Current Bulletin

  • Drum Roll Please…Announcing the 2018 NCMS Photo Contest Winners

    We are pleased to announce the winners of the North Carolina Medical Society’s (NCMS) annual photo contest. The winners’ photos will grace our 2019 calendar, one of our most popular publications, which is being designed now and will be distributed before the new year to NCMS members.

    This year saw a record 75 submissions with 13 new photographers entering the contest. This new talent garnered two category wins and two finalist spots. For the third year in a row, the overall winner is Karl Chiang, MD, a vascular/interventional radiologist in Greenville and longtime NCMS member.

    Dr. Chiang’s winning photo, “Coastal Carolina Sunrise,” along with all the other winners’ photographs will be revealed with the publication of the 2019 NCMS calendar.

    Congratulations to the following talented NCMS photographers (an * denotes a photographer new to the contest):


    Karl S. Chiang, MD – Overall Winner

    Vikas J. Patel, MD* – Nature Category Winner

    Thomas J. Monaco, Jr., MD – North Carolina Category Winner

    Michael M. Hirsch, MD* – Travel Category Winner

    Robert M. Varnell, MD – Wildlife Category Winner

    Herbert W. Clegg, II, MD, FAAP

    Steven M. Genkins, MD

    Craig M. Greven, MD

    Kathryn M. Greven, MD, FASTRO

    Rodger D. Israel, MD, MPH

    Charlotte K. Karriker, MD

    Brian J. Sutton, MD*

    Thomas M. Swantkowski, MD, AGAF, FACG*



    Charles H. Classen, Jr., MD

    Jeffrey L. Coston, DO

    J. Jane Girskis, MS, PA-C

    Richard M. Griffin, MD

    Edward A. Hedrick, MPAS, PA-C

    James E. Hill, Jr., PA-C, MEd

    H. Slade Howell, Jr., MD

    Amy M. Kornegay, PA-C, MPAS

    Peter L. Leuchtmann, MD*

    H. Curtiss Merrick, MD, FACP

    Joel B. Miller, MD

    Keith V. A. Nance, MD

    Kristen R. Page, MD*

    Philip W. Ponder, MD

    David A. Rockwell, MD

    Merritt J. Seshul, MD, FACS, FAAOA*

    Robert E. Taylor, MD

    Maqsood A. Valliani, MD


    Honorable Mentions

    Michael L. Bowen, MD

    Yun L. Boylston, MD, FAAP

    Anthony J. Caprio, MD

    Marilue M. Cook, MD

    John C. Crawley, PA-C

    O’Neill F. D’Cruz, MD, MBA, FAAN

    Peter M. Gallerani, MD*

    Lisa M. Gangarosa, MD

    Lawrence H. Greenblatt, MD, FACP

    Annette E. Grefe, MD

    Jugta Kahai, MD, FAAP

    David K. Mertz, MD, FAAP

    Jeffrey D. Mewborne, MD

    Danna M. Park, MD, FAAP

    Katherine J. Pierce, MD

    Demetri T. Poulis, MD, FACS

    Leighton A. Raynor, MD

    Timothy J. Reeder, MD, MPH, FACEP*

    Donna M. Richardson, MD, MBA

    Richard J. Rosen, MD*

    George Stamataros, DO*

    Robert J. Starkenburg, MD, CMD

    Padageshwar R. Sunkara, MD*

    Cecil K. Thoppil, MD*

    John G. Wagnitz, MD

    Robert L. West, MD

    Michael R. Wolff, MD


  • Registration Opening Soon for LEAD Health Care Conference

    Keep your eyes open for an email within the next week announcing the opening of registration for the LEAD Health Care Conference, to be held Oct. 18-19 in Raleigh. This innovative gathering will bring together your friends and colleagues from throughout the state to learn more about the issues you told us are important to you and your practice.

    Learn more about the speakers and social activities planned thus far at the LEAD website.

