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call_for_nominations_2020_ama_mss_meeting_scholarshipsCall for Nominations: 2020 AMA-MSS Meeting ScholarshipsLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/November/call_for_nominations_2020_ama_mss_meeting_scholarships<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right"><img alt="" src="/images/News/AM_2018.10.241-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>November 11, 2019</h5> <h2>Call for Nominations: 2020 AMA-MSS Meeting Scholarships</h2> <p> The WSMA is accepting nominations for three medical student scholarships to attend the 2020 AMA Medical Student Section's annual (June 4-6 in Chicago) and interim (Nov. 12-14 in San Diego) meetings. </p> <p> The scholarships provide funding to support three WSMA medical student members, one each from the University of Washington School of Medicine, the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University, and the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, to attend both meetings. The funding allocation is up to $1,000 per student, per meeting. </p> <p> To qualify, nominees must: </p> <ul> <li>Be an active WSMA and AMA member medical student in good standing at the time of nomination</li> <li>Have the support of the WSMA's Medical Student Section governing council. </li> <li>Demonstrate a strong interest and involvement in health care policy.</li> <li>Possess excellent communication skills and willingness to advocate for patients and the profession.</li> <li>Be committed and able to attend both meetings as a representative of the WSMA.</li> <li>Be willing to provide a written report to the WSMA's executive committee and verbal report to WSMA Early Career Sections' governing councils about their experience at the AMA meetings.</li> </ul> <p> Nominate yourself or a colleague using the online survey tool at the link below. You'll be prompted for a personal statement of interest and your CV; letters of recommendation are welcome but not required. The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, Nov. 27. </p> <p> The WSMA Medical Student Section governing council will review all submissions and submit a slate of nominees to the WSMA executive committee for consideration and final decision at its February 2020 meeting. </p> <p><a href="https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/X63MV9C">Click here to apply</a></p> </div>11/11/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
winter_wsma_leadership_courses_now_enrollingWinter WSMA Leadership Courses Now EnrollingLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/November/winter_wsma_leadership_courses_now_enrolling<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right"><img src="/images/Events/PLC-Swedish-Dec.%202019-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Physician Leadership Course" /></div> <h5>November 6, 2019</h5> <h2>Winter WSMA Leadership Courses Now Enrolling</h2> <p> Applications are now being accepted for two of our core leadership trainings scheduled for this winter: The popular WSMA Physician Leadership Course, our hybrid online/in-person education designed for busy physicians and physician assistants who want to learn more about leadership, and the WSMA Dyad Leadership Course, a three-day workshop for physicians and their administrative partners. </p> <h3>Physician Leadership Course</h3> <p> The <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/Physician_Leadership/Physician_Leadership_Course/Physician_Leadership_Course.aspx">WSMA Physician Leadership Course</a> is a 40+ hour hybrid-distance leadership skills-development course for physicians and physician assistants who want to know more about health care leadership. Designed with a physician's busy schedule in mind, only three in-person classes are required; the remainder of the course is conducted online. </p> <p> The winter 2020 Physician Leadership Course will be held Jan. 31-April 17. The in-person classes will be held Friday and Saturday, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 in Seattle. Course participants will then have eight weeks of online instruction and interaction, finishing with a third in-person session on Saturday, April 17. </p> <p> This activity has been approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Creditâ„¢</em>. Deadline for enrollment is Nov. 29. </p> <h3>Dyad Leadership Course</h3> <p> The <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/Physician_Leadership/Dyad_Leadership_Course/Dyad_Leadership_Course.aspx">WSMA Dyad Leadership Course</a> is our three-day, in-person educational workshop for physicians and their administrative dyad partners who wish to improve team function and achieve greater operational success within their clinical system. The course is adapted to fit the specific clinical culture of participating teams. </p> <p> The winter 2020 course will be held Feb. 14-March 13. The in-person classes will be held Friday and Saturday Feb. 14 and 15 in Seattle. Course participants will then have four weeks of online instruction and interaction, finishing with a third in-person session on Friday, March 13. </p> <p> To enroll in the WSMA Dyad Leadership Course, physicians must first complete the WSMA Physician Leadership Course. This activity has been approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Creditâ„¢</em>. Deadline for enrollment is Dec. 13. </p> </div>11/6/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
cognitive_dissonanceCognitive DissonanceLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/November/cognitive_dissonance<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/News/Nov-Dec-2019-Reports-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="WSMA Reports November/December 2019" /></div> <h5>November 5, 2019</h5> <h2>Cognitive Dissonance</h2> <p> </p> <p> By Pat Curry </p> <p> For 10 years, Carl Berliner, MD, has been a solo family practitioner. He runs his practice out of a renovated house in Mt. Vernon, a community of 30,000 known for its annual tulip festival. His patients range in age from two days old to their late 90s. It brings him great joy, he says, to have delivered a third of them, many of whom call him "Dr. B." </p> <p> Being a solo practitioner gives him what he calls "agency," the ability to control his day and his practice. A lot of physicians traded agency for better pay "and now they wish they hadn't," he says. </p> <p> "It's just enormous, that ability to make extra time in your schedule and treat patients the way you think you should. … I always have this joke that I'm the last happy doctor in Washington. I live frugally enough that I weather these insanities. 'Cognitive dissonance' is the term I use." </p> <p> The dissonance comes from trying to make enough money to keep the doors open. </p> <p> "I don't like to talk about finances, but we are a business and have to pay bills and pay staff," he says. "We say we want healthy families, then make that almost impossible to happen. … Keeping up with the rules and fighting over every $14 charge is very discouraging. In the execution, you feel like you've been run over by a tractor." </p> <p> And then there are the day-in and day-out challenges in getting approval from insurers to perform even the most standard levels of medical care. </p> <p> "Prior authorization is an enormous time suck," he says, "and it's a reason why so many [physicians] are demoralized. At the end of the day, I don't leave with a smile because for six of the drugs I prescribed, I needed to click another radio button. I had a pregnant woman I prescribed prenatal vitamins for and the insurance company required prior authorization. On the form, I wrote, 'You are the worst insurance company ever.' " </p> <h3>Difficult decisions with few options</h3> <p> Without relief, some physicians have found that they have no choice but to shut down and go on someone else's payroll. In August, Cascade Family Medical Clinic in Centralia closed after more than 40 years. </p> <p> Eric DeMun, MD, and Christopher Yarter, MD, posted on the clinic's website that the practice was "one of a shrinking group of small, independent primary care clinics that is suffering from increasing administrative burdens, rising costs of health care delivery, and a reimbursement system that has not kept pace with these costs. We have been unable to recruit physicians to partner with us in the face of these changes and have been unsuccessful in finding larger companies willing to buy the practice and keep it open." </p> <p> Many physicians in small practices in Washington state face the same kind of gut-wrenching decisions. Eric Frankenfeld, MD, FACE, FACP, is an endocrinologist in solo practice in Bellingham, a physician-shortage area. This summer, he sweated out a lease renewal; the rent increase would determine if he stayed in business or retired. He negotiated a two-year lease instead of five years, enough for him to decide to keep at it a bit longer. </p> <p> He's been aware for 25 years that it was "no way to make money," he says. </p> <p> "I thought it was me, that I'm not enough of a hustler, not in a busy-enough practice, whatever," he says. "Then I talked to other colleagues over the years and found out they were doing worse than I was. You need a gimmick if you're going to make money in medicine. The gimmick is you perform a nice expensive procedure like endoscopy. Internists in general, and nonprocedural subspecialists without a gimmick, need to get themselves employed." </p> <p> At 66, Dr. Frankenfeld says that as long as he can break even, fund his pension and his staff's pensions, he will continue to practice. He is ready to retire, though, from his second career as a hospitalist, which he has done half-time for 10 years. </p> <h3>The burden of fees and taxes</h3> <p> Working both as a solo practitioner and as a health system employee has been an eye-opener, he says, especially when it comes to state fees and taxes. With the state eyeing drastically increasing physician licensing fees, Dr. Frankenfeld wondered if it might be time for him to think about closing the doors on his private practice. </p> <p> "This may be what does it for me," he says. "My reimbursements