The North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) has released a report with 30 recommendations for health care providers, state agencies, advocacy organizations, professional associations, and health care payers to support individuals with serious illness, their caregivers, and their communities.
The new report of the Task Force for Serious Illness Care provides policymakers, health providers and systems, and other stakeholders with a common vision and action steps to address the impacts of serious illness on North Carolinians.
President and CEO of NCIOM Dr. Adam Zolotor explains, “Serious illness impacts people of all ages as patients, caregivers, social service providers and health care professionals. But incidents of serious illness rise as we age. With the over-65 population of North Carolina projected to increase 67% by the year 2036, we need to be better prepared to care for those who need it the most.”
The report summarizes the Task Force recommendations that were completed in January 2020. But as COVID-19 ravages our communities, serious illness care is touching a record number of North Carolinians and some recommendations call for immediate attention. For instance, Task Force recommendations concerning access to telehealth services and improving advance care planning are of dire importance in this pandemic.
Zolotor adds, “The Task Force on Serious Illness Care recognized that, with rising rates of many serious and chronic conditions in our state, it is crucially important to develop a system and culture that aims to improve the quality of living for individuals with serious illness, their families, and their communities.”
The task force recommendations focus on four key areas:
AARP North Carolina State President Dr. Catherine Sevier, one of the co-chairs of the Coalition explains, “We have already begun engaging a broad range of stakeholders and their perspectives, including providers, consumers, policy advocates, industries, and others, to accelerate the solutions needed to achieve the desired vision for serious illness care.”
Over the past several months in response to COVID-19, the NC Coalition for Serious Illness Care has pushed for an ease on restrictions for getting advance directives and living wills in place, reducing some of the cumbersome and outdated processes that prevent people from getting these legal documents in place. With a diverse membership of 120 individuals from many disciplines representing over 70 healthcare, patient advocacy and serious illness-focused organizations, it is well suited to make continued progress addressing the challenges of caring for those with serious illnesses.
This NCIOM Serious Illness Task force is supported by the Duke Endowment, with additional support from AARP North Carolina, the NC Health Care Facilities Association, the Association for Home & Hospice Care of North Carolina, and the Carolinas Center.
The North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) is an independent, quasi-state agency that was chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1983 to provide balanced, nonpartisan information on issues of relevance to the health of North Carolina’s population. For more information, visit www.nciom.org.
Robbinsville, NC, July 13, 2020 - The Cheoah Ranger District on the Nantahala National Forest now has two new Kids in Parks TRACK Trails, designed to turn an ordinary hike into a fun-filled, discovery-packed adventure.
At the Massey Branch Fitness Trail and the Cheoah Trail, both located across from the Cheoah Ranger District Office in Robbinsville, visitors will now find new trailhead signs with activity guides that allow young hikers to learn about and connect with the natural features found along the trail. On the Cheoah Trail, explore the historic site of the 1940s Civil Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp. The Fitness Trail has a variety of different exercise stations along the trail.
After their hike, kids can register their TRACK Trail adventures at kidsinparks.com to earn prizes designed to make their next outdoor adventure more meaningful and to encourage continued participation in the program.
The TRACK trails on the Cheoah Ranger District were created in cooperation with the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation--Kids in Parks Program with funding and support provided by the Duke Energy Foundation, Graham County Travel and Tourism, and the Graham Revitalization and Economic Action Team.
The goal of Kids in Parks TRACK Trails is to engage children and families in outdoor recreation to foster lifelong wellness and meaningful connections to nature. Since the program's inception in 2009, more than 1.5 million TRACK Trail adventures have been completed. Other trail locations, hiking tips, and information on nature and safety that is beneficial for parents, teachers, and people of all ages can be found at www.kidsinparks.com.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is reporting the state’s highest one-day number of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases with 2,462 reported. It is the highest one-day increase to date. Hospitalizations are also at a record high with 1,093 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19.
“Record-high numbers like today are concerning," said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. “We all have a responsibility to one another to wear a face covering, avoid crowds and wash our hands often to get our trends going back in the right direction.”
To slow the spread of COVID-19 everyone must practice the 3 Ws – wearing a face covering over your nose and mouth, waiting six feet apart and washing your hands often.
NCDHHS is responding to the pandemic on multiple fronts, including surging testing and contact tracing resources in communities and populations that have been hardest hit by COVID-19. The Department is contracting with two vendors, Vidant Health and Orig3n, Inc., to deploy up to 300 no-cost testing sites for African American, LatinX/Hispanic and American Indian communities that currently have limited testing sites. A full list of community testing events is available on the NCDHHS COVID-19 website.
