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Advocacy

Together Our Voices Are Stronger!

Virtual Advocacy Day 

Though COVID-19 has impacted how we meet with our elected officials, advocacy on behalf of licensed clinical mental health counselors continues to be as important as ever.  Join LPCANC lobbyist Ashley Perkinson as she discusses ways to stay connected with health policy discussions in North Carolina and how to virtually advocate with legislators and executive branch officials without leaving your home or office.  This 1 hour virtual webinar will take place on Friday, May 15th at noon.  We look forward to your participation!

 LPCANC Virtual ADVOCACY Day
Fri, May 15, 2020 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM (EDT)

 

If you missed Virtual Advocacy Day, follow this link to view the recorded webinar:

Virtual Advocacy Day Transcript


ADVOCACY UPDATE     May 5, 2020


NC HealthConnex COVID-19 Special Update

Our thoughts are with the health care community and our fellow North Carolinians who are adjusting their lives on a daily basis to address this pandemic. During these challenging and uncertain times, the NC HIEA/NC HealthConnex is doing our part to provide uninterrupted data exchange during the COVID-19 outbreak. We are working with our health information exchange participants, numerous stakeholders, including DHHS, AHEC and others, to provide near, real-time information to support important patient and public health monitoring and care coordination. 

We understand that many of your health care organizations are on the front line of this public health crisis and with changes happening daily, the team at NC HealthConnex is here to help. Supporting communities with real-time patient data during an emergency is a proven use case of HIEs like NC HealthConnex. We are fully operational, but our team is now working remotely to accommodate social distancing guidelines. 

COVID-19 Recovery Act Provides Relief to HIE Act June 1 Deadline

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the COVID-19 Recovery Act [ncleg.gov] (NCSL 2020-3) was signed into law by Governor Roy Cooper on Monday, May 4. Section 3E.1.(a) addresses the connection requirement to the state-designated HIE Network - NC HealthConnex, extending the June 1, 2020, connection deadline to October 1, 2021. In addition, all providers who have shown a good faith effort to connect to NC HealthConnex and have a valid Participation Agreement on file will also have the extended deadline of October 1, 2021. This extension of time will allow the large queue of health care providers who are in active onboarding to complete the connection process. Connecting to NC HealthConnex can take up 12 months, depending on your EHR software. 

Please note: If you were mandated to connect by June 1, 2020, your new deadline is October 1, 2021. Providers who have signed a Participation Agreement do not need to take further action. The NC HealthConnex technical team will reach out when technical discussions are to begin with your practice. 

Please email HIEA@nc.gov with any questions.

Expanded Data Sharing from Submit Only Hospital/Health Systems:

With the support of the NC HIEA Advisory Board, we have urged several North Carolina hospitals to expand their data sharing with the HIE to enable more timely information at the point of care and for public health monitoring to accelerate situational awareness of local impacts of the virus.

In response to this call to action, Duke Health, WakeMed and Wake Forest Baptist are sending all patient data to NC HealthConnex, and we remain hopeful to add more hospital systems to this list in the next week. 

Hospitals & Health Systems sending all patient data include:

Appalachian Regional Health System
Ash Memorial Hospital
CarolinaEast Medical Center
CaroMont Health
Carteret Healthcare
Catawba Valley Medical Center
Central Carolina Hospital
Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority
Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, Inc.
Columbus Regional Healthcare System
Cone Health System
Davis Regional Medical Center
Duke Health (Duke Regional, Duke Raleigh)
Duke Lifepoint Hospitals – (Harris Regional, Haywood Regional, Rutherford Regional, Swain County)
Frye Regional Medical Center
Granville Medical Center
Halifax Regional Medical Center (Transylvania, McDowell, Highlands-Cashiers)
Harnett Health System/Betsy Johnson Hospital
Hugh Chatham Memorial
Iredell Memorial
Lake Norman Regional 
LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes/LifeBrite Medical Center of King
Maria Parham Health
Mission Health System (CarePartners, Blue Ridge Regional, Asheville Specialty, Angel Medical, McDowell, Transylvania, Highlands-Cashiers)
NC Specialty Hospital
Northern Hospital of Surry County
Onslow Memorial
Person Memorial
Randolph Health
Sovah Health Danville & Martinsville
UNC Health (Caldwell, Chatham, Childrens, Johnston, Lenoir, Nash, Pardee, Rockingham, Rex) 
Wake Forest Baptist Health System (Davie, High Point Regional, Lexington, NC Baptist, Wilkes)
WakeMed (Raleigh, North, Cary)
Wilson Medical Center
Additionally, NC HealthConnex participants contributing data include primary care, urgent care, FQHCs, county health departments, free clinics, behavioral health and other specialties. For a complete list, visit Who’s Connected.

For Current Full Participants: 

Clinical Portal User Guide – See the COVID-19 Quick Reference Guide, a document that walks providers through how to access COVID-19 patient results in the NC HealthConnex clinical portal. 

To gain new or expanded access to the clinical portal, contact the NC HIEA provider relations team at hiea@nc.gov and mention that you are requesting PRIORITY access related to COVID-19.

NC*Notify Event Notifications – NC*Notify is a subscription-based service that alerts providers as often as daily when their patients receive services across the care continuum using admission, discharge and transfer information from hospitals and encounter information from ambulatory clinics. NC*Notify offers several fields that are particularly valuable for providers in monitoring their patients for potential COVID-19- related episodes. 

For current or new subscribers, the patient subscriptions can be updated to begin monitoring patients that the Participant recognizes as having elevated risks for complications from the virus. The following list outlines some of the key fields in the result file and how they can be used for this scenario.

