NCMS Morning Rounds — Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019

Good morning and welcome to NCMS Morning Rounds, a quick summary of today’s health care news from your North Carolina Medical Society. 

Start the year off with this good news: Effective Jan. 1, 2019, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), Division of Health Benefits increased the Medicaid State Plan’s reimbursement rate for Evaluation and Management procedure codes for primary care physicians (including Ob/Gyns), nurse practitioners and physician assistants, as defined in the ACA. The increase will bring the rate closer to Medicare. Currently, the reimbursement for E&M codes is about 75 percent of Medicare rates.  Read the public notice.

Curious about how the federal government shutdown effects public health programs? This Kaiser Health News article offers an overview of the impact: How the Government Shutdown Affects Health Programs.

Tune into the latest episode of Bedside Manners, the NCMS podcast. In this installment we speak with Judith Sands, RN, about navigating the hospice system and how physicians and PAs can address end-of-life issues with patients and their families. Listen here or search North Carolina Medical Society on iTunes podcasts or Google Play to access the Beside Manners podcast series.

We’re pleased to pass along the news that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC (BCBSNC) is partnering with Aledade to offer independent primary care physicians and clinics assistance with technology and data analytics tools as part of being associated with an accountable care organization (ACO). The NCMS has been heavily involved in connecting practices with resources like the expertise offered by Aledade to help independent physicians make the move to value-based care. Read BCBSNC’s official announcement about its new partnership.

In the News

As the new year dawned, the news media were busy reflecting on 2018 and prognosticating about what’s ahead in 2019.

What Will 2019 Bring for Science and Medicine? We Asked the Experts, STAT, 12-31-18

NC Health Policy and Trends To Watch in 2019, Part 1, North Carolina Health News, 1-1-19

NC Health Policy and Trends to Watch in 2019, Part 2, North Carolina Health News, 1-2-19

What Stories Grabbed You in 2018? NC Health News Most-Read Stories of the Year, North Carolina Health News, 12-31-18

Learning Opportunity:

The NCMS’ Franklin Walker, MBA, VP for Rural Health Systems and Director of our Community Practitioner Program, will be a panelist on the Advancing Rural Health inter-professional seminar on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at the Health Sciences Library at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Learn more and register.

Professional Opportunity — Medical Consultant Needed:

Medical Consultants are needed at the North Carolina Disability Determination Services (DDS) in Raleigh to provide expert guidance to disability analysts in the review of medical records and claims of impairment(s) alleged or discovered during the case adjudication process.  Medical Consultants aid in the disability review process by reviewing specific medical components of cases, offering guidance to disability examiners, and evaluating functional limitations as assessed by the disability analysts based on the evidence presented in the case file.

Applicants must be a currently licensed physician by the North Carolina Medical Board; malpractice insurance is not required. The Medical Consultant position requires expertise and judgment to review claimant records to aid in determining severity of impairments and the individual’s residual functional capacity according to Social Security Administration guidelines.

Due to the nature of the work, Medical Consultants must work onsite at the DDS office in Raleigh, NC.  NC DDS offers competitive salary and flexible schedules (daytime only; no shift work involved).  Opportunities available include full-time and part-time schedules, as well as the opportunity to independently contract.

Interested individuals should contract Tracy Gray, Deputy Director, at Tracy.Gray@ssa.gov or 919-814-3071.

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