I am very proud to follow Dr. Puri as President of NCCEP. He shepherded us through a tumultuous past year beginning with the failure of our state government to pass a budget, planned changes to the State Health Plan, Medicaid transformation, pushing back balanced billing legislation, advocating for increased use and reimbursement for telehealth and culminating with a global pandemic. I was going to thank him for finalizing all of those efforts, but as everyone’s efforts shifted to address COVID-19 and most projects were put on hold, we will have to circle back to them this next year.
Much of what NCCEP does for our membership involves legislative advocacy. We also offer multiple educational and collaboration opportunities throughout the year. Although the format has changed, we are putting the final touches on a digital version of our Fall Conference typically hosted by the Grove Park Inn in Asheville. I encourage everyone to make time to attend. Next Spring, we still plan on holding our Medical Director’s Summit and NC Legislative Day. Time will tell if these will be in person or not, but are always extremely valuable. Rounding out the next 12 months will be the Coastal Emergency Medicine Conference. It was cancelled this year, but we are all hopeful that it will return next summer. It is always an engaging and relaxing time in Kiawah! In the mean time, our board meetings are scheduled quarterly and are open to all members. I encourage anyone interested in helping to advance the practice of Emergency Medicine in NC to attend.
It is hard to imagine that only six months ago, our world turned upside down with the outbreak of COVID in our state and nation. All of us are faced with the horrible realities of this disease on a daily basis. We in NC, however, have been somewhat fortunate not to suffer outbreaks like NY, WA, TX and AZ, but we are in the top 10 with the worst current numbers. We have an opportunity as everyone looks to us as leaders in our communities and experts to use our voice to advocate for our patients and neighbors. Our state has partially opened and plans for school this fall are being made. I implore everyone to speak out in support of mask wearing while in public and appropriate social distancing. Everyone wants to move forward and return to some semblance of a normal life and business as other countries around the globe have done. It is in our nature as ED physicians, but we must encourage everyone to look out for those around them.
Thank you for being the amazing people you are.
Scott W. Brown, MD, FACEP