Current Bulletin

  • Recommendations Issued By Legislative Committee on Access to Care In Rural NC

    The Legislative Research Commission’s Committee on Access to Healthcare in Rural North Carolina met for its fourth and last meeting on April 12, submitting its seven recommendations to the General Assembly. Read the draft report and its recommendations. A summary also is available on the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Legislative Blog.

    The Committee, co-chaired by NC Representative David R. Lewis (R-Harnett) and NC Senator David L. Curtis (R-Lincoln), was charged with studying the issues surrounding access to health care in rural communities in the state, with particular focus on the physician shortage in medically underserved areas; potential solutions to the shortage and its impacts and availability of eye care in rural communities.

    NCMS Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Advancement and Associate General Counsel Chip Baggett testified before the committee at its first meeting in January. Watch his testimony.

    The committee’s recommendations after hearing from a variety of experts are:

    • Identify ways to enhance graduate medical education in rural areas.
    • Find rural hospitals that want to be designated as teaching hospitals by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
    • Appropriate $5 million in recurring funding for the Southern Regional AHEC and $3 million in recurring funding for Eastern AHEC.
    • Increase funding for loan repayment targeting rural providers.
    • Study the State Health Plan and Medicaid program to increase preventative health services, improve outcomes and reduce costs.
    • Enact legislation to implement a statutory framework for telemedicine and further study telemedicine issues.
    • Develop a plan to support medical education and residencies to address the state’s health needs.

    Read the full report.

     

     
  • Oversight Committees Also Finalize Reports to General Assembly Ahead of Session’s Start

    North Carolina Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Mandy Cohen, MD, appeared before two legislative oversight committees on April 10, to update them on a variety of issues. Both the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Medicaid and NC Choice and the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services issued their reports to the General Assembly in advance of the beginning of the ‘short session,’ which convenes on Wednesday, May 16.

    Read a summary of the Secretary’s remarks and the committee reports on the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Legislative Blog.

    Summary of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Medicaid and NC Health Choice.

    Summary of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services.

     
  • The Results Are In: NCMS Snapshot Survey on Low-Value Care

    Thank you to everyone who participated in last week’s April Snapshot Survey on low-value care, that is care that provides little to no clinical value and is otherwise avoidable or unnecessary. The results are revealing and will help as North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) leadership weighs future policies around health care reforms and the move to value-based care.

    While we’re still analyzing the results several takeaways are apparent.

    • A wide variety of factors play into your decision-making process – training and experience as well as clinical evidence are major contributors. Patient expectations play a prominent role. Reimbursement and malpractice concerns are also taken into consideration by some when making clinical decisions.
    • Respondents also mentioned consultation with colleagues, clinician fatigue, insurance requirements like prior authorization and corporate rules when making decisions for their patients.
    • The response to being paid less for low-value care was mixed with no clear consensus.
    • The idea of being rewarded for practicing high-value care, however, was embraced by many respondents.

    The monthly Snapshot survey is a valuable tool to help NCMS leaders and advocacy staff understand your perspective on timely topics. We encourage you to watch for the monthly email with the survey link and to take just 60 seconds to respond to the five questions. As an added incentive, we give away six $100 gift cards to randomly selected respondents.

     
  • Hudspeth Joins Carolina Complete Health Network Board

    Richard W. Hudspeth, MD

     

    Carolina Complete Health Network, Inc. (CCHN), a subsidiary of the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) formed to establish, build and maintain a physician-led network of providers to serve Medicaid beneficiaries in North Carolina, welcomes NCMS member Richard W. Hudspeth, MD, to its Board of Directors.

    Dr. Hudspeth, of Hendersonville, is the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer of Blue Ridge Community Health Services (BRCHS), a non-profit, Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in western North Carolina. He has been with BRCHS since 2015. Dr. Hudspeth also serves on the clinical faculty of the Hendersonville Family Medicine Residency Program.

    Prior to 2015, Dr. Hudspeth was the Medical Director of Community Care of Western North Carolina, a regional network of health care professionals based in Asheville.

    Dr. Hudspeth received a B.A. from Duke University and an M.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. He completed his family medicine residency at the University of Cincinnati and completed an obstetrics fellowship at the University of Utah.

    Dr. Hudspeth’s addition to the Board of Directors further strengthens CCHN’s commitment to and working relationship with North Carolina’s FQHCs in advance of the pending implementation of Medicaid reform in North Carolina. FQHCs are non-profit, consumer-governed providers of integrated medical, dental, pharmacy, behavioral health and enabling services. In North Carolina they are the health care home to over half a million patients. FQHCs receive federal assistance to provide sliding-fee services to assure no one is denied access to care.

    “The addition of Dr. Hudspeth to CCHN’s Board of Directors represents CCHN’s recognition that FQHCs are a vital provider to our state’s Medicaid beneficiaries,” said Jeffrey Runge, MD, CEO and President of CCHN and a member of the NCMS Board of Directors. “We look forward to Dr. Hudspeth’s contribution to CCHN as the state gets closer to choosing the health plans that will care for the Medicaid patient population to which BRCHS has long been committed.”

     
  • Health Care Leadership and Management Scholars Convene in Wilmington

    The Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership’s 2018 class of Health Care Leadership and Management (HCLM) scholars met last weekend in Wilmington to learn from the experts on topics ranging from financial accounting, corporate finance to the purpose of a business plan. They also received a primer on negotiation from Roger C. Mayer, PhD, a professor in the Department of Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at NC State University’s Poole College of Management.

    The HCLM program offers a critical framework for physicians based on economics, finance and leadership development. With this framework, scholars are provided the necessary vocabulary for the business realm and are equipped to take on greater leadership positions in their career. Applications for the 2019 class are now being accepted. Learn more and apply.

