Time stands still in Raleigh: Today is “crossover” at the General Assembly, meaning late nights for the NCMS Government Affairs lobbying staff as legislators try to push their bills through either the House or Senate. If a policy bill is not passed by either chamber by midnight tonight, it’s pretty much ‘dead’ this session. Bills with a budget impact, however, like Medicaid reform, are not subject to this deadline. In the past, legislators have been known to ‘stop the clock’ at midnight to give themselves a little extra off-the-record time to get a bill passed.
Don’t mention guns: One of the bills that generated a lot of discussion on Wednesday was HB562. This bill would prohibit physicians from asking their patients about firearms – a common safety screening question for pediatricians and family physicians. The NCMS issued the following statement on the bill in response to requests from the media for our position:
The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) opposes any legislation restricting physicians’ ability to communicate with a patient on important matters involving health and risks to their health, and especially the health of children. Doctors routinely speak with their patients about potential health threats, including dangerous chemicals, car seats, water safety, tobacco and guns. These discussions are helpful to patients and should not be discouraged or prohibited by the General Assembly.
Ultimately, a $20,000 price tag was attached to the bill, which means it is not subject to the crossover deadline and will be taken up again, perhaps next week.
Here’s what the media had to say on the issue:
NCMS calls on the Outer Banks Hospital: NCMS Director of Membership, Will Barnett, is visiting the Outer Banks Hospital today to speak with their physicians about what the NCMS can do for them.
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