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the_house_of_medicine_celebrates_its_175th_birthdayThe House of Medicine Celebrates Its 175th BirthdayLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2022/the_house_of_medicine_celebrates_its_175th_birthday<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/latest-news/2022/may/AMA-175-Anniversary-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="AMA 175th Anniversary logo" /></div> <h5>May 23, 2022</h5> <h2>The House of Medicine Celebrates Its 175th Birthday</h2> <p> The gains we constantly make in diagnosing and treating illness and injury are easy to take for granted-until we realize just how far organized medicine has advanced since the mid-1800s, when bloodletting and blistering helped place "bodily humors" back into balance. </p> <p> Today, next-generation mRNA vaccines and groundbreaking advancements in gene therapy are just two examples demonstrating our tremendous progress in restoring health and maintaining wellness for all, which also means dismantling the structural and social drivers of health inequities. </p> <p> The American Medical Association, which marks the 175th anniversary of its founding this month, helps propel the science and research that drives organized medicine forward through advocacy and innovation built around the world's first-ever code of medical ethics. The AMA's work to both standardize and modernize medical education and physician training are key elements in meeting its mission to promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health. </p> <p> As not only an individual membership association, but also the convening national body of medicine through its House of Delegates-comprising more than 190 state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders-the AMA is the nation's largest and most influential medical organization. The policies adopted by the House of Delegates underpin its advocacy and guide ethical medical practice for millions of physicians in the U.S. and around the world. </p> <p> Delegates selected by the state medical associations, medical specialty societies, national medical organizations, and other recognized constituent associations that comprise the AMA House of Delegates meet twice each year to shape AMA policy and prioritize initiatives in medical education, ethical and judicial affairs, public health, diversity and inclusion, and a host of other subjects. </p> <p> Physicians who serve as delegates from the WSMA include: </p> <ul> <li>Amish Dave, MD</li> <li>Peter Dunbar, MD</li> <li>Matthew Grierson, MD</li> <li>Erin Harnish, MD</li> <li>Nariman Heshmati, MD</li> <li>Benjamin Meyer, MD</li> <li>Libby Parker, MD</li> <li>Elizabeth Peterson, MD</li> <li>Sheila Rege, MD</li> <li>Rodney Trytko, MD, MBA, MPH</li> </ul> <p> The WSMA has been proud to partner with the AMA on numerous initiatives and efforts over the years. A few recent examples: </p> <ul> <li>Through the Wellness Practice Transformation Initiative being led by the AMA and the Physicians Foundation, the WSMA Foundation, WSMA's non-profit organization dedicated to improving physician wellness and patient care, is identifying solutions and sharing best practices for improving the clinician experience and making meaningful change at the practice level.</li> <li>The WSMA frequently partners with the AMA when filing amicus curiae ("friend of the court") briefs that argue a physician-centric perspective in lawsuits of major importance to physicians, patients, and the practice of medicine. Most recently, this was demonstrated when the WSMA joined with the AMA and others to support a successful challenge to the independent dispute resolution rulemaking of the federal No Surprises Act.</li> <li>Working together on advocacy efforts at the federal level, lobbying Congress in support of Medicare sustainability (payment reform, telehealth), pandemic financial relief, and addressing the opioid epidemic. We have also collaborated to develop state-level solutions for issues like prior authorization, network adequacy, and scope of practice.</li> </ul> <p> Since the earliest days of its founding, the AMA and its state and specialty medical association partners have put patients first, from our earliest efforts to protect the public from medical quackery and fraudulent "medicines" that were ineffective at best and life-threatening at worst. Over the years, we have spoken for physicians in a unified voice in championing vaccine safety and efficacy, confirming the harmful effects of tobacco use while helping ban smoking on airliners, and advocating for seat belts as standard equipment in vehicles, among other initiatives. </p> <p> The AMA continues to fulfill its mission by working to remove obstacles to patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises, and driving the future of medicine through innovation and improved physician training and education. </p> <p> While the AMA can be rightfully proud of its contributions to organized medicine, the organization has also owned up to the fact that some of its prior actions and policies helped create many of the disparities and inequities in health that persist today. The AMA has acknowledged these mistakes and is working collaboratively to eliminate inequities throughout health care to achieve optimal health for all. </p> <p> As the AMA marks its 175th anniversary, its leadership is grateful for the contributions of time and volunteer service by millions of physician members who have advanced its mission over generations while working tirelessly to improve the health of their patients, communities, and our nation. </p> </div>5/23/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
latest_health_care_cost_transparency_board_activity_provokes_concernsLatest Health Care Cost Transparency Board Activity Provokes ConcernsLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/May_13/latest_health_care_cost_transparency_board_activity_provokes_concerns<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/may/stethoscope-numbers-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="stethoscope" /></div> <h5>May 13, 2022</h5> <h2>Latest Health Care Cost Transparency Board Activity Provokes Concerns </h2> <p>The WSMA, in conjunction with the Washington State Hospital Association, submitted a third <a href="https://wsma.org/doc_library/news/wsma-wsha-hcctb-letter-20220415.pdf" target="_blank">comment letter</a> to the state's Health Care Cost Transparency Board in mid-April, outlining our continued shared concerns with inflation and the impact that COVID-19 has had and will continue to have on Washington's health care delivery system.</p> <p>In addition, we raised concerns with the decision-making process undertaken by the board, where decisions are often made before receiving feedback from the advisory committee. WSMA and WSHA recommended that the board more routinely seek advice and direction from the committee prior to making these critical decisions. Regarding the selection criteria, the letter strongly urges the board to consider not only the potential benefit in terms of reducing cost growth, but also whether a new strategy may cause harm to patients by reducing access to services or quality or have other unintended consequences.</p> <p>The WSMA continues to attend both board and committee meetings to monitor progress toward reducing cost growth spending in Washington's health care delivery system.</p> </div>5/13/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
new_policies_in_effect_to_help_to_prevent_drug_overdoseNew Policies in Effect to Help to Prevent Drug OverdoseLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/May_13/new_policies_in_effect_to_help_to_prevent_drug_overdose<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/may/Buprenorphine-Butrans10mcg_645px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Buprenorphine" /></div> <h5>May 13, 2022</h5> <h2>New Policies in Effect to Help to Prevent Drug Overdose</h2> <p>Two new laws are now in effect that require health care service providers to offer patients medications for opioid use disorder and prevent physicians and providers from not accepting patients with a substance use disorder.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=71.24.585">RCW 71.24.585(2)</a> requires the Washington State Health Care Authority, as of Jan. 1, 2020, to "prioritize state resources for the provision of treatment and recovery support services to inpatient and outpatient treatment settings that allow patients to start or maintain their use of medications for opioid use disorder while engaging in services."</li> <li>A <a href="https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-issues-guidance-protections-people-opioid-use-disorder-under-americans">U.S. Department of Justice memo</a> dated Tuesday, April 5, explains that the federal government considers substance use disorders as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.</li> </ul> <p>Failure to allow medications for opioid use disorder in substance use disorder agencies can lead to a loss of Medicaid payments. Failure to allow the admission or treatment of people with opioid use disorder in any setting can lead to a federal complaint related to violating the ADA.</p> <p>These laws come at a time when overdoses, including those related to opioids, continue to increase. Last year, more than 100,000 people lost their lives to a drug overdose. Here in Washington, more than 2,000 people lost their lives. Increases in the use of methamphetamine and cocaine, the introduction of fentanyl into the state's illicit opioid supply, and the stress, strain, and anxiety of the last several years have all contributed to this rise.</p> <p>For more information on these policies, see this <a href="https://www.hca.wa.gov/assets/program/opiod-pandemic-letter-05-04-2022.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">May 4, 2022 letter from Acting Medicaid Director Charissa Fotinos, MD, addressed to medical professionals and health advocates</a>. The Health Care Authority would be happy to partner with any agency looking to implement these policies. Contact Kodi Campbell at <a href="mailto:kodi.campbell@hca.wa.gov">kodi.campbell@hca.wa.gov</a> for more information.</p> </div>5/13/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
