NCMS Morning Rounds 6-25-20

Happy Thursday! Enjoy your

NCMS Morning Rounds.

  June 25, 2020

Seeking ‘Person on the Street’ Views on Face Coverings

Researchers at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill hope to gain insight into why the average person does or does not wear face coverings during the current pandemic. They are seeking North Carolina residents with opinions to share in online focus groups.

Questions include: what makes it hard to wear a face covering? What could be good about wearing a face covering? What could help make it easier to wear one? They are particularly interested in hearing from those who identify as:

  • Latino/a/x or Hispanic
    • Black or African American
    • Living in a rural area
    • Young adult (ages 18 – 25)

The online focus group will last 90 minutes and you will receive a $40 online Amazon gift card for your participation.

If any of your patients are interested they can email the researchers at or text them at (919) 650-4050. You can publicize this study in your practice by distributing this one-pager in English and Spanish.

Last week the NCMS issued a joint statement with the NC Healthcare Association and the NC Chamber encouraging the public to practice the ‘3 W’s’ of wearing a face covering, washing hands and waiting at least six feet apart to practice physical distancing. As NCMS CEO Robert W. Seligson, MBA, MA says in the statement: “The scientific and medical community consensus is now quite clear that masks both protect the individual wearing it and have collective benefit for the community. The benefits far outweigh the inconvenience. If everyone consistently does these recommended behaviors, we can help avoid further impacting our economy.”

Helping Patients Access Food and Nutrition Services

This week, NCDHHS is launching an improved, mobile-friendly online application for Medicaid and Food and Nutrition Services that will help support social distancing and beneficiary applications from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. North Carolina’s online application portal, ePASS, has been improved with new and updated features that will provide a streamlined user experience with specific enhancements to be more mobile-friendly.

These changes do not impact any previously submitted application. Any questions about existing applications will still be directed to the County DSS offices.

To learn more about the new features of NC FAST’s ePASS upgrade, visit the NC Medicaid/Health Choice webpage or the NCDHHS Food and Nutrition Service webpage.

You also can download and print flyers for your patients outlining how to access these services in English and Spanish.

Campbell Offers Virtual Med School Open House

The Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine is holding a virtual open house next Tuesday, June 30 from 1 to 4 p.m. The school’s Masters of Health Professions Education (MHPE) program will be part of the tour. The NCMS Foundation’s Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership staff is heavily involved in the MHPE program curriculum development and as faculty.

Please take this opportunity to learn more about Campbell’s programs and pass the information onto potential students. Register here to attend.

In the News

The Hidden Deaths of the COVID Pandemic, Kaiser Health News, 6-23-20

Learning Opportunity

Be sure to join us for this week’s Power Hour when we will welcome physicians from Europe to discuss their various countries’ response to COVID-19. Physicians from Italy and possibly Sweden will participate in the discussion. Get the international perspective on the pandemic from your colleagues across the Atlantic. Register now and join us Friday at 1 p.m. for the next in our Power Hour series.


REMINDER: the US Department of Health and Human Services is offering a webcast today, Thursday, June 25 at 2 p.m. on the application process for NC Medicaid providers to receive federal relief through the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund. Those eligible will receive at least 2 percent of reported annual gross revenue from patient care. Practices can apply by July 20, 2020 to receive payments. Sign up for the webcast here. Learn more about your eligibility at the NC Medicaid site.

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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1 Comment

  • Sandra Brown MD

    Regarding mandatory face masks in public, what I can gather from my daily view of the NC DHHS COVID dashboard is that this is reactionary to the increased absolute number of cases detected in NC. This is not the relevant metric. Although the case count is up, this is driven in part by an increasing volume of tests, some of which are performed on individuals who may not have presented for testing 3 – 4 weeks ago (as they were told to shelter in place if they had mild symptoms). The % of positive tests is stable over many weeks. Hospitalizations are up but very notably, the death rate is not increasing (the 7 day rolling average death rate peaked on June 2). Spread in the Hispanic community appears to be much more extensive based on the fact that they account for 40% of positive tests but 40% of the population. The Hispanic death rate is notably low. Hospital resources including ICU beds and ventilators are at a seasonal maximum as influenza has cleared through the system. In other words, this is the best time to allow a “controlled burn” of COVID through the populace. Do you want herd immunity or not? Mandatory masking in public now – to the extent that it has any effect at all – will only delay herd immunity and increase the chances of a fall / winter COVID surge on top of the usual influenza surge. Don’t kid yourself that we will have a vaccine – and a vaccinated populace – this year or even next year. If the NC DHHS wants to do something useful, it should immediately begin an extremely aggressive public education campaign about getting the flu shot, AND it should ensure that sufficient vaccine is available to provide vaccination to 90% of the populace.


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