|weekly_rounds_february_21_2020_positive_action_on_wsma_priority_bills||Weekly Rounds: February 21, 2020 - Positive Action on WSMA Priority Bills||Latest_News||Shared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_february_21_2020_positive_action_on_wsma_priority_bills||<div class="col-md-12">
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<h5>February 21, 2020</h5>
<h2>Positive Action on WSMA Priority Bills</h2>
<p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p>
One of my sons is in a new relationship, and when my husband and I inquired about the young woman's name he said, "I don't want to tell you, it may jinx it." I get it...I feel the same way about what's happening in Olympia, including an effort to raise Medicaid primary care rates. We are pleased to see at least some interest in raising Medicaid reimbursement for a segment of our membership and I'm hesitant to talk much about it for fear of jinxing it.
Even so, it's news that's just too good not to share. As you read in last week's <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20200214/lawmakers_in_olympia_open_door_to_medicaid_reimbursement_increase?_zs=B3aFd1&amp;_zl=1XeW6">Membership Memo</a>, for the first time in several years there is serious interest and momentum to implement a Medicaid reimbursement increase that would apply to all primary care services.
Sen. David Frockt (D-North Seattle) introduced <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=6676&amp;Year=2019&amp;Initiative=false">Senate Bill 6676</a> and it was co-sponsored by 26 members of the Senate. This bill would raise Medicaid reimbursement rates for primary care services by at least 15% and for certain pediatric services by at least 21%, effective Jan. 1, 2021, and is expected to increase Medicaid reimbursement statewide by an estimated $65 million per year. SB 6676 passed out of the Senate unanimously this week and now heads over to the House. We have heard indications from House health care leadership that the House is planning on making an investment in Medicaid reimbursement in its budget as well. We will keep you appraised on this.
These discussions in Olympia are a positive first step toward meaningful increases in Medicaid reimbursement rates and would, in part, help mitigate the effect of the business and occupation (B&amp;O) tax increase on our independent physician practices. <strong>We also believe this will set us up to advocate for broader investments in specialty care in the coming years.</strong> It is imperative that legislators fund fair Medicaid reimbursements to facilitate practice viability and access to care for patients. Stay tuned for more information as SB 6676 makes its way through the Legislatureâ€”and be on the lookout for calls to action on the issue.
In other news, thus far, we've seen good movement on WSMA priority bills, including the unanimous passage in the houses of origin of the prior authorization bill, <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=6404&amp;Year=2019&amp;Initiative=false">SB 6404</a>, which imposes transparency requirements on insurer prior authorization practices and creates a work group to promote standardization, and the credentialing bill, <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1552&amp;Initiative=false&amp;Year=2019">HB 1552</a>, which generally provides for retroactive reimbursement for services provided while a physician's credentialing application is pending.
Coupled with the telemedicine payment parity bill that <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Latest_News/2020/February20/legislative_session_week_five_highlights?_zs=B3aFd1&amp;_zl=5XeW6">passed the Senate last week</a>, our legislative agenda is generally in good shape with all our priority bills still alive and constituting significant wins if passed into law.
Wednesday was a key deadline for the state legislative session that also saw two bills WSMA opposes fail to advance: one that would have expanded scope of practice for naturopaths and another that would have expanded "qui tam" liability for physician practices and other businesses. While nothing is truly dead while legislators are still meeting in Olympia, these are also tentatively big wins for the house of medicine. Thank you to all everyone who responded to our calls to action.
As you know, in spite of aggressive opposition from the WSMA and our members on the B&amp;O tax surcharge, legislators saw fit to keep their earlier promise to fund higher education, considering that to be a more pressing concern than exempting independent physician practices from the increase. That said, SB 6492, as signed by Gov. Jay Inslee last week, does reflect some improvement in the B&amp;O tax policy, such as applying the increase at a lower rate of 1.75% (rather than 1.8%), exempting businesses that gross less than $1 million, and postponing implementation by four months.
While not all that we'd hoped for, that is still helpful for many of our members and is a direct result of WSMA advocacy efforts. Our advocacy gains were accomplished thanks to the tenacious efforts of our team in Olympia, in addition to the presence of many of our members who went to Olympia to speak directly to legislators.
With no physicians or physician assistants in the Legislature, it's more important than ever that we bring the physician perspective to their attention. We've done thatâ€”and are doing thatâ€”effectively this session. In addition to WSMA staff, many physicians have testified during session this yearâ€”and that really does make a difference on legislative decisions that relate to the profession and to the patients we serve (our <a href="https://vimeo.com/showcase/5729481">Doctors Making a Difference video series</a> captures some of this physician testimony).
All of these various advocacy efforts are critical, so I hope you're planning to join us at our <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/Legislative_Summit.aspx?hkey=ec5e0510-cee2-4aa9-b549-905d63952454&amp;_zs=B3aFd1&amp;_zl=7XeW6">WSMA Legislative Summit</a> next Tuesday. We're nearly at capacity, but if you can make it, we'd love to see you. There's still time to <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/Legislative_Summit.aspx?hkey=ec5e0510-cee2-4aa9-b549-905d63952454&amp;_zs=B3aFd1&amp;_zl=7XeW6">pre-register online today</a> or you can register at the event itself, which is free for WSMA members. Bring your white coat because nothing says physician or PA like that visual! We want to "take the Hill" in full force, so please join us.