roe_v_wade_news_raises_alarm_in_health_careRoe v. Wade News Raises Alarm in Health CareLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/May_13/roe_v_wade_news_raises_alarm_in_health_care<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/may/us-supreme-court-sun-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="US Supreme Court building" /></div> <h5>May 13, 2022</h5> <h2>Roe v. Wade News Raises Alarm in Health Care</h2> <p>Last week's news cycle was dominated by the <a href="https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/02/supreme-court-abortion-draft-opinion-00029473">leak of an initial draft majority opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court</a> that indicated the justices were prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade. We invited WSMA Vice President Nariman Heshmati, MD, an OB-GYN and past chair of the Washington section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, to share his perspective on the breaking news.</p> <p><em>"It's important to recognize several things. First, this is a draft opinion. It hasn't changed any laws or the ability of patients to have an abortion. Second, even if the final opinion from the court mirrors this draft opinion, abortion will still be legal in Washington state. In 1970, prior to Roe v. Wade, Washington state was one of the first states to decriminalize abortion, and there have been additional steps taken since then to reaffirm this right."</em></p> <p><a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_may_6_2022_roe_v_wade_in_the_balance">Read Dr. Heshmati's full comments</a>.</p> <p>As he notes, longstanding WSMA policy affirms a <a href="http://www.wsma.org/WSMA/About/Policies/Whats_Our_Policy/Abortion/Abortion.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=JVVL8">person's right to an abortion as a medical decision to be made under the advice and guidance of a physician</a>, and strongly opposes any attempt to restrict the availability of abortion or other reproductive health care.</p> <p>News reports about legislative and legal activity can cause confusion for the public that results in disruptions in abortion care and cancelled appointments. Please help assure your patients and the broader public that this draft opinion does not change any state laws today, and that abortion is still legal in Washington state. ACOG offers <a href="https://www.acog.org/advocacy/abortion-is-essential/come-prepared/core-messages?utm_source=redirect&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=int">messaging principles about the importance of preserving the fundamental patient-physician relationship and protecting access to evidence-based abortion care</a>.</p> </div>5/13/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_may_6_2022_roe_v_wade_in_the_balanceWeekly Rounds: May 6, 2022 - Roe v. Wade in the BalanceLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_may_6_2022_roe_v_wade_in_the_balance<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/weekly-rounds-article-graphic-heshmati-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Nariman Heshmati, MD" /></div> <h5>May 6, 2022</h5> <h2>Roe v. Wade in the Balance</h2> <p> Nariman Heshmati, MD, WSMA Vice President </p> <p> On Monday, the national media outlet <a href="https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/02/supreme-court-abortion-draft-opinion-00029473">Politico</a> released what appeared to be a leak of an initial draft majority opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court that indicated the justices were prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade. This was a historic breach of the court's protocols for a potentially even more historic change in the law. As expected, this report captured the news cycle and has prompted concern among physicians, health care workers, patients, and beyond. </p> <p> It's important to recognize several things. First, this is a draft opinion. It hasn't changed any laws or the ability of patients to have an abortion. Second, even if the final opinion from the court mirrors this draft opinion, abortion will still be legal in Washington state. In 1970, prior to Roe v. Wade, Washington state was one of the first states to decriminalize abortion, and there have been additional steps taken since then to reaffirm this right. </p> <p> This year, the Legislature passed and Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law the <a href="https://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2021-22/Pdf/Bills/Session%20Laws/House/1851.SL.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Affirm Washington Abortion Act</a>, which notes that "it has also been longstanding public policy of the state to promote access to affordable, high-quality reproductive health care, including abortion care, without unnecessary burdens or restrictions" on patients, physicians, or other clinicians or facilities that provide abortion services. </p> <p> So how does this week's news and its implications impact us in Washington state? </p> <p> We likely will see more patients cross state lines to receive care. Speaking to the <a href="https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2022/may/02/washington-likely-will-see-influx-of-women-seeking/?fbclid=IwAR00hlLlm9yNE1cHxm7DBIBzlwZ28vzjcaHqhzyBn7odsHOtzysJh09O1FM">Spokesman-Review</a>, Paul Dillon, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho, estimated that their health centers in Washington could see as much as a 385% increase in patients seeking abortion services if Roe v. Wade is overturned. </p> <p> We don't know if we have enough resources to meet this potential patient demand since we don't know yet what that demand is. What we do know is that the house of medicine supports a person's right to an abortion without interference. Last year, in response to the Texas law restricting abortions, the American Medical Association said, "<a href="https://www.ama-assn.org/press-center/press-releases/acog-ama-lead-amicus-brief-us-v-texas#:~:text=%E2%80%9CThe%20American%20Medical%20Association%20stands,physician%20relationship%2C%E2%80%9D%20said%20AMA%20President">the American Medical Association stands firmly against government interference in the clinical exam room</a>." In response to the leaked draft opinion, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reiterated, "<a href="https://www.acog.org/news/news-releases/2022/05/acog-statement-on-reports-of-a-draft-opinion-in-dobbs-v-jackson">We will continue to affirm that the ability of patients to access safe, legal abortion is critical for their health and well-being</a>." </p> <p> The WSMA affirms a <a href="[@]WSMA/About/Policies/Whats_Our_Policy/Abortion/Abortion.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=JVVL8">person's right to an abortion as a medical decision to be made under the advice and guidance of a physician</a>, and strongly opposes any attempt to restrict the availability of abortion or other reproductive health care. As <a href="https://www.ama-assn.org/press-center/press-releases/acog-ama-lead-amicus-brief-us-v-texas#:~:text=%E2%80%9CThis%20law%20puts%20clinicians%20in%20the%20impossible%20position%20of%20choosing%20between%20adherence%20to%20the%20law%20and%20their%20patients%E2%80%99%20best%20interests.%E2%80%9D">noted by ACOG</a>, restrictive abortion access laws put physicians and clinicians in the unconscionable position of having to choose between upholding the law and providing appropriate patient care. </p> <p> We do not know what the future will hold. We do know abortion will remain legal in Washington state regardless of how the Supreme Court ultimately rules. We also know that we must continue to advocate at all levels of government, in this Washington and the other Washington, to protect our patients and their access to evidence-based health care services. </p> <p> <em>Nariman Heshmati, MD, is an OB-GYN and vice president of the WSMA. In addition to his role on the WSMA executive committee, Dr. Heshmati is the past chair of the Washington section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.</em> </p> </div>5/6/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
