Western Carolina Medical Society: The Physicians' Voice for a Health Community
 Weekly e-News of the Western Carolina Medical Society 
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February 8, 2017
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In This Issue:
Sponsor Message: Membership Now Open to PAs (Left)
WLOS Town Hall Meeting "Repealing Obamacare: What's Next?" 2/9/17
Register Now: Early Career Affinity Group 2/15/17
Register Now: Independent Affinity Group 3/13/17
Register Now: WCMS Emeritus Group 3/15/17
N.C. School-Based Telehealth Program Grows Into National Model
Bowtie Briefing for 2/3/17
Trump's Travel Ban Sows Uncertainty for Healthcare and Medicine
CMS Extends Meaningful Use Reporting Deadline for Physicians
The Healthy Healer
Website to communicate with our US legislators as they vote
WCMS Job Board
WLOS Town Hall Meeting "Repealing Obamacare: What's Next?" 2/9/17
There will be an expert panel at WLOS' Town Hall Meeting held at the WNC Ag Center in Fletcher, NC. The program will air live and starts at 8:00 pm. It will last 60 minutes and can be streamed on the WLOS website www.wlos.com. The event is free and open to the public. Email boverstreet@stgtv.com to reserve a seat. Doors open at 6:00 pm.

Hope you will attend this important Town Hall discussion.
Register Now: Early Career Affinity Group 2/15/17
Retirement Planning, Saving Money and Tax Efficiency

The first Early Career Affinity Group of 2017 is scheduled for Wednesday, February 15. We'll be meeting at Catawba Brewing on the south slope for a casual Q&A with representatives from Parsec Financial. Parsec will answer any questions you may have regarding retirement planning, paying down student loan debt, saving money, and tax efficiency.

Beer and appetizers will be provided. We hope to see you there!

Register Now: Independent Affinity Group 3/13/17

Register Now: WCMS Emeritus Group 3/15/17
Dr. Jeff Heck will provide an update on all that is happening at MAHEC. Look for your mailed invitations soon. 

N.C. School-Based Telehealth Program Grows Into National Model - WCMS Member Dr. Steve North Quoted
The program's founder and medical director, Steve North, M.D., made the transition from schoolteacher to primary care physician to telehealth program executive. Here is his story: In the 1990s North was a Teach for America corps member in rural North Carolina. He remembers seeing a student who had come to school after stepping on a nail. He couldn't concentrate on his schoolwork, and the parents had trouble getting him to a provider because they had one car and both worked two jobs.  At about the same time he read a book by Joy Dryfoos called "Full Service Schools," about the idea of school-based healthcare.
Click here to read the full article. 
Bowtie Briefing for 2/3/17
Trump's Travel Ban Sows Uncertainty for Healthcare and Medicine
"The travel ban-which the Homeland Security Department says applies to people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan-is casting a pall of uncertainty over the medical and scientific community in the U.S., which depends heavily on immigrant and foreign-born students, researchers and faculty. The community is reeling over the order, fearing that it will have devastating repercussions for research and advances in science and medicine. It has also caused short-term confusion and chaos for businesses that recruit and bring in thousands of non-U.S. citizens for work in these specialized fields. Few U.S. industries have benefited more from immigration than healthcare, where foreign-born individuals accounted for 16% of its more than 14 million workers in 2015, according to figures provided by the Institute for Immigration Research at George Masony. More than 60,000 were from the seven countries targeted by Trump's order. More than 11,000 of those are not U.S. citizens."
Click here to continue reading. 
CMS Extends Meaningful Use Reporting Deadline for Physicians
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Monday postponed the deadline for the attestation to meaningful use by eligible professionals (EPs) from February 28 to March 13. Two weeks ago, CMS did the same for eligible hospitals.

Medicare's Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program, popularly known as meaningful use, is being phased out for physicians this year. But physicians must still report on the meaningful use measures for 2016 to avoid a 3% penalty in 2018. About 171,000 physicians are expected to be penalized this year because they didn't attest to meaningful use for 2015, according to CMS.

CMS did not explain why it was pushing back the deadline for 2016 attestation. However, the agency did not specify until November that the reporting period for meaningful use was 90 days in 2016, rather than the original full calendar year. Moreover, no hardship exceptions were granted for 2016 because of the tardy announcement of the reporting period. So it is possible that CMS wants to give EPs every opportunity to attest before the window closes.

Deadlines for the Medicaid portion of the EHR incentive program vary by state, and CMS urges participating providers to check with their states on those deadlines.

If an EP is eligible to participate in both the Medicare and the Medicaid EHR incentive program, he or she must demonstrate meaningful use for 2016 to avoid the Medicare payment adjustment, CMS said. But the EP can show meaningful use under the requirements of either program.
The Healthy Healer

Click here to read article in AMA Physician Family Magazine. 
Check out this website to communicate with our US legislators as they vote
Get clear, concise summaries of bills going through Congress, see what others think, then take action. Telling your reps how you feel is easier than ever with email and now video messages. Make your democracy more responsive!
WCMS Job Board
If you are a 100% Member Practice, posting job openings here is FREE! 
Click here for more information. 

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. WCMS is an organization run by physicians, for physicians. In 2017, benefits of membership will be open to physician assistants, as well. 

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