State Government
First Health Equity Officer Hired By State PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Monday, 20 September 2021 16:41
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) today announced the hiring of Victor Armstrong as the Department’s first ever Chief Health Equity Officer. NCDHHS created the position as well as the Office of Health Equity to lead its focus to advance health equity and reduce disparities in opportunity and outcomes for historically marginalized populations.
 
“Today’s announcement marks another step forward in our commitment to embed equity into every aspect of our work and to promote an inclusive, equitable workplace that reflects the communities we serve, where everyone feels a sense of belonging, and our diverse backgrounds and experiences are valued and recognized as strengths,” said DHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “We are fortunate to bring on two leaders with tremendous talent, experience, and dedication to public service.”
 
As Chief Health Equity Officer, Armstrong will serve as a member of the Department’s executive leadership team and will lead the Department’s overarching strategy and operational goals to promote health equity, diversity, and inclusion across all DHHS health and human services. He will be responsible for developing, implementing, facilitating, and embedding health equity strategic initiatives into every aspect of DHHS’ programs, services, actions, outcomes and internal employee culture; as well as overseeing the Office of Health Equity, Office of Rural Health, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
 
“I feel honored to be stepping into the Chief Health Equity Officer role, particularly when a focus on health equity is so badly needed, and I applaud Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen for taking the initiative to create such a position,” said Armstrong. “Health equity only exists when all people have the opportunity to attain their full health potential, and no one is disadvantaged because of their social position or other socially determined circumstance. We only arrive at health equity through intentionality.”
 
Armstrong is a current member of the DHHS team, having joined the Department in March 2020 as Director of the NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, Substance Abuse Services. He has over 30 years of experience in human services, primarily dedicated to building and strengthening community resources to serve historically marginalized individuals and communities. Armstrong is a nationally recognized speaker on issues regarding health equity and access to healthcare, particularly as it relates to individuals living with mental health challenges.
 
In addition to the Chief Health Equity Officer, DHHS also welcomes a new Assistant Secretary of Equity and Inclusion. Former State Senator Angela Bryant will work hand in hand with Armstrong to develop, operationalize, and evaluate the Department’s healthy equity work. She also will lead the Department’s internal diversity and inclusion work overseeing the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, as well as stakeholder engagement with community stakeholders.
 
“This is a very urgent time to focus our resources on maximizing health and wellness for all North Carolinians. I am pleased to be a part of this DHHS team, with Chief Armstrong, to work on the in-depth collaborations that will be needed to accomplish the serious and complex goals needed, both internally and externally, to advance health equity,“ said Senator Bryant.
 
Senator Bryant served in the NC General Assembly representing various configurations of Halifax, Vance, Warren, Franklin and parts of Wilson and Nash Counties from 2007 to 2018. In addition to serving as an elected official, she has dedicated her career to supporting a broad range of organizations in creating welcoming and successful environments for all cultural groups. She co-founded Visions, Inc. – a non-profit educational organization that has provided diversity and inclusion services to over 100,000 individuals and 600 organizations, including health care organizations and staff – with the mission to empower the creation of environments where differences are recognized, understood, and appreciated. 
 
 
 
DHHS Opens 4 New Monoclonal Antibodies Sites PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Monday, 20 September 2021 16:37
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced four new locations offering monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) for treatment of COVID-19 managed by local organizations in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, bringing the number of sites in the state offering this therapy to more than 200. FEMA will also help staff one existing site. This partnership will give more North Carolinians access to monoclonal antibody treatment, which can decrease the likelihood of hospitalization related to COVID-19 if taken early.
 
“While vaccines provide the best protection from COVID-19, treatment options such as monoclonal antibodies are available for people at high risk for severe illness if you have had symptoms of COVID-19 for 10 days or less or have been exposed to COVID-19,” said Dr. Elizabeth Tilson, NCDHHS State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer. “Expanding access to this potentially lifesaving treatment can, if taken early, reduce the risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death.”
 
The four new sites, which are all operational as of the afternoon on Sept. 17, are located in Harnett, Johnston, Robeson and Wilkes counties. Listed below are the new sites and information about how people can make appointments, which are required: 
Wilkes County: The Health Foundation in North Wilkesboro. Call 336-528-1637 or fill out this form.
Johnston County: Smithfield Hospital Campus in Smithfield. Call 919-268-1621.
Harnett County: Central Carolina Community College Harnett Health Sciences Center in Lillington. Call 910-893-0653.
Robeson County: UNC-Southeastern Ambulatory Care Center in Lumberton. Referrals based on a positive COVID-19 test are required for this location.
In addition, FEMA-contracted health care staff are providing surge capacity for an existing monoclonal antibody clinic at Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital in Murphy in Cherokee County.
 
NCDHHS, local partners and FEMA chose these locations based on a combination of geographic gaps in access to treatment and regional COVID-19 case counts. Appointments are required, but patients who qualify for treatment do not need a referral from a health care provider for sites other than Robeson County if they meet medical screening criteria when setting up their appointment. ID is not required to receive treatment at the FEMA-supported sites.
 
The federal government is providing monoclonal antibody therapy at no cost to patients. However, health care providers may charge an administration fee for treatment. Medicare and many commercial insurance companies are covering all costs for patients. Check with your health plan to learn more about treatment costs.
 
People who believe they may be eligible for treatment should ask their health care provider about monoclonal antibodies or call the Combat COVID Monoclonal Antibodies Call Center at 1-877-332-6585 (English) or 1-877-366-0310 (Spanish). The call center can assist people who do not have a health care provider. More information, including answers to frequently asked questions about monoclonal antibody treatments, is available at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/treatment.
 
