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November 20, 2017 |  
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NCSEPS North Carolina Society of Eye Physicians & Surgeons

2018 Codequest Info  |  NCSEPS Website

In this edition:

Registration is now open!
CodequestTM Coding Course
February 3 | Grandover Resort
Greensboro, NC

Program & Registration

NCSEPS Leaders & Programs Recognized for Excellence at AAO 2017

NCSEPS leaders attending the AAO 2017 Annual Meeting in New Orleans brought home some new hardware… AWARDS!!

The NCSEPS was recognized with a Secretariat for State Affairs Star Award for its response to an apparent ocular melanoma cluster that has developed in the Lake Norman area. The Star Award program provides special recognition to state ophthalmology societies for outstanding efforts on programs or projects they have implemented in the previous year. Representing the NCSEPS, Dr. Sara Stoneburner, Dr. Kitty Gordon, Dr. Mike Brennan, Dr. Stuart McCracken and Alan Skipper accepted the award at the Academy’s 2017 Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

Also, during the Academy’s orientation session for state society president-elects, NCSEPS President Dr. Sara Stoneburner gave a passionate talk to an audience of state ophthalmology society leaders. She spoke about her experience as NCSEPS President during a particularly challenging year and urged her colleagues to “Get moving. Get moving now!” Dr. Stoneburner also brought home some new hardware. She was presented with the Secretariat Award in recognition of her outstanding leadership as NCSEPS President.

Dr. Kitty Gordon, NCSEPS President-Elect, was recognized for completing the Academy’s Leadership Development Program. Since 1998, the Academy's Leadership Development Program has helped identify and develop future leaders of state, subspecialty and specialized interest societies. During the one-year program, class participants learn about leadership, advocacy and association governance.

The AAO Secretariat for State Affairs presented its Outstanding Executive Director Award for Political Action to NCSEPS Executive Director Alan Skipper. Alan was recognized for his efforts to fend off optometry’s effort to obtain surgical privileges in North Carolina. Alan was credited with focusing the energy of the NCSEPS at the state capitol to preserve quality eye care in the face of aggressive optometric surgery legislation, working in close coordination with the Secretariat for State Affairs and State Governmental Affairs staff to enhance the NCSEPS’ political efforts, and for diligently and persistently marshalling a multi-faceted advocacy team to ensure an effective voice for ophthalmology at the state capitol in Raleigh.

Tom Fetzer, a lobbyist for the NCSEPS and former Mayor of Raleigh, was an invited guest and speaker at the Academy’s Council Meeting held in conjunction with AAO 2017. Mr. Fetzer has been working with the NCSEPS this past year and his counsel has been invaluable to our opposition to HB 36, the OD Surgery Bill. In his remarks to the AAO leadership, Mr. Fetzer presented an overview of the legislative experience in North Carolina during 2017 and stressed the importance of engaging in advocacy efforts and developing relationships with elected officials.

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NCSEPS Annual Meeting Wrap-Up

Ophthalmologists from across the state gathered over the weekend of September 22-24 at the Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VA for the 2017 Annual Meeting of the North Carolina Society of Eye Physicians & Surgeons. Sixty-eight ophthalmologists attended the meeting, which included 11.75 hours of CME programming, a lively exhibit hall and numerous social and recreational opportunities. The meeting also included the NCSEPS Annual Business Meeting at which NCSEPS members voted to approve nominees for the 2018 Officers of the Board of Directors.

Meet Your 2018 NCSEPS Board of Directors:

Kathleen Gordon, MD
(Chapel Hill)

Chadwick Brasington, MD

William Porfilio, MD

Immediate Past President
Sara Stoneburner, MD

Leon Herndon, MD

Ninita Brown, MD

Member- At-Large
Robert Park, MD

Rajiv Shah, MD


AAO Councilor
J. Stuart McCracken, MD

AAO Vice Councilor
Christopher P. Fleming, MD


The NCSEPS Annual Meeting also included a Poster Session featuring original research by residents, fellows-in-training and students. The NCSEPS extends its congratulations to this year’s winners:

