Committee on Access to Health Care in Rural NC – Update

The Legislative Research Commission Committee on Access to Healthcare in Rural NC met on April, 12, 2018. The agenda can be found here.

Managed Medicaid and Dental Care

Carlos Lacasa, Sr. VP and General Counsel of MCNA Dental presented an overview on the success of their program in Texas. He informed the committee that their company uses the state’s fee for service rates. Specifically, their plan helped remind patients of appointments, and help patients obtain transportation. He stated that missed appointments were a barrier for dentists and their program assisted in decreasing missed appointment numbers.

Presentation on Draft Committee Report

Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) presented the draft committee report to the  members.

Recommendation 1: GME in Rural Areas

The committee recommends identifying ways to enhance graduate medical education in rural areas. Specifically, this recommendation seeks to review options that coordinate Area Health Education Center (AHEC) funding to create incentives for attracting and retaining students to rural areas.

Recommendation 2: Identify Rural Teaching Hospitals

The committee recommends identifying rural hospitals that seek to be designated as teaching hospitals by CMS. The study would determine the technical assistance needed and calculate the costs associated with the transition to becoming a teaching hospital.

Recommendation 3: Additional Funding for Southern Regional AHEC and the Eastern AHEC

The committee recommends appropriating $5 million recurring for the Southern Regional AHEC and $3 million recurring for the Eastern AHEC.

Recommendation 4: Increase Funding for Loan Repayment to Target Rural Providers

The committee recommends appropriating $3 million in recurring funds to the Office of Rural Health for loan repayment in order to increase providers in rural areas. $800,000 would be restricted to be used for physician assistants and nurse practitioners providing primary care in rural areas.

Recommendation 5: Study the State Health Plan and Medicaid to Increase Preventative Health Services, Improve Outcomes, and Decrease Cost

The study will review the the contract options for improving primary care physician quality of life in a rural setting.

Recommendation 6: Telemedicine 

The committee supports a recommendation to enact legislation to implement a statutory framework for telemedicine and to further study issues related to telemedicine.

Recommendation 7: Study of Supporting Medical Education and Medical Residency Programs

The committee recommends the development of a plan to support medical education and residencies that address the health needs of NC. The report will include measurable objectives and time frames for achievement.


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