NCMS Morning Rounds 11-13-19

Welcome to Wednesday and your

NCMS Morning Rounds.

Nov. 13, 2019

Biggest NCMS Disaster Relief Check to Date Delivered

Carolinas Center for Surgery President Robert Coles, MD, (left) accepts NCMS Disaster Relief Program check from NCMS’ Frank Snyder.

NCMS Director of Member Services, Eastern Region Frank Snyder was pleased to present a check for $67,500 to Carolinas Center for Surgery in Morehead City recently to help in their recovery from Hurricane Florence last fall. This is the largest amount granted to a practice impacted by the storm thanks to the NCMS Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund.

Eastern North Carolina medical practices have struggled to repair their buildings and recoup the financial losses from being closed in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence with many practices continuing to pay staff during this downtime. Carolinas Center for Surgery had two buildings that suffered major damage. One of the practice’s facilities was closed for one month; the other was out of commission for two months. Practice leaders were extremely grateful for the NCMS relief funds, Snyder said.

Since its inception last fall, the NCMS Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund has distributed nearly $500,000 to practices to help ensure physicians and physician assistants may continue to provide health care services in their communities.

Applications for practices affected by Hurricane Florence will continue to be accepted until Dec. 1. See the guidelines for applying and download an application. Be sure to submit it by the Dec. 1 deadline.

November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

People with diabetes are at increased risk of developing serious eye diseases, yet most do not have sight-saving, annual eye exams, according to a large study. The North Carolina Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in reiterating the importance of eye exams during the month of November, which is observed as Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month.

Researchers at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia have found that more than half of patients with the disease skip these exams. They also discovered that patients who smoke – and those with less severe diabetes and no eye problems – were most likely to neglect having these checks.

The researchers collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to review the charts of close to 2,000 patients age 40 or older with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to see how many had regular eye exams. Their findings over a four-year period revealed that:

  • Fifty-eight percent of patients did not have regular follow-up eye exams
    • Smokers were 20 percent less likely to have exams
    • Those with less-severe disease and no eye problems were least likely to follow recommendations
    • Those who had diabetic retinopathy were 30 percent more likely to have follow-up exams

One in 10 Americans have diabetes, putting them at heightened risk for visual impairment due to the eye disease diabetic retinopathy. The disease also can lead to other blinding ocular complications if not treated in time. Fortunately, having a dilated eye exam yearly or more often can prevent 95 percent of diabetes-related vision loss.
Eye exams are critical as they can reveal hidden signs of disease, enabling timely treatment. This is why the Academy recommends people with diabetes have them annually or more often as recommended by their ophthalmologist, a physician who specializes in medical and surgical eye care.

“Vision loss is tragic, especially when it is preventable,” said Ann P. Murchison, MD, MPH, lead author of the study and director of the eye emergency department at Wills Eye Hospital. “That’s why we want to raise awareness and ensure people with diabetes understand the importance of regular eye exams.”

The Academy offers this animated public service announcement to help educate people about the importance of regular exams and common eye diseases including diabetic retinopathy. It encourages the public to watch and share it with their friends and family.

“People with diabetes need to know that they shouldn’t wait until they experience problems to get these exams,” added Kitty Gordon, MD, President of the NC Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons. “A dilated eye exam by an ophthalmologist can reveal the signs of disease that patients aren’t aware of.”

For more information on age-related macular degeneration or other eye conditions and diseases, visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeSmart® website.

NCMS Member Named ACS President-elect

Longtime NCMS member J. Wayne Meredith, MD, FACS, MCCM, recently was elected to be the 2019-2020 President-elect of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) at its Annual Business meeting. Dr. Meredith is Richard T. Myers Professor and Chairman, department of surgery, Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem. Since he joined the faculty at Wake Forest in 1987, Dr. Meredith has taken on many roles including director of surgical sciences through June 2014 and surgeon-in-chief of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center beginning in July of this year.

Dr. Meredith has played a significant role in state-level ACS activities since joining the North Carolina Chapter of the ACS in 1991. His research interests include thoracic trauma, the biomechanics of crash injury, injury severity measures and trauma systems development. Over the course of his career, he has been awarded 10 grants for various trauma research studies. He is the principal investigator for a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant for Integrative Training in Trauma and Regenerative Medicine, as well as a joint project with Wake Forest School of Medicine and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that established a Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network Center of Wake Forest and Virginia Tech, Blacksburg.

Congratulations, Dr. Meredith, on being elected to this important position!

In the News

CDC: Gap Between Rural and Urban Deaths Increasing in US, Becker’s Hospital Review, 11-8-19

Learning Opportunity

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is offering a webinar next Tuesday, Nov. 19 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. to provide information about the final rule for the 2020 Quality Payment Program. The subject matter covered by the experts in the webinar will include key differences between the 2019 and 2020 requirements as well as way to connect to the no-cost technical assistance and resources. A Q & A session will follow as time allows. Learn more and register.


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