Western Carolina Medical Society: The Physicians' Voice for a Health Community
 Weekly e-News of the Western Carolina Medical Society 
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August 19, 2015
WCMS Circle of Friends: Van Winkle Law Firm & Johnson Prics Sprinkle, PA
In This Issue:
WNCAP Gala & Auction- Sponsor Message (Left)
10th Oncologic Imaging: A Multidisciplinary Approach 9/11 - 9/13
Participate in MAHEC's Job Fair 9/16/15
RSVP for Newcomers'/Cornerstones' Picnic 9/20/15
"Burnout-Proof" Physician Retreat was a Huge Success
New Website Launched for Advance Care Planning
WCMS Endorses Home Health Face-to-Face Encounter Form for use in WNC
What is an FQHC? (Submitted by MAHEC)
Advocacy "Bowtie Briefing" from NCMS Legislative Director Chip Baggett
Job Board & Classified Ads
10th Oncologic Imaging: A Multidisciplinary Approach 9/11 - 9/13
Go to MAHEC website more information or to register

Participate in MAHEC's Job Fair 9/16/15

Newcomers'/Cornerstones' Picnic 9/20/15
All WCMS members are invited to enjoy a fun-filled, family-friendly afternoon to welcome new physicians to Western North Carolina and celebrate physicians who have served our community for 30+ years (Cornerstones).  

When: Sunday, September 20th  4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
WhereYesterday Spaces in Leicester, NC
Food: Buffet dinner provided along with beer and wine. Plus s'mores at the outdoor fire pit!

More info on our website or RSVP now to attend.

Thanks to Quest Diagnostics and our other event sponsors.
"Burnout-Proof" Physician Retreat was a Huge Success

On Saturday, 8/15, over 100 physicians and their spouses enjoyed WCMS' Burnout-Proof Retreat at Warren Wilson College. Led by Dr. Dike Drummond, this was a full half-day devoted to self-reflection, recharging ourselves, rekindling relationships, and learning easily employed skills to achieve personal/professional balance and the ideal practice. The feedback was uniformly positive.

This is just the beginning of WCMS' focus on physician/family wellness, which translates directly to happier families, happier staff, happier patients, and improved quality of care. Stay tuned. We are on a roll.
A HUGE shout out to WCMS staff (Kristina Isenhour, Megan Hare, Julia Lockamy) for planning and perfect execution of the event, Wendy Cuellar and Alex Diez for their planning and expert facilitation of the spouse/significant other breakout session, and the professional babysitters (Alex's and my teens!), all of whom made this event a raging success.

Last but not least, thank you to our very generous sponsors, who invested not only in the event but in the health and wellness of our medical community. Parsec Financial (presenting sponsor), Med Mutual, and Mission were all generous sponsors. Also, scholarships were provided by CarePartners, Cherokee Indian Hospital, Park Ridge, and NC Academy of Family Physicians. Cheers to MAHEC for helping us with CME.

Watch for our next retreat.

With gratitude,
New Website Launched for Advance Care Planning  
Mountain Coalition for Healthcare Decisions has launched a website, mountaindecisions.org, to help regional providers access advance care planning forms, learn about ACP workshops, and find online resources to learn more about healthcare decisions. Click here if you are interested in receiving quarterly updates on advanced care planning in WNC.
WCMS Endorses Home Health Face-to-Face Encounter Form for use in WNC
Back in April 2011, a face to face home health encounter regulation was implemented by CMS.  The intent is to ensure that home health patients receive timely medical oversight.  The requirements for the encounter are as follows: date of encounter, medical condition, need for skilled care, homebound status and physician signature.  Yes, it seems simple.  However, the implementation and regulatory interpretation added many layers of complexity.  During the past 4 years, home health agencies have had payment denied based on inadequate face- to- face documentation.  CMS has issued multiple interpretations of the regulations.  The latest interpretation was January 2015.
What is an FQHC? (Submitted by MAHEC)
August 14, 2015

MAHEC and Mission Medical Associates (MMA) recently led an initiative that resulted in the award of a New Access Point (NAP) by HRSA allowing for the formation of a new Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) for the region. The FQHC organization is called Appalachian Mountain Community Health Centers.  It has a separate governing board, and Dr. Nic Apostoleris has been employed  to serve as the organization's CEO.
FQHCs are important safety net providers in rural areas and must:
  • Offer services to all persons, regardless of the person's ability to pay Establish a sliding fee discount program
  • Be a nonprofit or public organization
  • Have the majority of its governing Board of Directors composed of its patients
  • Serve a medically underserved area or population 
  • Provide comprehensive primary care services 
  • Have an ongoing quality assurance program
For many years MAHEC has been operating like an FQHC in many ways, acting as a safety net provider without any of the benefits, including the cost-based reimbursement for Medicaid and Medicare services available to FQHCs. With 75% of our patients covered by one of these payers, and with ongoing reimbursement reductions for care, teaching, and research at federal and state levels, access to care for these important populations is only sustainable with new models of payment for clinical services. The benefits that come through partnering with the FQHC will allow expanded access and increase services to our patients.
The MAHEC partnering practices include the Family Health Center at Biltmore, Ob/Gyn Specialists, Family Health Center at Newbridge, and Family Health Center at Enka/Candler. The MMA practices involved are Haywood Family Practice, My Care Plus Burke, Tallulah Health, Angel Primary Care, Cashiers Primary Care, and My Care Plus Leicester. The FQHC also includes six sites with residential capacity for the homeless.
The existing part of MAHEC's Biltmore Campus practices providing care with an outreach to high risk patients, those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and the homeless (often collectively referred to as Project 1300)  will move to a new patient care practice site located at 7 McDowell Street. This new practice will be called the Dale Fell Health Center and will open in September.
Advocacy "Bowtie Briefing" from NCMS Legislative Director Chip Baggett and Action Alert
This briefing focuses on HB 372, Medicaid Reform. The Senate reworked and passed it back to the House last week. We do not want the House to concur. There are several issues physicians need to impress upon legislators; namely: Medicaid reform must be PHYSICIAN-led. Patient protections must be stronger. The goals for value-driven care must be better defined. The transition period between the current and new system must be better defined. 

Legislators need to hear the physicians' voice right now. I am asking each one of you to move on this action alert today, and to encourage your colleagues to do the same. 
Job Board & Classified Ads
PA or FNP  (Sisters of Mercy)
Physician  (Black Mtn Neuro-Medical Treatment Center)

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