Skip to main content
Top of the Page
WSMA- and state-focused news and information for the physician community.

Latest News

TaggedListQuery

NameAlternateNameTagNameLocationblobPublication DateImportant Until Date
Session_Update__Balance_billing__telemedicine_and_moreSession Update: Balance Billing, Telemedicine and MoreLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/March/Session_Update__Balance_billing__telemedicine_and_more<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/Advocacy/Leg-Session-Updates-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>March 18, 2019</h5> <h2>Session Update: Balance Billing, Telemedicine and More</h2> <p> A brief rundown of priority health care bills heard in committees during week nine (March 11-15) of the state legislative session. </p> <h3>Week nine (March 11-15) highlights</h3> <p> (HB = House bill; SB = Senate bill) </p> <p><strong>Balance billing</strong> - <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1065&Year=2019&Initiative=false">2SHB 1065</a> passed out of the House last week. On Friday, March 15 the bill was heard by the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee. WSMA’s Director of Legislative & Political Affairs, Sean Graham, testified to the WSMA’s concerns with the legislation. While this legislation is closer to what the WSMA hopes to see from legislation on this topic, we still have concerns with components of the legislation in its current form.</p> <p><strong>Children’s mental health</strong> – <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5903&Initiative=false&Year=2019">2SSB 5903</a>, supported by the WSMA, passed the Senate with a vote of 47 to 0 with two excused. This legislation requires educational service districts to coordinate behavioral health services and trainings in school districts in their regions. It expands the Partnership Access Line (PALs) to include consultation in schools, establishes certificate programs in evidence-based practices for children and adolescents at the University of Washington, and expands psychiatric residencies in Eastern and Western Washington for residents specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry. </p> <p><strong>Parent initiated treatment</strong> – <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1874&Initiative=false&Year=2019">E2SHB 1874</a>, supported by the WSMA, passed the House with a vote 89 to 8 with one excused. This bill seeks to expand eligible behavioral health providers to include providers from a licensed mental health agency under the direction of a licensed mental health professional, as well as adding professionals who are in training and working under supervision. It would also permit parents of adolescents to request outpatient substance use disorder treatment for the adolescent without consent for a period of up to 12 treatments or three months. It permits the health care professional to provide information about the treatment to the adolescent’s parents without their consent.</p> <p><strong>Qui tam</strong> – Opposed by the WSMA, <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1965&Initiative=false&Year=2019">2SHB 1965</a> did not pass the house of origin policy committee cutoff on March 13. This legislation would have allowed individuals to seek qui tam (private right of action) on behalf of the state if employers violate several statutes pertaining to workplace law, including but not limited to health care facility employee overtime, safety in health care settings, and health care whistleblower retaliation protection. </p> <p><strong>Telemedicine in schools</strong> – <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5389&Initiative=false&Year=2019">SSB 5389</a> passed the Senate with a vote of 45 to 2 with two excused. This legislation requires the University of Washington to develop a training curriculum and delivery system to train middle through high school staff to identify students who are at risk for substance abuse, violence, or youth suicide. It requires schools to train all employees using the curriculum within existing resources and establishes provisions for students to be screened by counselors, and upon consent, to participate in two sessions of psychiatry delivered via telemedicine. The WSMA has concerns with this legislation.</p> <p><strong>Telemedicine payment parity</strong> – <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5385&Initiative=false&Year=2019">SSB 5385</a>, supported by the WSMA, passed the Senate with a vote of 46 to 2 with one excused. This legislation requires payment for services delivered via telemedicine to be on par with the rate paid for in-person visits. It adds an exception for groups of 11 or more providers, which may choose to contract with carriers for telemedicine services at lower rates. Payment parity requirements do not pertain to telemedicine delivered via store and forward. </p> <p>Several additional telemedicine bills have passed the Senate:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Training standards in providing telemedicine services</strong> – <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5386&Initiative=false&Year=2019">SSB 5386</a> passed the Senate with a unanimous vote. The WSMA supports this legislation as it was amended.</li> <li><strong>Physician credentialing in telemedicine services</strong> – <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5387&Initiative=false&Year=2019">SB 5387</a> passed the Senate with a unanimous vote. The WSMA supports this legislation.</li> </ul> <h3>Looking forward</h3> <p>High priority items on the schedule for the week of March 18-22.</p> <p><strong>Workplace violence,</strong> <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1931&Initiative=false&Year=2019">SHB 1931</a> – This bill passed out of the House and is scheduled for a public hearing in Senate Labor & Commerce Committee on March 21. The WSMA is neutral on this legislation.</p> <p><strong>Medical debt collection</strong>, <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1531&Year=2019&Initiative=false">SHB 1531</a> – This bill passed out of the House and is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Law & Justice Committee on March 21. The WSMA is neutral on this legislation.</p> <p><strong>Mergers and acquisitions,</strong> <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1607&Initiative=false&Year=2019">SHB 1607</a> –This bill passed out of the House and is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Law & Justice Committee on March 21. The WSMA is neutral on this legislation.</p> <p><strong>Whistleblower protections,</strong> <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1049&Initiative=false&Year=2019">SHB 1049</a> – This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee on March 22. The WSMA supports this legislation.</p> <p><strong>Sexual misconduct,</strong> <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1198&Initiative=false&Year=2019">SHB 1198</a> – This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee on March 22. The WSMA has concerns with this legislation.</p> <p>If you have a question on a bill you haven't seen covered, contact Hailey Hamilton at <a href="mailto:hailey@wsma.org">hailey@wsma.org</a>.</p> </div>3/24/2019 12:45:47 PM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
Watch_This__WSMA_Legislative_Update_with_Katie_KolanWatch This: WSMA Legislative Update with Katie KolanLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Advocacy_Report/2019/Watch_This__WSMA_Legislative_Update_with_Katie_Kolan<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right"><a href="https://vimeo.com/325104498"><img alt="" src="/images/News/KK-March11-15-LegUpdate-Play_645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" /></a></div> <h5>March 18, 2019 </h5> <h2>Watch This: WSMA Legislative Update with Katie Kolan</h2> <p> </p> <p>In this week's legislative update video, WSMA Director of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Katie Kolan covers what we're looking for in upcoming House and Senate budget proposals, and when we expect those budgets to be released. Plus, some good news related to the Senate's public option bill and what's coming up this week in Olympia. Check out this week's video <a href="https://vimeo.com/325104498">here</a> and find archived videos <a href="https://vimeo.com/album/5835487">here</a>.</p> <p> </p> </div>3/19/2019 8:51:17 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
Weekly_Rounds__Mar._18__2019_-_A_Public_Option_that_Works_for_Patients_and_PhysiciansWeekly Rounds: Mar. 18, 2019 - A Public Option that Works for Patients and PhysiciansLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2019/Weekly_Rounds__Mar._18__2019_-_A_Public_Option_that_Works_for_Patients_and_Physicians<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_Image_645x425.jpg" /></div> <h5>March 18, 2019</h5> <h2>A Public Option that Works for Patients and Physicians </h2> <p> Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO </p> <p>As we head into week 10 of our 15-week legislative session, I can't help but reflect on the incredible work of our team in Olympia. We often say to our members that while they go about their daily business of saving lives, our team is on the frontlines of protecting their interests so they can continue to do just that…save lives.</p> <p>Already in this session, the team in Olympia has rigorously reviewed around 2,000 bills. Thus far, they’ve identified nearly 300 that could impact the profession—for better or for worse. They have aggressively monitored, testified, reported out, and lobbied for or against as guided by WSMA policy and leadership.</p> <p>Your team on the ground has been working around the clock to influence state policies that benefit not only our profession and the groups you practice in, but also your patients.</p> <p>It’s a challenging job. I’m sure you can appreciate how difficult it is to navigate complex issues while advocating on topics where a broad range of stakeholders have opposing concerns.</p> <p>We know that physicians are looking for market stability, predictability, and access to care. That’s why we soldier on in this work, defending them and the profession for the health and well-being of all Washingtonians.</p> <p>A case in point is the issue of a public option plan.</p> <p><a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1523&Year=2019&Initiative=false">House Bill 1523</a> would create a public option insurance plan procured by the Health Care Authority and offered to the public on the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. The plan’s benefit design would be standardized to decrease cost-sharing requirements for enrollees, with reimbursement capped at Medicare rates. The WSMA has been vocal in our opposition to setting rates in statute, particularly at the Medicare level.