NCDHHS has also taken action to decrease barriers to COVID-19 testing by issuing a Statewide Standing Order for COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing, as well as a State Health Director Temporary Order on COVID-19 Diagnostic Test Reporting.
Anyone with symptoms or anyone who thinks they have been exposed to COVID-19, whether or not they have symptoms, should be tested for COVID-19. If you think you may need to be tested and would like to find a nearby testing place, go to Check My Symptoms and Find My Testing Place. To find short-term testing events in your community, visit the NCDHHS COVID-19 website.
To find out more about the response to COVID-19 in NC, visit nc.gov/covid19. Additional data is posted on the NC COVID-19 Dashboard at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard.
Learn more about North Carolina’s strategy to combat COVID-19.
North Carolina Announces Statewide COVID-19 Test Standing Order, Requires Reporting of All Test Results
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) today took action to decrease barriers to COVID-19 testing by issuing a Statewide Standing Order for COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing, as well as a State Health Director Temporary Order on COVID-19 Diagnostic Test Reporting.
These actions will help to increase access to testing across the state, especially for members of historically marginalized populations, and increase reporting of North Carolina test results, both positive and negative, to the state.
“Testing is an important component of the state’s strategy to slow the spread of the virus, and today’s order will make it easier for North Carolinians to get tested,” said NCDHHS State Health Director Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, M.D.
The Statewide Standing Order allows testing sites to collect and submit samples to a laboratory for COVID-19 testing without requiring a specific order and authorizes testing sites to receive results directly from laboratories. This will facilitate community-based testing sites and reduce barriers to testing, especially for members of historically marginalized populations who may be less likely to have a medical home.
Read the Statewide Standing Order for COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing here.
The following press release has been issued by Cherokee County Sheriff's Office. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Murphy, NC— Sheriff Derrick Palmer announced the June 28, 2020 arrest of Tracy Ev Shirley, a 47-year \-old male from Ellijay, Georgia, Miranda Kathaleen Gibson, a 29-year-old female from White County, Georgia, and the June 29, 2020 arrest of 41-year-old Travis Bateman of Andrews, North Carolina for violations of the North Carolina Controlled Substance laws.
During the month of June 2020, investigators with the Cherokee County North Carolina Sheriff’s Office received information from investigators in North Georgia counties that Tracy Shirley was involved in a large scale distribution operation of illegal drugs and was presently distributing the drugs in Cherokee County, North Carolina. Additionally, information supplied was that Shirley was wanted and was presently a fugitive from justice. (GBI Press Release https://gbi.georgia.gov/…/operation-real-mccoy-yields-47-ar…)
From this information, the Cherokee County investigators conducted an investigation and was able to determine that Shirley was returning to Cherokee County with an additional amount of methamphetamine to sell in Cherokee County, North Carolina. From surveillance of Shirley, a stop in the Wolf Creek area of Cherokee County was done and Shirley along with Gibson were taken into custody and incarcerated in the Cherokee County Detention Center in Murphy, North Carolina. At the time of the stop, Shirley collided with a Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office vehicle and a residence. No one was hurt in the collision.
From additional information obtained in the investigation, Travis Bateman was identified as a co-conspirator in the distribution operation in Cherokee County. In a search of a residence that Bateman had been occupying in the Ranger Community to distribute methamphetamine, several marijuana plants were found growing as well as other illegal controlled substances.
Tracy Ev Shirley was charged with CONSPIRE TO TRAFFIC METHAMPHETAMINE X 2, POSSESS METHAMPHETAMINE, MAINTAIN PLACE CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE, RESISTING PUBLIC OFFICER, INJURY TO REAL PROPERTY, EXTRADITION/FUGITIVE OTHER STATE, The North Carolina Magistrate set a $275,000.00 secure bond. Shirley is currently in the Cherokee County Detention Center awaiting a Cherokee County District Court date on July 9, 2020 for his initial hearing.
Miranda Kathaleen Gibson was charged with CONSPIRE TO TRAFFIC METHAMPHETAMINE, POSSESS METHAMPHETAMINE, POSSESS MARIJUANA UP TO 1/2 OZ. The North Carolina Magistrate set a $150,000.00 secure bond. Gibson is currently in the Cherokee County Detention Center awaiting a Cherokee County District Court date on July 9, 2020 for her initial hearing.
Travis Bateman was charged with POSSESS SCHEDULE I CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE, SIMPLE POSSESSION SCHEDULE II CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE, SIMPLE POSSESSION SCHEDULE V CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE, CONSPIRE TRAFFIC METHAMPHETAMINE, POSSESSION OF FIREARM BY FELON, MAINTAIN PLACE CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE, POSSESS METHAMPHETAMINE, MANUFACTURE MARIJUANA, FELONY POSSESSION MARIJUANA. The North Carolina Magistrate set a $75,000.00 secure bond. Bateman is currently in the Cherokee County Detention Center awaiting a Cherokee County District Court date on July 9, 2020 for his initial hearing.
