Current Bulletin

  • DATE CHANGE for February NC Population Health Collaborative Meeting

    The NC Population Health Collaborative’s first quarter meeting has been changed to Thursday, March 15, from 11:30 am until 3:30 pm at a location yet to be determined. Please watch your email and the Bulletin for details on the location, agenda and registration instructions. A small fee will be charged for the event, which includes lunch.

    The purpose of the NC Population Health Collaborative is to bring together all members of the health care community to share experiences and ideas to promote the successful transition to accountable, value-driven systems of care focused on attaining the Triple Aim (improving population health, improving patient experience of care and reducing the per capita cost of health care).

    Devdutta G. Sangvai, MD, MBA, FAFP, Executive Director for Duke Connected Care, Associate Chief Medical Officer (ACMO) for Duke University Health System and Medical Director for DukeWELL and Ruth A. Krystopolski, SV/Population Health for Carolinas HealthCare System, co-chair the Collaborative.  The Collaborative began in 2012 with six aspiring ACOs. Today, the Collaborative’s mailing list includes over 400 individuals and representatives from 30 ACOs.

    Learn more about NC Population Health Collaborative. For more information, contact Dana Lucas, at dlucas@ncmedsoc.org  or 919-833-3836.

     
  • Protect Yourself and Your Patients In the New Medicaid System

    The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) has steadfastly held that the protections for physicians and patients laid out in state law under Chapter 58 must be carried forward in the new Medicaid managed care system. A bill currently under consideration by the North Carolina House of Representatives, HB 156, however, does not include these essential protections.

    This bill would require Medicaid Prepaid Health Plans to obtain a license from the Department of Insurance and lists minimum requirements for the application process. It also contains language on penalties, enforcement, management agreements, fees, fiduciary responsibilities, continuation of services and suspension of licenses. But currently, the bill does not contain any of the Chapter 58 patient and provider protections. NCMS continues to actively work to ensure that these protections are included moving forward.

    Please reach out to your legislator and insist that the Chapter 58 protections, which are crucial to the success of Medicaid managed care, be included in this bill.

     
  • Are You Connected? June 1 Deadline To Connect to NC Health Information Exchange

    State law requires all physicians and physician assistants who receive state funds for treating patients through programs including Medicaid, NC Health Choice and the State Health Plan, to be connected and submit patient demographic and clinical data to the state’s Health Information Exchange, HealthConnex, by June 1, 2018.

    NC HealthConnex was created in 2015 by the North Carolina General Assembly to help bridge the gap between disparate systems and health care networks to support whole patient care.  The goal is to allow participants to access their patients’ comprehensive records across multiple providers as well as to review labs, diagnostics, history, allergies, medications and more. The result will be decreased redundancy; more efficient, accurate diagnoses, recommendations and treatment; and improved coordination across all levels of care.

    Patient health information is automatically uploaded or linked from a participating practice’s electronic health record (EHR). The information is then standardized and aggregated across care sites allowing clinicians to seamlessly access their patients’ information either from within their EHR or within the NC HealthConnex portal depending on the type of connection.

    The law mandating connection was updated in the most recent legislative session to provide more time for connectivity for those not currently using an electronic health record for patient care.  The law also allows a study on the feasibility study on those who fall under the connection mandate, but who do not have the technology to connect. The results of the study will be presented to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services and the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Information Technology at the beginning of the legislative short session this spring.

    To learn more about the state law, the feasibility study and how to connect, visit NCHealthConnex.gov.

     
  • NCMS Recognized At National Press Club Conference

    Health Leads co-founder Rebecca Onie addresses gathering on health care innovation at the National Press Club. Onie recognized the NCMS in her remarks.

    The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) was recognized yesterday at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, for its “innovativeness, support of value-based care and its commitment to addressing   determinants of health.” The recognition came from the co-founder of Health Leads, Rebecca Onie, as she addressed a conference on “Diffusion of Innovation” presided over by Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Alan Weil.