hub_and_spoke_model_five_years_laterHub-and-Spoke Model: Five Years LaterLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2022/hub_and_spoke_model_five_years_later<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Reports/2022/reports-cover-image-wsma-may-june-2022-645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="cover illustration for WSMA Reports May/June 2022" /></div> <h5>May 3, 2022</h5> <h2>Hub-and-Spoke Model: Five Years Later</h2> <h5> <em>Members only; sign-in required.</em> </h5> <p> By Rita Colorito </p> <p> When Lora Jasman, MD, an addiction medicine specialist with the Healthy Behavior and Function Clinic at MultiCare Rockwood Clinic in Spokane, learned a long-time patient with opioid use disorder was thinking about starting community college, she cheered. Dr. Jasman had first treated him in her internal medicine practice, but the limited services she could provide weren't enough. As happens for many with the disorder, he returned to use. </p> <p> "He had a period of time where he was very unstable, using a lot of methamphetamines, in and out of the hospital, and in and out of urgent care," she recalls. So, what changed to get him on this new path? </p> <p> Dr. Jasman credits the patient's efforts, but also the comprehensive services her team has been able to provide since becoming a "hub" in August 2018 under Washington state's hub-and-spoke care model for treating opioid use disorder. </p> <p> Hub-and-spoke networks in Washington state were launched as part of the federal 21st Century Cures Act to address the opioid epidemic. Modeled on a program in Vermont, it's a coordinated care approach to prevent return to use, overdose, and death by removing barriers to accessing medication. The 2021-2022 Washington State Opioid and Overdose Response Plan considers the networks an integral part of expanding capacity to provide medication for opioid use disorder, or MOUD (also referred to as medication-assisted treatment). </p> <p> Many of the networks are now in their fifth year of operation. While the model has proven successful in helping patients with opioid use disorder, it also has challenges related to care coordination across the network and funding. </p> <p> "Hubs" are designated primary care physicians and clinicians, behavioral health clinics, health professionals who offer office-based MOUD, or federally qualified health centers in a region that coordinate care for adults with opioid use disorder. To provide integrated MOUD, each hub subcontracts with organizations or "spokes," including emergency departments, residential treatment facilities, therapist's offices, drug courts, correctional facilities, needle exchanges, and tribal medical facilities. </p> <p> Within each network, nurse care managers or spoke care navigators help reduce the burden on prescribing physicians by providing screening, care planning, and services and referrals needed to stabilize patients. </p> <h3>Meeting patient needs</h3> <p> When it comes to increasing capacity, the model has exceeded benchmarks. An analysis by the Institute for Behavioral Health at Brandeis University published in January 2020 found that in the first 18 months of operation, these networks added nearly 5,000 new people with opioid use disorder onto MOUD, double the projected goal. </p> <p> "It's allowed us to individualize our approach to each patient and help provide them with the wrap-around care that they need in their recovery," says Dr. Jasman. "Before, I didn't have a coordinated team. So, if I wanted a patient to go into inpatient treatment, I would basically say, you need inpatient treatment, here's a list of places that do that." </p> <p> While her internal medicine clinic served few patients with opioid use disorder, since becoming a hub, MultiCare's Rockwood Clinic has served over 2,000 such patients, says Dr. Jasman. Her team now includes two physician assistants, two medical assistants, a nurse care manager, hub care coordinator, and a receptionist. </p> <p> Wrap-around services provided by these networks are crucial in helping patients navigate what life throws at them, says Shawn Andrews, MD, program director of family medicine residency and senior medical director of ambulatory care services for Summit Pacific Medical Center, a hub in Elma. Shortly after one patient went through several tough years and challenges to stop using, his brother was killed, recalls Dr. Andrews. "People will often return to use when something horrible like this happens." But even though he was distraught, he was able to remain stable. </p> <p> "He came back to the MOUD clinic for a point of contact and some direction on how to protect his sobriety through this difficult time," she says. "He knew that people cared about him personally and he felt safe there." </p> <p> The model also helps relieve pressure on emergency departments, says Dr. Andrews. "It's strengthened the alliance between ED, primary care, and MOUD clinics," she notes. </p> <p> For Capital Recovery Center, a hub in Olympia, the hub-and-spoke model has increased access to treatment, says Malika Lamont, co-founder and director of harm reduction practices of Capital Recovery Center's Olympia Buprenorphine Clinic, a spoke. Since it opened in 2019, Capital Recovery Center has seen over 1,500 patients. Because of its high volume, the peer-led behavioral health facility has a nurse navigator and 10 physician prescribers. </p> <p> "I remember the days when we did not have meaningful access to medication for opioid use disorder in a six-county area. It has helped us grow our capacity to provide treatment to folks, and to better engage with them," says Lamont. Olympia Buprenorphine Clinic clients know they can drop in anytime during operating hours and get their medications dispensed free of charge at the time of visit, says Lamont. </p> <h3>Persistent challenges</h3> <p> Hub-and-spoke networks are intended to help transition patients seamlessly between health professionals and organizations, depending on their level of stability and what else they need to remain stable, such as mental health and social services. </p> <p> But coordinated care has been easier said than done. The Brandeis report found very little movement of patients across hubs and spokes. </p> <p> "I know the state says we're a hub, but we don't get a lot of referrals. We mostly see people coming in literally right off the street," says Ryan Herrington, MD, medical director of Capital Recovery Center's Olympia Buprenorphine Clinic. </p> <p> Financial challenges are also a problem. Hub-and-spoke models are funded through multiple federal and state grants to ensure low-barrier access to those on Medicaid and low-income populations. But the low payment structure can be a struggle for physicians and health professionals who participate in hub-and-spoke. "The vast majority of these patients are on Medicaid," says Dr. Jasman. "So, it's just difficult to make the budget work out well. That's a barrier [to participation] that the state of Washington is well aware of and trying to do something about." </p> <p> Another issue with the state's model is that it leaves care design up to each network. While that provides flexibility, it also creates some confusion, as there is no agreed-upon standard for what constitutes patient stability and outcomes. </p> <p> "A big challenge with the hub-and-spoke model is that you have different physicians and practitioners with different levels of expertise and different treatment philosophies," says Dr. Herrington. "It's not like blood pressure management, where everyone knows that the goal of treatment is 120 over 80 or better." </p> <p> Defining patient stability and what dosage is needed to maintain stability remains a challenge, says Dr. Herrington. "Somebody who might be stable to me might be unstable to another physician." </p> <p> Once patients are stable, the long-term goal is to get patients in with a primary care physician or practitioner to continue their care. But because of previous negative experiences, many patients are reluctant to change physicians. "We're finding that they are really attached to the people who help them enter recovery," says Dr. Andrews. </p> <p> Still, despite all the challenges, the hub-and-spoke system has given people with opioid use disorder an option to lead stable lives that they might not have otherwise had. </p> <p> "There's still just a lot of barriers [to treatment]," says Dr. Jasman. "But this is a start. And it's not perfect, but we are serving a lot of people in a way that they are getting a lot of benefit." </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 May/June 2022 issue of WSMA Reports, WSMA's print newsletter.</em> </p> </div>5/3/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
