Western Carolina Medical Society: The Physicians' Voice for a Health Community
 Weekly e-News of the Western Carolina Medical Society 
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June 3, 2015
WCMS Circle of Friends: Van Winkle Law Firm & Johnson Prics Sprinkle, PA

In This Issue:
Catamaran - Sponsor Message (Left)
Dr. Suzanne Landis' Retirement Events
Register Now - Emeritus Luncheon - June 24
Register Now - Independent Physicians Affinity Group - June 29
Save the Date: Burnout Prevention Retreat - August 15
Health Alert from the Buncombe County Health Department
Politics Battles Principles in CON Debate
Nonprofit Community Care of NC Lays Off 18
Healthcare Providers Accuse Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Acting as a Cartel
AMA has Undue Influence on CMS Rates, per GAO
Guest Editorial - Blue Ridge Regional Hospital
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:

Dr. Suzanne Landis' Retirement Events
Click here for more info on the bike ride.

Click here to RSVP for the party.

Click here to learn more about the Geriatric Medicine Fund.

Register Now for the Second Quarterly Emeritus Luncheon - June 24

The upcoming Emeritus luncheon will feature guest speaker Dr. David Mouw on "Advanced Directives: Them and Us."

The luncheon will be held at the Asheville Country Club. Formal invitations are in the mail, or you can RSVP here.

Register Now for the Second Quarterly Independent Physicians Affinity Group - June 29

All member physicians who are in independent private practice are invited to attend a Q & A session with Ward and Smith, PA.



  • Contracts, including non-compete covenants and cost-sharing provisions
  • Physician-hospital arrangements, such as co-management agreements, medical directorships, professional services arrangements, and on-call coverage
  • Medical practice  arrangements, such as mergers, alliances, and asset sales agreements
  • Certificates of Need ("CON") and CON "no review" letters.

When: Monday, June 29, 2015 - 6 - 8 p.m.

Where: The Asheville Event Centre  (less than one mile off I-40 exit 51)


Space is limited, so please RSVP ahead of time to secure your spot.  Physician members of WCMS are encouraged to invite their physician colleagues to attend, regardless of membership status. Contact Megan Hare with any questions. 

Save the Date: Burnout Prevention Retreat - August 15



Health Alert from the Health Department

We have recently seen an increase of varicella cases in schools.  I just wanted to take the time to remind everyone that although the varicella vaccine is almost 100% effective at preventing severe cases of varicella, it is not 100% effective at preventing milder casesPlease keep Breakthrough Varicella on your list of possible diagnoses in a vaccinated child with a rash illness.


Diagnosing breakthrough varicella is challenging because of its atypical clinical presentation. It easily can be mistaken for bug bites or other rash illnesses. Below is further information on varicella vaccine effectiveness as well as some clinical information/links to assist you in diagnosing varicella in vaccinated and unvaccinated persons. I have also included infection control information to prevent the spread of varicella to susceptible contacts.

As always, please contact me or the Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services' (BCHHS) Disease Control staff (250-5109) if you have any questions or concerns. While varicella is not a reportable disease, outbreaks are common and we work with school nurses and administrators to prevent spread to vulnerable populations.

Thanks for all you do for our community,

(Click here to read more) 


Jennifer Mullendore, MD, MSPH

Medical Director

Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services

Office: (828) 250-6308


Politics Battles Principles in CON Debate

Hospitals don't want competition, and conservative lawmakers hear about it. 

Click here to read more.

Nonprofit Community Care of NC Lays Off 18

Community Care of North Carolina, a nonprofit that coordinates care for most of the state's Medicaid patients, laid off 18 people at its Raleigh central office last week.

Click here to read more.


Healthcare Providers Accuse Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Acting as a Cartel

Written by Ayla Ellison (Twitter | Google+)  | May 28, 2015

Two federal lawsuits - one brought on behalf of healthcare providers and one on behalf of individual and small-employer customers - claim Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurers are engaging in cartel-like behavior by divvying up markets to avoid competing against one another, according to The Wall Street Journal.

For more reading on this topic, click here.

AMA has Undue Influence on CMS Rates, per GAO
CMS is too reliant on the American Medical Association when setting provider reimbursement rates, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report. The report noted that AMA could be biased when helping CMS to set the rates because the provider group could have conflicts of interest. Further, the report found that along with AMA's influence, flaws in data collected by AMA "could result in inaccurate Medicare payment rates." Overall, the report noted that CMS "does not fully disclose information upon which its decisions were based" and does not use a "standardized process" for determining the relative value of services performed by providers. (Sources: New York Times, 5/31)

Guest Editorial - Blue Ridge Regional Hospital

Avery Journal Times

In the early 1990s, leaders at BRRH anticipated the future dramatic changes in healthcare delivery that so many others ignored: they pursued a relationship with Mission Health. The wisdom of this move has become increasingly evident over the past three years as the challenges for hospitals across the nation, and in particular in North Carolina, surged. Among many things, Mission Health has provided significant financial support, major expertise and improvements in quality and safety so critical to our patients, reduced expenses and created a network of care that can support all of our community's needs.
Job Board & Classified Ads
Job Board: 
Medical Interpreter  (WCMS)
To find out how you can post a Job or Classified Ad Click here.

WCMS is a thriving 700+ 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