</p> <p>Thankfully, on the Senate side, legislators listened and responded to our concerns. Last week the Senate voted to approve an amended version of its public option plan, <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5526&Initiative=false&Year=2019">Senate Bill 5526</a>, with a bipartisan vote of 36-13. Importantly, the bill was amended to remove the rate-setting component, so physicians will have the opportunity to negotiate with carriers on their terms of participation in the plan.</p> <p>The amended bill maintains the standard plan design components that are intended to limit patient cost-sharing. Also, in lieu of a reimbursement rate cap addressing premium costs, it substitutes an active purchaser structure that will enable the Health Care Authority to negotiate with carriers on appropriate premium rates for the plans. Carriers would then, in turn, negotiate with physicians and facilities to build provider networks.</p> <p>In other areas, SB 5526 was amended to mirror the changes that were recently made to its House companion, HB 1523. Most notable for our purposes, it includes a requirement that utilization review processes employed in the plan meet national accreditation standards, align with HCA-published criteria, and focus on care that has high variation, high cost, or low evidence of clinical effectiveness.</p> <p>Last week the WSMA executive committee voted to support SB 5526 in its current form as a means to expand access to affordable coverage for our state’s uninsured, while not crippling the viability of a medical practice.</p> <p>As the bill continues its journey in the Legislature, the WSMA will hold fast in our opposition to any rate setting in this public option plan—a position reaffirmed by the executive committee at its March meeting.</p> <p>The WSMA is working in partnership on this issue with the Washington State Hospital Association. But you may not know that <strong>the WSMA is the only physician/provider organization participating in behind-the-scenes negotiations on this issue in Olympia</strong>. And that is exactly the intersection where your support of the WSMA really matters and enables us to do this work on behalf of all physicians and patients.</p> <p>As always, we are grateful for your support of the WSMA and count it a privilege to represent the physician voice. Together, our efforts are helping ensure that Washington is, indeed, the best place to practice medicine and receive care.</p> </div>3/18/2019 9:23:48 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
reducing_burnout_focus_of_2019_leadership_development_conferenceReducing Burnout Focus of 2019 Leadership Development ConferenceLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20190313/reducing_burnout_focus_of_2019_leadership_development_conference<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/News/LDC-2019-Social-Graphic-645px.jpg" class="pull-right" /> </div> <h5> March 13, 2019 </h5> <h2>Reducing Burnout Focus of 2019 Leadership Development Conference</h2> <p> <a href="https://wsma.org/Shared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/March/dont_miss_latest_issue_of_wsma_reports_on_burnout_and_new_survey_findings">Data from a recent WSMA Foundation survey on burnout</a> are painting a picture familiar to most physicians - a house of medicine united in purpose but straining under the weight of professional burnout. The picture is clear, and the WSMA is acting. In our newest issue of <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/News_Publications/Latest_News/WSMA_Reports/WSMA/News_Publications/Newsletters/WSMA_Reports.aspx?hkey=b19e8949-47e1-4478-be31-53621de96ecc">WSMA Reports</a>, we're telling your story - the stories of physicians throughout Washington who have experienced burnout - and at this year's <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/Events/Leadership_Development_Conference/WSMA/Events/LDC/leadership_development_conference.aspx?hkey=c7532c38-057a-4568-8a3c-078182469222">Leadership Development Conference</a>, May 17-18 at Campbell's Resort on Lake Chelan, we'll explore the changes needed at the organizational and leadership levels to create healthier, more fulfilled physicians. </p> <p> The conference features a stellar lineup of participants to help guide and inspire attendees, including: </p> <ul> <li>Social psychologist <strong>Ron Friedman, PhD</strong>, author of the best-selling book "The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace." </li> <li>Pediatrician and Gundersen Health System CEO Emeritus <strong>Jeff Thompson, MD</strong>, author of his inspiring book "Lead True: Live Your Values, Build Your People." </li> <li>Author, speaker, consultant and coach <strong>Valerie Black, MBA</strong>, co-founder of Vera Whole Health, a national on-site clinic provider, and winner in 2014 of the Puget Sound Business Journal's Woman of Influence Award for her impact on the health care industry. </li> </ul> <p> For a full lineup of faculty and agenda, <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/Events/Leadership_Development_Conference/WSMA/Events/LDC/leadership_development_conference.aspx?hkey=c7532c38-057a-4568-8a3c-078182469222">visit the event webpage</a>. </p> <p> All physicians, by nature, are leaders—whether of an organization, a care team, or an episode of care—and all physicians can benefit from the singular focus of this year's conference, as we seek to harness physicians' natural disposition (expertise, experience, knowledge, and vision) to put interventions in place to reduce burnout and increase professional satisfaction. <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/Events/Leadership_Development_Conference/WSMA/Events/LDC/leadership_development_conference.aspx?hkey=c7532c38-057a-4568-8a3c-078182469222"> </a>. This activity has been approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™</em>. And don't forget to book your accommodations at Campbell's Resort on Lake Chelan soon—the deadline to receive the WSMA room discount is Tuesday, April 16. </p> </div>3/13/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
session_update_wsma_priority_bills_passing_out_of_houses_of_originSession Update: WSMA Priority Bills Passing Out of Houses of OriginLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20190313/session_update_wsma_priority_bills_passing_out_of_houses_of_origin<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/Advocacy/Leg-Session-Updates-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /> </div> <h5> March 13, 2019 </h5> <h2>Session Update: WSMA Priority Bills Passing Out of Houses of Origin</h2> <p> The state legislative session has passed the halfway mark, with its scheduled end, April 28, now on the horizon. Lawmakers in Olympia this week and last have been busy with "floor action," the process of debating and voting on bills, in anticipation of today's deadline for bills to be voted out of their house of origin. The following is a look at those priority bills that have passed out of their respective chambers in recent days. </p> <h3>Week eight (March 4-8) highlights</h3> <p> (HB = House bill; SB = Senate bill) </p> <p> <strong>Whistleblower protections</strong> – WSMA priority legislation HB 1049 passed out of the House with a unanimous vote. The legislation would provide protections for employed and non-employed physician whistleblowers. <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20190313/wsma_whistleblower_bill_passes_unanimously_out_of_house.aspx">Learn more about this bill</a> . </p> <p> <strong>Balance billing</strong> – <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1065&Initiative=false&Year=2019">HB 1065</a> passed out of the House with a vote of 84 to 13 with one excused. HB 1065 would prohibit balance billing in certain circumstances and set up a framework for physicians and insurance carriers to voluntarily come to agreement either on an acceptable rate of payment or a broader contract. While this bill is closer to what the WSMA hoped to see from legislation on this topic, we still have concerns with components of the legislation in its current form (see this recent <a href="http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2019/mar/10/washington-legislature-moves-to-address-surprise-b/">Spokesman-Review report</a> for details). </p> <p> <strong>Vaccines</strong> – <a href="https://wsma.sharepoint.com/Shared Documents/Outreach and Advocacy/2019 OA Reports/OA Report for 02-15-2019.docx">HB 1638</a> passed out of the House with a vote of 57 to 40 with one excused. HB 1638 would remove the personal/philosophical exemption for children for the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. The WSMA is strongly supporting this bill and SB 5841, which would remove the personal and philosophical exemption more broadly for all childhood vaccines, most recently penning an editorial on the issue co-authored by WSMA President Tom Schaaf, MD, Immediate Past President Donna Smith, MD, and WSMA board member Gary Goldbaum, MD, and published in the <a href="http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2019/mar/10/wsma-supports-stronger-immunization-policies/">Spokesman Review</a> and the <a href="https://www.kitsapsun.com/story/opinion/columnists/2019/03/11/your-turn-support-bills-strengthen-immunization-policy/3131177002/">Kitsap Sun</a>. At the time of this writing, <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5841&Initiative=false&Year=2019">SB 5841</a> currently awaits a vote in the Senate. </p> <p> <strong>Undetectable and untraceable firearms</strong> – <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1739&Initiative=false&Year=2019">HB 1739</a> passed out of the House with a vote of 57-39 with two excused. HB 1739 would make it illegal to manufacture, own, buy, sell, loan, furnish, transport, or have in possession undetectable and untraceable (3D-printed) firearms. This bill is similar, but not identical, to <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5061&Chamber=Senate&Year=2019">SB 5061</a>, which would prohibit the manufacture, sale, or possession of untraceable or 3D-printed firearms. SB 5061 currently awaits a vote to pass out of the Senate. The WSMA supports both bills. </p> <p> <strong>Public option (aka Cascade Care)</strong> – <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1523&Initiative=false&Year=2019">HB 1523</a> passed out of the House with a vote of 57 to 41. HB 1523 would create a public option insurance plan procured by the Health Care Authority and offered to the public on the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. Reimbursement for the plan is capped at Medicare rates. Plan benefit design would be standardized to decrease cost-sharing requirements for enrollees. The WSMA shares the goal of finding a solution to universal coverage, but has serious concerns with this proposal, particularly with the rate-setting component. We are currently surveying members to gauge the