Happy Monday! Enjoy your NCMS Morning Rounds.

September 20, 2021

Legislative Update

The House and Senate budget conferees are continuing to negotiate. We are hearing an agreement has been reached on a tax package, but the numbers have not been announced. An agreement on the final budget product has not been reached but may happen this week; however, the final budget product will likely not be announced immediately, as after reaching the agreement, the House and Senate intend to bring the governor in to continue the negotiation process. We will continue to follow this closely.

We’re currently in the Redistricting process. The Redistricting Chairs are holding meetings across the state. If you’re interested in attending one of these meetings or learning more about the process here is the link to the House Redistricting Committee Upcoming Meeting Schedule.

We would love to connect you with your legislator, either in-person or virtually. Visit our White Coat Days page to schedule a visit!

As a reminder, registration is NOW OPEN for the upcoming NCMS Virtual LEAD Health Care Conference. The Conference kicks off with a lively discussion among a panel of legislators on Thursday, Oct. 14. You don’t want to miss this exciting event!

COVID-19 Vaccines: Act Now

CMS announced last week that they’ll require staff within all Medicare and Medicaid-certified facilities to get COVID-19 vaccines. Make efforts now to vaccinate you and your staff so you’re in compliance when the rule takes effect. The higher the level of vaccination rates among you and your staff, the lower the infection rate is for your patients who depend on you for care. Get vaccinated and protect yourselves, your families, and your patients from COVID-19.

More Information:

NC Standard and Tailored Plans Will Require 100% Tobacco-Free Campuses in July 2022

Starting July 1, 2022, North Carolina Standard and Tailored Prepaid Health Plans serving Medicaid and uninsured patients will require contracted medical, behavioral health, and some intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD)/traumatic brain injury (TBI) organizations to provide a 100 percent tobacco-free campus. On September 7, 2021, DHHS released a memo to providers advising them of the new tobacco-related policy requirements going into effect next summer. To learn how this requirement might apply to your agency, read the provider memo on NC Medicaid’s blog. Retail pharmacies are excluded from this requirement and certain residential IDD/TBI programs have a different set of requirements.

Breathe Easy NC: Becoming Tobacco Free, is the statewide initiative created to support this policy change. Service providers can visit BreatheEasyNC.org for the resources and information providers will need to take campuses tobacco-free and integrate tobacco use treatment into their services. Service providers can also contact their county’s regional or local tobacco control staff directly for assistance.

The North Carolina Division of Public Health Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch, the Division of Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities/Substance Abuse Services, and the Division of Health Benefits coordinate Breathe Easy NC: Becoming Tobacco Free, which works to eliminate tobacco related health disparities experienced by people with behavioral health conditions or IDD/TBI and help all types of service providers with tobacco use treatment integration and tobacco-free campuses.

If you have any questions, check out these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) webpages from Breathe Easy NC:

NC Standard & Tailored Plan Tobacco-Free Requirement FAQ for Behavioral Health & Medical Provider Agencies

NC Standard & Tailored Plan Tobacco Related Policies FAQ for Organizations that Serve People with IDD or TBI

NC Standard and Tailored Plan Tobacco-Free Requirement FAQ for Clients, Families, and Staff

For additional questions, please contact Stephanie Gans at [email protected].

If you cannot reach Stephanie Gans, I can be reached at [email protected] or 1-614-406-2476.

In the News

Keeping Donor Lungs Viable Longer, STAT, 9-15-21

Learning Opportunity

Virtual Statewide Primary Care Quality Forum, Tuesday, Oct. 12 | Noon to 1:30 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Division of Health Benefits and North Carolina AHEC, in conjunction with the five prepaid health plans, will host a Virtual Statewide Primary Care Quality Forum to help providers, practice managers and quality managers succeed with NC Medicaid Managed Care quality initiatives. Join us for this informative session, which will cover:

  • Legislative/DHHS Updates
  • DHHS Quality Strategy
  • Performance Improvement Initiatives
  • Childhood Immunizations
  • Diabetes Control
  • Timeliness of Prenatal/Postpartum Care
  • Advanced Medical Home Measures
  • Data and resources

Visit the AHEC Medicaid Managed Care webpage for additional information and registration for upcoming webinars, as well as recordings, slides and transcripts from previous webinars.

Register here.


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