NCMS Morning Rounds 6-1-20

Welcome your first June

NCMS Morning Rounds 

  June 1, 2020

NCMS Legislative Update

Last week the legislative session was in full swing, however unlike previous sessions, most legislators were practicing social distancing and wearing face masks. The NCMS advocacy team has been keeping up with individual legislators, attending committee meetings and closely monitoring the many bills filed by last week’s deadlines – all remotely. Keep up with all the proposed legislation that could impact your practice on our legislative blog.

Several bills of particular note:
HB678 Health Care Flexibility Act, which extend the duration of the Governor’s State of Emergency allowing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to waive or modify regulations in response to the potential wave of illness brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic to meet the need for additional health care facility beds and technology to treat patients. Watch for more on this from the NCMS this week.
HB471 Exempt Direct Primary Care from DOI Regulations aims to do just that. The bill states that a medical direct primary care agreement is not insurance and therefore not subject to NC Department of Insurance regulations. The proposal does detail what is required in a direct primary care agreement.
HB1169 Bipartisan Elections Act of 2020 This proposal seeks to address the public health challenges that come with voting during a pandemic. The bill allows for one witness signature to cast an absentee ballot instead of two signatures for the 2020 General Election and for completed absentee requests to be emailed or faxed to county boards of elections among other provisions to help ensure public health and safety. This is one of what will likely be several election related bills we’ll be following this session.
SB808 Medicaid Transformation Necessities This proposal sets a ‘go live’ date of Jan. 1, 2021 for the state’s move to Medicaid managed care.

We hosted another successful virtual White Coat Wednesday last week in which we helped connect our participating members with their legislators either via Zoom or telephone. NCMS advocacy staff helped de-brief members on the bills we’re following and helped facilitate meaningful conversations with legislators. If you are interested in participating in a virtual White Coat Wednesday, you may sign up here.

NCMB Seeks Physician Applicants for Board

The Review Panel for the NC Medical Board, which operates independently of the Medical Board, is seeking physician applicants for three seats on the Board, for three-year terms beginning Nov. 1. In accordance with state law, one of the available seats must be filled by a physician who is a member of the Old North State Medical Society. Two of the physician board members currently serving are eligible for reappointment; one incumbent physician board member is not eligible for reappointment.

The Review Panel will consider only physicians who hold active, unrestricted NC professional licenses, and have practiced in the state for at least five years. Applicants must currently be practicing clinical medicine at least 20 hours per week and plan to continue at least that level of practice in North Carolina for the duration of their service on the Medical Board. In addition, applicants must have no history of disciplinary action (in any jurisdiction) within the past 10 years. The Review Panel will interview qualified applicants Aug. 22 and 23.

Learn more about what is involved in serving on the Board here.

The Review Panel will accept applications online through July 1. Submit your application here.

Announcement: Healthy Opportunities Pilots Suspension

To focus all its available resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has suspended the evaluation of the Healthy Opportunities Lead Pilot Entity proposals. A new award date has not yet been determined. Lead Pilot Entity Offerors will be notified when additional information is available.

This suspension is related only to the Healthy Opportunities Pilots and does not impact other Healthy Opportunities efforts, such as NCCARE360 rollout. NCCARE360 will continue to serve as the network for connecting health care and human service organizations to a shared technology platform that allows for a coordinated, community-oriented, person-centered approach to delivering care in North Carolina. Onboarding to the platform and training will continue as planned. By participating in the network, providers can continue to electronically connect those with identified needs to community resources and allow for a feedback loop on the outcome of that connection.

As a part of North Carolina’s Section 1115 demonstration waiver, North Carolina received authority from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to conduct the Healthy Opportunities Pilot Program. The Pilots will create a unique opportunity to test the impact on health outcomes and health care costs by using Medicaid funds to pay for non-medical services specifically related to food, housing, transportation and interpersonal safety. Additionally, the Pilots will provide a mechanism for payers, providers and human service organizations (e.g., community-based organizations or social service agencies) to have the tools, infrastructure and financing to integrate non-medical services into the delivery of health care for eligible Medicaid members.

Questions regarding the procurement of Lead Pilot Entities and the suspension of awards can be directed to

In the News

Five Ways to Prevent More COVID-19 Deaths, According to Tom Frieden, The Advisory Board Forum, 5-28-20

Learning Opportunity

Tomorrow, June 2 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. the National Academy of Medicine and the American Society of Addiction Medicine will provide insight and targeted guidance on how to ensure that individuals with addiction, a high-risk and marginalized population that has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, are cared for and protected during this ongoing public health crisis. ‘Coordination Across the Social Safety Net to Avert a Crisis Among Patients with Addiction,’ will provide information and guidance on strategies to enhance coordination across the social safety net to prevent an addiction crisis for vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more and register.


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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