certainly haven't doubled in the last few years. How does a license become that valuable to me?" </p> <p> He says the "biggest burr in my saddle" is the business and occupation, or B&O, tax. </p> <p> "I think that is the most unfriendly thing to small businesses," he says. </p> <p> The B&O tax, which is applied on a business' gross revenues, has been a long-standing point of contention for independent physicians, says Sean Graham, WSMA's director of government affairs. A bill passed last year added a 20 percent surcharge on certain industries with a significant number of highly educated workers, with the additional revenue going to higher education. </p> <p> The fiscal impact of the tax increase on the physician community over the next two years is estimated at about $50 million, Graham says. Hospital systems were exempted from the tax surcharge as they are classified separately for the purposes of B&O. </p> <p> WSMA strenuously opposes the B&O tax on all segments of health care and "vehemently" fought the surcharge, Graham says. Repealing the tax on physicians will be the "A-1 priority of WSMA for the 2020 legislative session," he says. </p> <p> "It's simply a wrongheaded tax increase on a couple of levels, among them that it further increases the cost of health care," he says. "And it puts independent practices at a competitive disadvantage, jeopardizing access to care for patients in many communities." </p> <p> The WSMA will be rolling out a broad advocacy campaign on repealing or ameliorating the B&O tax in the next legislative session and will be asking our physician members for their help. </p> <p> "We'll be working to raise awareness of the impact of the surcharge on patients and physicians, as well as to get physicians directly connected to their legislators," he said. </p> <p> Mark T. Anderson, MD, a founding member of the independent Mill Creek Family Practice in Mill Creek, is one of the physicians who has volunteered to share his concerns with elected officials. His practice is "still doing OK," but faced with lower reimbursements, burdensome documentation and preauthorization requirements, and the B&O tax increase, it's getting harder and harder to compete against hospital-based primary care clinics. </p> <p> "We are one of the very few independent family practice clinics left," Dr. Anderson says. "We would like to continue to practice independently." </p> <p> <em>Pat Curry is WSMA Reports' senior editor.</em> </p> <p> <em>This article was featured in the November/December 2019 issue of WSMA Reports, WSMA's print newsletter. WSMA Reports is a benefit of membership. Non-members may <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/News_Publications/Publications/WSMA/News_Publications/Publications/Publications.aspx?hkey=8f14076c-10b8-48ab-9595-8c256836e393">purchase a subscription</a>.</em> </p> </div>11/5/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
do_no_harmDo No HarmLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/November/do_no_harm<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/News/Nov-Dec-2019-Reports-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="WSMA Reports November/December 2019" /></div> <h5>November 5, 2019</h5> <h2>Do No Harm</h2> <p> </p> <p> By Daniel Low, MD </p> <p> In the midst of ever-increasing health care costs, we are obligated to think about and practice value-based care. What sadly is too often lost in this conversation, however, is the definition of "value." What are our values? </p> <p> As physicians, we have all proclaimed via the Hippocratic Oath that we will "first, do no harm." Yet, current data seems to suggest that this theoretically unifying value reflects more of a distant ideal than a guiding principle. </p> <p> By now, it is well known that black patients are less likely to be treated for pain in emergency departments, women are less likely to be treated for heart disease, immigrants are less likely to receive care, and those who are economically disadvantaged are more likely to suffer early morbidity and mortality. </p> <p> While acknowledged as unfortunate, these disparities are generally viewed as inevitable, and thus, acceptable. This convention of normalcy must stop. Patients deserve health care providers who advocate for their best interests. </p> <p> What might this look like? It means taking responsibility as physicians to not just organize to benefit ourselves financially—which has been the historic norm (e.g., the American Medical Association's partnership with the Sunbeam Corporation, the American Heart Association's exploitation of its heart logo for profit over health, the American Academy of Family Physicians' collaboration with Coca-Cola, etc.)—but rather to organize for our patients. Specifically, this would mean formally supporting campaigns targeting health inequities. </p> <p> Fortunately, we don't have to look far for obvious opportunities. Study after study over the last 30 years has shown that income inequality drives poor health outcomes and may be one of the central causes of poor health in the United States. In Washington state, this is perpetuated by regressive tax systems—Washington ranks last in the country in disproportionately burdening low-income earnershelping guarantee the poor stay poor and continue enduring harm that we, as physicians, claim we will not do. We can instead follow the lead of groups like Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, which advocates for cleaning up our tax code and enacting a capital gains tax. </p> <p> As we discuss value-based care, we too often excuse rising health care costs as unrelated to our individual responsibility because physician salaries are not the cause for increasing costs. But such claims, while true, are red herrings. They distract us from the reality that increasing economic inequality is arguably the central force driving poor health outcomes in our communities, and economic inequality is something we can address. </p> <p> Continuing business as usual—or trying to incrementally alter payment models in value-based care without addressing the structural violence enacted by our tax system—is a formula to ensure we continue harming disenfranchised individuals and communities. Ultimately, if our value is to do no harm, we must attack a system that guarantees unequal care to those who are different. We must organize, and we must support the redistribution of resources, putting our own pocketbooks on the table. </p> <p> <em>This opinion piece was submitted by Daniel Low, MD, a family medicine resident physician at Swedish Cherry Hill in Seattle and an alternate delegate from King County Medical Society to the WSMA House of Delegates.</em> </p> <p> <em>This article was featured in the November/December 2019 issue of WSMA Reports, WSMA's print newsletter. WSMA Reports is a benefit of membership. Non-members may <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/News_Publications/Publications/WSMA/News_Publications/Publications/Publications.aspx?hkey=8f14076c-10b8-48ab-9595-8c256836e393">purchase a subscription</a>.</em> </p> </div>11/5/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
preparing_for_value_based_carePreparing for Value-Based CareLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/November/preparing_for_value_based_care<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/News/Nov-Dec-2019-Reports-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="WSMA Reports November/December 2019" /></div> <h5>November 5, 2019</h5> <h2>Preparing for Value-Based Care</h2> <p> </p> <p> By Rita Colorito </p> <p> When a homeless cancer patient came to Northwest Cancer Clinic in Kennewick for radiotherapy, Sheila Rege, MD, a radiation oncologist and co-founder of the clinic, knew treatment would be challenging. </p> <p> The patient's situation made maintaining hygiene difficult, and Dr. Rege worried it could cause her to develop skin infections during radiation. Plus, she had other chronic medical issues, including uncontrolled diabetes that once caused dangerously elevated blood pressure. Dr. Rege and her staff put systems in place to achieve the best outcome possible for the patient. They let her shower at the clinic and delivered food and warm clothing to the car she called home. They called her daily to remind her to take her medications. </p> <p> When the patient needed more help, Dr. Rege's staff negotiated with a hotel to house her for the remainder of treatment. "There was a lot more time and care that we had to do for her," Dr. Rege says. </p> <p> The patient is now doing well, a function of value-based care being applied across the clinic's patient population, Dr. Rege says. </p> <p> "We really try and not highlight who is on a risk-based contract. We focus on keeping people out of the emergency room," she says. "So, we're going to accept a risk-based contract, but we're really going to bring everyone else to that level." </p> <p> As public and private payers undergo a major transition to value-based care (VBC) models, Dr. Rege hopes physicians can continue to care for this type of vulnerable patient, and those with treatment challenges, without the patient or the practice getting short shrift. </p> <p> "All of us want to do better for our patients; everyone is trying to reduce what I call the hassle factor in medicine," Dr. Rege says. "But as we're going through these dramatic changes in how we pay for care, we have to make sure the vulnerable people, the people having a harder time either accessing care or tolerating treatment, don't suffer. We also have to make sure incentives are aligned to allow physicians to care for them." </p> <h3>A dramatic shift in focus</h3> <p> It seems like only a few years ago that VBC entered the lexicon of health care buzzwords. This reimbursement model rewards physicians for meeting agreed-upon quality metrics. It can also penalize them when those metrics aren't met. </p> <p> If you've been sitting on the fence about VBC, you may no longer have the option of waiting, says Micah Thorp, DO, a nephrologist and clinical researcher with Northwest Permanente. </p> <p> "Value-based is going to be the primary form of payment in the not-too-distant future. It's