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governor_inslee_proclaims_april_16_healthcare_decisions_day-19_Vaccines_to_RGovernor Inslee Proclaims April 16 Healthcare Decisions DayLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Press_Release/2021/governor_inslee_proclaims_april_16_healthcare_decisions_day-19_Vaccines_to_R<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right"><img src="/images/Logos/Press-Release-Graphic-2019-Branding.png" class="pull-right" alt="WSMA press release logo" /></div> <h5>April 16, 2021</h5> <h2>Governor Inslee Proclaims April 16 Healthcare Decisions Day</h2> <p> SEATTLE - Gov. Jay Inslee has proclaimed April 16, 2021, as Healthcare Decisions Day in Washington - a day to recognize the importance of advance care planning and encourage individuals to discuss and record choices about future healthcare decisions. </p> <p> <a href="https://www.honoringchoicespnw.org/">Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest</a> (HCPNW), a joint initiative between the Washington State Hospital Association and the Washington State Medical Association Foundation for Health Care Improvement, is part of this national effort to highlight National Healthcare Decisions Day. In honor of Healthcare Decisions Day HCPNW is hosting <em>Whaddya Know</em>, an original game show, where the points don't matter - but the answers do! </p> <p> <em>Whaddya Know</em> challenges players to match guesses to answers to irreverent and fun questions about future healthcare planning, death, and dying. Played with one partner or teams either together or at different locations, <em>Whaddya Know</em> is a live event, free, and open to the public; registration is required and most appropriate for participants 13 and older. </p> <p> To participate in <em>Whaddya Know The Game Show</em> on April 16: </p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.celebratenhdd.online/the-game-show">Learn more</a></li> <li><a href="https://bit.ly/31viiQ4">Register to play</a></li> <li><a href="http://evite.me/T8VPGbW6Kd">Invite others to join with an evite</a></li> <li><a href="https://bit.ly/39rWbhz">Get the Game Kit, including practice questions</a></li> </ul> <p> Inspiring conversations about the care people want at the end of life, HCPNW helps to inform the public on available treatment options and supports health care organizations and community groups in discussing, recording, and honoring the expressed wishes of individuals on their choices for care should they be unable to speak for themselves. HCPNW's vision is that everyone will receive care that honors personal values and goals at the end of life. </p> <p> HCPNW partners with healthcare and community organizations throughout Washington state, and many have local events to promote National Healthcare Decisions Day. Additional information can be found at HCPNW's website, <a href="https://www.honoringchoicespnw.org">www.honoringchoicespnw.org</a>, which includes a free advance directive to download and videos explaining advance care planning. </p> <p> <strong>For more information, contact:</strong> </p> <p> Graham Short<br /> Washington State Medical Association<br /> 206.956.3633 <br /> <a href="mailto:gfs@wsma.org">gfs@wsma.org</a> </p> <p> Emily Pate<br /> Washington State Hospital Association<br /> 206.216.2894<br /> <a href="mailto:emilyp@wsha.org">emilyp@wsha.org</a> </p> <h4>About Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest</h4> <p> Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest is a joint initiative of the Washington State Hospital Association and Washington State Medical Association Foundation for Health Care Improvement. We use a variety of approaches to inspire conversations about the care people want at the end of life, including an advance care planning program, community engagement, physician education, and advocacy. We help the public make informed choices about end-of-life care and help health care organizations and community groups discuss, record, and honor end-of-life choices. We are a philanthropic endeavor so all who want to participate can. </p> <h4>About the Washington State Medical Association Foundation for Health Care Improvement</h4> <p> At the WSMA Foundation, we believe in a future where physicians are healthy and fulfilled; where physicians, the health care team, and 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 WSMA Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Visit <a href="[@]foundation">www.wsma.org/foundation</a> for more information. </p> <h4>About the Washington State Hospital Association</h4> <p> The Washington State Hospital Association advocates for and provides value to members in achieving their missions and improving the health of their communities. WSHA represents more than 100 hospitals and health systems in the state, including those that are non-profit, investor-owned, and county, state, and military hospitals. The Quadruple Aim guides our members and our work as we strive to reduce the cost of health care and improve the patient experience, the clinician experience and the health of our communities. Visit <a href="https://www.wsha.org">www.wsha.org</a> for more information. </p> </div>4/16/2021 11:29:14 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
ppe_reimbursement_bill_signed_into_lawPPE Reimbursement Bill Signed Into LawLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2021/ppe_reimbursement_bill_signed_into_law<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/April/Spring-WA-Capitol-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Washington cap" /> </div> <h5>April 16, 2021</h5> <h2>PPE Reimbursement Bill Signed Into Law</h2> <p> With the 2021 legislative session slated to adjourn on April 25, WSMA's legislative priorities are in strong shape, with one major win for the physician community coming in mere moments. Senate Bill 5169, requiring commercial insurance carriers to begin reimbursing for PPE costs during the pandemic, will be signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee today, April 16. The bill will take effect immediately upon signature, and Washington will become the first state in the country to require reimbursement for PPE in this way. The WSMA and other supporters believe this important legislation will help spread the increased costs of delivering care during the pandemic and ensure everyone is paying their fair share. </p> <h3>What SB 5169 means for physician practices</h3> <p> As soon as the bill is signed into law and for the duration of the federal public health emergency, any physician or health care provider treating patients in state-regulated commercial health plans who has incurred costs for PPE will be able to bill the newly created CPT code 99072 and be reimbursed $6.57 per patient encounter as recommended by the AMA's RUC committee. </p> <p> Given that it can be difficult to know whether a health plan is fully insured and subject to state regulation, or self-insured and generally exempt from state laws, the WSMA recommends billing the code liberally in appropriate circumstances as those health plans which are not subject to the law may opt to reimburse the code. More guidance on the use of the code can be found in <a href="https://www.ama-assn.org/system/files/2020-09/cpt-assistant-guide-coronavirus-september-2020.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">this edition of the AMA CPT Assistant</a>. (If your practice experiences any implementation issues with insurers, please reach out to WSMA's policy department at <a href="mailto:policy@wsma.org">policy@wsma.org</a>.) </p> <p> The WSMA conducted several surveys last year to assess the impact of the pandemic on physician practices. One recurring theme we heard was that PPE was increasingly difficult to procure, and when available, the costs were much higher compared to pre-pandemic rates. Based on this feedback, the WSMA helped develop and introduce SB 5169 as one way to ensure support for physician practices. We want to thank everyone that took the time to respond to these surveys during an incredibly stressful time. </p> <p> In developing and advancing this legislation, the WSMA also worked closely with the Washington State Medical Group Management Association, as well as a host of health care provider organizations. We appreciate their input and partnership in this work. Finally, we want to thank Sen. David Frockt (D-North Seattle) for sponsoring the bill and prioritizing it to help support the physician and provider community during this challenging time. </p> <h3>Other practice sustainability policies poised to pass</h3> <p> That's not the only good news to report from Olympia. As it stands, all of WSMA's priority issues are faring well, including: </p> <ul> <li><strong>Medicaid reimbursement:</strong> Budget writers in Olympia have proposed investing up to $160 million over the next two years in Medicaid reimbursement rate increases for primary care, behavioral health, and certain pediatric services. These rate increases are a longstanding priority for your WSMA and represent a positive first step in addressing Medicaid reimbursement more broadly. Budget negotiations are ongoing, but we are optimistic that funds will be included in the final budget.</li> <li><strong>Audio-only telemedicine:</strong>, <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1196&Initiative=false&Year=2021">HB 1196</a> Generally requires that insurers provide the same coverage and reimbursement for audio-only telemedicine services as they would for care delivered in person or via audio/visual telemedicine. The bill has passed both the House and Senate, but the House will need to agree with changes adopted in the Senate before the bill heads to the governor's desk.</li> <li><strong>COVID-19 liability protections</strong>, <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5271&Initiative=false&Year=2021">SB 5271</a>: Establishes that the context in which care was delivered during COVID-19 will be taken into account in malpractice actions. The bill would help ensure courts will consider the difficult regulatory and logistical landscape physician practices were operating under during the pandemic. The bill has passed both the House and Senate and now heads to the governor's desk. SB 5271 will take effect immediately upon being signed.</li> </ul> <p> For more information regarding WSMA's legislative advocacy, please visit our <a href="[@]WSMA/Advocacy/Legislative___Regulatory/WSMA/Advocacy/Legislative_Regulatory/Legislative_Regulatory.aspx?hkey=c0dc6e7c-4385-497a-99db-4a6b6f4e56bd">Legislative & Regulatory page</a> or reach out to WSMA Government Affairs Director Sean Graham at <a href="mailto:sean@wsma.org">sean@wsma.org</a>. </p> </div>4/16/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_april_16_2021_five_things_to_do_while_celebrating_springWeekly Rounds: April 16, 2021 - Five Things to Do While Celebrating SpringLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_april_16_2021_five_things_to_do_while_celebrating_spring<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>April 16, 2021</h5> <h2>Five Things to Do While Celebrating Spring</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> What a delight to see spring arriving in the Pacific Northwest. Judging by our members' Facebook posts, I see that many of you are taking time to enjoy the onset of a welcome season by hiking, gardening, barbecuing, and more. I'm right there with you on those activities and have a few more things to suggest as you contemplate the beauty around us. </p> <h3>A taste of Chelan</h3> <p> While we unfortunately will not be hosting our annual Leadership Development Conference in beautiful Chelan, instead we will bring a taste of Chelan right to your doorstep. <strong>If you register before April 30 for the virtual conference (scheduled for May 14-15), we will ship to you your choice of a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, or Mèthode Champenoise Pink straight from Karma Vineyards. To make this event even more special, we'll include one of Karma's signature "do good" glasses (either wine or champagne).