Western Carolina Medical Society: The Physicians' Voice for a Health Community
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August 6, 2014
WCMS Circle of Friends: Van Winkle Law Firm & Johnson Prics Sprinkle, PA
In This Issue:
OneWhoServes- Sponsor Message (Left)
WCMS Foundation Chair's Message
Helping Improve Immunization Rates in Buncombe County
Fire Guts Asheville Medical Office
MedWest Haywood Becomes Part of Duke LifePoint Healthcare
Hospital Facing Cuts, Jobs at Risk
Hard Launch for NC Fast Medicaid Program
Physicians' Voice in the News
North Carolina State Budget
Long-Term Medicaid Reform Discussion Could Move to Special Legislative Session
Deadline for ICD-10 Allows Health Care Industry Ample Time to Prepare for Change
Member Benefits- Did You Know?
Job Board & Classified Ads
WCMS Foundation Chair's Message 
"In January of this year, I rose early on a beautiful snowy morning to gather with others and celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. It was a time to reflect on his life and examine my own. Dr. King sought equality through changing his America peacefully from the inside out. He is undoubtedly one of America's greatest leaders and an inspiration to the world. He did not achieve his goals of justice and equality through separation and not participating or dropping out, but by changing the system from within.

As I examine my role as a primary care provider and WCMS Foundation chair, I too would like to inspire change. Within the complicated world of medicine, I see the role of WCMS--our regional medical society-- to be uniting,  helping us to find common ground..."

Continue reading this letter by Jim Early, MD (Chair, WCMS Foundation)
Helping Improve Immunization Rates in Buncombe County (8/26) 
For the past several school years, Buncombe County has had the highest immunization exemption rate for kindergarteners in NC -- at least 5 times higher than the state average. During last school year, over 4% of our county's kindergarteners had not received all their required vaccinations. Most of these children's parents claimed a non-medical reason for not vaccinating their children.

As you know, this places our community at a significant risk of a vaccine-preventable disease outbreak. The decision to not vaccinate is often fueled by misinformation and miscommunication in the media and among parents.

One study showed that a 20 second conversation with a physician can make the difference in helping a parent to decide to immunize.

Join Dr. Susan Mims, Frank Castelblanco and I for a special event at MAHEC on Tuesday, August 26 from 6-7pm.  A light supper will be provided as well as CEU credit.  Click here for event information.
Please join us. The health of our community depends on all of us speaking out strongly in support of immunizations.

Jennifer Mullendore, MD, MSPH
Medical Director
Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services
Fire Guts Asheville Medical Office
Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of a fire that heavily damaged a medical office near Mission Hospital on Monday morning. The blaze at Biltmore Family Practice, at 1 St. Dunstans Road just off Biltmore Avenue, was reported at 3:30 a.m. No one was injured.
Read article.

Note: WCMS talked to Dr. Rob Anderson on 8/4/14. Once he works through the initial shock of this devastation, he will assess his situation and may be pulling together a wish list for the physician community to help him re-establish his practice as quickly as possible.
MedWest Haywood Becomes Part of Duke LifePoint Healthcare  
Acquisition of Clyde medical center is finalized, bringing new clinical and operational resources to strengthen health care in Haywood County and surrounding communities.

Read article.
Hospital Facing Cuts, Jobs at Risk 
Mission Health System will cut costs by $42 million next year under a reorganization plan that could mean layoffs.
Read Asheville Citizen-Times article.

Transylvania Regional Hospital (TRH), part of Mission, is being asked to make $1.5 million in cuts.

The Transylvania Times sat down with interim TRH President Craig James Thursday to discuss the budget cuts and what it means for TRH, the employees who work there and the community members who rely on the hospitals services for their health.
Read Transylvania Times article/interview.
Hard Launch for NC Fast Medicaid Program
The NC FAST Medicaid hard launch for Buncombe County will begin Monday, August 4, 2014. During the hard launch, all Medicaid cases will be moved from the historical system to the NC FAST system.

Click here to read the full press release.
Physicians' Voice in the News
WCMS is proud to announce another high quality addition to the series of "The Physicians' Voice" media presentations aimed to showcase to the general public our physicians' world-class medical expertise and focus on patient/community health.  
Here is the latest release: "Buncombe County Ranks Lowest for Immunizations in NC" by Dr. Jennifer Mullendore.

You can read all about The Physicians' Voice on our website.
North Carolina State Budget 
North Carolina's General Assembly on Saturday finalized a $21 billion spending plan for education, public health, transportation and other government services.
Read the article summarizing the budget.

While there has been much reporting on the 7 percent teacher pay raises included in the budget plan, it is also important to understand the numerous changes and cuts made to the Medicaid program affecting you and your patients.
Read the budget information provided by NCMS.  
Long-Term Medicaid Reform Discussion Could Move to Special Legislative Session
"Lawmakers may put off forging a deal over the long-term structure of the state's Medicaid program for the poor and disabled until a special session later this year, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the ongoing discussions between the state House and Senate."

Read the article from July 29.

Note: On 7/31, NCMS confirmed with WCMS that there is a provision in the budget to postpone decisions on Medicaid reform, delaying those discussions to take place during a special legislative session in November, 2014.
Deadline for ICD-10 Allows Health Care Industry Ample Time to Prepare for Change
Deadline set for October 1, 2015

On July 31, HHS issued a rule finalizing October 1, 2015 as the new compliance date for health care providers, health plans, and health care clearinghouses to transition to ICD-10. This deadline allows providers, insurance companies, and others in the health care industry time to ramp up their operations to ensure their systems and business processes are ready to go on October 1, 2015.

ICD-10 represents a significant change that impacts the entire health care community. As such, much of the industry has already invested resources toward the implementation of ICD-10. CMS has implemented a comprehensive testing approach, including end-to-end testing in 2015, to help ensure providers are ready. While many providers, including physicians, hospitals, and health plans, have completed the necessary system changes to transition to ICD-10, the time offered by Congress and this rule ensure all providers are ready.

For additional information about ICD-10, please visit the ICD-10 website
Member Benefits- Did You Know? 
Did you know that one benefit of being a WCMS Member is:

We save you time and keep you informed?  In addition to weekly Vital Signs, we have a Twitter feed and LinkedIn Communication Hub for real-time information to help you stay on top of the ever-changing healthcare landscape.
Job Board & Classified Ads
Job Board:
Associate Medical Director  (Rutherford Health Center)
General Internist  (Carolina Internal Medicine Assoc)
Physician Assistant  (FastMed Urgent Care)
Certified Application Counselor  (WCMS)

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

WCMS is a thriving 700-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.  


Photo: Miriam Schwarz, WCMS CEO
Miriam Schwarz


Miriam Schwarz signature


Miriam Schwarz, MPA

WCMS CEO/Executive Director