NCMS Morning Rounds 4-29-21

 Here’s your Thursday NCMS Morning Rounds.

April 29, 2021

Requirements Eased for Prescribing Buprenorphine

On Tuesday, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued new practice guidelines for administration of buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder. Read the guidelines here.

The change is in keeping with an earlier announcement in January allowing almost any prescriber to treat patients using buprenorphine without going through separate training to apply for what is called an X-waiver. Buprenorphine is considered an effective treatment for opioid addiction. Read the press release on the latest guidance.

In the new guidelines, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra states: “Addressing the perceived barriers around prescribing buprenorphine by exempting practitioners from the certification requirements related to training, counseling and other ancillary services (i.e. psychosocial services), may increase the availability of Medication-based Opioid Use Disorder Treatment (MOUD), and help address barriers to care for OUD.”

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that drug overdoses have accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. See the data on overdoses before and as the pandemic continues here.

You may find more information about the exemption at Quick Start Guide – PDF and FAQs. Also, check out the NCMS Foundation’s Project OBOT for a collaborative approach to treating OUD.

Leadership Development Opportunities Abound!

Several opportunities to learn more about programs to develop your leadership potential are coming up soon!

On Monday, May 10 from 5 to 6 p.m. the Campbell University Master of Health Professions Education (MHPE) program will hold a virtual open house. Faculty and participants in this program will highlight how this program connects to real issues and offers real-life practical applications. Several NCMS staff members serve as faculty in this program. Register for the open house here to learn more.

The NC Public Health Association currently is recruiting for its Emerging Leaders Program, which begins in September. This is a customized program of the NCMS Foundation’s Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership. Here is what Tony V. Locklear, Quality Improvement Coordinator with the Hoke County Health Department, an alumnus of the program, had to say about what it provided him:

The Emerging Leaders Program provided a holistically-structured framework of leadership principles and tenets that increased my leadership capacity and enhanced my professional toolkit. I had the opportunity to share my thoughts and ideas with fellow participants through peer-to-peer consultation and experiential learning sessions. Through this peer-assisted support and personal self-reflection, I gained new insight and perspective on handling workplace challenges, especially in light of the rapidly changing novel human Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). It is without reservation that I recommend this program to anyone interested in improving their leadership knowledge and skill set.”

If you are interested in the NCPHA’s Emerging Leaders Program, please contact Kim Dittman at NCPHA

And of course remember the Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership programs also is accepting applications for the 2022 class of scholars for its Leadership College and Health Care Leadership and If you would like to learn more about these programs, please submit an interest form, or email Aubrey Cuthbertson at Access the interest form for Leadership College here and the form for Health Care Leadership and Management here.

Nomination Period Open for MACRA Wave 4 Clinician Expert Workgroups

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and its contractor, Acumen, LLC, are seeking nominations for Wave 4 of the Clinician Expert Workgroups that will provide input on the development of 4 episode-based cost measures for potential use in the Quality Payment Program. The nomination period opened in April 2021, and stakeholders are invited to submit nominations between now and May 21, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Acumen will convene the following Clinician Expert Workgroups (“workgroups”) in June 2021, which are based on the episode groups selected by CMS and informed by stakeholder input received through the public comment period:
• Emergency Medicine
• Heart Failure
• Low Back Pain
• Major Depressive Disorder

Clinicians interested in joining a workgroup for the first time may submit their nomination through this web-based nomination form. Wave 3 Clinical Subcommittee and workgroup members who are interested in continuing their involvement should indicate interest in an abbreviated form to be shared directly via email. Individuals who participated in Acumen stakeholder groups other than Wave 3 should fill out the full public nomination form to ensure that Acumen has the most recent information. For more information, please refer to the Call for Nominations posting website or the full nomination form.

If you have any questions, please contact the Acumen MACRA Clinical Committee Support Team at

In the News

CDC: Fully Vaccinated Americans Don’t Need Masks Outside In Most Scenarios, Becker’s Hospital Review, 4-27-21

Learning Opportunity

Intensive Behavioral Health Approaches to Tobacco Treatment, Tuesday, May 4 from 11 a.m. to p.m.
The aim is to assist healthcare professionals with acquiring improved skills in behavioral interventions for tobacco use treatment.

Learn more and register here.

If you have policies you’d like your NCMS Board of Directors to consider, please complete the Board input form here. Thanks for reading!



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