embracing_empathy_in_complexityEmbracing Empathy in ComplexityLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2022/embracing_empathy_in_complexity<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Reports/2022/reports-cover-image-wsma-may-june-2022-645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="cover illustration for WSMA Reports May/June 2022" /></div> <h5>May 2, 2022</h5> <h2>Embracing Empathy in Complexity</h2> <h5> <em>Members only; sign-in required.</em> </h5> <p> By John Gallagher </p> <p> One of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic was its impact on another epidemic: drug overdoses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, there were more than 100,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. during the 12-month period ending in April 2021, an increase of 28.5% from the 78,056 deaths during the same period the year before. </p> <p> The bulk of opioid-related deaths are attributable to synthetic opioids like illicit fentanyl, with 75,673 total opioid-related deaths in the 12-month period ending in April 2021, up from 56,064 the year before. About six people in Washington state die every day from an overdose. The rising numbers put new pressure on physicians and policymakers to develop fresh approaches to address the tide of addiction. </p> <p> But the tragic toll also contains a success that underscores the confounding nature of the epidemic. A recent report from the American Medical Association shows that opioid prescribing nationwide has dropped 44% in the past decade and fell nearly 7% from 2019 to 2020. Even as physicians in Washington and other states have made tremendous strides addressing the overprescribing of opioids, the epidemic continues to shift its form, creating a new set of challenges. </p> <p> "Deaths from prescription opioids continue to slowly decrease, yet a lot more work needs to be done," says Steven Stanos, DO, medical director of Swedish Pain Services in Seattle. "Prescription overdose deaths are now far overshadowed by the increase in deaths due to illicit fentanyl, a far more accessible, potent, and lethal opioid. Methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine-related deaths also are rising." </p> <p> There's no question that the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the rising toll of drug overdoses. "The opposite of addiction is connection," says Lucinda Grande, MD, a physician at Pioneer Family Practice in Lacey, citing author Johann Hari. "The pandemic really increased isolation, boredom, and stress." Yet the picture is not entirely bleak. There have been successes. Moreover, the understanding of how to address the epidemic has deepened with time, with a more nuanced understanding of the clinical approaches that will work and a commitment of resources to help those in need of treatment. </p> <h3>Tackling opioid overprescribing</h3> <p> One of the major changes over the past several years has been the success in reducing overprescribing of opioids for acute pain conditions, including dental and hospital-based elective procedures. "Physicians and prescribers didn't appreciate the significant impact their unnecessary prescribing was contributing to a large supply of unused pain medication in our communities," says Dr. Stanos. </p> <p> A typical example was seen with elective surgery. "Patients were commonly prescribed a one-month supply of pills out of convenience for an acute pain condition that normally needed only a few days of therapy at best," says Dr. Stanos. "This led to a significant number of unused pain medications finding their way into the hands of vulnerable individuals, including recreational users and people struggling with addiction." </p> <p> Washington helped set a standard for other states with the Better Prescribing, Better Treatment program, launched in 2017 as part of the state's opioid response plan. The program, a joint effort of the WSMA and the Washington State Hospital Association, has three components: encouraging compliance with a prescribing policy that establishes pill limits for all prescriptions for acute pain, giving physicians discretion to override pill limits if they feel it is in the best interest of their patients, and allowing physicians to compare how their opioid prescribing practices compare to others in their specialty and health system. </p> <p> Pill limits were an attempt to get at what seemed at the time the heart of the opioid problem. "Our goal in going upstream was to cut off the supply to those at risk for addiction," says Nathan Schlicher, MD, JD, an emergency room physician at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Gig Harbor and WSMA's lead on Better Prescribing, Better Treatment. </p> <p> At the same time, providing physicians with clinical flexibility and data on how they compared to their peers were also important. "We recognized that no guideline is applicable to every patient," says Dr. Schlicher. "We said, let us give people feedback on performance compared to how their peers perform. If you are the only one performing with those guidelines compared to your peers, that should give you pause." </p> <p> Overall, the results have been positive. "There have been a lot of improvements in addressing the opioid epidemic within the house of medicine," Dr. Schlicher says. </p> <h3>A changed landscape</h3> <p> As the epidemic has continued, the focus has shifted, bringing with it new challenges. "We handled what was a really bad prescription opioid problem, and now it's evolved into a synthetic street opioid problem," says Jeb Shepard, WSMA's director of policy. </p> <p> Indeed, the bulk of the deaths reported by the CDC were attributable not to prescription opioids but to street drugs, and in particular fentanyl. Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids now account for about two-thirds of all drug overdose deaths. </p> <p> One of the most immediate needs has been to stop overdose deaths. Starting in 2019, anyone in Washington was able to obtain naloxone, a medication which reverses opioid overdoses, simply by walking into a pharmacy. </p> <p> "Unfortunately, the people who need it the most aren't compelled to go to a pharmacy," Shepard says. "Their lives are chaotic and complicated. There's been a lot of success with it but it's not the magic solution everyone had been hoping for." </p> <p> Still, notes Dr. Stanos, naloxone prescriptions by physicians are rising. "Prescribers can do our part by getting more naloxone in our communities and in patients' homes, whether it will be needed by the individual patient, or a friend or family member." Naloxone can easily reverse an overdose and save a life, he says. "Some have likened community goals of increasing naloxone availability to having a fire extinguisher in every house." </p> <h3>Moving forward: More access, more nuance</h3> <p> Not surprisingly given the death toll, the state has focused increasingly on creating more opportunities for access to treatment for substance use disorders. </p> <p> "The Legislature is making a generational investment in treating this problem and a whole other raft of behavioral issues," says Shepard. "If there's ever been a problem where money would help, this is one, because treatment has long been underfunded." </p> <p> At the same time, the original zero-tolerance policy of opioids is giving way to a more nuanced perspective, even among pain specialists. </p> <p> "I went through a phase where I believed that chronic opioid prescriptions were absolutely evil and harmful," says Dr. Grande. "Over time, I realized I was wrong because a lot of people benefit from it, and when you take it away from them it can be an absolute tragedy." Instead, Dr. Grande says, people will take matters into their own hands, seeking illicit opioids or even committing suicide. </p> <p> The CDC issued guidelines on opioid prescribing in 2016 that were frequently interpreted as being proscriptive and rigid. "A lot of people in their haste to respond to the problem took the guidelines as gospel that needed to be adhered to strictly," says Shepard. The result was often harm to patients, who had their opioid treatments discontinued without any alternative. </p> <p> The agency released a new draft guideline in February that is more patient-focused and that provides greater flexibility for physicians and prescribing clinicians. "Controversial and confusing dose thresholds are removed in the draft guideline," says Dr. Stanos. "There is more emphasis on how to integrate non-opioid therapies for pain, and to more safely select and manage patients that may benefit from opioids, better instruction on how to taper patients, more clarity in prescribing short-term for acute and subacute pain, and an overall emphasis on patient-centered care that appreciates the unique complexities of each patient." </p> <p> Both the Trump and Biden administrations have loosened some regulations related to opioid treatments. In particular, it is now easier to prescribe buprenorphine, which is used to treat people with opioid use disorders. </p> <p> "Increased use of buprenorphine is more effective and safer management of chronic pain for patients with or without an addiction," says Dr. Grande. </p> <p> Properly managing chronic pain patients in the first place can help prevent the cycle of addiction and overdose that's exacting such a high toll currently. However, the financial realities don't always currently align with those goals. </p> <p> "Greater improvements in insurance coverage and patient access for non-opioid therapies, like behavioral health, physical therapy, and many interventional therapies, have been slow to come by," says Dr. Stanos. "Even if an 'approved benefit,' reimbursement many times is so low it's an ongoing challenge to incentivize clinics and systems to keep offering services." </p> <p> For many patients, coverage can be nonexistent or limited, with significant out-of-pocket expenses. In Swedish's pain clinic, patients participating in a structured four-hour therapy session that includes individual and group physical and occupational therapy, behavioral health, and patient education, can incur multiple out-of-pocket copay charges in a single day. </p> <p> "If we're going to improve care, payers have to truly incentivize and support comprehensive pain management," says Dr. Stanos. </p> <p> The fact remains that the opioid epidemic is just one part of a larger problem fraying the fabric of society. While drug overdoses have been among the fastest rising death rates among Americans in the past two decades, so too have suicide and alcohol liver disease. </p> <p> A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that more than 99,000 people died in 2020 of alcohol-related causes. Addressing those societal problems and "deaths of despair" go well beyond the range of medicine. </p> <p> But there are things that physicians can do, starting with how they approach their pain patients, says Dr. Grande. </p> <p> "Physicians need to increase their awareness and empathy," she says. "They need to treat them with kindness." </p> <p> <em>John Gallagher is WSMA Reports' senior editor.</em> </p> <p> <em>This article was featured in the May/June 2022 issue of WSMA Reports, WSMA's print newsletter.</em> </p> </div>5/2/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
