NCMS Morning Rounds 5-18-21

Happy Tuesday! Here is your NCMS Morning Rounds.

May 18, 2021

Don’t forget tonight’s (Tuesday, May 18) training webinar from 6 to 7 p.m. on how to become a vaccine provider. The NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Immunization Branch invites you to attend ‘Becoming a COVID-19 Vaccine Provider: We Need YOU!’ Register here.

NCMS Board of Directors Approves New Policies

At its regular meeting held Saturday and Sunday, May 15-16, the NCMS Board of Directors accepted several policy recommendations from the Policy and the Ethical and Judicial Affairs committees on telehealth, digital health equity, gifts to physicians and PAs from industry and on legislative efforts related to advanced directives.

Telehealth and Digital Health Equity

The NCMS’ Policy Committee’s recommended and the Board agreed that the NCMS encourage telehealth services by supporting:
• Efforts and funding for programs and innovations that resolve existing barriers to telehealth access for health care providers and persons of North Carolina;
• Equitable telehealth coverage for all appropriate medical services, patient types, provider types, locations, secure devices and modalities, by all government and commercial payers;
• Parity in payment for telehealth services provided and accurately documented by any licensed and qualified health care provider when medically appropriate;
• The promotion of transparency to patients and providers regarding their choice when accessing telehealth services, and for preserving continuity of care with the patient’s established providers, including their medical home;
• Continuing efforts to safeguard patient privacy and program integrity through effective and considerate regulations and requirements that allow for the support and innovation of technology-based care; and
• Ongoing efforts to establish and define quality metrics for telehealth visits that align with the service standard of care as well as preserves and promotes patient safety and access.

The Board of Directors also approved the Policy Committee’s recommendation to achieve digital health equity for all North Carolinians by:

• Promoting efforts to achieve equal access to digital health care and equal outcomes from digital health care regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, income, and/or geography;
• Promoting efforts to ensure equitable access to health equipment, information and digital health literacy training opportunities across the state that are adaptive to individuals’ diverse needs, skills, identities, languages, abilities, and disabilities;
• Promoting efforts to incorporate digital health equity into health provider training at the individual and institutional levels. This includes assessing for those at risk for barriers to digital health and ways to close those gaps.
• Promoting efforts to ensure health care providers, health systems, insurers and government agencies have digital health strategies that identify and address potential gaps in digital health care and consider patients’ sociocultural backgrounds and digital health literacy.

Gifts to Physicians and PAs from Industry

The NCMS Board also approved an edit to the current NCMS policy titled “Position on Gifts to Physicians from Industry” as recommended by the NCMS Ethical and Judicial Affairs Committee. The updated policy states that the NCMS supports the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs of the American Medical Association ethical opinion on this topic, which you can review here, as well as the American Academy of Physician Assistants’ Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the PA Profession, which is available for review here.

The NCMS also ‘supports efforts by physicians and PAs to carefully reflect on, examine and manage their relationships with representatives from pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies so as to avoid the creation and/or appearance of any undue influence or bias.’

After some discussion, the Board of Directors also agreed to have the committee form a work group to examine and possibly make a recommendation back to the Board on financial relationships for training programs for physicians and PAs, which are subsidized by industry.

Legislative Efforts Related to Advance Directives

The Board also approved the Ethical and Judicial Affairs Committee recommendation to encourage the General Assembly to make the following changes, which were implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, permanent: (1) allow video notary and witnessing, and (2) permit the signature of either two witnesses or a notary for advance directive completion. These changes are designed to modernize and enhance the advance care planning process.

Pilot Program Offers Free Opioid Prescribing Training

For a limited time, Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC), a leading provider of education on safer pain management and substance use treatment in primary care, is offering personalized, one-on-one, virtual training to clinicians who wish to strengthen their opioid prescribing.

The MAHEC program uses a technique known as academic detailing. This innovative training approach pairs prescribers with medical educators who provide tailored guidance for participants. Academic detailing can support a wide range of opioid prescribing needs including best practices for treating chronic pain and recognizing and treating opioid use disorder including the use of medications for opioid use disorder also known as medication-assisted treatment or MAT.

Licensees asked or directed to address knowledge gaps identified in an NCMB investigation may choose academic detailing through MAHEC to satisfy continuing medical education requirements. To help MAHEC thoroughly assess the effectiveness of academic detailing at improving practice, academic detailing is also available to any prescriber who is interested in enhancing prescribing skills, subject to availability. There is no cost to prescribers and training is provided virtually, enabling MAHEC to serve prescribers in any part of North Carolina.

Space in this pilot program is limited. You can learn more about these services in this informational flyer.

Medicare Shared Savings Program Application: NOIA Opens June 1

Beginning June 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will accept Notices of Intent to Apply (NOIAs) for the Medicare Shared Savings Program starting Jan. 1, 2022. The Application Toolkit and Application Types & Timeline webpages have been updated to help you prepare your applications.

If you intend to apply, you must submit a NOIA via the ACO Management System here by June 7 at noon. This doesn’t bind your organization to submit an application. Each ACO should only submit one NOIA. After you submit your NOIA, submit your application from June 8 to June 28 by noon.

Learn more about the Medicare Shared Savings Program here.

In the News

CDC Says Vaccinated Americans Can Go (Mostly) Maskless. Is It Too Soon? Advisory Board, 5-14-21

Learning Opportunity

Navigating COVID-19 Webinar Series, Tuesday, May 25 | 5:45-7 p.m.

This webinar will feature a discussion on Optimizing Workflow While Integrating Telehealth and In-Person Visits and Simultaneously Fulfilling Board Practice Improvement Requirements. Join experts, pediatrician Dr. Yun Boylston and family physician Dr. Mark McNeill, along with Dr. Libby Baxley from ABFM and Dr. Keith Mann from the ABP, as well as moderator Dr. Tom Wroth with CCNC and host Hugh Tilson with AHEC, for this great conversation about how things you are doing in your practice today can satisfy your board practice improvement requirements.

Join Zoom meeting room 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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