NCMS Morning Rounds 1-8-20

Halfway through the week, and here is your

Wednesday NCMS Morning Rounds.

Jan. 8, 2020

Prediction: This Flu Season Will Be Severe

As of Dec. 28, 2019, the NC Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health reports that 10 North Carolina residents have died of influenza. Review the state’s latest flu report.

State data are on track with the nationwide trends, showing that this flu season is likely to be ‘severe.’

In a CNN report, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said while it’s impossible to predict how the flu will play out, the season so far is on track to be as severe as the 2017-2018 flu season, which was the deadliest in more than four decades, according to the CDC. Watch the CNN report.

The CDC data shows that flu is widespread throughout most of the country. Review the CDC’s latest ‘FluView’ report.

Several hospitals and health systems have restricted visitors in response to high levels of flu in the communities, including, most recently, Carteret Health Care.

CDC offers this guidance for health professionals on preventing and treating influenza.

Improved Sharing of Veterans’ Health Information through NC HealthConnex

North Carolina has one of the largest military populations in the country and the military is the second largest employer in the state, making veteran health care support of special importance. Through the state-designated health information exchange, NC HealthConnex, participants will now have broader access to veterans’ health information to support improved treatment and care coordination.

The VA MISSION Act, an act that was implemented in July 2019 to help expand patient access to care and boost community care options, will allow practices in early 2020 to have access to veterans’ medical information. With the new opt out model at the VA, NC HealthConnex participating health care practices will be able to improve care coordination and maintain the most up-to-date patient information for veterans receiving care from multiple providers.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Medical Information Exchange (DMIX) is now available to NC HealthConnex participants via the HIEA’s eHealth Exchange connection to provide secure and seamless electronic access and share comprehensive health and administrative information for military and veteran personnel.

The DMIX system facilitates the rapid exchange of patient and beneficiary information, especially in emergency situations, yielding consolidated, coherent and consistent access to electronic heath records. This will enable integrated health data sharing among the Military Health System (MHS) GENESIS system, legacy DoD systems, VA systems, other federal agencies and private sector health providers.

According to the DoD, NC HealthConnex participants provided more than $4 million in health care services to Military Health Service beneficiaries in 2018. The DoD’s military treatment facility sites that are the most impacted by onboarding NC HealthConnex with the DMIX are Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, NHC Cherry Point, AF-C-4th MEDGRP-SJ and Portsmouth. NC HealthConnex participants are able to query the DMIX system via the web-based clinical portal.

The DoD reports that the DMIX system will increase the amount of military health service beneficiary health care information that will be available for sharing by more than 50 percent.

Learn more about the Veteran’s Health Information Exchange.

For more news from NC HealthConnex, read its January update.

In Memoriam: Dr. Robert Bashford, a Champion of Rural Health Initiatives

Robert Bashford, MD, Associate Dean for Rural Initiatives and former Associate Dean for Admissions at the University of North Carolina, School of Medicine, died on Dec. 31. A native North Carolinian, Dr. Bashford was most effective in bringing health care to rural and underserved areas of the state. He was a member of the NCMS’ Community Practitioner Program Advisory Committee and he was instrumental in the development of the Kenan Rural Scholars program at UNC, which created a pipeline of physicians committed to service in underserved areas of North Carolina, both urban and rural.

As leader of UNC’s Office of Rural Initiatives, Dr. Bashford oversaw rural health programs for medical students, an interprofessional training program for students from across UNC’s health affairs schools, as well as outreach to undergraduates, high school students, and others across the state.

Dr. Bashford graduated from NC State University in 1967 and earned his MD from the UNC School of Medicine in 1971. He completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at UNC in 1975, and he practiced for 12 years in Wilmington. He then returned to UNC in 1987 to complete a second residency and fellowship in Psychiatry, which he practiced at UNC for the past 25 years. During this tenure, he received five Medical School-wide teaching awards and was asked to be the Medical School Commencement speaker an unprecedented seven times.

In a message to the UNC Medical School community, Wesley Burks, MD, CEO of UNC Health Care and Cristy Page, MD, executive dean of the school of medicine, lauded their colleague.

“Dr. Bashford’s impact on our School and our state is difficult to quantify. He served as Associate Dean for Admissions for many years, presiding over the admission of nearly 1,500 students dedicated – as he put it—to ‘the genuine journey for a life of science and service,’” they wrote. “He will be remembered for the genuine joy, optimism and enthusiasm he brought to his work, feelings you couldn’t help but share after just a few minutes around him. While he will be deeply missed, his impact will continue to be felt as the students he recruited, trained, and mentored care for people all across North Carolina.”

We extend our sympathies to Dr. Bashford’s family. A memorial reception for all who knew Dr. Bashford will be held at The Carolina Club (George Watts Hill Alumni Center, 550 Stadium Drive, Chapel Hill) this Friday, Jan. 10 from 2-4 PM. Memorial contributions may be made to the UNC Medical Foundation (123 W. Franklin St. #510, Chapel Hill, NC, 27516), to advance the work of medical school admissions and rural initiatives.

In the News

Watch: Behind the Troubling Rise of Uninsured American Kids, PBS NewsHour, Kaiser Health News, 1-3-20

Learning Opportunity

Curious about NC HealthConnex? A ‘How to Connect Call’ will be held on Monday, Jan. 27 at 12 p.m. to learn more about NC HealthConnex, the state mandate and how to connect as well as the Health Information Exchange’s value-added features. Register now.


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