Charlotte AHEC Practice Support
May 2023 Newsletter

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Focus on Screening for Depression and Follow Up

May is Mental Health Awareness Month so to kick off the month it is a great opportunity to connect the month to actionable opportunities in your practice. National Alliance on Mental Health and Mental Health America have toolkits to utilize for messaging and ideas on how to engage and bring awareness. Additionally, this is an opportunity to improve your impact on patients by focusing on the Medicaid measure of Screening for Depression and Follow-Up Plan.

The measure details:

  • Measurement Period Jan 1, 2023 – Dec 31, 2023
  • All patients 12 years and older
  • Denominator = all patients 12 and older with at least 1 encounter during the year
  • Numerator = patients screened using standardized tool, if positive follow-up plan is documented

Strategies to help improve the measure:

  • Review your EHR workflow for measure
  • Run a baseline report for the measure and set a goal
  • Communicate progress monthly to team
  • Provide screening tool through portal, at check-in or during well or other appropriate visits
  • If positive, follow-up plan must be documented on day of encounter
  • Build relationships with behavioral health professionals to expedite referrals
  • Work with an AHEC Practice Support Coach!

Regulatory Reminders – Hand Hygiene Reminders: Sanitizer vs Soap and Water

Part of keeping a clean environment for patient care is ensuring providers and staff are utilizing good hand hygiene techniques. During the pandemic, we have relied heavily on hand sanitizer to help keep ourselves and others safe. Hand sanitizer is a great option to quickly clean our hands but is it always the best choice? Soap and water are more effective than hand sanitizer at removing certain kinds of germs like norovirus, Crypto (Cryptospordium), CDiff, (clostridioides difficile), as well as chemicals.

Make It Actionable! Review with staff in your huddle or staff meeting the proper opportunities to utilize hand washing over sanitizer. Post a reminder in bathrooms, employee breakrooms and as appropriate. Feel free to use this poster from the CDC: Handwashing and Hand Sanitizer Use at Home, at Play, and Out and About. (Print-only) (

Identifying Other Found Insurance – NC Medicaid Managed Care

In a recent update, NC Medicaid outlined the new process to report other insurance for NC Medicaid Managed Care recipients. The process is as follows:

  1. Verify the member is actively enrolled in the designated health plan
  2. Query for other insurance coverage using either a.) real-time Electronic Data Interchange transitions or b.) the health plans’ provider portals.
  3. If additional insurance is found, Providers should complete the DHB Health Insurance Information Referral Form.

To read the full announcement and review the links to the health plan portals, click here.

MIPS Moment

The Quality Payment Program has released the 2023 Small Practice Action Planning Tool on the MIPS QPP website. This tool is designed to help small practices look at their 2021 performance and identify opportunities for improvement for the 2023 performance year. This resource is accompanied by the Introduction to 2023 Small Practice Action Planning Tool video.

In addition to the planning tool, the Quality Payment Program has many other resources specifically designed to help small practices:

  • 2023 MIPS Quick Start Guide for Small Practices
  • What’s Now In 2023 for Small Practices
  • 2023 Reporting MIPS Quality Measure though Medicare Part B Claims Quick Start Guide for Small Practices

Coding Corner

NC BCBS has shared a quick reference guide to help providers use accurate documentation and coding for substance use disorders. Accurate coding reflects a patient’s current health status at the highest level of specificity. The reference guide is available here: Documentation and Coding: Substance Use Disorders | Blue Cross NC

United Healthcare to Reduce Prior Authorizations

UnitedHealthcare (UHC) recently announced it will reduce the burden of prior authorizations (PA) across most of its commercial, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid plans.

UHC is eliminating prior authorization requirements for codes that account for roughly 20% of its current PA volume, with reductions beginning in the third quarter of the year. The PA reduction process will comply with state and federal requirements, as well as existing commercial health plan contracts.

To read the full article from the American Academy of Family Physicians and to access their related resources, visit AAFP.

Medicaid Managed Care Webinar Series

Dr. Shannon Dowler, Chief Medical Officer for NC Division of Health Benefits continues to host monthly hot topics webinars. The Spring Back Porch Chats are every 3rd Thursday from 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM. Please register for the webinars if they are not currently on your calendar. If you would like to review prior webinars, review the archive for recordings and slides. The next webinar is May 18th.

April 1st Preferred Drug List Update

To view the most recent Preferred Drug List visit NC DHHS.

Charlotte AHEC Practice Support Helping you meet the challenges!

In this time of great transition in health care practices need to position themselves for new payment models, incentive programs, and other health care reforms while refocusing on patient-centered care. Charlotte AHEC is currently able to provide these direct, individualized services at no cost.

Additional Resources:

Charlotte AHEC - Part of the NC AHEC Program
Facebook Instagram Twitter LinkedIn Charlotte AHEC YouTube