Newsroom

NC Rural Center Receives Grant to Deliver Leadership Training in North Carolina's Appalachian Region

January 23, 2018

RALEIGH - The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has awarded the NC Rural Center a $100,000 grant to increase regional leadership development in North Carolina's 29 Appalachian counties.

The grant will allow the Rural Center to expand its Homegrown Leaders program, an initiative to develop and support highly-skilled, highly-motivated leaders who are committed to building regional collaboration across multi-county regions in North Carolina.

"Thanks to the support of the Appalachian Regional Commission, we will be able to provide training opportunities to current and emerging leaders in rural Appalachia," said Rural Center President Patrick Woodie. "The Rural Center has a long history of supporting and nurturing rural leadership in North Carolina. This grant will allow us to help these 29 counties develop and support a diverse group of leaders who are committed to bringing about positive change in their communities and region

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Western Carolina Medical Society supports SNAP Advocacy effort

January 22, 2018

WCMS is proud to advocate in collaboration with the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council, along with other local food councils across North Carolina, to sponsor a campaign to protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other nutrition programs from cuts or major restructuring.

Local food councils strive to bring our communities together to work on issues related to food, health and agriculture. We have launched this campaign because SNAP and other nutrition programs are critical to the wellbeing of children, elderly, and families living with food insecurity, and because their future will be the subject of Congressional debate early in 2018. SNAP receipts are also very important to the food and agricultural economy within our state.

As the 2018 Farm Bill is debated in Congress, all of us in Congressional District 10 who are concerned about the nutritional needs of our neighbors at risk of hunger and food insecurity need to speak up and defend the programs that have proven to be effective.

Specifically, our statement urges Congressman Patrick McHenry and Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis to reject any proposals that:

  • cut funding to SNAP or other federal nutrition programs,
  • shift costs to the states, or  
  • otherwise reduce benefits affecting low-income working families, children, the unemployed, or the elderly.

WCMS signed on to the letters for District 10 Representative Patrick McHenry and Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr. Click on this link for a sample letter to our legislators.

Senator Tillis SNAP Advocacy letter

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Free technical assistance from MAHEC to help doctors with QPP/MIPS

January 18, 2018

Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) is offering FREE technical assistance to help practices in Western North Carolina understand and enroll in the Quality Payment Program (QPP). You may earn a positive Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) payment adjustment for 2019 if you submit 2017 data by March 31, 2018. MIPS-eligible clinicians opting not to participate will receive a 4% reduction in Medicare reimbursement in 2019.

QPP is a revenue neutral program meaning that penalties will be assessed to low –performing providers and redistributed to providers performing well. MAHEC can help you determine your baseline score and aid you in developing a strategy going forward to maximize your score for Payment Year 2 and beyond.

Read more here.

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CMS Announces New Policy Guidance for States to Test Community Engagement for Able-Bodied Adults

January 11, 2018

CMS today announced new guidance that will support state efforts to improve Medicaid enrollee health outcomes by incentivizing community engagement among able-bodied, working-age Medicaid beneficiaries.

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CMS Announces New Payment Model to Improve Quality, Coordination, and Cost-Effectiveness for Both Inpatient and Outpatient Care

January 10, 2018

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center) announced the launch of a new voluntary bundled payment model called Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced (BPCI Advanced). 

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CMS Launches Data Submission System for Clinicians in the Quality Payment Program

January 3, 2018

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that doctors and other eligible clinicians participating in the Quality Payment Program can begin submitting their 2017 performance data using a new system on the Quality Payment Program website (qpp.cms.gov). The data submission system is an improvement from the former systems under the CMS legacy programs, which required clinicians to submit data on multiple websites. Now, eligible clinicians will use the new system to submit their 2017 performance data for the Quality Payment Program during the 2017 submission period which runs from January 2, 2018 to March 31, 2018, except for groups using the CMS Web Interface whose submission period is January 22, 2018 to March 16, 2018.

