Eleven members of North Carolina's legislature graduated last month from the Legislative Health Policy Fellows program, a North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) program that educated the lawmakers about the health care concerns facing the citizens they represent.
During the three-session seminar, the lawmakers heard from industry experts about health care costs, health policy challenges and more.
“The Legislative Health Policy Fellows program provides a fantastic opportunity to hear from subject-matter experts on a variety of health-related topics,” Sen. Jim Perry (R-Kinston) said in a press release. “I was impressed by the breadth and depth of the information provided in the program.”
North Carolina state Sen. Vickie Sawyer (R-Mooresville) | Facebook
Session topics included the drivers of health, i.e., social, economic, behavioral, and community factors; the role of health care infrastructure and services in the state’s economy; the drivers of health care costs, Medicaid and Medicare in North Carolina; youth mental health and school-based mental health services, among others.
In addition to learning about bettering health policy, the group also created an issue brief about moving to value-based care in North Carolina. The brief details health care costs in the U.S. and in North Carolina, examines alternate payment models and gives examples of how value-based models could be implemented in North Carolina. This brief can be found on the NCIOM website.
Former Arkansas state Rep. John Burris (R-Boone) was on hand to talk about his experience with policymaking and Medicaid expansion in his state. Wisconsin state Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) spoke on his state's experience in handling the opioid crisis.
“One of the reasons we do what we do at the institute is to bridge science and experts with the policymaking process,” said Adam Zolotor, MD, DrPH, president and CEO of the NCIOM. “The Legislative Health Policy Fellows program is an opportunity to introduce experts to our legislators and spend a few days trying to take the politics out of health policy and focus on the issues. We love to see experts being peppered with questions from our legislators and to see consensus of ideas emerging across party lines.”
North Carolina's graduating class included Reps. Kelly Alexander, Lisa Barnes, Mary Belk, Christy Clark, Rachel Hunt, Verna Insko, Wayne Sasser and Julie von Haefen, and Sens. Deanna Ballard, Jim Perry and Vickie Sawyer.