NCMS Morning Rounds 5-18-20

Welcome to another week and your

NCMS Morning Rounds.

  May 18, 2020

NCMS Legislative Update

Last week legislators were in Raleigh for committee meetings to address different aspects of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. This week the full General Assembly is scheduled to reconvene this afternoon.

For an overview of the various committees’ work last week, please visit our Legislative blog. There you’ll find meeting summaries for the House COVID-19 committee’s working groups on Health and Economics as well as the General Assembly’s Revenue Laws Study Committee and Program Evaluation Committee. If you have received revenue through the federal CARES Act or the Paycheck Protection Program you will want to check out these summaries to see what the committees are considering as far as tax changes for these programs. Check out the Program Evaluation Committee report to see the discussion around various state programs that could impact the health of North Carolinians.

As reported earlier, our popular White Coat Wednesday is now available virtually. This is a special opportunity for you to connect with your representatives via Zoom or other virtual means. No need to travel to Raleigh! We will guide you through the process of connecting in this way with your legislators.

If you signed up before the pandemic to participate in an upcoming White Coat Wednesday, NCMS Director of Legislative Relations Sue Ann Forrest, MPA, will be in touch to discuss the current hot topics and arrange meetings with legislators. If you would like to take advantage of this unique opportunity, please visit our White Coat Wednesday to sign up page.

With the many pressing issues brought about by the pandemic, now is an important time to share your perspective with elected officials.

Although it has not made much front page news lately, this is an election year and November is going to be here before you know it. The NCMS PAC plays a vital role in establishing and maintaining relationships with state and federal office holders. These relationships are fundamental to our advocacy success in furthering our short and long term priorities! Your contributions to our NCMS PAC are crucially important. Please consider a donation to our PAC today. Make your contribution here.

US House Considers/Passes HEROES Act

The US House on Friday night passed HR 6800 the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act or HEROES Act with a vote of 208 to 199 mostly along party lines. This $3 trillion relief package is unlikely to gain traction in the Repulican-led Senate, however.

The AMA has produced a detailed summary of the legislation and how it may impact your practice. Read the AMA’s overview.

Last week, the AMA sent a letter to House leaders, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, expressing support for the HEROES Act. The legislation provides “stability for physician practices and promotes public health,” states AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD, in the letter. Read the letter.

Helping to ensure the financial stability of NC medical practices during this pandemic is key to our longterm mission of improving the health of North Carolinians.

Emotional Support for You

Two hotlines and a support group are immediately available to help health care professionals deal with the emotional and psychological toll of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As already reported, the Physician Support Line – 1-888-409-0141 – was created in March to provide confidential peer-to-peer support for MD’s/DO’s working on the frontlines of COVID-19. The Line is staffed by over 700 volunteer psychiatrists from across the country, and is now being supported from 8 a.m. until 3 a.m. 7 days a week.

Another North Carolina option is the newly created Hope4Healers hotline – 919-226-2002 – available 24/7 and staffed by a large volunteer force of licensed mental health professionals providing pro bono mental health support for health care workers on the front lines and their families. Callers will be connected to professionals who will provide short-term support to cope and build resilience. The conversations will take place through secure phone or video chat. This hotline now also provides services for childcare workers and first responders.

Hope4Healers is an initiative of the NC Department of Health and Human Services in conjunction with the Disaster Response Network of the North Carolina Psychological Foundation with help from the NC Psychiatric Association.

The NC Professionals Health Program (NCPHP) is offering a series of on-line Covid-19 support groups facilitated by mental health professionals all across the state. The facilitators are experienced in working with medical professionals and are known to NCPHP.

These groups will support and provide a place to share your struggles, your victories and allow you to connect with other medical professionals in your community who are going through the same emotions. NCPHP is providing these groups as a free service and attendance in these sessions will be not be shared with our organization, or any others.

If you are interested, please email your name and closest urban area, e.g., John Doe – Greenville, to The information will be passed along to the group facilitator who will reach out to you with information about the group time and on-line format. NCPHP hopes to get at least six interested group members to start a group.

If you have any questions, please reach out to NCPHP CEO Joe Jordan, PhD, at or to NCPHP Medical Director, Clark Gaither, MD at

In the News

Childhood Vaccinations Plunge Since COVID-19 Pandemic Started, CDC Says, CNN, 5-8-20

Learning Opportunity

Southern Regional AHEC and Cape Fear Valley Health will present “Addressing Health Disparities During a Pandemic: Inaction and Inequity OR Inclusion and Innovation?” on Wednesday, June 3 from noon to 1 p.m. Kenyon Michael Railey, MD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Community & Family Medicine as well as Assistant Chief Diversity Officer in the Duke University School of Medicine, will present this webinar. There is no charge. Learn more and register here.


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1 Comment

  • Elaine Ellis

    Comment from John Dykers, MD (
    I suggest we put slowed practices back to work doing both RT-PCR and antibody tests for everyone who wants one.(we have plenty of tests – Labcorps has unused capacity – and PPE most places now) Then contact tracing positive PCR’s and quarantining. Relieve anxiety and relieve Health Departments who are seeing this as an “impossible” task for them. Our patients will know most of the people with whom they would have had frequent contact. This would simultaneously bring in people for available immunizations and management of chronic diseases, particularly diabetes, hypertension, and kidney disease, all of which increase susceptibility to COVID19. We demonstrated that Hgb Aic less than 7.3 decreased susceptibility to infection and the Hgb Aic over 8.1 increases susceptibility.
    Thanks, JRD


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