</strong> By <a href="[@]Shared_Content/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=LDC21&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=uxcX7www.nationalhealthcaredecisionsday.org">registering early for the event</a>, you'll be able to join your colleagues for a virtual wine and champagne tasting on Friday, May 14 at 5:15 p.m. with drinks courtesy of the WSMA. </p> <p> Even if virtual, the LDC's quality programming is still designed to sharpen your leadership skills. This year's conference features nationally recognized speaker <a href="https://www.billeckstrom.com/about-bill">Bill Eckstrom</a>, who will kick off a conference agenda that will explore new trends in care delivery and quality improvement. Find out more about this year's speakers and learning opportunities on the <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Leadership_Development_Conference/WSMA/Events/LDC/leadership_development_conference.aspx?hkey=c7532c38-057a-4568-8a3c-078182469222&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=wxcX7">conference webpage</a>. </p> <p> We hope you'll join us and other physician leaders from across the state for this premier event. </p> <h3>Get the scoop on session</h3> <p> Hopefully, you received our email this week announcing the passage of WSMA's PPE reimbursement bill. A significant win for the physician community, <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5169&Initiative=false&Year=2021">Senate Bill 5169</a> requires state-regulated commercial insurance carriers to begin reimbursing for PPE costs during the pandemic. The bill takes effect today, making Washington the first state in the country to require reimbursement for PPE in this way. More information can be found <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Latest_News/2021/ppe_reimbursement_bill_signed_into_law?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=10dX7">here</a>. </p> <p> With this year's legislative session scheduled to conclude on April 25, be sure to mark your calendar for May 7 when your on-the-ground legislative team will host a session wrap-up. During this members-only lunchtime webinar, they'll give you an inside look at the outcome of WSMA's priority policies, both budget and legislative, for the physician community. Spoiler alert: There's a lot of good news to share, so you won't want to miss it. <a href="https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJArcu-tqDgsHNF_ASfe4cCORSiKzadx5YI1">Register for the meeting online</a>. </p> <h3>Step up to lead</h3> <p>True to our slogan, the WSMA is both patient-focused and physician-driven. Our board of trustees is a critical way in which the WSMA is guided in its direction, strategies, and goals. Would you consider bringing your voice to the WSMA leadership table? The April 23 deadline for nominations is coming up quickly, and there are a variety of board positions available. I hope you'll take a moment to reflect on your leadership role within the WSMA. <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/March_11/nominations_for_wsma_leadership_deadline_april_23?_zs=A3aFd1&_zl=N0pU7">Find out more here</a>.</p> <h3>Nominate a winner</h3> <p> It's time to nominate worthy recipients for WSMA's third annual Apple Awards! There are several categories of awards including: <a href="https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PLVX2CR">Early Career Member of the Year</a>, <a href="https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PQPVYH3">Grassroots Advocate</a>, <a href="https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PC67G2M">Community Advocate</a>, <a href="https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PSQP3QJ">Wellness</a>, <a href="https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PDGZBNL">President's Unsung Hero</a>, and the <a href="https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JPQRS7S">William O. Robertson Patient Safety Award</a>. The deadline to nominate is June 4. Learn more and get started nominating your heroes at the links provided. </p> <h3>Help launch new Latinx Section</h3> <p> Thanks to the enthusiasm and efforts of the leadership at the University of Washington's Latino Center for Health, the WSMA is creating a Latinx Section within our membership. The launch of this section grew out of work done during the 2019 legislative session that allocated $150,000 in the 2019-21 state budget for the UW center to examine the Latinx physician workforce in Washington state. Among other actions, the center's advisory council recommended creating a Latinx physician cohort, which led to the 2020 WSMA House of Delegates passing policy establishing a Latinx Section within the WSMA. Objectives of the section will be to provide a forum in which Latinx physicians and PAs are able to gather, network, and support each other professionally, in addition to recruiting other Latinx physicians and developing advocacy strategies. </p> <p> This work is just beginning. If you're interested in learning more, mark your calendars for an informational meeting on May 20 from 6-7:30 p.m. Keep an eye on your email for registration information or write Milana McLead at <a href="mailto:milana@wsma.org">milana@wsma.org</a> to let us know about your interest in the section. </p> <p> I know this is a busy time, but I hope you'll be able to take advantage of these opportunities in addition to enjoying the lovely springtime. </p> </div>4/16/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
video_legislative_session_week_14_in_briefVideo: Legislative Session Week 14 in BriefLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2021/video_legislative_session_week_14_in_brief<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://vimeo.com/535933862"><img alt="" src="/images/Newsletters/latest-news/2021/April/Leg-Update-Video-Wk-14-645x425px.jpg" /></a> </div> <h5>April 12, 2021</h5> <h2>Video: Legislative Session Week 14 in Brief</h2> <p> WSMA Director of Government Affairs Sean Graham explains the legislative reconciliation process, and unpacks recently passed Senate Bill 5169, which requires state-regulated commercial health plans to cover PPE costs that have increased due to the pandemic. <a href="https://vimeo.com/535933862">Watch the video</a>.</p> </div>4/12/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
covid_19_vaccine_eligibility_opens_to_everyone_prepare_your_practiceCOVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Opens to Everyone: Prepare Your PracticeLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/April_9/covid_19_vaccine_eligibility_opens_to_everyone_prepare_your_practice<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/April/COVID-vaccine-Illustration-blue645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="illustrated syring and vaccine vial" /> </div> <h5>April 9, 2021</h5> <h2>COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Opens to Everyone: Prepare Your Practice</h2> <p>With Washington state opening COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older on April 15, and with case counts on the rise in some counties, the WSMA is joining with health care partners across the state to help promote confidence in, and uptake of, these life-saving vaccines. Our members are the key to our success in this endeavor. By leveraging the trust patients have in their physicians, you can help ensure Washingtonians are receiving guidance based on sound science and good medical practice - and help counter the increasing barrage of misinformation circulating on and offline. The WSMA offers the following new resources to help you and your practice or organization.</p> <h3>Key COVID-19 vaccine messages</h3> <p>In light of unfounded concerns around the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and other vaccine misinformation, the WSMA has joined with the state and our health partners to reinforce these key messages:</p> <ul> <li>When it's your turn, don't hesitate, vaccinate.</li> <li>All three COVID-19 vaccines are safe and very effective.</li> <li>The best vaccine is the first vaccine that's available to you.  </li> </ul> <h3>"Don't Hesitate, Vaccinate!" public service announcement</h3> <p>The WSMA has produced a new 45-second PSA featuring WSMA President Nathan Schlicher, MD, JD, MBA, called "<a href="https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/532903768">Don't hesitate, just vaccinate!</a>" The WSMA will be posting on its social channels (embedding and closed captions are enabled). Feel free to share with your networks. </p> <h3>"Let's lay vaccine hesitancy to rest in Washington state" op-ed from WSMA president</h3> <p>Your WSMA president also penned an <a href="https://www.thenewstribune.com/opinion/op-ed/article250229750.html">op-ed that ran in the Tacoma News Tribune</a> that leveraged his role as an emergency department physician on the front lines of the pandemic to instill vaccine confidence. For permission to republish, contact Graham Short at <a href="mailto:gfs@wsma.org">gfs@wsma.org</a>.</p> <h3>Countering hesitancy in patients and health care workers</h3> <p>Confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines is increasing among all Americans, according to a <a href="https://khn.org/news/article/covid-vaccine-hesitancy-drops-among-americans-new-kff-survey-shows/">March Kaiser Family Foundation survey</a>. The bad news is that nearly 30% of adult Americans are still hesitant. Worse, health care is not immune: In a <a href="https://www.kff.org/report-section/kff-washington-post-frontline-health-care-workers-survey-vaccine-intentions/">March 2021 Kaiser Family Foundation/Washington Post survey of health care workers</a>, 18% said they weren't planning on getting the vaccine and 12% were undecided.</p> <p>Concern about vaccine safety is one of the top barriers to vaccination. And with the arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, questions have emerged about vaccine efficacy. In a recent webinar, Bob Lutz, MD, from the Department of Health's COVID-19 Response Team, Douglas Opel, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and John Vassall MD, physician executive for quality, safety, and equity at Comagine Health, shared best practices for addressing patient hesitancy and how to approach communities with significant health disparities. View the <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/Immunization/ImmunizationNews/ImmunizationTraining/AddressingPatientConcernsaboutCOVID19VaccinesWebinar">archived webinar on the Department of Health website</a>. The DOH also offers a new provider toolkit <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/HealthcareProviders/VaccineInformationforHealthcareProviders/ToolkitandResources">here</a>.</p> <h3>Vaccine eligibility tool no longer required</h3> <p>Phase Finder, the state's online vaccine eligibility tool, is no longer required to verify COVID-19 vaccine eligibility. The Department of Health has asked that vaccine providers no longer require Phase Finder to schedule an appointment or ask for it when patients arrive for their appointment. Eligibility and vaccine location information can be found on the Department of Health's <a href="https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov/">Vaccine Locator</a>, presently available in 30 languages. Those who need help can call the state's COVID-19 Information Hotline at 1-800-525-0127, then press #. Language assistance is available.</p> <h3>WSMA acts on concerns from vaccine providers</h3> <p>The opening of eligibility may relieve some instances of unwarranted pressure from the state on vaccine providers regarding compliance. After receiving feedback from members, the WSMA joined the Washington State Hospital Association in asking for clarification and expressing our concerns about instances of mixed messaging around compliance from separate state agencies. The WSMA will continue to advocate for consistency and clarity in communications with regarding regulation and enforcement activities.</p> <p>Find more vaccine resources on the WSMA <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/Vaccines/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/covid_19_vaccines/covid_19_vaccines.aspx?hkey=fce03e80-d2e1-463c-b1f3-7257addd7814">COVID-19 Vaccines webpage</a>.</p> </div>4/9/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
