NCMS Morning Rounds 11-6-19

Happy mid-week. Time for your Wednesday

NCMS Morning Rounds.

Nov. 6, 2019

We apologize that due to technical difficulties with our email platform over the past several days, we have not been able to send the NCMS Morning Rounds directly to your email box. Every issue, however, is archived on our website,, so visit our homepage anytime to catch up on the news. 

NC Receives D+ for Pre-Term Birth Rate

The March of Dimes 2019 state-by-state ‘report card,’ which was released this week and grades progress on infant and maternal health, gave North Carolina a D+ for the state’s pre-term birth rate of 10.4 percent. Premature birth and its complications are the largest contributors to infant death in the U.S., and preterm birth rates have been increasing for four years, according to the report.

The report also examines racial disparities and selected social determinants of health that are risk factors impacting maternal and infant health. The results are broken out by county and city. Several recommendations are offered for how to improve health outcomes as well.

Review the report card for North Carolina.

The NCMS has convened two Maternal and Infant Health Summits this year, which brought together a variety of stakeholders to discuss the efforts already underway to improve maternal and infant health in the state and how to collaborate and maximize these initiatives. A third Summit is being planned for 2020. Watch your NCMS Morning Rounds for details in the coming months.

Medicaid Contracting Deadline Looms – It’s Next Friday!

Physician contracts are due by Nov. 15 to one or more of the pre-paid health plans that will be providing health care to Medicaid beneficiaries as the state moves to Medicaid managed care. By having a signed contract with one or more of the five health plans that the state has selected to provide Medicaid services, physicians will be in-network with the plan(s).
The NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is encouraging practices to continue contract negotiations with the health plans and finalize contracts as soon as possible. For information on contracting with the health plan, contact them directly. Here is that contact information.

The NCMS is a partner along with the NC Community Health Center Association and Centene Corporation in Carolina Complete Health, one of the five Medicaid managed care plans approved by the state.

Learn more about why the state has given physicians until Nov. 15 to complete their contracts. Also, NCDHHS has compiled this list of frequently asked questions about the process.

NC Legislature Updated Medical Practice Act

During its especially lengthy long session the NC General Assembly did pass legislation to update the NC Medical Board’s (NCMB) authorizing statute, the Medical Practice Act.

The update includes many technical and substantive changes, including:
• Duty to Report: Establishes a new requirement, effective Oct. 1, 2019, for NCMB licensees to report sexual misconduct involving a patient, fraudulent prescribing, drug diversion, or theft of any controlled substances that the licensee reasonably believes has been committed by any person licensed by the Board. Access the reporting form or to learn more about the new requirement.
• Automatic and permanent revocation or denial for felony conviction of sex crimes: Creates a new crime of sexual misconduct under the pretext of medical treatment and strengthens the Board’s ability to deny or withdraw licensure if individuals have been convicted of felony sex crimes. Under the law as amended, the Board shall permanently revoke the license or deny the application of any individual convicted of a felony sex crime, and the convicted licensee would be ineligible for reinstatement.
• Expanding scope of volunteer licenses: As amended the law now permits volunteer license holders to work “in association” with an indigent clinic. This change will allow volunteers to do home visits or practice via telemedicine, as long as this is done in association with an indigent clinic.
• Malpractice Reporting: Changes to the law obligate licensees with a malpractice carrier that is owned and operated outside of North Carolina to report any malpractice judgments, awards or settlements within 30 days. Previously, only licensees with NC-based and operated carriers were required to make such reports.
• Death Certificates: Expands authorization of who can sign a death certificate in the absence of the treating provider as long as the individual makes reasonable efforts to determine the cause of death. The law also grants civil and professional immunity to those completing death certificates in good faith.

Read the full text of the bill, Session Law 2019-191.

In the News

Rise in Religious Vaccine Exemptions Suggests Some Parents Are Making False Claims, Study Suggests, STAT, 11-4-19

Learning Opportunity

NCMS Offers Practice Management Workshop at NCACFP Winter Meeting
NCMS staff are offering another in our annual series of practice management workshops as part of the NC Academy of Family Physicians Winter Family Physician Weekend, to be held in Asheville, Dec. 5-8.

NCMS Vice President for Rural Health Systems Innovation Franklin Walker, MBA, who has consulted with hundreds of physician and physician assistant practices throughout the state over the years, will be on hand for the Friday, Dec. 6, workshop “Value-based Health Care and Leadership,” along with NCMS Senior Vice President for Health System Innovation and Deputy General Counsel Melanie Phelps, JD, and the NCMS Foundation’s Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership Program Manager Aubrey Cuthbertson.

The NCMS traditionally holds a practice management workshop at this annual gathering of family physicians to address issues faced by primary care practices, particularly in rural areas. This year, issues to be discussed include coding, accountable care, population health and the role of physician leadership. Learn more and register


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