    Health Leads offers innovative ways to address patients’ basic resource needs as a standard part of quality care. A recipient of a MacArthur genius grant, Onie was a featured speaker at last year’s NCMS annual conference, and is working with the NC Department of Health and Human Services on how social needs may be better addressed in the Medicaid program.

    In addition to Onie, the conference brought together academics and those on the frontier of health innovation from across the country including the former director at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center, Rocco Perla, who spoke on Government As Innovation Catalyst: Lessons From The Early Center For Medicare And Medicaid Innovation Models. Onie’s comments about the NCMS came during her presentation on Integrating Social Needs Into Health Care: A Twenty-Year Case Study Of Adaptation And Diffusion, which described the evolution of Health Leads in partnership with philanthropy, including The Physicians Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.”

    NCMS CEO Robert W. Seligson was on hand at the meeting as discussion focused on how innovative ideas in health care are scaled and diffused to a variety of settings.

     
  • Nominations Now Open for NCMS Leadership Positions

    If you or someone you know would like to be considered for service on the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Board of Directors, as part of the NC AMA Delegation or on the NCMS Nominating and Leadership Development Committee, please complete this application at your earliest convenience. For details about each of these positions, please click here.

    Below is a list of the open seats as well as the counties included in each NCMS region, in case you are contemplating a regional position.  The nomination period will run through Aug. 18, 2018.

    Please direct questions to Evan Simmons, esimmons@ncmedsoc.org.

    NCMS Board of Directors:

    • President-Elect (1-year term)
    • Region 1* Representative (3-year term)
    • At-Large Member (2 positions open) (3-year term)

     NC AMA Delegation (2-year term):

    • Delegate (3 positions open)
    • Alternate Delegate (2 positions open)

    Nominating and Leadership Development Committee (2-year term):

    • Region 1* (2 positions open)
    • Region 2**
    • Region 3***

    *Region 1 counties include:

    Beaufort, Bertie, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Columbus, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Pitt, Tyrrell, Washington, Wayne, Wilson

    **Region 2 counties include:

    Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Davidson, Davie, Durham, Forsyth, Franklin, Granville, Guilford, Johnston, Lee, Montgomery, Orange, Person, Randolph, Rockingham, Stokes, Vance, Wake, Warren

    ***Region 3 counties include:

    Anson, Bladen, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Cumberland, Gaston, Harnett, Hoke, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Moore, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson Scotland, Stanly, Union

    Region 4 counties include:

    Alleghany, Alexander, Ashe, Avery, Burke, Buncombe, Caldwell, Catawba, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Iredell, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rowan, Rutherford, Surry, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin, Yancey

     

     
  • Multi-State Opioid Prescription Information Now Accessible

    Now when you check the North Carolina Controlled Substances Reporting System (CSRS), you also will be able to get information about your patients’ prescriptions for controlled substances from other states. The CSRS recently joined the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s data sharing network, PMP InterConnect. This 42-state prescription monitoring network holds prescription data for millions of patient encounters each year.

    To access the new data, select the “Multiple State Query” link on the left side of the Query page within the CSRS.  North Carolina providers now have access to prescription monitoring data from Virginia, South Carolina and Arkansas. Additional states are in the process of enabling two-way communication with North Carolina. Access the CSRS here.

     
  • NC DHHS Submits Behavioral Health Plan

    The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) last week submitted its Behavioral Health Strategic Plan to the NC General Assembly, outlining ways to improve behavioral health services and address the opioid abuse epidemic.

    The plan is billed as the first step and foundation for how NC DHHS will shape the behavioral health delivery system going forward.

    “North Carolina’s behavioral health system faces many challenges, from a chronic lack of funding, to the stigma associated with mental illness, to a workforce that is hard to recruit and retain. Some challenges have been decades in the making, while others have emerged or worsened dramatically in recent years with the Opioid Epidemic,” the Executive Summary of the plan states.

