NCMS Morning Rounds 6-14-19

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Enjoy the week’s last NCMS Morning Rounds!

June 14, 2019

NCMS’ Seligson Weighs in on Federal Debate over Surprise Billing

NCMS CEO Robert W. Seligson, MBA, MA in his capacity as President of the Physician Advocacy Institute (PAI), issued the statement below on Wednesday in response to the US House Energy and Commerce Committee’s hearing on surprise medical bills. PAI has been working on the surprise billing issue and has developed resources to help you in discussions with elected officials and to generally increase your knowledge.

Key Facts about Surprise Billing
Questions and Answers about Surprise Billing
You also may learn more at the PAI website.

This article also gives some insight into the debate going on in Washington, D.C.: Congress Warns Industry To Hurry On Surprise Billing Fix, Healthcare Dive, 6-12-19

Here is Seligson’s statement:

“Health insurance is supposed to enable people to get care they need without undue financial difficulty, but that’s not happening. Insurers’ inadequate, restrictive networks and many cost-shifting strategies mean consumers now face an epidemic of surprise medical bills.

The policy framework that has worked in New York, is what’s best for patients. It holds them harmless during billing disputes, establishes a fair and proven resolution process that promotes compromise between insurers and providers, and preserves access to critical services like emergency room treatment and on-call surgical care. It also addresses the root causes of these bills by promoting greater transparency and network adequacy for patients.

A single, surprise medical bill can upend a family’s finances, forcing impossible decisions between medical care and other essentials.

Congress needs to ensure more patients are spared from surprise medical bills and can access the doctors they need, especially in an emergency.”

2019 Opioid Progress Report: How is NC Doing?

The American Medical Association (AMA) recently released its 2019 Opioid Progress Report, which highlights the actions physicians and medical societies like the NCMS have taken to stem the opioid abuse epidemic. The report specifically examines the data around reductions in opioid prescriptions, increased use of prescription drug monitoring programs like North Carolina’s Controlled Substance Reporting System, enhanced education, increased co-prescribing of naloxone and increasing numbers of physicians certified to provide buprenorphine in-office for the treatment of opioid use disorder.

Review the report.

Across the country, fewer prescriptions for opioids are being written – decreasing nationwide by about 12 percent or 20 million fewer prescriptions between 2017 and 2018. North Carolina was above that percentage with nearly 14 percent fewer prescriptions for opioids. See the state-by-state breakdown.

Overall, the drug monitoring programs are being used more nationally as well as in North Carolina where the number of queries inched up. Review the state-by-state data.

The NCMS Foundation’s Project OBOT works to increase the number of physicians certified to provide Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and offers a comprehensive community support network to help patients with opioid use disorder.

The AMA’s Opioid Task Force, which issues the progress report, urges physicians to make “judicious and informed prescribing decisions to reduce the risk of opioid related harms, but acknowledges that for some patients, opioid therapy, including when prescribed at doses greater than recommended by some entities, may be medically necessary and appropriate.”

To help physicians understand and properly apply the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) opioid prescribing guidelines for chronic pain, the CDC has developed resources, including:

Durham-Orange County Medical Society Members Dine and Learn

Around 40 members of the Durham-Orange County Medical Society (DOCMS) — ranging from medical students to retired physicians — met Wednesday evening to socialize over dinner at the University Club in Durham and to hear from two of their colleagues. Jennie Byrne, MD, PhD, a board-certified psychiatrist, spoke on ‘Neuroscience in the Treatment of Adult ADHD, and Michael Bolognesi, MD, professor of surgery, presented on ‘New Technologies in Hip and Knee Replacement.’

DOCMS members also now will be able to earn CME by attending their society’s meetings featuring speakers on topics like those Drs. Byrne and Bolognesi addressed. Watch your NCMS Morning Rounds for details on how to access this CME credit before the next DOCMS meeting.

In the News

Why Telling Patients to ‘lose weight’ Just Doesn’t Work, The Advisory Board Forum, 6-6-19

Learning Opportunity

Don’t miss Tuesday’s (June 18) Lunch & Learn webinar from noon to 1 p.m. brought to you by the NCMS Foundation and the NC Medical Group Management Association. This month’s webinar will feature Yun Boylston, MD, speaking on the topic ‘Burnout: Moving Beyond Self-Care to Actionable Organizational Change.’ Dr. Boylston is a pediatrician at Burlington / Mebane Pediatrics in Alamance County. In her role as Managing Partner, she founded the practice’s Wellness Program. As a business dedicated to its employees, Burlington Pediatrics was designated as a 2016 Best Places to Work by the Triad Business Journal. Learn more and register for this free webinar.


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