  • Find CME Related To Your Specialty Boards

    As part of its Continuing Board Certification: Vision for the Future initiative, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) offers an online resource to access CME related to your specialty boards. Access the webpage.

    Learn more about the ABMS and its Vision for the Future initiative at the ABMS webpage.

  • CDC and NC Public Health Warns of Synthetic Cannabinoid Danger

    The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), Communicable Disease Branch, issued a memo alerting clinicians to life threatening coagulopathy associated with the use of synthetic cannabinoids.

    Three cases of vitamin K-dependent coagulopathy in patients who reported using synthetic cannabinoids have been reported to the North Carolina Division of Public Health (NC DPH) since June 2018. North Carolina clinicians and emergency responders are critical in identifying and reporting cases and ensuring appropriate clinical management.

    There is currently a multistate outbreak of severe coagulopathy associated with synthetic cannabinoids use. As of July 13, 2018, 11 states had reported at least 250 cases, including 6 deaths, to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Brodifacoum, a long-acting vitamin K-dependent antagonist that is used as rat poison, has been detected in case-patients’ drugs and biological samples. Patients with Vitamin K-dependent coagulopathy may first present to primary care providers, emergency departments, or urgent care clinics with any these symptoms: bruising, nosebleeds, excessively heavy menstrual bleeding, hematemesis, hemoptysis, hematuria, flank pain, abdominal pain, and bleeding gums or mouth.

    Read NCDPH’s memo.

  • Congratulations to Dr. Garmon-Brown!

    Photo by Novant Health

    North Carolina recently honored Ophelia Garmon-Brown, MD, chief community wellness and healthy equity executive for Novant Health, with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the state’s highest honor for a civilian.

    “Ophelia is a remarkable woman with extraordinary gifts and talents,” Novant Health President and CEO Carl Armato said during a surprise awards ceremony. “As a physician, minister, volunteer, advocate, community leader — she embodies the spirit of giving and caring for others.”

    As noted in an article on the presentation to Dr. Garmon-Brown in The Charlotte Post, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine dates back to 1963 and is awarded for service to the community as well as career accomplishments. Dr. Garmon-Brown joins other honorees including Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan (1985), evangelist Billy Graham (1996) and poet Maya Angelou (1992 and 1996).

    Dr. Garmon-Brown earned a degree in biology from N.C. Central University, followed by a medical degree from UNC Chapel Hill. She became the first female African-American alumnae of Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte’s residency program, where she concentrated on family medicine. Her last 20 years practicing medicine in Charlotte have been with Novant Health, while also serving as a medical missionary in countries such as Uganda, South Africa, Jamaica, Kenya, Guyana. Dr. Garmon-Brown also holds a master’s of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education, which she earned in 2003.

    Dr. Garmon-Brown co-founded the Charlotte Community Health Clinic—Mecklenburg County’s first free clinic to earn distinction as a federally qualified health clinic. She was the first African-American elected president of the Mecklenburg County Medical Society, served as the medical director for the Salvation Army’s Women’s and Children’s Shelter’s health clinic, as well as a volunteer at the Charlotte Pregnancy Care Center. Additionally, she co-chaired the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force, which the city and county established to address disparities regarding upward economic mobility; an area where Charlotte ranked 50th out of 50 cities for leaving poverty if one was born into it.

    Congratulations, Dr. Garmon-Brown!

  • Kudos to NCMS for Work on ACOs

    Consultant Margie Satinsky offers a comprehensive overview of “ACOs in NC: Where Are We Now?” in her Summer 2018 newsletter where she also calls out North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Senior Vice President for Health System Innovation and Deputy General Counsel Melanie Phelps, JD, for her work on ACOs in the state. Satinsky offers the Toward Accountable Care (TAC) Consortium and Initiative, spearheaded by Phelps, as a valuable resource.

    Read the newsletter.

