The final program of the 2015 North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Annual Meeting brought together representatives of the state’s specialty societies to gather information and discuss issues of importance to their members. The goal of the meeting was informational as well as to consider how to present a unified front on key issues to better advocate for the entire ‘house of medicine’ in the coming year.
A panel discussion featuring leaders of three accountable care organizations (ACO) in the state addressed ways to advocate more effectively for the ‘Triple Aim’ or improving the patient experience, improving the health of populations and reducing the per capita cost of health care. The NCMS and the specialty societies have been advocating for this approach as the foundation for Medicaid reform.
The panelists, “pioneers on the road to value,” were Philip M. Brown, Jr., MD, President of Wilmington Health, Genie Komives, MD, Senior Medical Director at Duke Connected Care and Lisa Shock, PA-C, Network Development Officer, CHESS Health Enablement Solutions. They explained where each of their organizations are on the spectrum of ACO development and the challenges they have and continue to face. They agreed data analytics – providing doctors and care givers with actionable data — remains a big, if not the biggest, challenge.
“We’re killing them one click at a time,” Dr. Brown said about the frustrations surrounding data collection and how data can be used to actually improve quality of care.
When asked what their legislative ‘wish list’ included, Dr. Komives mentioned being watchful as the Medicaid reform process unfolds over the next several years, especially around how patients are attributed to a particular group. Shock noted that the recently adopted Medicaid reform included provisions for a Health Information Exchange, which is positive. Brown stressed the importance of doctors and other health care providers taking leadership roles.
“Many of the solutions have to come from inside,” he said. “We need to increase the depth of physician leadership; bring them into the c-suite.”
NCMS Director of Legislative Relations Chip Baggett also summarized the immediate steps underway to implement the new Medicaid reform legislation, including formation of the new Division of Health Benefits within the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Baggett said he expects it will be four years before the new Medicaid system is fully implemented.
The specialty societies also heard an update on various scope of practice bills from Amy Whited of the NC Coalition to Protect Patients. Several physicians from the orthopedic, urology and ophthalmology specialty societies spoke about the need to take a firm position on certificate of need reforms. Baggett encouraged all specialties to come together to address this issue.