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 The Weekly e-News of the Western Carolina Medical Society 

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March 27, 2013


CircOfFriends VS
In This Issue:
Deerfield Retirement Community Sponsor Message (Left)
MAHEC PQRS Training (4/9)
Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) Safe Opioid Prescribing in Medical Practices (4/10, 4/16)
ACOs: What They Are and How North Carolina Physicians Should Approach Them - Webinar (4/17)
Women In Medicine - April Social (4/18)
Henderson, Transylvania, Macon and Buncombe Rank in Top 20 Healthiest NC Counties
New MedWest-Haywood CEO comfortable in challenging situation
Retail Pharmacy Data in WNC Data Link
Majority of US residents don't understand ACA
How much do you know about ACA? Take this Health Reform Quiz
Dear lawmakers: This is what it's like to be a doctor today
Budget Sequestration and the U.S. Health Sector
What is Medicaid in North Carolina?
Member Announcements
Job Board & Classified Ads


MAHEC PQRS Training (4/9)

The Game is Changing Now: 

New Changes for 2013 and Strategies to Ensure Qualification
MAHEC Biltmore Campus

Tuesday, April 9, 2013



This event will provide a focused presentation of the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) 2013 program changes. This workshop is intended for physicians, practice managers, case managers, health administrators, and those responsible for quality improvement in their respective care organizations. Public health administrators and providers, health plan administrators and health educators are also welcome.


Click here for more details and registration information.  

Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) Safe Opioid Prescribing in Medical Practices Part 1 and 2 (4/10, 4/16)

Date: Wednesday, April 10 and Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Registration: 7:30 am - 8:00 am both days

Program: 8:00 am - 10:00 am both days

Place: MAHEC Biltmore Campus, Asheville, NC and live web streaming



Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) training is a newly required

element in Safe Opioid Prescribing. It is intended to equip prescribers with

the knowledge, skills, and behaviors they need to implement evidence-based

safe prescribing practices for extended-release and long-acting (ER/LA)

opioid analgesics along with other medications used for treating pain.


ACOs: What They Are and How North Carolina Physicians Should Approach Them - Webinar (4/17)

Event: NCMSF/NCMGM Webinar

Date:  April 17, 2013 
Time: 12:00pm-1:00pm 
Featuring Julian (Bo) Bobbitt, JD, Smith Anderson Law Firm

This webinar will provide:
  • a fundamental understanding of the reasons compelling health system change;
  • a review of accountable care and accountable care organizations;
  • an overview of how patient care can be improved through systems and teams;
  • clinical strategies for physicians to optimize access to and quality of care in the accountable care era.
This webinar is free but you must be registered to attend. Space is limited so register early!
Women In Medicine - April Social (4/18)

It's hard to believe, but the Women In Medicine section of the WCMS is a year old! Join us for wine/refreshments and hors d'oeuvres as WIM celebrates its first anniversary on Thursday, April, 18th at the Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar (Upstairs) in the Grove Arcade in Downtown Asheville. Click here to RSVP or check on our website for updates about this event.  


All women physician members are invited to attend, and encouraged to bring physician friends or colleagues (regardless of their membership).

The WCMS's Women In Medicine section offers an opportunity for women physicians to meet, network, and share experiences common to their profession. The WIM socials are held bi-monthly. 

Henderson, Transylvania, Macon and Buncombe Rank in Top 20 Healthiest NC Counties

Buncombe County ranks #19 in the state when it comes to overall health. (Note that in WNC, Henderson came in #12, Transylvania #14, and Macon #16. Swain came in #96) The Annual County Health Rankings Report for each county in the nation has been released, offering a way for us to take a look at how healthy we are today and how healthy we will be in the future.  Buncombe's overall health rankings have stayed in the Top 20 for the last three years.  The County Health Rankings reinforce the fact that our health is affected by income, education, access to healthy foods and recreation, as well as the health behaviors we adopt and where we live.


Good News - There was significant improvement in the percentage rate of our low-income population with limited access to healthy foods, which improved by 44% (9% this year compared to 16% last year). 


Please see link below for the Health Snapshot 2013: Buncombe one-page handout and the news release from Buncombe County Department of Health

For additional counties in WNC, go to County Health Rankings Website:   www.countyhealthrankings.org.

New MedWest-Haywood CEO comfortable in challenging situation

Janie Sinacore-Jaberg has run a lot of hospitals - small hospitals, financially precarious hospitals, turf-war embattled hospitals, hospitals in the midst of a merger, even hospitals in the midst of hostile take over. 


Read article at Smoky Mountain News. 

