NCGA COVID-19 Package

SB 704 – COVID-19 Recovery Act

POLICY BILL

This bill includes the policy agreements by the House and Senate on their first coronavirus relief package.

Economic

  • Waives interest on franchise, corporate income, or individual income tax return from April 15, 2020 through July 15, 2020
  • Affirms flexibility to administer unemployment compensation as encouraged by the Congressional Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Health

Personal Protection Equipment

  • The bill directs the Division of Public Health, the Division of Health Service Regulation, and the NC Division of Emergency Management to develop a plan for creating and maintaining a strategic stockpile of PPE.
  • The plan would be required to include who should have access to the stockpile, ways to increase production within the state, potential stockpile locations, recommendations of the amount and kinds of items to stockpile, an inventory mechanism, and a 5 year budget.

Health Provider Relief

  • Dentists – The bill allows the NC Board of Dental Examiners to waive statutory requirements in an emergency. (The NC Medical Board and the NC Board of Nursing do have this authority currently.)
  • The bill allows dentists to administer COVID-19 tests.
  • Pharmacists – The bill allows the State Health Director to authorize immunizing pharmacists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine by a statewide order if one is approved by the CDC at a time when the NC General Assembly is not in session. It would be a requirement that the Director develop a written standard screening questionnaire and safety procedures for written protocols for the vaccine to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee, the NC Medical Board, the NC Board of Nursing and the NC Board of Pharmacy within 10 days  of approving the petition. If this order moves forward, it would expire upon the adjournment of the next session.
  • The bill also allows pharmacists to use a government issued ID to identify patients picking up prescriptions.

Quality Improvement Plans

  • This bill would prohibit the enforcement of any administrative rule that would enforce quality improvement meetings between a PA or NP who had been practicing prior to February 2020. This would expire December 31, 2021.

Workforce Study

  • The bill directs the NC Area Health Education Center to study the issues impacting health delivery and the health workforce during a pandemic.

Liability Protections

  • This provision states that any health facility, health provider, or entity that holds legal responsibility for a health professional shall have immunity from any civil liability for any harm or damages alleged to have been sustained as a result of an act or omission in the course of providing health services as a response to COVID-19.

NCDHHS Flexibility

  • HealthConnex – The bill extends the deadline for providers to connect to HealthConnex from June 2020, to October 2021 to begin submitting demographic and clinical data in order to remain eligible for state funds.
  • Inspections – The bill allows facility inspections to be modified.
  • Involuntary Commitment – The bill allows for the first and second examinations for involuntary commitment to be conducted via telehealth if the commitment examiner is reasonably certain that a different result would not have been reached in a face to face examination.
  • Telehealth – The bill states that the NCGA urges Centers for Medicaid and Medicare coverage for health care provided through audio only communication.

State Government

Masks

  • This bill clarifies that masks may be worn on certain private and public premises to ensure physical health or safety.

Health Care Powers of Attorney/Advanced Directives

  • This bill waives the requirement of two qualified witnesses related to Health Care Powers of Attorney and Advanced Directives for a Natural Death during the State of Emergency.

Communicable Disease Information

  • The bill permits the release of communicable disease health information by the DHHS or a local health department to prevent or lessen a serious health threat as allowed under HIPPA.

State Health Plan

  • The bill allows the State Treasurer, with approval of the Board of Trustees for the State Health Plan to allow the option of deferring premiums or debt payments when there is a state of emergency or disaster.

This bill did not include the telehealth payment parity provision that was included in the House version of this legislation. NCMS is committed to continuing to communicate with legislators about the importance of this issue as the legislature is scheduled to return to session in two weeks.

The bill passed in the House with a vote of 119-0.

This bill passed the Senate.

This bill was signed by Governor Cooper on May 2, 2020. This bill is now law.

 

 

HB – 1043- 2020 COVID-19 Recovery Act

FUNDING BILL

This funding bill spends ~ $1.571 billion. The Senate’s proposal spent ~ $1.3 billion, House’s proposal spent ~ $1.7 billion, and the Governor’s proposal spent ~ $1.4 billion.

The bill establishes the Coronavirus Relief Fund to be used to provide relief from effects of COVID-19.

Health

  • $50 million for PPE divided between the NC Health Care Foundation (50%), NC Senior Living Association and the NC Health Care Facilities Association (15%), NC Medical Society (10%), and Division of Emergency Management (25%).
  • $150 million for counties ineligible to receive direct funding from the CARES Act.
  • $2 million for the Pandemic Recovery Office
  • $20 million  to OSBM to allocate to State agencies negatively impacted by loss of anticipated receipts
  • $100,000 to Wake Forest University Health Services for COVID-19 research data.
  • $15 million to the Duke University Human Vaccine Institute
  • $29 million to the NC Policy Collaboratory for the development of countermeasures for COVID-19, including vaccine research.
  • $15 million to Brody School of Medicine at ECU for the development of countermeasures.
  • $6 million for Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine for community testing, health treatment, monitoring rural populations, and supporting community primary care
  • $20 million to DHHS for local health departments and rural health providers
  • $6 million divided equally to the 6 food banks in the state
  • $25 million for the State-County Special Assistance facilities to offset increased costs of living for serving residents
  • $50 million to DHHS for rural/underserved communities for health provider grants and enhanced telehealth services
  • $5 million for the NC Association of Free and Charitable Clinics
  • $1.5 million to NC MedAssist to offset increased costs for prescription assistance
  • $5 million to the NC Community Health Centers Association for costs of health service during COVID-19
  • $20 million to DHHS to mental health and crisis services
  • $19 million to DHHS to provide for food banks, homeless and domestic violence shelters, child care response, and any technology support services
  • $1.8 million to Old North State Medical Society for rural and African American communities to address disparities
  • $65 million for a grant to the NC Healthcare Foundation for hospitals
  • $15 million for teaching hospital relief
  • 5% increase in Medicaid rates for all provider types. Rate increase is effective 3/1/20, and expires on the earliest of the following (1)date the national emergency expiration, (2) executive order on COVID-19 is rescinded, or (3) March 21, 2o21
  • Authorizes DHHS to provide Medicaid coverage for COVID-19 testing
  • Authorizes funding for the purchase and distribution of units of opioid antagonists at no charge to opioid treatment programs
  • Disallows funding for testing and contact tracing until requirements of reporting of certain data are met by NC DHHS
  • Education
  • $75 million to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) for school nutrition services.
  • $1 million to DPI for improving internet connectivity for mobile wifi router devices in school buses.
  • $11 million to DPI for improving internet connectivity through mobile access points.
  • $30 million to DPI for electronic devices for public school students
  • $5 million to DPI for computers or other electronic devices for school personnel
  • $10 million to DPI for school health support for physical and mental health personnel
  • $44.5 million to UNC Board of Governors for increased costs due to online coursework

Economic 

  • $125 million for Golden LEAF for small business loan assistance
  • $9 million to the Department of Information technology for the GREAT program which provides broadband to rural communities

This bill passed in the Senate.

The House passed this bill with a vote of 120-0.

This bill was signed by Governor Cooper on May 4, 2020. This bill is now law.

 
 

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