coming pretty fast and you've got to get ready for it," says Dr. Thorp, who also serves as vice president of business strategy for Kaiser Permanente. </p> <p> At the state level, the Health Care Authority's Healthier Washington initiative plans to drive 90 percent of state-financed health care—more than 2 million people on Medicaid and those who receive public employee, state school employee, and retiree benefits—to value-based payment by 2021. At the federal level, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has rolled out eight value-based care models since 2018, with the triple aim of better care for individuals, better care for populations, and lower cost. </p> <p> The aim of VBC models is to allow physicians to concentrate on taking care of patients. "For value-based care to work, it's important for providers to free up their PCPs. They can really drive savings in other areas," says Mark Mantei, CEO of Vancouver Clinic. "This isn't a model built on seeing 30 patients a day. This is a model that takes up more time, but we're rewarded for that because your patients don't end up in the ER or hospital." </p> <p> Vancouver Clinic began transitioning to VBC for its Medicare population six years ago, after realizing traditional Medicare was no longer sustainable. Earlier this year, it partnered with Humana to open a dedicated primary care clinic in Southwest Washington designed to serve Medicare Advantage beneficiaries and those on Dual Eligible Special Needs Plan (those who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid); it also accepts commercial insurance. </p> <p> The clinic's integrated care team includes doctors, nurses, nutritionists, and health coaches. Representatives from both Humana and the Agency on Aging and Disabilities of Southwest Washington hold office hours several days a week to help patients navigate their benefits and manage outside factors that affect health outcomes, such as housing, transportation, mental health, and home care. </p> <p> Despite a 40 percent higher-than-average risk adjustment factor for the clinic's Medicare population, it's had some amazing successes already that speak to the power of value-based care, Mantei says. "We saw patients that were in the hospital 16 times last year before that clinic was implemented. And since then, they've only been in the hospital once." </p> <h3>Despite challenges, smaller practices and specialties can benefit</h3> <p>Dr. Thorp oversees contracting with external providers in areas where Kaiser Permanente lacks a local specialty presence. These physician groups often struggle with transitioning from an efficiency mindset to a utilization mindset, the latter of which is central to value-based care, he says. </p> <p> "Fee-for-service drives great efficiency. It also does terrible things to utilization," he says. "The value-based model basically says, 'Let's treat people with what they actually need' rather than just treating them with a lot of stuff they don't need, but doing it very efficiently." </p> <p> Having enough high-quality baseline data is another issue physicians struggle with in negotiating and implementing VBC contracts, Dr. Thorp says. "You need to have a good idea of where you are starting from to gauge progress," he says, adding that electronic medical records can provide a wealth of information to track clinical quality, population data, and other metrics. Robust patient data, he says, also safeguards against a common criticism of VBC—that physicians will take a lump-sum payment and withhold services to meet metrics. </p> <p> To position her practice to best take advantage of VBC models, Dr. Rege entered into a joint venture and management contract with 21st Century Oncology, a large national physician-owned oncology group. </p> <p> "Value-based and risk-based only work if you can provide data that shows you are improving outcomes and being more efficient," which is something Dr. Rege says her clinic lacked. It made sense to partner with 21st Century Oncology, she says, because they have experience managing risk-based contracts and could provide the necessary investments to train her team and conduct financial reporting. </p> <p> To better serve patients, it's important to be able to access a patient's health records in a HIPAA-compliant manner in and outside the office, says Dr. Rege. Northwest Cancer Clinic also benefited from 21st Century's more advanced medical records capabilities. "We were on the same system, but they were able to beef it up," she says. "[And] they already had an existing contract with an electronic medical record provider to generate all those reports that would be needed by the insurance companies." </p> <p> Risk adjustment is another major concern when transitioning to a capitated payment system. It's even more so with cancer treatment, says Dr. Rege. </p> <p> "We don't know what causes someone to do great with cancer treatment and what causes some people to end up in the ICU," she says. "In a value-based system, we have to figure out a way that sicker patients aren't left out. And so far, no insurance company knows who's going to do okay on treatment and who is going to have trouble." </p> <p> Northwest Cancer Clinic's VBC contracting has flexibility to account for that uncertainty, Dr. Rege says. The corporate office of 21st Century Oncology acts as a "shadow team," she says, that helps her staff assist patients who are struggling with treatment by acting as an intermediary with insurers. </p> <p> She warns physicians and practices against entering into VBC systems with rigid metrics. "If a patient is an outlier, it's important to have the flexibility with insurance providers to discuss next steps," she says. An open dialogue with insurers allows Dr. Rege to manage costs while providing patients the best care possible. </p> <p> As Medicare is driving the larger health care space toward VBC, Dr. Rege expects it to drive oncology reimbursement as well. For now, Northwest Cancer Clinic's VBC contracts are in the commercial insurance space. Medicare oncology care model (OCM) pilot projects are only a few years old. "While quality and cost performance results across OCM practices continue to improve, only 33 percent of practices have earned a performance-based payment so far," Dr. Rege says. As these models evolve, she remains hopeful Medicare and Medicaid will keep the health of both the patient and the physician practice in mind. </p> <p> Despite some of the challenges faced by smaller clinics, Dr. Thorp says he's seen some of the biggest benefits of VBC among smaller physician practices. "You're getting a guaranteed per-patient, per-month money. It can stabilize cash flow," he says. </p> <p> One of the biggest rewards for Northwest Cancer Clinic's VBC contracting has been eliminating prior authorization for evidence-based treatment, a huge time saver for both physicians and patients, Dr. Rege says. The clinic receives capitated payments specific to each cancer type, with care decisions following established clinical guidelines. </p> <p> "You have to reduce the cost for the practice in some way," Dr. Rege says. </p> <p> "If a bunch of your staff is doing prior authorizations and documentation, that's time the staff could've spent on the patient. So when a patient comes in, we can say, 'This is what you need.' If they say, 'Can we start now? ', we can say, 'Yes, we can.' " </p> <p> <em>Rita Colorito is a freelance journalist who specializes in writing about health care.</em></p> <p> <em>This article was featured in the November/December 2019 issue of WSMA Reports, WSMA's print newsletter. WSMA Reports is a benefit of membership. Non-members may <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/News_Publications/Publications/WSMA/News_Publications/Publications/Publications.aspx?hkey=8f14076c-10b8-48ab-9595-8c256836e393">purchase a subscription</a>.</em> </p> </div>11/5/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
Register_for_OIC_Webinar_on_Balance_Billing_Protection_ActRegister for OIC Webinar on Balance Billing Protection ActLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/October/Register_for_OIC_Webinar_on_Balance_Billing_Protection_Act<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right"><img alt="balance billing" src="/images/Concepts/balance_billing_invoice_645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>October 30, 2019</h5> <h2>Register for OIC Webinar on Balance Billing Protection Act</h2> <p> On Wednesday, Nov. 13, from noon to 1:30 p.m., the Office of the Insurance Commissioner will host a free webinar designed for physicians, providers, and practice staff on implementation of House Bill 1065, the Balance Billing Protection Act (BBPA). The WSMA provided guidance to OIC staff on the content of the webinar, which will cover provisions of the BBPA that address: </p> <ul> <li> Out-of-network provider payment and dispute resolution process. </li> <li>Transparency. </li> <li>Enforcement. </li> <li>Self-funded group health plan participation. </li> </ul> <p> The Balance Billing Protection Act takes effect Jan. 1, 2020—make sure you and your practice are prepared by attending this session. </p> <p> Registration for this free session is required. When registering for this webinar, you will need to enter the following information:<br /> <strong>Meeting number</strong>: 809469205 (enter in "meeting information" field)<br /> <strong>Meeting password</strong>: 4q3cQgAx</p> <p><a href="https://watech.webex.com/mw3300/mywebex/default.do?siteurl=watech" class="TextButton">Register</a></p> </div>10/31/2019 11:24:53 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_october_29_2019_make_your_voice_heard_loud_and_clearWeekly Rounds: October 29, 2019 - Make Your Voice Heard Loud and ClearLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2019/weekly_rounds_october_29_2019_make_your_voice_heard_loud_and_clear<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>October 29, 2019</h5> <h2>Make Your Voice Heard Loud and Clear</h2> <p>Election season is here: the 2020 election cycle is ramping up and this year's Election Day is just a week away. If you are like me, your phone has been ringing and your email has been clogged with political fundraising requests. When making your decisions on local legislative and statewide races, consider asking candidates where they stand on two critical issues facing physicians and physician assistants: <a href="https://wsma.org/Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20191023/department_of_health_adopts_fee_increases_for_mds_and_pas">impending licensure fee increases</a> and a <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/Advocacy/Legislative___Regulatory/No_to_B_and_O/WSMA/Advocacy/Legislative_Regulatory/No_to_B_and_O/no_to_b_and_o_.aspx?hkey=d5807781-a824-4b2c-a8f4-70ed597ddfa8">20 percent business and occupation (B&O) tax increase</a>.