March 8, 2016  |  view this message as a web page 

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In this edition:

Physicians Foundation Survey

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NC/SC SOHNS 2016 Annual Assembly, July 29-31 in Charleston, SC
Add this event to your calendar.

Start planning now to attend the NC & SC Societies of Otolaryngology 2016 Annual Assembly in Charleston, SC. Otolaryngologists, retired members, residents and fellows-in-training will gather at the newly renovated Belmond Charleston Place July 29-31, 2016 for a weekend of medical education, networking and collegiality. For room reservations, call the Belmond Charleston Place at 800-831-3490.

Please help ensure the meeting's success by sharing the Exhibitor Prospectus with the product and service representatives that call on your practice.

AccommodationsThis year’s meeting venue, Belmond Charleston Place, is located at the very heart of downtown Charleston, in the historic district and within walking distance of all the major attractions. Belmond Charleston Place makes every guest feel part of this great Southern city. A gathering point for local society, this luxury hotel blends gentility and old-world charm with a leading-edge spa and innovative cuisine.

Renowned as Charleston’s finest accommodations, its first class meeting and event facilities are complemented by ‘The Club’, a private concierge level. Leisure activities include relaxing by the rooftop pool, dining in the award-winning Charleston Grill and browsing the exclusive boutiques.

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Medicaid Reform Progress, CON and Other Key Legislative Priorities
Four reasons we expect this short session to be an eventful one.

There’s a surprising number of policy items of particular interest to otolaryngologists and other physicians that may be brought for consideration in the upcoming 2016 “short session” of the NC General Assembly. When the legislature convenes on April 25, it is likely that details regarding Medicaid reform implementation will top the legislative agenda. Certificate of Need reform, nurses’ scope of practice and step therapy (or “fail first”) pharmaceutical coverage policies are also likely to be considered in 2016. Following this article you will find opportunities to increase your engagement during a time when your help is needed most. Here is what’s going on in the legislature and why we’re asking for your participation…

Many questions remain regarding Medicaid reform implementation and whether progress is being made quickly enough to satisfy a legislature that is anxious to transfer financial risk for the program out of the state budget. NC DHHS Secretary Rick Brajer and Dee Jones, chief operating officer at the new Division of Health Benefits – a new NC Medicaid agency created by last year’s Medicaid reform law – presented the details of the state’s CMS waiver application to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Medicaid and NC Health Choice, and responded to legislators’ questions. All appears to be running on schedule, though there is still much work to be done. Jones described the current status as the “end of the beginning.” According to Brajer, the next steps include public hearings and a final report to the legislature before the waiver application is submitted to CMS on June 1. Please tune into last Friday’s Bowtie Briefing for a video update from NCMS Director of Legislative Relations Chip Baggett.

The NCSOHNS and its coalition partners are gaining ground on achieving Certificate of Need (CON) reform. We continue to have the strong support of the Senate leadership, and are now working with a group of influential legislators in the House to map a possible route for CON reform passage in the short session. Our support is also growing outside of the legislative building. Several conservative advocacy groups are now committed to advancing this issue. We are united around the key messages of lower costs, better quality and happier patients that would come with greater access to ambulatory surgery centers.

Step therapy (or “fail first”) pharmaceutical coverage policies will continue to be the focus of a new House Select Committee in the weeks leading up to the 2016 session. A third meeting of the committee is scheduled for March 23. In 2015, a bill was introduced by Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) to regulate the practice by requiring insurers to develop evidence-based protocols that include endorsement by an independent panel of experts. The bill was referred to the House Rules Committee. House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) appointed a 15-member committee to study step therapy practice in North Carolina. The committee’s findings and recommendations will be presented when the legislature reconvenes for the short session.

Nurses in North Carolina are attempting to pass an unprecedented scope of practice expansion for nurses in North Carolina. On February 9, Christopher Conover, PhD provided legislative testimony recommending the relaxation of supervision requirements for all Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) in NC. This recommendation was based on a meta-analysis study paid for by the North Carolina Nurses Association. The study, which was premised on the expectation of a physician shortage, speculated that APRNs are the solution to such a shortage. The conclusion asserted that relaxing supervision would have a three-fold benefit of (1) improving access, (2) improving quality and (3) lowering cost. Please watch for information from the NCSOHNS and the NCMS regarding opportunities to communicate with your legislators about the resources needed to provide care to North Carolina’s citizens.

