Newsroom

Interview with Dr. Blake Fagan, MD on Opiate Crisis in WNC

May 22, 2019

1. Please introduce yourself (background/education/experience/current organization & role, etc.)

Blake Fagan, MD

  • University of Missouri at Columbia

  • Medical School at Vanderbilt Nasheville TN

  • Residency at MAHEC in Asheville

  • Family physician for 20 years working with pregnant women and delivering babies (30% of practice working with kids)

  • Prescribing suboxone for patients with Substance Use Disorder for the last 3 years

  • Clinical Consultant for Opiate Crisis

  • Chief Education Officer at MAHEC

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Update on the Future of Project Access®

May 14, 2019

Background: Since 1996, WCMS Foundation’s Project Access® has served the local community as a dedicated network of now more than 700 independent and employed physicians providing free/low cost healthcare to low income, uninsured, under-resourced residents in Buncombe and Madison counties. Project Access® is not health insurance, it is however a way to help our community members stabilize their health so that health insurance is more attainable. This comprehensive network includes primary care physicians/providers (eg,  4 FQHCs, MAHEC), specialists, HCA/Mission Hospital, labs, imaging, physical and occupational therapy, medication/DME funding, local pharmacies, WCMS Interpreter Network, mental health providers, community service navigators, social service agencies, optometrists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, and more. WCMSF is a certified application entity for the ACA; we enroll eligible Project Access® patients into the Marketplace so that they have private health insurance.  Project Access®  been replicated in hundreds of communities across the country.

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Discussion on Cost of Care and Social Determinants of Health with Dr. Coin

May 7, 2019

First, please tell us a little bit about you and your practice

I graduated UNC Chapel Hill Medical School then  from the MAHEC Family Medicine Residency in 1993, worked in Franklin, Angel Hospital  Emergency Department for a year, then came to the Family Health Centers (FHCs) in 1995 and have been here ever since. FHCs are privately owned by the physicians and there are 3 offices now that function seamlessly as one unified practice largely thanks to our EHR integration in 2005, which was a progressive step at the time.  I served as our Medical Director for quite a few years but now am joyfully back to only patient care.

 

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CMS Advances Agenda to Re-think Rural Health and Unleash Medical Innovation

April 30, 2019

CMS Advances Agenda to Re-think Rural Health and Unleash Medical Innovation
Proposed changes to Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) and Long-Term Care Hospital (LTCH) Prospective Payment System would improve quality, expand access

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Let’s close the coverage gap for all uninsured in NC

April 23, 2019

Dr. Mark McNeill

Wouldn’t you want to bring a $4 billion investment into NC that could add 40,000 jobs to our economy in just five years?  What if these funds also helped address the opioid crisis and lowered insurance premiums? You probably would.  

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ACTION ALERT: HB 655 - NC Health Care for Working NC Families

April 15, 2019

HB 655 - NC Health Care for Working NC Families is a common sense solution that provides an alternative insurance product to low income North Carolina citizens. The plan would emphasize preventative care and wellness programs to incentivize health. Through covering more lives, this plan helps your patients gain greater access to the health services they need. 

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Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital Reaches Agreement with UnitedHealthcare for Employed Physician Services

April 15, 2019

Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital Reaches Agreement with UnitedHealthcare for Employed Physician Services UnitedHealthcare - insured patients will again have “in - network” access to employed physician* services 
 
Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital is pleased to announce that we have reached a new agreement with UnitedHealthcare that reinstates “in-network” status for employed physician* services. This is a win for our patients who deserve access to quality healthcare here at home, and we appreciate their patience as we have worked through this process.  
 

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New Online Summer Certificate Courses at Wake Forest for Bioethics Graduate Program

April 12, 2019

The Graduate program in Bioethics at Wake Forest University recently announced that it will be offering on-line course offerings this summer for existing and newly enrolled students in Wake Forest’s Graduate Certificate in Bioethics program who live outside the central-NC area.  Applications are now being received.