pre_visit_planning_is_increasing_efficiencyPre-Visit Planning Is Increasing EfficiencyLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2022/pre_visit_planning_is_increasing_efficiency<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/latest-news/2022/may/thrive-cover-image-wsma-may-june-2022-thrive-645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Thrive cover, May/June 2022" /></div> <h5>May 2, 2022</h5> <h2>Pre-Visit Planning Is Increasing Efficiency</h2> <p> "Addressing burnout at the clinic and organization level is the primary way to increase well-being and professional satisfaction for physicians," says Pratima Sharma, MD, executive medical director at EvergreenHealth Primary Care. </p> <p> EvergreenHealth is one of the Washington health care organizations that took part in the American Medical Association's Wellness Practice Transformation Initiative, which tasks participants with implementing and examining the impact of workflow redesign interventions. The initiative is funded by a grant from The Physicians Foundation. </p> <p> After implementing pre-visit planning at the EvergreenHealth Redmond Primary Care Clinic, there was a measurable increase in care team efficiency. In fact, 92.8% of physicians in the intervention group reported that the degree to which "my care team works efficiently together" was "optimal" or "good" compared to their baseline of 77% and compared to the control groups' steady average of 62% pre- and post-survey results. Notably, the proportion of physicians in the intervention group that reported a high degree of care team efficiency was nearly 30% higher than the AMA national benchmark. </p> <p> Physicians in the intervention group also saw an increase in time spent on direct patient care and a decrease in time spent on indirect patient care as compared to the control group. Time spent on indirect patient care in the intervention group was less than that of the AMA national benchmark. </p> <p> The results also showed that burnout was less severe in the intervention group, although the proportion of people experiencing burnout had risen. </p> <p> "What this meant for the physicians is that there was an increased level of engagement, which positively impacted our staff and patient experience," says Besty Hail, executive director of primary care at EvergreenHealth Primary Care Administration. </p> <p> "Participating in the wellness PTI was one of several ways that EvergreenHealth demonstrated its commitment to improving wellness," says Dr. Sharma. The organization sought feedback from its physicians and advanced practice providers through monthly town-hall style meetings as well as their regularly scheduled meetings. "Common themes were the need for increased administrative support for prescription refills and inbox management," Dr. Sharma says. "We are launching new pilots to address these concerns." </p> <p> The WSMA Foundation and the AMA continue to work on several fronts to address the physician burnout crisis, which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. Through research, collaboration, advocacy, and leadership, we are working to center the patient-physician relationship and to make physician burnout a thing of the past. </p> </div>5/2/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_april_29_2022_prior_authorization_plagues_us_allWeekly Rounds: April 29, 2022 - Prior Authorization Plagues Us AllLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_april_29_2022_prior_authorization_plagues_us_all<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-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 29, 2022</h5> <h2>Prior Authorization Plagues Us All</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> If there's one issue that unifies all physicians-regardless of specialty, practice size, or employment status-it is their mutual loathing of prior authorizations. According to a 2021 survey from the American Medical Association, physicians complete an average of 41 prior authorizations per week, an administrative burden that consumes nearly two business days of physician and staff time. The burden has become so acute that 40% of physician survey respondents hired staff to work exclusively on prior authorization requirements. </p> <p> Getting authorized to provide services demands time and attention that would be better spent on patients and their care. After-hours navigation of ever-changing, non-reimbursable criteria only adds to the frustration. Physicians and staff are driven to madness by red tape while patients suffer potentially health-threatening delays in receiving approval for necessary treatment, even if-and that's a big "if"-at the end of a long and often arbitrary process the procedure or prescription is approved. </p> <p> Prior authorization undermines physicians' medical expertise and leads to considerable delays in patient care. According to that same AMA survey, 93% of physicians reported care delays associated with prior authorization, and 82% said these requirements can at least sometimes lead to patients abandoning treatment. Failure to administer medically necessary care can lead to poor health care outcomes. Most startlingly, 34% of AMA survey participants reported that prior authorization led to a serious adverse event, such as hospitalization, disability, and permanent bodily damage or death, for a patient in their care. </p> <p> On a macro level, because physician practices need to hire staff to work exclusively on prior authorizations, and with delays caused by the process sometimes leading to serious adverse events requiring higher levels of care, prior authorizations increase the cost of delivering care for everyone. </p> <p> The WSMA has worked hard to address prior authorization challenges in Washington. You may recall that <a href="https://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=284-43-2050">new rules</a> went into effect in 2018 that were intended to ease the administrative burden you face as you strive to meet the requirements of state-regulated insurers or their third-party administrators when seeking prior authorization of medical services. </p> <p> The rules set specific timelines and communication requirements and are <a href="https://priorauth.wsma.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/WSMA_PA_Navigator-one-pager.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">summarized here</a>. You'll also find guidance on 2015 rules covering prior authorization of prescription drugs. </p> <p> <strong>If you encounter an insurer or third-party administrator out of compliance with Office of the Insurance Commissioner's prior authorization requirements, you can easily file a complaint by utilizing the WSMA's Prior Authorization Navigator's <a href="https://priorauth.wsma.org/file-a-complaint/?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=IInK8">complaint form</a>. We urge you to take advantage of this tool.</strong> </p> <p> At the federal level, Congress is increasingly concerned about the negative impact of prior authorization on patients and physicians within federal health care programs. In fact, just this week a <a href="https://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/OEI-09-18-00260.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">federal report</a> found that some people enrolled in private Medicare Advantage plans were denied necessary care. Helpfully, a bipartisan collection of House and Senate lawmakers have introduced H.R. 3173/S. 3018, the Improving Seniors' Timely Access to Care Act. The bill is sponsored by Washington's CD 1 Rep. Suzan DelBene, with other co-signers from our state including Reps. Schrier (CD 8), Smith (CD 9), Strickland (CD 10), Herrera-Beutler (CD 3), and Larsen (CD 2). </p> <p> The bill reduces unnecessary delays in care by streamlining and standardizing prior authorization under the Medicare Advantage program. Specifically, the bill would: </p> <ul> <li>Require Medicare Advantage plans to implement electronic prior authorization programs that adhere to newly developed federal standards and are capable of seamlessly integrating into electronic health systems (vs. proprietary health plan portals), as well as establish real-time decision-making processes for items and services that are routinely approved.