NCMS Morning Rounds 4-10-19

Happy Wednesday!

Here’s your NCMS Morning Rounds.

Raising Awareness of Early Check Program

‘Early Check’ is a research study that brings together NC nonprofit, academic and state organizations to gather more high-quality data on screening newborns for rare conditions. The program is open to women who are more than 12 weeks pregnant or have a baby less than four weeks old who was born in North Carolina. If your patients are interested, please have them go to or call (866) 881-2715 to learn more and sign up.

The study offers free screening for two rare but serious health problems in newborns, fragile X syndrome and spinal muscular atrophy. As part of the Early Check research these tests are in addition to the regular newborn screening tests done on the blood sample taken by the hospital using a heel prick. No extra appointment is necessary to be part of the research program. Early Check will contact the parent with the results. If the baby tests positive for one of the rare conditions, Early Check will provide information, counseling and recommendations for medical care.

The study is made possible by a partnership between the NC State Laboratory of Public Health, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Duke University and RTI International.

Read an article on Early Check that appeared in the January 2019 NC Medical Journal.

NC Medical Board Annual Report Now Available

The North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB) has posted its 2018 Annual Report, which includes licensee demographics, licensing and enforcement data and highlights of the NCMB’s work throughout 2018. View the document on the NCMB website.

One interesting tidbit: the total number of licensees has grown by 3 percent. The NCMB is the licensing agency for MDs, osteopathic physicians (DOs), physician assistants, residents, perfusionists and anesthesiology assistants. The highest rate of growth for 2018 was in the DO population of licensees at 12 percent. The total number of DOs in the state, however, is still small at 2,500.

Reminder: Are You Connected to NC HealthConnex?

NC HealthConnex is the state’s health information exchange, designed to break down information silos between providers, achieve improved health outcomes for patients and create efficiencies in state-funded programs such as Medicaid. Hospitals, physicians and nurse practitioners who provide Medicaid services and have an electronic health record were required to connect to HealthConnex by June 2018. All other providers of Medicaid and other state-funded services are required to connect by June 2019.

NC HealthConnex offers these tips:

  • If you are part of a larger health system, check to see if your facility is already connected to NC HealthConnex at
  • If your facility shows as connected, reach out to HIEA to find who your participant account administrator is. This person is the main point of contact for your facility regarding NC HealthConnex, and is responsible for managing user accounts as well as providing participating entities with education materials provided by the HIEA.
  • If your practice or organization is not listed on the “See Who’s Connected” list, you will need to sign a participation agreement to begin the connection process. Learn how to connect here.

Please note: Dentists and ambulatory surgical centers are required to submit clinical and demographic data by June 1, 2021. Pharmacies are required to submit claims data pertaining to State services once per day by June 1, 2021 using pharmacy industry standardized formats.

For answers to other questions, review the NC HealthConnex FAQs.

In the News

The Providers, Independent Lens/streaming on PBS stations including UNC-TV, 4-8-19
This new documentary offers a look at the shortage of health care providers in rural America, especially in the midst of the opioid epidemic.

Learning Opportunity

Two sessions dealing with the opioid abuse epidemic are planned for today (Wednesday, April 10) and Thursday, April 11 at the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill.

Race, Health Equity and the Opioid Epidemic: A Panel Discussion,’ will feature four experts speaking from various perspectives on Wednesday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in MacNider 321.

On Thursday, the topic will be ‘White Opioids: Race in the War on Drugs That Wasn’t’ with Helena Hansen, Ph.D., MD, of New York University. This session will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Toy Lounge in Dey Hall.

More information available here.


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