Biden Administration to End COVID-19 PHE on May 11

Originally published in the February 2, 2023, issue of MGMA’s Washington Connection
Reprinted with permission from MGMA

The Biden Administration announced that it plans to end the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) on May 11, 2023. This decision comes after multiple renewals over the past three years. MGMA appreciates that the Administration heeded our call to provide at least 90-days’ notice prior to concluding the PHE. The end of the PHE will have ramifications for a variety of flexibilities afforded by the pandemic over the last several years, such as HIPAA penalty waivers, controlled substance prescription waivers, and COVID-19 testing and treatment coverage.

For more information on the flexibilities that will conclude along with the PHE, download MGMA’s member-exclusive resource.

COVID-19 PHE Renewed

Originally published in the January 12, 2023, issue of MGMA’s Washington Connection
Reprinted with permission from MGMA

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra renewed the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) yesterday. This renewal extends the PHE through mid-April 2023 and has implications for Medicare telehealth, COVID-19 testing, and other waivers. HHS has reiterated its promise to give a 60 days’ notice before letting the PHE expire.

While many telehealth flexibilities are tied to the PHE, it is important to note that the recently passed Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, does ensure certain ones will remain in effect through Dec. 31, 2024, regardless of PHE status.

More information may be found in MGMA Government Affairs’ newly updated telehealth resource.

Message from the NCMGMA Past President Matt Johnson

Dear Members,

Serving as the NCMGMA President this past year has been a great privilege. Without question, the highest reward has been developing new relationships with so many talented leaders and strengthening relationships with old friends. An organization is only as good as its members, and NCMGMA truly stands out with so many giving individuals that are always generous with their time and knowledge.

It isn’t easy to pull together volunteers to sit on committees, be engaged, and share their talents. We are fortunate to have so many willing to serve as chapter officers, committee chairs and members, and board of director officers. It is a time commitment that can pull you from regular day-to-day responsibilities, and your sacrifice to serve is extraordinary. Thank you for your servant leadership and for being an example for us all.

For those yet to serve on a committee or as a chapter officer, I encourage you to do so. Your ideas will be welcomed, and you will be supported regardless of your experience. This is a wonderful way to learn and give back. Please consider this as you progress as an NCMGMA member.

2022 was filled with accomplishments; too many to name them all. Let me highlight a few of them that stand out.

We had an incredibly successful Spring Conference at the Wilmington Convention Center. As meeting in person returned and gained momentum, we had a strong turnout for the event. Our affiliate members and Alliance sponsors showed up in full force, allowing us to host a fantastic experience for participants. Beyond the talented slate of speakers, the networking and roundtable activities provided many excellent exchanges. The conference closed with solid representation from our Advocacy Committee and our friends from the NC Medical Society.

A first for our organization took place later in the Spring when we held our first-ever Master Class in Winston-Salem. Sandra Jarrett and the Education Committee went to great lengths to put together an incredible two-day event featuring renowned speaker Mary Kelly, who knocked everyone’s socks off. This event was so successful that we decided to do it again in 2023. Registration is open so don’t wait long to enroll, as this event will sell out fast!

The final big event of the year was our Fall Conference, held in Cherokee, NC. The newly renovated convention center at Harrah’s Casino made for the perfect venue to meet. Todd Pittman and the Conference Committee once again outdid themselves with the slate of speakers and activities at this conference. The vendor hall was packed, and lots of fun was had by all. The work for the 2023 conferences started almost immediately after the Fall Conference, so stay tuned for more.

In a time when we have seen the competition for employees at its most significant in recent history, we have leaned on each other for ideas for attracting and retaining talent. The listserv has been an incredible resource for us. Additionally, there may not be a more critical time than now to have an up-to-date Salary Survey as we evaluate our current payroll. We are fortunate to have this tool, as many states do not. Participation is crucial for it to continue and to remain relevant. Thank you to Frank Chitty and that Committee for putting this together, and thank you to all who have supplied data.

I thought I could be brief with this update, but there were just too many accomplishments that needed acknowledging, and I’m sure I’m leaving some out.

Another one that stands out for me was watching the growth of our Student Outreach Committee. John Clement and Lee Katherine Ayerhart led this committee to see a greater increase in student participants than we have had in years! We have also seen a resurgence of the Wilmington Chapter, which is very exciting. I can’t wait to see what’s next for our organization.