proposal's potential impact on medical practice (if you haven't yet taken the survey, <a href="https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JZ5FZ3D">please do so today</a>). </p> <p> <strong>Drug price transparency</strong> – <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5292&Initiative=false&Year=2019">SB 5292</a> passed out of the Senate unanimously. SB 5292 would require issuers and drug manufacturers to report certain prescription drug pricing data to the Health Care Authority and would require a summary of the prescription drug pricing data be provided with reports to the Legislature and the HCA. The WSMA supports this legislation. </p> <p> <strong>Opioid use disorder treatment</strong> – <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5380&Initiative=false&Year=2019">SB 5380</a> passed out of the Senate with a vote of 47 to 0 with one absent and one excused. SB 5380 would make changes to treatment and access to care for opioid use disorder treatment. There are laudable components to this bill, but it also includes a mandate on groups of 10 or more providers to integrate the state's prescription drug monitoring program into EHRs. The WSMA supports this bill in its current form and will seek additional amendments to address several smaller issues in the opposite chamber. </p> <p> <strong>Health care licensure fee setting</strong> – <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1753&Initiative=false&Year=2019">HB 1753</a> would align all fee-setting related to rulemaking for health care professionals with all other rulemaking requirement timelines. This bill passed the House unanimously. The WSMA supports this legislation. </p> <h3>What's next?</h3> <p> Each bill that passes out of its house of origin by the March 13 deadline will then move to its respective opposing chamber for hearings. For a more comprehensive look at bills being tracked by the WSMA that survived today's cutoff (and some that didn't), check the online-only <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/News_Publications/Latest_News/Advocacy_Report/WSMA/News_Publications/Newsletters/WSMA_Advocacy_Report.aspx?hkey=fbce906b-dbfb-4af3-8790-11f84275cf1e">WSMA Advocacy Report</a> next week and keep an eye on future WSMA communications. </p> <h3>Budget proposals coming soon</h3> <p> Physician priorities that are tied to the budget, such as the potential increase in the business and occupation (B&O) tax on physician services and proposals related to the integration of mental and physical health (including an increase in Medicaid primary care reimbursement), are still very much alive. Legislative budget proposals are expected to be introduced by late March. </p> <p> If you have a question on a bill you haven't seen covered, contact Hailey Hamilton at <a href="mailto:hailey@wsma.org">hailey@wsma.org</a>. </p> </div>3/13/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
trump_administration_moves_forward_with_rule_restricting_title_x_programTrump Administration Moves Forward with Rule Restricting Title X ProgramLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20190313/trump_administration_moves_forward_with_rule_restricting_title_x_program<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/Concepts/birth_control_pills_645px.jpg" class="pull-right" /> </div> <h5> March 13, 2019 </h5> <h2>Trump Administration Moves Forward with Rule Restricting Title X Program</h2> <p> The Trump administration has announced a final rule which would seriously limit both access to Title X federal funding and physicians' ability to discuss reproductive health with their patients. </p> <p> The <a href="https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/03/04/2019-03461/compliance-with-statutory-program-integrity-requirements">final rule</a>, announced by the Department of Health and Human Services in February, would eliminate federal funding under the Title X program for facilities such as Planned Parenthood that offer abortion services or abortion referrals. While groups receiving Title X funds have for years been prevented from performing abortions using federal dollars, the new rule would go much further by eliminating funding for family planning and related preventive health services, such as birth control, screenings for cancer and sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy tests, and other reproductive services. </p> <p> Both the American Medical Association and the Washington State Attorney General's Office have filed separate lawsuits to block the rule. In a press release, AG Bob Ferguson pointed to the rule's <a href="http://www.atg.wa.gov/news/news-releases/ag-ferguson-files-lawsuit-yakima-over-trump-s-family-planning-gag-rule">disproportionate impact on women in Washington's rural communities</a> as among the potentially devastating consequences. AMA President Barbara McAneny, MD, <a href="https://www.ama-assn.org/press-center/press-releases/ama-files-suit-block-administration-s-title-x-restrictions?&utm_source=BulletinHealthCare&utm_medium=email&utm_term=030619&utm_content=NON-MEMBER&utm_campaign=article_alert-morning_rounds_daily&utm_uid=&utm_effort=">denounced the administration's efforts</a> saying "The administration wants to allow Title X clinics not to provide full information to patients about all of their health care options and block physicians from providing appropriate referrals for care." The AMA and Washington state lawsuits join a number of other states and parties who have vowed to challenge the rule. </p> <p> The rule is set to go into effect on May 3. </p> </div>3/13/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
wsma_whistleblower_bill_passes_unanimously_out_of_houseWSMA Whistleblower Bill Passes Unanimously Out of HouseLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20190313/wsma_whistleblower_bill_passes_unanimously_out_of_house<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/News/whistleblower_Bill-Progress-Graphics.jpg" class="pull-right" /> </div> <h5> March 13, 2019 </h5> <h2>WSMA Whistleblower Bill Passes Unanimously Out of House</h2> <p> <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1049&Initiative=false&Year=2019">House Bill 1049</a>, which would make it safer for physicians in Washington to speak up against wrongful actions, has passed out of the House with a unanimous vote, and now heads to the Senate. </p> <p> The bill would provide the necessary protections and clarifications to make it easier for health care workers to speak out when they witness wrongdoing, without fear of retaliation and regardless of employment status or relationship to an organization. Provisions of HB 1049 would: </p> <ul> <li>Ensure nonemployed physicians have the same protections regarding peer review and whistleblowing as employed physicians.</li> <li>Provide protection of the identity of physician whistleblowers, protection from retaliation, and legal remedies, including the ability to file suit seeking damages and attorneys' fees. </li> <li>Give physicians the ability to seek an injunction in some cases to regain a position or privileges in case a physician has been kicked off a medical staff in a process conducted improperly. </li> <li>Amend the peer review chapter of the Washington statutes to require that any medical staff sanction process that may result in the revocation, suspension, or reduction of medical staff privileges or membership be conducted in accordance with medical staff bylaws.</li> <li>Require that peer review be conducted according to criteria in the federal Healthcare Quality Improvement Act. The law was established in 1986 to encourage good faith professional review activities of health care entities. </li> </ul> <p> The bill's provisions, written in response to resolutions from the 2016 WSMA House of Delegates meeting, were brought to legislators by the WSMA. Thanks to the many WSMA delegates and members for their support of this issue. We will continue to provide strong legislative advocacy as this priority bill moves through the Senate and keep you apprised of developments. </p> </div>3/13/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
dont_miss_latest_issue_of_wsma_reports_on_burnout_and_new_survey_findingsDon't Miss Latest Issue of WSMA Reports on Burnout and New Survey FindingsLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/March/dont_miss_latest_issue_of_wsma_reports_on_burnout_and_new_survey_findings<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/News/Reports-Mar-April-Website-645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>March 12, 2019</h5> <h2>Don't Miss Latest Issue of WSMA Reports on Burnout and New Survey Findings</h2> <p> Results from a new survey show Washington physicians have higher burnout rates and lower job fulfillment than national averages. These sobering survey results, and the implications for health care in our state, are the focus of our March/April issue of WSMA Reports, now in WSMA members' inboxes. </p> <p> Last year, the WSMA, through its foundation, and the Washington State Hospital Association commissioned Stanford Medicine's WellMD Center to survey physicians and advanced practitioners about burnout and professional fulfillment. The report found that 43 percent of Washington's physicians are experiencing burnout, compared with the national benchmark of 36 percent. Additionally, 34 percent reported they are fulfilled professionally, lower than the national average of 41 percent. The report also finds physician assistants and other advanced practitioners failing to meet national benchmarks, with 43 percent experiencing burnout, compared to the national benchmark of 35 percent; and 35 percent fulfilled professionally, compared to a 36 percent nationally. </p> <p> The WSMA has targeted burnout and lack of fulfillment since 2014 when it launched <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/Resources/Administrative_Simplification/Healthy_Doctors__Healthier_Patients/WSMA/Resources/Administrative_Simplification/Healthy_Doctors__Healthier_Patients/Healthy_Doctors__Healthier_Patients.aspx?hkey=886d7bb3-8e52-4b07-9f38-541f3ca3e080">Healthy Doctors, Healthier Patients</a>, which is aimed at drawing attention to how increasing administrative burdens are affecting physicians and threatening optimal patient care. In the wake of these survey data, the WSMA is redoubling its efforts and shifting focus toward how to fix a broken system that is overwhelming physicians and employees. </p> <p> Be sure to read the latest issue of WSMA Reports, which explores the survey findings and features several member physicians and their stories of surviving burnout (as well as a new, magazine-style redesign). We've also <a href="https://wsma.org/Shared_Content/Contacts/Sign_In.aspx?WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927&LoginRedirect=true&returnurl=%2FShared_Content%2FNews%2FLatest_News%2F2019%2FMarch%2Fat_higher_risk">published the cover story on the WSMA website</a> (sign-in required). Also, be sure to read our exclusive <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/News_Publications/Latest_News/WSMA_Reports/WSMA/News_Publications/Newsletters/WSMA_Reports.aspx?hkey=b19e8949-47e1-4478-be31-53621de96ecc">website-only features on burnout</a>, part of our new series of WSMA Report Extras. </p> <p> The WSMA Foundation is in the process of delivering the survey results to physician leadership across the state to compel action and will be spearheading initiatives in the months ahead. For more information, to get involved, or to support the WSMA Foundation in this work, contact Jessica Martinson at <a href="mailto:jessica@wsma.org">jessica@wsma.org</a>. </p> </div>3/12/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
