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  Community Pulse- August 2015




In This Issue:
New Members to WCMS
"Burnout-Proof" Physician Retreat was a Huge Success
WCMS' Project Access® Thanks Hundreds of Volunteer Physicians in Asheville's Citizen Times
WCMS Strategic Plan Update-Quarter 2
WCMS Foundation Annual Campaign
Physicians' Voice in the News
Health Alert: Possible Heroin Mixed with Clenbuterol
Should NC Change CON Law?
North Carolina Providers, Insurers May Compete for Managed Medicaid
CMS Announces Proposal to Cover Provider/Patient Time for Conversations About End-of-life Care
What Project Access Means to Me, By WCMS Member Dr. John Currens
WCMS Job Board
Attention Doctors:

Do you enjoy your monthly Community Pulse? Did you know that if you become a member you can get even more critical, time-sensitive information sent to you weekly right to your inbox? Information such as our calendar of educational and networking events,  how to take action to address reimbursement cuts, important new bills introduced into the NCGA, public health alerts, advice on how to get paid in your practice, new ACO developments, how to address burnout, updates on philanthropic and innovative physician programs in WNC, and how to improve quality in your practice? 

Sign up today to become a member. Don't miss out on critical information that will help drive your professional decisions.


New Members to WCMS   
"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 Drummondthis 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,
WCMS' Project Access® Thanks Hundreds of Volunteer Physicians in Asheville's Citizen Times
Project Access® staff and the Foundation Board would like to thank all physicians and network partners who volunteered in 2014. We appreciate all the hard work and dedication that you provide annually to our thousands of Project Access® clients. This program saves lives and is in existence because of the generosity of volunteer physicians and their staff.  
Click here to view the ad. 
WCMS Strategic Plan Update-Quarter 2
WCMS is committed to providing quarterly updates to our members. Our second quarterly report for 2015 can be found here. Note that you can click on the table of contents to jump to a section of interest to you.  We welcome all feedback.
We appreciate your continued engagement with and support of WCMS!
WCMS Foundation Annual Campaign
WCMS Saves Lives
The diagnosis of a serious medical condition can be emotionally overwhelming for a patient, but the experience becomes devastating when they are uninsured and have no idea if they will be able to afford to stay alive.

Please make a donation to the WCMS Foundation.  You are giving patients who can't get insurance through the Affordable Care Act access to healthcare that they otherwise could not afford.

Learn more about Project Access here, and click here to donate.
Physicians' Voice in the News
WCMS is proud to announce another high quality addition to the series of "The Physicians' Voice," a series of media presentations for the general public that showcase physicians' world-class medical expertise and focus on patient/community health. Here is the latest release: "Why Immunize? Because what we do matters." - by WCMS Member Dr. Jennifer Mullendore, Medical Director of Buncombe County Health and Human Services. 

Excerpt: "Most young parents in the U.S. have never seen the devastating effects that diseases like polio, measles or whooping cough can have on a family. But talk to anyone who grew up prior to the mid-20th century and they will be able to tell you of those they knew who suffered and died as a result of these illnesses."

Health Alert: Possible Heroin Mixed with Clenbuterol
The North Carolina Division of Public Health (NC DPH) is currently investigating 18 cases of illness potentially due to use of heroin mixed with clenbuterol. Reported cases are from four counties (Durham, Lee, Orange, and Wake). The source of the clenbuterol-contaminated heroin is suspected to be in Durham County. 
Should NC Change CON Law?
The debate pits free-market advocates and companies and physicians who would like to build facilities like outpatient surgery centers against hospital officials.
North Carolina Providers, Insurers May Compete for Managed Medicaid
By Bob Herman  | August 21, 2015
A political and philosophical brawl among providers, insurers and policymakers in the Tar Heel State is reaching a possible resolution as North Carolina's Legislature attempts to coalesce around a bill that would overhaul the state's Medicaid program.

CMS Announces Proposal to Cover Provider/Patient Time for Conversations About End-of-life Care
Recently The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced plans to cover provider/patient time for conversations about end-of-life care when "reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of illness or injury." Read the full proposal at Revisions to Payment Policies for CY 2016CMS is currently seeking public comment on this proposal including "whether payment for advance care planning is appropriate in other circumstances such as an optional element, at the beneficiary's discretion, of the annual wellness visit (AWV) ..." To share your thoughts about this proposal and whether these conversations are critical for families and their aging loved ones before a health crisis, go to Revisions to Payment Policies under the Physician Fee Schedule and Other Revisions to Part B for CY 2016 or mail written comments to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services, CMS-1612-P 2, Attention: CMS-1631-P, P.O. Box 8013, Baltimore, MD 21244-8013.

What Project Access Means to Me...
Dr. John Currens is an otolaryngologist with Asheville Head, Neck and Ear Surgeons, PA. He is passionate about access to health care, volunteering for Project Access since 2001. Follow this link to see Dr. Currens featured in the The Project Access Campaign Video. 

Dr. Currens says, "I feel strongly that it is my responsibility as a physician to take care of the people in our community, even if they are uninsured or don't have the means to pay. Project Access helps these patients in need, get plugged in with the appropriate physicians." Project Access is flexible with physicians who want to donate. Dr. Currens says, "Each physician is different.  I respect that we are all in different places in the time we can donate for free care.  The good thing about Project Access is that you the physician can put a number on how many patients per month you feel comfortable seeing."

Dr. Currens is right! Project Access is a physician-led volunteer program that lets you customize your volunteerism to fit your busy schedule. If you haven't participated yet in Project Access, give it a try on your own terms. Contact us with questions or to sign up at 828-274-6989 or projectaccess@mywcms.org

The amount of Project Access patients you see per month or per year is up to you. WCMS staff honors and tracks it, the patients get great health care, and YOU get the satisfaction of being a critical part of our nationally recognized program that keeps our community healthy.

Click here to donate to Project Access.
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