</p> <p>Both issues are critical to the ability of physicians and PAs to practice in Washington state. Any business owner knows it’s a losing equation when expenses go up yet revenues stay stagnant or decrease. These two actions make it challenging, not only to stay in practice but also to recruit more physicians to our state, which, like the rest of the country, is facing <a href="https://www.aamc.org/system/files/2019-07/workforce_projections-15-year_outlook_-key_findings.pdf">physician shortages</a>. When the licensure fee increases go into effect on Feb. 1, 2020, Washington state will be one of the most expensive states in the country to maintain a license as an MD or PA.</p> <p>At the same time, the B&O tax stifles competition and may limit choice as where an MD or PA chooses to practice. For those physicians or physician assistants looking to practice independently, they will have an additional 20 percent surcharge added to their B&O tax. Adding new taxes on practices that already operate on thin margins not only puts our independent practices at a competitive disadvantage, it could also result in a loss of jobs or, worse, a loss of access for patients. <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/Advocacy/Legislative___Regulatory/No_to_B_and_O/WSMA/Advocacy/Legislative_Regulatory/No_to_B_and_O/no_to_b_and_o_.aspx?hkey=d5807781-a824-4b2c-a8f4-70ed597ddfa8#impact">Learn more about how some of our members will be impacted by this tax increase</a>.</p> <p>In addition to sharing your stories with legislators and the governor, remember to vote! This year’s ballot includes a variety of issues that require your input, including Advisory Vote 24 related to the B&O tax increase. Advisory votes are nonbinding and do not change the results of the law, but they do provide the public an opportunity to register their opinion on recent tax increases enacted by the state legislature. The WSMA and a large coalition of health care partners vehemently opposed this tax increase and will continue our advocacy efforts to exempt physicians from the surcharge. A vote to “repeal” the increase can send a message to the legislature about its impact on patients and physician practices.</p> <p>For updates on WSMA’s legislative and regulatory work, be sure you are getting our advocacy news—bookmark our <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/News_Publications/Newsletters/WSMA_Advocacy_Report.aspx">online Advocacy Report</a> or send a request to Alex Wehinger (<a href="mailto:alex@wsma.org">alex@wsma.org</a>) to receive our regular Outreach and Advocacy newsletter. The most recent issue includes information on the issues above and provides the latest on updates to Apple Health’s opioid prescribing policy, balance billing rulemaking, Gov. Jay Inslee’s executive order on vaping and associated physician reporting requirements, and the OIC’s efforts to monitor enforcement of the state’s new prior authorization rules.</p> <p>Recent events have shown that politics are more important than ever to physicians and the patients they serve. It’s crucial for the WSMA to be effective and influential on political campaigns, because as we all know, it’s easier to help elect someone who agrees with you than it is to change the mind of a politician who doesn’t. I hope you will take a moment right now to make a modest contribution to WAMPAC, our nonpartisan campaign arm, by <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/Give_to_WAMPAC/WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/Give_to_WAMPAC.aspx?hkey=665ce949-b574-4ec7-8e5a-7a796233e5d7">donating $20 as part of our $20 for 2020 campaign</a> or consider contributing at an increased level by becoming a member of the <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/Give_to_WAMPAC/WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/Give_to_WAMPAC.aspx?hkey=665ce949-b574-4ec7-8e5a-7a796233e5d7">WAMPAC Diamond Club</a>.</p> <p>Finally, mark your calendar to join us at the Capitol in Olympia on Feb. 25, 2020, for <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/Legislative_Summit.aspx?hkey=ec5e0510-cee2-4aa9-b549-905d63952454">the Legislative Summit</a>, WSMA’s annual day on the hill. Registration will be open soon—for now, save the date.</p> </div>10/28/2019 1:19:35 PM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
2019_annual_meeting_delegates_pass_proactive_policy_on_public_and_physician_health2019 Annual Meeting: Delegates Pass Proactive Policy on Public and Physician HealthLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20191023/2019_annual_meeting_delegates_pass_proactive_policy_on_public_and_physician_health<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Events/AM_2019.10.128-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="WSMA House of Delegates" /> </div> <h5> October 23, 2019 </h5> <h2>2019 Annual Meeting: Delegates Pass Proactive Policy on Public and Physician Health</h2> <p>The final session of the House of Delegates adjourned last Sunday, with the pound of a gavel marking the close of the 130th Annual Meeting since the founding of the WSMA. An eye-opening number of policies were adopted during the final session, reflecting an activated House united in its resolve to take progressive stands on public health policy and to protect the health and well-being of physicians.</p> <p>Policy adopted by delegates at the meeting typically fall into one of three categories:</p> <ol> <li>New policy (new policies are added to the <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/About_Us/Policies/Whats_Our_Policy/WSMA/About/Policies/Whats_Our_Policy/Policy_Index.aspx?hkey=f42b9a91-1f83-466f-ae3e-d58a7a6bd763">WSMA Policy Compendium</a> and help inform WSMA's advocacy in the legislature, in the media, and in the industry at large).</li> <li>A reaffirmation of existing policy.</li> <li>A directive to take action.</li> </ol> <p>Policies 'referred' by delegates go to WSMA leadership (the executive committee and board of trustees) for further consideration.</p> <p>This year, delegates directed your WSMA to:</p> <ul> <li>Advocate to amend state law to exempt all physicians from the B&O tax surcharge resulting from 2019 House Bill 2158.</li> <li>Explore options for tracking physician suicides and report back to the House in 2020.</li> <li>Support services to help assist physicians, residents, students, and PAs who are suffering symptoms of depression and burnout.</li> <li>Pursue, with stakeholder input, an aggressive strategy to reduce administrative burden.</li> <li>Support advocacy to eliminate the buprenorphine DEA waiver requirement.</li> <li>Publicize the interspecialty statement on "<a href="https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2748085/firearm-related-injury-death-united-states-call-action-from-nation">Firearm-Related Injury and Death in the United States: A Call to Action From the Nation's Leading Physician and Public Health Professional Organizations</a>"</li> </ul> <p>Climate change was top of mind during the meeting, with delegates adopting policy to:</p> <ul> <li>Expand WSMA climate change policy (including directing the WSMA to divest from fossil fuels and encourage others in the health care industry to do the same).</li> <li>Support legislative efforts to create a low-carbon fuel standard for Washington state.</li> <li>Support the use of reusable isolation gowns.</li> </ul> <p>Public health, an ongoing concern of the House, was addressed by policy to:</p> <ul> <li>Endorse a ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.</li> <li>Reduce firearm-related injury and death, including supporting research and legislative policy based on proven public health practices.</li> <li>Advocate for the removal of barriers to the immunization of "Mature Minors."</li> <li>Support improvements to the state's immunization information system.</li> <li>Support policy requiring pharmacies, when administering vaccines, to notify a patient's primary care provider when possible.</li> <li>Support the reform of health care access and delivery in the criminal justice system.</li> <li>Promote greater gender equity in medicine.</li> <li>Support physician education on critical race theory in medicine to help address disparate health outcomes of black Americans.</li> <li>Support investments to decrease racial inequities in cancer care.</li> <li>Support evidence-based sexual education; encourage legislation to expand sexual education to include contraception options, condom use demonstrations, LGBTQ+ sexual health, STI education, and discussions of consent.</li> <li>Support the rights of transgender and gender nonconforming patients, including opposing legislative or other efforts to limit access to gender-affirming health services and encouraging health care facilities that provide direct patient care to adopt gender-affirming practices.</li> <li>Encourage better data-gathering on the victims of human trafficking; educate physicians on the issue and condemn the practice.</li> <li>Support efforts to encourage the wearing of helmets when riding e-scooter and e-bikes.</li> </ul> <p>Other policy adopted by the House call on the WSMA to:</p> <ul> <li>Work with partners to support legislation calling for an increase in primary care spending as a proportion of total health care spending.</li> <li>Support patients and referring clinicians knowing both the name and credentials of the clinicians to whom they are referred.</li> <li>Acknowledge the public health threat of medical misinformation.