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More Powerful NC Campaign Launches in Effort to Educate Public About Opioids

April 12, 2019

April 11, 2019 – More Powerful NC, a public education campaign to raise awareness about the opioid epidemic and empower North Carolinians to take action to address the epidemic in their homes and communities, launched in early April. 

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Annual Minority Medical Mentoring Program (MMMP) HOPE Banquet

March 22, 2019

On Tuesday, May 21, 2019, the Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement (ABIPA), Mission Health, the Western Carolina Medical Society Foundation (WCMSF) and the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) will host the annual Minority Medical Mentoring Program (MMMP) HOPE Banquet. This is a program for underrepresented high school students with an interest in high-level health professions. The primary goals of the program are to increase the number of underrepresented minorities training and practicing in WNC, enhance quality of care (prevention and wellness) as a result of increased workforce diversity, and achieve increased levels of health parity for populations of color in WNC.

This year’s keynote address will be given by four MMMP Alumni: Davon Washington, Melvis Madrigal, Darryl Jayda Hart, and Zaria Bunn. Proceeds from the event will support the Dr. Charles Blair Health Parity Scholarship Fund that awards each MMMP intern a scholarship. The HOPE Banquet will be held at the MAHEC Mary C. Nesbitt Biltmore Campus on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 from 6:00-7:30pm.

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President's Message

March 22, 2019

Presidents Message WCMS 3/2019

Dear Friends and Colleagues,


As I write this message I sit preparing for an exciting week ahead, a week that makes me proud to be part of the WCMS.  In a couple of days I will leave with a cohort of WCMS staff and physicians for our first White Coat Wednesday of the year at the North Carolina General Assembly.  For years, advocacy on behalf of physicians and patients to our representatives in government has been a key strategy of the WCMS. However advocacy this year is special. With the shakeup of power in Raleigh after the last election, we can now discuss access to affordable healthcare for all more easily.  The association board has chosen to make closing the coverage gap in NC our top legislative priority this year. WCMS has already been hard at work meeting with representatives locally in Asheville, and with the support of our allies at the NCMS, we will take the discussion to the next level in Raleigh this week.

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Preparing for Medicaid Managed Care Questions to Consider Before Signing Managed Care Contracts

March 7, 2019

Thanks to the NC Academy of Family Physicians, which has compiled a checklist as another way to ensure you're aware of all possible issues! 

Click here to read the checklist

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WCMS Interpreter Services Trains a New Crew of Interpreters!

February 28, 2019

Submitted by Mariela Solano, Director of WCMSF Interpreter Services

Western Carolina Medical Society Foundation’s Interpreter Network (WIN), in collaboration with MAHEC’s Department of Continuing Professional Development, has just completed the second yearly Winter Cross Cultural Communications Interpreter Training taught by one of WIN’s Contract Russian Interpreters and Interpreter Trainer, Gulnara Akbarova.

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Innovative Practice Interview with Dr. Richard Bunio of Cherokee Indian Hospital

February 28, 2019

Interview with Dr. Richard Bunio of Cherokee Indian Hospital Regarding the Implementation of a MedServe Fellow

Q: Please describe the MedServe Fellowship Program in your own words.

A: The MedServe program links college grads with an interest in a healthcare field with private practices, hospitals, clinics etc. where they spend two years serving that community. It’s like the Americorp for healthcare. They are dually “sponsored” by the program and by the clinic they’re working with.

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Meeting with Representative Brian Turner

February 25, 2019

WCMS CEO, Miriam Schwarz, meets with Representative Brian Turner to discuss WCMS' 2019 Legislative Priority of "Affordable Healthcare for All"! 

We discussed examples of Project Access patients who are unable to access affordable healthcare in spite of working hard to do so. Almost 60% of Project Access low income uninsured are ages 50-64, 62% are working poor, many lost jobs due to health issues, and have difficulty finding employment because they are close to retirement.  We shared with Rep. Turner the story of Jerry Moncus (insert youtube link here). We also discussed keeping legislation out of the exam room, scope of practice, and HCA’s charity care policy.

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