1st Place – Kirin Khan (Duke)
2nd Place – Stephen Yoon (Duke)
3rd Place – Jessica Olayanju, MD (UNC)

Plans are already underway for another year of excellent educational programming from the NCSEPS. Registration is now open for the 2018 Codequest Coding Course, scheduled for February 3 at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, NC. We’ll be returning to Greensboro for the 2018 NCSEPS Annual Meeting, September 21-22, also at the Grandover Resort. For more information, visit us online at

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WRAL Encourages Eye Exams

The NCSEPS sent out a media release in partnership with the American Academy of Ophthalmology calling attention to the need for eye exams for ("Ophthalmologists Encourage Making Your Eyes Part of a Healthy Aging Strategy"). Raleigh’s WRAL picked up the release and aired a feature on September 5th. The feature focuses more on eyeglass options and fitting by opticians, which was not part of our release, but does note our eye exam encouragement (at 2:30 in this online video).

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ACO Guide for Ophthalmologists

Specialty-specific toolkits, like the “Accountable Care Guide for Ophthalmologists,” from the NCMS Toward Accountable Care Consortium and Initiative (TAC) can help your practice make the transition from fee-for-service to value-based health care. The toolkit provides strategic guidance for physicians establishing and participating in accountable care organizations (ACOs) and it is part of a series offering guidance on a range of topics related to the legal and financial issues that you need to know about.

NEW! Want CME credit for learning more about ACOs?The Texas Medical Association was so impressed with the NCMS TAC toolkits, they sought and received permission to offer CME credit for reading and absorbing the information in the seminal guide, “The Physicians Accountable Care Toolkit.” If you are an NCMS member, you can access this CME at a discount by simply downloading the guide and entering ‘NCMS’ in the coupon code space to receive the member discount.

All TAC toolkits are available free of charge from the TAC website, Additional titles include “Accountable Care Legal Guide,” “The Bundled Payment Guide for Physicians,” “Rural Accountable Care Guide,” and more.

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November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

The American Academy of Ophthalmology wants you to share this animated public service announcement to help educate people about the importance of regular exams and common eye diseases including diabetic retinopathy. People with diabetes are at increased risk of developing serious eye diseases, yet most do not have sight-saving, annual eye exams, according to a large study.

Researchers at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia have found that more than half of patients with the disease skip these exams, putting them at putting them at heightened risk for visual impairment. They also discovered that patients who smoke – and those with less severe diabetes and no eye problems – were most likely to neglect having these checks. Eye exams are critical as they can reveal hidden signs of disease, enabling timely treatment.

Help your patients and public understand the risks of diabetic eye disease by sharing this video on your website and/or social media feeds. Here is a sample Facebook post:


People with diabetes are at increased risk for developing serious eye diseases, but eye exams can help save their sight. Watch this animated PSA to learn how:

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CON Costs NC Patients $213/Person Annually

New research published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University provides a state-by-state analysis of the impact that CON laws have on hospital quality, healthcare and physician spending, the availability of medical imaging services, and access to healthcare facilities.

According to the North Carolina State Profile (PDF), Mercatus Center researchers report that our state’s restrictive CON laws costs North Carolinians an additional $213/person each year and are associated with fewer rural hospitals. Even more troubling are the impacts of CON on various quality indicators, such as mortality rates for pneumonia, heart failure, and heart attacks, as well as patient deaths from serious complications after surgery, all of which are statistically significantly higher in hospitals in states with at least one CON regulation. Without CON, North Carolina patients could experience improvements between 4.5% to 5.8% on these key quality indicators and improved access to needed medical imaging services, according to the study.

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Representative Greg Murphy Featured in NC Health News

NC Representative Greg Murphy, MD, a Greenville urologist and the only physician serving in the NC General Assembly, credits his years of medical training for imparting the discipline and stamina necessary to be successful as a legislator in Raleigh. And that he is! As a new legislator, Dr. Murphy has been tapped for some very important posts, including a Vice Chair seat on the Appropriations Committee (arguably the most important committee in the House), Chair on the Appropriations Health and Human Services Committee and Chair on the Health Committee.