new_polst_advance_directive_new_name_for_end_of_life_advocacy_groupNew POLST, Advance Directive; New Name for End-of-Life Advocacy GroupLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/April_9/new_polst_advance_directive_new_name_for_end_of_life_advocacy_group<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/April/POLST_2021_Form_FNL-Green-Background-cropped-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="POLST form" /> </div> <h5>April 9, 2021</h5> <h2>New POLST, Advance Directive; New Name for End-of-Life Advocacy Group</h2> <p>The WSMA is pleased to announce major updates to advance care planning resources for patients, clinicians, and health care organizations. These newly updated resources - the advance directive, POLST, and the Washington Serious Illness Care Coalition (formerly the Washington End-of-Life Coalition) - continue to position the WSMA at the forefront of regional efforts to ensure clinicians and patients are empowered to give and receive care that reflects patients' goals, values, and preferences.</p> <h3>Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest's new advance directive</h3> <p>Honoring Choices® Pacific Northwest, the advance care planning initiative jointly sponsored by the WSMA and the Washington State Hospital Association, this week unveiled its new advance directive. This updated directive is a durable power of attorney for health care based on Washington state law (chapter 11.125 RCW), allowing individuals to name their health care agent. The new advance directive also helps individuals prepare their health care agent by sharing their goals, values, and preferences.</p> <p>The WSMA has discontinued its advance directive brochure "Who Will Decide If You Can't," and now offers the Honoring Choices PNW advance directive in its place. Research shows that the best way to ensure an individual's wishes are followed is for them to name and prepare a health care agent. Download or order hard copies of the advance directive from <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/Advance_Care_Planning/Advance_Directives/WSMA/Resources/Advance_Care_Planning/Advance_Directives/Advance_Directives.aspx?hkey=30d6e16d-03f9-4972-8d64-7644f02921af">the WSMA website</a>.</p> <h3>POLST</h3> <p>Another important advance care planning document, POLST, has been newly revised - and rechristened. Formerly Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, the bright green form is now called Portable Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, an inclusive rebranding to reflect the non-physician licensed professionals (PAs and ARNPs) authorized to complete and sign the form. The logo was also revised to align with the national POLST program, among other improvements made to the form.</p> <p>The newly revised POLST is now available from <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/Advance_Care_Planning/POLST/WSMA/Resources/Advance_Care_Planning/POLST/POLST.aspx?hkey=7abf485a-3dfa-472f-8cf2-1a274562150f">the WSMA website</a>, where you'll also find a summary of revisions and more information about POLST.</p> <h3>Washington Serious Illness Care Coalition</h3> <p>Initiated by the WSMA in 1997, the Washington Serious Illness Care Coalition, formerly known as the Washington End-of-Life Coalition, remains a steadfast advocate for improving serious illness care in Washington. Now under the fold of the WSMA Foundation, the coalition is the home of the Washington POLST Task Force, which oversees the POLST program. The coalition also serves in an advisory capacity as subject matter experts on all aspects of serious illness care. This year, the group reintroduced itself with a new name and a new vision, mission, and values statement. Learn more by visiting the <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/Advance_Care_Planning/Washington_Serious_Illness_Care_Coalition/WSMA/Resources/Advance_Care_Planning/Washington_Serious_Illness_Care_Coalition/Washington_Serious_Illness_Care_Coalition.aspx?hkey=407d0412-a186-437d-9790-b690c0f6da91">coalition's webpage</a> on the WSMA website, where you can sign up to receive regular communications from this extraordinary group.</p> <p>With <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/March_26/national_healthcare_decisions_day_is_april_16">National Healthcare Decisions Day next week</a>, make sure you and your care teams are up to date with all that the WSMA has to offer for your advance care planning and end-of-life care efforts. If you have questions, email Jessica Martinson at <a href="mailto:jessica@wsma.org">jessica@wsma.org</a>.</p> </div>4/9/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
ppe_reimbursement_bill_passes_house_awaits_governors_signaturePPE Reimbursement Bill Passes House, Awaits Governor's SignatureLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/April_9/ppe_reimbursement_bill_passes_house_awaits_governors_signature<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/April/Spring-WA-Capitol-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Capitol building behind cherry blossom trees" /> </div> <h5>April 9, 2021</h5> <h2>PPE Reimbursement Bill Passes House, Awaits Governor's Signature </h2> <p>With less than three weeks remaining in the legislative session, WSMA's legislative priorities are in strong shape, with one significant win for the physician community just this week: <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5169&Initiative=false&Year=2021">Senate Bill 5169</a>, requiring commercial insurance carriers to reimburse for increased PPE costs incurred during the pandemic, passed the House unanimously on Monday and now awaits Gov. Jay Inslee's signature. SB 5169 will allow physicians and health care providers, for the duration of the public health emergency, to bill for incurred PPE expenses using newly created CPT code 99072 and be reimbursed $6.57 per patient encounter, as recommended by the AMA's RUC committee. Once signed by the governor, the bill will take effect immediately. The WSMA and other supporters of this important legislation believe it is a necessary step to help spread the increased costs of delivering care during the pandemic and ensure everyone is paying their fair share.</p> <p>With this Sunday marking the opposite house cutoff deadline (meaning policy bills need to have passed both the House and Senate), session's end game is approaching. Here's a quick update on WSMA's other priority policies:</p> <h3>Medicaid and foundational public health</h3> <p>Legislators are proposing to make significant investments in Medicaid reimbursement and our state's foundational public health services, but negotiations are ongoing and your engagement is needed. There is still time to respond to WSMA's call to action in support of these funding provisions. Take a moment to <a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/put-patients-first-prioritize-medicaid-and-public-health-in-the-final-state-budget/">contact your legislators</a> and share your support. See <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Latest_News/2021/legislative_budget_proposals_fund_wsma_priorities">our budget analysis</a> of the Senate and House proposals for a rundown of those and other provisions being considered that would impact the physician community.</p> <h3>Audio-only telemedicine</h3> <p><a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1196&Initiative=false&Year=2021">House Bill 1196</a>, which would allow patients to receive covered health care services over the telephone, is awaiting a vote before the Senate. If you haven't yet sent a message to your legislators in support of HB 1196, <a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/urge-your-state-lawmakers-to-support-telemedicine-ppe-reimbursement-bills/">do so today</a> - your feedback can still make a difference.</p> <h3>Health equity CME</h3> <p><a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5229&Initiative=false&Year=2021">Senate Bill 5229</a>, which would direct the boards and commissions of licensed health professions to adopt rules establishing a health equity CME requirement at least once every four years, has returned to the Senate for concurrence after changes were made in the House.</p> <h3>COVID-19 liability protections</h3> <p><a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5271&Initiative=false&Year=2021">Senate Bill 5271</a>, which would establish a clear method for determining the standard of care for health care providers and facilities caring for COVID-19 patients, is now in the House Rules Committee, meaning it needs to be pulled from the committee to the floor calendar for a vote by the full House.</p> <h3>Join us May 7 for a session wrap-up</h3> <p>The WSMA's government affairs and policy team will host a post-session Advocacy Council meeting on Friday, May 7 at noon. All WSMA members are invited to join the meeting to get an inside look at the outcome of WSMA's priority bills, the 2021-23 state operating budget, and other legislative issues following the scheduled conclusion of session on April 25. Register for the meeting <a href="https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJArcu-tqDgsHNF_ASfe4cCORSiKzadx5YI1">online</a>.</p> </div>4/9/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
video_legislative_session_week_13_in_briefVideo: Legislative Session Week 13 in BriefLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2021/video_legislative_session_week_13_in_brief<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://vimeo.com/533022787"><img alt="" src="/images/Newsletters/latest-news/2021/April/Leg-Update-Wk-13-645x425px.jpg" /></a> </div> <h5>April 6, 2021</h5> <h2>Video: Legislative Session Week 13 in Brief</h2> <p> WSMA Associate Director of Legislative and Political Affairs Alex Wehinger gives an update on the where some of WSMA's priority bills stand with three weeks left in the 2021 legislative session. Plus, a call to action on our priorities for the budget. <a href="https://vimeo.com/533022787">Watch the video</a>.</p> </div>4/6/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
