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

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March 4, 2015
WCMS Circle of Friends: Van Winkle Law Firm & Johnson Prics Sprinkle, PA
In This Issue:
Quest Diagnostics - Sponsor Message (Left)
Register Now: Early Career Affinity Group
Save the Date: White Coat Wednesdays
Register Now: Physician Leadership Academy
From NCMS: Take Action on Retroactive 3% Medicaid Cut
Thank your Physician on "National Doctor's Day"
PQRS and Meaningful Use in 2014
Affordable Care Act "Grace Period"
Job Board & Classified Ads
Register Now: Early Career Affinity Group
The Early Career Affinity group is for any physician within their first 10 years of medical practice- residents and medical students are also invited!  This is a great time to enjoy good food/drinks and to connect with other physicians in your stage of career.  

When: Wednesday, March 18th 5:30 - 7:30
Where: Thirsty Monk South
            Biltmore Park in South Asheville

Join WCMS Colleagues for White Coat Wednesday in Raleigh (3/25)

White Coat Wednesday is your chance to impact the future of healthcare legislation and learn more about the ins-and-outs of government affairs. Join other WNC physicians on Wednesday, March 25th on a trip to Raleigh where you'll be briefed by NCMS in the morning with tips on speaking to legislators and on the hot-button medical issues currently in the spotlight at the General Assembly.


Following this briefing, head down to the General Assembly and meet with WNC legislators; view committee meetings and see the legislature in action. 


To join our WNC delegation, email Miriam Schwarz or 274-2267 x 1312. The more physicians who can attend to represent our region, the more impact our voice can have on important healthcare topics like stopping the retroactive 3% cut to Medicaid, achieving Medicaid reform and/or expansion, addressing mental health reform and more!


WCMS is planning a second White Coat Wednesday on May 13. If you are unable to attend the March 25 event, save the date for May 13 and head to Raleigh with us then.

Register Now: Physician Leadership Academy

Leading Healthcare Organizations: Optimizing Clinical & Financial Performance While Finding Joy in Practice

"Given the changes in the healthcare landscape and the challenges that lie ahead, there is a great sense of urgency to identify and develop physician leaders who can effectively position their organizations for success" (Len Fromer, MD, Executive Medical Director of Group Practice Forum).

MAHEC's Physician Leadership Academy is a three part curriculum designed to help physicians and advanced care practitioners realize their own leadership potential and develop the skills need to address challenges within healthcare. Built with the busy provider in mind, the curriculum is delivered using a flipped classroom model-independent readings, video presentations, assessments and inventories will be accessed online and completed prior to monthly in-person training sessions.

Course curriculum is divided into three types of leadership: Individual Leadership, Collaborative Leadership, and Organization & System Leadership. Lectures, activities, and independent self-study assignments will focus on strengthening intrapersonal and interpersonal awareness and skill, support networking and synergy, and demonstrate strategic and operational thinking.

Module 1: Individual Leadership
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Module 2: Collaborative Leadership
Thursday, April 23, 2015

Module 3: Organization & System Leadership
Thursday, May 21, 2015

Please note that MAHEC has discounted the participation fee for this Leadership Series by over 20% for WCMS members. 

Click here to download brochure

MAHEC regularly provides courses for CME credit. 
Check out our website calendar to see upcoming opportunities.  Here are the next few events:

March 11 - Radon for Healthcare Professionals (morning)
March 13 - New Prevention in Primary Care (Friday and Saturday morning)
March 19 - Motivational Interviewing (evening)
March 24 - Dementia Care (evening)

From NCMS: Take Action Now and Stop the 14 Month Retroactive Taking of Payments from Medicaid's Doctors

In 2013, the NC General Assembly included a 3% "withhold" for all Medicaid services with the intention of using that money as the foundation of a shared-savings program with providers. After difficulty developing the program, the "withhold" was redrafted as a cut the following year with a retroactive implementation back to January 2014. That cut has yet to be implemented for doctors. Doctors now face a requirement to pay back 3% of everything they have been paid by Medicaid for the last 14 months. 


Thank your Physician on "National Doctor's Day"

National Doctor's Day is March 30, 2015. The Western Carolina Medical Society (WCMS) honors and thanks the physicians across Western North Carolina for their commitment to exceptional medical care and for their advocacy on behalf of their patients.

Listen for radio spots starting on March 9th on WISE/ESPN and Mix 96.5. More radio spots can be heard on WCQS beginning March 27th.

PQRS and Meaningful Use in 2014: We still have time, it is not too late! 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has extended the attestation deadline for Eligible Professionals participating in the Medicare Meaningful Use program to March 20, 2015, this is great news!


Use the following worksheets to assist with your attestation:

The PQRS deadline was also extended to March 20, 2015. Be sure to verify submission deadlines with your vendor for PQRS also.

This extension means you still have time to both make money this year and avoid penalties in future years. Remember that 2014 is the last year to receive an incentive for PQRS and the last year to begin participating in the Medicare MU program and be eligible for any incentive money. Do not leave your incentive money behind, Meaningful use is possible and we can help you!

Submitted by eHealth Consulting, a WCMS preferred vendor.
Affordable Care Act "Grace Period"
WCMS has heard from a number of practices that they are not getting paid by insurers during the grace period. Here's an excerpt from an AMA article explaining the problem:

"Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), if a patient who receives an advance premium tax credit does not pay his or her health insurance premiums in full, he or she enters a 90-day "grace period." During the first month of the grace period, the patient continues to have health insurance coverage, and the patient's health insurer will pay claims for health care services provided to the patient during that time. However, if the patient enters the second or third month of the grace period, the health insurer may pend claims for services provided to the patient during that time. If the patient pays his or her premiums in full before the end of the grace period, the patient retains health insurance coverage for the second and third months of the grace period, and the insurer will pay the pended claims. But if the patient does not pay his or her health insurance premiums in full before the end of the grace period, the health insurer will not extend coverage for the second or third months of the grace period and will deny claims for services provided during that time. In this case, a patient is then responsible for paying the entire bill for services rendered during the second and third months."

Please note that thanks to efforts by NCMS, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina recently implemented a new process to help practices know up front whether patients covered by BCBSNC insurance exchange plans are not current in their premium payments and thus in the "grace period" for continued coverage. Coventry and UHC already have this process in place.

According to Conor Brockett at NCMS, the best strategy for avoiding grace period pitfalls is to check patient eligibility as often as possible and prior to rendering services. Staff should look for special messages in an insurer's eligibility response that signal a potential lapse in Exchange-plan coverage due to the grace period.

There's even more practices can do to insure you get paid. Stay tuned for a companion article in next week's Vital Signs written by the accounting firm of Johnson, Price and Sprinkle (WCMS Preferred Vendor/Circle of Friends) called "Getting Paid in your Practice."
Job Board & Classified Ads
Job Board: 

Practice Manager (Hendersonville Ob/Gyn Associates)
Hospitalist (MAHEC)
Physician  (The Bariatric Clinic)
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