NCMS Morning Rounds 2-5-20

Halfway through the work week! Enjoy your

NCMS Morning Rounds.

Feb. 5, 2020

NCMS Foundation Delivers More Disaster Relief

Two more eastern North Carolina practices have received NCMS Foundation Disaster Relief funds to help them recover from damage sustained during Hurricane Florence.

Raaj Amin, MD, of Sandpiper Pediatrics in Delco, NC, accepted a check for $13,500 from the NCMS Foundation last week.

Slade Suchecki, DO, of Brunswick Family Medicine in Southport, NC, received a check for $19,476.

“Many thanks to the Medical Society and its Foundation,” Dr. Suchecki said. “Brunswick Family Medicine suffered some losses, as did so many of our colleagues, from Florence. The town and our office were isolated for some time. Flooding and water damage took its toll. The disaster funding so generously granted by the foundation will go a long way in getting us back on track. It is good to know, as a physician, someone is looking out for us.”

Thanks to generous contributions from individual physicians, The Physicians Foundation and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the NCMS Foundation’s Disaster Relief Program has awarded more than $500,000 to 30 practices impacted by Hurricane Florence. The long process of recovery continues, and the Disaster Relief Program is helping to ensure that communities devastated by the storm continue to have access to local medical care.

While the application period for relief from Hurricane Florence has closed, you can still contribute to the NCMS Foundation’s Disaster Relief Program to be ready for future needs.

State Issues Coronavirus Order and Guidance

NC State Health Director Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, MD, MPH has issued a temporary order requiring physicians licensed to practice medicine as well as laboratories operating in the State to report suspected or confirmed novel coronavirus infections. The order reads as follows:

“This order is based upon a finding that reports of novel coronavirus infections are necessary for surveillance of a communicable disease that presents a danger to the public health. The report is required to be made immediately when novel coronavirus infection is reasonably suspected to exist. The physician shall make the report to the local health director of the county or district in which the patient resides. The local health director shall immediately report the infection to the Division of Public Health. The laboratory shall make the report directly to the Division of Public Health. This order is effective Monday, February 3rd, 2020 and expires in 90 days.”

Information about the nature and spread of the coronavirus is rapidly evolving. Dr. Tilson recommended that you regularly check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state websites focused on the latest information on the virus. Access the CDC site here. Get the most up-to-date state information here.

NC Poison Control also has set up a helpline for anyone with questions about the symptoms, risk factors, how coronavirus spreads and possible precautions. The number is 866-462-3821 and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

NCMS Signs on to Letter on Medicaid Funding

The NCMS along with the other 49 state medical associations, the Medical Society of the District of Columbia and 12 specialty societies sent a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma in strong opposition to the Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Rule (MFAR), calling on CMS to withdraw the proposed rule.

According to CMS, MFAR would promote transparency by establishing new reporting requirements related to supplemental payments to Medicaid providers and upper payment limits (UPL) on what providers can be paid by Medicaid programs. In addition to new reporting requirements, the rule makes changes to the rules and review of supplemental payments and UPL arrangements as well as changes to financing the non-federal share of Medicaid with new requirements and reviews of state financing mechanisms.

The NCMS and the other societies that signed onto the letter to Verma, said the proposal represents a substantial shift in the state-federal Medicaid partnership and a reversal of more than two decades of policy that allowed states different options for financing their share of medical care in order to receive federal Medicaid matching dollars. They urge CMS to withdraw the proposed rule and work with states, physicians, and patients on alternatives that will ensure not only efficient use of taxpayer dollars, but also protect patient access to Medicaid services.

Read the letter from the state medical associations as well as this letter from the National Governor’s Association, which is a bipartisan letter of opposition to MFAR.
While the public comment deadline was Feb. 1, Governors and members of Congress are not bound by that deadline, so encouraging them to weigh-in with CMS is the current strategy.

In the News

Beyond Burnout: Doctors Decry ‘Moral Injury’ from Financial Pressures of Health Care, Kaiser Health News, 2-4-20

Learning Opportunity

This month’s NCMS Foundation/NC Medical Group Management Association Lunch & Learn Webinar on Tuesday, Feb. 18, from noon to 1 p.m. will focus on Diabetes Free NC and feature NCMS Vice President for Rural Health Systems and Executive Director of the NCMS Foundation’s Our Community Health Initiative Franklin Walker, MBA.

More than 84 million Americans or 1 in 3 adults has prediabetes, and the majority of them don’t know they have it. Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions, and if prediabetes is left undetected and untreated, the progression to diabetes will continue to place a tremendous strain on physicians, clinical practices and health care costs associated with diabetes care and management. Through the statewide initiative in North Carolina to prevent type 2 diabetes called DiabetesFreeNC, physicians and care teams have an opportunity to support their patients with prediabetes with a free or low-cost, evidence-based National Diabetes Prevention Program.

Learn more and register.


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