legislative_budget_proposals_fund_wsma_prioritiesLegislative Budget Proposals Fund WSMA PrioritiesLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2021/legislative_budget_proposals_fund_wsma_priorities<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/March/State.Capitol.Olympia_2015-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Olympia Legislative Building" /> </div> <h5>March 29, 2021</h5> <h2>Legislative Budget Proposals Fund WSMA Priorities</h2> <p>Democrats in the House of Representatives and Senate have released their state budget proposals and the WSMA is pleased to report that both spending plans fund our top budget priorities of investing in Foundational Public Health Services and increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates. The Medicaid rate increases would apply to primary care, behavioral health, and certain pediatric services - a positive first step in addressing Medicaid reimbursement more broadly. </p> <p>Taken together, Medicaid reimbursement and FPHS represent years of advocacy and potentially hundreds of millions of dollars that will benefit patients and the physician community across the state. And it comes on top of the more than $1 billion for pandemic response, funding for behavioral health investments, improvements to the social safety net, and numerous other positive provisions. </p> <p>The state budget picture has brightened in recent months, buoyed by an economy that continues to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and financial support from the federal government. Both budget proposals run just shy of $60 billion for the two-year period beginning July 1, representing significant spending growth. Negotiations on how to reconcile differences in the two budgets will dominate the remainder of the 2021 legislative session, which is scheduled to adjourn on April 25. </p> <p>Here’s a look at WSMA’s top four budget priorities: </p> <h3>Medicaid reimbursement </h3> <p>Both budgets propose to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for primary care, pediatric, and behavioral health care services, but there are differences in approach. </p> <ul> <li>The Senate would spend $56.2 million from the state general fund on primary care and pediatric rate increases, and another $6.5 million on behavioral health rate increases. This funds rate increases of at least 15% for primary care, at least 30% for certain pediatric services, and up to 15% for behavioral health. The state investment leverages an additional $100 million in federal funds for a total increase of $163 million over the two-year budget cycle.</li> <li> The House would spend $33.5 million from the state general fund on primary care and pediatric rate increases, and another $5.6 million on behavioral health rate increases. This funds rate increases of at least 15% for primary care, at least 21% for certain pediatric services, and up to 15% for behavioral health. The state investment leverages an additional $71.5 million in federal funds for a total increase of $109 million over the two-year budget cycle. </li> </ul> <h3>Foundational public health services </h3> <p>Both budgets propose significant investments in Foundational Public Health Services, with the House dedicating $100 million and the Senate at $150 million over the next two years. The Senate also earmarks a $300 million appropriation in the 2023-25 budget cycle (the House budget doesn’t delineate spending in 2023-25). </p> <h3>Pandemic response </h3> <p>Both budgets propose spending more than $1 billion (largely in federal stimulus funds) to support pandemic response efforts around vaccine distribution, diagnostic testing, contact tracing, and other important functions. </p> <h3>Medical education </h3> <p>Both budgets propose maintaining investments in medical residencies and health professional student loan repayment and would also fund psychiatric residencies. </p> <h3>Other investments </h3> <p>The good news for patients and the physician community in the budgets doesn’t stop there. Both budgets make significant investments in behavioral health beyond the Medicaid rate increases and psychiatric residencies, including funding opioid epidemic response, inpatient and outpatient treatment, and continuing to develop the University of Washington Behavioral Health Teaching Hospital. There’s also funding for ensuring one year of postpartum insurance coverage for Medicaid enrollees and more than $10 million for cancer research. </p> <p>More broadly, the proposals will further discussions about the need for new taxes. Both budgets assume the establishment of a new capital gains tax, which would be levied at 7% on the sale of certain investments (the tax does not apply to retirement accounts or the sale of real estate). Democrats argue that while the state’s budget outlook has improved, our tax system remains regressive and should be rebalanced. Republicans counter that a capital gains tax may be unconstitutional and is unneeded given strong state revenues and federal stimulus. </p> <p>There are also differences in approach between the two budget proposals that will need to be ironed out. For example, the Senate would spend $100 million in subsidies to buy down the cost of purchasing insurance on the state’s insurance exchange. The House doesn’t fund subsidies but does set aside $35 million for the delivery of health care and other services for undocumented individuals who may be otherwise ineligible for public support. </p> <p>And at a higher level, the Senate opts to lean on state budget reserves to buttress spending, while the House favors utilizing federal stimulus funds. Both budgets leave significant amounts of the federal stimulus funds unspent, however, likely because more guidance on the funds is forthcoming from the federal government. Negotiators will work to reconcile these differences in the coming weeks. </p> <p>Together, the two chambers’ budget documents run nearly 2,000 pages, which is not to speak of the hundreds of pages of supplementary documents. Your WSMA team in Olympia is continuing to comb through the spending plans, looking for items of relevance for the physician community and guarding against proposals that could hinder access to care. Look for the WSMA to provide more detail on the dynamic around the budget as session progresses, and to continue to advocate for funding to support the physician community. </p> </div>3/29/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
video_legislative_session_week_12_in_briefVideo: Legislative Session Week 12 in BriefLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2021/video_legislative_session_week_12_in_brief<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://vimeo.com/530388423"><img alt="" src="/images/Newsletters/latest-news/2021/March/Week-12-Update-65x425px.jpg" /></a> </div> <h5>March 29, 2021</h5> <h2>Video: Legislative Session Week 12 in Brief</h2> <p> WSMA's Director of Government Affairs Sean Graham gives a summary of the House and Senate budget proposals in our latest video update. <a href="https://vimeo.com/530388423">Watch the video</a> and <a href="https://wsma.org/Shared_Content/News/Latest_News/2021/legislative_budget_proposals_fund_wsma_priorities">read more details here</a>. </p> </div>3/29/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
wsma_statement_on_state_budget_proposals_offered_by_the_house_and_senateWSMA Statement on State Budget Proposals Offered by the House and SenateLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Press_Release/2021/wsma_statement_on_state_budget_proposals_offered_by_the_house_and_senate<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right"><img src="/images/Logos/Press-Release-Graphic-2019-Branding.png" class="pull-right" alt="WSMA press release logo" /></div> <h5>March 29, 2021</h5> <h2>WSMA Statement on State Budget Proposals Offered by the House and Senate</h2> <p> SEATTLE - The Washington State Medical Association is pleased that in the state budget proposals offered by the House of Representatives and in the Senate last week, both include funding that will benefit Washington patients and the state's physician community. </p> <p>Our state’s public health system has been pushed to the tipping point, after years of underfunding and the SARS-COV-2 pandemic. The WSMA is very encouraged that the House and Senate budget proposals appropriately prioritize public health by including funding for Foundational Public Health Services (FPHS). Both budgets propose significant investments, with the House dedicating $100 million and the Senate at $150 million over the next two years. The Senate also earmarks a $300 million appropriation in the 2023-25 budget cycle. </p> <p>Another important priority being addressed in both budget proposals is increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates for primary care, behavioral health, and certain pediatric services—a positive first step in addressing Medicaid reimbursement more broadly. The rate adjustments are similar to those that were passed by the Legislature in 2020 but vetoed by Governor Inslee due to state budget concerns arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Restoring the Medicaid rate adjustments will improve access to care for Washingtonians by expanding physician participation in Medicaid networks at a time when it is desperately needed and long overdue. </p> <p>These proposed investments in Medicaid and public health are critical and will begin to shore up an ailing health care environment for patients and physicians. To put them in perspective: A 2018 assessment by the state Department of Health, state Board of Health, local health jurisdictions, sovereign tribal nations, and Indian health programs estimated that fully funding foundational public health services would cost $450 million per biennium budget. And, particularly with many of our state’s rural and disadvantaged communities facing shortages of physician specialists, the WSMA supports investments in Medicaid reimbursement for all physician specialties, to help ensure practices can remain economically viable and available to provide care for program enrollees. </p> <p>Taken together, Medicaid reimbursement and FPHS represent years of advocacy and potentially hundreds of millions of dollars that will benefit patients and the physician community across the state. And it comes on top of the more than $1 billion in pandemic response, funding for behavioral health investments, improvements to the social safety net, and numerous other positive provisions. </p> <p>The WSMA urges lawmakers and the governor to prioritize these investments in Medicaid and public health as they work to reconcile the two chambers’ proposals and finalize the budget in the weeks ahead. Washington’s patients and physicians need a health care system that is itself healthy and able to tend to health care needs before they become crises, and these investments are steps in the right direction. </p> <p> For more information, contact: </p> <p> Graham Short<br /> WSMA Communications<br /> 206.329.6851 (cell/text)<br /> <a href="mailto:gfs@wsma.org">gfs@wsma.org</a> </p> <h3>About the WSMA </h3> <p> The Washington State Medical Association represents more than 11,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians, and medical students in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the house of medicine for more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care. </p> </div>3/29/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
