NCMS Morning Rounds 10-21-19

Welcome to a new week and your

NCMS Morning Rounds.

Oct. 21, 2019

NCMS Legislative Update

It was a quiet week at the NC General Assembly last week with no voting sessions or committee meetings held. In the coming week, much of legislators’ attention will focus on the bills assigned to a conference committee. Among those are several pieces of legislation that are health care-related and being tracked by your NCMS advocacy team.

SB 212 — Suspend Child Welfare/Aging Component/NC FAST This bill would Postpone NC FAST Case Management and require the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) to suspend development of NC families accessing services through NC FAST until May 1, 2020.

SB 361 – Health Care Expansion Act of 2019/Healthy NC This proposal originally contained CON provisions, but has been through numerous hearings and revisions before arriving in conference committee.

SB 681 – Rural Health Care Stabilization Act This bill would establish the Rural Health Care Stabilization Program to provide loans to eligible applicants for the support of eligible hospitals located in rural areas that are in financial crisis.

The NC House and Senate will return to Raleigh to resume their work this evening. Stay tuned to your NCMS Legislative blog as well as your weekly NCMS Political Pulse video and, of course, your NCMS Morning Rounds newsletter for all the legislative news that can impact your practice.

NCMS E-Prescribing Survey Still Open for Your Input

Don’t forget to add whether your practice is ready to begin opioid e-prescribing by the mandated Jan. 1, 2020 start date. Our brief, 5-question survey, which includes an opportunity to share your thoughts on this requirement, is still open. Take the survey now.

Thank you to the many NCMS members who have already responded. The information gathered is useful to our advocacy efforts. The initial response also reveals there is some confusion about what the e-prescribing provision requires. Learn more about the law at the NC Medical Board’s e-prescribing FAQ page as well as at their STOP Act resource page. A particularly common question seems to be which drugs are included in the provision. Here is the list.

Flu Season Has Officially Begun

The first flu report from Oct. 10 showed influenza activity in North Carolina increased slightly compared to mild summer activity and is sporadic. This is expected for this time of year and flu activity will continue to increase throughout the fall, according to NC DHHS, which is urging the public to get flu shots.

Weekly updates on flu surveillance data are posted online at The flu report will be posted every Thursday throughout the flu season with updated data from around the state on flu activity and other viral respiratory illnesses.

During the 2018-19 flu season, 208 flu deaths were reported in North Carolina. Of those 208 deaths, 133 were people age 65 and older and five were children under the age of 18.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccination against the flu for everyone 6 months and older with any licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccine.

Vaccination against the flu can make illness milder and reduce the risk of more serious outcomes, making it especially important for those at higher risk of complications, such as people over 65, children younger than 5, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or obesity.

A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics in 2017 showed that flu vaccination significantly reduced a child’s risk of dying from the flu. The study, which looked at data from four flu seasons from 2010-2014, found that flu vaccination reduced the risk of flu-associated death by half among children with underlying, high-risk medical conditions and by nearly two-thirds among healthy children.

In the News

Check Out the New Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Graphic from Healthy People 2020, US Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 9-19-19

Learning Opportunity

A workshop examining ‘The World of Emerging Drugs’ will be held Nov. 1 from 9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. in Charlotte. The focus will be on current and emerging trends of drugs, particularly opioids as well as new ways some of the ‘old’ substances are being used. Presenters will define terms, talk about the drugs, effects, slang/street names and how they are used, including over-the-counter drugs that are being misused. Learn more and register.



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