Current Bulletin

  • NCMS Priorities Set As Legislative Short Session Begins May 16

    The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Legislative Cabinet met last month to finalize the legislative priorities in advance of the opening of the General Assembly’s Short Session on May 16. The priorities remain consistent with those pursued during last year’s long session. They are:

    Medicaid reform: We are working hard to ensure a streamlined and physician-friendly approach to the transformation of the state’s Medicaid program to managed care.

    Improved access to care: We support expanding Medicaid so the working poor and those who can’t afford health insurance have the opportunity to get coverage and thus remove barriers to receiving health care.

    Scope of practice: We are promoting cooperative health care teams that are crucial to the success of the transformation of our health care system while making sure that everyone on the team has the proper training. Patient safety is, of course, our top priority.

    Protecting our tort reform victory: We will vehemently oppose any erosion of the reforms we won in 2011 while considering any necessary refinements.

    Opioid abuse epidemic: We will continue to address this issue by advocating for policies that address all facets of this problem as well as the various education and coalition building initiatives we have underway.

    The NCMS offers many ways to keep up to date on what is happening throughout the session.

    • Read the NCMS Legislative Blog for daily updates throughout the session.
    • Follow @ncmedsoc on Twitter and Facebook for real time updates.
    • Watch the weekly ‘Bowtie Briefing’ video during the session, in which our Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Advancement and Associate General Counsel Chip Baggett gives you the inside look at what is happening at the General Assembly. This video is emailed to NCMS members each Friday.
    • Read the NCMS Bulletin every other Wednesday.
    • If you want to be directly engaged with your legislators, sign up for a White Coat Wednesday. Our advocacy team will brief you over breakfast and then escort you to the legislative building for meetings with your legislators to discuss what is important to you and your patients. Sign up now.
  • Voting in Next Week’s Primary Will Make a Difference

    Next Tuesday, May 8, is the primary election throughout North Carolina. All the legislative races are contested this year, so voting in the primary to select who will face off against each other in the General Election in November is particularly important.

    Since the stakes are so high in these primary races, be sure to vote on Tuesday. Early voting for the primary runs through Saturday, May 5, at 1 p.m. Check the Board of Elections site to find the early voting site near you.

    Be sure you are registered to vote in the Nov. 6 General Election. Use this application, and then be sure to mail it to the Board of Elections address on the form.  If you’re not sure you are registered to vote or wonder if your registration is out of date (if you have moved recently), you can look up your information on the Board of Elections website. Once you find your registration, you can view a sample ballot for your particular precinct.

    Make your voice heard!

    Beyond going to the polls, you may want to exercise your right to give to the NCMS PAC, which supports the candidates who understand and support our priorities. Learn more and give.

  • Please Note: NC ACO Council Meeting Cancelled

    Just a reminder that the ACO Council meeting scheduled for tomorrow, May 3, has been cancelled.  If you have not yet given us your feedback on ideas for future educational sessions and webinars, please send your comments/answers to the questions below to Melanie Phelps, or Kristen Spaduzzi,

    • What are the top three topics you would like to see addressed?
    • What is the most convenient day of the week/time of day for you to participate in a webinar?

    In addition, the TAC Consortium has posted several new resources that may interest you. The maps and directory below provide a comprehensive view of active ACOs in North Carolina.

    Melanie and Kristen will be going on the road to visit ACOs over the next few months so please let them know if you have any upcoming events or meetings that would be beneficial for them to attend in an effort to learn more about your ACO.

  • NCMS Offers Customized Leadership Training at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

    Dr. Strowd surrounded by NCMS staff at Wake Forest Baptist leadership training session. Front l-r: Sue Ann Forrest, Ashley Newton, Dr. Strowd, Kristina Natt Och Dag, Pam Highsmith. Back, l-r: Aubrey Cuthbertson, Shawn Scott, Franklin Walker.

    Executive Director of the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Foundation’s Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership Kristina Natt Och Dag along with other NCMS staff facilitated a leadership development program customized for fourth year medical students at Wake Forest University School of Medicine this week.

    “In speaking with several students about the training, their impression was extremely positive,” said Roy Strowd, MD, an assistant professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and a Kanof Institute Leadership College Scholar. “Medical students rarely find time and opportunity to think about who they are as a leader and how they are viewed and will be viewed as student and resident leaders by patients, colleagues and faculty. This short 1.5 hour leadership seminar has started to pave the way for what I think will be tremendous personal growth as these students begin their internship training. This is something that I really wish I was offered when going through my own training.”

    The award-winning Kanof Institute offers the Leadership College and Health Care Leadership and Management programs as well as leadership training courses customized to meet the needs of your practice or health system. Learn more about all the institute offers and how to apply.

  • NCMS Foundation Webinar: Facing Behavioral Health/Substance Use Disorder Challenges

    Registration is open for the free Lunch & Learn Webinar, “Facing Behavioral Health/Substance Use Disorder Challenges in Individuals with Chronic Illness” scheduled for Tuesday, May 15, noon-1pm. Learn more and register.

