NCMS Morning Rounds 9-17-20

Here is your Thursday NCMS Morning Rounds.

Sept. 17, 2020

Today is National Physician Suicide Awareness Day

Physician suicide is a tremendous issue in health care today. While estimates of the actual number of physician suicides vary, literature has shown the relative risk for suicide being 2.27 times greater among female physicians and 1.41 times higher among male physicians versus the general population. Each physician suicide is a devastating loss affecting everyone – family, friends, colleagues and up to 1 million patients per year. It is both a very personal loss and a public health crisis.

Below is information, resources and what we all can do to better recognize and act to address physician suicide. This includes breaking down stigma, increasing awareness, opening the conversation, decreasing the fear of consequences, reaching out to colleagues, recognizing warning signs and learning to approach our colleagues who may be at risk.

Today we can challenge each other as individuals, communities, institutions and organizations to make changes in order to stop physician suicides.

The Physicians Foundation Offers Vital Signs Initiative
Today NCMS partner organization The Physicians Foundation is set to release Part 2 of its 2020 Survey of America’s Physicians. The survey revealed nearly 1 in 4 physicians know a physician who has committed suicide.

To help prevent physician suicide, The Physicians Foundation seeks to empower physicians along with their colleagues and loved ones to check in on one another’s wellbeing. The Foundation’s Vital Signs initiative offers tools to help you do this. For instance:

NCPHP Highlights Pending Legislation and Today’s Events
The NC Professionals Health Program (NCPHP) notes there is pending legislation in the US Senate, SB4349 — the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, which aims to reduce and prevent suicide, burnout and mental and behavioral health conditions among health care professionals. The Federation of State Physician Health Programs (FSPHP) supports this legislation.

NCPHP also encourages you to tune in to several special events today.
• The American Association of Suicidology is hosting a day of Facebook interviews with suicide prevention experts talking specifically about physician suicide and what they can do to help. Follow along on the Facebook page, Get the day’s lineup of speakers here.
• From 2-3 pm today, Coverys and Med-IQ, a Covery’s company, will present “Hope and Recovery: A Physician’s Journey to Mental Health” featuring Adam B. Hill, MD. Learn more and register here for this webinar, which offers CME.

NCMB Podcast Offers Insights and Inspiration on Preventing Physician Suicide

The NC Medical Board’s new podcast MedBoard Matters launches with a inspirational half-hour conversation with Christine Moutier, MD Chief Medical Officer with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Dr. Moutier offers insights on suicide awareness and what actions can be taken to help address physician suicide.

Listen to the episode on Suicide Prevention Awareness here. Subscribe to be notified of future episodes by searching for MedBoard Matters on your favorite podcast platform.

NC State Health Plan Enrollment Is Open

Enrollment in the NC State Health Plan Network for physicians and PAs opened this week and will remain open until Oct. 15. Once enrolled you will be included in the network effective Jan. 1, 2021. Learn more here.

The NC State Health Plan Network (Network), which went live Jan. 1, 2020, currently consists of more than 25,000 providers who signed on to the new network last year as part of the Plan’s Clear Pricing Project (CPP). Under the CPP, the Plan moved away from a commercial-based payment model to a reference-based model tied to Medicare rates. Providers in the Network will be reimbursed for their services at Medicare rates plus an average of 60 percent.

Last month, State Health Plan officials also announced that the Community Care Physicians Network (CCPN) will join forces with independent practices from across the state to form the Value Alliance. This new alliance will support the Clear Pricing Project and work with the Plan and the Plan’s vendor partner, Public Consulting Group, to develop alternative payment model strategies.

The network will continue to be administered by Blue Cross NC, the Plan’s third-party administrator. The Clear Pricing Project does not impact retirees on the State Health Plan’s Medicare Advantage Plans.

The State Health Plan, a division of the N.C. Department of State Treasurer, provides health care coverage to more than 727,000 teachers, current and former lawmakers, state university and community college personnel, active and retired state employees, and their dependents.

Reminder: No Charge for This NCMS Telemedicine Platform

With recent surveys showing increased, and likely continued, use of telehealth, now is the time to take advantage of the NCMS’ telemedicine platform, Presence, available to all health care providers in North Carolina at no charge, until the COVID-19 pandemic abates. This custom platform was produced in a collaboration between the NCMS Foundation’s Project OBOT NC and The Recovery Platform.

The Presence platform provides a central portal where patients can schedule a telemedicine visit with their provider. In fact, patients can look up their provider by practice or provider name and are given a calendar with times the physician has reserved for telemedicine or phone-based appointments. Physicians will receive a notification of scheduled visits and access the Presence dashboard to initiate and manage these patient interactions.

To setup your account you simply need to:
Go to the onboarding page here.
• Activate your account to setup your Telemedicine Availability Schedule
• Login to the dashboard to see upcoming scheduled visits
• Initiate the patient visit
• Digitally order labs on the platform with our integrated partners
• Charting and billing are performed in your own EHR

After you receive confirmation your account is set-up you will be provided with instructions to:
• Sign the BAA
• Download Zoom at
• Email patient roster (suggested language below)

Learn more about Presence and how you can access this valuable NCMS Foundation resource

In the News

NIH ‘Very Concerned’ About Serious Side Effect in Coronavirus Vaccine Trial, Kaiser Health News, 9-14-20

Learning Opportunity

‘Helping Practices Identify and Help Patients with Unhealthy Drinking: Getting Practice support Through the STUN Project’

Alcohol use is the 3rd leading cause of preventable death in North Carolina. In the setting of COVID-19, alcohol consumption has increased over 40 percent. Join the NCMS Foundation’s Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership on Wednesday, Sept. 30 from noon to 1 p.m. to discuss a partnership between the Cecil G. Sheps Center and NC AHEC Practice Support from which practices can get assistance to build systems to identify and treat dangerous drinking. 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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