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 MySpot.nc.gov 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.

Time to Verify Your Status with the Medicaid Transformation Rollout

Please find the following NCDHHS link and review your listing if you have already contracted with the pre-paid health plans to provide services to Medicaid beneficiaries. This page provides information on how to report an error on your listing. You can still negotiate and execute contracts with health plans to have your information included for the auto-enrollment period, which begins on May 16. To be included in this, contracts need to be signed and submitted to health plans by April 12, 2021.

NCDHHS Deploys 300 Free Testing Sites in Underserved Communities

The NC Department of Health and Human Services announced a new effort to deploy up to 300 free testing sites in underserved communities. This targeted testing initiative seeks to confront historical health disparities by increasing access to no-cost COVID-19 testing for African American, Latinx/Hispanic and American Indian communities across the state.

A disproportionately high percentage of North Carolina’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 have occurred among historically marginalized populations. Mounting evidence shows the members of these populations experience higher rates of COVID-19 mortality and serious complications.

As many as 300 temporary testing sites will be deployed throughout the month of July, including drive-thru and walk-up sites. The initiative will increase testing capacity in more than 100 ZIP codes, providing testing access for 2.2 million African American, Latinx/Hispanic and American Indian individuals. Two vendors have been identified to begin this work, Vidant Health and Orig3n, Inc.

The initiative emphasizes a community testing approach. The awarded vendors are required to connect individuals with medical homes and provide services with culturally and linguistically appropriate standards, working within existing trusted community partnerships; additionally, no payment from the individual will be needed for the testing. Insurance, if available, will be billed but no co-pays or cost-sharing will be asked of anyone seeking testing. Those who are uninsured will have full access to free testing at these sites.

Communities were selected based on low testing capacity and high African American, Latinx/Hispanic and/or American Indian populations. Higher concentration of elderly populations with multiple chronic conditions and higher rates of construction and seasonal farm work were also factors.

For more information on testing, please see the Frequently Asked Questions about Testing. For more information about North Carolina’s response to COVID-19, visit nc.gov/covid19.


Urgent Practice Data Survey: Week of June 22, 2020


Your response is needed!

Week of June 22, 2020

NCMGMA, NCMS, and Curi are working together to gather vital practice information from administrators and clinicians across North Carolina relative to the COVID-19 crisis.

To support this effort, we are continuing to send a brief e-survey every other week and we ask that you please complete this survey when you receive it in your inbox.

Take the survey now

Testimonial to the Importance of the Urgent Practice Data Survey
The Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services,
Dr. Mandy Cohen, MD, recognizes the importance of the Urgent Practice Data Survey. Click on this link to hear what she had to say about the survey.

About the NCMGMA, NCMS and Curi Survey
The same set of questions is emailed to our participant distribution list and posted to NCMGMA News every other Monday and the idea is to capture snapshots of North Carolina’s healthcare practices as we continue to move through the coronavirus pandemic. The information and data you share will be compiled and used anonymously to better understand the most acute and immediate needs, and to establish any trends to inform our policymakers and legislative initiatives on behalf of the physicians, PAs, practice administrators and the patients of North Carolina.

We know this is a stressful and uncertain time, but by taking less than 5 minutes to complete this survey, you are allowing us to better respond to and represent your needs. Please click the link above to take this short survey and help us work together to battle back against this healthcare crisis.

Thank you for your time and for your commitment to your communities. We’re in this together and are proud to support you and your practice through this tumultuous season.

– Your Colleagues at the NCMGMA, NCMS, and Curi

Urgent Practice Data Survey Reports
Please click on the links below to access the Urgent Practice Data Survey reports:

Changes to Section 1557 nondiscrimination rule

On June 12, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule revising Affordable Care Act Section 1557’s nondiscrimination regulations. The final rule, which goes into effect on August 18, 2020, modifies certain policies and also eliminates the following requirements that existed under 2016 regulations:

  • The requirement for group practices and other covered entities to issue nondiscrimination notices and non-English taglines in the top-15 languages spoken by individuals with limited English proficiency in their state;
  • The requirement that each covered entity appoint a compliance director and adopt grievance procedures to handle complaints; and
  • Nondiscrimination protections based on sex stereotyping and gender identity.

MGMA frequently receives questions about language access requirements to provide translation/interpretation services and prepared an overview of changes under the 2020 rule. In our comments on the proposed version of the rule, MGMA urged HHS to establish a reimbursement mechanism for practices that care for individuals that require language assistance services. Although HHS responded that this recommendation was outside the scope of the 2020 rule, MGMA will continue to recommend that practices receive financial assistance or reimbursement to assist with these costs.

Take action now: Tell Congress to extend Medicare Telehealth Waivers

Once the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) lifts the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) declaration, many of the telehealth flexibilities allowed during the PHE will end. Since declaring the end of a PHE is at the sole discretion of the Secretary, it is difficult to predict when he will exercise that authority. It is possible that he could end it before patients feel comfortable or safe seeking treatment in an office. To avoid a situation where providers can no longer treat patients via telehealth regardless of their location, Congress must act soon. MGMA drafted a template letter that members can send to their congressional representatives urging them to extend the Medicare telehealth flexibilities beyond the conclusion of the PHE. Since the letter is editable, we encourage members to include anecdotes on how telehealth flexibilities during the COVID-19 PHE have benefited their practices and their ability to treat patients. You can access the letter here or through our Contact Congress portal.