None of these achievements would be possible without the sage leadership of our Executive Director, Melissa Klingberg. She is a tireless worker and the glue that keeps us all together. Serving beside her was an honor and privilege.

I’ve had the luxury of seeing some previews of things ahead for 2023. With NCMGMA’s 2022-23 president, you can count on a fantastic year with Chad Ghorley at the helm. Please support him, as so many of you have helped me, as we continue to be the “leaders for tomorrow’s healthcare.”

Respectfully Submitted,

Matt Johnson, MA, MBA
NCMGMA Immediate Past President

MGMA Sends Congress Year-end Legislative Recommendations

Originally published in the November 17, 2022, issue of MGMA Washington Connection
Reprinted with permission from MGMA

On Monday, MGMA sent a letter to congressional leadership urging them to address significant Medicare cuts and other important healthcare policies before the end of this year. The letter highlights current issues with Medicare reimbursement that projected payment cuts will exacerbate and asks Congress to act by:

  • Offsetting the 4.47% reduction to the Medicare physician conversion factor;
  • Waiving the 4% statutory Pay-As-You-Go sequester; and,
  • Extending the 5% alternative payment model (APM) incentive payment for six additional years.

Further, MGMA encouraged Congress to pass additional commonsense legislation to address significant administrative burdens impacting group practices and improve the timeliness of clinical care delivery. These recommendations included passing the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act, extending telehealth waivers for at least two years after the conclusion of the public health emergency, passing the Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act, and appropriating additional funds to continue rewarding high performing clinicians within the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).

Visit MGMA’s Contact Congress portal to send a letter to your legislators on these important issues!

Updated COVID-19 Booster Becoming Available for Kids 5-11

October 13, 2022 – North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS)

Everyone 5 and older can now receive the updated COVID-19 booster, specifically made to protect against the latest COVID-19 variants. The new booster is available for kids 5 to 11 in North Carolina following the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation.

The updated booster is referred to as a bivalent vaccine, as it targets both the original coronavirus strain and the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants. As of mid-September, these variants made up approximately 80% of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina. Everyone 5 and older should get the updated COVID-19 booster two months after they finish their primary series or any booster dose.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccines, boosters, testing and treatments, or to find locations to get a COVID-19 and flu vaccine, visit or contact the North Carolina COVID-19 Vaccine Help Center by phone at 888-675-4567.

FDA EUA & CDC Recommendation: Pfizer 6m-4y and Moderna 6m-5y

The following update information concerning vaccine rollout in North Carolina was provided by Ryan Jury, RN, MBA, COVID-19 Vaccine Program Director, Division of Public Health, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services:

  1. State Provider Communication sent on Tuesday, June 21st.
  2. State Press Release from Saturday
  3. The provider/community toolkit will be released in the coming days.
  4. The Statewide Standing Order FDA EUA Pfizer 6m-4y and Moderna 6m-5y are now published online and available.
  5. Please read and review the Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers:

NCDHHS Under 5 COVID-19 Vaccine Updates

On the evening of June 1st, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) released an important email regarding ordering the under-five COVID-19 vaccine products. The email provides details on the roll out plan as well important dates and requirements.

Smarter Connections with Life Science Experts

2022 Alliance sponsor feature article courtesy of RxVantage

The pace of change in today’s medical practices is tremendous: agile workflows, telehealth, and remote monitoring technologies are a small part of the new reality fueled by COVID-19. This is in addition to new indications and protocols for existing drugs, novel cutting-edge medical technology, and innovative clinical trials. According to an article published by Elsevier Connect, it’s estimated that the body of medical knowledge doubles every 73 days. Combined with the chaos of the pandemic, medical practices have reconsidered the most efficient way to engage with life science experts to drive smarter and more timely decisions for their patients and practice.

One area that practices have historically had issues managing is visitations from life science experts. Life science experts are a vital source of information for all practices, providing information on new product development, clinical trial results, patient assistance programs, and so much more. However, many times these experts are unscheduled, which means practice clinicians may not be able to get the vital information they need, and similarly, life science experts leave without ever meeting with the providers. The friction posed by this lack of synergy for both the life science expert and provider workflow can mean canceled meetings – meetings which are vital in keeping physicians up-to-date with product information – and potentially prolonging patient treatment decisions.