Dr. Murphy was recently featured by the online news site North Carolina Health News.

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NCMB on Opioid Prescribing: Resources for Safe Prescribing Practices

The Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention (STOP) Act of 2017 addresses the opioid epidemic that has had a severe impact in North Carolina. To help physicians navigate the new law and have a positive impact on the opioid epidemic, the North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB) has developed a webpage with resources and information about NCMB programs that encourage appropriate prescribing.

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Cooper Invites Your Input on Opioid Epidemic

To better understand all the efforts taking place across our state to address opioid abuse and addiction, Governor Roy Cooper has asked for public feedback. In a request for feedback that was emailed broadly on November 6, the Office of the Governor noted, “Many individuals and organizations have been working on this issue for years, and we appreciate those efforts. We would like to continue to learn about strategies for combatting opioid misuse and addiction in our state.”

Comments can be submitted via email to Please note that any information sent to this email address may be subject to public records law.

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View Recordings of Recent Quality Payment Program Webinars on the CMS Website
Recent Quality Payment Program Webinars Now Available on the CMS Website

Were you unable to participate in a recent Quality Payment Program (QPP) webinar? You can now view all recordings, presentations, and transcripts from QPP webinars on the CMS Quality Payment Program Events webpage. Three recent QPP webinars include:

  • August 16, 2017: QPP Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) Office Hours Session – Provided a detailed overview on the draft provisions from the QPP Year 2 NPRM. CMS has shared the most frequently asked questions from the session with answers on the CMS website.
  • August 30, 2017: 2018 Self Nomination Process for Qualified Clinical Data Registries (QCDRs) and Qualified Registries – Offered an overview of the 2018 self-nomination process for organizations that wish to become QCDRs and qualified registries for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) for the 2018 performance period.
  • September 8, 2017: Overview of MIPS for Small, Rural, and Underserved Practices – Provided an overview of MIPS, the flexibilities for small practices under MIPS, and the resources offered by Technical Assistance organizations.

To find the latest information, visit the Quality Payment Program website. The Quality Payment Program Service Center can also be reached at 1-866-288-8292 (TTY 1-877-715- 6222), available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. ET or via email at

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October 9, 2017

Diagnostic Imaging Cost and Quality Sharing to Begin in December

Beginning December 1, 2017, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) will expand its diagnostic imaging management program with AIM Specialty HealthSM (AIM) to inform referring providers and commercially-insured members about imaging costs, quality, and location alternatives available for specified high-tech imaging services. The expansion is designed to help both referring providers and our members better engage in the selection of imaging providers based on members’ individual needs.

In December, AIM will begin providing our members with information to help them make more informed choices about their health care. If a Blue Cross NC commercially-insured member is scheduled to have a specified diagnostic imaging test (computed tomography [CT/CTA] or magnetic resonance imaging [MRI/MRA]), an AIM representative may call the member if a comparable or higher-quality and/or lower-cost alternative site is locally available to them.

During this outreach, members will have an opportunity to reduce their health care expenses by selecting lower-cost providers or locations that report equal or better quality. If the member agrees to AIM’s suggested alternative, the AIM representative will help the member schedule the test. Members may still choose any participating imaging provider, and will not be denied access to services if they do not choose the lower-cost option.

Blue Cross NC originally announced plans to expand our diagnostic imaging management program with AIM in 2016. However, the program expansion has been temporarily on hold since its intended January 2017 start date. We appreciate the assistance of the many imaging providers who completed the quality component of the program using the OptiNet assessment. When the program goes live, these assessments will be used to provide information about imaging locations to our members, and ensure your imaging location appears in AIM’s online directory.

Imaging providers who have not completed the quality assessment can still complete the OptiNet assessment, available online at If you have questions or need help completing the survey, please call AIM Customer Service at 1-800-252-2021.

Additional information about this program for Blue Cross NC’s commercially-insured members is available in these Frequently Asked Questions.

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