</li> <li>Mandate that plans report to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on the extent of their use of prior authorization and the rate of approvals and denials.</li> <li>Require plans to adopt transparent prior authorization programs that are reviewed annually, adhere to evidence-based guidelines, permit gold carding, and include continuity of care for individuals transitioning between coverage policies to minimize any care disruptions.</li> <li>Hold plans accountable for making timely prior authorization determinations and providing rationales for denial.</li> </ul> <p> While the legislation would only apply to Medicare Advantage plans, it represents a major first step at the federal level toward combatting insurer oversteps. The WSMA continues to meet with our members of Congress urging a vote on the bill this calendar year. </p> <p> While we wait to see what action Congress will take, the WSMA continues to work on the issue in our state. Based on the WSMA's recent advocacy, plans in Washington are required to provide data on their prior authorization practices to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. Data points include those medical/surgical services most frequently requiring authorization, those most frequently approved, and those where authorization is initially denied and then overturned on appeal. Carriers must also report on their average response time for prior authorization requests. This information will help increase transparency and strengthen WSMA's advocacy by improving lawmakers' understanding about the effect prior authorization has on access to care. </p> <p> Even as I write, we are working on our 2023 legislative agenda, and we anticipate our work is far from over on this topic. As we contemplate next steps on this and many other issues in advance of the 2023 legislative session, I hope you'll participate in our upcoming advocacy survey. Your voice-and your membership-matter. </p> </div>4/29/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
covid_19_therapeutics_distribution_locator_siteCOVID-19 Therapeutics Distribution Locator SiteLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/April_22/covid_19_therapeutics_distribution_locator_site<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/april/covid-spike-with-text-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="COVID spike with text" /></div> <h5>April 22, 2022</h5> <h2>COVID-19 Therapeutics Distribution Locator Site</h2> <p>The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has migrated its public therapeutics data to a new website where you can find the agency's therapeutic distribution locator. The locator displays pharmacies and other distributors that have received an order of Evusheld, Paxlovid, Lagevrio (molnupiravir), or bebtelovimab in the last two months or have reported availability of these therapeutics within the last two weeks. The therapeutics locator is intended for physician or clinician use only. Bookmark the <a href="https://covid-19-therapeutics-locator-dhhs.hub.arcgis.com/">COVID-19 Therapeutics Locator</a> for reference for your practice.</p> </div>4/22/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
more_covid_19_financial_relief_coming_for_washington_practicesMore COVID-19 Financial Relief Coming for Washington PracticesLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/April_22/more_covid_19_financial_relief_coming_for_washington_practices<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/april/Exam-Room-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="exam room" /></div> <h5>April 22, 2022</h5> <h2>More COVID-19 Financial Relief Coming for Washington Practices </h2> <p><a href="https://www.hrsa.gov/provider-relief/data/general-distribution/phase-4-general-distribution-payments/apr-2022">Seventy-nine Washington state practices and other eligible entities</a> will receive nearly $28 million as part of April's Provider Relief Fund Phase 4 general distribution payments from the Health Resources and Services Administration. Fund recipients received an email notification on April 13 if their application was among those processed in this latest batch. To date, <a href="https://www.hrsa.gov/provider-relief/data/general-distribution/phase-4-general-distribution-payments/apr-2022">1,669 Washington state practices and other eligible entities</a> have received a total of $311,222,842 through Phase 4 distributions. As previously <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/April_8/hrsa_reopens_provider_relief_fund_reporting_portal_for_period_1.aspx?_zs=A3aFd1&_zl=etoH8">reported</a>, today, Friday, April 22 is the last day to submit a request to file a late report for Reporting Period 1 for those physician practices that missed the original deadline and wish to avoid paying back the federal funds. Learn more at <a href="https://www.hrsa.gov/provider-relief/reporting-auditing/late-reporting-requests">Requesting to Report Late Due to Extenuating Circumstances</a>.</p> </div>4/22/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
new_wsma_psa_urges_patients_to_catch_up_on_delayed_careNew WSMA PSA Urges Patients to Catch Up on Delayed CareLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/April_22/new_wsma_psa_urges_patients_to_catch_up_on_delayed_care<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/april/delayed-care-psa-screenshot-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Delayed Care PSA screenshot" /></div> <h5>April 22, 2022</h5> <h2>New WSMA PSA Urges Patients to Catch Up on Delayed Care</h2> <p>More than two years into the pandemic, the WSMA remains deeply concerned about the impact of delayed routine screenings and procedures on patients and health care. To support our members and to help get your patients back on track, the WSMA has produced a new COVID-19 public service announcement featuring WSMA President Mika Sinanan, MD, PhD, encouraging patients to catch up on their medical care and routine screenings.</p> <p>The PSA has closed captions and can be shared, embedded, and downloaded freely. Links to the video and our socials posts as follows:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://vimeo.com/697744192">Direct URL</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.facebook.com/wsma.org/posts/10159853233717888">On Facebook</a></li> <li><a href="https://twitter.com/WSMA_update/status/1514007956974551045">On Twitter</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6920039708261535744">On LinkedIn</a></li> </ul> <p>Please take a moment to like and share, and feel free to use however might be helpful to spread the message.</p> <p>Find this PSA and all of WSMA's resources on COVID-19 vaccines on <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/COVID-19_Patient_Education/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/COVID-19_Patient_Education/covid_19_patient_education.aspx?hkey=1883b646-8a34-48dc-926d-c9711850a7cd">our website</a>.</p> </div>4/22/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_april_15_2022_take_action_today_to_influence_legislation_tomorrowWeekly Rounds: April 15, 2022 - Take Action Today to Influence Legislation TomorrowLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_april_15_2022_take_action_today_to_influence_legislation_tomorrow<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-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 15, 2022</h5> <h2>Take Action Today to Influence Legislation Tomorrow</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> Even though this year's state legislative session adjourned about a month ago, the WSMA's representation of medicine never ceases! Our work continues now with a focus on elections. With just months until the midterm elections, we already know that at least 18 Washington state lawmakers are calling it quits. Among those departing are many known to medicine, including Rep. Eileen Cody, long-time chair of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee, and Sen. David Frockt, vice chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and the Health and Long Term Care Committee. Coupled with more than 100 state legislative seats that will be on the ballot in November, there's a lot at stake for WSMA's legislative advocacy in this year's election. </p> <p> Over the next several months, through <a href="[@]WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/WAMPAC.aspx?hkey=269c3c03-cf72-4568-be5b-7893557300a7&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=7VeI8">WAMPAC</a>, WSMA's non-partisan campaign arm, we will be working to identify and develop the next generation of champions for the physician community. I hope you'll get involved in any of the following ways. </p> <h3>Money talks when it comes to legislative influence</h3> <p> To have a significant influence in electing candidates that support medicine, we need your help. Your contributions, both individually and from your medical groups, will help us elect candidates that support our agenda in the 2023 session and beyond. Legislative races are expensive. To be blunt, we need more resources to maximize our influence. </p> <p> WAMPAC's board of directors will be meeting with legislative leaders and candidates over the campaign season and making determinations on who to support financially. Please consider <a