Warren Pendergast, MD, Medical Director for the NC Physicians Health Program (NCPHP), made an annual presentation to the Board. NCPHP is the only organization in North Carolina for physicians, physician assistants, perfusionists, and anesthesia assistants offering identification, intervention, and rehabilitation programs for substance abuse and other health issues. These services are non-disciplinary and confidential. Dr. Pendergast reviewed the NCPHEP mission and the types of referrals received by the program. Members can learn more about this outstanding program at www.ncphp.org.
The Board received a membership report outlining goals for 2013. Our 2013 goal is 2,000 new members. Members can help reach that goal by referring their colleagues to join online at www.ncmedsoc.org. The best membership recruiting tool is a call or discussion with a peer.
NCMS Past President John R. Mangum, MD, chairs the Surgical Facility Task Force Report. The purpose of the Task Force was to make recommendations to address and resolve pending controversies within the medical community related to the regulation of surgical facilities in our state.
Tim Reeder, MD, Secretary-Treasurer, reported on the NCMS financial position. The NCMS is undergoing its annual audit with no issues of concern to date. The Board was updated on renovations taking place at the NCMS headquarters building. Upcoming work includes replacement of the elevator and necessary renovations to complete the main level. Photos will be posted soon on the NCMS website so that members can see the progress.
John Reynolds, MD, Chairman of the Legislative Cabinet, highlighted the status of several current legislative priorities:
- The NCMS submitted a timely response to the NC Department of Health and Human Services’ Request for Information (RFI) enumerating recommended improvements to the Medicaid program. Since then, the lobbying team has introduced the broad elements of the proposal to budget writers at the NC General Assembly (NCGA).
- Efforts of the TAC Consortium and Initiative to educate the medical community and to develop specialty specific toolkits are consistent with and further the concepts proposed in the NCMS response to the RFI.
- Physician reimbursements and patient services avoided any major hits in the Governor’s proposed budget. The proposed budget emphasized that additional Medicaid reforms would be brought forward in separate legislation. This bill would most likely be passed in advance of the budget to allow time for DHHS to prepare and hopefully receive approval for state plan amendments to achieve new budget goals.
- NCMS continues to work closely with partners to oppose the Governor’s proposal to contract with commercial managed care companies to enroll Medicaid patients.
- Other issues include efforts to oppose bills to license lay midwives, naturopaths, radiation technologists and music therapists; and efforts to support codifying the physician supervision of CRNAs, banning the use of tanning beds by minors; and seeking amendments to bills related to the Controlled Substance Reporting System (CSRS) and NC Medical Board issues.
There was very good feedback from the Board following the joint meeting with specialty society leadership held in February. Board members expressed support for continuing such meetings to seek input from various specialties on legislative and regulatory issues. The next meeting will be held in conjunction with the September 7, 2013 NCMS Board Meeting.
Immediate Past President Robert Monteiro, MD provided an update on NCMS Opioid Task Force. Dr. Monteiro will lead a task force to address potential reporting of unusual prescribing patterns to the NCMB and other professional licensing agencies. Dr. Monteiro will serve as Chair with Palmer Edwards, MD and Warren Pendergast, MD serving as members.
The next Board of Directors meeting will be May 18-19, and I look forward to reporting our actions to you in the Bulletin.