Monoclonal antibodies are proteins made in a laboratory to fight infections — in this case, the virus that causes COVID-19 — and are given to patients directly with an IV infusion or a shot. Some early evidence suggests this treatment can reduce the amount of the virus, or viral load, that causes COVID-19 in a person's body. Having a lower viral load may reduce the severity of symptoms and decrease the likelihood of hospitalization.
 
To meet the goal of administering monoclonal antibodies to treat mild to moderate COVID-19, or for preventive treatment in patients who are high risk for severe disease, Dr. Tilson issued a statewide Standing Order to expand access to this treatment following Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 232. There has been increasing demand for monoclonal antibody treatment in North Carolina and across the country, creating strain on supply. This week, North Carolina was allocated 6,500 doses by the federal government to meet the requests submitted to the state.  
 
On Sept. 13, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) transitioned from the direct ordering process for monoclonal antibodies to a state-coordinated distribution system. At this time, federal mAb direct ordering has been paused and NCDHHS has updated providers on a new request process. A state-coordinated distribution system will give health departments maximum flexibility to get these critical drugs where they are needed most.
 
Vaccination remains the best protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. All unvaccinated North Carolinians age 12 and older should get a COVID-19 vaccine now to protect themselves, their community and those who cannot be vaccinated. Rigorous clinical trials among thousands of people ages 12 and older have proven vaccines are safe and effective. Almost 200 million Americans have been safely vaccinated.
 
Free COVID-19 vaccines are widely available across the state to anyone 12 and older. To get a vaccine near you, visit MySpot.nc.gov or call 888-675-4567. You can also text your zip code to 438829 to find vaccine locations near you. 
 
DHHS Reminds Pfizer 3rd Booster Not Yet Available In NC PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Monday, 20 September 2021 16:34
Advisors to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today the Pfizer-BioNTech (COMIRNATY) COVID-19 booster shot is safe, effective and recommended for individuals who have been fully vaccinated for at least six months and are:  
 
65 years and older; 
At high risk of severe COVID-19; and, 
At high risk of occupational exposure. 
As a next step, the Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot must be reviewed and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to further define these groups before it will be made available for use. That meeting will take place Wednesday, September 22. 
 
“COVID-19 boosters are another effective way to fight this pandemic and prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen. “We look forward to the CDC’s final guidance next week so that we can begin administering booster shots in North Carolina when it is time to do so. In the meantime, if you’re not yet vaccinated, don’t wait. Get vaccinated today.” 
 
NCDHHS will provide additional information related to eligibility of boosters but reminds North Carolinians that they are not yet available to the public until the CDC issues its final recommendations. 
 
People 12 and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised and fully vaccinated with either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are already eligible to receive an additional dose. Studies indicate their immune systems do not always build the same level of immunity after vaccination compared to people who are not immunocompromised.  
 
NCDHHS encourages everyone 12 and older to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and to continue to practice the 3Ws – wear a mask, wait six feet apart and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to protect yourself and others. 
 
Visit MySpot.nc.gov for more COVID-19 information and updates and to find a vaccine location near you.
Last Updated on Monday, 20 September 2021 16:36
 
Cooper Expands Access to Monoclonal Antibody Treatment for COVID-19 PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Monday, 13 September 2021 10:52
Governor Roy Cooper signed an Executive Order to make it easier for North Carolinians to access treatment for COVID-19. The Executive Order authorizes and directs State Health Director, Dr. Betsey Tilson, to issue a statewide standing order to expand access to monoclonal antibody treatment, which if taken early can decrease the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death. The Order will be in effect through November 30, 2021.
 
“Expanding access to monoclonal antibody therapy will help more patients across the state get this highly effective COVID-19 treatment,” said Governor Cooper. “In addition to getting more people vaccinated, we need to do all we can to save the lives of people who become infected.”
 
The Governor has previously directed, and affirmed the State Health Director’s authority to direct, the issuance of statewide standing orders to facilitate COVID-19 vaccination and testing efforts, most recently in Executive Order No. 229.
 
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (“NCDHHS”) reports that while they have seen an increase in the number of providers who are administering monoclonal antibody treatment, there is still limited capacity to administer this medication among the state’s primary care providers and providers not associated with a health system. A statewide standing order for monoclonal antibody treatment will make it easier for people with COVID-19 symptoms, particularly those with less access to a regular health care provider, to get this potentially life-saving treatment. Under the order, treatment could be provided in a medical supervised community setting, such as part of COVID-19 testing sites.
 
“We want to do everything possible to help people recover from COVID and keep them out of the hospital,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “Get tested right away if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Treatment for COVID must be given within 10 days of symptoms starting and before someone becomes sick enough to need the hospital."
 
While vaccines provide the best protection from COVID-19, treatment options such as Monoclonal Antibodies are available if you have had symptoms of COVID-19 for 10 days or less or have been exposed to COVID-19. If taken early, they can reduce the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death. Ask your doctor about Monoclonal Antibodies or call the Combat COVID Monoclonal Antibodies Call Center at 1-877-332-6585 (English) or 1-877-366-0310 (Spanish).
 
Monoclonal antibodies are proteins made in a laboratory to fight infections, in this case, the virus that causes COVID-19, and are given to patients directly with an IV infusion or a shot. Some early evidence suggests this treatment can reduce the amount of the virus, or viral load, that causes COVID-19 in a person's body. Having a lower viral load may reduce the severity of symptoms and decrease the likelihood of hospitalization.
 
The Order received concurrence from the Council of State.
 
«StartPrev123456NextEnd»

Page 1 of 6
Copyright 2011 - All Rights Reserved
3012 Highwoods Blvd., Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27604
Telephone: (919) 790-9392