Happy Friday! Enjoy your NCMS Morning Rounds.

Sept. 18, 2020

Gain New Insight Through Workshop on Racial Equity

This year’s virtual LEAD Health Care Conference is offering a participatory workshop on the timely topic of racial equity with a particular focus on health.

In this presentation, the Greensboro-based Racial Equity Institute (REI) will use stories and data to present a perspective that racism is fundamentally structural in nature. By examining characteristics of modern-day racial inequity, the presentation introduces participants to an analysis that most find immediately helpful and relevant, and includes system-related information regarding health and race as well as facilitated dialogue.

Seats are limited and going fast, so register today for this illuminating workshop. CME is available for this session. Learn more and register.

Comments Sought on COVID Death Notification Rule

The NC Commission for Public Health, at its meeting on Sept. 15, agreed to include PAs and nurse practitioners as well as physicians or their designees in the requirement to provide written notification to all individuals handling the body of someone who died or is reasonably suspected of having died of COVID-19 in order to follow the proper precautions to prevent infection.

The original request for rulemaking came from the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service and only named physicians as the reporting clinician. The NCMS requested that PAs, nurse practitioners and their designees be included in order to avoid increased administrative burden for clinicians by limiting the reporting duty to physicians only. The NCMS was joined in this requested revision by the NC Medical Board and the NC Healthcare Association.

The Commission adopted the revised language, but is now seeking public comment at its meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 10 a.m. You can access the meeting by teleconference at (919) 715-0769 (no access code). Written comments may be submitted through Oct. 16, 2020 via email to [email protected] or by mail to Virginia Niehaus, Rulemaking Coordinator, Commission for Public Health, 1931 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1931.

Review the proposed rule here.

State Health Plan to Fully Cover Insulin

The State Health Plan announced on Wednesday that beginning Jan. 1, 2021, members of the Plan who take insulin will not be responsible for any costs for their preferred or non-preferred prescriptions. The new policy is designed to increase adherence to the drug most commonly prescribed to treat diabetes.

About 10 percent of the population or more than 34 million Americans have diabetes, with more than 1 million North Carolinians afflicted with the disease. Nationwide, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, costing an estimated $327 billion. Some estimate that diabetes could cost government and private insurers in North Carolina around $17 billion by 2025. The Plan has approximately 12,000 members who are currently using insulin.

Earlier in the year, the State Health Plan Board of Trustees voted to eliminate the cost of insulin for both the 80/20 and 70/30 plans. Part of the board’s strategy is to increase medication adherence when addressing diabetes treatment. Studies through the National Institutes of Health consistently show that medication nonadherence increases medical costs. This nonadherence is often driven by the high costs of medication.

In fact, the list price of insulin has nearly tripled since 2002, according to this Medical Economics article, and the average price of insulin has increased by 64 percent since 2014. A member who uses brand antidiabetic medication spends an average of $467 out-of-pocket yearly with nearly 12 percent spending $1,000 or more. Additionally, diabetes has a disproportionate impact on racial and ethnic minorities, who experience a 50-100 percent higher burden of illness and mortality from the disease than white Americans, as outlined in this American Diabetes Association article.

In the News

Experts Predicted a Sharp Rebound in Preventive Care. Why Hasn’t It Materialized? The Advisory Board Forum, 9-16-20

Learning Opportunity

Mark your calendar for the next NCMS Foundation POWER HOUR next Friday, Sept. 25 from 1 to 2 p.m. This session will be the fourth in our series examining Racism and Health Equity. Our guest will be David McIntosh, PhD – Vice President and Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. 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!