  • In the News

  • Learning Opportunities

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will host a 60-minute Physician Compare webinar about public reporting on Physician Compare and information in the pipeline for potential inclusion on Physician Compare in late 2018, including Year 1 Quality Payment Program performance information tomorrow, Thursday, Aug. 2, at 3 p.m. Learn more and register. To learn more about public reporting on Physician Compare, visit our Initiative page where you can find resources and documents, including information about the 2016 performance information currently available on Physician Compare.


    Registration for Erlanger’s 11th Annual Trauma Symposium is open. The Symposium will be held Aug. 9-10, at the Chattanooga Convention Center.  Learn more and register.


    NC Society of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (NCS-ACOFP) 2018 Annual CME Conference will be held Aug. 9 – 12 at the Pinehurst Resort. Earn up to 21 hours of CME credit.  Conference begins with a pre-conference Dermatology Workshop on Thursday.  Review the complete schedule and lecture topics here.  See the rates on the Registration form. Questions please contact Nancy Guy, NCS-ACOFP Director at 910-893-7960 or


    NC Healthcare Information and Communications Alliance (NCHICA) is offering Healthcare Privacy 101 Forum on Aug. 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Research Triangle Foundation in Research Triangle Park. Topics include HIPAA Privacy 101, Non-HIPAA Laws Impacting Privacy, HIPAA Security Basics. The forum is free to NCHICA members and $50 for non-members. Learn more and register.


    The Greensboro Multi-Payer Provider Expo, will be held Aug. 16, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sheraton Greensboro Four Seasons, 3121 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. This event brings together various payers to answer your questions. It is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, United Healthcare and MedCost. Learn more and register at this link for a printable registration form. Please fax completed registration form to (855) 754-3681 by Friday, August 10, 2018.


    ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project), in partnership with Duke University World Food Policy Center, University of North Carolina Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, and MAHEC, will present Healthy Eating in Practice August 26-29, 2018, at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. This is a hands-on conference for physicians and other health care professionals, focused on changing the culture of health care to better support healthy eating behaviors, particularly in children and families, and prevent chronic diet-related diseases. Register by June 30 for early-bird discounts. Special rates are available for RN, NP, PA, and dietitians/nutritionists.


    Health:Further, an annual health festival held in Nashville, August 27-29, seeks to bring together a  community of doers and thinkers dedicated to building the future of health based on the ideals that health is a human right, and that health must be supported sustainably and affordably. This year, there will be a specific track for physicians interested in medical innovation and leveraging their clinical expertise in the innovation space with presentations from the American Medical Association, Society of Physicians Entrepreneurs, AngelMD, and several others. Learn more and register.


    MAHEC in conjunction with the NCMS Foundation’s Project OBOT is offering several upcoming trainings designed to increase health care teams’ comfort with OBOT (Office-Based Opioid Treatment) as well as provide waiver training.

    • Recovery Within Reach: Building Team Expertise in Office Based Opioid Treatment, Sept. 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at the NCMS headquarters in Raleigh. Get the details and register.
    • Providers Clinical Support System: Buprenorphine Office-Based Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders (the “Half and Half” Course), Sept. 5, from 4:30-9 p.m. at the NCMS headquarters in Raleigh. Get the details and register.


    The NC Institute of Medicine’s Annual Meeting will focus on Team Based Care on Sept. 7, at the McKimmon Center, Raleigh. Learn more.


    The Sixth World Congress on Ultrasound in Medical Education: New Sounds/New Horizons will be held Sept. 13-16, at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem. Learn more and register.


    MAHEC is offering two courses to help treat patients with opioid use disorders: “Providers’ Clinical Support System: Buprenorphine Office-Based Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders, The “Half and Half” Course,” and “Recovery Within Reach: Building Team Expertise in Office-Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT).” The next session will be held Sept. 28. Learn more and register.


    Registration is now open for NC Healthcare Information and Communication Alliance’s (NCHICA) 24th Annual Conference, Oct. 8-9 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, NC. The conference provides an opportunity to learn about the latest developments and best practices in health care IT and network with your peers. The theme of this year’s conference is “Start Your Engines! The Race to Digital Health,” and the agenda includes four plenary sessions and 24 breakout sessions. Learn more and register.


