November 1 deadline for mid-levels to be credentialed in NCTracks.
October 19, 2016 | view this message as a web page


In this edition:

ATTENTION! New Rules Impacting Your Licensure

The North Carolina Medical Board has received final approval of rules impacting your medical licensure. Effective July 1, 2017, all physicians and physician assistants (PAs) who prescribe controlled substances are required to complete continuing medical education (CME) in controlled substances prescribing during each three year CME cycle. To comply with the new rules, physicians must earn three hours of CME in controlled substances prescribing during each three year CME cycle and PAs must earn two hours of CME in controlled substances prescribing during each two year cycle. You’re off the hook if you did not prescribe any controlled substances during your most recent CME cycle.

For more information, see these sites:

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Members Elect New NCSOHNS Executive Officers

Dr. Brian Downs (Winston-Salem) was elected president of the NCSOHNS at the NCSOHNS 2016 Annual Business Meeting, held in conjunction with the NC/SC SOHNS Annual Assembly. The 2016 Annual Assembly was held July 29-31 in Charleston, SC. The weekend-long meeting, which attracted 69 attendees, offered 9.0 hours of CME programming, social and networking opportunities, and a lively exhibit hall.

Brian Downs, MD, FACS

W. Cooper Scurry, Jr., MD

Welcome your 2016-2017 NCSOHNS Officers!

Brian Downs, MD, FACS

W. Cooper Scurry, Jr., MD

Carlton J. Zdanski, MD
Vice President

Eileen M. Raynor, MD, FACS

Robert Frederic “Ric” Leinbach, II, MD
Past President

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Save the date!
2017 NCSOHNS Annual Meeting
August 3-6 @ Marriott Resort at Grande Dunes
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

BCBSNC, NCTracks to Require Credentialing of Mid-Level Providers

New federal regulations have prompted payers to require all mid-level providers to be credentialed. As previously announced, NCTracks will no longer allow claims for services to be filed as "incident to" beginning November 1. Similarly, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina recently announced that it too will require mid-level providers to be credentialed. Providers billing to BCBSNC are encouraged to initiate credentialing as soon as possible via the “Providers” home page on the BCBSNC website and have until have until January 1, 2017 to complete the credentialing process.

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NCSOHNS & AAO-HNS Support for Early Detection and Intervention

The NCSOHNS has partnered with the AAO-HNS to advocate for legislation to reauthorize the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program (S.2424). This legislation is necessary to bring vital resources to children and their families who face a range of hearing deficiencies, and give them a better chance of developing language, communication, cognitive, and social development skills along with their peers. Add your voice by sending a letter to Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis through the AAO-HNS Legislative Action Center.

The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2015 would amend the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize a program for early detection, diagnosis, and treatment regarding deaf and hard-of-hearing newborns, infants, and young children. The legislation was introduced in December 2015 by Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and now has 12 co-sponsors in the Senate. The House passed companion legislation, H.R.1344, sponsored by Representative Brett Guthrie, R-KY, in September 2015.

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UPDATE: NC Medical Society’s “Toward Accountable Care” Initiative

Over four years ago The NC Medical Society launched the Toward Accountable Care (TAC) Consortium. The Consortium now includes over 40 health care association and organization members, including the NCSOHNS, who joined for the purpose of helping prepare the physician community for the transition to the evolving value-based model of patient care. To help get the project off the ground and sustain its momentum, the NCMS was successful in securing two grants. One was from The Physicians Foundation which helped towards the development of resources that are available free of charge on the TAC website.

Additionally, the NCMS launched the North Carolina ACO Collaborative, which has grown to over 100 participants and meets twice annually. Smaller groups focused on MSSP and Next Gen ACOs have also been created.

Though the TAC grants are at an end, the NCMS will continue to support the NC ACO Collaborative and the NC MSSP/Next Gen Council. The passage of MACRA in 2015 with strong bi-partisan support is a strong indication that health system transformation will continue, so the NCMS plans to continue its efforts to support the medical community as it navigates these changes.

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NC Early Voting Information

Regardless of how you intend to vote this fall, we want to encourage all physicians to take part in this year’s elections. While there’s a lot of hype surrounding the presidential candidates, whether the social media frenzy will have a marked impact on voter turnout is anyone’s guess. Voter turnout in North Carolina since 1996 has ranged between 59% and 70% in presidential year elections. Assuming that rate is true among physicians, as many as one in three of you won’t make it to the ballot box this year.

We know it’s hard to get away from a busy, and often unpredictable, medical practice. If there’s a chance you might not be able to vote in person on Election Day, please consider taking advantage of one-stop early voting or voting by mail.

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AAO-HNS/F 2017 Leadership Forum, March 10-13

The NCSOHNS and the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNS/F) invite your participation in a weekend of leadership discussions, Board of Governors (BOG) meetings, informative speakers, advocacy updates, and mentoring/networking opportunities! The Leadership Forum, scheduled for March 10-13, 2017, is one of many AAO-HNS benefits, allowing members the opportunity to network and engage in peer-to-peer interaction with eminent leaders. For more information, visit

Attention Residents and Fellows-in-Training ---> Otolaryngology residents and fellows-in-training in good standing are eligible to apply for a $350 grant to help defray the costs of attending the AAO-HNS/F 2017 Leadership Forum & Board of Governors Spring Meeting. Stay tuned for more information on how to apply. 

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CDC: Kratom Represents an Emerging Public Health Threat

As more and more Americans are consuming the plant Kratom for its stimulant effects and as an opioid substitute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning the public and health care providers that its use can lead to severe adverse effects. In a recent CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), CDC states, “the reported medical outcomes and health effects suggest an emerging public health threat.”

While currently recognized as a Drug of Concern by the Drug Enforcement Administration and not regulated by the Controlled Substances Act, kratom exposure has been associated with psychosis, seizures and death. The North Carolina General Assembly in 2016 considered legislation to prohibit the sale or distribution of kratom to minors and establish a study committee to investigate kratom abuse in North Carolina. HB 747, Youth Access to Kratom/Study Abuse OTC Subs, received support in both chambers but was not ratified before the session adjourned. The issue is likely to be brought before the legislature again in the upcoming 2017 session.

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How MACRA Impacts Your Otolaryngology Practice

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) ends the sustainable growth rate and moves Medicare closer to a system that pays physicians based on the outcomes. There are many resources available to help your practice understand how implementation of the legislation and the recently released final rule can impact your reimbursement rates and prepare for the transition from volume to value.

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Thank you
2016 Annual Assembly
Sponsors & Exhibitors!

Gold Sponsor:

Intersect ENT

Exhibitors: Acclarent, a Johnson & Johnson company | Alcon | ALK | Finch Surgical | Genentech | Integra | JEDMED | Lumenis | Meda Pharmaceuticals | Medical Mutual | Medtronic Advanced Energy | Mobile Anesthesiologists of the Carolinas | Olympus | Otonomy, Inc. | Prescott's, Inc. | Smith & Nephew | Stryker | Xoran Technologies.

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