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  Community Pulse - July 2016



In This Issue:
WCMS Blue Books will be Available in October
New Members to WCMS
WCMS Issues Statement on Gun Violence
Celebrate 20 Years of Project Access and Donate to the Annual Campaign
2015 Project Access Thank You Ad Appears in Citizen Times
Mission Health Partners and UnitedHealthcare Establish Network and Accountable Care Relationship
Breaking News: Park Ridge Forms ACO in Region
Dr. Brian Ling Memorial Scholarship Awarded
Hep C Reaches Epidemic Level in Cherokee
NC State Budget Will Provide Funding for a UNC Academic Health Center
Insurance Coverage Gap Linked to Stalled Progress on Infant Mortality
Mission's Paulus Testifies on 'Choking Fog' of Law
Congress Sends First Major Opioid Bill to Obama's Desk
WCMS Job Board
Attention Doctors:

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

WCMS Issues Statement on Gun Violence
On 7/4/16, the WCMS Association's Executive Committee of the Board issued the following statement regarding gun violence:

The Western Carolina Medical Society agrees with the AMA's assertion that gun violence is a public health crisis. We endorse the AMA's call to Congress to fund research on gun violence and overturn legislation that blocks the CDC from conducting research on gun violence to reduce the high rate of firearm-related deaths and injuries. We believe that requiring background checks for all handgun purchasers and stricter enforcement of existing federal and state gun safety legislation is necessary. Finally, we believe that it is every physician's responsibility to ask and educate patients about gun safety when clinically appropriate.
Click here to view on our website.
Celebrate 20 Years of Project Access® and Donate to the Annual Campaign
This year the WCMS Foundation is celebrating the 20th birthday of Project Access®.  Project Access® is a volunteer physician program that has provided free healthcare to over 200,000 people in Buncombe County over the past two decades.  Please donate today to ensure that this life-giving program remains in our community for decades to come. 

Your donation to Project Access® will improve the life of someone in need. Mavis, suffered incredible pain for 8 years. Young and uninsured, she had nowhere to turn. She enrolled in Project Access® and within a month she was able to get the surgery she needed. After a second month she was literally up and running. Her life was so changed that she ran a marathon in honor of Project Access® and raised over $1,000 in funds for the program. Your donation has the power to give someone back their health. Please consider donating to the WCMS Foundation Annual Campaign  today.
2015 Project Access Thank You Ad Appears in Citizen Times
On July 9, the Sunday edition of the Asheville Citizen Times printed the names of the hundreds of physicians who generously donate care to Buncombe County residents.
Click here to view the ad.
Mission Health Partners and UnitedHealthcare
Establish Network and Accountable Care Relationship
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (July 12, 2016) - Mission Health Partners (MHP) and UnitedHealthcare have established a new network relationship that gives people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare Medicare plans access to all Mission Health Partners facilities and physicians.

The Mission Health Partners network includes clinicians, hospitals and other health care providers committed to improving access to high-quality care, improving clinical outcomes, lowering costs of care and creating an exceptional patient experience for western North Carolina residents.
Click here to continue reading
Breaking News: Park Ridge Forms ACO in Region

Park Ridge Health has formed a strategic partnership with CHESS, a population health management company based in High Point that will guide Park Ridge's new Accountable Care Organization in the western part of the state.
Click here to continue reading.
Dr. Brian Ling Memorial Scholarship Awarded
The Western Carolina Medical Society is pleased to announce Abhishek Das as the 2016 high school senior recipient of the Dr. Brian Ling Memorial Scholarship.  Abhishek, who graduated from TC Roberson, sent a hand-written letter to WCMS to express his thanks for being awarded.
Click here to continue reading. 
Hep C Reaches Epidemic Level in Cherokee
"Hepatitis C virus (Hep C or HCV) is a viral infection that affects the liver.  The disease, transmitted "primarily through large or repeated percutaneous - passage through the skin - exposures to infectious blood" according to the CDC, has reached epidemic status in Cherokee according to health officials." 
To continue reading, click here

NC State Budget Will Provide Funding for a UNC 
Academic Health Center in WNC at MAHEC
Source: MAHEC Update from Jeff Heck, MD, dated July 1, 2016

The announcement of $3M recurring and $8M in capital funding in the state budget will provide planning monies to establish a full UNC academic health center in Western North Carolina, thereby increasing the number of physicians and other healthcare professionals trained in the region. 

Eight million dollars will fund the construction of a new building on the MAHEC Biltmore Campus to house an expanded UNC School of Medicine presence in WNC, ultimately increasing the class size up to 44 students in both the third and fourth year of medical school. Some students will receive the bulk of their education in rural areas, outside of Buncombe County, enhancing their exposure to rural practice and thereby increasing the chances they will return to a rural area to practice medicine.

In addition, the new building will provide space for a new School of Public Health Campus of the UNC Gillings School of Public Health. The School of Public Health will be an academic program of UNCA in collaboration with UNC, MAHEC, and Mission and will enroll students seeking a Masters in Public Health degree and all the instruction will occur locally.

The monies will also allow collaboration with Western Carolina University for more outpatient clinical training opportunities for nurse practitioner students through MAHEC. In addition, MAHEC and Mission Hospital will explore expanded training opportunities for medical and surgical fellows in hospital based technical specialties through collaboration with UNC School of Medicine Departments. It is hoped that some of these physicians will help supply the needs of Mission's specialty services in critical shortage specialties.

This new funding, like last year's $8M recurring state dollars for the creation of Surgery and Psychiatry residency programs at MAHEC, has been championed by Senator Tom Apodaca of Henderson County. The academic health center will build on past and current successes and will have major health and economic benefits for WNC and the state as a whole for years to come. 
Insurance Coverage Gap Linked to Stalled Progress on Infant Mortality; Problems Acute in WNC

A new study from NC Child finds North Carolina's slowed progress in combating infant mortality could be a result of a lack of insurance for women.  One in five women across the state lack health insurance, a problem exacerbated by the so-called "Medicaid gap."  That's the coverage gap people fall into who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough for tax credits on the Affordable Care Act.  The ACA originally required states to expand Medicaid coverage, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the law could not force states to do that.  North Carolina is one of 19 states that has not expanded Medicaid because of refusal from Republican leaders in the General Assembly. 
Click here to listen or read the story.

Mission's Paulus Testifies on 'Choking Fog' of Law
A federal law that limits physician referrals to related businesses is frustrating efforts to tie payment to quality of care and should be repealed, the head of Mission Health told a congressional panel in Washington on Tuesday.
Click here to continue reading. 
Congress Sends First Major Opioid Bill to Obama's Desk
The Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill aimed at fighting opioid addiction, reaching the finish line on legislation that's likely to be one of Congress's top achievements this year.

With the 92-2 vote Wednesday evening, the bill now heads to President Obama's desk after nearly a year of negotiations.
Click here to continue reading. 

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