Current Bulletin

  • Opportunity for Input on Medicare Cost Measures

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is seeking physicians interested in participating on panels that will provide clinical input to develop new  Medicare cost measures based on episodes of care and offer advice to the contractor (Acumen) developing the new measures.

    Earlier panels developed eight measures that are likely to be used in the cost section of MIPS beginning in 2018.  Six of these panels are being reconvened to work on additional measures.  Four new ones addressing other clinical areas are also being convened.  Nominations for these are due by March 20.

    CMS also will have an ongoing selection process for a pool of additional clinicians available to participate on smaller subgroups once the larger panels have chosen which episode they want to pursue.

    Learn more about the clinical areas and specialties and how to get involved.


  • Your Input Is Invaluable! Thank You!

    Thank you to the many members who participated in this month’s Snapshot Survey on what would make our LEAD Health Care Conference in October the most meaningful North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) annual conference yet. Your input is crucial as our Board of Directors finalizes the educational content and other activities planned for Oct. 18-19 in Raleigh.

    We hear you! While we’re still analyzing the survey responses and how best to address your needs at the conference, early review of the data shows that many members find payer policies and documentation burdens particularly frustrating. The good news is the NCMS is here to help and to empower you.

    A few recent examples:

    • Last fall, the NCMS was instrumental in indefinitely delaying changes to United Healthcare’s consultation code reimbursement policy.  [Read the Bulletin article.]
    • The NCMS is also part of a larger AMA sponsored coalition looking at streamlining the prior authorization approval processes. [Read the Bulletin article.]
    • Closer to home, through our advocacy on your behalf with the NC Division of Medical Assistance (DMA) last spring, the division abandoned its plan to activate “rendering provider service location edits” in NCTracks, another burdensome administrative requirement affecting all physicians, PAs, and individual providers.[Read the Bulletin article.]
    • Last February, thanks to the advocacy efforts of a coalition of state medical societies, N.C. Medicaid abandoned a rate cut that had been pending since Jan. 1, 2015. NCMS estimated that approximately $28 million in physician payments had been preserved. [Read the Bulletin article.]

    The LEAD Health Care Conference will be designed to address your frustrations with practical steps you can take to limit frustration and focus on providing the best possible care for your patients. Stay tuned as we finalize our conference line-up. Watch the LEAD Health Care Conference website and your NCMS Bulletin and email for the latest updates. Be sure to mark your calendar and plan to attend this important gathering.

  • Reminder: March 2 Public Hearing On Workers’ Comp Opioid Prescribing Rules

    The North Carolina Industrial Commission will hold a public hearing on its proposed rules addressing the opioid abuse crisis for the workers’ compensation system on March 2. The proposed rules are open for public comment through March 19. The proposed effective date for the new rules would be May 1, 2018

    The draft rules build on the requirements of the STOP Act with additional provisions, including:

    • Specific first prescription, acute phase and chronic phase protocols.
    • Limits on morphine equivalent dose per day.
    • Number of days’ supply per opioid prescription.
    • Number and types of opioids prescribed.
    • Checking the state’s Controlled Substance Reporting System (CSRS).
    • Administering urine drug testing.
    • Assessing employee’s risk of opioid-related harm using screening tool.
    • Special provisions when prescribing benzodiazepines, carisoprodol, opioid antagonists, as well as non-pharmacological pain treatment and dependence or addiction referrals.

    Read the proposed rules (beginning on page 6 of this document).

    The public hearing on March 2 will be held at 2:30 p.m. in Room 240, 2nd Floor, Department of Insurance, Albemarle Building, 325 North Salisbury Street, Raleigh, NC 27603.  Comments regarding the proposed rules may be submitted to Kendall Bourdon, 1233 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1233; phone (919) 807-2644; email

  • Don’t Delay — 2018 MIPS Reporting Deadlines Fast Approaching

    Deadlines are fast approaching if you plan to submit data for the 2017 Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) performance period. Don’t wait until the last minute to submit your data. Submit early and often.

    The two key dates are:

    Now is the time to act!

    To help individual eligible clinicians and groups prepare for submission, CMS will be hosting three “Office Hours” sessions over the next several weeks. CMS subject matter experts will answer commonly asked questions about the submission feature on, as well as answer attendees’ questions live. Registrants will also have the opportunity to email their questions prior to the sessions.

