Current Bulletin

  • Legislative Short Session Winds Down; Now Is the Time to Plan Ahead

    Dr. Richard M. Wardrop, III, and six UNC School of Medicine students attended the first White Coat Wednesday of 2018’s legislative short session.

    As the General Assembly concludes its business this short session, the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) is already planning ahead for the upcoming long legislative session, which begins in January 2019. Catch up on what has been accomplished this session on our Legislative Blog, and by watching our most recent Bowtie Briefing legislative update video.

    Issues sure to be on the agenda during the long session include: scope of practice legislation, truth in advertising, reimbursement for telemedicine, birth center regulations, further legislation addressing the opioid abuse epidemic. Please share your thoughts with us on these and other issues important to you as we plan.

    We encourage you to use the remainder of this year to begin or to continue to build a relationship with your local legislator and to be sure to vote in the November mid-term elections. If you’re not registered to vote or if you have moved since the last election, now is the time to get your registration in order. Learn more and register at the NC Board of Elections.

    Also, check your calendar and sign up for a White Coat Wednesday to come to Raleigh and meet with your representatives as they are considering legislation that can impact your practice. Learn more about this valuable and rewarding activity and sign up today.

     
  • NC Medical Board Wants to Hear From You – By Friday

    Please take a moment to provide your input to the North Carolina Medical Board’s (NCMB) licensee survey before this Friday, June 29. Your responses are anonymous and will be used to provide the NCMB with valuable information on the issues and challenges facing medical professionals in our state.

    Take the Survey

    The survey is being administered by a third-party organization, McKinney, and will take 15 to 20 minutes to complete. NCMB will use the information to gain a greater understanding of the topics addressed in the survey, and to identify opportunities to serve as a resource to their licensees. They will share the results of this survey publicly through our licensee newsletter, The Forum, and other communication outlets, as well as through the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Bulletin.

     
  • Stay Informed Through the Scope of Practice Partnership Discussion Group

    The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) along with other stakeholder organizations are part of the AMA’s Scope of Practice Partnership (SOPP). As part of this partnership, you have access to the General Member discussion group, which shares timely information on scope of practice legislative and regulatory advocacy work.

    To join the discussion group and gain access to SOPP Legislative Watch, a bimonthly newsletter, and SOPP Legislative Action Alerts, contact Kristin Schleiter at kristin.schleiter@ama-assn.org.

     
  • AMA Action On H-1B Visa Applications

    Earlier this month, the AMA sent a letter to the Director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) urging the agency to expedite review of pending H-1B visa applications by non-U.S. international medical graduates (IMGs) who have accepted positions in U.S. Graduate Medical Education programs, which begin on or before July 1. The AMA is hearing reports that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Academic Engagement is working closely with the USCIS to quickly resolve each of the remaining cases of medical residents applying for H-1B visas using data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Survey of Resident/Fellow Stipends and Benefits Report. The AMA is optimistic this resolution will allow medical residents to start programs on time without any additional disruption.

    Although it is the AMA’s understanding there will be no formal public announcement released by DHS or USCIS, clarifying guidance has been issued internally for USCIS staff conducting reviews. Pending petitions will be processed and allow the use of AAMC data for prevailing wage determination. Any program that received Requests for Evidence (RFE) regarding prevailing wage may respond to USCIS indicating that clarifying guidance has been issued within USCIS and additional evidence is not necessary. In addition, the AMA has heard reports of approvals for applications that were previously denied without any new action from the petitioner.

    The AMA will continue to work with AAMC and the administration to resolve any ongoing issues. Should you have any questions or continue to encounter issues related to receipt of an RFE, please contact Margaret Garikes, AMA Vice President for Federal Affairs, at margaret.garikes@ama-assn.org or by calling 202-789-7409.

     
  • NC Public Health Division Issues Guidance After Measles Diagnosed in Wake County

    A case of measles has been diagnosed in an unvaccinated Wake County resident who became ill after traveling internationally. Onset of rash was on June 10th and measles was confirmed by laboratory testing at the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health on Saturday, June 16th. Read the public health division’s clinician guidance memo.

    The patient sought care at multiple healthcare sites during June 8–14 while infectious; details are available at the Wake County website. While every effort is being made to identify persons who were exposed, it is possible that additional cases could occur among unrecognized contacts at these or other locations.

     
  • Register Now To Learn How to Master ACO Benchmarking for Financial Success

    The ACO Council, which brings together the Accountable Care Organizations throughout the state that are part of the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) to share valuable information is offering a free webinar on July 19 from noon to 1 p.m. on “How to Master Your ACO’s Benchmark for Financial Success.” Register here.

    Stephen Nuckolls, CEO of Coastal Carolina Health Care, PA, and its ACO, Coastal Carolina Quality Care, Inc., will offer his insights into the topic and share his experiences on:

    • The importance of benchmarks compared to quality;
    • The MSSP benchmarking process (costs, risk adjustment, regional adjustment, trend);
    • Strategies to improve your benchmark (HCC codes, cost initiatives, impact on trend); and
    • How to compute quarterly performance estimates.

    Nuckolls is responsible for the direct management of the 60-provider multi-specialty physician-owned Coastal Carolina Health Care medical practice and its ACO, which is currently in a two-sided risk model.  Prior to helping form Coastal Carolina Quality Care in 1997, he helped guide physicians and integrated hospital organizations in the formation of larger systems.

