The seemingly endless North Carolina Legislative Session finally came to a close last Wednesday – the longest session since 2001. Watch this video to hear what North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) CEO Robert W. Seligson and NCMS Director of Legislative Relations Chip Baggett had to say at the conclusion of the session.
Over the last nine plus months, legislators established the framework for Medicaid reform; deferred  various scope of practice bills and CON legislation to next session; enacted the Jim Fulghum Teen Skin Cancer Prevention Act and, in the final hours, passed a bill (SB119) containing a wide variety of provisions — some of which are good news for you and your practice.
For instance, for years we have been trying to change the requirement to pay a $100 credentialing fee to see Medicaid patients every three years.  While we were not able to eliminate the fee, we were able to move the re-credentialing timeline to re-credential every five years instead of the current requirement of every three years.  This puts Medicaid re-credentialing in-line with Medicare and should prove to be some relief and more predictable. This change can be found on page 39, Section 87.5, of the legislation.
Additionally, the bill clarifies the transfer of the Health Information Exchange (HIE) to the successor exchange (pages 37-39 in Section 86.5(a) of the bill).  The change requires the state Chief Information Officer (CIO) to “negotiate and enter into or amend a contract for services with an effective date of no later than 30 days from receipt of the transferred funds.”  This should help overcome any resistance or delay tactics we may encounter in the transition.
Finally, Graduate Medical Education (GME) money was preserved. The provision (Section 88 on page 39 of the bill) extends the practice of reimbursing GME as an allowable Medicaid expense. A proposal to end this practice without any alternative solution for funding primary care and specialty residency slots prompted extensive debate this year. This final provision ensures the continuation of those opportunities for the next budget cycle with some limitations.
We currently are making a more comprehensive assessment of all the bills in play this year, and despite the quick turnaround due to the lengthy session, we plan to have our Legislative Summary ready in time for our Annual Meeting on Oct. 23-24. Hope to see you then!