Current Bulletin

  • Help Your Patients Access Health Insurance

    Patients should know that regardless of the debate in Washington, DC, the Affordable Care Act is still the law and the open enrollment period for those seeking health insurance through the Marketplace at healthcare.gov is much shorter this year. Enrollment for 2018 will run from Nov. 1, 2017 to Dec. 15, 2017. Help navigating the various plan options is available.

    • Financial assistance is available – 9 in 10 North Carolinians who enrolled in a plan received financial assistance to help pay their premiums.
    • Free, in-person assistance is available to help with enrolling.
    • Open Enrollment is approaching – anyone can enroll in a plan between Nov. 1 and Dec. 15, 2017.
    • Patients can access a navigator to help them by visiting getcoveredamerica.org/connector or calling 1-855-733-3711 (NC Appointment Hotline).
     
  • NC Medical Board Discusses STOP Act

    North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) staff attended last week’s North Carolina Medical Board meeting where several hot topics were discussed including implementation of the recently passed STOP Act legislation to regulate the prescribing of opioids.

    Discussion centered on how the new law’s nurse practitioner and physician assistant supervision requirements will be defined. The Board directed staff to report back on this issue. Read the NCMB’s discussion and their STOP Act FAQs.

    Other issues discussed included medical records retention policy and the use of audio and video recording in a medical appointment. The NCMS regularly attends Medical Board meetings. Watch your Bulletin for our reports, and visit the NCMB’s website for information on their policies.

     
  • Letter To HHS Secretary Price Offers Feedback on Health Care Regulation

    In a recent letter to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, MD, the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) as one of the member societies of the Physicians Advocacy Institute (PAI) shared ideas on how to improve the efficiency of the health care system by alleviating onerous and expensive regulations on physician practices.

    The letter, sent from PAI President and NCMS CEO Robert W. Seligson, states: “Administrative costs in the health care system must be addressed in any effort to control overall health care spending.”

    Read the letter to Sec. Price. Review PAI’s principles for reform referenced in the letter.

     
  • Congressional Subcommittee Seeks Your Input on Regulation and Mandates

    U.S. House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) recently announced a new initiative that aims “to deliver relief from the regulations and mandates that impede innovation, drive up costs and ultimately stand in the way of delivering better care for Medicare beneficiaries.”

    The initiative seeks to:

    • obtain feedback from stakeholders regarding current legislative and regulatory burdens;
    • host stakeholder roundtables nationwide to get feedback and identify solutions;
    • take Congressional action in response to stakeholder feedback.

    The Committee specifically is looking for feedback on the following:

    • how Congress can deliver statutory relief from the mandates established in law through its legislative authority;
    • how Congress can work with US Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, MD, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma to deliver regulatory relief through Administrative action.

    The Committee requests that stakeholders fill out this feedback form and email it to WMProviderFeedback@mail.house.gov by Aug. 25.

     
  • NC HealthConnex Adds Three of NC’s Largest Health Care Systems

    NC HealthConnexLast week, the state’s Health Information Exchange Authority, NC HealthConnex announced that Duke Health, Novant Health and Carolinas HealthCare System have signed agreements to connect to NC HealthConnex. Coastal Connect, a regional HIE in southeastern North Carolina, also has formally agreed to connect to NC HealthConnex. This connection will add five hospitals and more than 100 data contributors, acute and ambulatory, to the growing statewide HIE.

    These groups join UNC Health Care and 26 hospitals that already are connected or in the queue for connection to NC HealthConnex. In addition to hospital and health system integrations, NC HealthConnex is in the process of connecting with hundreds of physician practices, health departments, federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics, and other ambulatory facilities that use cloud-based and on-premise electronic health/medical record (EHR/EMR) solutions.

    In the past year, the total number of unique patients in NC HealthConnex grew by almost 30 percent, totaling close to 3.7 million.

    NC HealthConnex is a secure electronic network that facilitates conversations between health care providers, allowing them to access and share health-related information across North Carolina to improve coordination of care for patients. NC HealthConnex allows participating providers to access their patients’ comprehensive records across multiple providers, as well as review labs, diagnostics, history, allergies, medications and more to help decrease redundancy and allow for more efficient and accurate diagnoses, recommendations and treatment.

    Created by the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGS 90-414.7), NC HealthConnex is the state-operated health information exchange and is managed by the North Carolina Health Information Exchange Authority (NC HIEA) housed within the N.C. Department of Information Technology.

    For more information, visit www.nchealthconnex.gov.

     
  • NC DHHS Welcomes Two New Staffers

    betsey tilsonBetsey Tilson, MD, will be joining the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) as State Health Director and the department’s Chief Medical Officer beginning Aug. 14.

    Dr. Tilson, a pediatrician and preventive medicine physician, currently is the Medical Director for Community Care of Wake & Johnson Counties, serves as the Chief Network Medical Director for Community Care of North Carolina. In her new role, she will promote public health and prevention activities as well as provide guidance and oversight on a variety of cross-Department initiatives, including Medicaid transformation, clinical quality standards, behavioral health and social determinants of health.