senate_passes_medicare_sequester_relief_legislationSenate Passes Medicare Sequester Relief LegislationLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/March_26/senate_passes_medicare_sequester_relief_legislation<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/March/Medicare_barcode_645px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="barcode with Medicare written on it" /> </div> <h5>March 26, 2021</h5> <h2>Senate Passes Medicare Sequester Relief Legislation</h2> <p> This week, the Senate voted 90-2 to pass legislation to extend the 2% Medicare sequester moratorium that expires on April 1. The bipartisan legislation would provide a nine-month extension of the moratorium, through Dec. 31. It also contains some technical corrections related to rural health clinics and disproportionate share hospitals. </p> <p> The House of Representatives passed different legislation earlier that would both extend the moratorium through the end of the pandemic and eliminate an additional 4% Medicare sequester scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, which was required by PayGo rules to offset part of the cost of passing the American Rescue Plan stimulus package. Consequently, the House will need to pass the Senate language when it returns from its Easter recess in mid-April. The House is expected to vote favorably, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is expected to hold off on processing April claims until then to avoid making reduced payments. </p> <p> Physician and other stakeholder groups affected by the upcoming 4% sequester scheduled for Jan. 1 expect legislation to be considered later in the year to waive those cuts. </p> <p> <em>Thank you to the American Medical Association for this update.</em> </p> </div>3/26/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
session_update_liability_protections_telemedicine_health_equity_and_moreSession Update: Liability Protections, Telemedicine, Health Equity, and MoreLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/March_26/session_update_liability_protections_telemedicine_health_equity_and_more<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/March/State.Capitol.Olympia_2015-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Washington state capitol" /> </div> <h5>March 26, 2021</h5> <h2>Session Update: Liability Protections, Telemedicine, Health Equity, and More</h2> <p>While all eyes are on the release of the Senate and House budget proposals this week in Olympia, WSMA's policy priorities continue to progress through the legislative process, with the help of testimony and grassroots action from our members.</p> <p>Here's a quick update:</p> <p><strong>COVID-19 liability protections</strong></p> <p><a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5271&Initiative=false&Year=2021">Senate Bill 5271</a>, which would establish a clear method for determining the standard of care for health care providers and facilities caring for COVID-19 patients, is now in the House after passing unanimously out of the Senate. The bill was approved by the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee and is now eligible for a vote on the Senate floor.</p> <p><strong>Audio-only telemedicine - </strong><a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/urge-your-state-lawmakers-to-support-telemedicine-ppe-reimbursement-bills/"><em>Take action</em></a><em>!</em></p> <p><a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1196&Initiative=false&Year=2021">House Bill 1196</a>, which would allow patients to receive covered health care services over the telephone, is being considered in the Senate after passing out of the House with a vote of 94-3. Thank you to Jessica Schlicher, MD, who testified in support during a public hearing in the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee, and to the WSMA members who responded to our call to action on this issue. If you haven't yet sent a message to your legislators in support of HB 1196, <a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/urge-your-state-lawmakers-to-support-telemedicine-ppe-reimbursement-bills/">do so today</a> - your feedback can still make a difference.</p> <p><strong>PPE reimbursement - </strong><a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/urge-your-state-lawmakers-to-support-telemedicine-ppe-reimbursement-bills/"><em>Take action</em></a><em>!</em></p> <p><a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5169&Initiative=false&Year=2021">Senate Bill 5169</a>, which would require commercial insurance carriers to reimburse for personal protective equipment costs that increased because of the pandemic, is being considered in the House after passing unanimously out of the Senate. The bill was approved by the House Health Care & Wellness Committee and is now eligible for a vote on the House floor. Thank you to Washington State Medical Group Management Association representative Marta De La Torre, who testified in support of SB 5196, and to the WSMA members who responded to our call to action on this issue. If you haven't yet sent a message to your legislators in support of SB 5169, <a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/urge-your-state-lawmakers-to-support-telemedicine-ppe-reimbursement-bills/">do so today</a> - your feedback can still make a difference.</p> <p><strong>Health equity CME</strong></p> <p><a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5229&Initiative=false&Year=2021">Senate Bill 5229</a>, which would direct the boards and commissions of licensed health professions to adopt rules establishing a health equity CME requirement at least once every four years, is now in the House after passing out of the Senate with a vote of 35-14. The bill was approved by the House Health Care & Wellness Committee and is now eligible for a vote on the House floor. Thank you to WSMA 1<sup>st</sup> Vice President Katina Rue, DO, who testified in support.</p> <p><strong>Medicaid reimbursement - </strong><a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/reinstate-medicaid-rate-increases-and-improve-patient-access-to-care/"><em>Take action</em></a><em>!</em></p> <p>One of WSMA's top budget priorities is the restoration of the primary care, pediatric, and behavioral health care Medicaid reimbursement rate adjustments vetoed by Gov. Jay Inslee in 2020. The WSMA and our coalition of partner organizations are pursuing a strategy to incorporate these increases into legislative budget proposals, as occurred during the 2020 legislative session. If you haven't yet done so, send a message to your legislators asking them to reinstate these rate adjustments - <a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/reinstate-medicaid-rate-increases-and-improve-patient-access-to-care/">learn more and send your message today</a>.</p> <p><strong>Updates on other bills the WSMA is tracking</strong></p> <p>For details on other bills the WSMA is monitoring this session, sign up to receive our weekly Outreach & Advocacy Report. To subscribe, email Alex Wehinger at <a href="mailto:alex@wsma.org">alex@wsma.org</a>.</p> </div>3/26/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
skill_building_and_networking_at_the_leadership_development_conferenceSkill-Building and Networking at the Leadership Development ConferenceLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/March_26/skill_building_and_networking_at_the_leadership_development_conference<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/February/2021-LDC-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="WSMA LDC graphic" /> </div> <h5>March 26, 2021</h5> <h2>Skill-Building and Networking at the Leadership Development Conference</h2> <p>This year, WSMA's Leadership Development Conference is more accessible than ever in a new virtual format. Don't miss this opportunity to invest in yourself, build skills in quality improvement and leadership, and be energized through our virtual networking sessions.</p> <h3>Thomas J. Curry Leadership Keynote Address </h3> <p>A nationally recognized speaker on leadership and a record-setting TEDx Talker, <a href="https://www.billeckstrom.com/about-bill">Bill Eckstrom</a> will present the keynote address on Friday morning. His talk will jump-start a weekend of insightful programming, group discussion, and networking.</p> <h3>Presenters</h3> <p>The conference features a stellar lineup of participants, including:</p> <p>Friday:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Russ Migita, MD</strong>, clinical director of emergency services at Seattle Children's.</li> <li><strong>Joanne Roberts, MD, MHA</strong>, senior vice president and chief value officer for Providence.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Mangla Gulati, MD</strong>, chief quality officer, vice president of patient safety, and associate chief medical officer at the University of Maryland Medical Center.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Randal Moseley, MD</strong>, medical director of patient safety and risk at Confluence Health.</li> <li><strong>Nathan Schlicher, MD, JD, MBA, FACEP</strong>, WSMA president and regional medical director of quality assurance for CHI Franciscan emergency departments.</li> </ul> <p>Saturday:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Andrea Carter, MD</strong>, chief medical officer for Samaritan Healthcare.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Kavita Chawla, MD</strong>, internist at Virginia Mason Kirkland Regional Medical Center.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Richard Furlong, MD</strong>, internist and medical director at the Virginia Mason Kirkland Regional Medical Center.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Cynthia Burdick, MD,</strong> medical director for Medicare & Medicaid at Kaiser Permanente Washington.</li> <li><strong>Kevin Taylor, MD</strong>, medical director for the IHA primary care and geriatric services at the Towsley Health Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.</li> </ul> <p>With this year's virtual format, you'll be able to access every session live and on demand. Visit the <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Leadership_Development_Conference/WSMA/Events/LDC/leadership_development_conference.aspx?hkey=c7532c38-057a-4568-8a3c-078182469222">WSMA Leadership Development Conference page</a> for a full agenda, faculty, and to register.</p> <p>This activity has been approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Credit</em>â„¢.</p> </div>3/26/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