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Public Health Provider Alert from BCHHS: Update on Pertussis Outbreak

December 21, 2017

As of yesterday, Henderson County’s pertussis outbreak had increased to 52 cases, mainly in school-aged children. So far, in Buncombe County, we have had 1 probable case (lab negative, but symptoms consistent with pertussis).

Please remain vigilant and continue to promote pertussis immunization for everyone, but especially those in their 3rd trimester of pregnancy or in contact with infants.

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Community Debate on Healthcare: Right or Commodity?

December 19, 2017

On Friday, December 15, local doctors, healthcare professionals, and community members met in the Asheville High School auditorium to debate “Healthcare: Right or Commodity?”

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TREATING PAIN SAFER: Fewer Opioids and Better Results Controlled Substances Education for Prescribers

December 15, 2017

Literature has shown that prescribers receive little education on the treatment of pain, resulting in less effective pain treatment with worse outcomes. Attendees will learn the evidence-based analysis of the relative effectiveness of medications and their side effects, recommendations on how to improve treatment of acute and chronic pain, and recognizing substance use/opioid use disorders. This program will include the three required topics outlined by the new CME requirement in 21 NCAC 32R .0101:

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Provider alert from BCHHS Public Health: Pertussis outbreak in Henderson County

December 6, 2017

As you are likely aware, an outbreak of pertussis is currently happening in Henderson County – as of last night, 10 cases have been identified, affecting numerous schools. Investigation and contact tracing by Henderson County Department of Public Health is ongoing. Additionally, other surrounding counties have confirmed cases.

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Crisis Intervention and Heating Program Funds Available

December 4, 2017

Buncombe County, N.C., - The Crisis Intervention Program (CIP)  and Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) provides federal funds to low–income families in a heating or cooling crisis or to those who are in danger of experiencing a life-threatening or health-related emergency and sufficient, timely, and appropriate assistance is not available from any other source.

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CMS updates Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model for 2019

November 22, 2017

CMS updates Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model for 2019
Expansion of model to 25 total states to provide Medicare beneficiaries with more choices and lower costs

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced several updates to the Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model for 2019 that encourages customized benefit designs and flexibilities that meet the health needs of beneficiaries in a total of 25 states.   

“This Administration is committed to making sure that our seniors have more choices and lower premiums in their Medicare Advantage plans,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “CMS expects that this demonstration will provide insights into future innovations for the Medicare Advantage program.”

CMS recently announced in the Medicare Advantage and Part D proposed rule that it is providing new flexibility for customized benefit designs that address the specific health needs of certain beneficiaries under Medicare Advantage. This allows additional plan variety and options, reduced cost sharing for customized benefits and different cost-sharing for beneficiaries that meet specific medical criteria

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National Patient Advocate Foundation Invites Asheville to Share “What Matters to You?”

November 21, 2017

MAHEC hosts RWJF-funded workshop on December 7 to support shared decision making for patients

On December 7, the National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) and the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) will host the first of two national skilled communications workshops to support shared decision making in healthcare.

"Person-centered care requires that patients and providers have the communications skills to talk about what matters at critical points in the treatment process,” shares Gwen Darien, NPAF executive vice president for patient advocacy. “This workshop brings patients, providers and community advocates together to identify and develop those skills.”

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Why Burned Out Physicians Often Don't Seek Help

November 15, 2017

It has long been known that physicians are at high risk of depression and suicide, and the problem is not getting better. A study published this July in Academic Medicinefound that suicide was the second leading cause of death among resident physicians from 2000-2014 (the first in males). And it's clear that burnout can contribute to the problem, experts say. When Michael Myers, MD, was researching his book Why Physicians Die by Suicide: Lessons Learned by Families and Others Who Cared, he interviewed surviving family members of physicians who had killed themselves. "What they described was straightforward burnout," says Myers, professor of clinical psychiatry at SUNY-Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY, and specialist in physician health.

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Buncombe Commissioners To Announce Joining the Fight Against Opioid Distributors

November 14, 2017

Buncombe County Commissioners will hold a press conference at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, November 14 to announce the filing of a lawsuit in the fight against the distribution of opioids.

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