Western Carolina Medical Society: The Physicians' Voice for a Health Community
 Weekly e-News of the Western Carolina Medical Society 
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December 9, 2015
WCMS Circle of Friends: Van Winkle Law Firm & Johnson Prics Sprinkle, PA

In This Issue:
Sponsor Message: JPS (left)
Register Now: WCMS Annual Celebration 1/31/2016
WCMS' Strategic Plan Update
Direct Primary Care Model as Alternative to Rising Health Insurance Rates
Mission Health Part of New NC Medicaid System
From NCMS: Palmetto Posts 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Files
2015 Physician Compensation Survey Results
The Economic Impact of Physicians to their Communities and to their Affiliated Hospitals
Preventing Burnout: Finding Joy in Medicine
Job Board & Classified Ads
Register Now: WCMS Annual Celebration 1/31/2016
The WCMS Annual Celebration is January 31st, 2016 at Highland Brewing from 6 - 8 p.m. We hope you'll join us for some great music from physician-led band Blues Crew, fun food in the spirit of Chinese New Year, and an introduction to your new WCMS Board of Directors. 
Please RSVP today. 
WCMS' Strategic Plan Update
WCMS is committed to providing quarterly updates to our membership and key partners. Our third 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. I welcome all feedback at ceo@mywcms.org
Direct Primary Care Model as Alternative to Rising Health Insurance Rates
ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- The cost of health insurance continues to rise despite the efforts of the Affordable Care Act.

Now, some healthcare providers are teaming up to develop a new lower cost way to offer coverage. Rising premiums for individuals and employers have a local pharmacy company developing a new healthcare delivery model to fight the rising costs. Blue Ridge Pharmacy is building a healthcare center called Sona, putting a pharmacy, family practice and urgent care all under one roof.

Vickery says it offers healthcare coverage delivered direct to patients and businesses.
Click here to continue reading. 
Mission Health Part of New NC Medicaid System 
ASHEVILLE - Mission Health will be one of 11 North Carolina health systems working to transform the state's Medicaid system.

The collaboration is an outgrowth of state legislation passed this year and intended to reform Medicaid in a way that would streamline payments.

Health officials want a structure that cuts costs while getting doctors more involved in delivering care for the roughly 1.8 million North Carolinians depending on Medicaid, which is designed to help the needy, aged, disabled and low-income families with children.
Click here to continue reading. 
From NCMS: Palmetto Posts 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Files
By Elaine Ellis / December 2, 2015 at 4:29 pm
Palmetto's 2016 Medicare Part B Physician Fee Schedules (MPFS) are now available in their Medicare Physician Fee Schedule tool. The 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule conversion factor is $35.8279, a slight decrease from the 2015 conversion factor of $35.93. This reduction is a result of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 and Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014, which both required CMS to set annual targets for reductions in physician fee schedule spending from adjustments to relative values of misvalued codes. The .5 percent increases included in the Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act (MACRA) all but offset the misvalued code target reductions for 2016.

Additionally, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has sent notifications to physicians who will see reductions in Medicare payments due to penalties resulting from the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), Value-Based Payment Modifier and Meaningful Use programs for 2016. Penalties applied as a result of these programs will be in place for the duration of the calendar year, and will be applied to Medicare paid amounts for covered professional services. The penalties will be accompanied by a reason/remark code specifying the program penalty on the remittance advice. If you feel you are being penalized in error, CMS is accepting requests for "informal reviews" to contest these penalties. PQRS informal review requests must be received by Dec. 11, while Value-Based Payment Modifier informal review requests must be received by Dec. 16. According to CMS, requests must be submitted electronically via the Communication Support Page under the Related Links section of the Physician and Other Health Care Professionals Quality Reporting Portal. See the CMS fact sheet on the informal review request process for more information.
2015 Physician Compensation Survey Results
The results of this 2015 Physician Compensation Survey show a mixed bag when it comes to compensation based on productivity, patient satisfaction, and value. Physician respondents to the Physicians Practice survey said 63 percent of their compensation was based on productivity; 37 percent was tied to value measures; and 29 percent was tied to patient satisfaction scores. Are you making what you're worth? Click here to compare your earnings to other physicians around the country with the Physicians Practice annual Physician Compensation Survey results. 
The Economic Impact of Physicians to their Communities and to their Affiliated Hospitals 
Click here to view to report.
Preventing Burnout: Finding Joy in Medicine
News Flash:
Burnout rates top 50% for US physicians - and that is not the even the scary statistic
A new study in Mayo Clinic Proceedings this month trumpeted the sad news that 54% of US physicians now admit to at least one burnout symptom - up from 45.5% in 2011.
That is bad for sure, but the most concerning statistic in the study didn't even make the headlines. You should see the change work life balance ratings and the rate of suicidal ideation.
I break down the study and show you the takeaways - especially if you are a physician leader - in this
Click here to read more in "Physician Burnout Rates Top 50% in US"
Job Board & Classified Ads

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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