state_budget_proposals_released_amid_positive_economic_news_yet_uneven_recoveryState Budget Proposals Released Amid Positive Economic News, Yet Uneven RecoveryLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/March_26/state_budget_proposals_released_amid_positive_economic_news_yet_uneven_recovery<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/March/physician-money-illustration-645x425.png" class="pull-right" alt="Physician pulling arrow point with dollar sign written on it" /> </div> <h5>March 26, 2021</h5> <h2>State Budget Proposals Released Amid Positive Economic News, Yet Uneven Recovery</h2> <p>Last week marked an important checkpoint for the formulation of Washington's next biennial budget: the release of the state's latest <a href="https://erfc.wa.gov/sites/default/files/public/documents/forecasts/rev20210317.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">economic and revenue forecast</a>, the basis on which legislative budget proposals are built. According to the forecast, anticipated collections are up by $1.3 billion in the current budget cycle and $1.9 billion for the two-year cycle that begins July 1 - a remarkable turnaround from previous budget projections.</p> <p>Last June, revenue was forecasted to drop by around $8 billion over the same timeframe. The overall shift in anticipated collections through 2023 is north of $11 billion. In further good news: Those figures do not include funds coming into the state from the latest federal stimulus package, which will deliver an additional $4.4 billion to the state (with limitations on how and when those funds may be used). The next two-year state budget is expected to run around $58 billion.</p> <h3>What this means for WSMA's 2021 budget priorities</h3> <p>Majority-party Democrats in the House and Senate will release their spending plans late this week, and WSMA is hopeful that our top budget priorities of making substantial investments in foundational public health services and increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates will be included in the proposals.</p> <p>The positive economic news will undoubtedly raise question marks for the viability of significant tax increases, such as the establishment of a <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5096&Year=2021&Initiative=False">state capital gains tax</a>, which some progressives see as imperative to making our state's revenue system less regressive.</p> <h3>Economic recovery uneven among physician organizations</h3> <p>In what will not be a surprise to many of our members, the forecast noted that recovery from the pandemic has been uneven among businesses, with revenue collections remaining weak in some sectors, and employment growth being slower than expected. Some are referring to the state and national economic climate as a "K-shaped" recovery, in which some businesses are faring well while others lag.</p> <p>It's important to note the positive predictions are predicated on COVID-19 activity continuing to decline. With so much uncertainty, expect legislators to try to maintain healthy budget reserves so there's capacity for future needs or an unexpected economic downturn.</p> <h3>WSMA budget analysis coming this Monday</h3> <p>WSMA legislative staff will review both budget proposals for key takeaways for the physician community. Check your email inbox on Monday for the budget writeup, which will be included with our weekly session update (also featured on <a href="[@]WSMA/News_Publications/Latest_News/Advocacy_Report/WSMA/News_Publications/Newsletters/WSMA_Advocacy_Report.aspx?hkey=fbce906b-dbfb-4af3-8790-11f84275cf1e">the WSMA website</a>).</p> </div>3/26/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
health_equity_101_class_is_in_sessionHealth Equity 101: Class Is in SessionLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2021/health_equity_101_class_is_in_session<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Reports/2021/march-april-cover-645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="WSMA Reports March/April 2021 cover image" /></div> <h5>March 22, 2021</h5> <h2>Health Equity 101: Class Is in Session</h2> <h5> <em>Members only; sign-in required.</em> </h5> <p> By Pat Curry </p> <p> After working as a street medic and having extensive involvement in the anti-war movement in New York, Luis Manriquez, MD, decided to go to medical school to gain "the technical skills to address social justice." </p> <p> As a student at the University of Washington School of Medicine, he founded the Health Equity Circle, an interprofessional group that equips students to take action on health equity using the tools of community organizing. </p> <p> "When I started medical school, people knew about social determinants of health and thought it was cool, but it wasn't expected to be part of your medical training," says Dr. Manriquez, who now is an assistant clinical professor at Spokane's Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, where he also leads health equity development efforts. "Now, it's an expectation when students come in, and I think that's great. The mindset of students is that this is part of being a doctor." </p> <p> Indeed, health equity has become part of the fabric of medical training in Washington state. All three of the state's medical schools have extensive ongoing efforts to incorporate equity into their curriculum, and they are working to address systemic implicit bias and expand the diversity of their student bodies. </p> <p> There's no better time than during medical school to plant the seeds, says Michael Lawler, MSW, PhD, president of Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima. </p> <p> "If you train people to work with each other, they'll do that when they go out in the field," Lawler says. "It's an aspirational vision, but when we think about COVID, the two issues facing us are health and equity. They're both apparent." </p> <h3>Creating an inclusive environment</h3> <p> At PNWU, equity and inclusion are being integrated across the university's strategic five-year plan. That includes organizing an office dedicated to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Workshops on bias and microaggression have been held for students, faculty, staff, and the board of trustees "at their request," says Mirna Ramos-Diaz, MD, MA, FAAP, who recently was named PNWU's first chief diversity officer. The university also is creating a restorative justice model, which emphasizes repairing harm through collaboration. </p> <p> In 2020, the University of Washington School of Medicine created the Office of Healthcare Equity. The office has been hard at work to make addressing equity and implicit bias central to how the school runs. Almost all of UWSOM's 32 clinical teams currently have an equity team and a bias reporting tool is making it easier for members of the community to speak up. </p> <p> "After the events of the summer— the killing of George Floyd and others and the protests—our leadership took the strong stance to require equity, diversity, and antiracist training for all members of our community," says Paula Houston, EdD, chief equity officer for UW Medicine, the parent health care system for UWSOM. "The fact that people are having the conversation has really built awareness and the realization they need to change behavior." </p> <p> The office also has created an equity impact review tool so that policies and procedures can be viewed through an equity lens. The goal is to make it as easy as possible to say who a policy will benefit, who it will burden, and how to mitigate that burden. </p> <p> Houston says that when she presented it at a leadership meeting, she thought one or two people might be interested in piloting it. </p> <p> "Nine departments wanted to do it immediately," she says. "People want to do the right thing; they just didn't know how to do it. They want to make this a better environment." </p> <p> David Garcia, MEd, WSU's assistant dean for health equity and inclusion, says the work being done today on health equity and implicit bias is much like it was with technology in the early 1990s, when organizations had to develop the infrastructure to embrace the digital world. </p> <p> "At some point, we all had to get email," Garcia explains. "With inclusion, we are at a point where we need to develop the infrastructure and become healthier as organizations. We want to be able to look back in 10-15 years and say we're doing our part. Our communities depend on it. The rationale has never been clearer to me on why we need to be doing this work." </p> <h3>Weaving equity into curriculum</h3> <p> How do medical schools ensure the educational experience doesn't perpetuate stereotypes? </p> <p> "That is the million-dollar question," Garcia says. "We do case-based learning and a lot of small-group learning. When we introduce a case at the beginning of the week, how are we ensuring cases are reflective of the state of Washington?" </p> <p> Dr. Manriquez says a health equity thread is woven through all four years of training at the WSU medical school. </p> <p> "My approach is that medical school doesn't make you an expert in anything; you get an introduction," he says. "If that's true of the liver and the heart and the kidneys, it's also true of health equity. We want to develop a foundation to understand the concept. So, in the first two years, we have foundational sessions; in the session on bias, we explain the science of bias, how it works, and antibias tools. We do the same thing with racism, sexism, disabilities, health literacy, and making use of an interpreter." </p> <p> In the third year's longitudinal integrated curriculum, there's more content in understanding bias and equity in a clinical setting. "Why do you see this difference in health outcomes by race or status? Some are assumptions on the part of the provider or the patient; some are actual barriers to access. ... These inequities in health are a huge deal; the differences in black and white life expectancies are tremendous." </p> <p> UWSOM went through a curriculum renewal in 2015 that added eight themes that go across all four years of study, says Suzanne Allen, MD, MPH, vice dean for academic, rural, and regional affairs for the medical school. Those themes are communication, diversity, ethics, health equity, inter- professionalism, lifelong learning, quality and safety, and professionalism. </p> <p> The school also recommends that all students read a common book each year on a social justice issue. For 2020-2021, the book is the thought-provoking "How to Be an Antiracist" by Ibram X. Kendi. </p> <p> Through its Pathways programs, students can focus on serving a marginalized population. </p> <p> "The idea is they do an elective course in the first year or two of medical school and do a summer clinical experience with that population," Dr. Allen says. "We then ask them to do one of their required third-year rotations with a clinic or facility where they'll see a large number of those patients." </p> <p> Standardized patient encounters provide a great opportunity for faculty to make students think about their own bias and whether it is creating blind spots in care, says Thomas Scandalis, DO, dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at PNWU. </p> <p> Sometimes, it's as simple, and as crucial, as making students aware that assumptions can lead them astray. </p> <p> "A student sees a mom with a child and says, 'Where's the dad? Tell me about your husband,' " says PNWU's Dr. Ramos-Diaz. "They're assuming the other parent is a man." </p> <p> Students also need to be prepared "for working with [older] people like me who aren't current on how to address people," Dr. Scandalis says. "Our students are very comfortable in their own skin. Some get a little freaked out, though, when they get on rotation and hear that bias." </p> <p> "That is why we have training at the beginning of the year," Dr. Ramos-Diaz says. "Their eyes are opened." </p> <h3>Recruitment</h3> <p> Perhaps the most exciting and potentially impactful effort at the medical schools is in recruiting future classes of medical students. All three schools are looking closely at the methods used to select applicants. </p> <p> Both the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine and PNWU take a holistic approach to the admissions process and avoid making decisions solely on grades and MCAT scores. "An overreliance