Bowtie Briefing for March 3, 2017 - HB36 Update and New Opioid Bills

Chip Baggett focuses on two major legislative developments this week: testimony before the House Health Committee on HB36 (optometry bill) and the release of two new bills addressing opioid prescribing that will potentially have a big impact on physicians.

Helpful Links:
View Dr. Cunningham's Testimony at the House Health Committee, March 1, 2017
Learn more about HB 36
Learn more about the opioid bills

Video Testimony of NCMS President Paul R.G. Cunningham, MD on HB36

On March 1, 2017, the House Health Committee received testimony on House Bill 36 - "Enact Enhanced Access to Eye Care Act," a bill that the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) and the North Carolina Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons (NCSEPS) both oppose.

Read Dr. Cunningham's complete testimony below.
God morning.  My name is Dr. Paul Cunningham.  I am the President of the North Carolina Medical Society.  I have been a General Surgeon for 38 years and training students to become physicians and surgeons for 8 years as the Dean of the Brody School of Medicine. 
Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the committee for the opportunity to speak with you about this important patient safety issue.  As the President of the NC Medical Society, I speak to you on behalf of all the physicians and surgeons of the state.
Though we would all like to think otherwise, there is no minor surgery.  The trust bestowed by a patient to their surgeon is unlike any other.  The State has a compelling obligation to ensure that those entrusted to perform surgery are well qualified. The right to perform surgery in North Carolina can  be granted only by you. Citizens trust that you will insist that those who are granted the authority to perform surgery are only those to whom you would entrust the care of your own children and closest loved ones.  As someone who has spent a lifetime training others in the practice of medicine and surgery, I can assure you that 32 hours of continuing education does not provide the foundation necessary to manage surgery or the potential complications that might arise during the course of or as a result of surgery. For medical school graduates we insist on years of training and actually performing surgery under the supervision of highly seasoned and experienced professionals in order to be comfortable holding those graduates out as qualified to perform surgery on our fellow citizens. It is only after years of training that a person can possibly have the skills and dexterity to perform surgery safely.
I have had the great pleasure of working closely with optometrists during my general practice in Windsor.  And while I hold their proficiency for the delivery of  care of the eye in high regard, I believe that they lack the requisite surgical training during their optometry school programs.  Continuing education is only a place to refine skills, not to learn the fundamentals.
I hope and trust that you will agree with me after reviewing all the facts before you today.  I would be happy to take any questions that you might have for me.  Thank you for your time and consideration.

Bowtie Briefing for February 24, 2017 - Legislative Update

Helpful Links:
Action Alert - House Bill 36 - Enact Enhanced Access to Eye Care Act
Action Alert - House Bill 88/Senate Bill 73 - Modernize Nursing Practice Act
2017 Legislative Session blog:

Optometrists Propose House Bill to Perform Surgical Procedures

action-alertHouse Bill 36, titled  “Amending the Scope of Practice of Optometry in Order to Enhance Access to Eye Care in North Carolina”, was filed by primary sponsors Rep. Justin Burr (R- Stanly),  Rep. Jeff Collins (R– Nash),  Rep. Josh Dobson (R – Avery) and Rep. Julia Howard (R- Davie). The North Carolina Medical Society opposes this bill because optometrists do not have the requisite training necessary to perform surgery.
Please show your opposition to optometrists performing surgery by sending an email to your legislator. Take action now by clicking through this Action Alert!

Bowtie Briefing for Feb. 17, 2017: Update on New Federal Rule; Several Health Care Bills Filed This Week

Helpful links:
Read the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Market Stabilization Proposed Rule

View the latest legislative developments on the NCMS 2017 Legislative Session Blog:

Nurses Seek Legislation to Expand Their Scope of Practice

action-alert HB 88 / SB 73 – Modernize Nursing Practice Act is a broad ranging and dramatic scope of practice bill. This bill would allow Nurse Practitioners (NP), Certified Nurse Specialists (CNS), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) and Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) to practice for the first time in NC without the required supervision of a physician.
All Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) are not the same. The attractiveness of our current law is the flexibility that it allows for an APRN to practice at the top of their training. This framework does not define each APRN at the lowest common denominator through black letter law, but rather allows APRNs along with their supervising physician to incorporate continuing education, years of experience and specialty training into the scope of practice allowed for each individual.
Please send this email to your legislator opposing HB 88 and SB 73.

Greenville-Area Members: Join Us for the March Madness Mixer!

march-madness1March Madness is coming to Greenville, as the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) and the Pitt County Medical Society invite you to enjoy the competition and excitement of the NCAA tournament while the NCMS is in town for their March Board Meeting. Enjoy relaxing with the medical community and connect with your colleagues from the Greenville area.
Drinks and hors d'oeuvres will be served; dress is casual. The event is open to members and prospective members of both societies. Feel free to bring your spouse and to stop in any time between 5:30 and 7:30pm!
Register today!

Bowtie Briefing for January 27, 2017 - Legislative Update

Chip Baggett, JD, provides a quick update on this week's legislative developments, including a new health care bill at the NCGA, as well as an ACA update and news about prior authorization reform efforts underway.