</li> <li>Oppose digital/online "coercion" of physicians and provide resources on managing one's online reputation.</li> <li>Oppose unpaid heath care data collection and data mining work for insurance company purposes, unless the provider chooses to provide it for free without coercion.</li> <li>Support establishing a statewide credentialing and onboarding process for medical and PA students from Washington state's medical schools.</li> </ul> <p>Referred policies (those issues needing additional study before further action) included:</p> <ul> <li>Policy advocating for the tracking of physicians sanctioned by the Washington Medical Commission and physician enrollees of the Washington Physician Health Program, with specific enumeration of physician suicides.</li> <li>Policy encouraging the Washington Medical Commission to use peer review when passing judgement on standards of care.</li> <li>Policy detailing standards for the prior authorization of prescription medication requests used by insurance companies regulated by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.</li> <li>Policy directing the WSMA to take immediate action on gender inequities.</li> </ul> <p>For details on the above policies, and for a look at all policies and actions from the 2019 Annual Meeting, download the Official Actions of the 2019 WSMA House of Delegates, available from <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/About_Us/Leadership/House_of_Delegates/WSMA/About/Leadership/House_of_Delegates/House_of_Delegates.aspx?hkey=e2c50002-384d-4ff7-9116-5ce7a51116e7">the WSMA website</a>.</p> <p>Plan now to attend the 2020 WSMA Annual Meeting, Sept. 26-27 at the Historic Davenport, Autograph Collection in Spokane. To learn more about the Annual Meeting of the WSMA House of Delegates and its role shaping policy for the medical association, visit the <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx?hkey=fea49254-3815-4dc9-8710-53ff2e3a100f">meeting webpage</a>.</p> </div>10/23/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
department_of_health_adopts_fee_increases_for_mds_and_pasDepartment of Health Adopts Fee Increases for MDs and PAsLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20191023/department_of_health_adopts_fee_increases_for_mds_and_pas<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Concepts/doc_laptop_645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="doctor working at laptop" /> </div> <h5> October 23, 2019 </h5> <h2>Department of Health Adopts Fee Increases for MDs and PAs</h2> <p>The Department of Health has formally adopted rule amendments increasing license renewal and late renewal penalty fees for physicians (MDs) and physician assistants starting Feb. 1, 2020. While our opposition to the proposed increases did result in some concessions by the DOH, the increases remain substantial, as do our concerns about the impact on our members and the profession in Washington state.</p> <p>Since announcing its intention to raise the fees during a meeting with the WSMA board of trustees in late 2018 (see <a href="https://wsma.org/Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20181226/wsma_pushes_back_on_state_plans_to_raise_physician_licensure_fees">this Memo article for background</a>), the Washington Medical Commission has submitted three proposals, all opposed by the WSMA. The final of the three proposals was adopted earlier this month.</p> <p>License Renewal Fee Increase* Proposal: Original proposal (Oct. 2018)<br /> MD: $1,132<br /> PA: $140</p> <p>License Renewal Fee Increase* Proposal: Revised proposal (Apr. 2019)<br /> MD: $1,012<br /> PA: $396</p> <p>License Renewal Fee Increase* Proposal: Final (adopted) increase<br /> MD: $956<br /> PA: $379</p> <p>Late renewal penalties have also been increased with the DOH's rulemaking, from $262.50 to $300 for MDs and from $50 to $124 for PAs. *Note that the renewal fees include University of Washington HEAL-WA annual surcharge of $16 or Washington Physician Health Program annual surcharge of $50.</p> <p>In its communications, the DOH identified high disciplinary and litigation costs as well as increased costs for credentialing, case management, and call center functions as the reason for the fee increases.</p> <p>While our <a href="https://wsma.org/Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20181226/wsma_pushes_back_on_state_plans_to_raise_physician_licensure_fees">pushback to the proposals</a> resulted in modest decreases in the final adopted amounts, in a meeting with WSMA staff, DOH representatives did commit to greater transparency in their budgeting processes going forward and promised to revisit the issue after two years to examine the possibility of reducing fees if the Medical Commission's budget outlook has stabilized.</p> <p>We are grateful to our members, many working in primary care, in smaller practices, and those serving in professional shortage areas who made their voices heard over the past year by responding to our calls to action on the issue. Thank you for providing the Medical Commission with personal stories on how this dramatic increase in fees would impact your ability to practice good medicine—or to practice altogether.</p> <p>The WSMA will be amplifying your stories and the voices of other physicians and PAs in the months ahead, as we continue to express our opposition to these fee increases. We remain deeply concerned regarding the impact of these fees on our members, the physician community at large, and on our state, where steep fee increases promise to exacerbate a growing physician shortage by putting Washington at a competitive disadvantage in matters such as physician recruitment and retainment.</p> </div>10/23/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
wsma_supports_permanent_ban_on_sale_of_flavored_e_cigarettesWSMA Supports Permanent Ban on Sale of Flavored E-CigarettesLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20191023/wsma_supports_permanent_ban_on_sale_of_flavored_e_cigarettes<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Concepts/tobacco_vaping_645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="vaping" /> </div> <h5> October 23, 2019 </h5> <h2>WSMA Supports Permanent Ban on Sale of Flavored E-Cigarettes</h2> <p>The WSMA House of Delegates has voted overwhelmingly to adopt a resolution from King County Medical Society advocating for a ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in Washington state. The two organizations issued a joint press release this week announcing their position.</p> <p>From the <a href="https://wsma.org/Shared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/October/king_county_medical_society_and_washington_state_medical_association_endorse_ban_on_flavored_e_cigar">press release</a>:</p> <p>"The [state] health board's decision to temporarily ban flavored vape products is similar to recent moves made in Michigan and New York. The King County Medical Society resolution adopted by the WSMA went further and called for a permanent ban of all flavored e-cigarette products.</p> <p>Through adoption of the resolution, the WSMA joins the King County Medical Society, The American Lung Association, The American College of Physicians, and dozens of leading health experts who have announced their endorsement of such a ban."</p> <p>The Washington State Board of Health's temporary ban on flavored vaping products ends Feb. 7, 2020. As of Oct. 15, almost 1,479 cases have been identified from 49 states, including 33 deaths, with <a href="https://wsma.org/Shared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/October/new_rules_require_providers_to_report_lung_injuries_within_3_days">12 cases identified in Washington</a>.</p> <p>The policy adopted by WSMA delegates also calls for supporting increased regulation of flavored nicotine packaging and directs WSMA's AMA delegation to take the policy to the AMA for consideration.</p> <p><a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20191023/2019_annual_meeting_delegates_pass_proactive_policy_on_public_and_physician_health.aspx">Read more on the policies passed at the 2019 WSMA Annual Meeting</a> .</p> </div>10/23/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
king_county_medical_society_and_washington_state_medical_association_endorse_ban_on_flavored_e_cigarKing County Medical Society and WSMA Endorse Ban on Flavored E-CigarettesLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/October/king_county_medical_society_and_washington_state_medical_association_endorse_ban_on_flavored_e_cigar<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>October 21, 2019</h5> <h2>King County Medical Society and Washington State Medical Association Endorse Ban on Flavored E-Cigarettes </h2> <p> Seattle, Wash. - The members of the Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) House of Delegates have voted overwhelmingly to adopt a proposal from King County Medical Society advocating for a ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in Washington state. The vote took place Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019 at the WSMA's annual meeting held in SeaTac. </p> <p> In September, Gov. Jay Inslee issued an executive order asking the state board of health to impose an emergency temporary ban on flavored vaping products. The board of health unanimously approved the executive order, which institutes the temporary ban on the products through Feb. 7, 2020. The health board's decision to temporarily ban flavored vape products is similar to recent moves made in Michigan and New York. The King County Medical Society resolution adopted by the WSMA went further and called for a permanent ban of all flavored e-cigarette products. </p> <p> Through adoption of the resolution, the WSMA joins the King County Medical Society, The American Lung Association, The American College of Physicians, and dozens of leading health experts who have announced their endorsement of such a ban. Supporters include hospitals, physicians, medical experts, patients, and health care professionals in addition to bipartisan legislators. </p> <p> Newly voted into the WSMA's board of trustees, King County Medical Society President and author of the resolution Teresa Girolami, MD, clearly stated that, "I am proud of the work we are doing, and that the resolution for a permanent ban was passed unanimously and adopted by the WSMA. We look forward to the WSMA's AMA representatives presenting the resolution to the entire national AMA delegation very soon. KCMS is very proud to have authored this timely and important resolution that will protect our youth." </p> <p> "The rise in vaping seen in Washington's kids and in kids across the nation should have everyone alarmed—not just physicians," said Bill Hirota, MD, WSMA's newly elected president. "Vaping induced injuries and deaths are increasingly being reported and represent a significant public health concern. We stand with our colleagues at King County Medical Society and across health care who are united in this fight to protect our kids and patients from harm." </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><strong>For more information, contact:</strong><br /> <br /> Graham Short<br /> WSMA Associate Director of Communications<br /> 206.956.3633  <br /> <a href="mailto:gfs@wsma.org">gfs@wsma.org</a></p> <p><strong>About the WSMA </strong><br /> The Washington State Medical Association represents more than 11,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students in Washington state with the vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care.</p> </div>10/21/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