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Advocacy Opportunities in Raleigh, May 18 & May 25
Register for one of two dates.

Sign up now to participate in a 2016 Otolaryngology White Coat Wednesday! ENT physicians from across the state will gather in Raleigh on two Wednesdays in May - May 18 and 25 – to advocate for Certificate of Need reform and other important policy issues impacting your practice and patient care. The schedule runs from 7:30 am to 1:00 pm (lunch is provided). Following a legislative briefing at the NC Medical Society, participants will meet with legislators and attend legislative committee hearings at the NC General Assembly. We’ll have you on the road home by 1:00pm (earlier, if necessary).

Complete this online sign-up form to participate on the May 18 and/or the May 25 Otolaryngology White Coat Wednesday. Not available either date? You can also use this form to indicate the date that works best for your schedule.

There is no fee to participate. Practicing otolaryngologists, practice managers, retired physicians, residents and fellows-in-training are invited to participate. This event is jointly presented by the NCSOHNS and the NC Medical Society. 

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Primary Elections Will Be Held March 15 & June 7
Early voting is available through March 12.

Vote early. North Carolina will hold its Presidential Preference Primary and other statewide primary elections on March 15, 2016. If you cannot make it to the polls on March 15, early voting is available now through Saturday, March 12. Find an early voting site in your county through the State Board of Elections website.

The primary election for US House of Representatives will be held on June 7, 2016.

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Get the Facts on MACRA
Listen to the webinar recording.

If you are still uncertain what MACRA is all about, get the facts by downloading the recording of a recent webinar on MACRA hosted by NCMS Director of Health Policy Jennifer Gasperini and sponsored by the NCMS Foundation and the NC Medical Group Managers Association (NCMGMA). This webinar reviews key elements of the recently passed Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act (MACRA), including how the current Medicare quality reporting programs will be affected by MACRA. Viewers will learn more about CMS' plans for Medicare reform and key timelines to consider in the implementation process.

To learn more about MACRA, NCMS members can visit the Quality Time with the NCMS blog. This blog is updated weekly with pertinent information about quality program changes and key news and deadlines to be aware of.

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July 1 Deadline for Meaningful Use Hardship Applications
Hardship exemption deadline extended to July 1.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has extended the deadline for physicians seeking to apply for the “blanket” hardship exemption from 2015 Meaningful Use requirements to July 1, 2016. All eligible professionals applying for this exemption must complete an application by the July 1 deadline. For instructions and the application, visit the CMS Payment Adjustments & Hardship Information webpage.

Attestation Deadline March 11 - Additionally, CMS has extended the original Feb. 29 attestation deadline for the 2015 EHR reporting periods to midnight Friday, March 11. Providers are urged to attest by the March 11, 2016 attestation deadline to avoid the payment adjustment in 2017 and possibly be eligible to receive an EHR Incentive payment.

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Voting for NC Doctor of the Year Award Will Begin Soon
Nominations are now closed. Voting begins March 18.

March 30, National Doctors' Day, is a time to recognize and celebrate the hard work of physicians – all of the many medical specialties make up a remarkable community, coming together as one to help and heal patients. The observance dates back to 1933 and was officially established by Congress in 1990.

In 2015 the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) instituted a new, homegrown tradition with North Carolina Doctors' Day. To celebrate the day, NCMS is sponsoring the 2016 North Carolina Doctor of the Year Award, allowing patients and the public to honor our state's physicians who are:

  • Passionate about keeping patients happy and healthy
  • Experts in using life-changing treatments to give patients the best care
  • And making a positive impact in the community

See more at:

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AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO℠, Sept. 18-21

In its 120th year, the AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO℠ is the premier education and networking event for the otolaryngology - head and neck surgery community. Held each fall, the AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO℠ provides an opportunity for thousands of Academy members, non-member physicians, allied health professionals, administrators, and exhibiting companies to converge for an exhilarating four days. It draws more than 5,500 medical experts and professionals from around the world and features Instruction Courses, Miniseminars, Scientific Oral Presentations, Honorary Guest Lectures, and numerous Scientific Posters.

The 2016 Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO℠ will be held Sunday, September 18 - Wednesday, September 21, 2016 in San Diego, CA. For additional information on this year's Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO℠, please visit:

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