    Since 2003, Dr. Tilson also has served as a primary care provider in the Child Health Clinic at Wake County Human Services.  Her prior roles have included serving as an Assistant Consulting Professor and Cancer Control Specialist with Duke University Medical Center and as a Clinical Pediatric Fellow at UNC-Chapel Hill.  She was the 2016 recipient of the American College of Preventive Medicine Distinguished Service Award and, in 2015, received the Steve Shore Service Award by the NC Pediatric Society as well as the WakeMed J. Michael Weeks Award for Humanitarianism.

    She earned her medical degree at Johns Hopkins University, where she also completed her pediatric residency. She also completed a preventive medicine residency at UNC-Chapel Hill.  She holds a Masters of Public Health from UNC-Chapel Hill and a BA in biology from Dartmouth College.

     jay ludlamJay Ludlam will be joining NC DHHS as the Assistant Secretary for Medicaid Transformation on Aug 24.

    Ludlam is an attorney and executive with extensive experience in Medicaid managed care, health care delivery reform and quality and care management innovations.  He currently serves as Missouri’s acting state Medicaid director and has overseen an expansion and significant overhaul of their managed care program.  Once onboard at NC DHHS, he will help lead the state’s transformation from a fee-for-service Medicaid program to a managed care program.

    Ludlam’s prior work has included serving as Deputy Director of Missouri HealthNet (the state’s Medicaid agency); Director of Operations at Missouri Care; Assistant Attorney General with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office; and Director of Customer Loyalty at Nextcard, Inc.

    He holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a BA in Social Psychology from Grinnell College.

     
  • WCMS Launches Healthy Healer Program

    WCMS-Healthy-Healer-horiz-1The Western Carolina Medical Society (WCMS) recently launched its Healthy Healer program for its physician and physician assistant members. The program is designed to help create and sustain a vibrant, healthy and functional medical community in Western North Carolina. It offers WCMS Members (including physicians, residents, medical students and physician assistants) counseling and coaching, resources, advocacy, events and a way to connect with colleagues. Learn more.
     
  • In the News

     
  • Learning Opportunities

    TOMORROW: The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry will sponsor a free webinar on “Grief and Managing an Overdose Death,” Thursday, July 27, from noon to 1 pm. Diane Snyder Cowan, MA, MT-BC, CHPCA, Hospice of the Western Reserve, Inc., will address grief reactions resulting from an overdose death and approaches to working with grieving families. Managing cumulative grief will also be reviewed. Register here.


    The next in the series of workshops presented by the National Rural Accountable Care Consortium and Caravan Health to help practices make the transition to value-based reimbursement will held in Raleigh at the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Center for Leadership in Medicine on Tuesday, Aug. 1. This workshop will focus on behavioral health integration, patient satisfaction and advancing care information. Learn more and register.


    The premiere of a documentary exploring the lack of evidence-based treatment in mental health care and the importance of family involvement will be shown on Aug 25 at 7 p.m. at The Cary Theater in Cary. Tickets are $6 each. Watch the trailer at goingsane.org. After the screening, there will be a Q&A with the director and other mental health care groups (like NAMI).


    For the first time the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will hold a National Provider Enrollment Conference at the Charleston Area Convention Center, Sept. 6-7. This is an opportunity to interact directly with CMS and MAC provider enrollment experts. Registration is free. The deadline to register is Aug. 29. Get more information.


    The North Carolina Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities invites you to the North Carolina Health Equity Impact Awards on Sept. 14 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn/Raleigh Crabtree Valley. These awards recognize the students, community members, professionals and organizations that have successfully implemented a systems-change approach to reduce health disparities and promote health equity. RSVP to ncminorityhealth@dhhs.nc.gov by Friday, Sept. 1.


    The Southeastern Medical Legal Symposium, Physicians Reviewing Physicians, Sept. 18-19, in Atlanta, GA, brings together stakeholders in the various professions involved in litigated medical claims. In its fourth year, the symposium is sponsored by the American College of Legal Medicine [ACLM]. Invitees include health care professionals (e.g., physicians, medical directors, psychologists, and nurse case managers), attorneys, dual degreed MD/PhD/DDS/DPM-JD’s, risk managers, claims managers, adjusters, judges, and others. Learn more and register.


    The 2017 Lifestyle Medicine Symposium, sponsored by MAHEC, Mission Heart and Asheville Cardiology Associates will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 6 in Asheville. A vast majority of chronic disease, directly related to poor lifestyle choices, is reversible and preventable through the proper choices in nutrition, exercise and stress management. The growing field of Lifestyle Medicine, an essential foundation for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and other chronic medical conditions, makes available the necessary evidence-based solutions for providers to counsel patients and improve patient outcomes. Learn more and register.


    Save the Date for the 29th Annual Fall Foliage Cancer Conference focusing on Updates on Breast and Prostate Cancers, at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, Oct. 20-21, 2017Learn more.


    Caravan Health will present its second annual Accountable Care Symposium on Dec. 6-7 in Phoenix, AZ at the Hilton Squaw Peak Resort. The symposium is a learning and networking event for current and future participants in Advanced Payment Models. Registration for the symposium opens Tuesday, August 1, 2017.  For more information, please visit www.caravanhealth.com/symposium.


    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; www.mahec.net/opioid.


    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.