Current Bulletin

  • NCMS Foundation Seeks Rural Providers for ACO Opportunity

    The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Foundation seeks to identify rural providers interested in learning more about developing an Accountable Care Organization (ACO).

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced a new funding opportunity specifically for rural providers.  CMS wants to encourage providers to form Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) ACOs in rural areas and areas with low ACO penetration. The ACO Investment Model (AIM) program will provide upfront and monthly funding for eligible ACOs to participate in the MSSP beginning in 2016.  The upfront and monthly per member/per month (PMPM) will provide funds to develop the infrastructure needed for population health management.

    The MSSP was established to improve the quality of care for Medicare Fee-For-Service beneficiaries by promoting accountability for their care, requiring coordinated care for any service provided under Medicare FFS and encouraging investment in infrastructure and redesigned care processes. MSSP also aims to reduce unnecessary costs. Providers, hospitals and suppliers that either create or participate in an ACO may participate in this program. Those ACOs that lower their rising health care costs and simultaneously put patients first and meet performance standards on quality of care will be rewarded by the MSSP.   Click here to learn more about MSSP.

    The NCMS Foundation has been working diligently over the past several years to foster development of value-driven health care models and ACOs through its Toward Accountable Care (TAC) Consortium and Initiative and the NC ACO Collaborative as well as at the General Assembly. This rural ACO initiative is the latest effort. Learn more about it here.

  • CMS Announces Next Generation ACO

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center introduced the “Next Generation Accountable Care Organization” model of payment and care delivery on March 10, 2015. This initiative is for ACOs experienced in coordinating care for populations of patients and will allow these provider groups to assume higher levels of financial risk and reward than are available under the current Pioneer Model and Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP). The goal of the Model is to test whether strong financial incentives for ACOs, coupled with tools to support better patient engagement and care management, can improve health outcomes and lower expenditures for original Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) beneficiaries. Learn more about the program and how you might participate here.
  • Is Repeal of the SGR Finally Possible This Year?

    SGR-updateWith a flurry of editorials and intense lobbying efforts in Washington, DC, hope springs eternal for repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) this year. The latest “patch,” enacted last year to forestall the deep reductions in Medicare reimbursements, will expire on March 30, giving Congress just a few more weeks to repeal the SGR once and for all this year.

    Over 750 medical societies, including the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) signed on this week to a letter to Speaker John Boehner, urging the repeal. Read that letter here.

    Last year, Congress came the closest it ever had to a repeal, with bipartisan, bicameral support. The hope is that the momentum created with that legislation will carry the repeal over the finish line this Congress.

    A major concern has been the cost of repealing the SGR, but for many years Congress always stopped the SGR cuts and therefore, the SGR never took effect.  SGR savings to the federal government are therefore non-existent and repealing the SGR portion would cost nothing. Of course, Congress should pay for the new payment system and the new bonus payments contained in the proposed legislation, but they don’t need to pay for the SGR repeal itself.

    Read more about the bill and what lawmakers like North Carolina US Representative Renee Elmers are saying and feel free to add your voice to those urging the legislators in Washington, DC to repeal.

    Bouncing the “Doc Fix,” The Wall Street Journal, 3-16-15

    Medicare: Time for Congress to Repeal and Replace the Sustainable Growth Rate Formula, FoxNews, 3-16-15


  • Funding for National Health Service Corps Set to Expire

    Founded in 1972, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) was designed to bring primary care health workers to the most underserved communities of the country. In exchange for their medical expertise, the Corps helps these professionals alleviate debt accumulated during the course of their education, much like the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Foundation’s Community Practitioner Program, which uses private funds.

    In 2010, the Affordable Care Act created a trust fund to support the NHSC for five years. Over the course of the last five years, Congress has cut funding several times, leaving the program completely dependent on the trust fund account, which is set to expire this year. If this happens, North Carolina would lose funding for the positions outlined in the chart below.






    Non-Psychiatrist Physician (MD/DO)




    Nurse Practitioner




    Physician Assistant




    Dentist (DDS/DMD)




    Licensed Professional Counselor




    Licensed Clinical Social Worker




    Health Service Psychologist




    Psychiatrist (MD/DO)




    Dental Hygienist




    Nurse Midwife




    Marriage and Family Therapist




    Psychiatric Nurse Specialist








    Learn more about the program and its funding here. This fact sheet also is helpful to understand the NHSC and its mission.

    The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU) launched a campaign in 2013 to save this valuable program from elimination. Learn more about the campaign.

  • Cast Your Vote for NC Doctor of the Year


    Ten finalists for the NC Doctor of the Year Award, were announced on Monday, March 16. Now is the time to cast your vote for the one doctor who you think should receive the NC Doctor of the Year Award from among this distinguished group of physicians who represent a variety of specialties and come from across the state. Read about each finalist and learn about NC Doctors Day at and cast your online vote. Encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same. The person with the most votes will be announced on Doctors Day, March 30. The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) is the lead sponsor of NC Doctors Day and will donate $5,000 to the winner to be used toward furthering their professional mission.

    The following finalists were selected from a field of over 120 nominations submitted by patients and colleagues in February.