href="[@]WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/Give_to_WAMPAC/WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/Give_to_WAMPAC.aspx?hkey=665ce949-b574-4ec7-8e5a-7a796233e5d7&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=9VeI8">making a contribution to WAMPAC online</a> or by mailing a check to our Seattle office (WAMPAC, 2001 6th Ave., Suite 2700, Seattle, WA 98121) to help ensure that we are able to support candidates who will be supporting the house of medicine next session. Again, contributions from both individuals and medical groups are sincerely appreciated and there is no limit on how much a person or eligible business can contribute to WAMPAC. </p> <h3>Engagement influences candidate support</h3> <p> Besides financial contributions, we could use your professional participation, as well. If you want to help WAMPAC determine the best candidates to support this election cycle, consider applying to serve on the WAMPAC board. WAMPAC's board of directors is made up of physicians from across the state, each representing one of the state's 10 congressional districts, in addition to two at-large positions where participation of a resident and a medical student are prioritized. The board works to identify and support political candidates who share the house of medicine's policy priorities, build physicians' interest in campaigns, and help steer WSMA's political engagement. </p> <p> There are currently two vacancies on the board. The first is in the state's <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/13yvxkC4SDKup4l1qQjMBXMAIFi58QBno/view">8th Congressional District</a>, which is represented by Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Issaquah) and runs along I-90 from Issaquah to Ellensburg and up to Wenatchee. The second is in the <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1C0KK8rhdN2fk6yIvXWaswJjtbEuRlDoq/view">9th Congressional District</a>, represented by Rep. Adam Smith (D-Bellevue) and comprised of South Seattle and Bellevue, down through Kent and Federal Way and into Tacoma. </p> <p> The WAMPAC board meets roughly quarterly, with two meetings typically occurring in conjunction with regular WSMA events (the Annual Meeting of the House of Delegates and the Leadership Development Conference) and other meetings held via Zoom. The time commitment is less than an hour per month, and board members have opportunities to connect with elected officials, learn about the political landscape, and influence health care policy. </p> <p> For more information, contact Sean Graham, WSMA's director of government affairs, at <a href="mailto:sean@wsma.org">sean@wsma.org</a>. </p> <h3>Opinions shape WSMA's legislative priorities</h3> <p> While WAMPAC will be focusing on political races in the coming months, your WSMA leadership is already formulating our legislative agenda for the 2023 session that will begin next January. Priorities will include advocating for across-the-board Medicaid rate increases to apply to all specialties, opportunities to cut administrative burden by pushing back against prior authorization and other requirements, and fighting inappropriate scope of practice expansions from other health professions. </p> <p> We want to hear from you, as well. Soon, we will be surveying members to hear from you about the issues we should be engaged in. This feedback will be shared with WSMA leadership as we work to fine tune our 2023 legislative agenda. </p> <p> Your involvement in this work really does matter. As the largest physician professional organization in the state, we speak up for the house of medicine. Having your support and hearing from you ensures that we put our clout and influence where it matters most. </p> </div>4/15/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
invest_in_your_team_at_the_pacific_northwest_medical_management_conferenceInvest in Your Team at the Pacific Northwest Medical Management ConferenceLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/April_8/invest_in_your_team_at_the_pacific_northwest_medical_management_conference<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/april/PNW_fb_header5_22-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>April 8, 2022</h5> <h2>Invest in Your Team at the Pacific Northwest Medical Management Conference </h2> <p>Support your leadership team and have them join health care leaders at the <a href="https://www.pnwmgmaconf.com/site_home.cfm">Pacific Northwest Medical Management Conference</a>, May 17-19 at the Holiday Inn Columbia Riverfront in Portland.</p> <p>The Pacific Northwest Medical Management Conference is one of the largest educational and networking conferences for medical practice leaders on the West Coast with a rich history of bringing together health care executives from across the Pacific Northwest for the last 16 years.</p> <p>The conference features a combination of nationally renowned speakers, highly rated breakout sessions with experts in their field, and practical take-home tools that makes this conference a can’t-miss educational opportunity.</p> <p>The 2022 conference is back to an in-person format with an anticipated 200+ attendees from across the Pacific Northwest, along with exhibitors showcasing innovative products and solutions. The conference is a great place to expand both your professional skill set and network.</p> <p>Whether new to medical practice management or a seasoned veteran, expect to walk away from the Pacific Northwest Medical Management Conference with timely education and take-aways you can implement immediately in your practice. This interactive conference will provide you with valuable knowledge, tools to improve your core competencies and professional skills, and help you to improve your organization's performance. <a href="https://www.pnwmgmaconf.com/site_home.cfm">Register for the conference online</a>.</p> <p>Pacific Northwest Medical Management Conference live sessions meet the requirements for continuing education credit hours from the American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE). CE hours earned at this conference are good towards certification requirements. 9,25 CE hours are available.</p> </div>4/8/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
partial_medicare_sequester_reprieve_endsPartial Medicare Sequester Reprieve EndsLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/April_8/partial_medicare_sequester_reprieve_ends<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/april/Medicare_barcode_645px.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>April 8, 2022</h5> <h2>Partial Medicare Sequester Reprieve Ends</h2> <p>At the end of 2021, Congress passed <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/610?q=%7B%22search%22%3A[%22s.610%22%2C%22s.610%22]%7D&s=2&r=1">legislation</a> extending a temporary halt of the Medicare sequester. The moratorium was part of the relief package for physicians, health care professionals, and facilities due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The moratorium was scheduled to end on Dec. 31, 2021. The law extended full sequestration relief until March 31, 2022. Last week, on April 1, physicians received only partial relief from Medicare sequestration as a 1% Medicare sequester went into effect for the next three months. Then on July 1, there will be a return of the full 2% Medicare sequester.</p> <p>The American Medical Association and other stakeholders sent a <a href="https://searchlf.ama-assn.org/letter/documentDownload?uri=%2Funstructured%2Fbinary%2Fletter%2FLETTERS%2F2022-2-28-Signed-On-Letter-re-Sequester-Moratorium-Coalition-6227.pdf">letter</a> to Congress asking that sequestration relief be extended through the end of the public health emergency. However, there is little support for a broad proposal on Capitol Hill. The phased-in return of sequestration is a signal of congressional intent that relief in the form of moratoriums will no longer be forthcoming.</p> <p>As we’ve reported, WSMA leaders continue conversations with our congressional delegation regarding Medicare sustainability - see <a href="https://wsma.org/Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/March_25/wsma_leadership_meets_with_washington_states_congressional_delegation.aspx?_zs=A3aFd1&_zl=tJEG8">here</a> and <a href="https://wsma.org/Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/March_11/medicare_telehealth_flexibilities_to_be_extended_wsma_seeks_permanent_fix.aspx?_zs=A3aFd1&_zl=1KgE8">here</a> for a look at federal legislation we are advocating in support of. See this AMA issue brief on <a href="https://www.ama-assn.org/system/files/2022-nac-action-kit-payment-reform.pdf">Medicare physician payment reform</a> for more. </p> </div>4/8/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
