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  Community Pulse - April 2016



In This Issue:
Parsec - Sponsor Message (Left)
New Members to WCMS
Mission, Angel Medical Aim to Attract More Doctors to Rural Areas
Medicaid Reform Listening Session in Asheville Draws a Packed House
Pain Management Getting an Overhaul at Pardee Hospital (Henderson County)
Comprehensive Mental Health Center Opens in Asheville
UnitedHealth to Stop Selling ACA plans in NC and Most other States
Slow VA Choice Authorization, Reimbursements Frustrate Doctors' Offices
White House, HHS Expand Fight Against Opiod, Heroin Abuse
Happy Anniversary to the Americans with Disabilities Act
Mission Health's Unique Immersion Day
Check out Project Access' New Webpage
WCMS Job Board
Attention Doctors:

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New Members to WCMS
Click here to view the newest physicians to join WCMS!  

Mission, Angel Medical Aim to Attract More Doctors to Rural Areas 
Macon County residents will see fresh faces at local clinics as a rural health initiative brings students and young doctors into rural communities.
Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) received $8 million in the most recent state budget to create new residency programs in general surgery and psychiatry, and to expand its existing family medicine and OBGYN programs and Mission Health clinics, including those in Franklin.
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Medicaid Reform Listening Session in Asheville Draws a Packed House

About 200 people attended the Medicaid Reform listening session at A-B Tech on April 8, 2016. Attendees included consumers, advocates, and health care providers. Over 30 people spoke. Almost all speakers emphasized the critical need for Medicaid expansion. Over a dozen physicians offered constructive feedback and advice regarding Medicaid Reform, including standardization across plans, administrative burdens, inclusion of physician leadership and input in the roll-out, adequate reimbursement for services, meaningful metrics/outcome measures, and the need to integrate behavioral services into primary care sooner rather than later. All spoke to the need for Medicaid expansion. Samantha Read-Smith, MD, President of WCMS, spoke passionately and emphatically about the need for consumer protections in the NC law, as well as expanded Medicaid coverage for NC citizens in need. 
WCMS Member Dr. Scott Donaldson in the News: Pain Management Getting an Overhaul
With misuse of opioid pain medication rampant, local doctors and health care institutions are reviewing prescribing practices as well as looking for fresh avenues to manage chronic pain for patients.

The recently released Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) addresses a rising epidemic that is prevalent both nationally and throughout Western North Carolina.
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Comprehensive Mental Health Center Opens in Asheville 
ASHEVILLE - A new facility aims to provide a "one-stop shop" with a range of mental health services in a single location including 24-hour crisis services.

"This facility really is bringing all of the services, from prevention to crisis care, under one roof," said Sandy Feutz, vice president of operations at RHA Health Services.
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UnitedHealth to Stop Selling ACA plans in NC and Most other States 
UnitedHealth, the nation's biggest health insurer, will shrink its participation in Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges to only a handful of states next year after expanding to nearly three dozen states this year.

CEO Stephen Hemsley said Tuesday that the company expects losses from its exchange business nationwide to total more than $1 billion for this year and last. He added that the company cannot continue to sell Affordable Care Act policies due partly to the higher financial risk that comes with those customers.
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Slow VA Choice Authorization, Reimbursements Frustrate Doctors' Offices
SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Local doctors are having to stop accepting patients through a program designed to provide veterans with faster access to specialty care because of systemic problems within the program, an On Your Side investigation has found.

The VA Choice Program was created in 2014 following reports of some veterans waiting months or years for specialty care.
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White House, HHS Expand Fight Against Opioid, Heroin Abuse
...The North Carolina Medicaid program, administered by the nonprofit Community Care of North Carolina, subsequently adopted the project and, since 2012, has been in the process of rolling Project Lazarus out to all of the counties in North Carolina...
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Happy Anniversary to the Americans with Disabilities Act: A Primer on Working with Patients who have Hearing Impairments
The Americans with Disabilities Act turned 25 in 2015! This landmark bill has helped an untold number of permanently and temporarily disabled people participate in and benefit from services and employment opportunities. Most medical providers are well aware of what accommodations to make to ensure equal access to people with mobility impairments, but less certain about what accommodations to make for people with hearing impairments. So let's take the 25th anniversary of this historic bill to talk about it! 
Here are the four steps that will help you make the most of accommodations for hearing impaired people. 
Mission Health's Unique Immersion Day For Board, Journalists And Policy Makers Provides Necessary Insight For Governance And Policy
ASHEVILLE, N.C., March 30, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mission Health's innovative Immersion Day program creates new paths for key stakeholders to better understand the real challenges and opportunities facing health systems.  It has resulted in improved insights on how to lead, regulate and report on the most complex health care issues facing the nation.  A description of the program entitled, "Immersion Day - Transforming Governance and Policy by Putting on Scrubs," co-written by Ronald A. Paulus, MD, President and CEO of Mission Health and Richard W. Bock, MD, Immersion Advisors is published in the March 31, 2016 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). It outlines how Mission's unique, three-year-old program has strengthened governance and engendered trust in our community, staff and physicians.
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Check out Project Access' New Webpage - Just in Time for Our 20th Anniversary
Job Board

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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