Encounter diagnosis (or chief complaint) indicating a COVID-19-related symptom or condition
Discharge Disposition indicating the status of the patient at discharge
Discharge Location indicating the facility or organization to which the patient was discharged
Patient Class indicating the type of visit, such as an inpatient hospitalization
If you would like to enroll in this service for the first time, contact the NC HIEA provider relations team at hiea@nc.gov and mention that you are requesting PRIORITY enrollment related to COVID-19. 

Expedited Access for Non-Participants:

The NC HIEA has developed an emergency access participation agreement that can be used to provide health care providers emergency access to the NC HealthConnex Clinical Portal only for treatment purposes during the COVID-19 public health emergency. It is available here.

Virtual Training Is Available Through NC AHEC or the HIEA Outreach Team:

Participants may choose a virtual option via the Training Request Form.

NC HealthConnex Help Desk:

General technical support hours of operation: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST
Email: HIESupport@sas.com
Phone: 919-531-2700
To make sure your call is handled efficiently, when contacting the Help Desk, indicate that you would like to reach the NC HealthConnex Help Desk. 
Emergency issues after hours: You should report after-hours issues by calling 919-531-2700. This will guarantee a timely response to your issue. Because we cannot guarantee less than 24-hour response on problems tracked electronically, if you choose to send an email or enter a Technical Support Form, your issue will be addressed the morning of the following business day.
Additional Resources:

Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center Telehealth Grant Opportunities - https://www.matrc.org/many-telehealth-funding-opportunities-available/ [matrc.org]
Rural Health Grant Opportunities - https://www.ncdhhs.gov/about/grant-opportunities/rural-health-grant-opportunities [ncdhhs.gov]
HIMSS: In Times of Crisis, HIEs are Front and Center - https://www.himss.org/news/times-crisis-hie-front-and-center [himss.org]
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Newsroom - https://www.cms.gov/newsroom [cms.gov]
CDC-recommended ICD-10 codes to enable tracking the spread of confirmed and unconfirmed COVID-19 coronavirus cases in North Carolina. See https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/icd/icd10cm.htm [cdc.gov].
Healthcare Innovation: COVID-19 Pandemic Creates Opportunity for Cyber Criminals, Report Finds - https://www.hcinnovationgroup.com/cybersecurity/news/21134455/covid19-pandemic-creates-opportunity-for-cyber-criminals-report-finds [hcinnovationgroup.com]
Comprehensive guidance available on the DHHS website [ncdhhs.gov]
NC AHEC & Office of Rural Health Rural Health Information Technology Program- https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/office-rural-health/office-rural-health-programs/rural-health-information-technology [ncdhhs.gov]
NC Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) COVID-19 Webinar - https://www.ncahec.net/news/resources-and-courses-on-covid-19/ [ncahec.net]
NC Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Telehealth Billing Cheat Sheet - https://hiea.nc.gov/documents/nc-ahec-telehealth-billing-cheat-sheet
Broadband Resources - https://www.ncbroadband.gov/covid19broadband/ [ncbroadband.gov]
Enforcement Discretion Related to ONC's Cure Act Final Rule - https://www.healthit.gov/curesrule/resources/enforcement-discretion [healthit.gov]
i2i Center COVID-19 Information and Resources - https://i2icenter.org/north-carolina-covid-19-resources/ [i2icenter.org]
NCHICA COVID-19 Resources - https://nchica.org/resources/covid-19/ [nchica.org]
How HIEs Are Accommodating Data Exchange During COVID-19 - https://ehrintelligence.com/news/how-hies-are-accommodating-data-exchange-during-covid-19? [ehrintelligence.com]
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the HIEA provider relations team at hiea@nc.gov.

Medicaid Bulletin
https://medicaid.ncdhhs.gov/blog/2020/03/13/special-bulletin-covid-19-2-general-guidance-and-policy-modifications

 

Name Change Legislation

Senate Bill 537, a bill that changes the title Licensed Professional Counselor to Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, was adopted by the General Assembly on October 31 and signed by Governor Cooper on November 6.  In addition to changing the name of “licensed professional counselor” to “licensed clinical mental health counselor”, the bill also allows the Licensing Board to establish a program for licensees who may be experiencing substance use disorders, burnout, compassion fatigue, and other mental health concerns and allows the Board to refer any licensee to the program as part of the disciplinary process. The law went into effect on January 1, 2020. The final version of SB 537, now Session Law 2019-240, adopted by the General Assembly can be viewed here.

For more information on the name change legislation, please visit the Licensing Board's website:  https://www.ncblpc.org

 

Advocacy Committee

Chair: Joanne Coddington Advocacy@lpcanc.org

 

Mission:

To address advocacy and policy issues relating to and affecting the Licensed Professional Counselor community and advise the Board on potential actions.

Responsibilities of Advocacy Committee:

·       Monitor and provide comment on policy issues of interest to the Licensed Professional Counselor community.

·       Develop LPCANC recommendations for Licensed Professional Counselor policies and practices for Institutions and advocate for their implementation.

·       Maintain and expand relationships with state agencies and national organizations within the Licensed Professional Counselor community

·       Collaborate with other LPCANC committees, officers, staff, and Board members on projects to advance/promote/facilitate the mission of the LPCANC.

 

Advocacy Priorities

Legislative Victory in 2019!  Governor Cooper signed HB 70 into law on June 6, 2019, after it was adopted by the North Carolina General Assembly.  HB 70 is now Session Law 2019-23. 

This law delays mandatory connection to the HIE for LPCs, now LCMHCs, to June 1, 2020.  It also provides a process for application for additional delay and application for hardship exemption until 2022.  The application for extension provisions are found in sections (a2) and (a3) of the law found here


Resources

Template Letter for Members to Send Legislators

 

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