Message from Association President Dr. MaryShell Zaffino

May 9, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

As 2017 rolls on, change is ever present in our medical world. As President of the WCMS Association Board of Directors, I can tell you that we’re doing our best to keep up with all of the health care transformations that this year has brought, while remembering to take care of ourselves, our families, and our patients. Our 2017 Strategic Plan is well underway. Your board and CEO are representing your voice on issues such as burnout prevention, the opioid crisis, and relevant legislative issues.

Being at the center of constant change can be mentally and physically exhausting, so we continue our emphasis on burnout prevention and physician wellness. We are in the midst of launching our Healthy Healer program. In April, we held a weekend retreat, Mindfulness in Medicine, and received outstanding feedback on the curriculum, which provided CME credits to boot! The Healthy Healer program also offers discounts on coaching and therapy from vetted providers, and a large-scale event is scheduled for November 4th. Look for an invitation later this year. Members will attend for free (3 hours CME).

WCMS is addressing the opioid crisis in our communities in western North Carolina. We recently held a round table meeting with representative providers from WNC hospitals, community health centers, MAHEC, and private practices to discuss efforts around the region to help alleviate the opioid problem. All are making efforts in their respective practices to help curb narcotic prescribing and make sure that patients who need these drugs are taking them appropriately. WCMS has also supported an opioid bill open in the current legislative session, the STOP Act with some modifications to ensure that excess burdens are not placed on providers.

Finally, we have been very active in legislative advocacy. We had a great team travel to Raleigh in March for White Coat Wednesday and met with several Senate and House Representatives. We had discussions about the opioid bill as I mentioned above, and also about scope of practice for nurse practitioners and optometrists. Everyone was very welcoming, and many learned from us! We were able to educate them on the issues from our perspective and believe our conversations will impact their decisions when the bills come to vote. It was a fun day, and I encourage any of you who are on the fence about talking with your Senators and Representatives to attend next time a White Coat Wednesday is planned. We will continue to be active as new bills arise. You can keep up with current legislative changes affecting medicine through WCMS' website and Vital Signs.

These are just a few examples of current WCMS activity. We are also expanding Project Access®, and we are encouraging the legislature to work with us on a plan to make sure our most vulnerable patients can access healthcare. More to come as these unfold!

Thanks for your membership and support!


MaryShell Zaffino

2017 WCMS Board President