Engage your patients in the CON reform effort: http://restorehealthcarefreedom.com
April 27, 2016 |  view this message in your web browser 
NCSEPS North Carolina Society of Eye Physicians & Surgeons
NCSEPS Website  |  EyePAC 

In this edition:

Taking on Goliath: CON Reform Push Continues.

The NCSEPS and our coalition partners are gaining ground on achieving Certificate of Need (CON) reform despite the challenges of being out-numbered and out-spent. Over the past four years we’ve challenged those who are dead-set on maintaining their market advantage. It has not been an easy road, but we have secured the strong support of the Senate leadership, and are now working with a group of influential legislators in the House to map a route for CON reform passage in that chamber. You’ve helped bring us this far. Are you with us for the long haul?

Our coalition is expanding outside of the legislative building as well. The NCSEPS is now working in partnership with two statewide advocacy groups who have committed to advancing this issue. Our number one goal this session is to expand support for CON reform in the House, especially among the Republican Caucus leadership. A new grassroots campaign to engage the public in support of CON reform will help to raise awareness of the hefty price tag of CON and its impact on the state’s strained budget, and it will put new pressure on House leaders to address the issue.

We are also looking for stories of patients who have been adversely affected by the current CON. Please email your specific examples to ncoph@ncmedsoc.org.

Share this link with your patients:

The NC General Assembly kicked off the 2016 legislative session this week amid a lot of uncertainty about what it might accomplish and when it will adjourn. Our lobbying team expects the legislature to make quick work of this “short session” by dealing with a small portion of HB2 (the “bathroom bill”) and the budget and adjourning sometime around the July 4 holiday.

This opens a new window of opportunity to drive our message home. Can we count on your continued support this year to move the ball even further down the field? We have several opportunities for you to increase your engagement during a time when your help is needed most.

  1. Support EyePAC. We can make a lot of friends, and neutralize a few enemies along the way, with a smart PAC strategy. Every cent will get us closer to achieving our advocacy goals.
  2. Make your voice heard by attending the Ophthalmology White Coat Day @ the Legislature on Tuesday, May 17. Meetings with legislators are the most effective way to communicate your legislative priorities. Sign up today so that we can present a strong and unified voice on the issues that matter most to orthopaedic surgeons.
  3. Meet locally with your legislators. We’re here to help with that. Please contact Denna Suko, dsuko@ncmedsoc.org or 919-833-3836, for assistance organizing local meetings.
  4. Drive your patients to the website http://restorehealthcarefreedom.com to sign the petition in support of CON reform. 

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NC DHHS Wraps Up Listening Tour on Medicaid Reform

The details of the state’s draft Section 1115 Waiver Application was presented to a legislative oversight committee on March 1 and a subsequent statewide listening tour provided opportunities for public comment. Many physicians participated in the hearings, expressing their concerns with the state’s implementation plan. The NCMS has summarized the waiver application and offers these talking points on the topics of concern to the physician community. The waiver application is due to CMS on June 1.

For additional coverage, see: “Legislative Round-Up: Short Session Begins Monday” (NCMS Bulletin, April 20, 2016)

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Legislative Study Committee Proposes Step Therapy Legislation

An NC House study committee investigating step therapy (“fail first”) pharmaceutical coverage policies adopted a report last week which includes a bill for consideration in this year’s legislative session. The report recommends that step therapy protocols be amended to ensure proper administration and consistency with clinical practice guidelines and also recommends removing barriers to abuse-deterrent opioids. The NC General Assembly reconvened on Monday, April 25.

The report also takes aim at the growing opioid abuse epidemic by recommending that patients be granted access to opioids formulated with new abuse-deterrent technologies. The study committee report concludes that access to these products should be increased, consistent with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s labeling of such as a national priority. In related news, the NC Medical Board recently announced a new program to monitor opioid prescribing in the state.

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Ocular Melanoma Cluster in Huntersville

NCSEPS Past President Michael Brennan, MD, has convened a team of eye care and cancer specialists to explore the cluster of ocular melanoma (OM) cases around Huntersville and to encourage Huntersville-area high school students to undergo thorough eye exams through a free eye exam program Dr. Brennan helped to organize. The NCSEPS is working with Dr. Brennan to coordinate the public eye screenings.