    Dr. Ogie Asemota, Pediatrics, Fayetteville

    Dr. Alan Carlson, Opthalmalogy, Durham

    Dr. Lisa David, Plastic Surgery, Winston-Salem

    Dr. Edgardo Diez, Physical and Rehabilitative Medicine, Asheville

    Dr. Ben Fischer, Internal Medicine, Raleigh

    Dr. Gloria Graham, Dermatology, Morehead City

    Dr. Mark Heffington, Family Medicine, New Bern

    Dr. Rene Herlong, Pediatric Cardiology, Charlotte

    Dr. Joseph Murad, OB-Gyn, Greenville

    Dr. Maureen Murphy, Family Medicine, Concord

  • NC ACO Collaborative Draws Crowd to Raleigh

    Attendees of the March 5 NC ACO Collaborative meeting

    Attendees of the March 5 NC ACO Collaborative meeting

    On Thursday, March 5, members of the NC ACO Collaborative packed the auditorium of the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Center for Leadership in Medicine in Raleigh for the first of its twice- yearly meeting. The gathering brings together ACOs, aspiring ACOs, ACO participants and other interested parties like the representatives from the State Health Plan, the NC Department of Medical Assistance and vendors. The Collaborative has grown in attendance as those associated with this burgeoning model of care seek to share their experiences and look for ways to collaborate and support each other. A sub-group of the Collaborative also has formed for ACOs that are participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) to address issues particular to that program.

    John Meier, MD, and Ray Coppedge, Executive Director, both of Key Physicians in Raleigh, shared information about their ACO and fielded their colleagues’ questions. Melanie Phelps, Deputy General Counsel for the NCMS and Associate Executive Director of the NCMS Foundation and the person who convenes the NC ACO Collaborative, gave a brief overview of the current status of ACOs in North Carolina. Bo Bobbitt, a partner at Smith Anderson law firm in Raleigh, who has spearheaded development of a variety of toolkits for doctors interested in ACOs, provided an update on recent initiatives and announcements by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS and national health insurers have accelerated the move toward value-based arrangements and have signaled their commitment to this approach through a variety of new funding opportunities. View the PowerPoint slides.

    The next meeting of the ACO Collaborative is tentatively set for Thursday, September 17, at the NCMS Center for Leadership in Medicine in Raleigh. If you are interested in attending, please contact Melanie Phelps or call her at 919-833-3836.

  • Honor a Special Physician for NC Doctors’ Day 2015!

    Join in the NC Doctors’ Day fun by sending the outstanding physician in your life a NC Doctors’ Day tribute card. For donations of $10 and $15, the NCMS Foundation will send an e-card or traditional mailed greeting card to a physician you think is “AHHSOME”! The cards have a great new look this year and can be ordered online through our simple, secure process. Check them out at

    Proceeds from the tribute cards benefit the NCMS Foundation and its work to improve access to quality health care for North Carolina’s most vulnerable patients. This past year, the Foundation’s Community Practitioner Program assisted 38 primary care providers located across NC. These physicians, PAs and NPs provided $350 million in care for the under- and uninsured in the past year alone.

    With the purchase of a tribute card you will not only make a physician’s day a little brighter, but you will also play a key role in making sure all North Carolinians have a doctor in their own hometown! To purchase a card, visit today!



  • NCMS Hosts Successful NC Medical Group Managers Advocacy Conference

    NCMGMA White Coat Wednesday attendees

    NCMGMA White Coat Wednesday attendees

    For its 2015 Advocacy Days Conference, the North Carolina Medical Group Managers Association convened this week at the NCMS Center for Leadership in Medicine.  The conference was attended by a strong contingent of advocacy-oriented medical practice leaders from across North Carolina. Cam Cox of MSOC Health and NCMGMA’s Advocacy Liaison moderated the event.

    Tuesday’s packed agenda opened with a presentation by Chip Baggett, NCMS Director of Legislative Relations, in which Chip highlighted the need for effective messaging on the looming 3% retro-cut in Medicaid. The afternoon also featured appearances by former state senator Eric Mansfield, MD; Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation; Adam Linker of the NC Health Access Coalition; and Dr. Robin Cummings, Director of North Carolina Medicaid.

    Discussions covered a host of different hot topics in health care, including Medicaid reform, Medicaid expansion, the state’s certificate of need program, and scope of practice.

    The managers returned Wednesday morning for a briefing by NCMS staff on the day’s legislative calendar, and they then ventured to the General Assembly to meet with legislators and attend committee meetings.  This was the first year the event was held entirely at the NCMS facility, and we hope to host again in years to come!

  • Don’t Miss Meaningful Use Attestation

    March 20 is the last day to attest to meaningful use for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program’s 2014 reporting year. This extended deadline does not affect deadlines for the Medicaid EHR Incentive program. Attesting by the deadline will ensure you earn an incentive payment, if applicable, and avoid the Meaningful Use penalty which will be applied in 2016 (based on 2014 performance).

    Understanding the criteria for participating in the various Medicare quality programs is of critical importance, as penalties will be applied to those who do meet the prescribed requirements. Visit our new members-only webpage dedicated to quality issues—“Quality Time with the NCMS” at—to learn more about the criteria, and how to avoid these penalties, which could cost you up to 11% in total of your Medicare reimbursements in future years.

  • Gain a Better Understanding of the MOST Form With These Online Courses

    End of Life ResourcesThe North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Foundation in conjunction with the North Carolina Partnership for Compassionate Care are sponsoring a two-part E-learn course to help you get a better understanding of the MOST form and how it ties into advance care planning. To learn more about the Partnership and these courses, click here.