Weekly e-News of the  Western Carolina Medical Society 
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August 30, 2017
In This Issue:
Sponsor Message: Advantage Printing (Left)
Register Today for WCMS' Newcomers' Picnic
Registration is Now Open for WCMS' Healthy Healer Retreat
MAHEC Job Fair 9/20/2017
New MAHEC Residency Will Address Critical Shortage of Psychiatrists
WNC government leaders, health advocates join forces to assemble overdose-reversal kits
MIssion rolls out transition plan for BCBS patients
CEO answers concerns about Mission/BCBS contract
MedServe students can help you and you practice thrive
Project ECHO brings MAT education to rural providers
State-Funded Rural Training Provides More Doctors in Underserved WNC Counties
Medicaid Opioid Safety Policies
Healthy Healer Article
MAHEC 12th Oncologic Imaging
WCMS Job Board
Regsiter Today for WCMS' Newcomers' Picnic
Registration is now open for our Newcomers' Picnic! Join us for this fun, inter-generational event at Yesterday Spaces farm in Leicester. All WCMS physician members and their families are invited to attend-you don't have to be a "newcomer!" Colleagues, significant others and kids are welcome! We'll have dinner, drinks, lawn games, a bonfire and more. 
September 24 from 4-7pm.
Registration now open for WCMS' Healthy Healer Retreat: Medicine & Family: New Challenges; New Solutions 
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!

MAHEC Job Fair 9/20/17
Bringing MAHEC Residents in touch with practice opportunities in WNC.  Reserve your spot today! Space is limited to 30 practice sites and includes 2 representatives per site. Click here for more details
New MAHEC Residency Will Address Critical Shortage of Psychiatrists in WNC
Rural Western North Carolinians should have better access to mental health support over the next few years thanks to a new, state-funded Psychiatry Residency at MAHEC that started on July 1, 2017.

"The majority of counties in our region don't have any psychiatrists," says Dr. Stephen Buie, MAHEC Psychiatry Residency Program Director. "Primary care physicians try to fill the gap, but we have a shortage of these physicians in WNC too."

MAHEC's new residency program is an innovative approach to meeting the needs of high-risk, medically underserved populations like ours. All 16 WNC counties have been designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas. More than half are listed in the "most distressed" category with higher-than-average rates of substance use disorders and suicide.  Read more 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 NARCANĀ® 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 NARCANĀ®, 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
Mission rolls out transition plan for BCBS patients
To reduce harm to consumers, Mission will provide a prompt payment discount to the balance of a patient's bill after taking into account the patient's personal financial responsibility. That discount will be applied when patients send their explanation of benefits (EOB) and any check received from BCBSNC to Mission Health within 10 days.

Paulus said this process is designed to manage the possibility of BCBC sending benefit payments directly to the patient rather than to Mission Health as the service provider. While that practice is already illegal in the majority of states in America, Paulus said it's something that BCBSNC has routinely threatened to do.  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.  Read full article here
MedServe students can help you and your practice thrive
WCMS strives to keep our members "in the know" when it comes to valuable resources for our members! When we learned about MedServe, a unique educational pipeline program created by UNC Medical School graduates, we knew it was something that we wanted to share with you.

MedServe's Vision:
* Expose future doctors to primary care in rural & other underserved NC communities in a way that inspires them to be life-long champions of health equity - many as primary care doctors
* Provide crucial human capital support to "rock-star" primary care practices implementing high-value, low-cost care in NC communities and disproportionately caring for underserved individuals or communities

Read more about MedServe here
Project ECHO brings MAT education to rural providers 
UNC-Chapel Hill is recruiting providers in rural counties to participate in Project ECHO for Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), a three year study that includes training for providers on MAT and a series of practice-level supports to help address accidental opioid overdoses. Interested participants from Cherokee, Clay, Jackson, Rutherford, Transylvania and Yancey counties may benefit from the case-based activity that allows for primary care providers to be linked with specialists for consultation and learning (CME is included). See a short video on Project ECHO and get more information at
Contact with questions about.this opportunity.
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 full press release here
Medicaid Opioid Safety Policies
From Community Care of Western North Carolina
New Prior Authorization Requirements Effective 8/27/17

Medicaid will implement new Prior Authorization policies for safe prescribing of opioid analgesics beginning August 27, 2017. Visit the  NCTracks website for more details on this Clinical Coverage Criteria, including helpful documents such as:
Healthy Healer -  Breaking a Culture of Silence: The Role of State Medical Boards
Over the course of his 40-year career in the field of medicine, Arthur Hengerer has witnessed many mental health challenges among his physician colleagues at all stages of their careers. Now, with his involvement in regulatory aspects of medicine, he is in a position to proactively address these challenges. Dr. Hengerer is devoting the rest of his career to diminishing the great stigma surrounding mental health issues so medical students and physicians can get the help they need in a safe environment.  Read full article here
MAHEC's 12th Oncologic Imaging: A Multidisciplinary Approach
Improve diagnostic acumen related to oncologic imaging and the role of current state of the art imaging modalities.

September 8 - 10 2017

MAHEC's primary goal is to educate radiologists, medical oncologists and surgeons to improve their diagnostic acumen related to oncologic imaging and the role of current state of the art imaging modalities, including: PET/CT, MDCT, and MRI. Gaps of knowledge may exist since some of the technology is relatively new and other technology continues to evolve. Our oncologic radiologists can provide a greater experience regarding the sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of PET/CT, MDCT, and MRI. Attendees will be made aware of and knowledgeable about potential diagnostic pitfalls and how to avoid them.  Read more and register here
WCMS Job Board

Medical Office Space: for a 1-2 provider practice to share with an established wellness/GYN solo practitioner.  We are most interested in office based practitioners of lifestyle, integrative, or functional medicine.  Please contact Erin Elliot at (828)489-3942 for more information.

If you are a 100% Member Practice, posting job openings here is FREE!  Click here for more information. 
WCMS is a thriving 650+ 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, WCMS opened membership to physician assistants.

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