keeping_physicians_engagedKeeping Physicians EngagedLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/March/keeping_physicians_engaged<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/News/Reports-Mar-April-Website-645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>March 12, 2019</h5> <h2>Keeping Physicians Engaged</h2> <p> By Pat Curry </p> <p> When a longtime patient of Bruce Nitsche, MD, made a donation to the Virginia Mason Foundation, the patient asked if Dr. Nitsche could be involved in how to use the funds. A study from the Mayo Clinic found that sharing a meal helped with physician engagement; the foundation used some of the donated funds to try it. </p> <p> "I called up the head of nutrition services and said, 'Do you think you could get the chefs to cater a lunch in the doctor's dining room once a month?'" Dr. Nitsche said. </p> <p> They started with Cinco de Mayo, complete with Mexican music, mocktails, and handmade tortillas; it was a tremendous success. </p> <p> "It was just fun," Dr. Nitsche said. "I remember sitting at a table with a longtime urologist and one of the newer internal medicine doctors. They had shared a lot of the same patients, but they had never met, and they introduced themselves to each other." </p> <p> The lunches are just one way Virginia Mason, MultiCare Health System, Allegro Pediatrics, and other systems are addressing issues presented in Stanford Medicine's 2018 Physician and Advanced Practitioner Wellness Survey, commissioned by WSMA and the Washington State Hospital Association. Notably, the survey found that 42 percent of the surveyed physicians were moderately or highly likely to leave their organization within two years. </p> <p> "It costs $500,000 to $1 million to replace a doctor who leaves, quits, or cuts down on their practice," Dr. Nitsche said. "It's a huge financial burden on the organization." </p> <p> And it's not going to go away, said Scott Hansen, MD, who heads up Virginia Mason's psychiatry consultation service and professional staff engagement. </p> <p> "What younger physicians will accept as working conditions is different than what physicians would accept several decades ago," Dr. Hansen said. "They aren't willing to spend 120 hours a week in a hospital." </p> <p> Dr. Hansen noted that research very clearly shows what physicians believe to be important in their practice experience. Physicians want an electronic health record system that supports both good care and reduces time spent on activity that doesn't feel meaningful. They seek a sense of community and want to understand that they have the support of their supervisors. </p> <p> "Developing frontline leaders is critical; it has so much to do with the experience of physicians over time," Dr. Hansen said. </p> <h3>Giving physicians more flexibility</h3> <p> Physician-owned Allegro Pediatrics, which has about 100 physicians working in eight locations, began studying physician burnout about three years ago. A physician survey focused on scheduling, how long physicians had with their patients, what their day looked like, and what was getting in their way of doing their jobs. </p> <p> "The providers were saying they needed more support," said Tiffany Spanier, MD, who works in Allegro's Bellevue location. "It was very clear this was something we needed to address." </p> <p> The results led to discussions about choice, flexibility, and autonomy, Dr. Spanier said. Physicians can pursue a partner track, a locums position, or a time-limited contract. Senior physicians have the choice of decreasing their call nights and weekend shifts, which lets them feel less burdened. </p> <p> New physicians receive an extensive orientation and a mentor, and all physicians know that if they need to be out of the office for a family emergency, "the coverage is there immediately," she said. "That support is a huge sense of relief." </p> <p> The practice also offers three-month paid sabbaticals to let physicians recharge and refresh. "A lot of them use that time to do research; others travel," she said. "We have a lot of part-time providers working in endeavors outside our practice: travel medicine, research; I'm teaching mindfulness. We're finding ways to give them the opportunity to pursue their passions." </p> <p> Allegro continues to survey its physicians and encourages them to talk to clinic leadership. Dr. Spanier said she's going into clinics and starting conversations with physicians to "give them the framework to speak up even more. </p> <p> "A lot of times, providers think the responsibility for burnout is going to land on their shoulders, and we don't want that," she said. "We don't want this on their shoulders. We want to continue to address it systemwide; we want them to know they're not alone." </p> <h3>Finding better workflow</h3> <p> It's not uncommon to hear physicians say they're being offered personal solutions, such as resilience training, to tackle systemic problems. MultiCare Health System is addressing that point with its Provider Wellness Team. The two-pronged approach offers free, confidential counseling and practice optimization consulting to address the pain points in a physician's practice. </p> <p> "Eighty percent of burnout is the result of the workplace environment," said MultiCare practice optimization consultant Ellie Rajcevich. "Being able to provide that support has been a cornerstone of our program." </p> <p> Most often, physicians contact the team because they're frustrated with some aspect of how their practice is running. For example, an internal medicine physician called because she had reduced her FTE from full time to .8 "to keep her head above water," Rajcevich said. "Even then, she was using days off to work. If the problem is all this work, reducing the FTE doesn't address the root of the problem." </p> <p> To find solutions, the team starts by shadowing the physician. </p> <p> "We look at the processes and what that physician's time and the team's time looks like," Rajcevich said. "The teams we work with don't have the chance to step away from all the things they have to do every day. Having someone come in and say, 'This is what your work could look like' is an interesting experience for them." </p> <p> Sometimes, dictation software or a medical scribe proves helpful. Other times, the consulting team identifies a task that is unnecessary or could be completed by someone other than the physician, such as responding to MyChart patient messages. </p> <p> Quite often, part of the solution involves dealing with the Epic electronic records software. That's such a big part of a physician's workload that the consulting team is adding dedicated Epic trainers "so they can access what they need accurately and quickly." </p> <h3>Small steps toward a solution</h3> <p> All these efforts help, but they just scratch the surface of addressing what makes so many physicians consider leaving their jobs, Dr. Nitsche said. </p> <p> "What needs to be done is make the job require less resilience to survive it," he said. "The whole health care system is troubled. It's like living in a dysfunctional family; you need to fix that. But you can also make people feel better along the way." </p> <p> <em>Pat Curry is WSMA Reports' senior editor.</em> </p> </div>3/12/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
watch_this_wsma_legislative_update_with_katie_kolanWatch This: WSMA Legislative Update with Katie KolanLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Advocacy_Report/2019/watch_this_wsma_legislative_update_with_katie_kolan<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right"><img alt="" src="/images/Advocacy/KK-March4-8-LegUpdate.JPG" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>March 11, 2019 </h5> <h2>Watch This: WSMA Legislative Update with Katie Kolan</h2> <p> Our legislative update video for the week of March 4-8 is up! WSMA's Director of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Katie Kolan covers two WSMA priority bills that were voted off the House floor last week, what we're watching as the March 13 cutoff approaches, and what comes next. Plus, a reminder to take our survey on the public health insurance option bill currently in the Legislature - you should have received an email with the survey link last Friday, March 8. Watch this week's legislative update video <a href="https://vimeo.com/322655310">here</a>, and watch previous weeks' updates <a href="https://vimeo.com/321302236">here</a> and <a href="https://vimeo.com/319232393">here</a>. </p> </div>3/11/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
