The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Board of Directors gathered in Charlotte on July 15-16 to meet with the Mecklenburg County Medical Society Board and later to hear informally from Charlotte area physicians and physician assistants at a reception Friday evening.
Members of both Boards reinforced the need for ongoing dialogue between the NCMS board and county and specialty society members to bring policy matters of importance to the NCMS Board for consideration. The local meetings are one forum for discussion of key issues as well as submitting policy proposals through the online Board Feedback Form, or contacting the NCMS office or NCMS President Docia Hickey, MD, directly.
“If it is a controversial issue you can be assured that there will be a task force or committee to thoroughly debate the policy,” NCMS CEO Robert Seligson told those assembled for the joint meeting. “We will work to establish good policy.”
NCMS President-Elect Paul Cunningham, MD, also noted that physicians and physician assistants on the ‘front lines’ need to speak up about issues of importance to them if the new governance structure is to be successful.
“The House of Medicine can’t be virtual,” he said. “Participation is key.”
New NCMS Election Process and the M3 Conference
The Board reviewed the new procedures for electing board officers and members now that the House of Delegates has been eliminated. They also received the initial slate of candidates submitted by the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee. Review the slate here.
As reported previously, under the new rules, any NCMS member had the opportunity to nominate another member for an open Board seat by last Wednesday, July 20. The final slate of candidates will be officially published by Aug. 28 and voting will open on Sept. 4, and will be conducted online. Paper ballots will be available for those who need them. Watch the Bulletin, your snail mail and email boxes for more information on this new voting process.
Installation of the newly elected officers and board members will be conducted at the NCMS’ annual business meeting on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 17, during the M3 Conference. Please go online to register for this meeting as well as the celebratory awards dinner on Saturday night and the nearly 14 hours of CME offered throughout this weekend conference. NCMS members may attend the annual business meeting free of charge.
Please Comment! Hospital Medical Staff Rules Up for Review
The North Carolina Medical Care Commission (MCC) is charged with regulating health care facilities in our state. Recently, the MCC initiated a comprehensive review of 245 current regulations pertaining to hospital licensure. The rules have not been updated in at least 10 years, and several pertain to how hospital medical staffs are organized and function.
The NCMS Board unanimously agreed that medical staff issues remain an area of great interest and concern for physician members, as issues still commonly arise involving hospital medical staff governance and core functions. It is time that these rules be updated and strengthened by the MCC.
Therefore, the Board decided that the NCMS will submit comments to the MCC on four specific medical staff rules, and encourages individual physicians to also review the regulations and submit comment. The deadline to submit comments is Monday, Aug. 8.
Instructions for Commenting
The goal at this stage is to persuade the MCC that the following rules need to be revised:
- 10A NCAC 13B .3503 – Functions [of the Hospital/Governing Body]
- 10A NCAC 13B .3701 – General Provisions [Requiring Medical Staff]
- 10A NCAC 13B .3702 – Establishment [of Medical Staff]
- 10A NCAC 13B .3706 – Organization and Responsibilities of the Medical Staff
Board members also discussed the value of non-compete clauses in physician contracts. NCMS General Counsel Stephen Keene outlined both the benefits and drawbacks of such provisions for the Board. On the one hand they protect a practice that has made a substantial investment in hiring a physician from competitors seeking to recruit local physicians and avoid the up-front investment. On the other hand, such clauses can frustrate healthy competition and perhaps unduly constrain physicians’ employment options.
Such clauses are sometimes enforceable, Keene said, provided they are reasonable with respect to time and geography, and are supported by consideration. While this is not a new issue, Keene asked the Board whether it’s time to consider an official NCMS policy on non-competes. The Board agreed and asked staff to research the issue more fully and come back to them with a report and recommendation. Watch the Bulletin for future updates on this.