NCMS Morning Rounds 4-1-19

A new week dawns…

Time for your NCMS Morning Rounds.

Welcome to National Public Health Week

Today marks the first day of a week devoted to learning about and discussing public health issues. The mission and values of the NCMS are deeply rooted in public health, and many of our on-going initiatives and advocacy efforts are centered on improving public health and safety.

The American Public Health Association (APHA) has a wealth of resources and activities planned for the week, starting with a live webcast this afternoon from 1 to 3 p.m. on the topic “Building Healthy Communities from the Grassroots.” The event will highlight the importance of grassroots organizing to improve community health. Learn more about the line-up of speakers. Register here.

On Wednesday, there will be a Twitter chat beginning at 2 p.m. with public health leaders from around the country. Last year, hundreds of Twitter accounts participated in the discussion and millions saw the conversation. RSVP here for that.

This year each day of the week will focus on a different theme. The APHA offers fact sheets on important general public health topics as well as those specific to the themes each day.

Regular readers of the NCMS Morning Rounds will know that the NCMS is heavily engaged in seeking solutions to issues like urban/rural disparities in health; and addressing social determinants of health like food insecurity, housing and transportation. Our legislative agenda always includes safeguarding public health.

For instance, the NCMS Foundation’s Our Community Health Initiative is gearing up in the coming weeks to help you connect your patients with community resources to address their non-clinical health needs. Our legislative priorities for the 2019 session include funding for strong public health initiatives and, as always, advocating on proposals ranging from helmet laws to vaccines. Check out our Legislative Blog under the category public health to see what has been introduced so far this session.

Enjoy an informative and inspiring Public Health Week!

SHP Study Proposal Likely to Move This Week

HB184-Study State Health Plan Design likely will be considered in the House Rules Committee today. Pending that committee’s approval, the proposal, which establishes a commission to perform an in-depth analysis of the Plan’s design to ensure its future solvency and improve the health of plan members, would then move to a vote by the full House.

NCMS President Timothy J. Reeder, MD, MPH, has written a letter to the editor (see below) clearly stating the NCMS’ support of HB184. It also outlines our objections to State Treasurer Dale Folwell’s proposed changes to physician and hospital reimbursement when caring for patients covered by the plan. Watch for Dr. Reeder’s letter in your local newspaper, and feel free to share it with your colleagues.

I have been following the reports about proposed changes to the State Health Plan with great interest and concern. While it is true that the cost of health care has continued to rise, the solution proposed by the state treasurer will not affect the underlying drivers of cost. Simply cutting the reimbursement to physicians and hospitals is a short-sighted mechanism that will restrict access to care, force state employees to drive farther for care and limit their choices.

The North Carolina Medical Society has been working to institute real changes to the health care system as a whole, which save money while improving health. Over the past several years, physicians have quantifiably demonstrated their ability to control costs through value based arrangements and care management. The physicians with whom I work and the nearly 12,000 medical society members I represent as the society president have proposed several tested and viable solutions to the state treasurer. He has been unwilling to consider alternatives proven successful in health insurance plans in both North Carolina and across the nation.

From my unique perspective as both a physician who cares for state employees in my practice and a state employee who is covered by the state health plan, I am confident that the proposed changes will negatively impact all state employees, particularly those of us in eastern North Carolina. A proposal in the legislature, House Bill 184, calls for study and developing more deliberate, sustainable solutions to improve the health of and contain costs for state employees. I encourage state employees to contact their legislators to support this bill.
Timothy Reeder, MD, MPH
President, North Carolina Medical Society

In the News

The folks at the Pew Research Center administered a short 11-question quiz to nearly 5,000 adults to test their basic scientific understanding. See how you, your family and friends stack up by taking the quiz.

What Americans Know About Science, STAT, 3-28-19

Learning Opportunity

This month’s NCMS Foundation/NC Medical Group Management Association Lunch & Learn Webinar will be held on Tuesday, April 16 from noon to 1 p.m. and will feature two new NCMS Foundation programs – Project OBOT and Our Community Health Initiative (OCHI). Learn more and register.



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