I also want to say thank you to all of you who have already renewed your membership in the WSMA this year. And if you haven't yet joined or renewed, please take a moment to do so right now <a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Join_Renew/WSMA/Membership/Join_Renew/Join_Renew.aspx?hkey=37a820cf-9d05-4812-b9dd-c29b9a75356d">online at wsma.org</a>, by calling 206.441.9762, or by email at <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>. You belong with us!
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|legislative_session_week_five_highlights||Legislative Session Week Five Highlights||Latest_News||Shared_Content/News/Latest_News/2020/February20/legislative_session_week_five_highlights||<div class="col-md-12">
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<h5>February 19, 2020</h5>
<h2>Legislative Session Week Five Highlights</h2>
<p>The fiscal cutoff deadline was Tuesday, Feb. 11 - which means that the fiscal committees in both chambers had late nights last Monday and Tuesday with public hearings on over 50 bills. The next cutoff deadline is today, Feb. 19, when bills need to be voted out of their originating chamber to continue through the legislative process. As always, bills deemed necessary to implement the budget are not subject to these deadlines.</p>
<p>Both the House and Senate have until 5 p.m. to meet today's deadline.</p>
<h3>Legislative session week five (Feb. 10-14): Health care highlights</h3>
<p>The WSMA is happy to report that all of our priority bills continue to move through the legislative process. Here is a quick look at the status of our priority legislation:</p>
<p><strong>Prior authorization â€“</strong> SB 6404, <em>WSMA supports</em></p>
<p>Senate Bill 6404 would require insurance carriers to submit certain information related to prior authorization practices to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner and would establish a work group to review prior authorization standards and to make recommendations to promote standardization and improvement of prior authorization processes. There was a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways &amp; Means on Feb. 10 and the bill was approved by the committee on Feb. 11. WSMA's Government Affairs Director Sean Graham testified in support.</p>
<p><strong>Telemedicine payment parity â€“</strong> SB 5385, <em>WSMA supports</em></p>
<p>Senate Bill 5385 would generally require payment for services delivered via telemedicine to be on par with the rate paid for in-person visits. This bill passed the Senate floor on Feb. 13 by a vote of 45-2.</p>
<p><strong>Primary care Medicaid reimbursement</strong> â€“ SB 6676, <em>WSMA supports</em></p>
<p>Senate Bill 6676 would raise Medicaid reimbursement rates for primary care services by at least 15%, and for certain pediatric services by at least 21%, effective Jan. 1, 2021. There was a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways &amp; Means on Feb. 10 and the committee approved the bill on Feb. 11. WSMA's Government Affairs Director Sean Graham testified in support.</p>
<h3>Other priority issues heard during week five (Feb. 10-14)</h3>
<p><strong>Sales tax exemption for breast pumps and related accessories</strong> <strong>â€“</strong> HB 2927, <em>WSMA supports</em></p>
<p>House Bill 2927 would create a sales tax exemption for breast pumps and related supplies, effective July 1, 2020. There was a public hearing in the House Committee on Finance on Feb. 10.</p>
<p><strong>International medical graduates â€“</strong> SB 6551, <em>WSMA supports with concerns</em></p>
<p>Senate Bill 6551 would create a work group to make recommendations to the Washington Medical Commission regarding ways to integrate international medical graduates into Washington's health care delivery system and would allow for a hardship waiver for certain IMGs who cannot provide all necessary documentation due to circumstances outside of their control. There was a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways &amp; Means on Feb. 10. WSMA's contract lobbyist Katie Kolan, JD, testified expressing general support for working to integrate IMGs into our state's health care system with the caveat that WSMA will oppose any policies that would have the effect of lowering the bar to be licensed as a physician and practice medicine in our state.</p>
<p><strong>Persons with SUD â€“</strong> SB 6311</p>
<p>Senate Bill 6311 would direct the Health Care Authority to prepare a gap analysis and implementation plan pertaining to delivery of substance use disorder treatment services, including an analysis of workforce needs and proposals to provide the needed level of service. There was a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways &amp; Means on Feb. 10 and the bill was approved by the committee on Feb. 11.</p>
<p><strong>Naloxone co-prescribing â€“</strong> SB 6447, <em>WSMA opposes</em></p>
<p>Senate Bill 6447 would require a practitioner to provide a prescription for naloxone, or to confirm that the patient has a current one already, when prescribing opioids at or in excess of 50 morphine milligram equivalent. There was a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways &amp; Means on Feb. 10. The bill did not pass out of committee before Tuesday's cutoff deadline.</p>
<p><strong>Mental health advance directives workgroup â€“</strong> SB 6591, <em>WSMA supports</em></p>
<p>Senate Bill 6591 would establish a work group under the Health Care Authority to examine the use of mental health advance directives in the state and how to promote their use, with a representative from the WSMA among the participants. There was a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways &amp; Means on Feb. 10 and the bill was approved by the committee on Feb. 11.</p>