    Kathy Smith, PhD, Chief Operating Officer, and Mike Rhoades, MBA, Chief Executive Officer at Blaze Advisors will lead an interactive discussion on the prevalence, detection and response to behavioral health and substance use issues in Individuals with chronic Illness.  The team will present and discuss prevalence of behavioral health illness in chronic and polychronic populations and how these un/undertreated behavioral health conditions can impact treatment adherence, compliance and patient self-care; frustrating health outcomes and inflating cost of care.  Care coordination tools, practices and billable assessment codes will be highlighted to allow providers to better identify and respond to challenges their patients may be facing. With the industry focus on Integrated Health, don’t miss this opportunity to stay up to date on the changing landscape of care.

    Register now.

  • Got an Opinion On MOC? Share It By May 11!

    Please share your feedback on Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements through an online survey being conducted by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). The deadline has been extended until May 11.

    The survey is part of an ABMS initiative titled “Continuing Board Certification: Vision for the Future.” The feedback from the survey, which members of the public and other stakeholders are also invited to take, will help identify key concerns regarding MOC and inform the work of ABMS’s new Vision for the Future Commission. The commission will use the survey results as part of a comprehensive assessment of continuous board certification to make it “meaningful to physicians and the patients they serve well into the next decade.” The commission will submit a draft report for public comment in November; a final report will be submitted to the ABMS Board of Directors in February 2019.


  • Opening Keynote Speaker Set for LEAD Conference

    Julie Ann Freischlag, MD

    The opening keynote speaker for the North Carolina Medical Society’s (NCMS) LEAD Health Care Conference will be Julie Ann Freischlag, MD, CEO of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. A strong Leader, an accomplished Educator and a woman who has devoted her career to Advocating on behalf of patients at many levels, be sure to attend the LEAD Health Care Conference, Oct. 18-19 in Raleigh, to Discover what drives this remarkable physician.

    As CEO, Dr. Freischlag oversees Wake Forest Baptist’s academic health system, including the Wake Forest School of Medicine and a network of hospitals and physician practices. A vascular surgeon with 30 years of experience at top academic medical centers, Dr. Freischlag is nationally recognized as a leader in medical education and training, expansion of research opportunities and improvement in patient and family-centered care. Dr. Freischlag served as the first female chair of the department of surgery and surgeon-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and earlier as professor and chief of vascular surgery at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.

    Learn more about the LEAD Conference…

  • Consider an NCMS Leadership Position – Nominations Are Now Being Accepted

    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, If you would like to learn more about and hear current NCMS Board members reflect on why they serve, watch our recent Spotlight videos: President Dr. John Reynolds; Drs. Utecht, Edwards and RaynorPresident-elect Dr. Timothy Reeder and Dr. Art Apolinario.

    The positions open for nominations are as follows.

    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.

  • Fake Pharmacy ID Program Expands to Include Managing Prescription Drugs in the Home

    Marjorie Clifton, left, of CSIP and NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall at last week’s Advisory Council to Combat Counterfeit Medication in Raleigh.

    The North Carolina Secretary of State’s Advisory Council to Combat Counterfeit Medication convened last week to review the progress of the VerifyBeforeYou Buy initiative (see Bulletin article on the North Carolina Medical Society’s involvement) and to look ahead to the second year of the program.

    “North Carolina is the model. You set the stage,” Marjorie Clifton, executive director of the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP), told the council members. North Carolina was the pilot state for the Verify Before You Buy initiative, which launched just over a year ago. The Verify Before You Buy website allows consumers to make sure the online site from which they are purchasing prescription medication is not fake.

    Clifton told the Council members that since the awareness raising campaign began in North Carolina, 20,000 people throughout the state are consistently active on the website. She also noted that Google shut down 120 million fake websites last year, but compared the efforts to eradicate these sites to a ‘whack a mole’ game, with new the sites popping up continually. Not only do these sites offer useless or harmful prescriptions, they often are non-delivery schemes where the user’s identity and credit card information is stolen and they never receive what they ordered.

    Contact Elaine Ellis ( at the NCMS to request cards to give to patients with information on how to avoid illegitimate online pharmacies.

    Awareness raising will continue around counterfeit pharmacies, but the initiative is broadening to include education about the opioid abuse epidemic and resources to help families affected by it. The new campaign is called MedicineSafe and is a coalition of local community organizations, the state governments of Connecticut and North Carolina, and other national partners. The goal is to provide safe tools and information about prescription drugs including resources to help find safe ways to manage prescription medicines in your households – whether buying, storing or addressing addiction. Learn more about MedicineSafe and be sure to watch the moving videos about the impact of opioid abuse on families.

  • Team NCMS Ready to Run for NC MedAssist

    Melanie Phelps, NCMS Senior VP for Health System Innovation and Deputy General Counsel at the finish line 2016, and taking home the award for individual with most donations and fastest runner in her age group. Team NCMS won fastest team award.

    North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) staff is once again lining up to run the ‘Miles for Medicine’ 2018 Pancakes & Beer 5K on Saturday, June 16th, in Cary to support MedAssist, which provides needed prescription medicine to the uninsured or those who can’t afford it.

    This is the third year Team NCMS has participated. If you’d like to join us – either by running or by contributing to this good cause — please do so on our team page.