NCMS Morning Rounds 5-23-19

Welcome to Thursday’s NCMS Morning Rounds!

Introducing Ashley Rodriguez

Please welcome Ashley Rodriguez, JD, to the NCMS staff. Ashley started as the NCMS’ Director for Regulatory and Legal Affairs and Associate General Counsel in March and has been busy familiarizing herself with the many aspects of her job.

In addition to working with NCMS Director of Health System Innovation Kristen Spaduzzi to address any regulatory issues around Medicaid, Medicare or private payers for our members, Ashley will be the NCMS point person with the NC Medical Board, NC Department of Insurance and the Industrial Commission as well as the Medical Care Commission and State Health Coordinating Council among other NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) divisions.

She also will be monitoring any litigation making its way through the NC Court of Appeals or Supreme Court that may affect you and your practice. If you have any concerns or issues that you think Ashley may be able to help you with, please contact her. While she may not have an immediate answer, she will be happy to do the research to better understand the problem and get that answer.

Another area of focus for Ashley will be public health, working closely with the state’s Division of Public Health especially around maternal and infant health. She is involved with the Division’s Perinatal Health Strategic Plan and the NC Institute of Medicine’s Perinatal System of Care Task Force charged with examining issues around improving maternal and infant health in North Carolina.

Before arriving at the NCMS Ashley worked with the NC Division of Public Health as a legal consultant for the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington and her law degree at Campbell University, and has valuable experience as a medical malpractice defense attorney.

Ashley’s roots run deep in North Carolina. She grew up in Mount Olive, where her parents are both upper level administrators at the University of Mount Olive. She and her husband, Orlando, also an attorney (they met at law school), consider themselves ‘amateur policy wonks’ and love debating the issues. Ashley spends every spare moment with her young daughter and enjoying family time boating on the Pamlico River.

You may contact Ashley via email ( or calling her at 919-833-3836 x 118.

NCMS Foundation Fields First NCCare360 Referral

The NCMS Foundation recently received its first referral through the state’s NCCare360 coordinated care network, which electronically connects individuals with identified needs to community resources and then offers feedback on the outcome of that connection. The NCMS Foundation is one of the 231 organizations thus far in the network of community resources. Through the NCCare360 platform NCMS staff can connect individuals with help through our Project OBOT and Our Community Health Initiative (OCHI) programs.

NCMS Vice President for Rural Health Systems Innovation Franklin Walker, MBA, received the referral electronically through the NCCare360 dashboard and could then connect the individual with the proper agency to help.

NCCare360 rolled out three months ago in Alamance County and is now expanding across the state. So far 122 referrals have been made to organizations offering housing assistance, food, dental care and substance abuse treatment among other resources. The most requested services thus far involve the need for housing.

The Health Initiative Report to NCMS Board

Representatives from The Health Initiative (THI) reported more detailed findings from the two NCMS member focus groups they convened in February 2019 in Raleigh and Asheville to the NCMS Board of Directors last weekend. The information provided by the focus groups is helping THI explore issues relative to how physicians experience the underlying drivers of health in their practices and revealed key barriers and physician attitudes around these issues.

A total of 29 physicians and PAs participated in the two sessions. Insights gained included:

  • Participants readily stated that unmet social needs not only impacted their patients, but also their practice and the broader health care arena.
    • Caring for the whole patient aligned strongly with their views, values and approach to medicine, and they were relatively reluctant to name a specific or desired role in how to meet patient’s unmet needs.
    • Participants were much more likely to state that they, and the NCMS, had an important voice in advocating for change, especially in terms of upstream investments in health.
    • Specifically, the following issues were raised in discussion: advocating for Medicaid expansion, calling for a living wage to reduce their patients’ financial burdens, and supporting upstream investments in early childhood education and support.
    • Participants also named the importance of further physician education around these issues.
    • Three types of barriers were elevated in the discussions — participants’ day-to-day obstacles associated with their practice, patient/individual-level challenges and systems level barriers.
    • Related to these barriers, the most frequently referenced tools needed to support physicians in addressing these issues included: one place to go to for accurate and high quality resource information, workforce resources and greater availability of resources in the community.

In the News

Primary Care Physician Supply in All 50 States Ranked, Becker’s Hospital Review, 5-20-19

Learning Opportunity

The registration deadline has been extended for the Opioid Misuse & Overdose Prevention Summit to be held June 11-12 in Raleigh. Register by June 3 for this training and networking opportunity to address opioid misuse and addiction. Learn more and register.


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