Access to Healthcare in Rural NC Committee Meeting Overview

The Access to Healthcare in Rural North Carolina met for the second time on February 15, 2017 at 1:00pm.

This meeting was chaired by Sen. David Curtis (R-Lincoln).

The agenda items can be viewed here.

The meeting included a presentation on a telemedicine study from Maggie Sauer from the DHHS Office of Rural Health. The study recommended a definition of the services that could be covered by telemedicine, obtaining informed consent standards and licensing standards, creating private payer reimbursement standards and determining necessary data speeds to ensure the privacy of health information.

The Department of Information Technology representative presented on broadband challenges in NC. According to the presentation 93.7 percent of NC households have access, but 95 percent of the unserved households are in rural areas.

Gary Oyster, DDS, presented on the NC Dental Society’s charitable efforts in rural communities. One program, Dental Lifeline Network, provides dental care for elderly and medically fragile individuals.

Gregory Chadwick, DDS presented on what the ECU School of Dental Medicine is doing in order to extend their network into rural communities. Their student population represents 76 NC counties, and they serve patients in 99 NC counties. ECU SODM also has service learning centers in Ahoskie, Elizabeth City, Sylva, Robeson County, Lillington, Davidson County and Brunswick County.

Bobby Lowery, PhD from the NC Board of Nursing spoke on the Advanced Practice Registered Nurses’ (APRN) proposed solution to access to health care in rural NC. Lowery told the committee that “removal of regulatory barriers,” or eliminating the current physician supervision provisions is the singular solution to access to care in rural North Carolina. He stated that “…government overreach continues to limit NC consumers from accessing the full complement of services that these APRNs are qualified to provide.” Read his full testimony here.

Denise Link, PhD from the Arizona School of Nursing discussed scope of practice expansion for APRNs in Arizona.

Mark Stacy, MD, Dean of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University (ECU) presented on steps the Brody School of Medicine is taking to retain medical students in North Carolina. Brody ranks in the top 10 percent of U.S. medical schools for graduating physicians who practice in the state, practice primary care and practice in rural areas. Michael Waldrum, MD, CEO of Vidant Health, discussed how the health of eastern NC has improved since Brody’s inception and partnership with Vidant Health.

Jay Campbell from the NC Board of Pharmacy provided an overview of the state of pharmacy access in rural NC. He gave examples of expanding the pharmacist prescriptive authority in other states.

Maggie Sauer from the DHHS Office of Rural Health presented a second time on medical provider loan repayment programs. She informed the committee that there are 117 total providers in loan repayment programs. She also provided a detailed explanation on the loan repayment amounts over time.

Adam Zolotar, MD from the NC Institute of Medicine presented on financial incentives for physicians in rural areas. He provided a brief overview of the NCMS Community Practitioner Program. In 2017, this program supported 50 providers. In addition, he stated that rural birth and rural training were good predictors of rural placement upon graduation.

The next committee meeting date has not been set.

A complete list of all of the presentations can be viewed here.



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