    The 30th Annual Fall Foliage Cancer Conference will be held Oct. 12-13 at the Omni Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa in Asheville, NCLearn more and register.


    Registration is open for The Southeast Institute for Innovation in Palliative and Supportive Care at the University of Alabama will hold the Forging the Future of Palliative Care Summit 2018 on Nov. 1-2, in Birmingham, AL. Learn more and register.


    NCTracks has Computer-Based Training (CBT) courses on a variety of topics available to providers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. Anyone who is a registered user with NCID access to the NCTracks secure Provider Portal can access and take a self-paced course. A list of courses available can be found here and under Quick Links on the NCTracks Provider Training page of the public Provider Portal.


    MAHEC, working with the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians, The Governor’s Institute on Substance Abuse and Project Lazarus: A Project of CCNC, is offering A Guide to Rational Opioid Prescribing for Chronic Pain, an online education course. The course is designed for all prescribing health care practitioners who are interested in an overview of the rational prescribing approaches for persons with chronic pain disorders. It will fulfill the North Carolina Medical Board’s requirement of at least one hour of continuing education designed specifically to address prescribing practices for chronic pain management. The course cost is $15 for the first 6 months. Offers 3 hours of AAFP, AMA/AAFP Equivalency, and CDE;


  • NCMS, Other Health Care Groups, Meet With State Treasurer To Discuss Reducing Health Care Costs

    Dr. Reeder speaks at today’s meeting with NC State Treasurer Dale Folwell.

    NC State Treasurer Dale Folwell invited the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) and other health care stakeholder groups together today, Wednesday, July 18, to discuss reducing health care costs for State Health Plan beneficiaries.

    “We have a $35 billion unfunded liability,” Folwell told the approximately 30 representatives from the NCMS, medical specialty groups like the NC Academy of Family Physicians, the NC Pediatric Society and the NC Healthcare Association. “It’s a huge problem and we need short-term and long-term solutions.”

    In May, Folwell announced he was directing Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina to cut State Health Plan medical provider rates by 15 percent on “major competitive contacts” being re-negotiated this year in order to save $300 million in health care costs.

    In today’s meeting Folwell called for ‘tangible solutions’ to bring costs down and told the group he wasn’t interested in ‘theoretical’ or ‘untested’ methods. He is seeking solutions to implement in ‘three weeks, three months and three years,’ he said.

    NCMS President-elect Timothy Reeder, MD, the only physician who spoke during the meeting, stressed that the number one goal was improving the health of state health plan beneficiaries. He agreed that containing health care costs by reducing unnecessary testing and eliminating waste throughout the system is important. He also pointed out that current trends show moving to a value-based physician payment model results in healthier patients and lower costs. Good data is key to this model’s success since it can drive physician behavior to be more cost effective, he said. Dr. Reeder also noted that provider rate cuts have not proven a long-term cost-cutting solution for any health plan.

    Folwell gave meeting participants one week to send him concrete solutions to save money for the State Health Plan, however, he did not discuss eliminating the planned rate cut. The NCMS appreciates the opportunity to be part of an ongoing conversation with the Treasurer on driving down health care costs.

  • 2019 Candidates for NCMS Leadership Positions Announced

    The initial slate of candidates for the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Board of Directors, AMA delegation and the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee has been published. You may see the candidates and read about why they are seeking a leadership role at our NCMS Election Headquarters page on our website.

    Additional nominations for open positions will be accepted until Aug. 18, 2018. The final slate of candidates will be published Sept. 27, 2018. As in the previous two years, all NCMS members in good standing are eligible to cast their votes for the candidates of their choice via electronic ballot starting Oct. 4, 2018. More information about the election process will be provided once the final slate is determined.

    This year several of the positions are competitive races, so be sure to review the candidates’ statements and watch your Bulletin and email for election updates.