NCMS Morning Rounds 5-20-19

Welcome to a fresh, new week and your

Monday NCMS Morning Rounds!

NCMS Legislative Update

After the flurry of activity in advance of the crossover deadline, last week was relatively quiet for our legislative affairs team. Now the Senate is hunkered down to write their budget, which we are monitoring closely and anticipate it will be released to the public this week.

This legislative session NCMS lobbyists have been working with non-traditional partners like the NC Association of County Commissioners on the issue of increasing access to broadband Internet service in rural areas of the state. The NCMS has joined forces with this organization to improve broadband access, long a goal of the NCMS Foundation Board of Trustees, in order to expand the use of telemedicine.

The legislative affairs team also is closely monitoring the possibility that a number of health care proposals will be bundled together in a sort of ‘omnibus’ health care bill, which may be incorporated in part or full into the budget. Issues that may be part of such a bill include expanding Medicaid, CON reform and scope of practice changes. With that in mind, it’s never too late to communicate with your legislators on these issues either in a letter or email or in a face-to-face meeting.

Physician advocates showed up in force last week with over 100 white coats in the halls of the legislative buildings to discuss with their representatives the impact on patients and the profession of various legislative proposals.

If you would like to be more engaged in the process, remember to sign up for a White Coat Wednesday or contact NCMS Director of Legislative Relations Sue Ann Forrest to set up an alternative time to be de-briefed and visit with policymakers at the General Assembly.

NCMS Board Meets; Gets Update from Medical Board, BCBS

The NCMS Board of Directors met over the weekend and heard from the leaders of the NC Medical Board and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC).

NC Medical Board President Barbara Walker, DO, thanked the NCMS Board for the ongoing strong partnership between the two organizations and reviewed some of the medical board’s news of the past year, including:

  • 76 emergency licenses were issued through the expedited emergency licensure policies the NCMB instituted during Hurricane Florence to allow out of state physicians and PAs to provide medical relief during the storm.
  • A new initiative to support victims of sexual assault has served 29 people through referral to counseling and support through the investigative process.
  • Promoting Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) to treat opioid use disorder. The NCMS is also promoting MAT through its Project OBOT initiative.

Learn more about the NCMB’s programs in its 2018 Annual Report.

The NCMS Board of Directors also heard from BCBSNC President and CEO Patrick Conway, MD, who discussed some of the state’s largest payer’s initiatives. He noted that BCBSNC is moving to value based arrangements faster than any payer in the country. The goal is to have 50 percent of their contracts in value-based arrangements like the Blue Premier plan by 2020 and 100 percent in five years.

He agreed that data sharing is crucial to the success of these value-based arrangements.

“We’re better than we were 12 months ago, but we’re not where we need to be,” Dr. Conway said.

NCMS CEO Robert W. Seligson, MBA, MA, thanked Dr. Conway for BCBSNC’s generous contributions to the NCMS’ Project OBOT, Our Community Health Initiative and our Disaster Relief Fund.

Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades Released for Spring 2019

A survey of 79 hospitals across the state by the nonprofit watchdog group, Leapfrog, revealed that 34 percent of the hospitals received an A ranking, placing North Carolina 19 in the nation – down from sixth nationally in fall 2018 when 43 percent of the hospitals received an ‘A.’ Review each of the 79 NC hospital’s grades here.

The survey was based on 28 evidence based national measures of hospital safety. Learn more about the grading.

In the News

Why Parents Refuse to Vaccinate Their Children in Their Own Words, The Advisory Board Forum, 5-13-19

Learning Opportunity

The NC Department of Health and Humans Services (NCDHHS) is hosting a webinar on Thursday, May 30 from 10 to 11 a.m. to provide information on the special managed care tailored plans for those with behavioral health needs or with intellectual/developmental disability. Under the state’s Medicaid transformation, these tailored plans would begin in 2021. Learn more and register.


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