Western Carolina Medical Society: The Physicians' Voice for a Health Community
 Weekly e-News of the Western Carolina Medical Society 
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April 1, 2015
WCMS Circle of Friends: Van Winkle Law Firm & Johnson Prics Sprinkle, PA

In This Issue:
Parsec Financial - Sponsor Message (Left)
Women in Medicine Affinity Group April 13
Save the date: Early Career Affinity Group April 29
WCMS in Raleigh on 3/25 for White Coat Wednesday
Bill Could Mean More Mission Expansion
Special Report: Mission ER Saving Lives, Losing Millions
WCMS Foundation Board Seeking Rural Health Innovations!
WCMS Welcomes New Members
Senator Van Duyn Pushes for Medicaid Expansion
From the NCMS: State Senate Bill Filing Deadline Brings Flood of Health Care Legislation
House Approved SGR, Senate Delayed
Job Board & Classified Ads
MAHEC regularly provides courses for CME credit.
Check out our website calendar to see upcoming opportunities. Here are the next few events:
4/16 - Motivational Interviewing (Evening)
4/30 - Parkinson Disease (Evening) 
Women in Medicine Affinity Group

Join the WCMS Women In Medicine Affinity Group on Monday, April 13 at 6:00 pm at Isa's Bistro in downtown Asheville for wine, hors d'oeuvres and an 'Ask the Expert' discussion with a panel of female advisors from Parsec Financial.
The discussion will focus on financial planning for women, such as:

  • What are your financial goals?
  • Why are they important to you?
  • How do we get there?

Parsec representatives include:

  • Ashley Woodring- Financial Advisor and Director of Marketing
  • Harli Palme, CFA, CFP - Chief Compliance Office and Director of Wealth Management
  • Sarah DerGarabedian, CFA - Portfolio Manager
  • Carrie Tallman, CFA - Director of Research

Click here to register for the event

Early Career Affinity Group - Save the date
The Early Career Affinity Group will meet on Wednesday, April 29 at the Thirsty Monk South (Biltmore Park). Look for your official invitation soon.

WCMS in Raleigh on 3/25 for White Coat Wednesday

CEO Miriam Schwarz, WCMS President Bob Henderson, MD and Diane Hankes, MD (AllCare) went to Raleigh to meet with many of our WNC legislators: Sen. Van Duyn, and Reps. McGrady, Dobson, Turner, Ager, and Fisher to stop the recoupment of 3% of Medicaid funds that have already been disbursed to doctors over the past 14 months.(Click here for background info) We pushed for physician-led ACO's as the solution to Medicaid reform and NOT MCO's. 


Dr. Bob Henderson, Miriam Schwarz, and Dr. Diane Hankes in Raleigh with Rep. McGrady (R-Henderson County) discussing the adverse results of a 3% Medicaid retroactive cut. While we were at the NCGA, we were interviewed by a reporter from NC Health News. Here's the Article: Docs Raise Familiar and New Issues with Legislators

Bill Could Mean More Mission Expansion

ASHEVILLE - State lawmakers are considering letting Mission Health System out of a decades-old agreement that caps its profit margin and the number of doctors it can employ.

Special Report: Mission ER Saving Lives, Losing Millions

ASHEVILLE - Emergency departments take them as they come.
Gunshot wounds. Car wrecks. The homeless who want to get out of the cold. The mentally ill who have nowhere else to go. People who can pay. People who can't. Once, doctors at Mission Health spent $5.2 million in two months treating two separate men, both hemophiliacs who wrecked their motorcycles on the Blue Ridge Parkway. They lived. Mission lost millions.

WCMS Foundation Board Seeking Rural Health Innovations!

The WCMS Foundation Board of Directors is inviting innovative physicians, practices, and organizations from across the region to present their work to the Board.

Click here to read more
WCMS Welcomes New Members
Click here to view our newest members.

Senator Van Duyn Pushes for Medicaid Expansion 

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Dozens of medicaid expansion supporters in Raleigh came together Tuesday at the statehouse as State Senator Terry Van Duyn of Buncombe County spoke out at a news conference.
Click here to read more
From the NCMS: State Senate Bill Filing Deadline Brings Flood of Health Care Legislation

Bill filing deadlines always bring a flood of legislation. Yesterday the North Carolina Senate's bill filing deadline was no exception; it brought a deluge of health care related legislation on almost every subject important to our profession. Over 300 bills were filed this week. Among others, the following bills of importance to physicians have been filed:

House Approved SGR, Senate Delayed

The House on 3/26/15 voted 392-37 to approve legislation that would permanently replace Medicare's sustainable growth rate formula. President Obama applauded the bipartisan deal, negotiated by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), saying, "This is how Congress should work." Although the current "doc fix" expires at the end of March, Senate leaders said early today that they would not consider the measure until they return from recess on April 13. (Sources: CQ News, 3/26 [Subscription required]; The Hill's "Floor Action," 3/27; Modern Healthcare, 3/26; Modern Healthcare, 3/26; New York Times, 3/26; Politico, 3/26; Reuters, 3/26; Reuters, 3/27; Wall Street Journal, 3/26; Washington Times, 3/26)

From the AMA:

Of course, the current payment patch expires on April 1, long before Congress reconvenes. As a result, all physician services provided on or after April 1 will be subject to a cut of 21 percent. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is instructing its carriers to "hold" for 10 business days any claims for services provided on April 1 and beyond, until legislation can be passed and signed into law that reverses the 21 percent cut. The 10-business-day hold means that April claims will be held through Tuesday, April 14. Since no claims by law can be paid sooner than 14 calendar days from their receipt, this hold should have little practical impact on Medicare remittance in the short-term, although billing for copayments and claims reconciliation will be more complicated.

In the meantime, some practices are asking what they should charge. By law, Medicare is required to pay physicians the lesser of the submitted charge or the Medicare approved amount. For this reason, the AMA is advising against submitting claims with reduced amounts reflecting the 21 percent cut. Instead, we recommend physicians either continue charging the current 2015 rates for April dates of service or defer submitting claims until after final action on the legislation. In the unexpected event that Congress allows the 21 percent cut to take effect, Medicare would pay physicians at the reduced amount no matter what the physician billed and no further action would be necessary. However, non-participating physicians who have collected balance billing amounts for unassigned claims based on the currently-allowed amount could be required to make refunds to their patients based on new, lower balance billing limits. 

Job Board & Classified Ads
Job Board: 
Physician (MedPlus Disability Evaluations)
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