    The award-winning leadership development programs offered through the Kanof Institute are funded through the NCMS Foundation. Learn more about how you can participate through enrolling in one of the programs or making a donation to help ensure health care policies at all levels and in all types of organizations are shaped by those on the frontlines of health care.

    HCLM scholars bid farewell to Erin Grover (front, center in white shirt), KIPL Program Manager for last four years. Best wishes on the next phase of your career journey!

     
  • NCMS Joins Initiative To Combat Fake Online Pharmacies

    The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) has joined the North Carolina Secretary of State’s campaign to help alert doctors and their patients to the dangers of fake online pharmacies. Beware – 97 percent of online pharmacies are illegitimate and unsafe, according to the FDA.

    Your patients may be looking to the internet in hopes of finding a good deal on the medicines you prescribe. But in the vast majority of case, they are looking at ‘rogue’ pharmacy sites selling questionable substitutes and outright fake medicines. Even experts have difficulty identifying a fake online pharmacy from its website alone, according to the NC Secretary of State’s office.

    “This is a major problem,” North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall explains. “Prescription counterfeiters put people’s health at risk by not delivering the promised dosage of medicine or by adding who knows what to make that pill look right. They also collect personal and credit card information that opens the door to identity theft.”

    The Verify Before You Buy program is a free resource from the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP). You can check the authenticity of an online pharmacy by entering its URL at www.verifybeforeyoubuy.org. Please encourage your patients to verify before they buy any medication from an online discount pharmacy at this site.

    To request free patient Verify Before You Buy information cards for display in your office, please contact the NCMS at 919-833-3836 x112 or ncms@ncmedsoc.org.

    If patients are looking for discounts on prescription medicines, consider suggesting the free North Carolina Drug Card, which is endorsed by the NCMS. With the card, patients may receive savings of up to 75 percent (discounts average roughly 30 percent) at more than 68,000 national and regional pharmacies. Learn more.

     
  • New Research Center Focuses on Physician Leadership and Practice

    The Physicians Foundation Center for the Study of Physician Practice and Leadership at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York launched on April 11. The Center seeks to document challenges facing physicians in medical practice and define those practice models that help physicians provide high-quality, high-value care to patients. The Physicians Foundation, which has supported North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) leadership development programs in the past among other initiatives around the move to value-based care, is funding the Center.

    “We at the Physicians Foundation have closely observed the mounting administrative and regulatory burdens placed on practicing physicians across the U.S. In many cases, time with patients is sacrificed to absorb these additional requirements, while also reducing physician’s autonomy when it comes to patient care,” said Walker Ray, MD, President of The Physicians Foundation. “Physician leadership is a core value of the Foundation and, together with Weill Cornell Medicine, we are certain we can identify new approaches and solutions to drive positive change in the practice of medicine.”

    Over the last 25 years, the Director of the new Center, Lawrence Casalino, MD, PhD, MPH, Chief, Division of Health Policy and Economics at Weill Cornell, has focused on identifying ways to create a more effective health care delivery system. His published findings have examined such issues as the comparative performance of different types of provider organization; how reporting processes to health insurers can be costly and inefficient; how small practices can rival large practices with lower rates of preventable hospital readmissions; possible unintended consequences of value-based purchasing; and the importance of socioeconomic factors in creating disparities in health and health care.

    “Developing physician leaders and seeking out innovative new practice models is central to the NCMS’ mission and vision,” said NCMS CEO Robert W. Seligson, who also serves as treasurer of The Physicians Foundation. “The Center’s findings will no doubt enhance our leadership development programs and as we assess future policy proposals at both the state and federal levels.”

    Recently, a key internal advisor and Director of Policy Dissemination for the initiative, Dhruv Khullar MD, MPP, an Instructor at Weill Cornell Medicine’s Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, mentioned the Center’s work in an article titled “We’re Bad at Evaluating Risk. How Doctors Can Help?” in The New York Times. Read the article. (Registration with The New York Times may be necessary to read this article.)

    Learn more about the Center at The Physicians Foundation website.

     
  • Share Your Thoughts on MOC

    Please share your feedback on Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements through an online survey being conducted by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). The deadline has been extended until May 11.

    The survey is part of an ABMS initiative titled “Continuing Board Certification: Vision for the Future.” The feedback from the survey, which members of the public and other stakeholders are also invited to take, will help identify key concerns regarding MOC and inform the work of ABMS’s new Vision for the Future Commission. The commission will use the survey results as part of a comprehensive assessment of continuous board certification to make it “meaningful to physicians and the patients they serve well into the next decade.” The commission will submit a draft report for public comment in November; a final report will be submitted to the ABMS Board of Directors in February 2019.

    TAKE THE SURVEY.

     
  • Help With MIPS is a Click Away

    The Physicians Advocacy Institute (PAI) recently added several new resources to help physicians understand the 2018 participation rules for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM) pathways. The resources include overviews of: the various MIPS categories, MIPS scoring and payment adjustment, MIPS reporting mechanisms, Advanced APMs, and Advanced APM participation requirements. View the resources. Learn more about all that PAI has to offer in their monthly QPP newsletter.

    Also, be sure to check out the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) MACRA page for a comprehensive listing of all available resources.

     
  • Early Check: A New Research Study to Screen Newborns for Rare Conditions

    Starting later this year, Early Check, a voluntary, statewide research study, will invite pregnant women and new mothers from throughout North Carolina to have their newborn tested for rare conditions not included in the state newborn screening program. The goal will be to learn about rare health conditions and look for better treatments to help babies who have them. The study is funded by NIH and collaborators include the University of North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest/Baptist, RTI International and the North Carolina State Newborn Screening Laboratory. Although health professionals will not need to recruit participants, we want you to be aware of the study in case you get questions from patients. We will share more updates with you as we receive them from RTI. Learn more.