    Review the Office Hour topics and register below. Please note that Qualified Registries, Qualified Clinical Data Registries and Web Interface Reporters should utilize their support calls for data submission support.

    • Feb. 28, 3-4 pm, Quality Payment Program Data Submission Office Hours: MIPS Quality Data Submission. Register.
    • March 14, 3-4 pm, Quality Payment Program Data Submission Office Hours: MIPS Attestation for Advancing Care Information and Improvement Activities. Register.

    Please note: Space for these sessions is limited. Register now to secure your spot. The audio portion of the sessions will be broadcast through the web. You can listen to the presentation through your computer speakers.

    For step-by-step instructions on how to submit MIPS data, check out this video and fact sheet. Questions about your participation status or MIPS data submission? Contact the Quality Payment Program Service Center by: Email: Phone: 1-866-288-8292 (TTY: 1-877-715-6222)

    For more information about MIPS and the Quality Payment Program, visit the North Carolina Medical Society’s (NCMS) MACRA page.

  • WRAL-TV Helps Raise Awareness of Physician Burnout

    Renee Chou, news anchor for WRAL, the NBC affiliate in the Triangle, recently sat down with Clark Gaither, MD, the Medical Director at the North Carolina Physicians Health Program (NCPHP), to discuss physician burnout and the causes and symptoms that affect the medical professionals who take care of us. Watch the interview.

    Dr. Gaither explained burnout is all too common in health care, with rates climbing as high as 70 percent in some specialties. The dangers of burnout can include physical and mental strains, or even suicide.

    NCPHP assists with recovery from substance use disorders and other conditions that could impair a provider’s ability to safely provide care and services to their patients, helping medical professionals experience a lifetime of change and return to health. Learn more about NCPHP.

  • Kudos to Carteret Health Care!

    Congratulations to Carteret Health Care for being recognized as a Top 100 Rural & Community Hospital in the United States by The Chartis Center for Rural Health. Carteret serves communities in eastern North Carolina.

    The Top 100 Rural & Community Hospitals are selected using iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength INDEX®, which measures facilities across eight areas: inpatient share ranking, outpatient share ranking, cost, charge, quality, outcomes, patient perspective and financial stability. Most data used is readily available from public sources, primarily the federal government, through the Center for Medical and Medicaid Services (CMS).

    “Kudos to Carteret Health Care and the important role they play in providing quality and accessible health care to their community,” said North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) CEO Robert W. Seligson. “We are proud to have Carteret Health Care as part of our NCMS family.”

    The list of the Top 100 Rural & Community Hospitals can be found at

  • In the News

  • Learning Opportunities

    Pneumonia Knockout Webinar: Using the AHRQ ASPIRE Tool to Reduce Pneumonia Readmissions, will be held on Thursday, March 1, from 2 to 3 pm. Learn more and register.

    The Governor’s Institute and the NC Medical Board is offering “Controlled Substance Prescribing: What Every Provider Needs to Know” live training sessions across the state. These free CME panel sessions are designed for controlled substances prescribers to complete up to two hours of the required education in opioid prescribing. A one hour online training is recommended before the live training. Register for 1-hour online training here. Together they fulfill the three hour requirement.  Here are the upcoming sessions:

    March 15, 2018 – Cape Fear Medical Center, Fayetteville (2 hrs)

    April 3, 2018 – 6:00 p.m. Carolinas Medical Center, Concord (2 hrs)

    May 8, 2018 – 6:00 p.m. Carolinas Medical Center, Shelby (2 hrs)


    Learn How Physicians Get Elected to Public Office through the AMPAC Candidate Workshop held March 2-4 in Washington, D.C.Registration is now open. The deadline to register was Feb. 2. For more information visit AMPAC online. To apply, simply fill out the online registration form or email your questions to: _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Save the Date: The NC Population Health Collaborative’s first quarter meeting will be held on Thursday, March 15, from 11:30 am until 3:30 pm at a location yet to be determined. Watch your email and the Bulletin for details on the location, agenda and registration instructions. A small fee will be charged for the event, which includes lunch.