at_higher_riskAt Higher RiskLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/March/at_higher_risk<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/News/Reports-Mar-April-Website-645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>March 8, 2019</h5> <h2>At Higher Risk</h2> <p> By Marcia Frellick </p> <p><em>Members only, sign-in required</em></p> <p> Jessica Bloom, MD, a family physician in Bellingham, knows the dark corners of burnout and knows when she's getting near them. Sensing those danger zones is part of an ongoing self-care strategy forged during a five-year time period when the "good Midwestern girl who is always fine" actually wasn't. </p> <p> Dr. Bloom, now 45, looks back at that time when, in addition to practicing medicine, she was the wife of a family physician, the mother of three children under the age of 10, and the sole caregiver for her aging father. </p> <p> She describes feeling empty. She forgot to attend some of her kids' events. She got angry when someone at work told her she hadn't completed her charts. She asked her husband why he stayed with her when she wasn't so sure, in his shoes, if she could. </p> <p> "I felt so tired," she said. "All I wanted for my birthday was to be alone." </p> <p> Bloom said her patient care never wavered, though she admits she may have been less engaged with some. But she felt torn about whether she should spend more time at work, where she was handling things well, or more time with her family. </p> <p> Safety nets are easier to build when certain numbers of physicians meet the definition of burnout, she said, but what the numbers don't reveal are that many physicians are "just a 'something' away from a crisis"—a patient's bad outcome, a fight with a spouse, a death in the family, or a personal illness. </p> <p> Experiences like Dr. Bloom's spurred the WSMA and the Washington State Hospital Association to commission Stanford Medicine's WellMD Center to survey physicians and advanced practitioners about burnout and professional fulfillment. The report found that 43 percent of Washington's physicians and advanced practitioners are experiencing burnout, compared with the national benchmark of 36 percent. Additionally, 34 percent reported they are fulfilled professionally, lower than the national average of 41 percent. </p> <h3>No health care organization beat both benchmarks</h3> <p> Jennifer Hanscom, WSMA's chief executive officer, said that the most surprising result of the survey was that no large medical groups, hospitals, or health systems in Washington beat the national benchmarks for both burnout and professional fulfillment. </p> <p> "With the investments that the WSMA and many medical systems and groups have put into leadership development, I thought that more groups, particularly those in a strong physician-led culture, would have had a higher professional fulfillment score," she said. </p> <p> She said she was also deeply concerned, as the results support that growing numbers of physicians may be on a tragic path. Some studies have shown that about 400 physicians nationally die by suicide each year. </p> <p> The WSMA has targeted burnout and lack of fulfillment since 2014 when it launched Healthy Doctors, Healthier Patients, which is aimed at drawing attention to how increasing administrative burdens affect physicians and threaten optimal patient care. </p> <p> Before that, the attitude in medicine was that physicians needed more skills to increase resilience. In other words, Hanscom said, it was physicians' responsibility to take care of themselves. Thinking evolved away from individual responsibility into how to fix a broken system that is overwhelming physicians and employees. </p> <p> In tackling the issue, the WSMA found a fitting partner in the Washington State Hospital Association, as the two groups regularly bring together medical officers to address issues related to quality and patient safety. "There was a recognition in our Medical Officers Collaborative that together, we could address the issue of burnout—this is our collective responsibility," Cassie Sauer, chief executive officer of WSHA said. "We decided to launch a statewide assessment of physicians and advanced practitioners to inform our work. It is so important for both the clinician and his or her patients that we create more support for wellness." </p> <h3>Four factors drive fulfillment and burnout</h3> <p> The survey results pointed out that four factors—gratitude, alignment between personal values and organizational values, control over schedule, and peer supportiveness—were independently linked with professional fulfillment and burnout. </p> <p> Addressing those key areas may be the "secret sauce" in Washington, said Christopher Bundy, MD, MPH, executive medical director of the Washington Physicians Health Program. </p> <p> He pointed out the scope of the survey was important: "The goal really shouldn't be just the reduction of burnout, but to really promote professional fulfillment, and this report provides some strong pointers to where we should look," he said. </p> <p> A top area of concern, Dr. Bundy said, is organizational leadership, which had the most impact on burnout and professional fulfillment among the factors highlighted in the report. </p> <p> "Physicians are often accidental leaders," Dr. Bundy explained. "They are good doctors who are respected by colleagues for their clinical acumen and their emotional intelligence who want to serve the profession and essentially volunteer to be in leadership roles, for which they have little training or experience." </p> <p> Management is a science, he said, and physicians need leadership training and development, professional coaching, and leader certification programs. Complicating leadership is the rising turnover that occurs with mergers and acquisitions. </p> <p> Increasing peer support will also be crucial in bolstering physician wellness, Dr. Bundy said. He pointed to the example set by Confluence Health in Wenatchee which, he said, was able to turn peer review into peer support. </p> <p> "So often, peer review is thought to be a blame game," Dr. Bundy said. Peer review there focuses on discussion about how the organization can improve after a poor outcome, leading physicians to feel supported instead of interrogated. </p> <h3>Some strategies are inexpensive</h3> <p> Some of the problem areas identified have very inexpensive fixes. For example, a culture of gratitude is a strong driver of professional fulfillment, the survey noted. </p> <p> This is simply the frequency with which physicians and advanced practitioners are thanked by leadership and how often health care providers are thanking the people they work with, said Mickey Trockel, MD, PhD, a clinical associate professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford and the primary developer of the survey measures. </p> <p> Shifting culture can be a challenge, but the cost is low and if the thanks are sincere, it can be effective, he said. A culture shift also is needed to remove the stigma from seeking mental health treatment in medicine. Dr. Trockel pointed to higher anxiety levels in the survey for Washington physicians compared with the national benchmark and said reasons for that are worth exploring further. </p> <p> Alignment between an organization's professed values and the way physicians see the organization's values is also important, he said. An example of misalignment might be an organization that says it values physician wellness but allows surgical residents to work more than 80 hours a week. </p> <p> Hanscom said the WSMA will use the survey results to explore with national experts how to facilitate improvements at the practice level and through the association's advocacy agenda. </p> <p> That support—and the ongoing focus on burnout from medical leadership across the state—is vital as physicians such as Dr. Bloom work to maintain a healthy balance between taking care of their patients and themselves. </p> <p> If burnout is a 1-10 scale where "1 is Pollyanna" and 10 is the peak of despair, she said her worst days hit about a 7. With the help of a life coach and through her work as a leader of the Physicians' Wellness Alliance, she says she hovers around a 3. But she is well aware that the number can bounce and it's "a process and a practice to stay as whole as we can." </p> <p> <em>Marcia Frellick is a freelance journalist who specializes in health care topics.</em> </p> </div>3/8/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
legislative_session_update_opioids_public_health_maternal_mortality_and_moreLegislative Session Update: Opioids, Public Health, Maternal Mortality and moreLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/March/legislative_session_update_opioids_public_health_maternal_mortality_and_more<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/Advocacy/Leg-Session-Updates-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>March 7, 2019</h5> <h2>Legislative Session Update: Opioids, Public Health, Maternal Mortality and more</h2> <p> A brief rundown of priority health care bills heard in committees during week seven of the state legislative session. </p> <h3>Week seven (Feb. 25 - March 1) highlights</h3> <p> (HB = House bill; SB = Senate bill) </p> <p> <strong>Surrogate decision-makers and advance directives</strong> - <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1175&Year=2019&initiative=">EHB 1175</a>, supported by the WSMA, would modify provisions relating to surrogate decision-makers, informed consent, and advance directives. This legislation passed out of the House of Representative with a vote of 71 to 25. A public hearing was held in the Senate Law & Justice Committee on Monday, Feb. 25. </p> <p> <strong>Access to opioid overdose medication</strong> – <a href="http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?Year=2019&BillNumber=1039">SHB 1039</a>, supported by the WSMA, was heard in the House Appropriations Committee on Monday, Feb. 25 and the committee took executive action on Tuesday, Feb. 26. The intent of this legislation is to increase access to opioid overdose medication at K-12 grade schools and higher education institutions. </p> <p> <strong>Foundational public health services</strong> – <a href="http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?Year=2019&BillNumber=1497">SHB 1497</a>, supported by the WSMA, defines a core set of foundational public health services and stipulates that funding for foundational public health services are appropriated to OFM, which then disburses once agreement is reached among tribes, local health jurisdictions, and the state Board of Health. This legislation was heard by the House Appropriations Committee on Monday, Feb. 25 and the committee took executive action on Tuesday, Feb 26. </p> <p> <strong>Tax on vapor products</strong> – <a href="http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?Year=2019&BillNumber=1873">HB 1873</a>, supported by the WSMA, would include vapor products in the definition of tobacco products for the purpose of state sales tax. A public hearing was held on Tuesday, Feb. 26 in the House Finance Committee. </p> <p> <strong>Opioids</strong> – <a href="http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?Year=2019&BillNumber=1331">SHB 1331</a> is governor-request legislation on the treatment, prevention, and services related to opioid use disorder. This legislation was heard by the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 26. The WSMA has concerns with the PMP and electronic prescribing mandate incorporated in this legislation. </p> <p> <strong>Behavioral health workforce pathways</strong> – <a href="http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?Year=2019&BillNumber=5633">SB 5633</a>, supported by the WSMA, would appropriate funds to the Department of Health to distribute to health education centers for the purpose of supporting and expanding current behavioral health workforce academic and career pathway programs. The Senate Ways & Means Committee heard the legislation on Tuesday, Feb. 26. </p> <p> <strong>Maternal mortality review</strong> – <a href="http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?Year=2019&BillNumber=5425">SSB 5425</a>, supported by the WSMA, would extend and expand the state's maternal mortality review panel. The Senate Ways & Means Committee heard the legislation on