$15B More in Relief Available for Those Participating in Medicaid/CHIP

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced additional distributions from the Provider Relief Fund to eligible Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers who participate in state Medicaid and CHIP programs. HHS expects to distribute approximately $15 billion to these eligible clinicians who have not already received a payment from the Provider Relief Fund General Allocation.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 10, HHS is launching an enhanced Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal that will allow eligible Medicaid and CHIP providers to report their annual patient revenue, which will be used as a factor in determining their Provider Relief Fund payment. The payment to each provider will be at least 2 percent of reported gross revenue from patient care; the final amount will be determined after the data is submitted, including information about the number of Medicaid patients served.

The initial General Distribution provided payments to approximately 62 percent of all those participating in state Medicaid and CHIP programs. This Medicaid and CHIP Targeted distribution will make the Provider Relief Fund available to the remaining 38 percent. HHS has already provided relief funding to over one million providers, and today’s announcement is expected to reach several hundred thousand more, many of whom are safety net providers operating on thin margins.

This funding offers relief to those experiencing lost revenues or increased expenses due to COVID-19. Examples of providers, serving Medicaid/CHIP beneficiaries, possibly eligible for this funding include pediatricians, obstetrician-gynecologists, dentists, opioid treatment and behavioral health providers, assisted living facilities and other home and community-based services providers.

To be eligible for this funding, health care providers must not have received payments from the $50 billion Provider Relief Fund General Distribution and either have directly billed their state Medicaid/CHIP programs for health care-related services between January 1, 2018, to May 31, 2020. Close to one million health care providers may be eligible for this funding.

Read the announcement.

Learn more about eligibility and the application process here. 

HHS also announced the distribution of $10 billion in Provider Relief Funds to safety net hospitals. The safety net distribution will occur this week. For updated information and data on the Provider Relief Fund, visit hhs.gov/providerrelief

Stakeholder Update

The latest updates on North Carolina’s COVID-19 response from NC Medicaid:

Know Your Ws
Wear. Wait. Wash. As North Carolina eases some COVID-19 restrictions, the NC Department of Health and Human Services is asking people to remember these three things to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve.

If you leave home, practice your Ws: Wear, Wait, Wash

  • Wear a cloth face covering if you will be with other people.
  • Wait 6 feet apart. Avoid close contact.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.

Help get the word out by sharing materials and posting on social media in English and Spanish. Encourage people to remember their 3 Ws: Wear, Wait, Wash.

North Carolina Moves to Phase 1
On Friday at 5 PM, Governor Cooper modified North Carolina’s Stay At Home Executive Order, transitioning the state to Phase 1 of slowly easing COVID-19 went into effect. Resources for business are available in English and Spanish online, including:

  • Executive Order 138 and FAQ
  • Fact Sheet on What’s New in Phase One (English and Spanish)
  • Interim Guidance for Owners, Staff and Patrons of Businesses (English and Spanish)
  • Checklist for Business Owners (English and Spanish)
  • Signage for Businesses (English and Spanish)
  • Symptom Screening Checklist 

What to Know About Cloth Face Coverings
Following CDC guidance, Executive Order 138 recommends that people wear a cloth face covering when they leave their house and maybe less than six feet from other people who are not family or household members. Covering your face is about helping others and being a good neighbor and community member. Learn more about cloth face coverings. (English / Spanish)

NCDHHS COVID-19 Website Gets an Update
Our COVID-19 website has a new look. The redesign is intended to make the site more user-friendly and easier to navigate. Visit covid19.ncdhhs.gov.

New Portal Opens to File Claims for COVID-19 Testing and Treatment of Uninsured Patients
Health care providers and hospitals can use a new portal to request reimbursement for claims associated with COVID-19 testing and treatment of uninsured patients retroactive to Feb. 4, 2020. The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) COVID-19 Uninsured Program Portal was launched by the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support health care providers in delivering COVID-19 diagnostic testing and treatment at no cost to patients. It can be accessed at COVIDUninsuredClaim.linkhealth.com.

Food and Nutrition Services Participants Can Now Use Benefits at Authorized Online EBT Retailers
North Carolina Food and Nutrition Services participants can purchase groceries online using their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards at authorized online EBT retailers. The new flexibility allows participants to buy food while also promoting social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and helping families with transportation and mobility barriers.

School Buses to Serve as Wi-Fi Hot Spots for Remote Learning
School buses are bringing internet access to communities without it to help more North Carolina students connect to school online. Governor Cooper announced the plan to equip more school buses with hot spots following the announcement that K-12 public schools would continue remote learning through the end of this school year. Read more.

Health Care Workers Being Matched to Facilities Seeking Staff
Due to COVID-19, many health care facilities in North Carolina, particularly long-term care facilities, are seeking to hire staff for temporary, part-time or full-time roles. There is an urgent need for Registered Nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants, among other roles to supplement current workers and in some cases fill in for workers affected by COVID-19. Interested health care employees with the ability to pick up extra shifts or who may have been laid off from facilities and are seeking full-time roles can register at https://nc.readyop.com/fs/4cjq/697b.  You can learn more at the following link.

New Videos Available
Kody Kinsley, NCDHHS Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health & Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, discusses the second curve for COVID-19 – the behavioral health impacts. More videos are online in English and Spanish.

New and Updated Guidance Posted