WCMS Stands in Support of House Bill 1181 (Physician-led A.C.O.)

July 30, 2014

To the Physicians of Western North Carolina:

The Western Carolina Medical Society joined forces with the North Carolina Medical Society and the North Carolina OB/GYN Society to strongly support HB 1181, the North Carolina Medicaid Modernization plan.  This bill represents a physician led A.C.O. option which will better serve the people of North Carolina than does the Senate M.C.O. proposed legislation.  House Bill 1181 was created through a cooperative endeavor of legislators in consultation with the medical community and the state’s Health and Human Resources Committee.  It has the support of the Governor.  This bill demonstrates several strengths over the Senate’s M.C.O. proposal.  It will improve patient care and assure better budgetary predictability and control.  

Several states have legislated managed care corporations to manage their Medicaid.  Studies have demonstrated that these M.C.O. plans have created patient delays in obtaining care and adversarial relationships between the M.C.O. and the medical community striving to provide medical care, thus compromising access and quality of care.

Simply put, HB 1181 places the patient’s access to care and quality of that care first.  The Senate’s plan places control of Medicaid outside the state and can place corporate interests and profits over the welfare of patients.

As of today, 7/30/14, the Senate’s version of the Medicaid Reform bill went to the House members for review.  House majority did not concur with the Senate’s version of the bill.  The expectation is that the issue will be postponed to a special session after the election (Nov. 15).

When the time comes, the WCMS Board and I will call upon all health care providers in Western North Carolina to take an assertive stance and an active role in supporting HB 1181.  Providers are strongly encouraged to contact their representative and senators, by phone and e-mail, and tell them to support HB 1181.  Furthermore, health care providers are encouraged to educate their patients to contact their representatives and senators to voice their support for HB 1181.  

This critical legislation and the political sparring that has resulted should awaken all of us to get more involved in the political process.   Individually and collectively, we providers command a tremendous influence in the outcome of legislation and elections through grassroots contact with our patients on a daily basis.  Looking now into the future it is time for all of us to support, through donations, active campaigning and educating our patients, candidates for office and proposed legislation that advances the medical welfare of the citizens of our state.  In addition, active involvement in and continued support of our society, WCMS, in cooperation with the North Carolina Medical Society is yet another way in which you can have your voice heard in Raleigh.  Thank you.

Bob Henderson II, MD
Western Carolina Medical Society