NC HealthConnex COVID-19 Special Update May 5, 2020 Author: Emily Hughes 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 (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. 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, UNC Medical Center, Johnston, Lenoir, Nash, Onslow, Pardee, Rockingham, Rex, Wayne) 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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/ Rural Health Grant Opportunities - https://www.ncdhhs.gov/about/grant-opportunities/rural-health-grant-opportunities HIMSS: In Times of Crisis, HIEs are Front and Center - https://www.himss.org/news/times-crisis-hie-front-and-center Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Newsroom - https://www.cms.gov/newsroom 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. 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 Comprehensive guidance available on the DHHS website 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 NC Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) COVID-19 Webinar - https://www.ncahec.net/news/resources-and-courses-on-covid-19/ Broadband Resources - https://www.ncbroadband.gov/covid19broadband/ Enforcement Discretion Related to ONC's Cure Act Final Rule - https://www.healthit.gov/curesrule/resources/enforcement-discretion i2i Center COVID-19 Information and Resources - https://i2icenter.org/north-carolina-covid-19-resources/ NCHICA COVID-19 Resources - https://nchica.org/resources/covid-19/ How HIEs Are Accommodating Data Exchange During COVID-19 - https://ehrintelligence.com/news/how-hies-are-accommodating-data-exchange-during-covid-19? If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the HIEA provider relations team at firstname.lastname@example.org.