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  Community Pulse - August 2017



Take the first step towards helping a neighbor in need by supporting Project Access®!
What is Project Access®?
Project Access® is a grassroots physician-led volunteer initiative providing access to free comprehensive medical care for low-income, uninsured Buncombe County residents since 1996. Due to the lack of Medicaid expansion in North Carolina and the federal government's desire to end the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), access to affordable health care looks very uncertain for a growing number of our family, friends, and neighbors. A majority of them are "the working poor."

We need programs like Project Access® now more than ever! But we need you to help us!  Donors like you make the work of Project Access® possible.

Please consider donating today- you may just save someone's life.

Every year, more than 2,500 low-income, uninsured patients receive healthcare and prescription medications through our amazing network of volunteer individual physicians, hospitals, pharmacies and other service providers. By donating to Project Access®, you're helping someone in need and getting an excellent return on your investment!
  • Every $1 invested in Project Access® produces a return of $15 in medical care!
  • Project Access® serves more than 2,500 patients per year
  • Over 500 physicians volunteer their time and services each year
  • Donated funds connect patients with doctors, medications, durable medical equipment and interpreter services
We are grateful for any and all support! Thank you for lending a helping hand to those in need.   Donate here
In This Issue:
Ad (left): Parsec Financial Advisors
Take the first step towards helping a neighbor in need by supporting Project Access®
Physicians and PAs: Enjoy 2017 with WCMS!
New Members to WCMS
Cherokee Hospital Pharmacy distributing Narcan
CEO answers concerns about Mission/BCBS contract
Mission reveals transition plan as standoff with Blue Cross Blue Shield continues
WNC government leaders, health advocates join forces to assemble overdose-reversal kits
State-Funded Rural Training Provides More Doctors in Underserved WNC Counties
Healthy Healer Retreat Registration Now Open
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!   

Cherokee Hospital Pharmacy distributing Narcan
I n an effort to reduce opioid overdose deaths in the community, the Cherokee Indian Hospital Pharmacy has begun distributing naloxone, sometimes referred to by the brand name Narcan, kits free of charge to the public.

"Patients who are eligible to receive medications from the Pharmacy only need to check-in at one of the front windows to request a kit," said Jason White, Cherokee Indian Hospital chief pharmacist.  "The pharmacist does a chart review and an order for the kit is placed and processed under a standing physician order.  We require and provide education for the patient on how to use the kit.  In the state of North Carolina, patients do not need to see a doctor to procure a Narcan kit from a pharmacy, and we take the same approach at CIH Pharmacy."  Read full article here.  
CEO answers concerns about Mission/BCBS contract
Mission Health Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ron Paulus took to social media last week to answer questions from patients regarding the health care system's ongoing contract battle with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.

Paulus spent an hour on Facebook live talking about the position he says BCBS put Mission in by not being willing to negotiate payment rates for patients. Mission notified BCBS in early July its intent to terminate its contract when it expires Oct. 5, 2017, but Paulus said he felt it was his only choice.

After six months of negotiating with Blue Cross, Paulus said it came down to Mission having to accept a new contract with a reduction in payments for the next three years or just let the current contract renew automatically Oct. 5 and accept a zero increase in payments for the next several years.  Read full article here
Mission reveals transition plan as standoff with Blue Cross Blue Shield continues
Mission on Thursday announced a transition plan that will cover everyone with BCBSNC insurance coverage, including consumers with BCBSNC commercial insurance coverage and BCBSNC Medicare Advantage plans.

The hospital system and insurance carrier are at odds over a new contract. The old one expires Oct. 5.  Read press release here
WNC government leaders, health advocates join forces to assemble overdose-reversal kits
State Sen. Terry Van Duyn joined health advocates and county commissioners from throughout western North Carolina on Tuesday to begin assembling 1,200 opioid overdose-reversal kits containing information on how to get help locally for addiction and substance use disorders.

Each kit contains two doses of NARCAN® nasal spray funded through a grant to Vaya Health, a regional public managed healthcare organization. Members of Vaya's County commissioner Advisory Board assembled kits by hand that contained NARCAN®, also known as naloxone, along with information on Vaya's 24/7 Access to Care line, which connects individuals to treatment and assists callers experiencing a mental health or addiction crisis.  Read full article here

State-Funded Rural Training Provides More Doctors in Underserved WNC Counties
Five MAHEC Family Medicine Residency graduates are currently participating in yearlong fellowships through MAHEC in rural locations, where they plan to stay and practice upon completion.

Paulette Doiron, MD, and Kelly Garcia, MD, began their Maternal Child Health Fellowships at Haywood Health Center in Waynesville this past July. Winona Houser, MD, started her Rural Family Medicine Fellowship at Cherokee Indian Hospital in early August. Jessica White, MD, will begin her Rural Family Medicine Fellowship on September 4 and will see patients at Celo Health Center in Yancey County and Bakersville Community Health Center sites in Spruce Pine and Bakersville in Mitchell County. Robyn Restrepo, MD, also a Rural Family Medicine Fellow, began practicing in Highlands on August 21, 2017.  Read more here

Healthy Healer Retreat featuring Rebecca Sotile Fallon - Medicine and Family: New Challenges; New Solutions.  Registration is now Open!
In this entertaining and thought-provoking seminar, noted speaker Rebecca Fallon of the Sotile Center for Resilience and Center for Physician Resilience, will shed light on the inner workings of contemporary medical providers and their families who manage to have it all: productive careers, high levels of collaboration and collegiality in the medical workplace, and thriving personal lives. Drawing material from the Sotiles' books, over 15 years of clinical and consulting experiences, and her practice's ground-breaking research with medical families, Rebecca will teach practical strategies that can immediately make a difference in your work and family relationships, regardless of how you define "family."

This event is FREE for all WCMS Members. Discounts apply for non-member physicians and PAs of Gold Level sponsoring hospitals. $75 for non-member physicians and PAs. Significant others attend free of charge! CME will be offered and we'll be giving a copy of the Sotile's book "Letting Go of What's Holding you Back" to all attending physicians and PAs.
Register online today HERE!
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