Retail Pharmacy Data in WNC Data Link 

WNC Data Link now offers access to retail pharmacy data within the clinical portal.  Access to this data is provided through a connection with the Surescripts network. Authorized WNC Data Link users can now access a patient's medication history that includes prescribed and filled medications from participating pharmacies as well as medications from insurance claims from participating insurance companies. The addition of Surescripts Medication History will further enrich continuity of care by providing timely, more complete medication history. This enhancement can improve coordination of care and provide more informed decisions when diagnosing patients. "We are excited to offer our physicians and clinicians an enriched view of the patient's medical treatment," says Janice Lato, President & CEO, WNC Health Network. "Incorporating medication information into WNC Data Link will further enhance knowledge about prescribed and filled medications."  Users should click on the "Retail Pharmacy" link in the WNC Data Link portal. This feature on WNC Data Link was funded by a grant from The Duke Endowment. For more information contact Jonathan Meadows - jonathan.meadows@wnchn.org


Majority of US residents don't understand ACA 

Fifty-seven percent of U.S. residents said they still do not have enough knowledge about how the Affordable Care Act will affect them, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation's March 2013 tracking poll released yesterday. The poll's release coincides with the third anniversary of the enactment of the ACA. Further, the poll found that unfamiliarity with the law is much higher among groups that are expected to benefit from the most from the ACA, with 67% of uninsured individuals and 68% of low-income respondents stating that they are inadequately informed. Overall, the poll found that low awareness about the ACA is widespread. In terms of overall public opinion about the law, the KFF poll found that respondents remain divided, with 40% expressing an unfavorable view and 37% a favorable view. (Sources: CQ HealthBeat, 3/20 [Subscription Required]; The Hill's "Healthwatch," 3/20; The Hill's "Healthwatch," 3/21; Los Angeles Times, 3/20; Politico, 3/21)

How much do you know about ACA? Take this Health Reform Quiz 
Dear lawmakers: This is what it's like to be a doctor today 
Budget Sequestration and the U.S. Health Sector

The inability of the Congress and President Barack Obama to agree by March 1 on a plan to reduce the budget deficit is triggering $85 billion in across-the-board cuts in most federal agencies and programs for the final 7 months of fiscal year 2013. These reductions will have adverse effects on many important governmental functions and activities affecting both the health sector and the health of Americans. Why is this happening, and what will the impact be on the U.S. health sector? Continue reading at the New England Journal of Medicine. 

What is Medicaid in North Carolina?

This special supplement provides an overview and history of North Carolina's Medicaid program, including information on how it is financed, who is eligible, and what services are covered. The issue brief and invited commentaries address the challenges the state faces in financing Medicaid; how North Carolina's patient-centered medical home model, Community Care of North Carolina, has led to improved health outcomes for Medicaid recipients; and future challenges the state will face with a growing population of older adults. 



Member Announcements 

Are you a WCMS Member who is opening a new practice? Are you a 100% Member Practice who has hired a new physician? Send us your announcements and we will post them for you in our new Member Announcements section of Vital Signs to keep other members informed about what's happening in our WCMS community! Contact Nancy Caine, Member Services Coordinator at Nancy@mywcms.org.     

Job Board & Classified Ads

BRCHS: Associate Medical Director


BRCHS: Dentist


BRCHS: Family Nurse Practitioner


BRCHS: Physician Assistant 


Internal Medicine Practice: Physician  


Orthopedic Surgery Practice: Physician Assistant  


Plastic Surgery Center: Medical Biller 


To find out how you can post a Job or Classified Ad Click here.


WCMS is a thriving 900-plus member professional association of the physicians of western North Carolina and a chartered component medical society of the NC Medical Society and the AMA. The WCMS is an organization run by physicians for physicians.

Our Mission
The WCMS is the physicians' voice advocating for the health of the medical profession, the health of the patient, and the health of the community.  

Our Vision
To be a dynamic physician community dedicated to a healthy, vibrant Western North Carolina.

About WCMS
The purpose of WCMS is: 

  • To strengthen the voice of WNC physicians in advocating for the health of the medical profession, the health of the patient, and the health of our region
  • To inform, educate and prepare physicians for rapidly occurring changes in health care at national, state, and local levels
  • To share legislative and policy information and advocate on behalf of physicians in areas of mutual interest
  • To share available resources in areas of mutual interest
  • To promote physician-to-physician communication and dialogue in an open, honest and safe environment

We hope you enjoy our weekly e-newsletter. If you have questions or suggestions please feel free to contact me.  


Miriam Schwarz


Miriam Schwarz signature


Miriam Schwarz, MPA

WCMS CEO/Executive Director