wsma_provides_additional_feedback_on_health_equity_cme_rulemakingWSMA Provides Additional Feedback on Health Equity CME RulemakingLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/April_8/wsma_provides_additional_feedback_on_health_equity_cme_rulemaking<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/april/Stock.image_2018.hands%20in%20a%20circle-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>April 8, 2022</h5> <h2>WSMA Provides Additional Feedback on Health Equity CME Rulemaking</h2> <p>As a reminder, the Washington State Department of Health began rulemaking as a result of the passage of <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5229&Initiative=false&Year=2021">Senate Bill 5229</a>, concerning health equity CME, during the 2021 legislative session. Rulemaking is initiated to establish minimum standards for health equity continuing education for physicians and health care professionals. The DOH must adopt rules requiring a licensee to complete health equity CE training at least once every four years.</p> <p>The WSMA submitted <a href="javascript://[Uploaded files/News and Publications/Newsletters/2022/WSMA comment health equity CE rule 4.1.22.pdf]">a second comment letter</a> requesting that DOH’s third stakeholder draft include language for professions regulated by boards and commissions in the purpose statement and that definitions of “board and commission profession” and “secretary profession” are accurately written to reflect their meaning. Due to these outstanding issues, the WSMA requested an additional stakeholder draft to be released before the rulemaking advances to a 102 and as such, DOH plans to release a fourth stakeholder draft, following the recent rules workshop held on April 4, 2022. </p> <p>We will keep you apprised of new information as this rulemaking continues to develop. </p> </div>4/8/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_march_30_2022_a_doctors_day_thank_youWeekly Rounds: March 30, 2022 - A Doctors' Day Thank YouLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_march_30_2022_a_doctors_day_thank_you<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/doctors-day-2022-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="National Doctors' Day logo" /></div> <h5>March 30, 2022</h5> <h2>A Doctors' Day Thank You</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> In honor of National Doctors' Day, I wanted to take a moment to say thank you for standing on the front lines of care in our communities. </p> <p> As I reflect on these past two pandemic years, I am in awe of each and every one of you. You are the caregivers in your communities. You show up-time and again-to bring health and healing to your patients. You lead the way with science and heart. And because you care, you make a difference. </p> <p> I'm so grateful that here at the WSMA everything we do drives toward supporting and advocating for you. As the world universally navigated an unimaginable pandemic, along with our families and loved ones, we have experienced your care. Because of your dedication and leadership, we have endured. </p> <p> It's my privilege to do this work on your behalf. By standing together, we're making Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care. </p> <p> When the hours are long and you grow weary, I hope you will remember that we are grateful. </p> <p> Thank you for all you do. </p> </div>3/30/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
conflict_in_ukraine_creates_urgent_humanitarian_crisisConflict in Ukraine Creates Urgent Humanitarian CrisisLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/March_25/conflict_in_ukraine_creates_urgent_humanitarian_crisis<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/march/ukrainian-flag-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Ukrainian flag" /></div> <h5>March 25, 2022</h5> <h2>Conflict in Ukraine Creates Urgent Humanitarian Crisis</h2> <p>As violence escalates and spreads across Ukraine, a dire humanitarian situation has emerged as health services are disrupted or destroyed. Vulnerable families and children are caught in the crossfire of war, needing access to medical services and supplies. Lifesaving help is desperately needed. If you're considering making a donation to aid people fleeing the war in Ukraine, here are some medically focused relief organizations to consider. </p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.icrc.org/en/where-we-work/europe-central-asia/ukraine">International Committee of the Red Cross</a></li> <li><a href="https://give.internationalmedicalcorps.org/page/99837/donate/1?ea.tracking.id=DP~UA22~DPLBU2202&_ga=2.15179254.1724181279.1647894967-889613456.1647894967">International Medical Corps</a></li> <li><a href="https://medglobal.org/">MedGlobal</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.hearttoheart.org/ukraine-crisis/">Heart to Heart International</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.medicalteams.org/country/ukraine/">Medical Teams International</a></li> <li><a href="https://projectcure.org/">Project C.U.R.E.</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.projecthope.org/crisis-in-ukraine-how-to-help/03/2022/">Project HOPE</a></li> <li><a href="https://donate.doctorswithoutborders.org/secure/monthly?ms=ADD2202U2U75&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=BRAND.DWB_CKMSF-BRAND.DWB-GS-GS-ALL-Ukraine.All-BO-ALL-RSA-DWB.U2-MONTHLY&gclid=CjwKCAjwxOCRBhA8EiwA0X8hi6Ee586TB1nYCMis07Qv7TlMODCAqS2yk2CTiDjqaJ6dcousAfhQyxoC_z0QAvD_BwE">Doctors Without Borders</a></li> </ul> <p>Visit <a href="https://www.cidi.org/disaster-responses/war-in-ukraine/">USAID</a> for a list of other recommended organizations accepting donations.</p> </div>3/25/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
federal_covid_19_uninsured_program_funding_endingFederal COVID-19 Uninsured Program Funding EndingLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/March_25/federal_covid_19_uninsured_program_funding_ending<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/march/covid-spike-with-text-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Covid spike with Covid-19 text" /></div> <h5>March 25, 2022</h5> <h2>Federal COVID-19 Uninsured Program Funding Ending</h2> <p>Due to lack of sufficient funds, the <a href="https://coviduninsuredclaim.linkhealth.com/coverage-details.html">Health Resources and Services Administration COVID-19 Uninsured Program</a> - which provided reimbursement directly to physicians and health care professionals for COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccinations of uninsured individuals during the pandemic - is ending.</p> <p>The program will continue to accept claims for vaccine administration until 8:59 p.m. PT on April 5. The program will no longer accept testing or treatment claims as of March 22 at 8:59 p.m. PT. Claims submitted by the deadline for each category of service will be adjudicated and paid subject to their eligibility and the availability of funds. Anyone without health insurance at the time services are rendered, no matter their immigration status, is considered uninsured.</p> <h3>Options for COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccinations for uninsured individuals</h3> <p>Individuals should apply for health care coverage through <a href="https://wahealthplanfinder.org/">Washington Healthplanfinder</a> to see if they qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Apple Health. Additionally, the Alien Emergency Medical program may cover COVID-19 testing and treatment. See the <a href="https://www.hca.wa.gov/assets/free-or-low-cost/aem-covid-19.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">AEM testing and treatment for COVID-19 fact sheet</a> to learn more.</p> </div>3/25/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
nominations_for_wsma_leadership_deadline_april_29Nominations for WSMA Leadership: Deadline April 29Latest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2022/nominations_for_wsma_leadership_deadline_april_29<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/latest-news/2022/march/am-2019-10-026-medium-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="WSMA Annual Meeting House of Delegates" /></div> <h5>March 25, 2022</h5> <h2>Nominations for WSMA Leadership: Deadline April 29</h2> <p> </p> <p> The WSMA is accepting nominations for a variety of positions on the board of trustees. Don’t miss this opportunity to get involved and help ensure Washington continues to be the best place to practice medicine and receive care. </p> <p> If you or someone you know is interested in serving, please submit a <a href="javascript://[Uploaded files/About/Leadership/nomination-form-2022.pdf]">nomination form</a>, <a href="javascript://[Uploaded files/About/Leadership/conflict-of-interest-2022.pdf]">conflict of interest disclosure statement</a>, and <a href="javascript://[Uploaded files/About/Leadership/candidate-info-sheet-2022-update.pdf]">candidate information sheet</a> along with a curriculum vitae to Shannon Bozarth at <a href="mailto:slb@wsma.org">slb@wsma.org</a> no later than Friday, April 29. Please see the following for reference: <a href="javascript://[Uploaded files/About/Leadership/qualifications-2022.pdf]">qualifications</a> and <a href="javascript://[Uploaded files/About/Leadership/board-roster-2022.pdf]">2021-22 WSMA board of trustees roster</a>.</p> <p> The WSMA nominating committee will meet in late May to prepare a slate of nominees for presentation to the House of Delegates at the <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx">WSMA Annual Meeting</a>, Oct. 1-2 at the Historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane. Additional nominations may be made from the floor of the House during the meeting. All nominees must submit a CV, conflict of interest disclosure statement, and candidate information sheet to the WSMA in advance of the election. </p> </div>3/25/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
 
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