NCMS Morning Rounds 10-4-19

Welcome to your NCMS Morning Rounds Special LEAD Health Care Conference Edition!

The NCMS LEAD Health Care Conference kicked off yesterday in Raleigh bringing together more than 200 physicians, physician assistants and key health care stakeholders to learn, connect and re-energize by hearing from their colleagues, experts and innovators.

Community Practitioner Program Celebrates 30th Year

Current and past participants in the NCMS Foundation’s Community Practitioner Program (CPP) gathered for their annual meeting and to celebrate the 30th anniversary year of the program as part of the LEAD Health Care Conference.

Several of the program’s founders, E. Harvey Estes, Jr., MD, and Thomas Irons, MD, spoke about the program, which was created to increase the recruitment and retention of primary care providers in rural North Carolina. Over the past three decades, more than $425 million in free and reduced cost health care has been provided to uninsured and under-insured patients in North Carolina, and more than 435 health care providers have been placed in underserved areas and helped through educational loan repayment to stay in those communities to serve patients.

“You are my heroes,” Dr. Estes told the CPP participants at the meeting. “You’re doing what this program set out to do. You’re making a difference.”

He also said he sees how the CPP has changed the way the NCMS is perceived as well. “The NCMS now is viewed as an organization truly trying to help people in North Carolina.”

Dr. Irons described how he found working as a pediatrician in Raleigh unfulfilling when he started out and moved to Greenville where he felt he could make a bigger difference in the community. He ‘caught the dream,’ and praised Dr. Estes as one of the people he admires most. “What I want to be when I grow up is Harvey Estes,” he said with a chuckle.

In further celebration of the anniversary three videos were shown featuring three CPP alumni: Robeson County pediatrician and President-elect of the NCMS Foundation Katie Lowry, MD, Mary Beth Koehler, a nurse practitioner in Wilmington and Christian Lige, MD, a pediatrician in Nags Head. Watch for the videos to debut on the NCMS website soon!

Hot Topics; Personal Journeys in Health Care

Speakers throughout the day addressed the health of North Carolinians, social determinants of health, the opioid epidemic as viewed by various specialties, dispensed advice on how to stay engaged and joyful in the practice of medicine and told about their personal journeys in today’s health care environment.

Here are a few takeaways:

The Case for Telemedicine

Diego Garza, MD, MPH made the case for telemedicine connecting patients and physicians and physician assistants. While telemedicine is safe and effective and can improve access, access does not mean quality, he said. He urged thoughtful guidelines for implementation and development of telemedicine programs. Know your patient population, he cautioned. Do they even have access to the technology necessary for telemedicine? And know the definitions and laws in North Carolina governing the use of telemedicine. Read the NC Medical Board’s guidance on telemedicine.

Being connected through social media

Sara Jiang, MD, spoke about how social media has helped her teach, learn and network. Although a busy pathologist involved in clinical work, teaching, research and being a mom to two young children, Dr. Jiang says social media has been a “powerful tool in helping her achieve her professional goals.” She harnesses small moments throughout her day, like waiting in line at Costco, to post on social media. She shares posts with information about reading pathology slides or interesting cases to help her residents or network with colleagues around the world. She tells the story of meeting a colleague from Spain at a conference and continuing to share information on social media after the meeting. She ended up attending a conference in Spain at this colleague’s request, speaking on a variety of topics and later collaborating on a published paper with him. Dr. Jiang also recommended social media to curate the information you want and need, whether it’s journal articles or the traffic report on your evening commute. The biggest advantage for her, she says is, “I’m part of a very large community of physicians.” She told the audience, “You have an online presence if you want it or not. Why not be in control of it.”

A matter of priorities

The 2019 class of Leadership College scholars gave their 10-minute talks about their year-long research projects. NCMS Director of Legislative Relations and 2019 Leadership College scholar Sue Ann Forrest, MPA, spoke on physician advocacy. She revealed that physicians are 9 percent less likely to vote than the general population and made the case for why physicians should be involved in advocating for their profession – or at the very least vote. She offered an interesting example of priorities saying in early voting for the Raleigh municipal election, which started Sept. 18, approximately 10,000 people have voted so far. For the grand opening of the Wegman’s grocery store last Sunday, more than 30,000 people turned out.

Today, the LEAD Health Care Conference continues with more MEDTalks focused on improving quality of care, our Legislative breakfast, a panel discussion on disaster preparedness, the NCMS Annual Business meeting and our LEADership Dinner, where we honor the Leadership College graduates, other esteemed long-term leaders and celebrate the inauguration of incoming NCMS President Palmer Edwards, MD, DFAPA.

In the News

Are Diet Fads Actually Making Americans Healthier? It’s Complicated, The Advisory Board Forum, 10-1-19

Learning Opportunity

A half-day program titled ‘Coping and Resiliency Skills for High Stress Occupations’ will be held at three locations in the state – Wilmington, Chapel Hill and Asheville – in November. Learn more and register.


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