NCGA House Health Care COVID-19 Committee

The NCGA House Health Care COVID-19 Committee met on April 2, 2020.

Listen to the full audio recording of the meeting here. Public input can be provided to the Committee here.

Federal Law Impact Summary for Health and Human Services

Deborah Landry, from the NC General Assembly Staff provided the Committee a detailed federal law summary for legislation passed relating to health and human services.

Department of Health and Human Services

Dr. Mandy Cohen, MD, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services provided the group with timely information on the status of coronavirus in NC. Currently, coronavirus is located in 79 of 1oo NC counties with ~1,584 cases, ~204 hospitalizations, and ~9 deaths.

She noted that the federal administration has indicated that  supplies are limited. However, DHHS is aggressively looking for sources for critical PPE and ventilators.

Food & Nutrition Programs

NCDHHS received waivers to increase access to food and decrease administrative burdens during this pandemic. Parents are now allowed to have meals delivered or pick up meals for children needing food assistance.

Social Services

NCDHHS relaxed requirements for some face to face interactions for child welfare beneficiaries.

Requests are pending to suspend work requirements for TANF benefits for families who cannot work because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

High Risk Populations and Access to Care

There has been an increase in Medicaid rates by 5% for long term care providers, and a 1.5% increase in Medicaid rates for LME/MCOs.

Hospitals are now able to request a 60 day waiver to limiting their number of licensed beds.

Budget Needs

Secretary Cohen noted that DHHS hopes to maximize federal dollars to the greatest extent possible.

The five areas for budget consideration include:

  • Testing and Treatment for Individuals
  • Critical Health Care Infrastructure and Support
  • Mental Health and Crisis Services
  • Food and Shelter Security
  • Planning and Support for Recovery

Public Health Department Overview

Gibbie Harris, MSPH, BSN, Mecklenburg County Public Health Director and Dr. Marilyn Pearson, MD, Johnston County Public Health Director provided an urban and rural health department perspective on coronavirus.

Both Directors indicated that their biggest challenge was obtaining personal protection equipment.

North Carolina Nurses Association

Tina Gordon, MPA, CEO of the NCNA, and Dr. Dennis Taylor, DNP, PhD, President of the NCNA indicated that their members on the front lines were concerned about the following:

  • Lack of PPE
  • Childcare
  • Safety
  • Bed availability
  • Equipment availability
  • Workforce

Both presenters encouraged the NCGA to aggressively encourage their constituents to support stay at home orders.



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