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  Community Pulse- February 2015



In This Issue:
JPS - Sponsor Message (Left)
Message from WCMS Association Board President
New Members to WCMS
The WCMS Physician Directory (Blue Book)
Mission Health Takes Aim at Bias and Disparity in Health Care
Health Care Transforming at a Dizzying Pace
New Regional Comprehensive Care Center Opens
Physicians' Voice in the News
Study: CON Law Limits Medical Access, Boosts Costs
HHS Sets Goals for Expanding New Medicare Payment Models
CMS Announces Special Enrollment Period for Tax Season
Innovations in Medical Practice in WNC
"National Doctors Day"
Physician Burnout Program Targets Effects of Sentinel Events.
Job Board & Classified Ads



The Community Pulse e-Newsletter is designed for community members and non-member physicians. We choose selected important news and information items to share with you, so you are able to stay in-the-know on topics of interest to you.

If you are a physician but not yet a member, click here to view benefits of joining WCMS, and click here to complete an application.


Thank you for your support of, and interest in, the Western Carolina Medical Society!    
President's Message: WCMS Strategic Plan for 2015
Below are excerpts from Bob Henderson's last Message from the President

"The welfare of our physicians in western North Carolina is paramount. Recent literature has declared an epidemic of physician burnout. All physicians are susceptible to burnout at some point during their careers. The Strategic Plan calls for a variety of programs that address this issue head-on. Support systems are being explored to assist physicians to avoid burnout. Plans are underway for a burnout conference. A media campaign is underway to share thoughts about finding joy and meaning in medicine. Affinity groups in which physicians center their activities based upon common interests and concerns are being expanded this year. A confidential physician wellness program is actively being explored. For those already experiencing the effects of burnout, services will be identified that can offer timely intervention in treatment for those physicians and their families affected.

Our DNA, our identity and our long history as physicians rest with us all. Nowhere else can we derive meaning, grounding, direction and purpose. Together there is support.Together there is strength.The WCMS Strategic Plan for 2015 advances that reality."

Bob Henderson, MD


New Members to WCMS   
The WCMS Physician Directory (Blue Book)     

The 2014-2015 Physician Directory is almost sold out, so order yours today!  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! 

Practice and physician information changes frequently, so this directory has hundreds of updates from when the last book was published.  

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? 

Send us an email

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.

Health Care Transforming at a Dizzying Pace
Opinion piece in the Asheville Citizen-Times by Ronald Paulus, Mission Health CEO:

"There may not be words strong enough to describe the magnitude of the health care transformation underway today, but it's safe to say terms like "enormous," "revolutionary" and "seismic" are not exaggerations. Whether you're experiencing this as a consumer or a provider, we all know how things "used to work" has been forever changed. While talk of these shifts abound, it's not always clear what is happening even when we feel it in our own community."

New Regional Comprehensive Care Center to Provide Mental Health, Addiction Treatment
February 2, 2015 - A Buncombe County community partnership has succeeded in securing just under $2 million in grant funding from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services to open a new 24-hour urgent care center and crisis facility for mental health and addiction treatment in Asheville.

The funding was awarded through the department's Crisis Solutions Initiative, a statewide effort to improve mental health and substance use crisis services. Smoky Mountain LME/MCO (Smoky), which manages public funds for behavioral health and developmental disability services in western North Carolina, led a collaborative effort involving 22 area organizations to develop the new center. 

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. You can read all about The Physicians' Voice on our website.


Here is the latest release: "Three Things To Do To Improve Your Heart Health Today"written by Dr. Will McLean, MAHEC FM Resident in the "Health Today" section of Asheville Citizen Times. 


"Keep that heart from breaking! In honor of February, American Heart Month, here are three "bang-for-your-buck" suggestions for improving your heart health - and one suggestion for improving your doctor."


Click here to continue reading


Study: CON Law Limits Medical Access, Boosts Costs

N.C. has 4th-most regulated services in nation 

RALEIGH - North Carolina has fewer hospital beds and MRI scanners than other states, and restrains psychiatric services because of a regulatory process that protects legacy health care providers, says a new study from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia.


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)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a special enrollment period (SEP) for individuals and families who did not have health coverage in 2014 and are subject to the fee or "shared responsibility payment" when they file their 2014 taxes in states which use the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces (FFM). This special enrollment period will allow those individuals and families who were unaware or didn't understand the implications of this new requirement to enroll in 2015 health insurance coverage through the FFM.


Innovations in Medical Practice in WNC: Trillium Family Medicine Revisited
Written by Rivers Woodward
(Third year UNC medical student and WCMS Foundation Board member)

" Trillium Family Medicine is one of a number of independent small practices in WNC that are successfully challenging conventional thinking about the capacity of small practices to be financially stable while growing and delivering quality care in a cost-efficient manner. About a year ago, WCMS staff interviewed Dr. Mark McNeill about his innovative solo practice, Trillium Family Medicine. To read last year's article, click here.

Mark's model is "low overhead." He maximizes the use of his web-based patient portal in order to keep costs down. A year later, and in the midst of the turmoil of health care reform, we thought we'd check back with him to see how he was faring. Your intrepid reporter for this update was Rivers Woodward, 3rd year medical student and WCMS Foundation Board member."

Thank your Physician on "National Doctors 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.

 Physician Burnout Program Targets Effects of Sentinel Events
"The pilot program is still in its first year, but Meltzer-Brody hopes this is a training ground for rolling out more programs that support physicians. "One of my goals is de-stigmatizing that burnout only happens to other doctors," she says."

Job Board  

Click here to see the latest jobs posted on our website. 


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

Learn more about the Western Carolina Medical Society on this page. We would love to hear from you. Please contact us with any questions, comments or concerns you may have.   



Miriam Schwarz


Miriam Schwarz signature


Miriam Schwarz, MPA

WCMS CEO/Executive Director 
(828) 274-2267 ext. 312