    Save the date for the next meeting of the NC Department of Health and Human Services Opioid and Prescription Drug Abuse Advisory Committee, Friday, March 16, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (with 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. reserved for sign-in and networking). The location will be the McKimmon Center, 1101 Gorman St., Raleigh


    NCMS Lunch and Learn webinar — Planning Ahead: The Best Way to Address the Risk of Disaster – will be held Tuesday, March 20, from noon to 1 p.m. Disasters that interrupt a practice’s ability to provide care for patients can happen at any time and in any place. Every practice is likely to feel the impact at some point in time and the best way to address the risk of disaster is to plan ahead. Learn more and register for the webinar.


    The National Rural Accountable Care Consortium (NRACC) will offer Quality Improvement Workshops North Carolina on April 17 in Fayetteville and April 19 in Elkin. During the interactive workshops, participants will learn from Caravan Health experts about best practices to improve the health of their community, increase practice revenue and improve quality scores. Click here for cities and dates. Registration will open Feb. 1. For more information please contact


    Registration is now open for the NC Ob/Gyn Society & NC Section of ACOG’s 2018 Annual Meeting,
    April 20-22 at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville
    . Other specialties may be interested in the Hands-on Ultrasound workshop and the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder course, which provides the required education needed to obtain the waiver to prescribe buprenorphine. Learn more and register.


    The 9th Annual Addiction Medicine Conference will be held April 26-28, in Asheville. The conference will provide clinically practical and up-to-date substance use related training, applicable across general medical as well as addiction specialty practices. Learn more.

    The 2018 Spine Society of Australia 29th Annual Scientific Meeting will be held April 27-29 at the Adelaide Convention Centre, Australia. Learn more and register.


    NCTracks has Computer-Based Training (CBT) courses on a variety of topics available to providers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. Anyone who is a registered user with NCID access to the NCTracks secure Provider Portal can access and take a self-paced course. A list of courses available can be found here and under Quick Links on the NCTracks Provider Training page of the public Provider Portal.


    MAHEC, working with the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians, The Governor’s Institute on Substance Abuse and Project Lazarus: A Project of CCNC, is offering A Guide to Rational Opioid Prescribing for Chronic Pain, an online education course. The course is designed for all prescribing health care practitioners who are interested in an overview of the rational prescribing approaches for persons with chronic pain disorders. It will fulfill the North Carolina Medical Board’s requirement of at least one hour of continuing education designed specifically to address prescribing practices for chronic pain management. The course cost is $15 for the first 6 months. Offers 3 hours of AAFP, AMA/AAFP Equivalency, and CDE;



  • DATE CHANGE for February NC Population Health Collaborative Meeting

    The NC Population Health Collaborative’s first quarter meeting has been changed to Thursday, March 15, from 11:30 am until 3:30 pm at a location yet to be determined. Please watch your email and the Bulletin for details on the location, agenda and registration instructions. A small fee will be charged for the event, which includes lunch.

    The purpose of the NC Population Health Collaborative is to bring together all members of the health care community to share experiences and ideas to promote the successful transition to accountable, value-driven systems of care focused on attaining the Triple Aim (improving population health, improving patient experience of care and reducing the per capita cost of health care).

    Devdutta G. Sangvai, MD, MBA, FAFP, Executive Director for Duke Connected Care, Associate Chief Medical Officer (ACMO) for Duke University Health System and Medical Director for DukeWELL and Ruth A. Krystopolski, SV/Population Health for Carolinas HealthCare System, co-chair the Collaborative.  The Collaborative began in 2012 with six aspiring ACOs. Today, the Collaborative’s mailing list includes over 400 individuals and representatives from 30 ACOs.

    Learn more about NC Population Health Collaborative. For more information, contact Dana Lucas, at  or 919-833-3836.

  • Protect Yourself and Your Patients In the New Medicaid System

    The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) has steadfastly held that the protections for physicians and patients laid out in state law under Chapter 58 must be carried forward in the new Medicaid managed care system. A bill currently under consideration by the North Carolina House of Representatives, HB 156, however, does not include these essential protections.

    This bill would require Medicaid Prepaid Health Plans to obtain a license from the Department of Insurance and lists minimum requirements for the application process. It also contains language on penalties, enforcement, management agreements, fees, fiduciary responsibilities, continuation of services and suspension of licenses. But currently, the bill does not contain any of the Chapter 58 patient and provider protections. NCMS continues to actively work to ensure that these protections are included moving forward.

    Please reach out to your legislator and insist that the Chapter 58 protections, which are crucial to the success of Medicaid managed care, be included in this bill.