NCIOM Annual Health Policy Meeting Highlights Medicaid Transformation Process, Plans & Pitfalls

Blog | September 12, 2019

Woman in white blazer speaks at podium
NC DHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen

Despite Hurricane Dorian’s approach on Thursday, September 5, the North Carolina Institute of Medicine’s annual health policy meeting attracted its largest crowd ever, with registrants from around the state coming to hear from stakeholders in North Carolina’s transition to Medicaid managed care.


After opening remarks from David Sousa, JD, MBA, chair of the NCIOM Board of Directors and Adam J. Zolotor, President & CEO of the NCIOM, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, MD, MPH, kicked off the day by acknowledging the long road that has led to this point, and the long road ahead.


"Folks were making progress well before I got here,” she said, and when she took the helm of NC DHHS in 2017 she “followed that beacon towards health.”


"I’m not standing here to promise perfection,” she noted. “This is a big change that will take a lot of communication, and I need all of you to help.”

man speaks at podium next to panel of people
William Lawrence of Carolina Complete Health and panel

The day was shortened to allow attendees to get home before the storm, but that didn’t stem the enthusiasm at the breakout sessions.


Lawrence Nycum, MD, of Novant Health, moderated a panel on improving quality and experience of care. Panelists included representatives from three of the organizations tapped to provide managed care through Medicaid transformation: Angela Boykin of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina/Healthy Blue; William Lawrence, Jr., MD, of Carolina Complete Health; and Genie Komives, MD, of WellCare North Carolina.


John Morrow, MD, MPH, former director of the Pitt County Health Department, led a panel on the Healthy Opportunities Pilots and the NCCARE360 Resource Platform. Panelists included Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, MD, MPH, State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer at NC DHHS; Megan Lee Carlson, MPH, of Unite Us; Nicole Alston, MS, RD/LDN, the Director of Nutritional Services and WIC in Alamance County; and Tracy Salisbury, Executive Director of Cone Health’s Open Door Clinic.


Goldie Byrd, PhD, of Wake Forest School of Medicine moderated a panel on consumer navigation of the transition to Medicaid Managed Care that included Sheila Arias of MomsRising; Carter Wade, MBA, of MAXIMUS; and Debra Farrington MSW, LCSW, of NC Medicaid.

Brian McGinnis, MBA, executive director of Catawba Valley Medical Group, led a panel on population health and value-based care with representatives from the other organizations selected to provide managed care through Medicaid. Panelists included Barbara Matthews, RN, BSN, MBA, CMAC, of AmeriHealth Caritas North Carolina and Kevin Moore, Vice President of Policy for Health and Human Services at UnitedHealthcare Community & State.


Lisa Shock, DrPH, MHS, PA-C, Vice President of Clinical Strategy and Operations at Evolent Clinical Services, moderated a panel on monitoring, oversight and evaluation with Kelly Crosbie, MSW, LCSW of NC Medicaid, Sabrena Lea of the NC Division of Health Benefits, and Marisa Domino, PhD, of UNC.


In the final panel, Penney Burlingame Deal, DHA, RN, FACHE, president and CEO of Onslow Memorial Hospital, moderated a discussion of Medicaid transformation and special populations between Debra Farrington, MSW, LCSW, of NC Medicaid; Lisa Macon Harrison, MPH, of Granville Vance Public Health; and Caroline Doherty, MSW, MPH, Chief Development and Programs Officer of Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center.


During lunch, NCIOM President and CEO Adam J. Zolotor, MD, DrPH, presented the NCIOM Award for Excellence in Health Policy Leadership to Erin Fraher, PhD, MPP, Director of the Program on Health Workforce Research and Policy at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research. Learn more about Erin here.

man and woman stand on stage together
Erin Fraher and Adam Zolotor

The lunchtime keynote was delivered by Frederick Isasi, JD, MPH, the executive director at Families USA, a national nonprofit organization focused on securing affordable health care for everyone. He noted that North Carolina’s Medicaid transformation project is happening at a time of rapidly evolving health care around the country.


“This question of transformation… is the beating heart of the effort to change what health and health care means in our nation,” he said.


To close out the day, John McCarthy, MPA, Founding Partner at Speire Healthcare Strategies and former director of the Ohio Department of Medicaid, shared his perspective on the national move to Medicaid managed care, and Blair Barton-Percival, Director of the Area Agency on Aging at the Piedmont Triad Regional Council made remarks on team-building and healthy opportunities.


Access any presentation from the annual meeting here.


Read more from the managed care organizations here.

man speaks from podium
Frederick Isasi of Families USA