Message from NCMGMA President Matt Johnson


After a tumultuous 2020, we had so much hope for a better year in 2021. Little did we know, the pandemic was not finished wreaking its havoc and with 2022 fast approaching, do we dare say, “the worst is behind us?” Being a glass-half-full kind of guy, I’m going out on a limb to say, “Yes! 2022 is going to be a better year!”

I know for sure that without NCMGMA, my work-life would have been much more complicated these past two years. Networking with colleagues on our member listserv alone has been worth the price of our dues, and then some. I have heard repeatedly about how the listserv aided healthcare leaders in our state to make key decisions for their practices through these unprecedented times. There was a comfort in feeling we were not alone facing these extreme challenges.

As your incoming president, I want to take this time to first thank you all for being active participants in this incredible organization. We are comprised of many of the finest minds in healthcare, not only in North Carolina but the nation. Collectively, we can make significant impacts on how healthcare is delivered in our state. There is much strength in numbers, and when we work together on common goals, there is no stopping us. Connecting is the key!

So, what are our common goals? Surely, we are more than just a networking platform to bounce ideas off of when we need some help on the listserv. To help answer this question, let’s reflect on our Vision and Mission statements. Too often, these statements are dismissed as perfunctory relics we brush the dust off of every now and then but never really use for their designed purpose. And, what is that purpose? The vision is what you want to accomplish, and the mission is how you will achieve this vision.

Sounds simple, right? But let’s dig deeper because there is much more. We develop strategies from the vision and mission, and within these strategies, you will find those common goals I mentioned earlier. Under the astute leadership of our immediate past-president, Amanda McKinney, she facilitated the development of a comprehensive Strategic Plan for NCMGMA that included one-year, three-year, and five-year goals with the help of our Leadership Council. While it was a tedious but fun process, Amanda forced us to think and put our thoughts on paper to memorialize the work. Leadership all agree this strategic plan must be a living document and a roadmap for moving NCMGMA forward.

If you have not seen this document yet, let me highlight a few of the goals:

  • Grow our public profile – Maintain connections by enhancing our list of contacts from available resources. Continue to work with NC healthcare thought leaders.
  • Advocacy – Conduct quarterly calls with the Advocacy Committee chairs to maintain and improve this pillar of the organization.
  • Strengthen committees – Engage members through committees that touch on practice pain points.
  • New member engagement – Announce committee meetings on e-news – onboarding/education to new members on strengths of NCMGMA.

I encourage you to reflect on these goals and ask yourself how you can contribute to our successful achievement of them. Join a committee, contribute to the listserv, call your Legislator! There are many ways to help.

Something almost all of you can do now is participate in the 2021 Salary Survey. There may never have been a time when this has been more important. We are all too familiar with the workforce challenges businesses are experiencing across all industries throughout the country. Healthcare is not exempt from these challenges, and we find ourselves competing with one and other for employees and with sectors that were not competitors in the past.

Even if you have completed the survey in the past, please do so again. The market has changed dramatically for many positions, and this survey will give us the data to go to our respective organizations to adjust wages, if necessary, to be competitive. If you have never completed the survey, I implore you to please do so. Don’t wait. Although it can be more time-consuming than your basic survey, the information is extremely valuable. The more data we have, the better. By completing at least 75% of the survey, you qualify to receive your own free copy. I cannot think of a more relevant benchmark than this to assist us with managing our teams. Also, if you know other healthcare leaders who are not NCMGMA members, they too can complete the survey and receive the data. Please get the word out and, please, participate in this important exercise.

And finally, please commit to connecting with other NCMGMA members in 2022. Don’t underestimate the power of connectivity. We can achieve more together. My commitment to you all is to humbly serve in my role as president while following the comprehensive roadmap developed by my predecessors.

I look forward to connecting with you in 2022.

Matt Johnson, MA, MBA
NCMGMA 2021-2022 President

From the President: Seeking Help During the Prolonged Stress of COVID

By Venkata Jonnalagadda, MD

Reprinted with permission from the North Carolina Medical Board

In November, during NCMB’s regularly scheduled Board Meeting, I had the honor of being sworn in as this distinguished body’s 122nd President. I am profoundly grateful to have this opportunity to serve. But this first President’s Message is not about me.

Instead I want to acknowledge what a tremendously stressful time this is for medical professionals and encourage licensees to make self-care a priority. Stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms are all associated with an increased risk of relapse in individuals with substance use disorder. They also increase the chances that someone with no prior history of misuse may turn to alcohol or other drugs as an unhealthy way to cope.

I write this thinking mainly of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which affects us all in myriad ways.

I am thinking of frontline clinicians facing a third surge of COVID-19 patients even as we head into flu season. I am thinking of licensees, practices and employers worrying over financial stability or even unemployment as patients continue to avoid or defer care to reduce their exposure. And I am also thinking of licensees who may be juggling children in virtual school and/or the responsibility of providing extra assistance to help vulnerable family members stay safe during the pandemic, along with all of their other obligations.

And of course, we are heading into the holiday season, which can be a stressful and isolating time even when we are not facing a pandemic.