RxVantage user, Childs Dermatology, a dermatology practice in Texas, notes “It is important for us to get updated information, including which new drugs are coming out, what they’re for, and who can—and can’t— get them,” says Raquel Frausto, medical assistant. Frausto mentions the benefits she’s experienced from adding RxVantage’s online platform to their practice, including being able to rely on timely and relevant education from life science reps throughout COVID-19. On implementing the platform in her office, Frausto says, “I really love the ease of the life science reps being able to schedule meetings themselves without having to ask me first. That’s one less thing I have to worry about.”

RxVantage understands that smarter connections with life science resources and experts help practices improve patient care. To do this, practices must take advantage of tools that streamline communications, logistics and meetings with life science experts. Additionally, in a post-COVID world, practices need tools that give them the ability to hold online meetings that are equally productive and informative as those held in person.

Based on feedback from the practices in our network, we have created those tools to help offices run efficiently and ensure that HCPs receive timely information. RxVantage was created to give HCPs and practice managers a smarter way to communicate with life science experts, schedule meetings, and receive information on-demand and on their terms. Our rep directory provides practice managers and staff with updated pharma rep and life science expert contact information. Further, to ensure that meetings with life sciences experts aren’t missed due to a lack of communication about office policy, practices and pharmaceutical reps may use the In-Office Policy Builder to maintain alignment. Life science experts can also serve various other practice staff, including billers and coders. These non-clinical staff often need timely and up-to-date reimbursement information that supports revenue cycle management.

The global pandemic placed unparalleled demands on the healthcare industry, but two things have remained constant among HCPs’ priorities: patient care and maintaining their medical knowledge to treat them. Having the tools to make smarter connections that expand and accelerate your office’s on-demand access and ability to engage with life science experts results in smarter and more timely decisions for your patients and practice.

Visit for more information on how your office can enroll.

About RxVantage

RxVantage transforms how medical practices engage with life science resources and expertise. Through automation, customization, and technology, RxVantage gives practices smarter connections to innovative solutions that are powering patient care. Our apps intelligently connect healthcare providers with the precise life science resources that they need, when they need them. As a result, medical practices stay on the cutting edge of patient care without disrupting workflows

Healthcare Reputation Management: Shooting for the Stars

2022 Alliance sponsor feature article courtesy of rater8

Say you’re new to town and don’t know where to go for dinner. You immediately turn to Google and other online review sites for recommendations, reviews, and ratings, where you find a 3-star restaurant you’re willing to try.

Because you’re new to town, you’re also in need of a new physician. You don’t yet know anyone in the area, so word of mouth and connections are hard to come by. You turn to Google, Healthgrades, and WebMD for reviews and ratings, where you find a 3-star doctor. You may have been willing to try that 3-star restaurant, but would you feel comfortable entrusting your medical care to a 3-star doctor? Nothing is more important than your own health and well-being, and searching for a doctor is no different.

According to Healthgrades, 77% of patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor, and 84% of patients use online reviews to evaluate physicians. Perhaps most shockingly, Becker’s Hospital Review found that 48% of patients said they would go out-of-network for a similar doctor with better reviews.

That “new to town” scenario presented earlier isn’t unusual: With the COVID-19 pandemic, people are moving in droves to new cities, which means they are looking for new doctors. But while online reviews play a major role in attracting new patients, they are not the only factor when it comes to cultivating an online presence. With the surge in internet use and the explosion of social media in recent years, it is increasingly important for doctors, medical practices, and hospitals to take control of their image and brand to attract more patients. As more patients search for their providers online, it is crucial to have a strong online image and presence—one that instills confidence in a doctor’s abilities according to patients.

Healthcare reputation management encapsulates a doctor’s:

  • online profiles, reviews, and ratings across Google, Healthgrades, Vitals, WebMD, Facebook, and more;
  • presence across online physician directories;
  • authored articles and publications; and
  • medical practice website.

The goal of healthcare reputation management is to optimize a doctor’s online digital footprint. With an effective reputation management strategy in place, doctors and medical practices build their reputation both nationally and in the local communities they serve, leading to more visibility online. More online views means more clicks and higher website traffic, attracting more patients and increasing practice profitability.

