A Message from NCMS President Palmer Edwards, MD, DFAPA

In light of the events unfolding over the last 10 days, which sadly reflect the ongoing legacy of racism in our country, I feel it is important to reiterate the values that are the bedrock of the North Carolina Medical Society.  The NCMS, representing physicians and PAs throughout the state, holds the safeguarding of human life and health to be the ultimate guiding principle in all we do to protect and advocate for the medical profession.

The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week has added yet another layer of pain, outrage and fear in our communities, which are still reeling from a devastating global pandemic. The unrest over the past days has shone a bright light on the deep rifts in our society. Racism, hatred and ignorance persist.

We know that racial and ethnic inequities are a large contributor to health disparities. The medical casualties due to COVID-19 bear witness to this fact. In North Carolina today the data show that African Americans account for 35 percent of the COVID-19 fatalities, yet African Americans make up just 22 percent of the state’s population. We need policy action now, along with abiding patience and engagement rather than impulsive and indiscriminate violence to persons and property.

The NCMS, representing a profession duty-bound to do no harm, must focus on opportunities for positive change that are within our realm. We have the power and responsibility as citizens and medical professionals to do our part to address the inequities that have given rise to the rage we currently are witnessing.

We know there are significant disparities within our health care system impacting many North Carolinians. How can we address them through our day-to-day practice; through the institutions of which we are part; through the NCMS? I challenge each of you, my colleagues, to examine your assumptions on how we might accomplish this crucial task.

As your professional society we have made health equity a central theme of our work going forward. We hope to engage you in an ongoing dialogue about how to stop perpetuating the inequities we see. The solutions are infinitely demanding and complex, but the effort is critical to the future of our country. The NCMS will not shrink from the challenge.

We look forward to engaging with you in the coming months as we continue our necessary work to address these issues on many fronts.

Be safe and well!

Palmer Edwards, MD, DFAPA
President, NCMS


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  • John R. Dykers, Jr. MD

    The text of the Medical Care Restoration Act is on 5×7 inch pages 13-22. 16 font, in Chapter Two of “The Price Of Eggs Is Down”. Link on home page of Dykers.com.
    We have a difficult but important task to distinguish peaceful protestors who deserve police protection from rioters who deserve police restraint. Sometimes in the “fog of war” this is difficult; often the distinction is easy/simple.
    There is more harm caused by self righteous indignation that by all the meanness ever born.

  • John R. Dykers, Jr. MD

    Much of the distress of the legitimate protestors and the members of the NCMS who devote their lives to improving patient care, would be alleviated by the passage of the Medical Care Restoration Act. Both Voluntary and Universal MCRA is much smoother and more effective that M4a. MCRA improves quality of patient care by focusing the power on the Dr./Pt. relationship and away from the insurance and hospital bureaucracy. MCRA diminishes cost by minimizing the hassle factor and defensive medicine and returning the non monetary rewards to the practice of medicine and surgery; improving learning and patient care. We physicians would have to earn our keep, but we could return the honor and respect of our profession

  • Reginald Carter

    Let’s be realistic, racism and health care disparities are complex issues that have socioeconomic, political and cultural divides that will require a great deal of collaboration to overcome. No single entity will be able to bring about the transformations and systemic changes necessary to mitigate racism and health care iniquities. Progress will be made only when federal, state, private and public organizations and foundations decide to work together. So I agree with Dr. Edwards when he writes, “The NCMS, representing a profession duty-bound to do no harm, must focus on opportunities for positive change that are within our realm. We have the power and responsibility as citizens and medical professionals to do our part to address the inequities that have given rise to the rage we currently are witnessing.” The next steps are ours to take. As a former educator of physician assistants for over 30 years, I know that my professional colleagues are more than willing to join the NCMS to find more effective, efficient and Just ways to provide better medical, surgical and preventive health care services to the citizens of North Carolina.

  • David Sutton

    A typical white liberal guilt response, by making no mention of, and not condemning, the worst nation-wide murdering, looting and rioting in half a century. One racist cop clearly murders one innocent black man, and then rioters murder multiple innocents and destroy the livelihoods of tens of thousands of innocent people and desecrate national landmarks. But NCMS feels only the first topic is worth mentioning – in a rather lengthy message on this issue. This is more ridiculous than watching the deliberately dishonest reporting of CNN and MSNBC, which at least acknowledge that the latter issues exist. After reading this, I’d cancel my NCMS membership if I didn’t use NCMS for my practice’s BCBS health insurance.

    • David Sutton

      To clarify, I do see the use of the word “unrest” a single time in the NCMS message. My original comment stands unchanged – the many ongoing illegal nation-wide catastrophes victimizing countless good people (the vast majority of which, thus far, appear ironically to be minorities – both law enforcement and business owners) are ignored and clearly deliberately not condemned (you would think there was nothing more than peaceful protests, reading this).