Given these conditions, it is imperative that clinicians remain vigilant in addressing behaviors that may increase risk of harm to themselves or jeopardize their ability to practice safely. Sadly, but not surprisingly, over the past several months NCMB has noted an uptick in alcohol and substance use relapses among licensees with a history of substance use disorder.

Please remember that it is possible to seek assistance for depression and/or substance use without your identity becoming known to NCMB and get help if you need it. Nor is it necessary to notify NCMB if you have initiated treatment. NCMB understands how important it is for its licensees to have the ability to get help without fear.

If you do not drink alcohol or have a history of substance use, it may be easy to think of this issue as someone else’s problem. I would argue, however, that this is a community issue. Those of us who are able should actively work to lift and support friends and colleagues in crisis. I implore those of you in leadership positions in medicine to consider whether your organizations are doing all they can to adequately support clinicians who may be struggling.

In closing, I want to remind everyone that the NC Professionals Health Program is a supportive resource available to anyone struggling with substance use or depression. Call them at 919-870-4480. For those who prefer a different resource, I encourage you contact a local provider for help if you need it or look into some of the national resources available to clinicians. Among them are the Physician Support Line at 888-409-0141 or, the Emotional PPE Project available at, or Project Parachute, which can be found at

Thank you for your attention.

Be well.

Message from 2020-21 NCMGMA President Amanda McKinney

Hello, NCMGMA Members!

Here we are, approaching the end of 2020 and I believe it’s fair to say most everyone is looking forward to 2021! It is truly amazing to see how everyone has pulled together to help one another and this can best be seen in our organization just by viewing the questions and responses on the listserv. This communication tool provides us access to hundreds of members and may be one of the best resources we have.

A human body consists of vital organs, bones for structure and stability, and a nervous system for voluntary and involuntary actions. The way every part of the body works together is fascinating and we all understand if there is a major failure in the body, everything else is unlikely to function at its best. I see NCMGMA as one body. Our organization is much like the human body. We have our vital organs: our Committee chairs and members, Board of Directors and Alliance Sponsors. We have our members, the backbone of the organization, without whom the body would collapse. THM, our management company, is the nervous system, if you will, because they have their finger on the pulse of EVERYTHING NCMGMA! Should any of these major parts fail to function or exist, our organization would begin to fail. For that reason, I believe it especially important to give thanks and credit where credit is due.

Thank you to Steve Parker for his leadership during one of the toughest years we have all encountered as healthcare professionals. On that note, I would like to thank ALL of the past Presidents. Your leadership and service to the board has been a selfless and admirable effort. To our Board of Directors, everything we do is done as a team. The input from every person on the board helps us grow, learn and move forward not only as an organization, but as individuals as well. We could not steer this ship without the wisdom and experience of this very talented group.

To our Alliance sponsors, THANK YOU for your dedication to our organization each year. NCMGMA values the opportunity to collaborate with you in opening the doors to services our members need. We could not exist without your unwavering support to our mission and vision.

And last, but certainly not least, thank you to our members. You all are the bones of this organization. From the mountains to the coast, you keep NCMGMA strong!

As other Presidents before me have done, I am working with the board to focus on specific goals coming into this role. Most important is to continue to find ways to strengthen the organization through its mission and vision. With extensive input from our Leadership Council in the organization, we have developed mission statements for the next 1, 3, and 5 years. These statements embody our goals for the short term and long term. We will continue to focus on what sets us apart from other organizations, how we can collaborate with and complement other professional organizations, strengthen our relationships with state leaders, identify what our members deem as ‘value’ for their membership and explore best avenues to provide that value.

Our mission statements are as follows:

  • Year 1 – 2021: NCMGMA is an actively engaged organization with strong leadership presence that emphasizes connectivity with local chapters.
  • Year 3 – 2024: NCMGMA is an organization that is recognized as a leader for practice management, through an innovative approach to connection with members, innovative education opportunities, and access to other organizations.
  • Year 5 – 2026: NCMGMA is a financially solid, diverse and inclusive organization offering personal and professional development for established and emerging practice management leaders in North Carolina.

We will meet our vision by following through on actionable goals we have set utilizing not the skilled hands of a few, but many of our volunteers throughout the organization. We will be calling on every member to provide feedback through surveys as we seek to understand what the needs are across our state, understanding that those needs vary from one practice to another. Keep an eye on our bi-weekly NCMGMA News Highlights to learn of new ways we are looking to connect across the state!

In closing, I want to say how humbled I feel to serve this organization. Next year marks the 50th Anniversary of NCMGMA and we will take every opportunity to celebrate this milestone. We have some important changes in the upcoming year: E/M coding changes, Managed Medicaid, and there are certain to be new developments with COVID. Our board and committees will continue to work hard to make NCMGMA your best and most valuable resource. Throughout 2020 we may have felt like we were on an island by ourselves many days, but looking back, I can see we have navigated new obstacles and tough times TOGETHER. Heading into 2021, we will continue this journey, ready to face whatever challenges meet us.

Yours respectfully,

Amanda McKinney
2020-2021 President
North Carolina Medical Group Management Association (NCMGMA)