new_rules_require_providers_to_report_lung_injuries_within_3_daysNew Rules Require Providers to Report Lung Injuries Within 3 DaysLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/October/new_rules_require_providers_to_report_lung_injuries_within_3_days<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right"><img alt="teen vaping" src="/images/Concepts/tobacco_vaping_645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>October 16, 2019</h5> <h2>New Rules Require Physicians to Report Lung Injuries Within 3 Days</h2> <p><em>Updated October 21, 2019</em></p> <p> The Washington State Board of Health has released new rules for physicians and health care providers related to a multi-state outbreak of lung injury associated with vapor products. As of Oct. 15, almost 1,479 cases have been identified from 49 states, including 33 deaths. Twelve cases have been identified in Washington, with additional cases under investigation. </p> <p> On Sept. 27, Gov. Jay Inslee issued Executive Order 19-03: <a href="https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/exe_order/19-03 - Addressing the Vaping Public Health Crisis %28tmp%29.pdf" target="_blank">Addressing the Vaping Use Public Health Crisis</a>, and the health board issued emergency rules on Oct. 9. Among other actions, the rules require health care providers to report cases of lung injury to local health authorities within three business days. This will help public health quickly learn of cases and work to identify the cause(s) of this lung injury. The Washington State Department of Health has released <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1500/820-080-GuidelinesforCliniciansVapingLungInjury.docx">reporting guidelines for clinicians</a>, which will be updated as the agency learns more. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6841e3.htm?s_cid=mm6841e3_w">interim guidance for evaluating and caring for patients with suspected e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury</a>. Questions may be directed to <a href="mailto:vapingresponse@doh.wa.gov">vapingresponse@doh.wa.gov</a>. </p> </div>10/16/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
WSMA_Presents_Patient_Safety_Award_to_Community_Health_Center_of_Snohomish_CountyWSMA Presents Patient Safety Award to Community Health Center of Snohomish CountyLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/October/WSMA_Presents_Patient_Safety_Award_to_Community_Health_Center_of_Snohomish_County<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>October 15, 2019</h5> <h2> WSMA Presents Patient Safety Award to Community Health Center of Snohomish County</h2> <p> Seattle, Wash. - The Community Health Center of Snohomish County has been recognized by the Washington State Medical Association for its program to expand access to treatment for patients with opioid use disorder. The health center was presented the William O. Robertson, MD Patient Safety Award of Excellence on Saturday, Oct. 12 at the medical association's annual meeting at the Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center in SeaTac. </p> <p> Recognizing that medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has repeatedly been shown to be safe and effective for patients with opioid use disorder, and that there was a dearth of medical providers who had the necessary training to provide the treatment, the health center set out to establish a comprehensive MAT program. As part of the program, the health center: </p> <ul> <li> Required primary care providers who see adult patients to complete MAT waiver training. </li> <li> Developed a MAT reporting and tracking system. </li> <li> Redesigned its MAT intake process to use a team-based approach so that the patient meets with an RN, a chemical dependency specialist, and then the physician. </li> <li> Reduced stigma often attached to opioid use disorder by encouraging its providers to think about their patients with OUD in the same way they think about patients with diabetes. </li> </ul> <p> The health center currently has 482 active patients on MAT, and that number grows by approximately 20 each month. “These community members are no longer using opioids and are at lower risk for HIV, Hep B and C, syphilis, and TB,” said WSMA Past President Donna Smith, MD, when presenting the award during a dinner celebration at the meeting. “They are starting to put their lives back together.” </p> <p> Accepting the award on behalf of the health center was Thomas Tocher, MD, a WSMA-member and an internist with the health center. </p> <p> The WSMA established its William O. Robertson, MD Patient Safety Awards in 2005 to recognize and share innovative patient safety initiatives in the ambulatory care setting. The award was named after another WSMA past president, the late Dr. William O. Robertson, who was a champion for patient safety, risk management, and quality improvement throughout his long and distinguished career. </p> <p><strong>For more information, contact:</strong><br /> <br /> Graham Short<br /> WSMA Associate Director of Communications<br /> 206.956.3633  <br /> <a href="mailto:gfs@wsma.org">gfs@wsma.org</a></p> <p><strong>About the WSMA</strong></p> <p>The Washington State Medical Association represents nearly 11,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the house of medicine more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care.</p> </div>10/15/2019 11:26:13 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
Representative_Harris_Receives_Legislator_of_The_Year_Award_from_State_Medical_AssociationRepresentative Harris Receives Legislator of The Year Award from State Medical AssociationLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/October/Representative_Harris_Receives_Legislator_of_The_Year_Award_from_State_Medical_Association<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>October 15, 2019</h5> <h2> Representative Harris Receives Legislator of The Year Award from State Medical Association</h2> <p> Seattle, Wash. - Representative Paul Harris, representing the 17th Legislative District, serving eastern Vancouver and parts of southwest Clark County, has been named 2019 Legislator of the Year by the Washington State Medical Association for his support of the association's 2019 legislative efforts. He received the award from WSMA Past President Nick Rajacich, MD, on Saturday, Oct. 12 during the association’s annual meeting in SeaTac. </p> <p> Each year the WSMA, the largest professional physician organization in the state, honors a legislator whose knowledge and influence help to make Washington one of the best states in the nation to practice medicine and receive care. Rep. Harris’ accomplishments of relevance to the WSMA include: </p> <ul> <li> Prime sponsorship of legislation removing the personal/philosophical exemption for the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Despite well-organized opposition, he worked diligently with his colleagues across the aisle to shepherd the passage of this bill. </li> <li> Prime sponsorship of legislation raising the purchasing age of tobacco to age 21. Rep. Harris led the multi-year effort in the state Legislature on this WSMA priority public health issue. </li> </ul> <p> Rep. Harris also supported the WSMA and Washington physicians by opposing legislation that would have negative repercussions for patients’ access to care as well as physician practices, including: </p> <ul> <li> Legislation imposing a 20 percent surcharge on the business and occupation professional services tax paid by independent physician practices. </li> <li> Legislation expanding exposure to liability for physicians, physician assistants, medical group practices and other providers by broadening who can sue in cases of wrongful death and what types of damages they can recover. </li> </ul> <p> “The WSMA can count on Representative Harris to consider the impact of legislation and budget issues on Washington’s physician community,” said Dr. Rajacich, who chairs WAMPAC, the association’s political action committee. “Overall, the advocacy and leadership demonstrated by Rep. Harris on issues impacting public health and practicing physicians was unrivaled during the 2019 legislative session.” </p> <p><strong>For more information, contact:</strong><br /> <br /> Graham Short<br /> WSMA Associate Director of Communications<br /> 206.956.3633  <br /> <a href="mailto:gfs@wsma.org">gfs@wsma.org</a></p> <p><strong>About the WSMA</strong></p> <p>The Washington State Medical Association represents nearly 11,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the house of medicine more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care.</p> </div>10/15/2019 11:25:22 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
