Enjoy your last NCMS Morning Rounds of September.

Sept. 30, 2020

Clarifying the State’s COVID Testing Strategy

Since the start of the pandemic, North Carolina has significantly ramped up its testing capacity from fewer than 10,000 per day in May to now being one of the top 10 states in the country for total number of COVID-19 tests with results, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Access to testing is essential to supporting and protecting our communities and to understanding the prevalence of the virus in our state to inform public health policy. A new paper from the Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), Overview of North Carolina’s Testing Approach, outlines the high-level priorities that drive the state’s testing strategy, including to:
1. Ensure access to testing, especially for high-risk populations;
2. Diversify testing modalities, using scientifically and technically diverse methods;
3. Build testing capacity, relying on a diverse ecosystem of labs for sufficient volume;
4. Leverage public and private funding; and
5. Monitor, learn, and adapt.

Read the four-page paper here. NCDHHS also welcomes feedback. Please send any comments to: [email protected].

NCMS Part of ‘Made in NC’ Initiative

The NCMS is part of a public/private collaboration that aims to produce nearly 2 million N95 respirators per year to address the urgent need for affordable access to essential PPE in the most needy communities. The Made in NC initiative is a collaboration between Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC), North Carolina State University’s Nonwovens Institute, Freudenberg Performance Materials, UNC Health, the NC Healthcare Association Strategic Partners and the NCMS.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for N95 respirators and other PPE has outpaced current U.S. manufacturing capabilities, resulting in supply chain challenges in delivering an efficient and reliable source at a reasonable cost. The shortage of critical supplies has left health care providers and essential workers at a higher risk of infection.

The Made in NC collaboration will produce an initial 100,000 to 200,000 N95 respirators per month with plans to quickly ramp up, right here in North Carolina, providing a more consistent and affordable source of PPE for local health care providers.

“The NCMS is fully supportive of local solutions like this,” said NCMS Executive Vice President and CEO Chip Baggett, JD. “We look forward to helping ensure these affordable N95 respirators get to impacted communities throughout the state.”

As these N95 respirators become available, the NCMS and the NC Healthcare Association Strategic Partners will reach out to providers who may lack staffing capacity and contacts to place accelerated orders.

Learn more about the initiative here.

In the meantime, if you are part of an independent practice in the state, don’t miss the opportunity to receive free PPE through the NCMS’ distribution. The deadline to place an order is Nov. 15. Learn more here.

Tracking the Impact of the Pandemic on NC Medical Practices

The NCMS along with the NC Medical Group Management Association (NCMGMA) and Curi have been surveying our members since the start of the pandemic to help track how COVID-19 has effected your practice.

Please take just a moment to answer this month’s survey – it takes less than 5 minutes and offers a valuable snapshot to help us represent your needs. Take the survey now.

Thank you for your time and for your commitment to your communities. We’re in this together and are proud to support you and your practice through this tumultuous season.
Review the trends over the past six months as revealed in previous surveys at the links below.

• Urgent Practice Data Survey – Summary Report
• Urgent Practice Data Survey – Trends Report
• Urgent Practice Data Survey – NC Practice Financial Report
• Urgent Practice Data Survey – Telehealth Data Summary Report
• Urgent Practice Data Survey – Reopening NC Healthcare Practice Report
• Urgent Practice Data Survey – Practice Well-being Report
• Urgent Practice Data Survey – Sixteen Week Summary Report

In memoriam: Charles Kernodle, Jr., MD

Longtime Burlington surgeon and Williams High School football team doctor Charles Kernodle Jr., MD, died Saturday afternoon, Sept. 26, at the age of 102.

As noted in an NCMS Morning Rounds article earlier this month, Dr. Kernodle, Jr. was a founder of the Kernodle Clinic in Alamance County and a living legend in the area. In a recent feature on WRAL-TV, Dr. Kernodle recalls his life as part of a family of physicians – as a boy he went on house calls with his father in a horse and buggy – his service in World War II and caring for the Williams High School athletes and their families and residents in and around Burlington over the past 70 years. Watch the inspiring report on Dr. Kernodle.

Today, all of the more than 50 physicians and PAs in the multi-specialty Kernodle Clinic are NCMS members.

Read Dr. Kernodle’s obituary here.

In the News

Where it Hurts, Kaiser Health News/St. Louis Public Radio, September – November 2020 [this is a podcast series looking at ‘cracks in the American health system.’]

Learning Opportunity

TODAY, Wednesday, Sept. 30 from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. join a virtual forum on ‘COVID-19 and the Health Insurance Coverage Gap.’ Hosted by CommWell Health and Care4Carolina, the forum will feature a panel of local experts discussing COVID-19 and the impact that it has had in the southeastern part of North Carolina including Harnett, Sampson, Johnston, Duplin, Bladen, Pender and Brunswick counties. Panelists will address the pandemic’s economic impact, rising unemployment rates, challenges to our health systems and health disparities. Learn more and register.

If you have policies you’d like your NCMS Board of Directors to consider, please complete the Board input form here. Thanks for reading!