NCMS Legislative Update

June 1, 2021

This week at the NC General Assembly several bills of note for physicians and PAs were moving quickly including HB395 -- Extend Deadlines for Mandatory HIE Participation, which would extend the deadline for connection to the state's Health Information Exchange (NC HealthConnex) for certain groups, including psychiatrists. This legislation passed through both chambers and currently is on the Governor's desk awaiting his signature. Thank you to everyone who responded to our survey on whether your practice is connected to the HIE. Your input provided crucial information as legislators considered this bill and gave NCMS staff insights into your challenges and how we can develop resources to respond.

Other legislative proposals being heard include SB257 – Medication Cost Transparency Act, which sets out criteria for regulation of pharmacy benefit managers. The NCMS supports this proposal, which is moving quickly through the process and will likely pass both chambers.

HB947 – The GREAT Broadband Expansion Act, which we believe is indeed a ‘great’ bill providing strong financial investment in ensuring broadband access in rural and underserved communities, is swiftly making its way through the House and we are hopeful the senate will also move quickly to provide this funding. The NCMS has long been supportive of the GREAT grant program as it would expand broadband and enhance access to telehealth, education and job opportunities.

While legislators are busy considering a wide variety of bills, there is still no budget proposal. Usually at this point in a long legislative session spending proposals have been presented and negotiations are underway. This delay in the budget process means the session will likely continue for quite a while. It also presents you a great opportunity to contact your legislators to discuss your biggest concerns and where you’d like to see funds allocated. If you don’t already have your legislator’s information for ready access in your contacts, here is where you can easily find it.