Tuesday, Feb. 26 and took executive action on Wednesday, Feb. 27. </p> <p> <strong>Involuntary Treatment Act</strong> – <a href="http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?Year=2019&BillNumber=5720">SSB 5720</a>, supported by the WSMA, will likely be the vehicle for ITA changes this session. This legislation would extend the initial detention period from 72 hours to five days and would allow individuals to start and become stable on their medication. The primary goal of this change is to allow medical professionals to play a larger role in the ITA decision-making process rather than just lawyers. The Senate Ways & Means Committee approved this legislation on Thursday, Feb. 28. </p> <p> <strong>Practice of naturopathy</strong> – <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1630&Initiative=false&Year=2019">SHB 1630</a>, opposed by the WSMA, would grant naturopaths prescriptive authority for Schedules III through V of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act. The legislation would expand the list of services that naturopaths may provide pursuant to "minor office procedures." Finally, the substituted bill would also require naturopaths to enter into practice agreements with physicians similar to those between physicians and physician assistants. This legislation was placed on the second reading by the House Rules Committee this week. </p> <p> <strong>Health professional fee setting rules</strong> – <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1753&Initiative=false&Year=2019">HB 1753</a>, supported by the WSMA, would require a statement of inquiry, or CR-101, to be filed for rulemaking that would affect fees related to health professions, requiring an additional notice and public comment period. This legislation has been referred to the House Rules Committee. </p> <h3>Looking forward</h3> <p> The next deadline for bills is Wednesday, March 13; this is the date by which a bill must be approved by its house of origin (e.g., a bill introduced in the Senate must be approved by the Senate and move to the House of Representatives for further consideration, and vice versa). </p> <p> For WSMA's government affairs and policy team in Olympia, this means lots of floor action and talking to legislators in the wings. For WSMA members, this means potential calls to action, we look to activate our membership on issues where your clinical expertise is needed inform lawmakers' decision-making (and potentially seal the fate of bills—both good and bad!). </p> </div>3/7/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
a_lonely_but_not_isolated_experienceA Lonely, but Not Isolated, ExperienceLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/March/a_lonely_but_not_isolated_experience<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/News/WSMAReports-Extras-Website-645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>March 6, 2019</h5> <h2>A Lonely, but Not Isolated, Experience</h2> <p> David Gavareski, MD </p> <p> David Gavareski, MD, practiced family medicine for more than 30 years at Family Health Associates in Bellingham. Retired in 2018, Dr. Gavareski shared his experience with burnout with <em>WSMA Reports.</em> To read more about the work WSMA is doing to support physician wellness, visit the <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/News_Publications/Publications/WSMA_Reports_Archive/WSMA/News_Publications/Publications/WSMA_Reports_Archive/WSMA_Reports_Archive.aspx?hkey=d3cb4400-8f2b-4fd4-9e4f-f970296623b3">WSMA Reports archive</a> and look for the March/April 2019 edition. </p> <p> <strong><em>WSMA Reports: What was your experience with burnout?</em></strong> </p> <p><strong>Dr. Gavareski</strong>: My personal experience has a significant component of addiction and chemical dependency. When I was a child, I had asthma, and there was little to treat it other than vaporizer and cough syrup. I always felt better, but thought it was the vaporizer. Later, when I took codeine cough syrup, I felt much better, more relaxed, and had more energy. I never dreamed that occasional use, either for a cough or to relax, would lead to addiction. And with a "candy store" full of samples readily available in the late ’70s and early ’80s, that process was helped along. As with most drugs of addiction, the initial good feelings were never replicated. Ultimately, that added to my stress, worries, and frustrations over not being able to control my use. </p> <p> Following medical school, residency, and beginning practice, I experienced significant stress as I coped with the arrival of a daughter, an extremely busy practice and trying to live up to all of the expectations. I did not do a good job balancing time and priorities. It was difficult to deal with the pressure to succeed and to try to be the best. </p> <p> The burnout I experienced in a highly demanding profession and family life, coupled with a disease that I was not able to control or cure on my own, became terribly oppressive. I clearly had a problem, but I was extremely fearful of the consequences of admitting it. </p> <p> <strong><em>What was key to healing and what kept you in medicine?</em></strong> </p> <p><strong>Dr. Gavareski</strong>: Ultimately, through an intervention with my wife and a counselor, I went to treatment at a local recovery center, which was the best decision I had made in years. I was introduced to 12-step recovery (which I have actively participated in since) and referred to what would become the <a href="https://wphp.org/">Washington Physicians Health Program</a>. Learning that there was a positive way to deal with the addiction as well as learn to live a more balanced life, I began a journey which, though difficult, has provided me with tools, advice, and relationships that added to my personal, professional, and family life. </p> <p> WPHP has been an amazing partner and mentor. The fears I had about having to be involved with a state-sponsored monitoring program were unfounded. While they are tasked with protecting the public, they are also extremely committed to helping physicians and other professionals regain useful and productive lives, both professionally and otherwise. </p> <p> <strong><em>Your advice for physicians suffering from burnout?</em></strong> </p> <p><strong>Dr. Gavareski</strong>: There are many of us who have been through the same difficulties, have found answers and a much better way of life. WPHP is an incredible resource. <a href="https://www.kavumd.org/">KAVU</a> and the wellness programs that are being developed have a potential to be a significant help. You don't have to be afraid to say something and seek help. </p> <p> <em>Dr. Gavareski is part of the Physicians Wellness Alliance, as are Drs. Laura Backer, Richard Krebs and Jessica Bloom. Read their stories in the <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/News_Publications/Publications/WSMA_Reports_Archive/WSMA/News_Publications/Publications/WSMA_Reports_Archive/WSMA_Reports_Archive.aspx?hkey=d3cb4400-8f2b-4fd4-9e4f-f970296623b3">WSMA Reports archive</a>, March/April 2019 edition. They are available for speaking engagements. Call 541.543.7283 or write <a href="mailto:info@physicianswellnesalliance.org">info@physicianswellnesalliance.org</a>.</em> </p> </div>3/6/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
physicians_are_not_alone_in_the_journeyPhysicians Are Not Alone in the JourneyLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/March/physicians_are_not_alone_in_the_journey<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/News/WSMAReports-Extras-Website-645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>March 6, 2019</h5> <h2>Physicians Are Not Alone in the Journey</h2> <p> Richard Krebs, MD </p> <p> Excerpts from this commentary by Richard Krebs, MD, appeared in the March/April 2019 print edition of WSMA Reports. Dr. Krebs practiced family medicine for 20 years, served as a surgical assistant for 18 years, and retired in 2015. Here, he shares his journey through burnout in the hopes that doing so will help others. </p> <p> My relationship with burnout has been a long journey, a road I've travelled many times. In the past, there weren't many travelers who were willing to share in the journey, and it was a lonely path. Now, nearly 25 years later, more colleagues are sharing their experiences, and I don't feel so alone, so ashamed. </p> <p> My journey began in the late 1980s and early '90s, when I finally realized and acknowledged I had nothing left to replenish my emptied emotional and physical well. </p> <p> I had a loving family, a wife and two children, and a successful family practice. My joy was spending whatever time was necessary to be with my patients, and to "hear" the issues they brought to me. I was a doctor, but more importantly, I was a healer. I brought my heart to my practice every day and to every patient. </p> <p> But as the business side of practicing medicine changed, it became more difficult to spend the time I thought was necessary to be with my patients. I was becoming emotionally and physically depleted. I was also less emotionally available to my family. My turning point was when, after a particularly difficult day, I had a fleeting thought of suicide while driving. I thought, "I just want to stop feeling like this. If I drive my car into the base of this bridge, it will all be over." </p> <p> I sought help through counseling, personal growth groups and exercise. I was prescribed antidepressants for depression and stimulants for ADD in order to stay on task and see the number of patients necessary to maintain a viable private practice. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. </p> <p> My wife and I attended a workshop titled "Physician Heal Thyself" in San Diego in February 1993. At that workshop, I realized I wasn't alone in my struggles and was able give a name to what I was going through: physician burnout. </p> <p> After that conference, I was energized to work on healing myself and to offer support to others going through similar struggles. My wife and I started a group in Bellingham that we called ADAPT (And Doctors Are People Too). Our group was open to physicians and their spouses. We met twice a month, shared our stories and offered each other support. I continued individual counseling and personal growth groups. I started giving talks about burnout to physician groups and healers in correctional medicine. For me, sharing was healing. I was a survivor. </p> <p> After much thought and counseling, I made the decision to leave my private family practice after 20 years. My partners told me: "Rich, when you leave, the heart will leave our practice." But with the support of my family, friends and colleagues, I stopped practicing medicine in 1997 for six months, using that as a time to renew and reflect. I realized that the type of medicine and healing that nourished my soul was no longer viable in the current medical and reimbursement climate. </p> <p> I needed to support my family and wanted to stay involved with medicine. So, I went to work in a university student health clinic and started assisting in surgery. The surgical assisting became a full-time practice. Although I no longer had a practice and patients of my own, I enjoyed the interaction and "healing" I was able to bring to the working relationships with the support staff in surgery. I created an emotional and time boundary in my new work that I was unable to sustain in my private practice. I continued to give talks on burnout and stayed involved with other physicians interested in talking about and supporting colleagues affected by burnout. </p> <p> Several of us started <a href="https://www.physicianswellnessalliance.org/">Physician Wellness Alliance</a> to address issues of burnout. As a result of that, we do presentations, and implemented the <a href="https://www.kavumd.org/">KavuMD</a> concept and website where physicians can anonymously assess their personal risk of burnout as well as have access to teletherapy. Several of us are available to meet with any physician who might be struggling. We meet informally as individuals, listening with the heart of someone familiar with the journey of burnout, who cares and has survived. </p> <p> Burnout affects each of us differently, it is so personal. It affects more than 50 percent of our medical community. There is no one solution that can be prescribed for all. I believe the best way to help other healers is to tell our story, to be vulnerable and available, to listen to their unique story. We should encourage our colleagues to get whatever support is necessary, either peer support or professional counseling to help them make whatever changes are necessary to make them whole. </p> <p> I'm grateful to have passed through that dark time with my marriage, family and professional life intact. I feel I can give back by being there for other healers who might be struggling. So many people in the healing profession and other walks of life have lost their balance and forgotten why they chose to serve. Our hearts and ears must be ever vigilant to be a support, to listen and care. Physicians are not alone. </p> <p> <em>Dr. Krebs is part of the <a href="https://www.physicianswellnessalliance.org/">Physicians Wellness Alliance</a> and is available for speaking engagements. Call 541.543.7283 or write <a href="mailto:info@physicianswellnesalliance.org">info@physicianswellnesalliance.org</a>.</em> </p> </div>3/6/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
sharing_struggles_yields_hopeSharing Struggles Yields HopeLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/March/sharing_struggles_yields_hope<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/News/WSMAReports-Extras-Website-645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>March 6, 2019</h5> <h2>Sharing Struggles Yields Hope</h2> <p> Jessica Bloom, MD </p> <p> WSMA Reports reported aspects of Dr. Jessica Bloom's story in the March/April 2019 cover story. In this online "extra," Dr. Bloom shares additional insights into her journey through burnout in the hopes that doing so will help others who share the same struggle. </p> <p> I experienced "overwhelm" for decades as many of us in medicine do. There came a time when I felt like all of the important things in my life were like plates being spun on sticks: patient care, my kids, my marriage, my aging parent, and me too. I watched the plates wobble, but I couldn't figure out which to spin faster first. I knew something was going to drop. </p> <p> When my father's wife died unexpectedly and I was suddenly his primary support again, I thought all the plates would fall. I cut back where I felt I could, but I couldn't make things better. I was depleted. I poured myself into my patients and my kids, but then I had nothing left for my physician spouse or for me. </p> <p> I daydreamed about running away. But where to? What from? I wasn't sure. When I would share my fatigue, I was advised to go on a "retreat." When I shared my overwhelm from multiple call schedules, the advice was to cut back a part of my practice that I enjoyed. </p> <p> What actually helped? When my dad got sick, I worked with a therapist. Then, I agreed to help an acquaintance who was training to be a life coach. I found that to be a way to externalize my thoughts and structure them for better perspective. In those appointments we discussed which plates I could put down and when. More importantly, we identified what I wanted to do that I couldn't because of the overwhelm. </p> <p> I never wanted a solution that took me away from medicine. Some of the physician coaches out there have stopped practice, but I needed to find something that kept me whole to do the work I love. </p> <p> Around this time, I was asked to spearhead a local physician wellness project. I needed to see if I could toss life lines to others. Incorporating compassion, connection, and creativity into the work became a gift that returned in kind. </p> <p> Now I work on building a better safety net for physicians, such as <a href="https://www.kavumd.org/">KavuMD.org</a>, the <a href="https://www.physicianswellnessalliance.org/">Physicians' Wellness Alliance</a>, and the PeaceHealth Wellbeing Committee. Through all of that, we work on mindfulness opportunities for physicians, social gatherings to build community, working with our local hospital for improving spaces for physicians, trying to build a peer support system. All of this is extra work, but it is work that feeds me. </p> <p> I like medicine so much more when I know my colleagues. I'm putting my heart into the work of wellness because I really love my docs. I get excited when I talk to others supporting physicians. In fact, each therapist I've interviewed to be a part of KavuMD has added to my thinking about how to support each other. </p> <p> When our Physicians Wellness Committee presented a panel discussion on surviving physician burnout, it was one of our best attended county medical society meetings. I moderated the panel, but also shared my story because as the only physician mother on the panel, it rounded out the perspectives. Telling our stories is important in order to humanize the toll medicine can take. </p> <p> Often with burnout we race to solutions: Get mindful! Cut back! Get a counselor! Get a scribe! Each of those may be very helpful, but if we don't start with connecting with the human story, the loneliness persists. And blame is heaped on the physician who just isn't getting it done. </p> <p> In the time I've been working on physician wellness, my father has died, my kids are growing, life keeps marching forward. And I still dip into overwhelm. But mostly, I'm grateful, and I like my primary job as a physician. </p> <p> On the day I wrote this article, I spent 40 percent of my clinic hours treating depression. That's the other thing about doing this work, it has given me tools to pass onto my patients. A physician who is supported into a healthier existence can have a huge ripple effect. </p> <p> I'm working to be part of that ripple effect. I have been told by so many physicians in our community that the emails I send help them feel connected. Stories can do that. I'm sharing mine in hopes that it will be helpful. </p> <p> <em>Dr. Bloom is part of the <a href="https://www.physicianswellnessalliance.org/">Physicians Wellness Alliance</a> and is available for speaking engagements. Call 541.543.7283 or write <a href="mailto:info@physicianswellnesalliance.org">info@physicianswellnesalliance.org</a>.</em> </p> </div>3/6/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
three_wellness_tips_for_residentsThree Wellness Tips for ResidentsLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/March/three_wellness_tips_for_residents<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/News/WSMAReports-Extras-Website-645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>March 6, 2019</h5> <h2>Three Wellness Tips for Residents</h2> <p> Elizabeth Parker, MD </p> <p> Understanding and supporting physician wellness is a complex endeavor encompassing personal resilience, community, and system-level organization. From my own experience, and at the risk of sounding glib, it's not enough to have a yoga mat and expect to be well. </p> <p> Instead, let's cultivate a wellness toolkit that supports optimal health within these major areas. Here's how it could play out for a trainee: </p> <p> <strong>Personal resilience</strong> We learn about Maslow's hierarchy of needs in medical school. But often, in training, our own base needs (sleep, water, food) may not be met. While resilience ideally goes beyond these basic needs, for many of us this would be a good first step. Recommendation: Sleep when you can, grab water for rounds, carry snacks in your pockets. </p> <p> <strong>Community</strong><br /> Feeling connected and supported by your team, department, and mentors is key. Find your people. Recommendation: Check in with your peers, ask for help when you need it, and intentionally stay connected (see related article below). </p> <p> <strong>System-level organization</strong><br /> There are aspects of modern health care that support physician wellness—thank you support staff! There are also aspects that drag us down, including EHR click fatigue, prior authorizations, lack of open hospital beds, etc. As trainees, while we may not have the power to change the organizational systems within which we work, we do have the opportunity to learn about organized medicine and the power of our collective voices. Recommendation: Join a departmental/institutional committee or a professional medical organization, such as the Washington State Medical Association. It's easy and free to join the WSMA! </p> <p> <em>Elizabeth Parker, MD, is a pathology resident at the University of Washington Medical Center. </em> </p> </div>3/6/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
