Newsroom

Public Health Provider Alert from BCHHS: Advice for Health Care Providers Treating Patients in or Recently Returned from Hurricane-Affected Areas, Including Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands

October 25, 2017

CDC issued the attached Health Advisory on 10/24/17 to remind clinicians assessing patients currently in or recently returned from hurricane-affected areas to be vigilant in looking for certain infectious diseases, including leptospirosis, dengue, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, vibriosis, and influenza.

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Opioid Prescription Practices in Western North Carolina

October 25, 2017

In 2005 this patient went in for surgery to correct a deviated septum. The surgery was successful and he was discharged home with a prescription for 30 Percocet tablets. His recovery was uneventful and when he went back for a re-check and reported that he had not needed to take any of the pain pills he was given the surgeon informed him that this was pretty much a “painless surgery.” When he asked why he been given the 30 pills he was told it was “expected.”

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Message from the Foundation Board Chair, Dr. Britt Peterson

October 24, 2017

Most physicians and physician assistants (PAs) are aware of the increasing trend of burnout that faces our profession.  The challenge remains how to best address this crisis that threatens not only our enjoyment of medicine but its effects on the patient experience and the overall vitality of our health care system.  

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Information Regarding Mission Health and BCBSNC

October 24, 2017

We trust you are aware that Mission Health is now out of network with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.  We also anticipate that you have had or will receive questions from your BCBS patients regarding the implications of this for them. This email is intended to clarify the impact of this situation.

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Simple Tool Shows Lasting Reduction in Burnout

October 24, 2017

Physicians and other healthcare workers who use a simple tool for 2 weeks show reduced burnout within a few days of starting the intervention and retain most of the benefit a year later, researchers reported here at the American Conference on Physician Health.

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Innovative Practice Interview: Mission Personalized Medicine

October 23, 2017

WCMS’ Cutting Edge highlights WNC physicians, practices and programs that are on the cutting edge of healthcare transformation, both big and small. WCMS supports local physician members who are change agents by recognizing them and sharing among other WCMS members and the general community information about these local innovations. 

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Innovative Practice Interview: Blue Mountain Surgery

October 23, 2017

WCMS’ Cutting Edge highlights WNC physicians, practices and programs that are on the cutting edge of healthcare transformation, both big and small. WCMS supports local physician members who are change agents by recognizing them and sharing among other WCMS members and the general community information about these local innovations.

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Help Families in Puerto Rico

October 23, 2017

The families of a WCMS physician and two WIN interpreters are affected by the ongoing crisis in Puerto Rico. WCMS is helping the physician and interpreters gather supplies to send to their families.

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MAHEC Prepares Western North Carolina for MACRA, Featured in New MACRA Toolkit

October 18, 2017

October 11, 2017– Last week was the deadline for physicians and other eligible professionals to begin collecting data to meet reporting requirements under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) or face a potential reduction in future Medicare reimbursement.

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From the AMA: An Update on Recent Actions by the Administration With Respect to the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

October 13, 2017

President Trump announced late last night that the Administration would no longer make the cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments to insurers offering plans in the ACA marketplace.

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Message From Association President Dr. MaryShell Zaffino

October 11, 2017

I am writing from my desk in Hendersonville, NC.

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As a reminder, physicians in NC are required by state law (NC General Statute § 130A-135) to report suspected or confirmed communicable diseases to the local health department.

October 2, 2017

The BCHHS Communicable Disease phone and fax lines are back in service.  If you tried to call or fax a communicable disease report to us on 9/30 or 10/1, please resend that information at this time to ensure we have all the information we need.

 

In general, BCHHS Communicable Disease staff are available 24/7 by calling 828-250-5109 or fax at 828-250-6169.

  •  If you ever try to contact them at these numbers and are unable to leave a message or your fax fails to go through, please contact me at 828-989-6145 or Ellis Vaughan, our Clinical Services Coordinator, at 828-545-6740.

 

As a reminder, physicians in NC are required by state law (NC General Statute § 130A-135) to report suspected or confirmed communicable diseases to the local health department. The Communicable Disease report form for Buncombe County is located at https://www.buncombecounty.org/common/health/Morb_Card.pdf. Please review the list of reportable diseases and conditions on the form, as well as the time frame for reporting them to public health.

Finally, we have had situations where health care providers have been hesitant to share protected health information with our Communicable Disease nurses during their investigations. Please understand that release of this information is allowable under HIPAA. See the attached memo from the NC DHHS for specifics.

Thanks for working with us to identify, contain and manage communicable diseases in our community.

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Joint Statement on the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson legislation.

September 26, 2017

Over the weekend and earlier today, changes were made to the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson health system reform legislation.  These changes would primarily benefit a handful of states where Republican Senators have threatened to vote against the legislation on the floor.  In addition, changes were made that seem intended to address Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) interest in providing still more flexibility to states under the proposed new block grant system.  Highlights of the recent changes include the following:

 

  • Directs more federal funding to key states, including Alaska, Arizona, Kentucky, and Maine:

 

  • Tightens language regarding pre-existing conditions:  states would have to describe how their health plans "shall maintain access to adequate and affordable health insurance coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions." The original language said each state had to show how it "intends" to have adequate and affordable access to coverage.

 

  • States are given broad new authority to allow insurance companies to design new insurance rules for individuals and insurers that receive money through the block grant program.   Under the new version, states would no longer be required to apply for waivers from many of the ACA’s patient protections; instead, states could let insurers impose deductibles that are higher than the limits set by the ACA, or remove the health law’s limits on the costs that an individual family can incur in a year entirely. They could also offer coverage that lacks some of the ACA’s essential health benefits, such as maternity care, prescription drugs or mental health. Plus, states could let insurers widen the gap between how much older people and young people are charged. And states could remove requirements that insurers cover preventive-health treatments and immunizations. This could result in insurers offering bare-bones insurance policies that feature cheaper premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs, thereby pricing out individuals with pre-existing conditions.

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AMA Letter to Senate Leadership on Cassidy-Graham Amendment

September 19, 2017

The attached letter was sent to the Senate leadership today, expressing the AMA’s opposition to the Cassidy-Graham-Heller-Johnson Amendment to H.R. 1628, the “American Health Care Act of 2017.”  The legislation does not meet the principles for health system reform that the AMA shared with Congress on the first day of the 2017 legislative session.  In particular, it would result in millions of Americans losing health insurance coverage, further destabilize the health insurance marketplace, undermine the health care safety net provided by Medicaid, and jeopardize important insurance reforms such as guaranteed issue and the ban on pre-existing condition exclusions and benefit caps.

To take advantage of the preferred procedural rules provided for budget reconciliation bills that would allow passage by the Senate with a simple majority, the legislation must be passed by September 30.  House passage could be delayed until after that deadline, but no changes could be made.  A Congressional Budget Office estimate of the amendment’s impact is expected early next week; due to time constraints, it is not expected to include estimated impacts on coverage or other important details.

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2017 Recipient of the Dr. Brian Ling Memorial Scholarship Selected

September 15, 2017

WCMS is pleased to announce that Asheville High School student Justin Sech has been awarded the scholarship. Justin is an excellent student eager to continue his education and well-deserving of this award.

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