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NCPeds News Net--May 2018

Monday, May 21, 2018  
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NCPeds News Net
May 2018

My Experience at the AAP Legislative Conference

By Ganga Moorthy, MD

As pediatricians we are tasked with caring for the physical, mental and emotional health of children both in and out of the hospital and clinic. Part of this job includes engaging in advocacy to create change for good on the local, state and national level. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Legislative Conference is held each spring in Washington D.C. and is a crash course in legislative advocacy culminating in a morning of speaking with congressional representatives on a pertinent issue regarding child health.


I’ve been able to attend the conference twice as a resident, and it has been informative, engaging and rejuvenating. The conference this year brought leaders from the AAP, partner organizations and congressional officials together to share their expertise with nearly 400 pediatricians from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. We were immersed in the ins and outs of effective legislative advocacy and the AAP’s push for increased funding for gun violence research and stronger gun laws to ensure that children across the country are safe in their homes, schools and neighborhoods. We ended the conference by meeting with each of our senators and representatives on Capitol Hill and bringing them our asks on behalf of the children of North Carolina.


I’ve returned from the conference rejuvenated, inspired and reminded why being a pediatrician is the greatest job in the world. As a trainee, I’ve felt that the experience has been crucial to battle burn out – and I think this applies to every pediatrician regardless of where they are in their career. Advocacy can be incredibly meaningful and a way to truly make our patient’s lives better. As pediatricians we have the unique opportunity to be involved in all levels of government as non-partisan experts on child health. The AAP and the North Carolina Pediatric Society (NCPeds) are incredibly helpful resources. I encourage everyone to find a way to engage in advocacy – small or large. I am very thankful to NCPeds and my residency program for allowing me to attend this year’s conference. Advocacy is a marathon, not a sprint – but we all must run the race.


--Ganga Moorthy is a resident at Duke Pediatrics.




2018 AAP Legislative Conference

Thank you to the NCPeds members who traveled toWashington, D.C. April 8-10 for the American Academy of Pediatrics Legislative Conference. Throughout their time in our nation's capital, the North Carolina delegation met with congressional offices and attended sessions about public policy issues.

Register Today for White Coat Wednesday

NCPeds' White CoatWednesday is scheduled for May 30 beginning at the North Carolina Medical Society in Raleigh. We'll spend the day talking to legislators about the important issues affecting children's health statewide.

Join us at8 a.m. for breakfast and an overview and briefing, including hot topics of the moment, tips for talking with legislators and layout of the legislative buildings.

Register early at ourwebsiteso we know you're coming!

And, don't forget to make appointments with yourlegislators now so you're ready to meet with them on May 30.


Meet the Board
John Rusher, MD, FAAP
Chair, Public Policy Committee

Celebrating 20 Years of


By Scott St. Clair,

NCPeds President

Patience and perseverance.


That’s what John Rusher has learned in his years of service on the NCPeds Public Policy Committee.

“Making effective advocacy or policy changes is a full nine-inning baseball game. It’s not a quick fix,” he said. “Moving legislators and state government administrators in their administration of different policies is something we need to watch continuously.”


John, who served as NCPeds President from 2012-2014, currently serves as Co-Chair of the Public Policy Committee for NCPeds alongside Scott St. Clair. Throughout his committee tenure, he’s been involved in issues including vaccines, newborn screenings, Medicaid coverage, quality issues and scope of practice.


His involvement with the Public Policy Committee began 15 years ago when he joined the staff of Raleigh Pediatrics. The practice’s senior partner and then-president of NCPeds, Bill Hubbard, assigned him to Chair the Legislative and Government Affairs Committee. Since that time, John has worked to educate and develop relationships with legislators and members of state government on behalf of the pediatric industry, testified at committee hearings, served on advisory committees and worked to build and maintain coalitions with other health-related groups in North Carolina.


A former attorney turned physician, John joined the staff of Raleigh Pediatric Associates nearly 20 years ago and now works as a Partner in the practice. He has served as a Clinical Associate Professor in the General Pediatrics Department of the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill and currently serves on the North Carolina Medical Board. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from Wake Forest University and his medical degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.


Helives in Raleigh with his wife of 32 years. They have three grown children, two of which live in the Triangle area. He’s an avid bicyclist who can be found in charity rides on many weekends. And one week of every summer, you’ll find him at YMCA’s Camp Seagull where he serves as a board member and camp physician.

My son – aged 18 -is about to graduate high school. As a dad, it’s hard for me to believe.

As a pediatrician, it’s hard to believe it has been more than his lifetime - 20 years -since the passage of the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) law in North Carolina. This federal bi-partisan effort made it possible for children and teens in families who earned too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private health insurance to get the health care they need to grow up healthy and strong.

It took a lot of work from legislators and advocates to get CHIP well-crafted to meet the needs of N.C.’s children. Then, on May 11, 1998, Gov. Jim Hunt signed Senate Bill 2/House Bill 3 into law and established N.C.’s CHIP.

Now we celebrate the 20th anniversary of this important law that now allows almost 240,000 children and teens in North Carolina to receive health benefits. Because of this bill, hundreds of thousands of our state’s children and teens now receive comprehensive medical, dental and vision coverage.

CHIP programs began in 1997 across the U.S. as a way to provide medical insurance coverage for children who couldn’t afford private coverage but weren’t eligible for Medicaid.The programs are jointly funded through federal and state funds and are administered by the states.

How important is CHIP? Let’s look at it by the numbers.

  • 238,700: The number of children and teens statewide who receive medical services through CHIP according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
  • 9 million: The number of children across the United States who are enrolled in a CHIP program.
  • 4%: The record-low percentage of uninsured children in the United States according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
  • 7.3 million: The number of children in the U.S. who had at least one unmet medical need in 1993 before the creation of CHIP according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

So, why is this important? We all know that consistent medical, dental and vision screenings ensure that children grow up healthy and better able to manage chronic illnesses. But, without access to medical insurance, many children miss out on regular, preventative routine care as well as crucial medical treatments.

Access to quality medical care isn’t a luxury. It’s a crucial part of every child’s development.

CHIP granted hundreds of thousands of North Carolina’s children the opportunity for a healthier, better tomorrow. Without NC Health Choice and CHIP, these children would not receive their well visits, their yearly eye exams, their dental cleanings, their sick visits and more.

Happy Anniversary, CHIP! May you continue to bring a healthier tomorrow to North Carolina’s children and teens.



Dates to Remember


Mark your calendars for these upcoming NCPeds events.

  • White Coat Wednesday,Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at the North Carolina Medical Society in Raleigh
  • Annual Meeting,Friday, September 14 - Sunday, September 16, 2018 at the Marriott Resort & Spa at Grand Dunes in Myrtle Beach


Contact NCPeds



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