uw_residents_run_for_wellnessUW Residents Run for WellnessLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2019/March/uw_residents_run_for_wellness<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/News/WSMAReports-Extras-Website-645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>March 6, 2019</h5> <h2>UW Residents Run for Wellness</h2> <p> Elizabeth Parker, MD </p> <p> As Saturdays dawn over Seattle, several University of Washington Medical Center pathology residents meet up to run for health, wellness, and support. The idea to organize group runs was born out of a desire to stay active, explore Seattle parks, and to connect with one another outside of work and away from the hierarchy of medicine. </p> <p> The runs are open to all, and there are often residents from various levels of training running along with significant others, kids, and friends in tow. Occasionally attendings, trainees from other specialties, and physician assistants will join. The group sticks to Seattle-area parks and has even completed several races together. </p> <p> While Saturday morning runs may not work for every physician group, the participants on these runs find wellness and leadership support. Here's what a few of them have to say about running together: </p> <ul> <li><strong>Marie Perrone</strong>, PGY3 resident: "I never regret getting up on Saturday morning to go running with the resident running group: What could be better?" </li> <li><strong>Alex Mays</strong>, PGY3 resident: "Running together is a great equalizer—it's a much more informal environment and we can connect about life outside the hospital." </li> <li><strong>Chris Chandler</strong>, PGY2 resident: "The group has become a cornerstone of my weekends and I look forward to getting out and seeing the city." </li> <li><strong>Angelica Lerma</strong>, PGY3 resident: "Making time to run has allowed me to get to know my fellow trainees and to become close friends."</li> </ul> <p> Happy trails! </p> <p> <em>Elizabeth Parker, MD, is a pathology resident at the University of Washington Medical Center. </em> </p> </div>3/6/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
call_to_action_your_calls_and_emails_needed_on_wrongful_death_and_naturopath_billsCall to Action! Your Calls and Emails Needed on Wrongful Death and Naturopath BillsLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Advocacy_Report/2019/call_to_action_your_calls_and_emails_needed_on_wrongful_death_and_naturopath_bills<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right"><img alt="" src="/images/News/take_action_645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>March 4, 2019 </h5> <h2>Call to Action! Your Calls and Emails Needed on Wrongful Death and Naturopath Bills</h2> <p> Contact your legislators in Olympia today and this week! Tell your lawmakers "no" to a proposal to expand scope of practice for naturopaths and ask them to support an important amendment to a proposal to amend the state's wrongful death statute. </p> <p> Two bills are currently pending for votes in the state legislature that require input from the physician community. One would grant a massive scope of practice increase for naturopaths. The other would broadly expand who can sue in cases of wrongful death and what types of damages they can recover. </p> <p> We need your help to stop the naturopath bill—and to support an amendment to lessen the negative consequences of the wrongful death bill! Please review the below information and contact your legislator if one or both issues are of concern to you. </p> <h3>Say "No" to Naturopath Scope of Practice Increase</h3> <p>In its current form, <a href="http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2019-20/Pdf/Bills/House Bills/1630-S.pdf#page=1">House Bill 1630</a> allows naturopaths to enter into a practice agreement with a physician who authorizes the naturopath to prescribe controlled substances. It also would allow a naturopath to perform additional "minor office procedures," and sign and attest to any form that a physician may sign (among other provisions). </p> <p> This is an inappropriate scope of practice expansion that will jeopardize patient safety. <strong>Call your representatives this week to help prevent this dangerous legislation from passing.</strong> </p> <p> <a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/act-now-tell-your-house-lawmakers-no-on-naturopath-scope-of-practice-expansion/" class="TextButton">Take Action</a> </p> <h3>Support Amendment to Wrongful Death Bill</h3> <p> <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1135&Year=2019&Initiative=false">Substitute House Bill 1135</a>, pertaining to wrongful death lawsuits, would broadly expand who can sue in cases of wrongful death and what types of damages they can recover. A proposed amendment to SHB 1135 would lessen the negative consequences of the bill (learn more at the button below). </p> <p> <strong>Contact your representatives this week to ask for support of an amendment to SHB 1135. The bill is moving towards a vote of the full House, so don't delay!</strong> </p> <p> <a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/act-now-tell-house-and-senate-lawmakers-no-on-wrongful-death-bills/" class="TextButton">Take Action</a> </p> </div>3/4/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_2019_03_04_bad_legislation_yields_unintended_consequences_for_access_to_careWeekly Rounds: Mar. 4, 2019 - Bad Legislation Yields Unintended Consequences for Access to CareLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2019/weekly_rounds_2019_03_04_bad_legislation_yields_unintended_consequences_for_access_to_care<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_Image_645x425.jpg" /></div> <h5>March 4, 2019</h5> <h2>Bad Legislation Yields Unintended Consequences for Access to Care</h2> <p> Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO </p> <p> When my boys were younger, I often turned to the principles of the popular book, "Parenting with Love and Logic." I didn't adopt all of its teachings, but one point that resonated and helped as I raised three strong-willed children was the principle that there are natural consequences to your actions. If you want to go outside without a coat and it's 27 degrees outside, you will be cold. If you want to go on a date, you'll need gas in your car—gas costs money, you get money when you do your chores. </p> <p> I liken that story and its principles to much of our advocacy work at the WSMA. Often, our work is built on a foundation of helping policymakers and legislators understand the natural consequences of their decisions, and the potential impact those decisions have on the current health care system. </p> <p> The prevailing attitude in Olympia—and a laudable one at that—is a desire to make health care more affordable, to reduce the number of people who are uninsured, and to ensure that all Washingtonians have access to care in their local communities. Clearly those are goals that the WSMA supports as well. </p> <p> And so, I'm puzzled about why there are some bills moving during this session that—without a doubt—fly in the face of achieving those goals. </p> <p> The legislature is debating several bills that get in the way of this vision: increasing the B&O tax, setting a public option at Medicare rates, advancing bills that expand medical liability. Today, let's look at the latter: expanding liability and awards under the state's wrongful death statutes. </p> <p> Without question, every wrongful death, by its very nature, is a tragedy. But for a decade, Washington state law has provided a stable paradigm that strikes a delicate—and critical—balance, providing justice and compensation for financially dependent family members affected by wrongful death, while including limits where there is no financial dependence. </p> <p> Two bills this session, <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1135&Year=2019&Initiative=false">HB 1135</a> and <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5163&Initiative=false&Year=2019">SB 5163</a>, would undo this balance by drastically expanding liability. That expansion would prompt significant consequences, such as destabilizing the practice environment, exacerbating an already stressed workforce as physicians elect to leave practice, and reducing access to care as some physicians reconsider treating complex patients or performing high-risk services. </p> <p> The WSMA and our partner, Physicians Insurance A Mutual Company, are united against liability expansion. Together with the Washington State Hospital Association, the Liability Reform Coalition, and others, we strongly oppose these bills that broaden the current legal standard for wrongful death liability from "financially dependent" to "substantial involvement" in the life of the decedent, greatly expanding who may sue and increasing the number of claims (by as much as 20 percent, according to state estimates). </p> <p> The legislation would expand awards beyond economic damages to include non-economic damages, with the resulting higher payouts ultimately passed on as cost increases to taxpayers—and as higher insurance premiums. The legislation would also apply the law retroactively, applying to pending lawsuits and those filed prior to the statute of limitations expiring. </p> <p> Equally disturbing is another bill, <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1965&Initiative=false&Year=2019">HB 1965</a>, which would allow individuals to seek qui tam action on behalf of the state if employers violate various statutes pertaining to workplace law, including, but not limited to, health care facility employee overtime, safety in health care settings and health care whistleblower retaliation protection. The WSMA and our coalition partners oppose this bill, which remains alive in the House Appropriations Committee. </p> <p> These bills are emotionally charged; however, we need a fair court system that doesn't unfairly cripple physicians, hospitals, and local governments financially just because they have "deep pockets." </p> <p> Expanding liability and awards results in unintended consequences for the very people we are trying to help by providing affordable care. It adds additional costs into the system by necessitating a rise in insurance premiums, which impacts everyone's insurance rates, co-pays, and deductibles. And that's just on the medical side. Let's not forget the impact that rising insurance premiums have on the cost of housing, increased taxes, and limited community services. </p> <p> All of this makes Washington a less attractive place to practice medicine, thereby reducing the number of physicians in our community to provide care. And that's a natural consequence that we shouldn't have to endure. </p> </div>3/4/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
wsma_olympia_updates_feb_25_march_1WSMA Olympia Updates: Feb. 25-March 1Latest_NewsShared_Content/News/Advocacy_Report/2019/wsma_olympia_updates_feb_25_march_1<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right"><img alt="" src="/images/Advocacy/KatieK-LegUpdate-March4-645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>March 4, 2019 </h5> <h2>WSMA Olympia Updates: Feb. 25-March 1 </h2> <p> Our second installment of WSMA Olympia Updates with Katie Kolan, WSMA's director of legislative and regulatory affairs, is live! This week, Katie covers what we expect to see in upcoming budget proposals, potential calls to action, and is joined by WSMA's Legislative and Regulatory Coordinator, Hailey Hamilton. Check out this week's video <a href="https://vimeo.com/319232393">here</a>, and see last week's <a href="https://vimeo.com/319232393">here</a>. </p> </div>3/4/2019 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
 

Join or renew your membership today