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Improving physician wellness and patient care

WSMA Foundation for Health Care Improvement logo

At the WSMA Foundation, we believe in a future where physicians are healthy and fulfilled, where physicians and their patients are partners, and where all Washingtonians experience quality care that aligns with their needs, goals and values.

Fulfilling that quest depends upon transformational change at all levels—individual, organizational and statewide. We believe that change is possible, and that physicians and patients can thrive in health care settings that support them.

The Foundation exists today because of the vision of forward-thinking doctors who cared about—and invested in—the future of the profession more than 50 years ago.

With your participation and support, the WSMA Foundation ensures that legacy will continue to benefit physicians today… and tomorrow.

About the Foundation

Our vision

We believe in a future where physicians are healthy and fulfilled, where physicians and their patients are partners, and where all Washingtonians experience quality care that aligns with their needs, goals and values.

Our mission

To create transformational health care change at all levels—individual, organizational and statewide.

Our values

As a health care improvement foundation, we value:

  • Well-being: Our highest calling is to the health and quality care of our patients, which comes first. Always.
  • Service: We serve our patients, communities and each other with compassion in the pursuit of wellness for all Washingtonians.
  • Teamwork: We uphold the patient/physician partnership, creating health care settings where conversations are mutual and care decisions are shared.
  • Collaboration: We align with like-minded stakeholders to generate high-impact results that improve care in Washington state.
  • Legacy: We build upon the vision of forward-thinking physician leaders in order to ensure the profession for those who will carry it into the future.

Our goals

  • Strengthen physician wellness and restore the joy of practice.
  • Enhance the patient/physician partnership.
  • Advance quality care and patient safety.

Donate

Your tax-deductible donations are an investment in yourself, your peers and your profession. Thank you!

The WSMA Foundation for Health Care Improvement is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

Healthy Doctors, Healthier Patients

Ours is a caring profession—it only makes sense to care for ourselves in order to ensure we are well enough to care for others.

We know that the external pressures heaped upon physicians by government, insurance companies and regulatory entities steal time from patient care. We know that you're often told you are burned out ("it's your responsibility to fix it"), rather than leaders and systems acknowledging that they are overwhelming medical staff and employees ("it's our responsibility to fix it together").

And regrettably, we know that one in two of you are currently experiencing burnout and signs of being overwhelmed.

The WSMA Foundation is taking action now to improve physician wellness and professional fulfillment via a new initiative that launched in August 2018. The work began with a statewide Stanford Wellness Survey to shed light on the root causes of burnout with support of the Medical Officer Collaborative—C-suite executives who can affect change.

This first step will be to use the survey to examine the culture of wellness, efficiency of practice, personal resilience and professional fulfillment. The results will inform development of an organization-level plan that outlines effective interventions to reduce burnout and improve wellness.

It's time to act. Our patients trust us to provide the best care that's right for them. Their lives— and ours—depend on it.

Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest

Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest, jointly sponsored by WSMA and WSHA, is an initiative to ensure everyone receives care that honors personal values and goals at the end of life. Programs include: advance care planning, community engagement, physician and advanced practitioner education, advocacy, and a central repository.

With widespread adoption of advance care planning programs, patients across the state have access to trained facilitators who can help them consider and document their goals, values and preferences. Preparing a health care agent is the primary purpose of basic advance care planning.

Guided conversations with thousands of people are taking place across the state, with most including the health care agent (a best practice). Our experience shows that after a facilitated discussion, people are much more likely to return a completed advance directive. Having a prepared health care agent and an advance directive on file are the best way to ensure wishes are followed.

Generous contributions from hospitals, health systems, medical groups, insurance companies, foundations and individuals are helping us realize the Honoring Choices PNW mission to inspire conversations about personal goals and values.

Other collaborations:

The WSMA Foundation also supports the Washington End of Life Coalition and the POLST Task Force, which have a long-standing history of improving end-of- life care in Washington state.

Choosing Wisely

Physicians play a critical role in initiating conversations about appropriate care with patients and other clinicians. The Choosing Wisely ® effort helps them focus on doing the right thing for patients and avoiding unnecessary care that could harm them.

A national initiative of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, Choosing Wisely enlisted over 70 medical specialty societies to identify overused tests and treatments. Their recommendations highlighted more than 400 medical tests, treatments and procedures that clinicians and patients should discuss.

Informed by that work, in 2013, the WSMA Foundation, WSHA and the Alliance launched the Washington State Choosing Wisely Task Force to raise awareness and provide support to consistently provide appropriate care in our state. To help facilitate productive discussions between physicians and patients in choosing appropriate care, the Task Force created key resources, including:

  • Action Manual —step-by-step guide to reduce low-value care.
  • Data Reports—statewide reporting on overuse.
  • Clinical Toolkit —guide to engaging patients in conversations about tests, treatments and procedures.

Medical Officer Collaborative

The Medical Officer Collaborative , jointly sponsored by WSMA and WSHA, provides a forum for senior physician leaders from medical groups, hospitals and health systems across the state to collaborate on quality, patient safety, and leadership.

Chief medical officers, vice presidents of medical affairs and medical staff presidents are uniquely positioned to create meaningful change within their organizations. This forum provides a safe place to openly discuss the challenges physicians face and outline effective solutions to those challenges.

The Collaborative has identified Choosing Wisely, Honoring Choices PNW, and physician wellness as key priorities. They meet three times a year to share experiences and strategies to improve practices in these priority areas and others.

Board and Staff

Board of directors

President - Dale Reisner, MD
Vice President - Jae Sim, MD
Secretary-Treasurer - Bruce Smith, MD
Director - Megan Nelson
Director – Steve Schiebel, MD
Director – Brian Seppi, MD
Director - Robbie Sherman, MD
Director - Donna Smith, MD
Chief Executive Officer - Jennifer Hanscom

Staff

Director of Clinical Education & Professional Development - Jessica Martinson
Director of Finance - Amy Fredericks

Contact information

WSMA Foundation for Health Care Improvement
2001 Sixth Avenue, Suite 2700
Seattle, WA 98121
Phone: 800.552.0612 or 206.956.3628
Fax: 206.441.5863
Email: jessica@wsma.org

"The foundation makes it easier for me to get engaged and make improvements to my practice." - Jae Sim, MD, Edmonds Family Medicine

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