 pandemic, public health officials and clinicians will be facing an additional respiratory virus with a morbidity and mortality several times higher than influenza.

For an overview of how these two viruses may impact patients this fall and winter, listen to this 15-minute podcast with Daniel Solomon, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital of the Harvard medical School.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not changed its normal recommendations on timing of the flu vaccine this year — September and October are the optimal times to receive the vaccine. Some who may have received a flu shot at their workplace in previous years, will have to make an added effort to get to their primary care provider or visit a pharmacy to get their shot. Get more information on this year’s vaccine and timing from the CDC.

Communicating the importance of getting a flu shot to patients as well as how flu and COVID-19 symptoms may be hard to distinguish is especially important this year. This page lays out the similarities and differences between the flu and COVID-19.

Read the CDC’s clinical guidance on all vaccinations during a pandemic here.

And as an indication of just how serious some are about vaccinating for influenza this year, the state of Massachusetts has made a flu shot mandatory for students. Read more here.

Learn How NCCARE 360 Can Help You and Your Patients

NCCARE 360 is the first statewide coordinated network that unites health care and human services organizations through a shared technology platform. The platform allows you to electronically connect your patients with identified needs like transportation, safe housing and food to community resources.

NCCARE 360 has partnered with NCAHEC to offer a series of live webinars to share information about the program’s roll out and to learn from the expertise of health care professionals across the state. The events are regionally specific. Learn more and register for one of the free webinars in your area here.

PAs Join Care4Carolina Coalition

The NC Academy of Physician Assistants has officially joined the NCMS and more than 60 local and statewide health care organizations and leaders in the Care4Carolina Coalition. This group calls on North Carolina leaders to close the health care ‘coverage gap’ for those people who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to get help in the private insurance marketplace.

There are over 7,000 licensed Physician Assistants (PA) in North Carolina including many who are NCMS members. North Carolina is home to some of the best PA educational programs in the country.

Care4Carolina is actively recruiting additional partners who also believe access to quality, affordable health care helps build a healthier, stronger North Carolina. Covering the uninsured means better premium value for North Carolinians with private health insurance by lowering costs for everyone. Providing health insurance coverage will help people gain access to the care they need, which improves health outcomes.

To find out more, visit care4carolina.com.

In the News

4 Theories On Why So Many Coronavirus Cases Are Asymptomatic, The Advisory Board Forum, 8-13-20

Learning Opportunity

The People’s Opioid Summit, a ‘virtual summit to educate, empower and save a life, will be held Oct. 9 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The summit’s mission is to help people living with the disorder, as well as their families and caregivers, professionals and the general public understand opioid use disorder and how to help each other live a more fulfilling, safer life by eliminating the stigma. 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!