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 The Weekly e-News of the Western Carolina Medical Society 

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December 4, 2013


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In This Issue:
The WCMS Physician Directory (Blue Book)
Save the Date: WCMS Annual Celebration! (1/18/14)
Honor the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1/18/14)
What is WCMS Planning for 2014?
Politics & Healthcare
Medicare to Pay Flat Rate for Clinic Visits
Final Rule Sets in Motion 24% Pay Cut on Jan. 1st
What is Accountable Care?
Are You Ready to Transition to ICD-10 on October 1, 2014?
Member Announcements
Job Board & Classified Ads
The WCMS Physician Directory (Blue Book)
The 2013-2014 "Blue Book" is ready for ordering!  This is a comprehensive directory of physicians, produced by WCMS that:
  • Includes physicians and practices from all 16 WNC counties
  • Is pocket size for easy access
  • Has a discounted price for practices with 100% members of WCMS! 
To place an order, go to www.mywcms.org/BlueBook and pay online or download an order form.

Have questions or need to know if you're part of a 100% member practice? Email us at membership@mywcms.org)
Save the Date: WCMS Annual Celebration!  (1/18/14) 
Saturday, January 18th, 6:00-9:00pm
68 Sweeten Creek Rd
Asheville, NC 28803

Sponsored by:
Honor the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1/18/14)
On Saturday, January 18, 2014 residents of Asheville and Buncombe County will celebrate our community's 33rd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast to commemorate the life and work of Dr. King.

Join Us!
WCMS has purchased a limited number of tickets for this engaging event, which we are offering to physician members (and one guest) as a gift on a first-come-first-served basis. Join your local elected officials, physician colleagues, and fellow community leaders at the MLK Prayer Breakfast (the largest such gathering in the country.)
Saturday, January 18, 2014
8:30-10:30 a.m.
(Doors Open 8:00 am)
Grand Ballroom, Grove Park Inn
Reserve your ticket(s) by December 20th by contacting Julia Lockamy (Julia@mywcms.org or 274-2267, ext 311).
What is WCMS Planning for 2014?  
The strategic planning process began in August of this year.  WCMS staff identified key partners in our community on whom our future depends, including independent and employed physicians, health system leadership, funders and donors, community leaders, practice managers, patients and, of course, our employees. We interviewed a total of 70 men and women from those key partner groups about their personal, professional and organizational aspirations, how well WCMS is currently fulfilling those, and how we might address them moving forward.

As we continue to evolve from the Buncombe County Medical Society into the Western Carolina Medical Society, we deliberately interviewed partners from outside of Buncombe County. For example, in addition to Mission, we interviewed hospital and physician leaders from Park Ridge, Pardee, Cherokee, and MedWest.

On October 28th, 47 of our key partners gathered at MAHEC to see and discuss the thematic results that emerged from our analysis of all those interviews. After the presentation participants broke out into their key partner groups facilitated by WCMS leaders with the assignment of writing two or three strategies by which WCMS could better fulfill their group's aspirations.  

After the town hall meeting, we identified strategies that emerged across many groups, assessed our resources and partnerships to ensure that we could successfully engage in those strategies, reviewed them with our Board of Directors, and prepared a 2014 Strategic Plan. WCMS has committed to providing quarterly updates to our key partners throughout 2014, and we look forward to engaging them in this aspiration-driven strategic planning process again next fall.

Review our 2014 Strategic Plan
Politics & Healthcare
Want political influence on health care issues? Your practice can create its own Political Action Committee!  To obtain assistance with setting up your own Practice PAC, contact Miriam Schwarz at miriam@mywcms.org.

Read article
Medicare to Pay Flat Rate for Clinic Visits 
"Despite criticism from hospitals and doctors, the CMS intends to pay flat rates for Medicare visits to outpatient clinics instead of payments that vary with the severity of the patient's condition..."

Continue reading
Final Rule Sets in Motion 24% Pay Cut on Jan. 1st
From the AMA: On Wednesday, Nov. 27th, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final rule with the 2014 Medicare physician payment schedule, available here.

Although the rule is nearly a full month late, it is still scheduled for implementation Jan. 1, 2014.  Unless Congress acts when it returns in December, physicians face a 20.1 percent cut in the Medicare conversion factor due to the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). When adjustments to the relative value scale are combined with the conversion factor change, the net reduction in payment rates will be about 24 percent.
Contact Congress and tell lawmakers to Fix Medicare Now. http://fixmedicarenow.org/physicians/ 
What is Accountable Care?
Over 40 North Carolina medical societies and organizations- including WCMS- have joined together in a commitment to helping the medical community face the challenges of a changing health care environment, launching the Toward Accountable Care Consortium and Initiative. The Consortium was designed to provide the medical community with the knowledge and tools needed to understand, participate in, navigate, lead, and succeed in a value-driven health care system. The initiative will distribute resources to its members, such as user-friendly documents that contain relevant information for all physicians regarding accountable care; at least 20 specialty-specific toolkits; a merit-based, shared-savings pool distribution guide; a guide to negotiating bundled payments; related webinars and educational sessions; articles, podcasts, and short videos, and other print and social media.

This week: Early Results Are In: ACOs are Working by Julian D. ("Bo") Bobbitt, Jr., Esq. of Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan, L.L.P., Raleigh, NC 
Are You Ready to Transition to ICD-10 on October 1, 2014?  
MLN Connects™ videos on the CMS YouTube Channel can help you prepare.
  • In the "ICD-10: Implementation for Physicians, Partial Code Freeze, and MS-DRG Conversion Project" video, Pat Brooks and Dr. Daniel Duvall from the Center for Medicare, Hospital and Ambulatory Policy Group discuss the transition to ICD-10 for medical diagnosis and inpatient procedure coding. Watch video.
  • Video slideshow presentations from MLN Connects National Provider Calls:
    • August 22, 2013 - ICD-10 Basics: Keynote presentation by Sue Bowman from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).  Watch video.
    • April 18, 2013 - Begin Transitioning to ICD-10 in 2013: CMS Subject matter experts review basic information on the transition to ICD-10 and discuss implementation planning and preparation strategies.  Watch video.
Visit the Medicare Fee-for-Service Provider Resources web page for a complete list of ICD-10 articles, products, and videos from the Medicare Learning Network®. 
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 Kristina Isenhour, Member Services Coordinator at kristina@mywcms.org   
Job Board & Classified Ads
WCMS: Information Systems Manager
Asheville Internal Medicine: PA or FNP

ECP: Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant 

ECP: Physicians


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