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  Community Pulse - May 2016



In This Issue:
JPS - Sponsor Message (Left)
New Members to WCMS
OLLI ACP Workshop at the Reuter Center on the UNCA Campus
Watch this video: Why you should use an interpreter
What has WCMS been working on? Find out here.
WCMS Association Board adds Opioid Addiction Crisis to Strategic Plan
WCMS Membership will be offered to Physician Assistants in 2017
NCMB Program to Address Opioid Crisis
NCGA Short Session Begins
Historic Change to How Clinicians are Paid
Overtime Pay Rules Will Affect Millions of Healthcare Workers
AMA President Posts Open Letter to Physicians on Opioid Abuse Epidemic
The New York Times: F.D.A. Imposes Rules for E-Cigarettes
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
Click here to view the newest physicians to join WCMS!  

OLLI ACP Workshop at the Reuter Center on the UNCA campus
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville will hold an advance care planning (ACP) workshop Thursday, June 16, 2016, 7-9 p.m. at the Reuter Center.

The workshop will feature a panel whose members are experienced in addressing end-of-life issues. Discussion will include communicating your treatment wishes to loved ones and to medical personnel, ethical and legal issues, and the uses of advance directives.  Ample time will be reserved for questions. Assistance will be provided for anyone wishing to complete a legally valid advance directive, including the notarization required in North Carolina, using the NC ACP "Short Form". Click here for more details

Watch this video: Why you should use an interpreter, featuring Drs. Chay and Messino from Cancer Care of WNC 
Check out our new WIN video. See why quality communication is so important. 
Click here to watch.  
What has WCMS been working on? Find out here. 
WCMS Association and Foundation Boards of Directors and WCMS Staff worked together to create the 2016 Strategic Plan, along with input from interviews and discussions with various key partners (including employed/independent physicians, health system leaders, business & 
community leaders, and practice managers). Many of the priorities were significant and longer term, so were carried over from the 2015 Strategic Plan. 
Click here to see what WCMS has accomplished during the first quarter of 2016.
WCMS Association Board adds Opioid Addiction Crisis to Strategic Plan 
On 5/9/16, the WCMS Association Board voted to add addressing the Opioid Addiction Crisis to our strategic plan. We will focus on action steps to influence this pervasive dilemma. As an immediate action, the board voted to adopt and commit to the CDC guidelines. Roughly 3 in 4 physicians said in a Medscape Medical News poll that they lean toward adopting the stricter guidelines on prescribing opioids for chronic pain that the CDC issued in March to combat an epidemic of addiction and overdose deaths. Opioids should not be considered as first line therapy for chronic pain. Clinicians should first consider nonopioid pain relievers or non-drug alternatives, such as exercise, meditation, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Other WCMS actions will include legislative advocacy,  promoting educational resources for prescribing health care practitioners, and supporting local/regional efforts that are already underway, such as Pardee's recent work to develop best practices for prescribing for the treatment of chronic and post-operative pain.
WCMS Membership will be offered to Physician Assistants in 2017
Membership recently voted 73 yes-18 no to opening WCMS membership to Physician Assistants who practice in WNC. A quorum of 75 was needed for the vote to be recognized; 91 responded. 

NCMB Program to Address Opioid Crisis
The state of North Carolina is in the midst of a public health crisis related to deaths from prescription opioid overdose. It is generally recognized that most opioid medications implicated in unintentional overdose deaths were originally prescribed by a licensed medical professional. In an effort to address this crisis, the North Carolina General Assembly amended state law to authorize the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to release certain opioid prescribing information to the North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB) and other medical regulatory boards.* 
Click here to continue reading. 
NCGA Short Session Begins
For more information on your legislators, visit www.ncleg.net and go to

Historic Change to How Clinicians Are Paid - Comments Requested by 6/27/16
At the heart of the proposed rule that CMS issued on April 27th is the Quality Payment Program which, beginning in 2019, would offer new systems for paying doctors and other clinicians who serve Medicare beneficiaries.   One, the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), would evaluate the quality of care delivered based on four performance categories: cost, quality, exchange of information (use of electronic health records) and clinical practice improvement. The second system, advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs), offers higher financial incentive to clinicians who improve quality by coordinating care across providers and settings.  Initiatives for coordinated care include CMS's Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Model and Comprehensive Primary Care. 
Click here to continue reading, and here for some FAQs.
Overtime Pay Rules Will Affect Millions of Healthcare Workers
The Obama administration raised the overtime eligibility threshold for full-time workers from $23,660 to $47,476, likely affecting millions of healthcare workers.

Healthcare professions that will likely be affected by the overtime threshold increase are nurses, medical and physical therapist assistants, medical and pharmacy technicians, and paramedics. Average mean salaries in these professions range from $25,710 to $47,010. That includes approximately 4.1 million workers, according to 2015 data  from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Click here to continue reading. 
AMA President Posts Open Letter to Physicians on Opioid Abuse Epidemic
Steven Stack, MD, the president of the American Medical Association (AMA) and an emergency physician has published this open letter to physicians concerning the opioid abuse epidemic.
The New York Times: F.D.A. Imposes Rules for E-Cigarettes In A Landmark Move
After years of debate about the health risks of electronic cigarettes, the federal government on Thursday made it final: They need to be regulated and kept out of the hands of children. The Food and Drug Administration issued sweeping new rules that for the first time extend federal regulatory authority to e-cigarettes, banning their sale to anyone under 18 and requiring that adults under the age of 26 show a photo identification to buy them. The long-awaited regulations, 499 pages of them, shifted the terms of the public debate over e-cigarettes, putting the federal government's heft behind a more restrictive approach to the devices. (Tavernise, 5/5)

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