To report suspicious activity and suspect violations of the law please call 828-837-1344 or submit a tip at firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 1, 2020 - Large crowds are common at many national forest recreation areas over holiday weekends and USDA Forest Service personnel remind visitors to put safety first and recreate responsibly.
Please heed warning signs when enjoying outdoor activities and follow safety precautions such as these:
Find information on the status of recreation areas and facilities at http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/currentclosures . Forest Service offices are closed on Friday, July 3, for the Independence Day holiday.
YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. — Blue Ridge Mountain EMC’s General Manager Jeremy Nelms announced on June 25 that he will resign his position as General Manager in September 2020.
Nelms began his career at Blue Ridge Mountain EMC in August 2016. He was hired as the seventh general manager since the inception of BRMEMC in 1938. During Nelms’ four-year tenure, the EMC has seen a growth in its Membership that now exceeds 54,000 meters, 46,791 members and 6,200 miles of electric lines.
Board of Directors President Ray Cook said, “The Board is very grateful for Jeremy’s leadership over the last four years. He and the employees have done an outstanding job serving our Membership and we know without a doubt this exceptional service will continue. Jeremy leaves the EMC in very good fiscal health and a great position for growth. We wish Jeremy and his family the best in this next phase of their lives and we sincerely thank him for his service and dedication to BRMEMC.”
Under the Board’s leadership, BRMEMC will begin a search for a new general manager later this summer.
“Having the opportunity to work alongside some of the finest co-workers I’ve ever met has been both rewarding and gratifying,” said Nelms. “I have made wonderful friendships over the last four years and I know the EMC, its Board, and employees will continue to succeed and prosper for the benefit of the Membership. I thank the Board for allowing me the opportunity to pursue and grow my career at BRMEMC over these last four years.”
The U.S. Forest Service has acquired a 49-acre inholding at the headwaters of Laurel Creek, a tributary to Fires Creek, in a popular recreation area on the Tusquitee Ranger District. Funding for the purchase comes from the North Carolina Threatened Treasures FY 2020 Land and Water Conservation Fund Appropriations.
The tract, which is completely surrounded by national forest, had been privately owned until it was purchased by Mainspring Conservation Trust in 2017.
In closing on the sale to the U.S. Forest Service, Jordan Smith, Executive Director for Mainspring said, "We are thrilled that the Laurel Creek inholding is forever part of the National Forest, after more than a decade of uncertainty. Mainspring is grateful to the landowners, who were willing to seek a conservation solution for this incredibly significant property, the organizations and supporters who helped donate to this project so the property could become public land, and for our partners at the U.S. Forest Service, who recognized what this inholding means to hikers, hunters, and people who love the Fires Creek Area. This project exemplifies what can happen when everyone works together for permanent conservation."
The parcel includes a section of the Rim Trail, a 25-mile foot and horse path that traverses the rim of the Tusquitee Mountains and Valley River Mountains that form the Fires Creek watershed. The Rim Trail loop starts at the Fires Creek Recreation Area and connects to other trails including the Shinbone, Sassafras, Phillips Ridge, and Bristol Horse Trails.
"This property is an important wildlife area used by sportsmen for bear, deer, turkey, and grouse hunting and ensures recreation access to the Rim Trail," said District Ranger Andy Gaston. "Mainspring Conservation Trust has been a great partner in adding public lands to this well-loved part of the Nantahala National Forest."
Acquisition of the property also helps provide for abundant clean water through protection of the headwaters of Fires Creek, Laurel Creek, and Phillips Creek that flow into the Hiwassee River Basin, the primary source of drinking water for residents in North Carolina and Georgia.
Today, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) released improved online applications for Medicaid and Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) that will help both North Carolina families and county Departments of Social Services (DSS) during the COVID-19 pandemic. These new applications will reduce administrative burden for county DSS and help applicants maintain social distancing when applying for these programs.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of people who need these programs, while also creating new challenges for our county partners,” said NCDHHS Deputy Secretary for NC Medicaid Dave Richard. “Improving the online application process helps everyone.”
North Carolina’s online application portal for Medicaid and FNS is called ePASS. New and updated features in ePASS include:
To learn more about the new features of NC FAST’s ePASS upgrade, visit the Medicaid/NC Health Choice webpage or the NCDHHS Food and Nutrition Service webpage.