NCMS Morning Rounds 8-12-19

Welcome to a new week. Here’s your

 NCMS Morning Rounds.

Aug. 12, 2019

NCMS Legislative Update

More than a month has elapsed since the state’s new fiscal year began and no resolution to the stalemate over the Governor’s budget veto appears imminent, but legislators are still conducting committee meetings and moving bills. This week may be particularly quiet, however, as many lawmakers will be out of town at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting in Austin, TX.

Last week the NC House held committee meetings and moved several health care related bills, including:

HB431 – NC Fiber Act, which would support counties and cities as they seek to expand broadband infrastructure. The ultimate goal of this bill is to enhance educational and career opportunities, modernize farming technologies and increase telemedicine capability particularly in rural areas of the state. The bill’s next stop will be in the House Finance Committee.

SB86 – Small Business Health Care Act, which the NCMS has been following closely. Initially, we were concerned this proposal would not provide all the necessary patient protections under the state’s insurance laws, but subsequent versions of the bill does appear to address these concerns. Overall, we are pleased legislators are looking for innovative ways to provide more insurance options for patients. We hope to continue to work with stakeholders to ensure patients are afforded the same protections under these new plans as under existing state-regulated health plans. We will continue to monitor the legislation closely, as it now moves to the Senate for consideration.

SB361 – Health Care Expansion Act of 2019 has morphed into an omnibus type of health care bill with previous provisions regarding CON reform removed. Now, the bill contains proposals around lupus awareness, Step Therapy, cancer drug parity and creates a health care task force. After passing the House 115-2 on the second reading, it remains on the calendar pending a third reading.

Opioid Prescriptions Outnumber Naloxone Prescriptions

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released this week shows that US pharmacies dispensing prescriptions for the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone doubled from 2017 to 2018, but there is still only one naloxone prescription dispensed for every 69 high-dose opioid prescriptions. The CDC concluded that “additional efforts are needed to improve naloxone access at the local level, including prescribing and pharmacy dispensing. Distribution of naloxone is a critical component of the public health response to the opioid overdose epidemic.”

The researchers did note that the number of high-dose opioid prescriptions dispensed decreased from about 49 million in 2017 to 38 million in 2018.

Read the report.

Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the CDC, was quoted in media reports as saying: “We may never get to 1-to-1 … but we think that ratio of 1-to-70 is too low.”

Researchers found geographic disparities in naloxone dispensing rates. For instance, they found naloxone is most commonly dispensed in cities and in the South. The researchers attributed the higher dispensing rates in these areas to factors including higher opioid use and policies requiring access to naloxone.

Since 2015, North Carolina has a standing order allowing pharmacists to dispense naloxone to anyone who is at risk for an opioid/opiate overdose or anyone in a position with intent to assist or aid someone who may experience an overdose. Learn more about this standing order.

Welcome Our Newest NCMS Partner – Splash Financial!

The NCMS is proud to announce a new partnership with Splash Financial, an online student loan refinancing company that may be able to help you or a family member save money on your student loans. For anyone who refinances more than $30,000, they offer a $500 cash bonus. Learn more about that bonus.

You may visit their special site for NCMS members to see what low rates you can qualify for.

Checking your rates
• No impact on credit score
• Takes 3 minutes
• No obligation to apply

Refinancing with Splash
• Low rates
• $500 cash bonus for NCMS members and family members ($30,000 minimum)
• No fees or cost to apply
• Fully online application
• Award winning customer service
• Originally founded to help Medical Professionals

Check your rates here. Or you may call 1-800-349-3938 or email a representative at You also go online to schedule a call with their experts here.

In the News

When My Favorite Patient Turned On Me I Learned a Lesson in the Emotional Work of Doctoring, STAT, 8-7-19

Learning Opportunity

Don’t forget! Today, Monday, Aug. 12, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will hold a webinar on the “Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule: Understanding 3 Key Topics.” Learn more and register here.


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