NCMS Morning Rounds 8-5-19

Welcome to a new week!

Here’s your NCMS Morning Rounds.

Aug. 5, 2019

NCMS Legislative Update

The NC legislature is still in session, although the Senate did not convene last week. The House, however, held committee meetings and several bills progressed. This week promises the same sort of pace as the budget stalemate continues and when the session will officially end remains unknown.

Several actions of note:

Last Thursday, the Governor signed HB228/SB178 – Modernize NC Medical Board Laws, which the NCMS had been tracking closely through the session. This largely non-controversial law made several technical changes, updated language and refined several licensing definitions concerning the NC Medical Board. Perhaps the most significant provision was around requirements to report sexual misconduct. Review all the details of this new law on our legislative blog.

Pushed by Senate leader and bill co-sponsor Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) SB681 – Rural Health Care Stabilization Act would establish the Rural Health Care Stabilization Program to provide loans to eligible applicants for the support of eligible hospitals located in rural areas that are in financial crisis. The bill passed through committee on July 31 and moved to the Senate floor for consideration.

HB822 – Comprehensive Behavioral Health Plan, which directs the state to develop a comprehensive plan to address publicly funded behavioral health services, moved out of committee to the House floor for consideration. Under the proposal, the plan would include development of a mission, vision, goals, objectives, oversight and accountability for the behavioral health care system in NC, which includes mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse services.

At this point in this lengthy session, some public health bills are being merged to make consideration more efficient. For instance, SB458 – PTS Injury Day/Cardiac Task Force/Titus’ Law addresses a variety of public health initiatives.

Stay tuned to your NCMS Morning Rounds for any updates on when the legislative long session may conclude.

Help in Addressing Social Determinants of Health

NCMS’ partners, The Physicians Foundation along with The Health Initiative recently released a Viewpoints summary of its work on helping physicians address their patients’ non-clinical or social determinants of health.

While the health care sector increasingly recognizes that the United States cannot improve health outcomes or reduce health care costs without addressing these social aspects of health, payment and care delivery reforms have not kept up with this realization. The Physicians Foundation and others also know that the disconnect between what needs to be done and enacting policies to make it happen can exacerbate physician burnout.

The summary concludes that “addressing SDOH will require a holistic approach, including comprehensive coordination among individual physicians, medical societies, health systems and policymakers. But ultimately, SDOH must be incorporated into risk adjusted payment models.”

Read the Viewpoints piece.

August Is Immunization Awareness Month

With headlines about measles outbreaks and the spread of false information about vaccines on social media, this year’s Immunization Awareness month gains new importance. Each August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) seeks to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages.

A variety of resources are available on the Immunization Awareness Month website including tips on how to speak to parents and patients about the importance of being vaccinated.

Access the immunization awareness toolkits on the CDC’s website.

In the News

Inaugural Class Starts Tuition Free at NYU Long Island School of Medicine, Becker’s Hospital Review, 7-29-19

Learning Opportunity

Learn about the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed 2020 Physician Fee schedule. This listening session on Aug. 12 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. will cover three provisions in the proposed rule and address questions to help you formulate written comments to the proposal. The three provisions are:
• Increasing value of Evaluation and Management (E/M) payments;
• Continuing to improve the Quality Payment Program by streamlining the program’s requirement’s in order to reduce clinician burden;
• Creating the new Opioid Treatment Program benefit in response to the opioid epidemic.

Review the proposed rule and fact sheet.

Register for the session.



More Posts in Current Legislative Session


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