NCMS Board Discusses Issues Important to You

At its regular meeting on Saturday, March 17, the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Board welcomed the head of the NC Health Care Association (NCHA, formerly the NC Hospital Association), the President of the North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB), who highlighted timely topics of importance to physicians and physician assistants in the state. The Board also discussed the educational content for the LEAD Health Care Conference in October based on your feedback from February’s NCMS Snapshot Survey.

The survey results showed administrative and documentation burdens are literally keeping our members up at night. Board members directed staff to seek presenters who can offer concrete steps to work around these problems – whether through technology or changing workflow or another method. The Board reasoned if some of these day-to-day problems could be successfully mitigated, the stress and work-life balance problems (second most mentioned issue keeping members up at night) among physicians and physician assistants may also be relieved.

The Board offered suggestions on experts and those in the trenches to address this topic and other of interest to our members mentioned in the survey. Watch the LEAD Health Care Conference website for updates as we finalize the educational sessions that will be useful to you. If you haven’t already, mark your calendar for Oct. 18-19 so you won’t miss the Conference in Raleigh.

Guest Speakers

They heard from Stephen J. Lawler, President of the North Carolina Healthcare Association (NCHA, formerly the NC Hospital Association) and Timothy E. Lietz, MD, President of the North Carolina Medical Board.

Lawler, who has been in his current position about nine months and previously served in leadership positions at Carolinas Healthcare System and as president of Vidant Medical Center, told the Board he is committed to working closing with groups like the NCMS to present a “common voice for the people we represent.” His goal is to help the NCHA recast its relationship with other health care stakeholders so “people involved in health care can work together to create opportunities and advocate for the things important to us. If we don’t, plenty of others will take advantage of ‘divide and conquer’,” he said.

He noted there are more physicians serving on the NCHA Board now than ever before, and he often looks to his organization’s physician advisory group.

The Board also heard from Dr. Lietz, a longtime NCMS member and current participant in the Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership Health Care Leadership and Management program, who heads the North Carolina Medical Board. Dr. Lietz spoke primarily about the Board’s efforts to address the opioid abuse epidemic.

“The Medical Board is not anti-opioid,” he stated firmly at the beginning of his presentation. “We’re appropriate care.”

He described the controlled substances CME requirement and the webinars and panel sessions offered through the NCMB. Learn more. He also spoke about the Board’s Safe Opioid Prescribing Initiative in which the Board hopes to identify inappropriate prescribing before any patient harm occurs. Since the start of the initiative in 2016, the Board has opened 99 cases representing just .02 percent of the licensees in the state. Sixty percent of those cases were closed with no formal action. The Board is working to refine the criteria by which they identify prescribers with an additional focus is on ‘pill mills.’ The Board will likely seek approval for the new criteria in 2018. Learn more.

 
 

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