WCMS with tagline
  Community Pulse - April 2017


In This Issue:
Ad (left): WCMS 2016-17 Blue Books Available to Order
Physicians and PAs: Enjoy 2017 with WCMS!
New Members to WCMS
Physicians' Voice in the News
WNC Initiative to Promote Mental Health, Reduce Emergency Department Use
Asheville-area Doctors Join the Direct and Concierge Care Movements
Opioids to Heroin to Hepatitis C in Western NC
WCMS Executive Committee of the Board Votes to Support HB 662
Public Health Provider Alert from BCHHS: Please be on the lookout for mumps
Medicaid Expansion Inches Forward with New Proposal
Maps Show a Dramatic Rise in Health Insurance Coverage Under ACA
Top 10 Challenges Facing Physicians in 2017
Survey: Nealthy 75% of Providers are not Ready for MACRA or Need Help
ACP: Stop Saddling Docs with Administrative Tasks
WCMS Job Board
Physicians and PAs: Enjoy 2017 with WCMS!
Physicians and Physician Assistants: If you haven't already, please become a member! 

This is a big year for legislative advocacy. Join us to: 
* Keep legislation out of the physician-patient relationship and exam room
* Make your voice heard about patient safety issues
* Fight for patient access to high quality health care

And we're building up our Healthy Healer program. Will include: 
* Discounts on counseling/coaching
* Large event with renowned speaker, November 4
* Other resources to prevent burnout
There's a lot happening at WCMS - check out our full 2017 Strategic Plan.

Join Today and make your voice heard!
New Members to WCMS
Click here to view the newest physicians to join WCMS!  

Physicians' Voice in the News
WCMS is proud to announce another high quality addition to the series of 
"The Physicians' Voice," a series of media presentations for the general public that showcase physicians' world-class medical expertise and focus on patient/community health.

E. Blake Fagan is a family physician and the chief education officer at the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC). He received his medical degree from Vanderbilt University and is a graduate of MAHEC's Family Medicine Residency Program in Asheville. He is a Western Carolina Medical Society board member. The article is titled "How opioid crisis affects our health care".

"...the crisis is worse than ever. In January and February alone, our first responders went to 150 overdose calls - more than all of the overdose calls in 2015. Sadly, 20 of the overdose victims could not be saved; they died.

This article is to inform the public of two things. First, your provider may be treating temporary or short-term (also called "acute") pain differently than in the past. Second, you as the patient have the right to ask for information and get answers to the questions you have about the treatment prescribed to you."

Click here to read full article on our website, plus read the preceding 2 articles of this series.
WNC Initiative to Promote Mental Health, Reduce Emergency Department Use
April 11, 2017 - Western N.C. healthcare leaders expect a new $2.3 million initiative will help reduce overcrowding at Mission Hospital's emergency department by ensuring people with mental health or addiction disorders receive proper outpatient care and avoid repeated trips to the hospital.
Click here to continue reading. 
Asheville-area doctors join the direct and concierge care movements
In the midst of what's arguably the loudest, most contentious public debate over affordable health care in the U.S., there's a more understated movement building steam across the country and here in Asheville - led not by politicians or lawmakers but by physicians who insist on providing more effective health care.
Click here to continue reading. 
Opioids to Heroin to Hepatitis C in Western NC
As North Carolina officials are cracking down on opioid prescribing, some medical professionals weren't surprised by the concurrent increase in IV drug use and the diseases that come along with it, such as HIV and hepatitis C.

In Madison County, a rural stretch of mountains northwest of Asheville, the county health director and local sheriff are teaming up to tackle these issues.
Click here to continue reading. 
WCMS Executive Committee of the Board Votes to Support HB 662
Click here to view letter authored by The Western North Carolina Healthcare Advocacy Coalition of which WCMS is a proud member. 
Public Health Provider Alert from BCHHS: Please be on the lookout for mumps 
A student at Appalachian State was recently diagnosed with mumps. At this time, no additional cases of mumps have been identified in NC that are connected with this case. However, numerous outbreaks of mumps are occurring throughout the US, and it appears that recent Spring Break travel (e.g., to South Padre Island, Texas) may be contributing to some spread of the illness. If you should see a patient with signs and symptoms compatible with mumps, please assess their travel history and report that suspected mumps case to your local health department immediately.
Click here for more information. 

Medicaid Expansion Inches Forward with New Proposal
RALEIGH - Sponsors of new legislation that would increase Medicaid eligibility for about 375,000 low-income North Carolinians say their plan is a new way forward on a complicated and often politically charged issue.

North Carolina is one of 19 states that has not expanded Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. After recent attempts to repeal the ACA faltered, many of those states are taking another look at Medicaid expansion.
Click here to continue reading. 

Maps Show A Dramatic Rise In Health Insurance Coverage Under ACA

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau present the most detailed picture yet of the dramatic rise in the number of people covered by health insurance since the Affordable Care Act went into effect.
Click here to continue reading. 
Top 10 Challenges Facing Physicians in 2017
2016 was a challenging year on many fronts for healthcare providers.

Physicians have just started to digest the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) and its changes to physician reimbursement. A long presidential election finally reached its conclusion, but the consequences of a Republican Congress and President-elect Donald J. Trump for U.S. doctors and patients remain unclear. And running a private practice did not get any easier. Balancing the need to deal with patients who won't listen or won't pay while also seeking positive patient satisfaction scores remains a daily struggle for many.
Click here to continue reading. 

Survey: Nearly 75% of Providers are Not Ready for MACRA or Need Help
Dive Brief:

In a recent survey of more than 2,000 providers published by Healthcare Informatics, 43% said they need help with MACRA preparation, 30% said they are not at all prepared while 27% said they are ready to go.

Only 13% of respondents said they participate solely in value-based payment models and 35% said they participate in both fee-for-service and value-based models while 52% said they participate solely in fee-for-service models.

Asked whether strategies on value-based care have shifted since the November election, 47% said they are awaiting direction from the new administration, 33% said they have not made adjustments, and 20% said they were unsure.
Click here to continue reading. 
ACP: Stop Saddling Docs With Administrative Tasks
It's time for all those involved in the healthcare industry to reevaluate and reduce the administrative task burden placed on clinicians, according to policy recommendations from the American College of Physicians (ACP).

The position paper, published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine, offered a framework to free physicians from the daily churn of prior authorizations, computerized order entry, billing-related documentation -- and the resulting risk for burnout...
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