Western Carolina Medical Society: The Physicians' Voice for a Health Community
 Weekly e-News of the Western Carolina Medical Society 

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February 4, 2015
WCMS Circle of Friends: Van Winkle Law Firm & Johnson Prics Sprinkle, PA
In This Issue:
Deerfield- Sponsor Message (Left)
Dyslexia Awareness/Leadership and Empowerment Event
Emeritus Luncheon
Mission Health Takes Aim at Bias and Disparity in Health Care
Circle of Friends Partners Continue for 2015
Legislative Priorities in 2015
HHS Sets Goals for Expanding New Medicare Payment Models
Bundled Payments May Offer Opportunities to Individual Specialists
Medicare to Shorten Meaningful Use Reporting Period
200 Statistics on Physician Compensation
AllCare Clinical Associates Names Dr. John T. Bryant, IV, as Partner
Job Board & Classified Ads
Dyslexia  Awareness/Leadership and Empowerment Event (2/17)
The Key School at Carolina Day is hosting a Community Outreach Event on February 17th in Asheville NC to help educate, bring awareness and inspire around the issue of dyslexia.  This is a great event for educators, community members and physicians who work with children that might struggle with language based learning.

This event will feature Tommy Spaulding as the keynote speaker, followed by a panel discussion with educational experts, parents, and children who have been touched by dyslexia.

February 17 at 6:30pm
Expo Center of the Crown Plaza

This is a free event.  To find more information or register, click here
Emeritus Luncheon  (2/19)
All retired physicians are invited to a luncheon for the Emeritus Chapter of Western Carolina Medical Society. The luncheon will be at the Country Club of Asheville on February 19, 2015 at 12:00 p.m.

Dr. Robert Fields, Medical Director of Mission Health Partners will present: ACOs and Population Health in North Carolina: A Brave New World.

Lunch is $15 per person.  You may pay online via credit card or send in a check.  To register online, click here
We look forward to seeing you on February 19th!
MAHEC CME  (Feb-May)
MAHEC regularly provides courses for CME credit.  Check out our website calendar to see upcoming opportunities.  Here are the next few events:

Feb. 7- Neuromuscular Disorders
Feb. 19- Motivational Interviewing for Healthcare Providers (evening)
Feb. 26- Motivational Interviewing for Healthcare Providers (morning)
Mar. 13 & 14- Everything Has Changed: New Prevention & Management Recommendations in Primary Care
Mission Health Takes Aim at Bias and Disparity in Health Care
How does a culture combat an entity that cannot be seen? Start with awareness of the issue. "As humans, we all have bias," says Dr. Rebecca Bernstein of Mission Health. "It doesn't make us bad people, but when that bias affects how we make decisions, it can have adverse effects on our patients."

To build awareness, Mission Health has created a Diversity Committee, which Bernstein chairs. "The [committee] goals ... are to educate our employees and care providers in 'cultural competency,' to identify and eliminate health care disparities and to partner Mission Health with community events and organizations," Bernstein says. She also points out the lack of minorities who work in the health care field and suggests that patients prefer to be cared for by providers of the same ethnicity.

Continue Reading.
Circle of Friends Partners Continue for 2015
The Circle of Friends is WCMS' highest level of corporate partnership.  It is by invitation only and reserved for companies who are singled out by physicians as trusted and valued organizations of excellence.  These companies must have demonstrated an unflagging commitment to serving physicians and have an outstanding reputation in the physician community.  The Circle of Friends program is intended to stay small, with only an intimate group of strong partners included.  The Circle of Friends and WCMS mutually work together to strategize and strengthen their respective organizations' capacities to serve physicians.

WCMS is proud to have The Van Winkle Law Firm and Johnson Price Sprinkle, PA continue as close partners with our medical society in 2015.  To learn more about how these partners can help you and/or your practice, click here.
Legislative Priorities in 2015
In December, we asked all physician members to vote for the new Board members and take a brief survey regarding various items.  One of those items was our legislative priorities for this session.

The survey question asked "From your perspective, which of the following are the most important legislative issues in 2015?"

The top priority was clearly Medicaid Expansion, with 73% of Respondents listing it as important.  Followed closely in 2nd and 3rd were Mental Health Reform and Medicaid Reform with 57% and 54% of Respondents marking these as important.