This cycle isn’t just theory—it’s proven consistently by the numbers. For example, by partnering with rater8, a 14-doctor orthopedic practice in North Carolina was able to generate more than 1,000 new reviews in less than a year. Over the same period, and as a direct result of its improved online reputation, the practice began to see nearly double the number of visits to—and actions taken on—its website compared to the previous year. The increase in web traffic resulted in a sustainable source of new patients for a practice that had previously relied on referral relationships to drive new business. A similar practice saw a 2,300% growth in online reviews, generating more traffic to the practice’s website and leading to a 270% increase in new patients.

But how to reach those incredible numbers? Here are a few easy ways you can begin managing your reputation and improving your online presence today:

  • Create or claim all of your online listings, like Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business), Healthgrades, Vitals, and Facebook.
  • Once you have claimed your listings, keep them up to date and fill them out completely. This includes adding business hours, appointment links, and professional quality photos to your doctor and medical practice listings.
  • Monitor and reply to online reviews, both negative and positive. Patients want to know they are being heard, and potential patients want to know their new provider will be responsive. Where possible, try to demonstrate that you’re resolving issues for patients with negative feedback.
  • Grow your online reviews through automation to ensure a steady and balanced increase in reviews over time. Quantity, quality, and recency of reviews are all key.
  • Build a balanced online image with tons of reviews and 5-star ratings across all review platforms. While rater8 recommends initially focusing your time and energy on Google (where most patients look first), over time you should aim to grow a balanced image across other review platforms to capture all patients and avoid red flags.
  • Build a modern, responsive website. All of those 5-star reviews are going to drive potential new patients to your website—don’t disappoint them with a poor first impression.

Managing your healthcare reputation may be an ongoing cycle, but it is undoubtedly rewarding. The correlation between a stellar online presence and increased patient acquisition is undeniable. Plus, you’ve worked hard to get to where you are today, and you deserve to be represented fairly and accurately online—why settle for 3 stars?

How to Become More Inclusive in Your Employment Practices

By Elijah Dawson

Creating a more inclusive culture is one way to attract differently-abled new hires. For example, don’t just have generic events that require people to be able to drive or have the ability to attend in person.

Offer options for those who are less mobile and can’t get out much. Also, make sure your website is fully compliant with how assistive devices work so these individuals can access it without issue. Below, you’ll find some more housekeeping items to help point you in the right direction.

As a brief aside, it’s important to think about implementing temporary accommodations to reduce the risk of COVID. For example, you might need to install temporary barriers to ensure social distancing. Doing so will make your company more attractive to those who need peace of mind in this area.

Recruitment Process

One housekeeping item is to make sure your recruitment process is in place to accommodate differently-abled people. It’s important that you have a clear plan on how new hires will enter your company, what job offers are available for them, and which benefits they’ll receive.

You need to be able to explain this process in detail when you’re interviewing someone or speaking with them on the phone. This includes how quickly they can expect an offer letter if there are other hiring managers involved in vetting the candidate and what steps they’ll take before making the final decision.

Establish Your Business with the State

It’s important to make sure you have your business established with the state in order to maintain tax compliance and to obtain your EIN. This is crucial when you’re hiring staff because the IRS uses your EIN for payroll taxes, and it’s required for offering your employees retirement plans.

Creating a More Inclusive Culture

A company’s culture is one of the most important aspects of an employee’s work experience. The best way to ensure an inclusive culture is to provide opportunities for different backgrounds and perspectives.

That doesn’t mean all offices need a ping-pong table, but it does mean you should take steps to make sure your office environment is welcoming for everyone who wants to join your team.

Making Your Website Work for Assistive Devices

A simple and effective way to attract differently-abled new hires is to make sure that your website can be accessed by those with different types of devices, like screen readers or browsers.

If you’re not sure how to go about this process, ask for help from an expert. There are professionals who can develop custom web accessibility solutions tailored to your company’s needs. They’ll also help you ensure that your website is compliant with all applicable laws in order to avoid liability.

Creating Internship Programs for Those with Disabilities

Some companies offer internships for people with disabilities as a way to test-drive the relationship and see if it’s mutually beneficial for both parties.

These internship programs are created with the help of nonprofit organizations and are often offered through social media sites, providing an enriching opportunity for people who may not otherwise have access to such opportunities.

Revamping Your Recruitment Process

Employers have a duty to keep their workforce diverse and inclusive. This means using a recruitment process that doesn’t discriminate against people with disabilities. You should make sure your website can work with assistive devices, offer career planning opportunities for those with disabilities, and create internship programs to help bridge the gap.