WCMS Physician Dream Team Goes to Raleigh for White Coat Wednesday

March 24, 2017

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On March 22nd, CEO Miriam Schwarz and five politically fired-up WCMS physicians (L-R in picture: Drs. Samantha Read-Smith and Mark McNeill, Sen. Chuck Edwards, CEO Miriam Schwarz, Drs. Scott Langford, MaryShell Zaffino, and Mike Parmer,) traveled to Raleigh to meet with WNC legislators. Our meetings included: Rep. Clampitt (Haywood, Jackson, Swain), Rep. Ager (Buncombe), Rep. Dobson (McDowell, Mitchell), Sen. Edwards (Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania), Rep. Presnell (Haywood, Madison, Yancey), Rep. McGrady (Henderson), Rep. Henson (Henderson, Polk, Transylvania), and Rep. Fisher (Buncombe). We also met in the hallways with Rep. Greg Murphy, MD (the only physician in the NCGA!) and Rep. Brian Turner (Buncombe). Several legislators stopped our group to thank the physicians for their hard work and for keeping communities healthy.

We are proud to report that every single meeting was on-target and productive. Topics included WCMS’ support of the STOP Act (Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention Act) with some modifications; and our disapproval of HB 88 (Nurse Modernization Act), which allows nurses, including those with little to no experience, to practice without physician supervision; and our strong disapproval of HB 36 (Enact Enhanced Access to Eye Care Act), which allows optometrists to perform surgeries of the eye.

Dr. Mark McNeill (Trillium Family Medicine) appreciated the importance of building trusting relationships for effective physician advocacy: "Communicating and developing relationships with our legislators is important if physicians are to have influence in our state government. It was a privilege to meet with our lawmakers. I was impressed by the consideration given to our concerns from representatives of both parties. I definitely will return to the state capital for further physician advocacy and I encourage my colleagues to do the same."

Dr. Mike Parmer (CMO CarePartners) enjoyed educating legislators about how their bills impact patients and providers alike: “Interacting with our legislators was a great experience! The one thing that I really appreciated is that they all are trying to do the right thing. Without our input to help them understand medical issues and concerns, they are working on limited information and influenced only by those people who do interact with them. Our presence is really important. As physicians, our opinions are respected and important. We were positive in our messages and helpful to them in our demeanor. I will go back and would like more of us to participate as well!”

Interested in joining the next White Coat Wednesday WCMS Physician Dream Team? Our next visit is June 14th. Let us know! Miriam@mywcms.org

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