Advocacy & Legislation

2017 White Coat Wednesday Dates Coming Soon!

Nine NCSEPS members participated in the 2016 Ophthalmology White Coat Day @ the Legislature on May 17 to voice ophthalmologists' concerns with the state's anticompetitive Certificate of Need (CON) laws and other key legislative issues.  The 2016 “short session” of the NC General Assembly concluded on July 1, 2016. The final weeks of the session saw a flurry of legislative committee meetings and action on a number of health-related items of interest to ophthalmologists and other physicians.

THANK YOU!
2016 Ophthalmology White Coat Day Participants:

  • Sara Stoneburner, MD (Greensboro), NCSEPS President
  • Kathleen Gordon, MD (Chapel Hill), NCSEPS President-Elect
  • James Bryan, III, MD (Chapel Hill), NCSEPS Legislative Chair
  • Chad Brasington, MD (Burlington), NCSEPS EyePAC Chair
  • Kevin Bowman, MD (Raleigh)
  • Kyle Huynh, MD (Durham)
  • Timothy Jordan, MD (Raleigh)
  • Jay Singleton, MD (New Bern)
  • Cameron Stone, MD (Asheville)

Certificate of Need – Two physicians spoke in support of legislation to repeal the state’s CON program at a June 14 legislative committee hearing. The Senate Health Care Committee heard testimony regarding potential legislation, but did not vote on the bill. Representatives from the North Carolina Orthopaedic Association, the North Carolina Society of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, John Locke Foundation and Americans for Prosperity testified that CON contributes to rising health care costs and decreases patient access to care. You can watch video coverage of the debate online (begins at 28:15).

Dr. Richard Bruch, an orthopaedic surgeon in Durham, spoke about the inadequate supply of operating rooms in North Carolina. He also relayed the comments of NCSEPS member Dr. Timothy Jordan (Raleigh), who struggles to get morning operating times for his pediatric patients. Dr. Bruch told legislators, “There is no ‘need’ in our certificate of need mechanism for ambulatory surgery centers. We have stifled operating rooms in this state.”

Dr. Charles Ford, an ENT physician in Boone, also testified on June 14. “CON limits patient access and choice, allowing the most costly models to flourish.” He told legislators that patients are increasingly seeking out alternative sites of care, and that they are traveling from Boone to have procedures done at ambulatory surgery centers in the region. He reported the cost of ear tube procedures at the hospital in Boone at $5,200 compared to the ASC cost of $1,700.


NCSEPS members at the 2016 Ophthalmology White Coat Day @ the Legislature. Pictured (L-R): back row - Kevin Bowman, MD (Raleigh), Tim Jordan, MD (Raleigh), Cameron Stone, MD (Asheville), and Alan Skipper, CAE; front row - Kitty Gordon, MD (Chapel Hill), Kyle Huynh, MD (Durham), Sara Stoneburner, MD (Greensboro) and Denna Suko, MA.
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Get Involved!

The NCSEPS advocates for quality eye care and for the practice and profession of ophthalmology in North Carolina. There are several ways you can get involved:

EyePAC
There are two sides to the "advocacy coin." There is legislative advocacy, which includes activities such as the Key Contact Network and engaging as an advocate in the legislative process. There is also political advocacy, which is equally important. It is vital to elect candidates who support ophthalmology's positions and who are willing to be legislative leaders on matters impacting ophthalmology and patient care. The mechanism for being a political advocate and positioning ophthalmology to optimize our legislative effectiveness is through contributing to EyePAC. In doing so you are investing in your and your patients’ future. Please make your contribution to EyePAC online TODAY or complete this contribution form and return it by mail or fax. For more information, contact the NCSEPS at ncoph@ncmedsoc.org.

White Coat Wednesdays
During each session of the NC General Assembly, physicians are encouraged to participate in the series of "White Coat Wednesday" events co-coordinated with the NC Medical Society. These sessions have been designed as advocacy "mini-internships" for physicians so medicine can become more effective in promoting the best interests of the profession and the patients you serve. The day in Raleigh includes an update on the latest legislative issues by NCSEPS and NCMS staff, meetings with your legislators, attendance at legislative committee hearings and experiencing sessions of the House and Senate. For more information contact the NCSEPS at ncoph@ncmedsoc.org.

Key Contact Network As has been stated repeatedly, all politics is local. That is a fact and it emphasizes the importance of having an effective network of ophthalmologsits who are willing to make a contact at a crucial point prior to and during legislative debate. Being a Key Contact is a simple commitment and requires very little time. It simply requires that you be willing to convey a message to your elected officials when called upon. To get on board with this grassroots initiative, contact the NCSEPS at ncoph@ncmedsoc.org.

Local Meetings with Legislators
Local meetings with legislators offer excellent opportunities to get to know those who represent you in the N.C. Legislature. These meetings are typically held as late-day/early-evening sessions for one hour in an ophthalmology practice. All we need is an indication that you are willing to host an event and we’ll take care of making the arrangements. To host a meeting with your area legislators, contact the NCSEPS at ncoph@ncmedsoc.org.

Be a Member!
At a minimum, every ophthalmologist in North Carolina should be an NCSEPS member. The association is a dues-driven organization representing ophthalmology in North Carolina and the level of participation and support from you and your colleagues in the state dictates the scope of the activities we can pursue and the success we can achieve. Not a member? JOIN TODAY!

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