Preview of 2018 legislative session.
December 5, 2017 | view this message as a web page

2018 NC/SC Annual Meeting Info  |  Renew your NCSOHNS Membership

In this edition:


Call for Lecture Abstracts:
To be considered for inclusion in the 2018 scientific program, please complete and return the Faculty Paper Submission Form by January 15. 

For room reservations, call the Omni Grove Park Inn at 800-438-5800 and request the NC/SC Annual Meeting group rate of just $289++/night.

NCSOHNS Leader Elected to NCMS Board of Directors

NCSOHNS Past President Eileen Raynor, MD, FACS, FAAP (Durham) has been elected to the NC Medical Society’s Board of Directors. Dr. Raynor shares, “I would like to positively impact the quality of life for North Carolina citizens and its physicians through advocacy and collaboration. As a member of the NCMS Board, we will be able to help shape the future of health care for all of North Carolina.” Congratulations, Dr. Raynor!

Dr. Raynor has held numerous leadership positions in the NCSOHNS, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and the NC Medical Society. She served as NCSOHNS President 2013-2014 and is presently the NCSOHNS Representative to the AAO-HNS Board of Governors. She has served on the NCMS Legislative Cabinet, the NCMS Medical Education Committee and the NCMS Membership and Communications Advisory Committee. She is also an alumna of the prestigious NCMS Leadership College, class of 2012. Dr. Raynor is on faculty with the Department of Surgery, Division of Head and Neck Surgery & Communication Sciences at Duke University Health System.

The North Carolina Medical Society Board of Directors (NCMS BOD) is comprised of four executive members, four regional representatives and five at-large members. The NCMS BOD meets several times throughout the year and seeks feedback from the membership on any health policy issues of concern. Get to know your NCMS Board better by reading member bios on the NCMS website.

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NCSOHNS Advocacy Opportunities

All is quiet on Jones Street at the moment, but several big policy issues will be addressed when the legislature convenes in mid-May for the 2018 short session. Physicians will have just over one month to advance (or derail) legislation impacting patient care and health care payment. This includes proposed legislation that would expand the scopes of practice of optometrists (HB 36) and advanced practice registered nurses (HB 88/SB 73), proposed restrictions on your ability to bill patients for out-of-network care (SB 629), and expansion of insurance coverage for the working poor (HB 662).

Although some of the aforementioned bills are technically not eligible for consideration in 2018 due to procedure rules, we anticipate that each of these issues will be brought for consideration in some manner in the coming year. Also of note, the General Assembly announced on Nov. 9 that a legislative study committee has been assigned to study access to healthcare in rural NC, to include the physician shortage and its impact, solutions that other states have used to address physician shortage, and eye care access. The committee roster is available on the NC General Assembly website. 

2018 Otolaryngology White Coat Wednesday at the Legislature 
Each year, the NCSOHNS and the NC Medical Society join forces to present an otolaryngology advocacy day in Raleigh. White Coat Wednesday events include a legislative briefing at the NCMS office, meetings with legislators, attendance at legislative committee meetings, and a debriefing lunch. To help us identify a date that will support the greatest possible attendance, please complete our date picker poll to indicate all dates you could be available to meet with legislators in Raleigh. This is a free event and always a rewarding experience. Practicing, retired and resident physicians are invited to participate.

Political Advocacy 101 
Engaging with legislators in Raleigh is just one component of an effective advocacy strategy. To be highly effective, otolaryngologists need to incorporate regular meetings with legislators into your schedules and support legislators’ election campaigns.

Participating in candidate fundraisers are an excellent way to show support for our elected officials who deal with legislation impacting the medical profession and patient care. In fact, they are an essential part of our representative democracy! Politically-engaged citizens like you help to ensure the election of candidates who are open to hearing our concerns and appreciate our position on key legislative issues impacting patient care.

You will find that your elected representatives in the NC House and Senate are very accessible and genuinely appreciate the opportunity to answer your questions and hear your concerns. If you don’t know who represents you in the General Assembly, you can look up your House and Senate representatives on the General Assembly website. If you would like scheduling assistance, coaching or a legislative briefing, please contact the NCSOHNS at

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AAO-HNS/F Leadership Forum and BOG Spring Meeting, March 9-12

Registration is now open for the 2018 AAO-HNS/F Leadership Forum and BOG Spring Meeting, scheduled for March 9-12, in Alexandria, Virginia. Each year, a delegation of North Carolina otolaryngologists participates in the weekend-long event which includes leadership discussions, Board of Governors (BOG) meetings, informative speakers, advocacy updates, and mentoring/networking opportunities. This meeting is one of many AAO-HNS benefits, allowing Academy members the opportunity to network and engage in peer-to-peer interaction with eminent leaders.

The AAO-HNS/F also provides Resident Leadership Grants to help defray the costs of participating for selected recipients. The deadline to apply for a Resident Leadership Grant is Monday, February 12.

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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 cost 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, MD 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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Gov. 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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New AAO-HNS Clinical Practice Guideline: Evaluation of the Neck Mass in Adults

The primary purpose of the Clinical Practice Guideline: Evaluation of the Neck Mass in Adults is to promote the efficient, effective, and accurate diagnostic work-up of neck masses to ensure that adults with potentially malignant disease receive prompt diagnosis and intervention to optimize outcomes. This guideline does not apply to children. Instead, this guideline is restricted to addressing the appropriate work-up of an adult patient with a neck mass that may be malignant in order to expedite diagnosis and referral to a head and neck cancer specialist.

NEW FEATURE! Easily downloadable patient health information, includes instructions on how to customize the handouts with your office’s or institution’s information and/or logo. Look for them in Physician Resources, under “Patient Handouts” at

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AAO-HNSF Tympanostomy Tubes Quick-Reference Guidelines

With distribution support from Otonomy, Inc., easy-to-access digital versions of the AAO-HNSF Tympanostomy Tubes Guidelines are available at no cost in PDF and HTML5 flipbook formats. The digital guides provide summarized versions of the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) full text recommendations in a brief, algorithmic format. They are perfect for quick-reference, educating and use at point of care.

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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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