Washington_State_Medical_Association_Recognizes_Member_Physicians_for_Exemplary_ServiceWashington State Medical Association Recognizes Member Physicians for Exemplary ServiceLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/October/Washington_State_Medical_Association_Recognizes_Member_Physicians_for_Exemplary_Service<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>October 15, 2019</h5> <h2> Washington State Medical Association Recognizes Member Physicians for Exemplary Service</h2> <p> Seattle, Wash. - Seven physician members and one community program have been recognized by the Washington State Medical Association for going above and beyond the call of duty in leadership, contributions, and service to the health of the profession and our citizens. The recognitions were part of the medical association's new "Apple Awards," program, and the awards were presented at the 2019 WSMA Annual Meeting in SeaTac on Saturday, Oct. 12. </p> <p> Recipients of the 2019 Apple Awards included: </p> <p> <strong>Darryl Potyk, MD</strong>, Spokane internist, received the President’s Unsung Hero Award, which recognizes the WSMA member who offers extraordinary service to the profession to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care. Dr. Potyk is the chief of medical education for UW School of Medicine-Gonzaga University Regional Health Partnership and associate dean for Eastern Washington for the UW School of Medicine. </p> <p> <strong>Matthew Grierson, MD</strong>, Seattle physiatrist, received the Early Career Member of the Year Award, which recognizes a WSMA member for their service to the association’s early career members (physicians in their first 10 years of practice, resident physicians, and medical students). Dr. Grierson practices at the Seattle Spine & Sports Medicine clinic. </p> <p> Five WSMA members received the Grassroots Advocate Award, which recognizes their advocacy efforts and activities supporting WSMA legislative priorities. They include: </p> <p> <strong>Avanti Bergquist, MD</strong>, Bellevue psychiatrist, for her support of mental health priorities; <strong>James Burkman, MD</strong>, Seattle anesthesiologist, for his work helping the association find a solution protecting patients from unnecessary balance bills; <strong>Lucinda Grande, MD</strong>, Olympia family physician, for her advocacy around opioid use disorder treatment; <strong>Alan Melnick, MD</strong>, Vancouver preventative medicine physician and Clark County public health officer, for his support of childhood immunizations; and <strong>Chelsea Unruh, MD</strong>, Olympia family physician, for their support of issues impacting independent physician practices. </p> <p> The seventh Apple Award, the Community Unsung Hero Award, recognizes community contributions to the health and wellness of our state’s citizens and was presented to Pierce County Project Access. PCPA received the award in recognition of its mission to provide donated care for patients in need in Pierce County. </p> <p> “Our members are heroes every day in our book,” said WSMA’s outgoing 2019 president, Tom Schaaf, MD, who presented the awards during the opening session of the association’s annual House of Delegates at the Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center. “That’s why we created these Apple Awards—to really call out the ‘extra’ in the extraordinary work Washington’s physicians are doing, each and every day.”<br /> <br /> Photos of the award presentations from the meeting are available upon request (email <a href="mailto:katiehoward@wsma.org">katiehoward@wsma.org</a>) and will be available from the<a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Awards_Program/Awards_Program.aspx"> WSMA's Awards Program page</a>.</p> <p><strong>For more information, contact:</strong><br /> <br /> Graham Short<br /> WSMA Associate Director of Communications<br /> 206.956.3633  <br /> <a href="mailto:gfs@wsma.org">gfs@wsma.org</a></p> <p><strong>About the WSMA</strong></p> <p>The Washington State Medical Association represents nearly 11,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the house of medicine more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care.</p> </div>10/15/2019 10:54:42 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
Tacoma_Gastroenterologist_Named_President_of_State_Medical_AssociationTacoma Gastroenterologist Named President of State Medical AssociationLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/October/Tacoma_Gastroenterologist_Named_President_of_State_Medical_Association<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>October 14, 2019</h5> <h2> Tacoma Gastroenterologist Named President of State Medical Association </h2> <p> Seattle, Wash. - Tacoma gastroenterologist William "Bill" Hirota, MD, was named president of the Washington State Medical Association at the association's annual meeting in SeaTac on Sunday, Oct. 13. The WSMA represents physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students throughout Washington state. </p> <p> Dr. Hirota practices at Franciscan Digestive Care Associates in Tacoma and sees patients at Tacoma-area hospitals St. Clare, St. Joseph and Multicare. He is primarily affiliated with CHI Franciscan health care system </p> <p> Dr. Hirota received his medical doctorate degree in 1990 from Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington D.C., supporting his education by joining the U.S. Army to be part of the Health Professionals Scholarship Program. Dr. Hirota followed his primary medical education with an internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, also in D.C. </p> <p> By 2000, he’d completed his Army obligations at Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Ft. Lewis and started in private practice in Tacoma. Dr. Hirota served in various leadership roles while in the Army, including chief of special care and chief of internal medicine service. After moving to Tacoma, he served as the president of the Pierce County Medical Society and chair of Franciscan’s medical executive committee. He joined WSMA’s executive committee in 2014 after serving several years on the association’s board of trustees. </p> <p> The following physicians were also elected as officers at the meeting: Nathan Schlicher, MD, JD, Tacoma emergency physician, president-elect; Mika Sinanan, MD, PhD, Seattle surgeon, 1st vice president; Katina Rue, DO, Yakima osteopathic physician, 2nd vice president; Nariman Heshmati, MD, Mukilteo OB/GYN, secretary-treasurer; John Bramhall, MD, Seattle anesthesiologist, assistant secretary-treasurer. The seventh officer of WSMA’s executive committee is past-president Tom Schaaf, MD, MHA, Spokane geriatrician, who will serve as committee chair. </p> <p> <a href="javascript://[Uploaded files/News and Publications/Press Room/Hirota.Bill_2019_3024x4032.jpg]">Download a photo of Dr. Hirota</a>.</p> <p><strong>For more information, contact:</strong><br /> <br /> Graham Short<br /> WSMA Associate Director of Communications<br /> 206.956.3633  <br /> <a href="mailto:gfs@wsma.org">gfs@wsma.org</a></p> <p><strong>About the WSMA</strong></p> <p>The Washington State Medical Association represents nearly 11,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the house of medicine more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care.</p> </div>10/14/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_october_14_2019_together_we_will_do_moreWeekly Rounds: October 14, 2019 - Together, we will do moreLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2019/weekly_rounds_october_14_2019_together_we_will_do_more<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-Hirota-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo featuring Bill Hirota, MD" /></div> <h5>October 14, 2019</h5> <h2>Together, we will do more</h2> <p> <em>Yesterday at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the WSMA House of Delegates, we inaugurated our incoming president, Bill Hirota, MD. For those of you who couldn't be with us, we wanted you to have the opportunity to read an amended version of his speech, so he is our guest columnist this week for Weekly Rounds.<br /> - Jennifer Hanscom, WSMA CEO</em> </p> <p> <strong>Bill Hirota, MD, WSMA 2019-20 incoming president's speech, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, 9 a.m. at the Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center.</strong> </p> <p> Madame Speaker, Mr. Vice Speaker, members of the House of Delegates, colleagues, and friends, it is my honor to have this opportunity to serve as president of the WSMA. </p> <p> I want you to know how much I appreciate all of you who are here this morning. </p> <p> I can think of three reasons why you might have made a different choice: </p> <ul> <li>It's a Sunday and likely your day off. </li> <li>It's early and you could have slept in.</li> <li>You could be watching the Seahawks vs. Browns game at 10 a.m. </li> </ul> <p> To tell you a little about myself: I have been a full-time practicing gastroenterologist in Pierce County for over 20 years and have been involved in organized medicine at the county and state level for more than 12 years. </p> <p> For those of you who may be interested to know more about my personal background, please see the article in the latest edition of WSMA Reports. If you have already read that article, you'll learn that the most important people in my life are my family. My wife, Emillie, my mother and father, and my daughter, Jesse. </p> <p> Jesse couldn't be here today because she's in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she's studying to be a doctor of veterinary medicine. My father could also not make it due to health reasons, but my wife and my mother are here, and I'd like to thank them for being my moral compasses and continued source of inspiration, love, and support. </p> <p> And now, with these privileged moments together, I want to share lessons learned from my own health care experiences and outline reasons why the WSMA matters to our profession. </p> <p> As you know, our vision at the WSMA is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and to receive care. </p> <p> It's no surprise to any of us that we will all take our turn at being a patient now or in the future. As for me, I had my own health care crisis in 2013 that highlights lessons I've learned that make me a deeply committed advocate for this goal. </p> <p> Long story short, I had a significant health event that required the attention of physician colleagues and friends, who didn't hesitate to step up and provide me with top-quality care. And because I am blessed with excellent social determinants of health, I received the support, kindness, and patience of my administrators, staff, and practice partners along my path to recovery. </p> <p> Why am I sharing this personal experience? To remind you that what you do matters. If not for the excellent care I received, I wouldn't be standing here as your president today. </p> <p> Here's what I learned from that experience: </p> <ul> <li>Always have a primary care provider. If I'd had one, he or she just might have been able to prevent this from happening.