Health Alert: Possible heroin mixed with clenbuterol

August 6, 2015

The North Carolina Division of Public Health (NC DPH) is currently investigating 18 cases of illness potentially due to use of heroin mixed with clenbuterol. Reported cases are from four counties (Durham, Lee, Orange, and Wake). The source of the clenbuterol-contaminated heroin is suspected to be in Durham County.

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Local Medical Charity Project Access® Awarded $500,000 Grant by The Duke Endowment

July 14, 2015

ASHEVILLE. N.C. (June 24, 2015) – Together with Western Carolina Medical Society Foundation (WCMS Foundation), Mission Foundation today announced it has been awarded a $500,000 grant from The Duke Endowment to cover funding shortfalls in WCMS Foundation’s Project Access® charity medical care program. Project Access® offers access to free healthcare for low income, uninsured residents of Buncombe County. 

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CMS Begins Implementation of Key Payment Legislation

July 9, 2015

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Medicare Proposes Paying for Discussions on End-of-Life Care

July 8, 2015

This new policy, announced Wednesday, comes at a time when patients, families and health providers are placing greater emphasis on allowing people to choose the way they die – whether that means trying every possible medical option to stay alive or discontinuing life support for those who do not want to be sustained by ventilators and feeding tubes.

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CMS and AMA Announce Efforts to Help Providers Get Ready for ICD-10

July 6, 2015

With less than three months remaining until the nation switches from ICD-9 to ICD-10 coding for medical diagnoses and inpatient hospital procedures, CMS and AMA are announcing efforts to continue to help physicians get ready ahead of the October 1 deadline

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Heartstrings Press Release

June 25, 2015

Every year WCMS holds its annual Heartstrings fundraiser to help fund the WCMS Foundation. To celebrate its 13th year, Heartstrings turned up the fun with a weekend Family Fun Event.  Heartstrings, presented by Quest Diagnostics, was held on Saturday May 23rd and Sunday, May 24th at Carrier Park as part of Asheville’s popular Mountain Sports Festival.

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Letter from the WCMS President, Robert Henderson MD (June 2015)

June 15, 2015

"We Take Care of Our Own".  The prevalence of symptomatic burnout is staggeringly high in practicing physicians. To make things worse, most healthcare workplaces completely fail to acknowledge stress, burnout and feelings of being overwhelmed among physicians.  

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WCMS Legislative Priorities, June 2015

June 4, 2015

Based on multiple discussions with NCMS, meetings with legislators, and Board review, WCMS is currently focusing on these legislative priorities, which may change in the ensuing weeks as these issues are moving targets.

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Health Alert from BCHHS Medical Director—Varicella

June 3, 2015

We have recently seen an increase of varicella cases in schools.  I just wanted to take the time to remind everyone that although the varicella vaccine is almost 100% effective at preventing severe cases of varicella, it is not 100% effective at preventing milder cases.  Please keep Breakthrough Varicella on your list of possible diagnoses in a vaccinated child with a rash illness.

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Attention PCPs: Mission Health Partners Announces “Open Enrollment” to join ACO

May 19, 2015

Mission HP announces its PCP Open Enrollment period, now through June 30th . MHP will be accepting non-binding Letters of Intent from interested practices. To find out more about this opportunity, you may participate in the following information sessions. There is no need to register in advance. Here is a link to learn more about the criteria for joining MHP.

Call Details:

Friday, May 22nd at 7:00am
Call-in toll-free number (US/Canada): 1-866-469-3239
Access code:736 973 266
Passcode: 1122

Monday, May 26th at 5:30pm
Call-in toll-free number (US/Canada): 1-866-469-3239
Access code:730 978 532
Passcode: 1122

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Patient Centered Medical Homes Create Healthier Communities

May 18, 2015

The Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) is an innovative model for population health management that is improving the way that providers and primary care practices care for patients. In this model, providers expand access to patients and support them in achieving mutually agreed upon health goals. Patients have the opportunity to become more engaged in their own care and are empowered to work to improve unhealthy behaviors

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WCMS' Current Legislative Priorities 5/14/15

May 14, 2015

Based on multiple discussions with NCMS, meetings with legislators, and Board review, WCMS is currently focusing on these legislative priorities, which may change in the ensuing weeks as these issues are moving targets. Please contact if you have questions or if you would like to get involved in advocacy.

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Public Health Advisory: Increasing Early Syphilis Cases in North Carolina

May 14, 2015

Early syphilis infections in North Carolina continue to rise. Compared to the same time period in 2014, early syphilis cases in the first 3 months of 2015 increased by 56%.

Due to this substantial increase in early syphilis infections, we are asking all medical providers to enhance sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention services to your patients.  New syphilis infections are primarily occurring among men, especially men who have sex with men (MSM) and HIV-positive individuals. Enhancing STI prevention services to these patients may efficiently address the rise in early syphilis infections and improve the health of our fellow North Carolinians.

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This is my Exam Room, Not Your Soapbox

May 11, 2015

From the Asheville Citizen-Times: This is my Exam Room, Not Your Soapbox
The N.C. General Assembly feels otherwise.

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On Your Own or Part of a Larger Healthcare System?

May 6, 2015

"Should I open or retain my own private practice or become part of a larger healthcare system?" That’s the question I’ve heard from ten physicians over the past six months. I’ve written this newsletter to help you assess your own readiness. One size doesn’t fit all. Only you can decide. That decision will significantly impact tasks that need to be done with respect to organization and management, financial management, managing staff and external resources, maintaining quality and outcomes, and compliance.

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