NCMS Morning Rounds 5-24-21

Happy Monday! Please enjoy your NCMS Morning Rounds.

May 24, 2021

NCMS Legislative Update

While the NC House was relatively quiet last week, the NC Senate was busy with several legislative proposals including one bill, HB 395 – HIE Deadline Extension and Patient Protection, which would extend the deadline for connection to the state’s Health Information Exchange (NC HealthConnex) for certain groups. To help inform the discussion, the NCMS circulated a survey asking you for input on your experience in connecting to the HIE. Thank you to those who have already responded. If you haven’t yet weighed in, please do so here. The survey is only four questions long and your answers will be helpful as we advocate on your behalf on this issue.,

The Senate also acted quickly to pass SB172 – Additional COVID-19 Response and Relief, which includes some health care related provisions to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill regulating pharmacy benefit managers, SB257 – Medication Cost Transparency Act, also made it through the Senate Commerce and Insurance Committee last week.

In other news, HB947—the GREAT Broadband Expansion Act also moved this week. This proposal expands the GREAT grant program, which provides money for expanding broadband in rural and underserved areas. The NCMS has supported this program in the past and was pleased that the legislation is moving forward.

As the session progresses, be sure to consider reaching out to your legislators to meet with them individually or as part of one of our White Coat days – no longer just on Wednesdays since we have electronic access to legislators any day of the week. Learn more and sign up here. Please reach out to the NCMS’ Michael DeSantis with questions at

CMS Agrees to Reweighting MIPS Cost Performance Category

Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that the 2020 MIPS Cost Performance Category will be reweighted to 0 percent of the final score even if eligible physicians or groups submitted 2020 data in other MIPS categories in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For over a year, the AMA had been recommending that CMS zero out this category during the pandemic for several reasons, including concerns that decreases in patient visits and increases in the costs of caring for patients with COVID-19 could unfairly penalize physicians. Kudos to CMS for holding physicians harmless from unfair evaluations in the MIPS Cost Performance Category as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The AMA also strongly supports CMS’ decision to release the 2018 and 2019 cost measure benchmark files, which the AMA will review closely to identify the target spending for those years, how the benchmarks capture any variations in spending and whether the benchmarks are leading to fair and valid comparisons among physicians. This information should be informative for specialty societies that are engaged in the ongoing development of new episode-based cost measures and MIPS Value Pathways (MVPs).

Mark Your Calendar for HIPAA Educational Session on June 9

Please join us on Wednesday, June 9 at noon for a webinar on what to expect and how your practice can prepare for HIPAA compliance in 2021. The session will be hosted by our NCMS Marketplace partner Abyde.

The agenda includes OCR enforcement with the latest HIPAA industry audit results; where HIPAA is heading including an overview of recently passed and new proposed law changes; and patient right of access and cybersecurity concerns.

Learn more and sign up here.

In the News

Covid-19 booster shot will likely be needed within a year of vaccination, Fauci says, CNN, 5-19-21

Learning Opportunity

Civic Engagement and Civic Infrastructure to Advance Health Equity, June 14-15
This event will explore the relationship between health and civic engagement through presentations and discussion about measurement, infrastructure, media and narrative, and other dimensions of this topic.

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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