on GPA and MCATs can really eliminate diverse populations you want to enroll," says Leila Harrison, PhD, MA, MEd, senior associate dean for admissions and student affairs at the WSU medical school. "It can be a barrier; we focus on the mission." </p> <p> The school also recruits at rural colleges and community colleges. "That's not common for medical schools," Harrison says. </p> <p> But efforts go far beyond that, even to connecting with children as young as elementary school age to spark an interest in becoming a doctor. PNWU's communications staff has produced a children's book, "I Want to Be a Doctor! A Day at Medical School." The book also has been translated into Spanish. </p> <p> A year-long peer mentoring program called Roots to Wings pairs Native American and Mexican American middle and high school students with PNWU students. </p> <p> "We use cultural values and traditions as a conduit to teach sciences," Dr. Ramos-Diaz says. "When you bring cultural values and science together, students have a greater desire to participate and that science has meaning. Then, they're excited. I remember a student saying to a med student, 'So does that mean as a Native, I can be a doctor?' Of course, yes! It was like an awakening." </p> <p> Students who are particularly interested are invited to participate in a two-month summer internship at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, where they are paired with scientists from their own background when possible. </p> <p> LeeAnna Irvine Muzquiz, MD, associate dean for admissions at UWSOM, is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and grew up on the Flathead Reservation in Montana. She says the admissions office has moved away from the concept of creating "pipelines" of applicants to more of an "ecosystem" approach. </p> <p> "When we think about pipelines, they tend to break and leak," Dr. Muzquiz explains. "A pipeline seemed to work for me, but it was the mentoring and the surrounding ecosystem that helped me make it through [medical school]. All of us have a role to play in nurturing the next generation; we can all have an influence on what the ecosystem looks like." </p> <p> UWSOM's efforts include Doctor for a Day. The vision of the program, which is organized by medical students, is to bring a hands-on, educational day of activities to students of color, featuring volunteer doctors, physical therapists, nurses, and dental students who look like them. </p> <p> At that age, having someone believe in and encourage you can have a tremendous impact, says UWSOM's Dr. Allen. She was planning to be a nurse until a visit to her family physician for a school physical. On hearing her plans for nursing, "He asked me, 'Why don't you want to be a doctor?' and he let me follow him around," Dr. Allen says. "I can trace five women from the same era who became physicians because of him." </p> <p> <em>Pat Curry is senior editor of WSMA Reports.</em> </p> <p> <em>This article was featured in the March/April 2021 issue of WSMA Reports, WSMA's print newsletter.</em> </p> </div>3/22/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
video_legislative_session_week_11_in_briefVideo: Legislative Session Week 11 in BriefLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2021/video_legislative_session_week_11_in_brief<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://vimeo.com/527116393"><img src="/images/Newsletters/latest-news/2021/March/wk-11-leg-update-645x425.jpg" alt="WSMA Legislative Update graphic for Week of March 22, 2021" /></a> </div> <h5>March 22, 2021</h5> <h2>Video: Legislative Session Week 11 in Brief</h2> <p> WSMA's Director of Government Affairs Sean Graham gives more detail on what to expect with state budget discussions this week, a positive state revenue forecast, and the WSMA priority issues we're urging legislators to include in the budget. <a href="https://vimeo.com/527116393">Watch the video</a>. </p> </div>3/22/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_march_19_2021_leading_through_crisisWeekly Rounds: March 19, 2021 - Leading Through CrisisLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_march_19_2021_leading_through_crisis<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>March 19, 2021</h5> <h2>Leading Through Crisis</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> Passing through the crucible of the past 12 months has severely tested even the best of leaders. I've experienced - and observed - three key leadership qualities that made a difference as we all faced the unknowns of a pandemic: patience, persistence, and practice. </p> <h3>Persistence paid off</h3> <p> The numbers from the past year are staggering: more than 500,000 lives lost in United States from the virus. But numbers alone don't tell the human story - a story of lives lost and economies shattered. Now, we have a way out of this crisis. Thanks to persistence, we have a near miracle of three extraordinarily effective vaccines - vaccines that will help prevent further loss of life and help rebuild our economies. </p> <h3>Patience required</h3> <p> With the advent of those vaccines came the inevitable demand that exceeded supply. And though our patience has been deeply tested, we are now receiving good news from the Department of Health. Starting next month, the DOH estimates we will start receiving 600,000 doses per week. This is more than double what we have been receiving and heralds a true turning point to building herd immunity in our communities. </p> <h3>Practice needed</h3> <p> I know leadership is inherent to being a physician, with persistence and patience coming to you quite naturally. I also know there are other leadership skills that must be learned and developed. That is why the WSMA includes physician leadership and professional development as one of our strategic priorities. We bring top-ranked educational opportunities to the medical community through our Center for Leadership Development. To "practice" and further develop your skills, check out the many offerings now available <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Physician_Leadership/WSMA/Physician_Leadership/Physician_Leadership.aspx">here</a>. </p> <p> Another way to actively practice skills is to volunteer for leadership roles within the WSMA. Right now, we are seeking nominations for positions on the board of trustees for 2021-2022. Find out more by visiting our <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/March_11/nominations_for_wsma_leadership_deadline_april_23">nominations page</a>. Serving in these leadership roles is not only an opportunity to shape the profession, but also to help ensure that Washington state continues to be the best place to practice medicine and receive care. Note that the deadline for nominations is Friday, April 23. And be sure to mark your calendar for the <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx">2021 Annual Meeting of the House of Delegates</a>, scheduled for Sept. 25-26 at the Westin Bellevue Hotel. </p> <p> It's hard to believe that we've been in pandemic mode for more than a year. But we've made it this far, and with leaders like each of you, the future is looking brighter every day. </p> </div>3/19/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
trial_by_covid_19Trial by COVID-19Latest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2021/trial_by_covid_19<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Reports/2021/march-april-cover-645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="WSMA Reports March/April 2021 cover image" /></div> <h5>March 18, 2021</h5> <h2>Trial by COVID-19</h2> <h5> <em>Members only; sign-in required.</em> </h5> <p> By Rita Colorito </p> <p> Vera Schulte had two weeks left in her third year of medical school when the University of Washington School of Medicine locked down due to COVID-19. Because UWSOM has a condensed pre-clinical curriculum, Schulte finished almost on time. Friends in other medical schools, she says, weren't so lucky. </p> <p> "They were delayed in finishing their third year, which makes applying for residency quite a bit more difficult. If you haven't rotated in pediatrics, family medicine, or general surgery, etc., it's hard to realize that's the kind of doctor you want to be," says Schulte, whose chosen specialty is obstetrics and gynecology. </p> <p> Much of clinical training is trial by fire. Being in the room where health care happens is critical to medical education and residency. Under normal circumstances, that means long hours interacting directly with faculty and patients in a team-based approach. </p> <h3>Starting from scratch</h3> <p> COVID-19 burned medical-education- as-usual to the ground—at least in the short term. As the pandemic surged, medical schools and residency programs grappled with staying safe. Personal protective equipment was running low. Preceptors manning the pandemic front lines couldn't oversee usual rotations. Statewide clinical training and rotations ceased mid-March, going virtual over risking the unknowns. Most wouldn't resume in-person training until July. </p> <p> Nationwide, the American College of Surgeons shut down clinics and operating rooms to fellows and residents. "[It was] very frightening because this had never been done in the history of the ACS," says Byron Joyner, MD, MPA, UWSOM's vice dean of graduate medical education, who sent residents and fellows home to ensure their safety. </p> <p> "We didn't know how our trainees should be involved in a pandemic and we didn't have enough PPE at the time," says Dr. Joyner. He spent the first weeks of lockdown fielding calls from anxious students and calling the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and the American Board of Medical Specialties for guidance. </p> <p> "Residents and fellows were afraid that they might not be able to take their boards after graduation without having done enough rotations," says Dr. Joyner. "The most subtle and nerve-wracking concern was just the uncertainty and the ambiguity. What was next? When would this be over?" </p> <p> The response to the shutdown from students was a mixed bag, says Suzanne Allen, MD, MPH, UWSOM's vice dean for academic, rural, and regional affairs. Some didn't feel safe on their clerkships, while others expressed frustration at missing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to care for patients during a pandemic. </p> <p> The solution to both: a virtual course in pandemics the first half of spring quarter, followed by virtual rotations the second half. These proved very popular, says Dr. Allen. </p> <p> Being honest about what they knew and didn't know helped Washington State University's Spokane-based Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine quell anxiety, forge forward safely, and build institutional resilience, says Judith Bowen, MD, PhD, its associate dean for curriculum. </p> <p> "In this way, we are able to help students understand our obligation to keeping them, their family members, and our faculty (and staff) safe, and to avoid having any of us inadvertently contribute to ongoing viral transmission," says Dr. Bowen. </p> <h3>Embracing opportunity, virtually</h3> <p> WSU College of Medicine's longitudinal integrated clerkship design allowed students pulled from clerkship to continue learning through a virtual, case-based curriculum, says Dr. Bowen. The longitudinal design meant that all students had completed some direct patient care experience in all of the clerkship disciplines before