</li> <li>It's good to know some doctors! I learned I could call upon my friends and colleagues, and they will be there. </li> <li>Love your family and friends. They are what's important in life and help provide the foundation for what we can achieve.</li> </ul> <p> And now for why the WSMA matters. </p> <p> Another thing you might like to know about me…I've participated in sports as a player, trainer, coach, and fan. And since this is a Seahawks Sunday, I thought I'd point out a few things that I've noticed physicians have in common with pro athletes: </p> <ul> <li>We're competitive, overachieving, and driven.</li> <li>We're constantly measured—and measured up—by all sorts of metrics.</li> <li>We're decisive, making split-second decisions in high-intensity situations.</li> <li>We're team players, depending on each other to get the job done.</li> <li>We're leaders, motivating ourselves and each other to reach our goals.</li> <li>Getting to those goals is a long game … "It's a marathon and not a sprint" as they say. </li> </ul> <p> If you think about it, playing the long game is just what we do at the WSMA. We are not only in the game; we're in it for the long haul. That's what makes us the largest medical association in the state, representing physicians and our physician assistant colleagues, of all specialties from independent practice to large group health systems. </p> <p> I'll give you a few recent examples to demonstrate how we advocate for you and our patients in the long game: </p> <ul> <li>Passing Tobacco 21: We finally pushed House Bill 1074—which raises the age of sale for tobacco and vapor products—over the finish line. But that work did not begin in 2019…our work on achieving that has been years in the making and will save thousands of lives by preventing Washingtonians from taking their first puffs at a young and impressionable age.</li> <li>Balance billing: Our team and your advocacy helped legislate a bill that benefits patients without penalizing physicians. This bill is one of the most physician-friendly balance billing laws in the country. The WSMA negotiated this issue over many years.</li> <li>Our next long-haul battle will be to repeal the business and occupation surcharge that state legislators levied this year on our independent practitioners. That surcharge is 20 percent, which is bad enough, but the WSMA fought hard to keep it from being as high as 67 percent!</li> <li>Also, I've learned from enlightened colleagues about the health impacts of climate change and the scourge of gun violence. While many in our society may not want us to participate in this important dialogue, these issues are in our lane. </li> <li>On every health issue, we want Washington state legislators to ask: "What does the WSMA think?" </li> </ul> <p> Taking these issues on—whether we win or lose—takes a unified team. And that team includes all of you. We're part of an organization that's larger than we are and it's critical that we take that fully to heart. </p> <p> Together, we will do more. </p> <p> In my time on the WSMA Executive Committee, I have seen you fight for administrative simplification, MOC reform, and protection of whistleblowers within corporate health care. </p> <p> Together, we will do more. </p> <p> I believe the biggest threats facing our profession right now are apathy, decreased personal fulfillment, and burnout. </p> <p> We are a strong and thriving association but that's not a birthright, nor is our success a given. </p> <p> You are brilliant and passionate and ready to do more. </p> <p> I ask you now to engage with the WSMA to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care. </p> <p> Oh, and go Seahawks! </p> </div>10/14/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
oic_webinar_on_balance_billing_legislationOIC Webinar on Balance Billing LegislationLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20191009/oic_webinar_on_balance_billing_legislation<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/Concepts/Stethoscope-numbers-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /> </div> <h5> October 9, 2019 </h5> <h2>OIC Webinar on Balance Billing Legislation</h2> <p> Mark your calendar: On Wednesday, Nov. 13, from noon to 1:30 p.m., the Office of the Insurance Commissioner will host a webinar designed for physicians, providers, and practice staff on implementation of House Bill 1065, the "Balance Billing Protection Act." The WSMA provided guidance to OIC staff on the content of the webinar, which will cover the act's out-of-network provider payment and dispute resolution process, transparency provisions, enforcement, self-funded group health plan participation, and more. The Balance Billing Protection Act takes effect Jan. 1, 2020—make sure you and your practice are prepared by attending this session. Registration details to come; for now, save the date. </p> </div>10/9/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
the_2019_wsma_annual_meeting_this_weekend_in_seattleThe 2019 WSMA Annual Meeting This Weekend in SeattleLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20191009/the_2019_wsma_annual_meeting_this_weekend_in_seattle<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="WSMA 2019 Annual Meeting graphic" src="/images/Events/2019-Annual-Meeting-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /> </div> <h5> October 9, 2019 </h5> <h2>The 2019 WSMA Annual Meeting This Weekend in Seattle</h2> <p> If you didn't pre-register for the <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx?hkey=fea49254-3815-4dc9-8710-53ff2e3a100f">2019 Annual Meeting of the WSMA House of Delegates</a> but would like to attend, walk-in registration will be available beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center. Visit the <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx?hkey=fea49254-3815-4dc9-8710-53ff2e3a100f">event webpage</a> for a meeting agenda and details of the many activities scheduled during the meeting. For social media users, use the hashtag #WSMAannual on Twitter and Facebook for posts about the meeting—and be sure to follow the WSMA for real-time meeting updates. For those of you attending the meeting, we'll see you in Seattle. This activity has been approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™</em>. </p> </div>10/9/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
wsma_prompted_changes_coming_to_prior_authorizations_this_novemberWSMA-Prompted Changes Coming to Prior Authorizations This NovemberLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20191009/wsma_prompted_changes_coming_to_prior_authorizations_this_november<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/News/Stock.image_2018.youngFmdoctor_w_younggirl_645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" /> </div> <h5> October 9, 2019 </h5> <h2>WSMA-Prompted Changes Coming to Prior Authorizations This November</h2> <p> News on the prior authorization front here in Washington: Starting in November, insurers will be required to offer an online process to submit prior authorization requests for medical services and provide greater transparency regarding required patient criteria, the result of <a href="https://www.insurance.wa.gov/prior-authorization-processes-and-transparency-r-2016-19">state rules</a> that went into effect last year (and initiated by WSMA advocacy). </p> <p> Starting Nov. 1, a <a href="http://priorauth.wsma.org/transparency/">provision of the rule</a> is effective requiring insurers and their third-party administrators to provide physicians a "current and accurate online prior authorization process" to submit requests with patient-specific information needed to determine if a service is a benefit under the enrollee's plan and the information necessary to submit a complete prior authorization request, including if the service is a benefit, if prior authorization is necessary, and what, if any, pre-service requirements apply. If prior authorization is required, the online process must include the clinical criteria used to evaluate the request and required documentation. </p> <p> Other provisions of the prior authorization rule for medical services already in effect include: </p> <ul> <li>For standard prior authorization requests, an insurer must decide within five calendar days. </li> <li>For expedited prior authorization requests, an insurer must decide within two calendar days. </li> <li>Insurers and third-party administrators must have a provision for unforeseen and extenuating circumstances. </li> <li>Insurers are obligated to make sure their TPAs follow the rule's requirements. </li> </ul> <p> To learn more about these requirements, visit the <a href="http://priorauth.wsma.org/">WSMA Prior Authorization Navigator</a>. </p> <p> Also: Beginning in November, the Office of the Insurance Commissioner will be conducting random audits of insurance carriers to help ensure compliance with the state prior authorization rules. The OIC will also be monitoring complaints from its hotline and making referrals to its legal affairs division for enforcement. If you experience an insurance carrier out of compliance, contact the OIC hotline at 800.562.6900. </p> </div>10/9/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
 

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