Legislative Update: Clock Ticking on 2010 Budget Negotiations

The North Carolina General Assembly is moving quickly to wrap up 2010-2011 budget negotiations. While there is no set date that the General Assembly will adjourn, both House and Senate leadership have publicly stated that they hope to pass a budget by early July.

Medicaid Budget

House and Senate budget negotiators are continuing to meet for long days and late nights, and plan to release a final draft of the budget early next week.  The process has been complicated by the provisional budget cuts needed to fill a $500 million hole that could remain in the state budget if Congress fails to extend additional Medicaid matching funds to the states.  The NCMS legislative team has been working aggressively against any cut to physician payment rates and to safeguard access to medical services under Medicaid.

Penalties for the Unlicensed Practice of Medicine

Under current law, out-of-state practitioners not licensed in North Carolina are guilty of a class I felony, while those in North Carolina are only guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.  Representative Wil Neumann from Gaston County has introduced Senate Bill 721 to address this inconsistency.  This legislation will make all unlicensed medical practice a felony. It does not change the law regarding any scope of practice and does not prohibit anyone currently authorized to practice medicine in this state from continuing to do so.  On Thursday afternoon, the House Health Committee reported favorably on SB 721 and referred it to the House Judiciary I Committee who could discuss the bill as soon as next week.


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