    More than 314,000 North Carolinians received behavioral health care last year, including more than 207,000 adults for substance abuse, according to state figures. North Carolina is averaging nearly four deaths each day from opioid overdoses, state health officials told legislators in November. More than 13,000 opioid-overdose deaths were reported in the state from 2005 to 2015. For each opioid overdose death, there are about three hospitalizations and nearly four emergency room visits.

    The 90-page plan identifies two areas of focus for strengthening the state’s behavioral health system: ensure timely access to high-quality services and integrate behavioral health and physical health for children and adults. The integration would include routine screening and fostering better communication between behavioral and physical health providers. That component of the plan is also a included in the state’s amended Medicaid waiver request, which was submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in November and outlines the state’s plans to move to Medicaid managed care.

    Read the plan.

     
  • NC Public Health Alert: Increase in Pertussis Cases

    The North Carolina Division of Public Health is working with local health departments to investigate recently reported pertussis cases. Since Nov. 1, 2017, statewide 134 cases have been identified and additional cases are under investigation. A majority of cases are associated with outbreaks in Henderson, Orange and Wake counties, and have occurred primarily in school-aged children. Learn more about the reported cases and the Division of Public Health’s recommendations.
     
  • ABMS’ Statement on Maintenance of Certification

    The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) met in December 2017 with representatives of its 24 member Boards to open what is hoped will be an on-going dialogue on maintenance of certification (MOC) and how to ensure that every participating physician will find value in the process. Concerns discussed included the complexity, convenience, relevance to practice and the indirect cost of participating in the MOC programs.

    As a result of the meeting, ABMS leadership issued a statement outlining what they are doing to address concerns and identify and implement best practices across the specialties. Here are some of the actions ABMS is taking:

    • All the Boards are implementing changes to make their programs more convenient, supportive, relevant and cost-effective. Each has taken its own approach, based on its study of the validity and psychometric rigor of the assessment options, as well as preferences expressed by their diplomates.
    • To make testing more relevant to practice, Boards have modularized the exam in specific practice areas and given their diplomates more flexibility over the scope and frequency of assessment;
    • To eliminate the indirect costs of participation, Boards have modernized the assessment through convenient on-line testing or remote proctoring, eliminating the need for preparation courses, travel to exam centers, and time away from practices;
    • To simulate real-life application of knowledge and decision making, some Boards now permit the use of reference materials during the exam;
    • To assure that knowledge assessments help participating physicians to identify gaps in knowledge and guide their learning, assessments are accompanied by timely, actionable feedback;
    • To increase alignment between MOC and other quality and safety programs, a much wider variety of practice-based learning and improvement activities are now recognized, including those offered through hospitals, specialty societies, and state medical societies.
    • To assure opportunities for remediation of knowledge gaps, all Boards provide multiple opportunities for physicians to retake the exam.

    Read the entire statement.

     
  • Transition to New Medicare Cards Begins April 1

    Starting April 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin mailing new Medicare cards to all people with Medicare based on geographic location. North Carolina is part of the ‘fifth wave’ of mailings, which is set to begin after June. Learn more about the Mailing Strategy.  Starting April 2018, your patients will be able to check the status of card mailings in their area on Medicare.gov.

    The new cards will have a new, unique Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) number, which will replace the current SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN).

    Beginning in October 2018, and throughout the transition period, which ends Dec. 31, 2019, when a practice submits a claim using a patient’s valid and active Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN), CMS will return both the HICN and the MBI on every remittance advice. During the transition period, CMS will monitor the use of HICNs and MBIs to make sure everyone will be ready to use only MBIs by January 2020. As of now, beginning Jan. 1, 2020, all Medicare claims (with a few exceptions) will need to be submitted using MBIs regardless of when you performed the service.

    Find out more on the New Medicare Card provider webpage.