WCMS met with 6 local legislators before the session began and addressed each of these issues in those discussions and we will continue to do so throughout the session, especially when we take White Coat Wednesday trips to Raleigh.

Other legislative issues mentioned on the survey were Tort Reform (24% marked important), Scope of Practice (21% marked important) and Ban the Tan (7% marked important).  Plus there were a handful of write-in issues.

If you have other legislative priorities you'd like to see the Medical Society advocate for, please let us know.  We'd also like to get more physicians involved legislatively, so if you're interested, let us know that as well.  Contact Miriam Schwarz, CEO, at 828-274-2267 x1312 or ceo@mywcms.org.
HHS Sets Goals for Expanding New Medicare Payment Models  
The Obama administration wants 30% of payments for traditional Medicare benefits to be tied to alternative payment models such as accountable care organizations by the end of 2016. The administration also has set a goal of hitting 50% by the end of 2018.

The administration seeks even larger portions of hospital payments to be tied to quality- or value-based payment models; HHS indicated that it wants 85% of Medicare's hospital payments made through programs such as the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program or the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program by the end of 2016 and up to 90% two years later.

This is the first time that the federal agency has set specific goals for overhauling the payment system for standard Medicare beneficiaries. Currently, 20% of Medicare payments for traditional beneficiaries are made through alternative payments models, which also include bundled payment arrangements, according to HHS. (Modern Healthcare, January 26, 2015)

Bundled Payments May Offer Opportunities to Individual Specialists  
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has a new program currently under development that would focus bundling on individual physicians for procedures and chronic condition management: The Specialty Practitioner Payment Model. Allison Brennan of the Medical Group Management Association says, "One of the challenges for specialists is to find where their niche is in these programs because many are focused on [primary care providers] and across specialties, but there is a huge role for specialists to play because they are responsible for a lot of the care provided and the more costly care that is provided." The Request for Information regarding the program can be found here.  (Renal & Urology News, December 29, 2014)
Medicare to Shorten Meaningful Use Reporting Period
Bowing to pressure from organized medicine and its allies in Congress, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on 1/29/15 that it is preparing to shorten the reporting period for its meaningful use incentive program for electronic health record (EHR) systems in 2015 from 12 months to 90 days.

Read article from CMS blog
200 Statistics on Physician Compensation
Between the new value-based care models, M&A activity and innovations in healthcare, it is valuable to track compensation to evaluate and compare how changes will affect physicians. Especially as fewer physicians strike out on their own and hospitals look to attract new recruits, compensation data provides a valuable benchmark.

In 2014, primary care specialty compensation increased most on average, by approximately 3.8 percent, according to an American Medical Group Association report. Surgical specialties increased 3 percent and other specialties by 1.8 percent.

While most specialties saw an increase, compensation varies widely between specialty, healthcare setting and region. The following statistics provide a view of the current compensation landscape in healthcare.

View report.
Member Announcement: AllCare Clinical Associates Names Dr. John T. Bryant, IV, as Partner
John T. "Jack" Bryant, IV, MD, has been named a partner of AllCare Clinical Associates, PA. He joined the practice in 2012 and in addition to his clinical duties as a full-time Anesthesiologist, Dr. Bryant is the Clinical Liaison for Community Sites for AllCare Clinical Associates.

A graduate of Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Dr. Bryant received his medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Bryant completed his residency training in anesthesiology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Dr. Bryant is certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology and a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, North Carolina Medical Society and the Western Carolina Medical Society.

AllCare Clinical Associates, www.allcareclinical.com, is one of the largest private physician-owned anesthesia practices serving North Carolina and employs over 200 Anesthesiologists, Anesthetists and business and management professionals. AllCare Clinical Associates provides anesthesia, pain clinic management services and perioperative care for hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers of all sizes. 
Job Board & Classified Ads
Job Board: 
Physician  (Buncombe County Health & Human Services)
Credentialing Specialist  (AllCare Clinical Assoc)
Medical Assistant  (Trillium Family Medicine)
Receptionist/Patients Account Rep  (AllCare Clinical Assoc)
Medical Interpreter  (WCMS)

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

WCMS is a thriving 750 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
WCMS Association: WCMSA is the physicians' voice advocating for the health of the physician, the patient, and the community, through strengthening the physician-patient relationship.

WCMS Foundation: WCMSF is the physician and community-led charitable arm of the medical society improving access to quality healthcare, decreasing disparities in health, and promoting health & wellness.   

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