moving to the virtual curriculum. As the clinical environment settled and more PPE became available, in-person training resumed in June. "Although we planned for future disruptions, third- and fourth- year students have been fully engaged as part of the clinical workforce since then," says Dr. Bowen. </p> <p> Despite initial drastic measures, medical schools not only adapted, but also strengthened the way they teach thanks to the pandemic, says Anita Showalter, DO, associate dean for clinical education at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima. </p> <p> Used only sporadically pre-COVID-19, medical schools and residencies fully embraced Zoom and other online platforms for town halls, webinars, team meetings, and to provide eyes-on patient care. Within a week of the shutdown, all PNWU core rotations were online. To replicate the in-clinic experience, PNWU used standardized patient simulations via teleconferencing (one example: working through videos of a vaginal birth). </p> <p> "The goal was to make them work through analyzing patients and clinical decision-making as they would have if they had been in the clinic with their preceptors," says Dr. Showalter. As students have returned to rotations, PNWU has maintained the online curriculum to accommodate students and preceptors testing positive for COVID-19 or needing to quarantine. </p> <p> Even though rotations have resumed, they still look different. To reduce the risk of transmission and to be sensitive to patients, rotations have limited team size. "It didn't seem right to let medical students participate when the patient's own family couldn't come in," says Dr. Showalter. </p> <p> Wherever medical schools can go virtual, they have. At UWSOM, that includes clerkship orientations and lectures. "We don't want large groups of people congregating in the same place," says Dr. Allen. The benefit to that, she says, is all clerkship students, regardless of where they are across UWSOM's six regional campuses and 200 clinical sites, can now attend all lectures. </p> <p> Amid the chaos, the goal remains to give students enough experiential learning to graduate, says Dr. Showalter. That's where newfound teleconferencing skills have come in. "We had one situation where the doctor contracted COVID. The student went into the clinic and via teleconferencing, connected the patient with the doctor. [The student] could be the hands for the doctor who was not able to be on site," she says. </p> <p> The pandemic has also affected residents who aren't patient-facing, says Elizabeth (Libby) Parker, MD, a third- year UW resident in anatomic pathology last spring. As elective procedures were cancelled or delayed, Dr. Parker saw a shift in the kinds of specimens she received. </p> <p> "We're very closely linked to what our clinical and surgical colleagues are able to perform, procedure-wise. What they're able to do really impacts our clinical work," she says. As elective procedures have increased, Dr. Parker is now seeing the full spectrum of cases. </p> <h3>Silver linings</h3> <p> While students are required to complete yearly infection control reviews, the hyper-awareness surrounding COVID-19 has had a measurable impact. "It's already led to a decrease in other kinds of hospital infection rates," says Dr. Allen; it's something she sees continuing. </p> <p> "Students who are in medical school right now, who are 'growing up' during a pandemic, are going to be so much better at infection control, because that's what they've known from the start," she says. </p> <p> Resident research and scholarly activity also increased because of the pandemic, says Dr. Parker, who co- published medical education literature on her experience teaching remotely. "There's been a bolus of research on COVID-19. It's been exciting to have so many minds working on the same problem from so many different specialties," she says. </p> <p> Dr. Parker has also welcomed the didactic creativity offered by online platforms. She still uses Path Presenter, a virtual platform where pathologists worldwide can share digital slides. "We're able to use it to teach and still be interactive and simulate our day-to-day work," she explains. </p> <p> COVID-19 also highlighted inequities in health care—and the need for clinical training to address those concerns head on. Graduating doctors with more robust telemedicine experience is one downstream effect of the increase in virtual clinical training and a real benefit for rural patients, says J. Miguel Lee, MD, residency program director for Providence St. Peter Family Medicine's Chehalis Rural Training Program (CRTP). "It was actually one of the silver linings, if you will, of this catastrophe," he says. </p> <p> A small residency program and clinic, CRTP gathered its faculty and nine residents to develop a plan for patients who couldn't get to the clinic or were too wary of coming. "We went from no virtual care to 100% virtual care in a matter of two days," says Dr. Lee. </p> <p> In the neighboring communities, telemedicine has been embraced, he says. "We had 95-year-olds with their grandkids holding their phone up for virtual care and it's really worked quite well." </p> <p> Even though residents have seen patients virtually, it hasn't taken away from their experience serving rural communities. "It's just an added tool in our toolbox," Dr. Lee says, "and, you know, potentially, it will increase access to people who can't drive for two hours for an appointment but can turn on the computer at home." </p> <h3>From health care to human care</h3> <p> Amid the winter surge, many of the same trainee concerns around safety, education, and patient care remain, says Dr. Joyner from UWSOM. "They're worried about getting sick and getting others sick," he says. "They're worried about not having enough education to graduate, not enough competence and confidence. It strikes at their very core of being a doctor." </p> <p> The availability of vaccinations for themselves and their families also worries residents, says Dr. Joyner, adding that most of UWSOM's 1,400 trainees have already received their first dose. </p> <p> One year after the first COVID-19 cases, Dr. Showalter says her biggest concern is students' mental health and well-being. "Medical school tends to be a very alone time, with students working very hard but isolated from other social supports," she says. "With all the COVID restrictions, that was doubly bad. So, we're really watching our students to make sure they're staying in a good place mentally," she says. </p> <p> Dr. Lee echoes her concerns. "Wearing masks all the time and not being able to gather, I think that is taking away one of our tools for wellness—the activities we normally did together," he says. "Despite the fact we can't do those things, I think we still feel very, very united with our group." </p> <p> "In some ways we are missing out on human connection," Dr. Parker says. "But I think that hopefully time will show we're still able to do a lot of good and we're still able to have enthusiastic engagement." </p> <p> To keep students engaged and feeling connected during isolation, medical schools encouraged service and research projects. "When vaccine supplies began to arrive, our clinical partners reached out to invite student volunteers to assist with administration," says WSU's Dr. Bowen. </p> <p> UWSOM created many opportunities for COVID-19-related service learning. Many, like Schulte, volunteered for the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network to assist with screening and testing. In her spare time, Schulte also babysat for health care workers. Academically, she participated in a research project on COVID-19's impact on pregnant women in Washington state. </p> <p> "Although being pulled from clinical duties was difficult, I was tremendously grateful for the plentiful opportunities during this time to continue supporting the community and continue my medical education, even if it was outside of the hospital," Schulte says. </p> <p> Residents and faculty have shown incredible resilience throughout the pandemic, says Dr. Joyner. Many trainees have repeatedly asked to be redeployed to the COVID-19-dedicated ICUs. "They have contributed enormously to our effort to keep our community safe and to care for our sickest patients," he says. </p> <p> Last fall, Schulte's six-days-a-week clinical training schedule returned to pre-COVID-19 levels. During her gynecologic oncology sub-internship, she started pre-rounds by 5:45 a.m. and signed out at 6 p.m. After a quick dinner, she reviewed medical student projects and worked on her own research, finally getting to bed by 11 p.m. The more things change, the more they stay the same. </p> <p> <em>Rita Colorito is a freelance journalist who specializes in writing about health care. She is a regular contributor to WSMA Reports.</em> </p> <p> <em>This article was featured in the March/April 2021 issue of WSMA Reports, WSMA's print newsletter.</em> </p> </div>3/18/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
cms_provides_automatic_relief_from_mips_penaltiesCMS Provides Automatic Relief from MIPS PenaltiesLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/March_11/cms_provides_automatic_relief_from_mips_penalties<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/March/Stethoscope-numbers-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="stethoscope lying on a sheet of numbers" /> </div> <h5>March 11, 2021</h5> <h2>CMS Provides Automatic Relief from MIPS Penalties</h2> <p>The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will hold physicians harmless from up to 9% MIPS penalties due to the significant disruptions of the COVID-19 public health emergency on physician practices' performance in 2020. The AMA strongly advocated for the automatic relief from MIPS penalties to help ensure physicians will not be unduly penalized during the pandemic.</p> <p>The <a href="https://lnks.gd/l/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJidWxsZXRpbl9saW5rX2lkIjoxMDAsInVyaSI6ImJwMjpjbGljayIsImJ1bGxldGluX2lkIjoiMjAyMTAyMjUuMzU5MzQ5OTEiLCJ1cmwiOiJodHRwczovL3FwcC1jbS1wcm9kLWNvbnRlbnQuczMuYW1hem9uYXdzLmNvbS91cGxvYWRzLzExOTgvMjAyMCUyME1JUFMlMjBBdXRvbWF0aWMlMjBFVUMlMjBGYWN0JTIwU2hlZXQucGRmIn0.spZv8BV549AjMU7jmGKdxBXOW3fOEXw2d5glt6zIMBU/s/128120068/br/98348480956-l">MIPS extreme and uncontrollable circumstances hardship exception policy</a> will be automatically applied to eligible clinicians who do not submit any MIPS data for the 2020 performance period and avoid a 2022 payment penalty. CMS is also reopening the <a href="https://qpp.cms.gov/mips/exception-applications#extremeCircumstancesException-2020">hardship exception application</a> for group practices, virtual groups, and alternative payment model entities who missed the previous 2020 deadline. The reopened application deadline is March 31, 2021. Note: Groups and eligible clinicians who submit data in at least two MIPS categories will override the hardship exception and be eligible to earn a bonus from the exceptional performance bonus pool or potentially be subject to a penalty.</p> <p>To learn more, visit the <a href="https://qpp.cms.gov/resources/covid19?py=2020">Quality Payment Program COVID-19 Response webpages</a>. For questions, contact the Quality Payment Program at 866.288.8292 (TRS: 711) or email <a href="mailto:QPP@cms.hhs.gov">QPP@cms.hhs.gov</a>.</p> </div>3/11/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
 
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