Happy hump day! Enjoy Wednesday’s

 NCMS Morning Rounds.

July 17, 2019

NCMS’ Project OBOT Pharmacy Card Helps Sustain Treatment

To remove yet another barrier to successful treatment of opioid use disorder, the NCMS Foundation’s Project OBOT has partnered with the Mutual Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network (CPESN) and MAKO Medical Laboratories to provide deep discounts on the prescriptions and lab work necessary for Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT).

Project OBOT is a collaborative approach to stemming the opioid epidemic in North Carolina by offering MAT waiver training for physicians, interactive access to community resources through telemedicine for physicians and their patients, reduced lab fees and now discounts on the necessary medications.

“Medication is the single largest expense for treatment of opioid use disorder,” said the NCMS Foundation’s Vice President for Rural Health Systems Innovation and driving force behind Project OBOT Franklin Walker, MBA. “It can cost as much as $350 per patient per month.”

Patients who are part of Project OBOT will receive an OBOT pharmacy card with a unique ID number, allowing them to fill their MAT prescription at any of the independent pharmacies statewide that are part of the Self-Insured Pharmacy Networks and North Carolina Chapter of CPESN USA. The Recovery Platform, the unique software platform that powers Project OBOT and enables sharing of information between physicians, counselors, the lab and others, will now include pharmacists, bringing them into the circle of care surrounding the patient.

“The Self-Insured Pharmacy Network’s simple model allows payers to see the true cost of drugs, partner with locally owned pharmacies to lower health care costs, and improve the quality of care,” said the network’s founder Vinay Patel, Pharm.D. “We are excited to be part of the team that will lower drug costs to provide more NC patients access to much needed treatment in the fight against the opioid epidemic.”

Patrick Brown, Pharm.D, Mutual CPESN’s Lead Network Facilitator, says NC’s chapter of CPESN includes over 200 pharmacies across NC and “aims to provide high-quality enhanced pharmacy services that improve patient health through optimized medication use and care coordination.”

MAKO Medical Laboratories also is involved in helping to distribute the drug card and spread the word about Project OBOT.

As this new drug card rolls out, the benefits should accumulate both for the individual and the larger community.

“This really levels the playing field for those in treatment,” Walker said, noting that if treatment is successful, overall health care costs will be lower and the potential economic benefits to the individual and their community are great.

NCMS Signs on to AMA’s Surprise Billing Letter

The NCMS along with scores of state and specialty medical societies yesterday signed on to a letter to the chair and ranking member of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee urging them to support legislation that protects patients from ‘surprise bills’ when they unknowingly receive services from out-of-network providers.

As lawmakers on Capitol Hill consider various proposals to protect patients from such unfortunate surprises, the NCMS wants to ensure that, in the event of a payment dispute between a physician practice and a payer, the resolution is fair and equitable to both parties. We have pushed for arbitration or, at the very least, an independent source for any benchmark price. We oppose tying the benchmark to in-network pricing.

Read the letter.

Congrats to NC’s ‘Health Care Influencers’

NCMS member and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) President and CEO Patrick Conway, MD, was named one of the 10 most influential clinical executives in the nation by Modern Healthcare, a health care business publication. Dr. Conway ranked number 10 and was lauded for BCBSNC’s aggressive push toward a value-based payment model.

Coming in at number 30 on the list was NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH.

Congratulations! Review the entire list.

In the News

An Emotional Support Duck? Why States are Cracking Down on Emotional Support Animals, The Advisory Board Forum/The New York Times, 7-11-19

Learning Opportunity

NC Institute of Medicine’s (NCIOM) Annual Meeting will be held Sept. 5 at the McKimmon Conference and Training Center in Raleigh. This year’s meeting will explore how the state’s Medicaid system is transforming from fee-for-service to managed care and how these changes aim to improve the health and well-being of Medicaid beneficiaries. Learn more and register.