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  • Summary date: Apr 3 2023 - View Summary

    Enacts GS 130A-212.10, pertaining to the lead agency for cancer cluster investigations, as follows. Establishes the North Carolina Collaboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Collaboratory) is the lead agency for cancer cluster investigations in the State. Requires the Collaboratory to oversee the coordination of State-level efforts and activities related to cancer cluster inquiries and investigations, including efforts and activities by the Department of Health and Human Services, Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, and the Department of Environmental Quality, in a way that maximizes efficiency and effectiveness. Requires the Collaboratory to maintain an informational webpage.

    Enacts GS 130A-212.5, which specifies that all data entered or stored in the Central Cancer Registry or data from the registry that is shared with the Collaboratory, remains property of the State. Amends GS 130A-212 (pertaining to confidentiality of records) to extend confidentiality provisions to the records of the Collaboratory in fulfillment of its statutory duties.

    Enacts GS 130A-212.12, which requires the Collaboratory, in conjunction with the Central Cancer Registry and the Cancer Cluster Advisory Committee (Committee) to establish and periodically update an enhanced statewide cancer cluster protocol for addressing suspected cancer clusters within the State. Specifies that the protocol must be based on the most current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for public health agencies to assess and respond to potential cancer clusters. Requires, at a minimum, for the protocol to incorporate all of the following: (1) best practices for all phases of cancer cluster assessment, including surveillance for identifying new cancer cases and monitoring trends, inquiries, and detection and investigation; (2) State and local infrastructure needs; (3) innovative statistical methods, software tools, and analytic approaches for analyzing cancer rates and detecting cancer clusters; (4) a comprehensive plan for internal communication within the Department as well as external communication with local health departments, the community, the media, and other stakeholders.

    Enacts GS 130A-212.11, which requires the Collaboratory to employ and retain an epidemiologist with knowledge, training, and experience in cancer epidemiology, including cancer cluster investigations, whose primary responsibility will be to coordinate and communicate State-level cancer cluster activities. Sets forth the following six duties and powers of the epidemiologist: (1) lead State-level cancer cluster inquiries and investigations in collaboration with the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch and the Department of Environmental Quality, as appropriate; (2) serve as the single designated point of contact for State-level cancer cluster activities; (3) conduct routine cancer surveillance activities; (4) proactively monitor cancer rates statewide, including analyzing patterns of 15 cancer incidence over geographic areas and time; (5) lead in the development, ongoing review, and updating of the statewide cancer cluster protocol established pursuant to, with assistance from the Committee; (6) develop and disseminate reports.

    Enacts GS 130A-212.13, which establishes the 13-member Committee and sets forth meeting requirements. Sets forth membership requirements, term, meeting, and quorum requirements. Provides for per diem expenses and necessary travel and subsistence expenses for Committee members. Specifies that all administrative support and other services required by the Committee will be provided by UNC Chapel Hill. Designates the Executive Director of the Collaboratory as the person to select the Committee chair. Directs the chair to convene the first meeting of the Committee by no later than April 1, 2024.

    Effective July 1, 2023, appropriates from the General Fund to the UNC Board of Governors $358,327 in recurring funds for the 2023-2024 fiscal year and $358,327 in recurring funds for the 2024-2025 fiscal year to be allocated to the Collaboratory, to be used as follows: (1) $111,457 for each year of the 2023-2025 biennium to hire the epidemiologist discussed above; (2) $96,635 for each year of the 2023-2025 biennium to create a full time Public Health Educator II position to assist the Collaboratory with communications; (3) $150,235 for each year of the 2023-2025 biennium to create two full-time Certified Tumor Registrar positions within the Collaboratory dedicated to conducting outreach, communication, and onboarding with physician practices across the State to improve cancer case identification. Specifies that the funds allocated to create full-time positions cannot be used to supplant any other source of funding for these positions.

    Effective October 1, 2023.