NCMS Morning Rounds 2-10-20

Welcome to a new week and your Monday

NCMS Morning Rounds.

Feb. 10, 2020

NCMS Legislative Update

Tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 11, the NC General Assembly’s Joint Legislative Committee on Health and Human Services will convene at 9:30 a.m. and the Joint Legislative Committee on Medicaid will convene that afternoon at 1 p.m. The agenda for the first meeting has yet to be published. The second committee is likely to discuss the status of the state’s Medicaid transformation to managed care. You can listen to the proceedings remotely online here. The committee meets in 1027/1128 in the legislative building. Watch your NCMS Morning Rounds and our Legislative blog for the news out of these committees.

The transition to Medicaid managed care has been suspended due to a stalemate over passage of a new state budget. Last week, 150 IT contract workers with the NC Department of Health and Human Services were let go due to the lack of a new budget. Read more about the layoff in this Raleigh News & Observer article.

Your NCMS Government Affairs staff is using this time between the end of last year’s extremely lengthy long legislative session and the upcoming short session, slated to begin April 28, to visit with you. NCMS Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Associate General Counsel Chip Baggett, JD, and Director of Legislative Relations Sue Ann Forrest, MPA, are traveling throughout the state to speak to physicians and PAs about the last legislative session, what’s ahead this year and the 2020 elections in your area. If you would like to have them visit your group, please contact us at or call 919-833-3836.

Tax Credits Help Patients and Families

Tax season is upon us again, but beyond contemplating your own tax preparation, encouraging your patients and their families to file taxes to take advantage of federal and state government tax credits for working people can make a big difference in their lives and health.

“Poverty is a significant risk factor for poor health and patients and their families need to be financially secure in order to be healthy,” said longtime NCMS leader and NCMS Foundation trustee Gerri Mattson, MD, MSPH, FAAP. “Physicians and PAs have a role in assessment and linkage to resources to help reduce the numbers of patients and families in poverty.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) highlights the fact that earned income tax credits and child tax credits can make a difference and help lift millions of people out of poverty with additional demonstrated benefits such as “more prenatal care, less maternal stress, and signs of better infant health. Children in families who receive these tax credits also have a better chance of finishing high school and going to college.” Read more about the AAP’s research and policy on this.

Tax preparation can often be overwhelming and difficult for many families, but luckily help is available. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program supports free tax preparation services through partner organizations to help qualified low- to moderate-income individuals (who generally make $56,000 or less) prepare their taxes. The program is also available to taxpayers with disabilities and those with limited English proficiency. This VITA locator tool identifies sites across the country using a zip code. VITA sites are still being added, so patients should check back regularly if the locator does not show a site near them.

The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, especially those who are 60 years of age and older, and specializes in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues related to seniors. Most TCE sites are operated by the AARP Foundation’s Tax Aide program. Locate the nearest AARP TCE Tax-Aide site using this tool or call 888-227-7669.

Support the Urban Ministries Open Door Clinic – with Fashion

The Wake County Medical Society Alliance will hold their annual fashion show on March 18 at the North Hills Club in Raleigh. The proceeds from the show and raffle will support the Urban Ministries Open Door Clinic in Raleigh.

Buy your tickets to support this clinic’s important work.

In the News

Why Calorie Counts Aren’t As Accurate As You Think, The Advisory Board Forum, 2-6-20

Learning Opportunity

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) is holding a listening session regarding Substance Use Disorders: Availability of Benefits on Tuesday, Feb. 18 from 1:30 to 3 p.m.

The Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (SUPPORT Act) outlines national strategies to help address opioid misuse. As part of Section 6084, CMS must evaluate the extent to which Medicare Advantage plans offer supplemental benefits to treat or prevent Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) not otherwise covered under traditional Medicare, including how clinicians are impacted by the availability of supplemental benefits used to treat SUDs.

CMS wants to collect your feedback on:
• What supplemental benefits do you use now to treat your Medicare Advantage patients with SUDs?
• Are there any challenges associated with accessing or using these supplemental benefits to treat patients, and if so, what are they?
• What benefits currently exist in the medical community for treatment of SUDs that you would like to see offered by your Medicare Advantage plan in the future?

Target Audience: Clinicians and state and national associations that represent health care providers.

Register for the listening session webinar.



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