    Nuckolls earned his BA in Economics from Davidson College and his MAC from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. He is a founding member of the National Association of ACOs and served as its board chair from 2016-2017; he currently serves as Treasurer. He also has served on several advisory boards and committees for the North Carolina Medical Society and is a frequent speaker on ACOs and related topics at medical conferences including presentations for the Medical Group Management Association, the American College of Physicians, and the National Association of ACOs.

    Register for the webinar.

     
  • NC Pop Health Collaborative Addresses Medicaid Reform and Poverty

    Mark your calendar for Thursday, Sept. 20, when the NC Population Health Collaborative will meet to consider population health with a focus on Medicaid transformation and poverty. The meeting will take place from 11:30am to 3:30pm at the North Carolina Farm Bureau, 5301 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh. The agenda will provide you with a greater understanding of the direction of Medicaid reform in North Carolina and a greater appreciation for some of the struggles facing our Medicaid population. Review a preliminary agenda. Review a preliminary agenda.

    Learn more and register here. Please note that since seating at this venue is limited to the first 120 registrants, we ask you to RSVP for the meeting by Friday, June 29, 2018, in order to ensure your spot at this event.  Please contact Danielle Snyder, dsnyder@ncmedsoc.org, with any questions or concerns.

     
  • NC Consortium Advances Physician Wellness; Sparks September Summit

    Over the past few years, physician burnout has become such a pressing issue that several independent health organizations in North Carolina, including the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) came together in a consortium dedicated to discussing how best to address burnout and physician wellness and to provide resources and help where needed. Consortium members recently addressed a national conference and are busy organizing a Summit of thought leaders on physician wellness for this September in Raleigh.

    When Joe Jordan, PhD, CEO of the North Carolina Physicians Health Program (NCPHP), Thomas Mansfield, JD, Chief Legal Officer for the North Carolina Medical Board, Clark Gaither, MD, FAAFP, Medical Director for NCPHP, and Shawn Scott, MBA, CEA, Senior Vice President for Member Services and Business Operations at the  NCMS, gave a presentation at the Federation of State Physician Health Programs (FSPHP) annual conference, they represented just three of the many organizations in the NC Consortium for Physician Resilience and Retention (NCCPRR).

    “As professional organizations supporting physicians and physician assistants, the NC Medical Society, the NC Medical Board and the NC Physicians Health Program could not stand by and watch burnout erode the medical community,” Scott said. At the conference she spoke about what motivated the creation of the NCCPRR. “It’s thanks to the strong relationships among our organizations that the NCCPRR is tackling this issue together, by aligning our resources, constituencies and communications.”

    Physician burnout has serious implications for the many different players in the health care industry. Burned out physicians can’t take care of patients to the best of their ability leading to negative effects on patient satisfaction. Other impacts include absenteeism resulting in inflated overhead costs to a practice.

    Dr. Jordan of the NCPHP feels the way to most effectively address physician burnout is to combine efforts with other concerned organizations. “Once I understood the dedication to physician health and wellness that [the NCMS’ CEO] Bob Seligson and [the NC Medical Board’s] Thom Mansfield have, it was clear to see that a collaboration of our organizations would be truly effective.”

    When asked why burnout is a priority for the Medical Society, Scott replied, “Today, burnout and stress management are ranking at the top of the list of concerns of our members, across specialties and communities.  We must help our members stay well so they can help their patients stay well.”

    By devoting energy and resources to this cause, the NCCPRR aims to make practicing medicine a more sustainable and serviceable profession. The NCCPRR hopes to address physician burnout on both an organizational and an individual level at its 2018 Physician Wellness Summit, October 17th-18th in Raleigh. The NC PHP, Medical Board, and Medical Society are collaborating to bring together decision-makers and influencers from the NC health care community to implement a positive changes. Through educational efforts and by providing a forum for physicians to share their experiences, the Summit will provide the knowledge and tools necessary to improve physician well-being. Increases in productivity and patient satisfaction and the resulting decreases in costs are the inevitable result of improved well-being.

    If you have any questions about the 2018 Summit please contact Sarah Gothard, SGothard@ncmedsoc.org.

     
  • Enhancing Well-being: Duke WISER Study Starts July 9

    Interested in learning about web-based resilience tools that can help you enhance your well-being? WISER (“Web-based Implementation of the Science for Enhancing Resilience”) is a study being conducted by Duke University Health System’s Patient Safety Center that uses a package of evidence-based resilience tools for busy workers in the health care field.  (Note: The study content refers to health care workers—defined as anyone at least 18-years-old who works in health care—both clinical and non-clinical.  Participation comes with 10 hours of continuing education credit for MDs and RNs.

    For information on WISER, watch this 2:30 minute video  and view the flyer or consider listening to an introductory webinar for more information about what WISER is, how it works and what has been learned from the research so far.

    Enroll here.

     

     

     
  • NCMS Photo Contest – Hunting For Wildlife Shots

    With the deadline for the 2019 NCMS Calendar Photo Contest fast approaching (it’s this Friday, June 29), we are seeking fabulous wildlife photos. The nature (landscapes) and travel (images beyond North Carolina) categories have plenty of entries, but the North Carolina and wildlife sections are a little sparse. So, if you have a photo taken in North Carolina – even your own backyard —  or of wildlife captured on a photographic safari in Africa, a trip to the Galapagos, or someplace closer to home, we’d love to see it entered in our contest before Friday.

    Learn more about the contest rules, how to submit your work and the prizes.