North Carolina Chapter of the
American College of Surgeons

NC-ACS eNews September 2017

Final 2017 North Carolina Services Budget Comparison

Provided by North Carolina Health News

Click here to access a document that compares all three versions of the budget offered by North Carolina legislators. The North Carolina Health News spreadsheet compares the bills filed by each chamber with the contents of the final conference bill, which passed on June 22, in the third column.

NC-ACS Ups Its State Advocacy Game

The NC-ACS is placing increased emphasis on state level advocacy as a member benefit to NC surgeons. The NC- ACS Board created a standing legislative committee in mid 2016 and named long time advocacy champion, Dr. Matthew Martin as Chairman. In 2017, the NC-ACS Board voted to create a state level political action committee (NC- ACSPAC), provided an advocacy section on its new website, vigorously engaged for the first time on a state issue (a scope expansion by the optometrists to perform surgery), included an advocacy presentation at the annual meeting and dedicated funds to hold a lobby day in 2018 – North Carolina Surgeons' Day at the Capitol.

The goal of the 2018 NC Surgeons' Day is multi-pronged: to introduce the Stop the Bleed program to legislators and the public; to use the opportunity to educate legislators about the need for a fully funded trauma system; and to provide a platform for NC surgeons to develop personal relationships with legislators.
NC-ACSPAC Chair Dr. Danielle Walsh delivers first official contribution to NC-ACSPAC Treasurer and NC-ACS Legislative Chair, Dr. Matthew Martin)
If you are interested in participating as a Board member for NC-ACSPAC, please contact Dr. Martin at and stay tuned for more information on the 2018 NC Surgeons Day.

Updated NC Medicaid Prior Approval Criteria for Opioid Analgesics

From 1999 to 2016 more than 12,000 North Carolinians died from opioid-related overdoses. On June 27, 2017 NC Governor Roy Cooper and NC DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen announced North Carolina's Opioid Action Plan, intended to positively impact reducing opioid addiction and overdose death and change the trajectory of opioid deaths and reduce opioid overdose deaths by 20% by 2021.

The state opioid action plan is multi-faceted and strategies include:
  • Coordinating the state’s infrastructure to tackle the opioid crisis

  • Reducing the oversupply of prescription opioids

  • Reducing the diversion of prescription drugs and the flow of illicit drugs
  • Increasing community awareness and preventions

  • Making naloxone widely available

  • Expanding treatment and recovery systems of cares

  • Measuring the effectiveness of these strategies based on results
  • The NC Medicaid Pharmacy Program has worked to update clinical coverage criteria for the use of opioids for pain management based on the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain and to align clinical coverage criteria with the strategies of reducing the oversupply of prescription opioids available for diversion and misuse. These updates began on May 1, 2017, when the refill threshold for all opioids and benzodiazepines prescriptions was increased from 75% to 85%. Effective 8/27/2017, prior approval will be required for opioid analgesic (including tramadol) doses for N.C. Medicaid and N.C. Health Choice (NCHC) beneficiaries which:
  • Exceed 120 mg of morphine equivalents (MME) per day

  • Are greater than a 14-day supply of any opioid, or,

  • Are non-preferred opioid products on the NC Medicaid Preferred Drug List (PDL)
The prescribing provider may submit prior authorization requests to NCTracks through the NCTracks portal or by fax. New opioid analgesic prior authorization forms and revised clinical coverage criteria are available on the NCTracks Prior Approval Medications webpage. Beneficiaries with diagnosis of pain secondary to cancer will continue to be exempt from prior authorization requirements.

Resources for more information:

NCTracks Pharmacy Call Center: 1-866-246-8505

CDC Guideline- Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain

CCNC Opioid Safety Resources

ACS Scores Victory for Trauma Research 

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) has been working with members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations to advocate for inclusion of trauma research language in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2018. More specifically, the ACS is requesting that the committee report language stress the importance of trauma research and encourage the National Institutes of Health to establish a trauma research agenda to minimize death, disability, and injury by ensuring that patient-specific trauma care is based on scientifically validated findings. Committee report language is included in appropriations legislation to guide the administration and departments in their support of the committee’s priorities. The report and bill await further action in the Senate. The bill contains base discretionary funding for the agencies. 
For more information about the College’s policy positions on trauma, contact Justin Rosen, ACS Congressional Lobbyist, at or 202-672-1528.

Participate in MIPS 2017 through the SSR—General Surgery Specialty Measures Set Now Available

The following 2017 MIPS components and options are now available in the ACS Surgeon Specific Registry (SSR) for participation in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) 2017 Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS): Stay tuned for news about an additional 2017 Quality reporting option that will soon become available through the SSR: ACS Surgical Phases of Care Measures Set (MIPS—Qualified Clinical Data Registry).
For additional information about MIPS 2017, visit the ACS Division of Advocacy and Health Policy’s Quality Payment Program Resource Center. For answers to questions about the SSR, send an e-mail to or phone 312-202-5408. For technical support, contact the SSR Technical Support Help Desk at or at 1-877-600-7237.

NC-ACS 2017 Resident Abstract Paper Winners 

Upcoming Events

Clinical Congress 2017
October 22 - October 26

2017 Membership Application - Join Today!
It's time to pay your NC-ACS dues!

Your management team is at your service, so don't hesitate to contact us if we can be of any assistance!
Wanda McKnight, CAE
Chapter Administrator
Kathryn Browning
Advocacy & Communications
Janna Pecquet
Meeting & Events Coordinator

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