The Huntersville region has a statistically aberrant link to OM, an extremely rare cancer, diagnosed in approximately 2,500 people each year nationwide. It occurs most often in patients 50 or older, and usually strikes men more often than women.

In the last six years, however, more than 12 individuals with residential or occupational ties to Huntersville, most of them women and most much younger than the average OM patient, have been diagnosed with the cancer. Three of the youngest victims, graduated from Hopewell High School, which opened in 2001.

The media in the area has been covering this strange phenomenon and Dr. Brennan’s efforts to study the cluster and bring free eye exams to the area.

This article is reprinted with edits with permission of the North Carolina Medical Society.

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NCSEPS Members Meet with Congressional Delegation in DC

An eleven-member delegation representing the NCSEPS participated in the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s 2016 Congressional Advocacy Day (CAD), April 13-14. The annual advocacy event is an opportunity for ophthalmologists to discuss priority federal legislative issues with members of the U.S. Congress. Key issues addressed this year included Medicare payment cuts to ophthalmic surgery, concerns regarding the Medicare Part B Drug Payment Model, improving Meaningful Use, research funding, and two patient safety measures - the Contact Lens Consumer Health Protection Act and the Truth in Healthcare Marketing Act. Visit the Academy website for up-to-date information on these important advocacy issues.

CAD, held in conjunction with the Mid-Year Forum, is a two-day advocacy event held annually in Washington, DC. The program schedule includes in-depth legislative and political training sessions. Topics covered include legislative process, key legislative updates, featured speakers, and review of the priority issues to convey to Congress. On Day 2, participants head to Capitol Hill for scheduled meeting with their U.S. Representatives and Senators. The 2017 CAD will be held April 26-29.

NCSEPS Members pose for a shot with Rep. Walter Jones during the 2016 CAD.

NCSEPS Members meeting with Sen. Thom Tillis at the 2016 CAD.

2016 CAD Participants:

  • Michael Brennan, MD (Burlington)
  • Donald L. Budenz, MD MPH (Chapel Hill)
  • Susan Burden, MD (Winston-Salem)
  • Divakar Gupta, MD (Durham)
  • Odette Houghton, MD (Chapel Hill)
  • Deborah Kessler Hudak, MD (Raleigh)
  • Ali Torab Parhiz, MD (Chapel Hill)
  • Cameron M. Stone, MD (Asheville)
  • Robert E. Wiggins, MD MHA (Asheville)
  • Jennifer F. Williamson, MD (Chapel Hill)
  • W. Alan Skipper, CAE (Raleigh)

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Enhance patient care with cutting-edge ideas, techniques and technologies you’ll find at AAO 2016. The AAO 2016 meeting will take place October 15-18 in Chicago, Ill.  Watch this short video to learn more.

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Quality Improvement Workshop Prevention & Wellness, May 11

The North Carolina Medical Society Foundation, in cooperation with the National Rural Accountable Care Consortium and CHESS, invites you to join us to kick off the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative and learn about services you can provide to your patients to promote health and wellness. By providing these services, you will improve community health, increase practice revenue and improve quality scores. At the end of the workshop you will have an individual work plan to incorporate these services into your primary care practice.

This is part of the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI). The workshop is open to Practice Managers, Care Coordinators, Physicians & Nurses (must be enrolled in TCPI by May 6, 2016).

For more information and registration, contact Dana Lucas, ncmsfoundation@ncmedsoc.org, 919-833-3836.

The registration deadline is May 6.

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Physicians Foundation Invites Participation in National Survey

Let Your Voice Be Heard! The Physicians Foundation is a non-profit physician advocacy organization committed to giving you and your colleagues a voice. This is the Physicians Foundation's fourth national survey of physicians – the one you have read about in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today and many other publications.

The Physicians Foundation is seeking your participation. The greater the response, the greater the impact on policy makers and the public! The survey may be taken anonymously, or you may include your email address to enter a drawing for a $5,000 Amazon gift card or one of five $500 Amazon gift cards.

Click here to participate.

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Save the Date!
NCSEPS 2016 Annual Meeting
September 23-24 | The Grandover Resort and Spa | Greensboro

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