NCMS Morning Rounds 10-18-19

Enjoy your Friday

 NCMS Morning Rounds.

Oct. 18, 2019

NCMS Policy Committee Holds Inaugural Meeting

The NCMS’ new Policy Committee met Wednesday evening in Kernersville for their inaugural meeting during which there was robust discussion around the principles that will guide their work in the coming months. See who among your colleagues is serving on the committee.

Charged with providing policy direction to the NCMS Board of Directors and staff consistent with the Society’s mission of ‘providing leadership in medicine by uniting, serving and representing physicians and their health care teams to enhance the health of North Carolinians,’ the committee will review issues submitted to it by the NCMS Board of Directors/President and make recommendations back to the Board for consideration and decision.

The committee discussion centered on the key elements of a reformed health system. The broad principles guiding the committee’s recommendations will be informed by the Triple Aim of improving patient experience of care, the health of populations and reducing the per capita cost of care. The committee will prioritize proposals that are patient-centered, improve individual and population health, and support the creation of a new health system that is value-based and embraces nontraditional organizations that impact community health.

The Committee’s next meeting will be held in February. Watch your NCMS Morning Rounds for more on the Policy Committee’s work.

Caution to Patients: Beware of Medicare Plan Finder’s Flaws

The Medicare Open Enrollment period began on Tuesday, Oct. 15 and those who are eligible have until Dec. 7 to sign up for Medicare coverage. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is touting a new web-based Medicare Plan Finder they say will better allow patients to review and compare plan options. Patient advocacy groups and others, however, are warning that flaws in this new tool will lead many individuals to choose plans that are not in their best interest and also raise privacy and fraud concerns.

The media recently has outlined these concerns with articles in Kaiser Health News (As Medicare Enrollment Nears, Popular Price Comparison Tool is Missing), North Carolina Health News (Medicare’s Key Means for Selecting Coverage Has Grown Harder to Use, Advocates Say) and Forbes (New Medicare Plan Finder Doesn’t Fix the Woes GAO Found).

Advocates encourage patients to carefully compare plans and double-check their results and, if in doubt, consult with the NC Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP). SHIIP is a division of the North Carolina Department of Insurance and offers free, unbiased information about Medicare, Medicare prescription drug coverage, Medicare Advantage, long-term care insurance and other health insurance issues. In addition to helping Medicare beneficiaries compare and enroll in plans during the Open Enrollment Period, SHIIP counselors can help people find out if they are eligible for Medicare cost savings programs. Patients can reach SHIIP counselors Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by calling 855-408-1212. In person appointments also are available.

Research Study on Opioid Prescribing Limits – Share Your Insights

The UNC Injury Prevention Research Center Study Team, in collaboration with Drs. Tim Carey and Paul Chelminski at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, invite you to participate in a research study about the implementation of opioid prescribing limits contained in the North Carolina Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention (STOP) Act passed in 2017 (IRB#18-2437). This project is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As a physician tasked with the challenges of implementing various guidelines, the researchers would like to get your perspective about the STOP Act and learn how physicians in North Carolina have implemented the prescribing limits outlined in the act.

They would like to learn:

  • How prescribing limits have impacted physicians across the State,
    • How you have implemented these limits in your organization, and
    • How to improve opioid prescribing policies for patients and providers.

If you decide to participate, a member of the research team will interview you about:

  • Your views on opioid usage in North Carolina,
    • Your organization’s communications about and implementation of prescribing limits, and
    • Your views regarding the purpose of prescribing limits.

Interviews will be no more than one hour (by phone) and your responses will be kept strictly confidential. There will be no identifiers linking you or your institution to any of your responses. The researchers intend to interview physicians across the State. As a thank you for your time, you will receive a $50 gift card.

Your participation is completely voluntary and you can withdraw at any time should you decide not to participate. If you’d like to participate or have any questions about the study, please contact Natalie Blackburn at or by phone at (919) 843-0155.

In the News

Why Legal Questions Surround the Use of Voice Technology in Care Delivery, Health Data Management, 10-16-19

Learning Opportunity

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network will hold is NC 10 Annual Cancer Research Breakfast on Tuesday, Nov. 12 from 7 to 9 a.m. at the NC Museum of History in Raleigh. The event brings together more than 100 leaders from the business, education, government and research communities to hear a panel discussion on improving access to care through clinical trials, potential problems and promising practices with a special focus on disparate populations and medically underserved communities. To learn more or to register, contact Christine Weason at or call 919-270-4428.


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