Happy Monday!

Here’s your first NCMS Morning Rounds of the week.

Oct. 28, 2019

NCMS Legislative Update

The legislative ‘long’ session is staying true to its name as it stretches toward Halloween without officially adjourning. There are indicators, however, that things may be wrapping up. The Senate leadership has said they will finish up by this Thursday, Oct. 31. The House has not said when they will adjourn.

Last week, legislators were working, passing “mini-budgets,” which included tax provisions, IT expenditures and education spending measures. One bill we’ve been monitoring, SB432 – Birth Center and PBM Licensure, passed out of the House on a vote of 96-8 and moved to the Senate for consideration. This legislation would establish a licensure process for two previously unlicensed entities – birthing centers and pharmacy benefit managers. Learn more about the details of this proposal.

The other news last week involved the House Health Committee, which heard testimony from NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH, representatives of the NC Healthcare Association and from NCMS Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Associate General Counsel Chip Baggett, JD, about the state’s Medicaid transformation to managed care. All of those who testified stressed that this transformation is a massive and complex undertaking and voiced the desire to learn from past mistakes as well as other states’ experiences in moving to managed care to ensure success in this transition.

As of now, the deadline for ‘go live’ with Medicaid managed care remains Feb. 1, 2020. Open enrollment statewide is underway and will continue until Dec. 13. This is the period when Medicaid beneficiaries may enroll in one of the five pre-paid health plans (PHP). For those who do not select a plan, the state will auto-assign beneficiaries to a PHP beginning Dec. 16. As of Dec. 19, the PHPs will then auto-assign the beneficiaries to a primary care provider.

If you want to be an in-network Medicaid provider, the state has said you must have contracts with one or more of the PHPs by Nov. 15 in order to be included in the auto-enrollment process. Learn more about this deadline in this Medicaid Special Bulletin.

Insider Panel Features NCMS Member

Last week the online political newsletter, the NC Insider, hosted a panel discussion on the state’s rural health care needs. The panel included Senate leaders Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and Dan Blue (D-Wake) as well as longtime NCMS member Roxie Wells, MD, president of the Cape Fear Valley Health Hoke Hospital.

The discussion was wide-ranging touching on CON, Medicaid expansion and recruiting physicians and other health care professionals to rural North Carolina.

Dr. Wells told the crowd of NC Insider subscribers, which included policymakers, lobbyists and others with a stake in the issue of rural access to health care: “I just want to be able to provide the care that I know these gentlemen want me to be able to provide. I just need them to figure out a way for me to provide that and be financially and fiscally sound.”

Today is Internal Medicine Day

If you are an internist – be proud. Today is your special day to be recognized. The American College of Physicians is airing brief radio ads in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago to educate, celebrate and raise awareness of the specialty and encouraging internists to get involved in various ways to celebrate their specialty. Including:

Learn more about this day and internal medicine.

In the News

Is the Stethoscope Dying? High Tech Rivals Pose a Threat, The Associated Press, 10-23-19

Learning Opportunity

The Duke Center for Healthcare Safety and Quality is offering an ‘Enhancing Caregiver Resiliency Course’ on Nov. 4-5 at the University Club in Durham. This course is designed for caregivers in formal or informal leadership roles, but participants include executives, staff physicians, and nurses and will provide participants with real-time feedback on burnout, depression, health behaviors, human limitations and human nature. Participants are given protected time to practice, and to work on themselves and their units. This is an intense and rewarding experience for participants, full of self-reflection, validation, coaching, and recharging. Learn more and register.