<p><strong>Providing reentry services â€“</strong> SB 6638, <em>WSMA supports</em></p>
<p>Among its many provisions, Senate Bill 6638 would stipulate that Medicaid benefits suspended upon an individual's incarceration may be restored up to 90 days prior to the individual's release (rather than allowing for the individual to apply for reinstatement during incarceration) and, beginning in 2022, would stipulate that the benefits must be restored between 90 and 7 days before the individual is released. There was a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways &amp; Means on Feb. 10 and the bill was approved by the committee on Feb. 11.</p>
<p><strong>Reducing the total cost of insulin â€“</strong> HB 2662, <em>WSMA other</em></p>
<p>House Bill 2662 would establish a work group under the Health Care Authority to review and design strategies to reduce the cost of insulin and expenditures on insulin in the state, with a report due to the Legislature by Dec. 1, 2020. There was a public hearing in the House Committee on Appropriations on Feb. 10 and the bill was approved by the committee on Feb. 11. The WSMA has requested a physician be added to the work group.</p>
<p><strong>Telehealth training and treatment program to assist youth â€“</strong> SB 5389, <em>WSMA opposes</em></p>
<p>Senate Bill 5389 would require the University of Washington to develop a training curriculum and delivery system to train middle, junior high, and high school staff to identify students who are at risk for substance abuse, violence, or youth suicide. There was a public hearing in the House Committee on Education on Feb. 13.</p>
<h3>Committee cutoff updates</h3>
<p>With the caveat that nothing is truly dead in Olympia until the Legislature adjourns, the following bills were not approved before cutoff and are not expected to receive further consideration:</p>
<p><strong>Psychiatric pharmacist practitioner â€“</strong> SB 6609</p>
<p>Senate Bill 6609 would have created a new practitioner type titled "psychiatric pharmacist practitioner," who could enter into written agreements with psychiatrists granting them the many of the same privileges as a physician in diagnosing and treating behavioral health conditions. The bill included no new education or training requirements for pharmacists to work under the license.</p>
<p><strong>Assessing patient anxiety â€“</strong> HB 1920</p>
<p>House Bill 1920 would have required that a patient's anxiety level be assessed by a health care provider upon the patient's intake at a health care facility, upon regular intervals during their stay, and again upon discharge.</p>
<p><strong>Chronic pain patients â€“</strong> HB 2807</p>
<p>House Bill 2807 would have allowed patients to provide written informed consent to a health care provider, granting the prescribing practitioner exemption from civil liability or disciplinary action by the relevant disciplinary entity for prescribing opioid drugs in excess or in violation of state rules.</p>
<h3>Bills opposed by WSMA that survived the cutoff deadlines</h3>
<p><strong>Naturopath scope of practice expansion â€“</strong> HB 1630</p>
<p>House Bill 1630 would grant naturopaths prescriptive authority for Schedules III-V drugs without detailing specific education and training requirements, increase the office-based procedures that may be performed by naturopaths, and allow them to sign and attest to any form that a physician may sign, including forms such as death certificates and disability determinations.</p>
<p><strong>King County payroll tax â€“</strong> HB 2907</p>
<p>House Bill 2907 would allow for the imposition of a new payroll tax to be imposed in King County on businesses including physician practices with revenue generated going to support addressing homelessness and the delivery of behavioral health services.</p>
<h3>What's happening this week</h3>
<p>Monday through Wednesday both chambers were on the floor to debate and vote. Public hearings are generally scheduled for Thursday and Friday, in which committees will begin to hold public hearings on bills that came over from the opposite chamber.</p>
<p>If you have questions about these bills or anything pending in Olympia, contact WSMA Director of Government Affairs Sean Graham (<a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>). And be sure to check out our two session video series, <a href="https://vimeo.com/showcase/5835487">WSMA Legislative Update</a> and <a href="https://vimeo.com/showcase/5729481">Doctors Making a Difference</a>, for more session-related information for physicians and physician assistants.</p>
</div>||2/19/2020 12:00:00 AM||1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
|video_legislative_session_week_6_in_brief||Video: Legislative Session Week 6 in Brief||Latest_News||Shared_Content/News/Latest_News/2020/February20/video_legislative_session_week_6_in_brief||<div class="col-md-12">
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<h5>February 19, 2020</h5>
<h2>Video: Legislative Session Week 6 in Brief</h2>
In this week's legislative update, WSMA Director of Government Affairs Sean Graham is joined by Associate Director of Legislative &amp; Political Affairs Alex Wehinger to preview next Tuesday's <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/Legislative_Summit.aspx">WSMA Legislative Summit</a>.
Online pre-registration for the Summit ends this Friday, Feb. 21 at the close of business (registration is free for members). Note: We are no longer arranging meeting with legislators; however, you are still welcome to pre-register to attend the morning session of presentations. Walk-ins for the morning session are welcome. <a href="https://vimeo.com/392372318">Watch the video</a>.
</div>||2/19/2020 12:00:00 AM||1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM