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

Latest News

TaggedListQuery

NameAlternateNameTagNameLocationblobPublication DateImportant Until Date
provider_relief_fund_application_closing_soonProvider Relief Fund Application Closing SoonLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/October_22/provider_relief_fund_application_closing_soon<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/October/physician-money-illustration-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="illustrated physician and dollar sign arrow" /></div> <h5>October 22, 2021</h5> <h2>Provider Relief Fund Application Closing Soon</h2> <p>The Biden administration recently announced it will <a href="https://www.hrsa.gov/provider-relief/future-payments">release the remaining $25 billion</a> of the $185 billion that was deposited into the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Provider Relief Fund to assist physician practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seventeen billion will go to physicians and providers, with an additional $8.5 billion to rural physicians and providers. The application is still open for <a href="https://www.hrsa.gov/provider-relief/future-payments">Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Phase 4 and American Rescue Plan (ARP) Rural payments</a>, but only until Oct. 26.</p> <p>PRF Phase 4 is open to a broad range of physicians and health care providers who have been impacted by the pandemic. ARP Rural is open to Medicare, Medicaid, or Children's Health Insurance Program physicians who serve rural patients. You can <a href="https://cares.linkhealth.com/#/">apply here</a>. Applications must be submitted by Oct. 26, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Visit <a href="http://hrsa.gov/provider-relief">hrsa.gov/provider-relief</a> for more information including application resources and technical assistance webinars that offer guidance on the application process and portal.</p> </div>10/22/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
tell_congress_to_cancel_medicare_cutsTell Congress to Cancel Medicare Cuts!Latest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/October_22/tell_congress_to_cancel_medicare_cuts<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/September/medicare-barcode-645px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Medicare barcode illsutration" /></div> <h5>October 22, 2021</h5> <h2>Tell Congress to Cancel Medicare Cuts! </h2> <p>In what amounts to a "perfect storm" of payment cuts going into effect on Jan. 1, physician practices face the following stack of Medicare financial hits amounting to a 9.75% cut. These include:</p> <ul> <li>Expiration of the current reprieve from the repeatedly extended 2% sequester stemming from the Budget Control Act of 2011. Congress originally scheduled this policy to sunset in 2021 but it will now continue into 2030.</li> <li>Imposition of a 4% Statutory PAYGO sequester resulting from passage of the American Rescue Plan Act. Should lawmakers fail to act, it will mark the first time that Congress has failed to waive Statutory PAYGO.</li> <li>Expiration of the congressionally enacted 3.75% temporary increase in the Medicare physician fee schedule (PFS) conversion factor to avoid payment cuts associated with budget neutrality adjustments tied to PFS policy changes.</li> <li>A statutory freeze in annual Medicare PFS updates under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) that is scheduled to last until 2026, when updates resume at a rate of 0.25% a year indefinitely, a figure well below the rate of medical or consumer price index inflation.</li> </ul> <p>These cuts, if allowed to go into effect, would lead to fewer primary care providers, limited access to specialists, a disruption in care, and additional barriers to life-saving treatment.</p> <p>Now is the time to build on that momentum and demand that Congress take action to address these devastating Medicare cuts before it's too late. Please take a moment and <a href="https://physiciansgrassrootsnetwork.org/be-heard?vvsrc=%2fCampaigns%2f89064%2fRespond%3fvvcgUT%3dU2n8B9gDicI8Np0q9ql0_w%26unregistered%3dU2n8B9gDicI8Np0q9ql0_w%26vvcgRD%3dB9JMB6NAWfyggPQP%26vvsbr%3dzXUBtzqqnUZO0Xd9TjP4iQ">contact your senators and representative to tell them to cancel the cuts</a>.</p> </div>10/22/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
wsma_calls_on_all_health_professions_to_condemn_covid_19_misinformationWSMA Calls on All Health Professions to Condemn COVID-19 MisinformationLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/October_22/wsma_calls_on_all_health_professions_to_condemn_covid_19_misinformation<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/October/rod-of-asclepius-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Rod Of Asclepius" /></div> <h5>October 22, 2021</h5> <h2>WSMA Calls on All Health Professions to Condemn COVID-19 Misinformation</h2> <p>Endorsing the Washington Medical Commission <a href="https://sharpepr.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f8871e6faa510d5f0c8cd8709&id=e28c2e7d30&e=00bec3e7c9">COVID-19 misinformation position statement</a>, the WSMA has called on all health care professions to condemn the spread of COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation that erode public trust in the medical profession and endanger patients.</p> <p>In a press release, WSMA President Mika Sinanan, MD, PhD, said, "Any health care provider, whether a physician, dentist, naturopath, or nurse, whose treatment for their patients, whether for COVID-19 or another condition, is based on misinformation or disinformation are putting the public at risk. It is unethical, unprofessional, and dangerous.</p> <p>"The public puts its trust in our opinions as health care professionals. As physicians, our patients put their lives in our hands. We cannot compromise this trust by touting treatment options that are scientifically unproven or shown to be ineffective and dangerous."</p> <p>Read the full release on the <a href="https://wsma.org/Shared_Content/News/Press_Release/2021/washington_state_medical_association_calls_on_health_professions_to_condemn_covid_19_misinformation">WSMA website</a>.</p> </div>10/22/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_october_15_2021_concerning_trajectory_for_health_care_cost_containment_effortWeekly Rounds: October 15, 2021 - Concerning Trajectory for Health Care Cost Containment EffortLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_october_15_2021_concerning_trajectory_for_health_care_cost_containment_effort<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>October 15, 2021</h5> <h2>Concerning Trajectory for Health Care Cost Containment Effort</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> For several years, the unsustainable, rising cost of health care has been the subject of intense discussion in the hallways of Olympia. The WSMA is a steadfast advocate for physicians and patients in these negotiations, supporting efforts that seek to reduce costs while maintaining current or improving levels of service and opposing initiatives that would have the net result of reducing quality or access to care. </p> <p> To that end I want to make you aware of the state's latest and potentially most consequential work on this topic: the creation of a health care cost transparency board. </p> <p> The board has been meeting since early 2021, and your WSMA monitors and participates in these conversations. While certainly well-intended, we are concerned about the aggressive approach the board is pursuing, which seems to ignore that we are still fighting a global pandemic that has upended our delivery system and distorted the market in countless ways, many of which you are intimately familiar with: hospitals at full capacity, loss of life, unmanaged chronic care, postponement of elective surgeries, delaying or forgoing of routine care, an increasing need for mental health services, an exacerbated environment of limited services like affordable housing and other stressed social drivers, and situations where care has been delayed or denied due to a lack of space, staff, or other factors. </p> <p> The approach is similar to those adopted by <a href="https://www.nashp.org/how-states-use-cost-growth-benchmark-programs-to-contain-health-care-costs/">five other states</a> (pre-pandemic, I'll point out) including Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Rhode Island. As with these states, the WSMA expects the board's reports to have significant influence on state health care policy decisions. Unlike some of these states, the board does not wield an enforcement mechanism, nor does it have the ability to levy financial or other penalties. The Legislature may choose at some future date to grant this authority to the board. </p> <p> But as of today, the board is intended to help reduce the state's health care cost growth by: </p> <ul> <li>Determining the state's total health care expenditures.</li> <li>Setting a health care cost growth benchmark for providers and payers.</li> <li>Identifying cost trends and cost drivers in the health care system.</li> <li>Reporting annually to the Legislature, including providing recommendations for lowering health care costs.</li> </ul> <p> The board will publicly identify health care providers, including health systems and physician practices, and payers that exceed the established benchmark with the aims of: </p> <ol> <li>Making health care costs more transparent to the public and policymakers.</li> <li>Encouraging providers and payers to keep costs at or below the benchmark.</li> <li>Reducing the overall trend of health care cost growth in Washington state.</li> </ol> <p> The board is required to review and consult with entities that exceed the benchmark before publicly identifying them. Determining entities that are subject to the benchmark is the topic of forthcoming work by the board. The WSMA will advocate that certain practices, especially smaller and in rural areas, are at high risk for being adversely impacted by the benchmark and should be carved out. </p> <p> The board comprises 14 members representing various government agencies and industries. In general, most members of the board represent purchasers of health care. Physicians, providers, health systems, and insurance carriers do not have representation on the board. Rather, these perspectives are considered during meetings of an <a href="https://www.hca.wa.gov/about-hca/advisory-committee-health-care-providers-and-carriers">advisory committee of health care providers and carriers</a>, a subcommittee of the board, and then reported out by staff and a member of the advisory committee who serves as a non-voting member of the board. </p> <p> The WSMA is an engaged and constructive partner in this important work. WSMA president Mika Sinanan, MD, PhD, represents the WSMA on the advisory committee. The WSMA created a work group to help Dr. Sinanan and WSMA staff navigate and participate effectively in this work. The work group includes: </p> <ul> <li>Donald Benz, MD</li> <li>Monica Blykowski-May, MD</li> <li>Carrie Horwitch, MD</li> <li>Mark Mantei</li> <li>Christine Palermo, MD</li> <li>Ralph Rossi, MD</li> </ul> <p> The board has been meeting monthly since February 2021. At its September 2021 meeting, the board voted to set the following aggressive total cost of health care benchmarks:</p> <ul> <li>2022-2023: 3.2%</li> <li>2024-2025: 3.0%</li> <li>2026: 2.8%</li> </ul> <p> The WSMA believes that for this endeavor to be successful, benchmarks should be meaningful, supported by evidence, and achievable to maintain credibility and garner confidence and support from stakeholders. While we understand and share the desire of the board to reduce health care costs, the WSMA is concerned by lack of evidence or sufficient rationale to support such an aggressive reduction-especially in the face of a pandemic that has devastated capacity in the system. </p> <p> We fear that setting unrealistically high expectations undermines future recommendations to the Legislature and might lead entities subject to the benchmark to ignore the work of the board, or worse, force them to initiate changes that have the effect of degrading access to high quality health care. </p> <p> The WSMA and many advisory committee members believe that a stable, five-year benchmark would provide the flexibility needed to work toward the admirable and challenging target of 3.2% (half of our recent growth rate) in a responsible way. Despite this recommendation, the board has adopted the declining benchmark growth rate target. The WSMA has requested the board adjust its benchmark to align with the advisory committee's recommendation, or that it recommend to the Legislature that it delay application of the benchmark until the global pandemic is behind us, at least until 2023 or 2024. </p> <p> The WSMA will continue to offer critical perspectives on these points and the upcoming work of the board which will include identifying cost trends and cost drivers in the health care system, and what entities will be subject to the benchmark. <strong>To advocate well, we need to hear from physician practices of all types and specialties about what this work means for you practice and your patients.</strong> Real world examples are very helpful! For example, what actions would you need to take at your practice to come in under the 3.2% growth benchmark in 2022? What steps would you need to take to ensure your costs do not exceed 2.8% in 2026? Let us know at <a href="mailto:policy@wsma.org">policy@wsma.org</a>. </p> </div>10/19/2021 10:26:57 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
federal_balance_billing_law_takes_surprise_turn_to_favor_insurersFederal Balance Billing Law Takes Surprise Turn to Favor InsurersLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/October_8/federal_balance_billing_law_takes_surprise_turn_to_favor_insurers<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/October/billing-invoice-645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="billing invoice" /></div> <h5>October 8, 2021</h5> <h2>Federal Balance Billing Law Takes Surprise Turn to Favor Insurers</h2> <p>Late last year Congress passed the No Surprises Act, which bans balance billing at the federal level effective Jan. 1. The law applies to emergency care and out-of-network physicians and other practitioners treating patients at in-network facilities, generally prohibiting them from billing patients directly for care provided. Federal agencies have been working on rulemakings to implement the law, which took a turn last week when the <a href="https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/what-you-need-know-about-biden-harris-administrations-actions-prevent-surprise-billing-september">latest set of rules</a> dramatically favored insurance carriers, potentially skewing the impact of the law on physicians and shifting even more leverage and profits to insurers.</p> <p>As passed by Congress, the federal balance billing law largely tracks with Washington state's Balance Billing Protection Act, which went into effect in 2020. In the event care is delivered by an out-of-network physician (or other practitioner) subject to the law, insurance carriers are directed to pay the physician, which the physician can contest through arbitration if the payment is insufficient. The difference between the two laws is that the federal law defers to carriers to set the initial payment rate based on their internal methodologies, and last week's rule instructs arbitrators to assume the insurer's payment is appropriate, stacking the deck against any physician who questions payment through arbitration.</p> <p>The American Medical Association and national physician specialties were quick to criticize the rule, <a href="https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/patient-support-advocacy/how-latest-surprise-billing-rule-entrenches-health">noting in a statement</a> from AMA President Gerald Harmon, MD, that the rule "disregards the insurance industry's role in creating the problem of surprise billing at the expense of independent physician practices whose ability to negotiate provider network contracts continues to erode."</p> <p>The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner has indicated that it will be pursuing legislation in the 2022 session that begins in January to align elements of the state and federal laws, such as the services that are covered under state law and the calculation of patient cost-sharing. The WSMA was one of the principal negotiators of the state balance billing law-which is generally seen as one of the more physician-friendly balance billing laws across states-and will be working to ensure the negative elements of the federal law are not mirrored in state statute.</p> </div>10/8/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
input_needed_on_health_care_cost_transparency_board_benchmarksInput Needed on Health Care Cost Transparency Board BenchmarksLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/October_8/input_needed_on_health_care_cost_transparency_board_benchmarks<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/October/stethoscope-dollar-sign-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Stethoscope in dollar sign shape" /></div> <h5>October 8, 2021</h5> <h2>Input Needed on Health Care Cost Transparency Board Benchmarks</h2> <p>In 2020, <a href="https://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2019-20/Pdf/Bills/Session%20Laws/House/2457-S2.SL.pdf?q=20200727153325">House Bill 2457</a> established a health care cost transparency board tasked with annually calculating total health care expenditures and health care cost growth, and establishing benchmarks for health care spending. Meeting monthly since February, the board has recently established these benchmarks-and an aggressive timeline for meeting them. Due to the troubling trajectory of this work, we need to hear from members on how these decisions may impact patient care at your practice.</p> <h3>Quick summary of the issue</h3> <p>To meet its goals of transparency and a reduction in the growth of costs, the health care cost transparency board will publicly identify health systems, physician practices, providers, and payers that exceed established total cost of health care benchmarks. Those benchmarks, as established by the board at its September 2021 meeting are:</p> <ul> <li>2022-2023: 3.2%</li> <li>2024-2025: 3.0%</li> <li>2026: 2.8%</li> </ul> <p>The board is required to review and consult with entities that exceed the benchmark before publicly identifying them. While there is no enforcement mechanism or penalty for those that exceed the benchmark, the WSMA expects the Legislature to give the board more "teeth" in future years.</p> <h3>How you can help</h3> <p>The WSMA is participating in an advisory capacity to the board. Due to our concerns around this work to date, we need to hear from you now to make sure the state understands the perspective of all practice types and specialties that are potentially subject to the benchmark. Real world examples are very helpful-for example, what actions would you need to take at your practice to come in under the 3.2% growth benchmark in 2022? What steps would you need to take to ensure your costs do not exceed 2.8% in 2026? Send us your feedback at <a href="mailto:policy@wsma.org">policy@wsma.org</a>. </p> <p>For background on the board, details on its work, and details on WSMA's concerns around the benchmarks and accompanying timeline, visit our new <a href="[@]WSMA/Advocacy/health_care_cost_transparency/health_care_cost_transparency.aspx">Health Care Cost Transparency webpage</a> on the WSMA website under Advocacy.</p> </div>10/8/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
wsma_urges_doh_to_reconsider_support_of_optometrist_scope_expansionWSMA Urges DOH to Reconsider Support of Optometrist Scope ExpansionLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/October_8/wsma_urges_doh_to_reconsider_support_of_optometrist_scope_expansion<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/September/eye-exam-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="patient getting eye exam" /></div> <h5>October 8, 2021</h5> <!-- **************************NEW ARTICLE****************************** --> <h2>WSMA Urges DOH to Reconsider Support of Optometrist Scope Expansion</h2> <p>The review and commenting period is now closed for Washington State Department of Health's draft sunrise report that supports, with some caveats, a troubling scope of practice expansion for optometrists. The WSMA submitted comments opposing the proposed expansion and is strongly urging the DOH to reconsider its support.</p> <p>Earlier this year, the Optometric Physicians of Washington submitted for <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/AboutUs/ProgramsandServices/HealthSystemsQualityAssurance/SunriseReviews/HealthProfessions">sunrise review</a> a proposal to expand optometrists' scope of practice to include certain surgical procedures, the use of lasers and ultrasounds for therapeutic purpose, and broad prescriptive authority without specifying any additional education or training requirements. The DOH supported the concept of the proposal in its draft report, with some limits on services that can be offered and education that optometrists must obtain.</p> <p>In our <a href="javascript://[Uploaded files/News and Publications/Newsletters/2021/wsma-comment-doh-draft-rec-optom-sunrise-final.pdf]">comment letter</a>, the WSMA conveyed our high level of concern with the DOH recommendations and our strong belief that there are more appropriate, demonstrated means to accomplish access to quality health care that do not jeopardize patient safety. In addition to these comments, the WSMA heard from a number of physicians who shared their concerns with the DOH by responding to our recent call to action on the issue. Physician feedback is critical to our efforts on this sunrise review and any subsequent legislation that may result. Thank you for your advocacy.</p> <p>The WSMA will continue to keep you apprised of new developments on this scope of practice proposal as well as any others that may arise before and during the 2022 legislative session.</p> </div>10/8/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_september_30_2021_what_makes_us_physiciansWeekly Rounds: September 30, 2021 - What Makes Us PhysiciansLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_september_30_2021_what_makes_us_physicians<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-sinanan-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Dr. Mika Sinanan" /></div> <h5>September 30, 2021</h5> <h2>What Makes Us Physicians</h2> <p> <em>Dr. Mika Sinanan celebrates the art of medicine in his inaugural address as WSMA president on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021.</em> </p> <p> It is a pleasure and honor to address you as your president. I fully acknowledge that you and the WSMA membership at large have taken on a bit of risk, putting a surgeon again in this role that has been discharged with so much skill and grace by my immediate predecessors, Nathan Schlicher, Bill Hirota, Tom Schaaf, and Donna Smith. I did note while working with them that they all have something of a "surgical" demeanor, and I mean this in the kindest possible way. Alas, they do hail from different, nonsurgical specialties. That said, the WSMA has had surgeons serve previously as president with distinction. I recall introducing Nick Rajacich, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon from Tacoma, to present to the UW Physicians board of trustees, serving as a great advocate for our organization. These are all very big footprints to fill … I hope to justify the risk you've all taken. </p> <p> A little about me: I was born in Finland and grew up in the West Indies, the US, and Vancouver, BC. My father was an ear, nose, and throat surgeon; my mother a former nurse and homemaker, and a great cook! I completed medical school at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and my general surgical residency at the University of Washington. I completed a PhD in physiology at the University of British Columbia and have spent the last 33 years on faculty at the UW with a practice focused on gastrointestinal and complex abdominal surgical disorders. My research interests have been in the areas of surgical robotics and simulation training, and the objective measurement of surgical performance, working with the WISH Surgical Simulation Division and engineers in the biorobotics lab at the UW Department of Electrical Engineering. </p> <p> I am grateful for a wonderful set of clinical and research partners at the University of Washington, as well as an inspiring and dedicated cadre of residents in our department who I am helping to train to take great care of me-and you-and our community, when we need it! After all, everyone should have at least one major operation in their lifetime! All of this is built on the foundation of an incredibly supportive family: two sons, Josh and Reilly, who are carving their own paths outside of health care, three great Brittany spaniels, and my wonderfully supportive and patient spouse of 41 years, Jenny. I have also been blessed with great mentors through my career. It is only by standing on their shoulders that I am before you today. </p> <p> The duties of the president are outlined in the WSMA bylaws: to preside at all general meetings of the association, to serve as a member of the executive committee, chair the board of trustees, and ex officio on all other WSMA committees except the nominating committee and judicial council. Most importantly, the president serves as the spokesperson for our profession to our state and to all component county societies. That means I serve you all, and I ask and expect you to call on me for help and support in any way that I and our great executive team can be of assistance. </p> <p> I want you to know that I have been preparing for this role. I've instructed my family that calling me "Mr. President" around the house is not necessary, at least not more than a half dozen times a day. The welts on my head and back that followed this suggestion are a testament to their measured response, but also probably the best preparation for the coming year. Clearly the titles of "Excellency" or "Chosen One," as Nathan and Bill were rumored to have tried out at home, won't be sustainable. </p> <p> In all seriousness, we all-all of the nearly 12,000 physician and physician assistant members of the WSMA, representing over half of the practicing physicians in Washington state-are challenged as we "live in interesting times." This saying is thought to be a loose translation of the Chinese proverb: "Better to be a dog in times of tranquility than a human in times of chaos." I'm not sure that my dogs would agree! But our times do seem chaotic with challenges that assail us all as we strive to meet our WSMA mission: to "Provide strong physician leadership and advocacy to shape the future of medicine. To advance quality care for all Washingtonians." </p> <p> Access to safe, effective, available, and affordable health care remains out of reach for too many in our community. We have not yet developed the tools to effectively address those social determinants of health that drive, to such a high degree, the health and health care needs of our patients. We face great disparities in income AND structural inequity across races and ethnicities in our communities and even within our own health care workforce. As Walter Cronkite, the journalist, noted, our health care system is too often not "healthy, caring, nor a system," fragmented and sometimes incomprehensibly complex. </p> <p> Coming into yet another wave of the COVID epidemic we face capacity and safety challenges with a stressed and stretched workforce who are, themselves, at risk of the illness that we are treating. Dr. Schlicher eloquently reviewed this in his presidential address last year. The ravages of climate change evident through reports of drought, previously "100 year" weather events that are now annual, heatwaves, and wildfires-are all a constant reminder of an even more complex future. New climate-related illnesses, population shifts due to rising sea water levels, and changes in the food supply will undoubtedly have a profound effect on our society, health care needs, and our resources to deliver that care. </p> <p> Any one of these topics could be a focus of an entire talk. Fortunately, they are well represented in the WSMA strategic plan and have been the subject of careful review by our board of trustees and select WSMA committees. They also undergird many of the resolutions brought forward for consideration through the House of Delegates as well as in our advocacy and regulatory agendas. We have much more work to do, but we should pause briefly and reflect on this past, enormously successful year. </p> <p> Our WSMA leadership team-led by CEO Jennifer Hanscom-has worked tirelessly to retain and expand our membership and maintain strong relationships with both smaller practice groups and larger organizations, all while holding the line on expenses. The thoughtful, constructive governance changes proposed by our Executive Committee and board of trustees-if approved by the House-will certainly make the WSMA more nimble, representative, and stronger. [See update at bottom.] And just as we achieved our own clinical pivot to telemedicine, the WSMA made a graceful move to virtual meetings and training without missing a step. </p> <p> The 2021 legislative session focused on the COVID pandemic. Despite a virtual format, the WSMA brought forward an ambitious agenda and achieved a 100% success rate in passing our priority bills and funding requests, truly remarkable work by Sean Graham, Jeb Shepard, and the entire advocacy team with help from many of you! </p> <ul> <li>We secured the first Medicaid reimbursement rate increase in memory, $140 million more for primary care, behavioral health, and pediatric services.</li> <li>Foundational Public Health Services were funded at $147 million over the next two years with a promise for twice that amount in the next biennial budget.</li> <li>Audio-only telemedicine is now a covered service, supporting our ability to reach rural, lower income, and older patients.</li> <li>Liability protections for care delivered or delayed due to COVID were instituted.</li> <li>Health equity CME for all state health care professionals, based on recent House of Delegates resolutions, will be starting in 2024.</li> <li>We also avoided any new taxes targeted at physicians or inappropriate expansion of scope of practice, holding a safe line on expanded prescriptive authority for naturopathic physicians and parity in reimbursement for ARNPs while embracing modernization of practice agreements for our PA partners.</li> </ul> <p> As I have pointed out, our profession and our society are being forced to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. In the next legislative session, I urge you to help us maintain this tremendous momentum. Topline issues include: </p> <ul> <li>Improved Medicaid funding for ALL physician specialty services.</li> <li>Support and replenishment of our COVID-ravaged workforce guided by principles of inclusion and diversity that, with physician leadership, will deliver a more robust delivery system and better patient experience.</li> <li>Promoting development of public health infrastructure and the efficacy of vaccines.</li> <li>Starting to meaningfully address the social determinants of health: income inequity, pollution, racism, and poor access to nutritious foods, these and other structural issues that determine overall health and chronic illness.</li> <li>Supporting our community response to climate change.</li> </ul> <p> We should all be proud of our present success while looking forward to next year's priorities. But I believe that preserving a historical perspective is also important in guiding our path to the future. </p> <p> The roots of the WSMA run deep and long in our state. In the historical compilation "Saddlebags to Scanners," which documented the first 100 years of medicine in Washington state, providing for the health of our community was a key consideration when the state of Washington was first established. The WSMA was formed in some of the first articles of state incorporation. The Washington Territorial Medical Society was founded in 1874, and renamed the Washington State Medical Association in 1894, to "represent the interest of physicians in matters of public policy and professional practice." Indeed, WSMA had a key role in developing some of the first capitated health model plans in the US and helping establish the UW School of Medicine in 1945. We, the WSMA, have been woven into the fabric of our community from its early days. We should be proud of our accomplishments and poised to build on them! </p> <p> In the past year, we have quite appropriately focused on the science, on public health measures, on team practice, on deploying electronic tools in support of coordinated care and excellent communication. It was clearly the right approach, but as we continue pursuing the science, we must not lose sight of those essential attributes of our art that brought so many of us into medicine. </p> <p> I would like to close with my own very personal observation and request to us all. Donna Smith, in her presidential address to the WSMA, noted, "We cannot lose sight of the why, why we came to medicine, why we remain, why we are effective as we touch lives around us." </p> <p> I, like so many of you, find my inspiration in the wisdom, courage, and calm endurance of our patients. Every patient I take to the operating room is putting their faith in me and my team while they surrender their autonomy under anesthesia. That is a sacred trust. It is a simple thing, but I acknowledge this trust by holding the hand of each patient as they're going under anesthesia and then being present when they wake up so that they know that I was there with them from beginning to end as I had promised. Many of my patients have mentioned that this simple gesture was memorable and comforting at a time of fear and uncertainty. </p> <p> Today, we continue to use the tools, data, and technology of public health in pursuit of the best health for all. But that is only part of the solution. William Osler, in his 1904 collection of addresses, "Aequanimitas," described the critical ability to listen and hear the experience and suffering of the soul before us, that these human skills are essential to good diagnosis but also to healing. President Theodore Roosevelt observed, "No one cares what you know until they know you care." Our knowledge and training equip us for the technical aspects of our profession. However, it is our caring and compassion, our ability to touch with empathy and skill that sustains a common bond of humanity with our patients, that makes us physicians-and pretty good surgeons-instead of technicians, and that sustains all of us in the WSMA as a community. I relish the challenges before us-so much opportunity!-and look forward to working in the coming year with you all as your president. </p> <p> Thank you. </p> <p> <em>In a postscript to my speech on Sunday, your leadership's attempt to bring more voices into our policymaking and to create a more diverse and inclusive organization - whether based on race, geography, or practice setting - had strong support but did not quite make the 2/3 threshold to pass the House of Delegates. However, this is just one of many steps we are taking on this important topic. Please stay tuned!</em> </p> </div>9/30/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
washington_state_medical_association_calls_on_health_professions_to_condemn_covid_19_misinformationWashington State Medical Association Calls on Health Professions to Condemn COVID-19 MisinformationLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Press_Release/2021/washington_state_medical_association_calls_on_health_professions_to_condemn_covid_19_misinformation<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right"><img src="/images/Logos/Press-Release-Graphic-2019-Branding.png" class="pull-right" alt="WSMA press release logo" /></div> <h5>September 28, 2021</h5> <h2>Washington State Medical Association Calls on Health Professions to Condemn COVID-19 Misinformation</h2> <p> SEATTLE (Sept. 27, 2021) - The Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) is endorsing the Washington Medical Commission's recently adopted COVID-19 misinformation position statement and calls on all health care professions to condemn the spread of COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation that erode public trust in the medical profession and endanger patients. </p> <p> "Any health care provider, whether a physician, dentist, naturopath, or nurse, whose treatment for their patients, whether for COVID-19 or another condition, is based on misinformation or disinformation are putting the public at risk," said Mika Sinanan, MD, PhD, president-elect of the WSMA. "It is unethical, unprofessional, and dangerous. </p> <p> "The public puts its trust in our opinions as health care professionals. As physicians, our patients put their lives in our hands. We cannot compromise this trust by touting treatment options that are scientifically unproven or shown to be ineffective and dangerous. </p> <p> "The WSMA supports the stance on COVID-19 misinformation taken by the Washington Medical Commission, which oversees the licenses of MDs and physician assistants. Specifically, as the statement reads, 'treatment and recommendations regarding this disease that fall below the standard of care as established by medical experts, federal authorities, and legitimate medical research are potentially subject to disciplinary action.' </p> <p> "We know that not all patients seek their care from a physician and that we are not their sole source of care or medical information. Therefore, we urge all health professions in Washington state and their licensing boards to adopt a similar statement and commit to disciplining their members who spread inaccurate information about the COVID-19 vaccine, or any vaccine, that has been scientifically proven to protect our patients and our communities from the spread of deadly disease. </p> <p> "The WSMA supports evidence-based medicine, and we have strong policy around principles of medical ethics. Physicians and physician assistants are combatting COVID-19 misinformation every day. They are urging their patients to take appropriate measures to protect themselves and loved ones from illness by getting vaccinated and masking in public, and they strongly recommend against taking treatments for which there is no evidence or that could be harmful if used inappropriately." </p> <p> For more information, contact: </p> <p> Graham Short<br /> WSMA Communications<br /> 206.329.6851 (cell/text)<br /> <a href="mailto:gfs@wsma.org">gfs@wsma.org</a> </p> <h3>About the WSMA </h3> <p> The Washington State Medical Association represents nearly 12,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians, and medical students across all specialties and practice types in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the house of medicine more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care. </p> </div>9/28/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
guidance_for_administering_pfizer_covid_19_vaccine_booster_dosesGuidance for Administering Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Booster DosesLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2021/guidance_for_administering_pfizer_covid_19_vaccine_booster_doses<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/latest-news/2021/September/COVID-vaccine-docs-syringe-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="illustration of physicians holding giant vaccine syringe" /></div> <h5>September 27, 2021</h5> <h2>Guidance for Administering Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Doses</h2> <p> The Washington State Department of Health on Friday released the following summary of guidelines for practices and health care providers on administering booster doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine: </p> <p> On Thursday, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended certain populations receive a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after completing their Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine primary series. In addition, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/p0924-booster-recommendations-.html">the CDC director recommended a booster dose for those in high-risk occupational and institutional settings.</a> </p> <p> In Washington state, we must also have a recommendation from the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup. <a href="https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/western-states-scientific-safety-review-workgroup-recommends-pfizer-biontech-vaccine">That group met on Friday and has confirmed their recommendations</a>, which align with the CDC. </p> <p> The CDC and the Western States workgroup recommend: </p> <ul> <li>People 65 years and older <strong>should</strong> receive a booster shot of Pfizer vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer primary series.</li> <li>Residents in long-term care settings <strong>should</strong> receive a booster shot of Pfizer vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer primary series.</li> <li>People aged 50 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions <strong>should</strong> receive a booster shot of Pfizer vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer primary series.</li> <li>People 18 to 49 who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to certain underlying medical conditions <strong>may</strong> receive a booster shot of Pfizer vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.</li> <li>People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting <strong>may</strong> receive a booster shot of Pfizer vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.</li> </ul> <p> <strong>Here is the COVID-19 additional and booster dose vaccine guidance as of Sept. 24:</strong> </p> <p> <strong>Who can receive additional doses:</strong> </p> <ul> <li>You <strong>may</strong> administer a booster dose of Pfizer vaccine to those who qualify based on the recommendations listed above.</li> <li>You <strong>may</strong> administer a third dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) to people who qualify for it due to immunocompromise as described in this guidance.</li> </ul> <p> Who cannot receive additional doses: </p> <ul> <li>You <strong>may not</strong> administer a booster dose to someone who is in one of the populations listed above but who received Moderna as their primary series.</li> <li>You <strong>may not</strong> administer a second or third dose to someone who received Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine. This vaccine is only one dose no matter your age or immune competence.</li> </ul> <p> Acting outside of these recommendations violates the COVID-19 vaccine provider agreement. </p> <p> <strong>Balancing primary and booster doses</strong> </p> <p> We need to protect as many people in Washington as possible from COVID-19. You have been doing a great job so far and you have vaccinated nearly three quarters of Washington's population, but there are still millions of people who are unprotected. </p> <p> Please continue vaccinating as many people as you can with their primary series of COVID-19 vaccine, but prepare your clinic or facility to offer booster doses as well. </p> <p> <strong>What can you do now?</strong> </p> <ul> <li>Make sure you have enough stock on hand to provide both primary and booster doses for your patient population and/or open clinics. There is no difference in formulation for boosters, so you may continue ordering existing available presentations.</li> <li>Connect with depot sites if you need smaller quantities. Learn more about ordering vaccine on our <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/HealthcareProviders/VaccineInformationforHealthcareProviders/Management">COVID-19 vaccine management page</a>.</li> <li>Sign up for the Power of Providers initiative at <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/VaccineInformation/PowerofProvidersInitiative">doh.wa.gov/POP</a>. It's free, and signing up will give you tools to encourage your patients to get vaccinated, have productive vaccine conversations, advertise your status as a COVID-19 vaccine provider, and more.</li> <li>Conduct reminder/recall efforts for both your unvaccinated patients and your patients who may now be eligible for a booster or third dose.</li> </ul> </div>9/27/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
hoodsport_surgeon_named_president_of_wsmaHoodsport Surgeon Named President of WSMALatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Press_Release/2021/hoodsport_surgeon_named_president_of_wsma<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right"><img src="/images/Logos/Press-Release-Graphic-2019-Branding.png" class="pull-right" alt="WSMA press release logo" /></div> <h5>September 27, 2021</h5> <h2>Hoodsport Surgeon Named President of WSMA</h2> <p> SEATTLE (Sept. 27, 2021) - Hoodsport physician Mika Sinanan, MD, PhD, was named president of the Washington State Medical Association at its annual House of Delegates meeting on Sunday, Sept. 26. The WSMA represents physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians, and medical students throughout Washington state. </p> <p> Dr. Sinanan is a general surgeon at University of Washington Medical Center - Montlake in Seattle, the medical director for contracting and value-based specialty care at UW Medical Center, and a professor of surgery at the UW School of Medicine. </p> <p> He received his undergraduate degree (1977) and his medical doctorate (1980) from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, followed by a doctorate in gastrointestinal physiology from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C. Dr. Sinanan completed an initial residency in surgery (1983) at the University of Washington in Seattle followed by more post-graduate studies in the department of physiology at the University of British Columbia. After completing a chief residency at the University of Washington in 1988, Dr. Sinanan was appointed attending surgeon at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. </p> <p> Dr. Sinanan continued teaching within the University of Washington with a series of faculty appointments, beginning in 1988 as acting assistant professor in the department of surgery. Today, he is a graduate faculty member at the UW, as well as an adjunct professor in the university's department of electrical engineering. </p> <p> He has received numerous awards and recognition for his academic achievements, his clinical expertise, and his executive management. Recent honors include Seattle Business Magazine's Leaders in Health Care Awards, silver award, outstanding medical group executive (2015), Newsweek Health's top cancer doctors (2015), and top doctor, Seattle Met Magazine, (2013-2019). </p> <p> Dr. Sinanan's involvement in organized medicine is extensive, including with the American Medical Association, American College of Surgeons, American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, National Cancer Committee Network, North Pacific Surgical Association, Pacific Northwest Gastroenterology Society, Seattle Surgical Society, and Society of American Gastroenterologists and Endoscopic Surgeons, among others. </p> <p> The following physicians were also elected as officers at the meeting: Katina Rue, DO, Yakima family physician, president-elect; Nariman Heshmati, MD, Mukilteo OB-GYN, vice president; and John Bramhall, MD, PhD, Seattle anesthesiologist, for a second term as secretary-treasurer. The fifth officer of WSMA's executive committee is past-president Nathan Schlicher, MD, JD, MBA, Tacoma emergency physician, who will serve as committee chair. </p> <p> WSMA members newly elected to the association's board of trustees include Alan Urbina-Alvarez, MD, Lakewood gastroenterologist; and Reilly Bealer, Spokane medical student. WSMA members elected to new board positions include Alexander Hamling, MD, MBA, Seattle pediatrician, trustee-at-large and Amish Dave, MD, MPH, Seattle rheumatologist, young physician trustee. </p> <p><a href="https://wsma.org/doc_library/news/sinanan-mika-2021-septoct.jpg" target="_blank">Download a hi-resolution portrait of WSMA President Mika Sinanan, MD, PhD</a></p> <p> For more information, contact: </p> <p> Graham Short<br /> WSMA Communications<br /> 206.329.6851 (cell/text)<br /> <a href="mailto:gfs@wsma.org">gfs@wsma.org</a> </p> <h3>About the WSMA </h3> <p> The Washington State Medical Association represents nearly 12,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians, and medical students across all specialties and practice types in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the house of medicine for more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care. </p> </div>9/27/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
washington_state_medical_association_recognizes_member_physicians_others_for_exemplary_serviWashington State Medical Association Recognizes Member Physicians, Others for Exemplary ServLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Press_Release/2021/washington_state_medical_association_recognizes_member_physicians_others_for_exemplary_servi<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right"><img src="/images/Logos/Press-Release-Graphic-2019-Branding.png" class="pull-right" alt="WSMA press release logo" /></div> <h5>September 27, 2021</h5> <h2>Washington State Medical Association Recognizes Member Physicians, Others for Exemplary Service</h2> <p> SEATTLE (Sept. 27, 2021) - Seven physician members and two health care organizations have been recognized by the Washington State Medical Association for extraordinary leadership, service, and contributions to medicine and patient safety. These recognitions were part of the medical association's Apple Awards program presented during the 2021 WSMA Annual Meeting, held virtually on Saturday, Sept. 25. </p> <p> Chris Bundy, MD, the executive medical director of the Washington Physicians Health Program, received the President's Unsung Hero Award, which recognizes the WSMA member who offers extraordinary service to the profession to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care. Dr. Bundy is a national leader in physician health and is the president of the Federation of State Physician Health Programs-a testament to his service, commitment, and the reputation of the WPHP, a program that all members of Washington's physician community can be proud of. </p> <p> Yuan-Po Tu, MD, an internist at The Everett Clinic, received the Community Advocate Award, which recognizes a member of the community who provides extraordinary support to, and advocacy for, the house of medicine. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Tu has played a pivotal role in helping keep his community and health care teams safe and has provided critical and influential contributions in the development of COVID-19 testing. </p> <p> Amish Dave, MD, a rheumatologist with Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, received the Early Career Member of the Year Award, which recognizes a WSMA member for their service to the association's early career members (physicians in their first 10 years of practice, resident physicians, and medical students). His efforts within the WSMA's early career sections are hallmarked by his tireless championing of public health, health equity, and access to care. </p> <p> UW Medicine-Valley Medical Center's Professional Satisfaction and Wellness Committee received the Wellness Award, which recognizes an organization that has worked to put the joy back in medicine for Washington physicians. The committee was honored for its efforts since 2016 to integrate clinician wellness activities across the organization. </p> <p> Four WSMA members received the Grassroots Advocate Award, which recognizes their advocacy efforts and activities supporting WSMA legislative priorities. They include: Beth Harvey, MD, Olympia pediatrician and past president of the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, for her advocacy on behalf of children with the Cascade Pacific Action Alliance and her instrumental support during the pandemic for the reopening of Thurston County schools; Anthony L-T Chen, MD, Tacoma family physician and the director of health for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, for his public health advocacy in Pierce County and support of WSMA's legislative priorities; Katina Rue, DO, Yakima family physician and WSMA executive committee member, for her tireless advocacy in the Legislature in 2021 on behalf of WSMA priorities; and Leo Morales, MD, professor of medicine and assistant dean with the Office of Healthcare Equity at the University of Washington and co-director of the UW Latino Center for Health, for his efforts toward increasing the Latinx physician workforce and his advocacy on behalf of Latinx physicians and physician assistants at the WSMA. </p> <p> This year, the William O. Robertson, MD, Patient Safety Award goes to the MultiCare Regional Cancer Center in Auburn in recognition of its efforts to increase advance care planning (goals-of-care conversations) for patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation and to have POLST (Portable Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) documented in the electronic medical record for patients on palliative therapy. </p> <p> "These individuals and organizations represent exemplary efforts to protect and preserve the health of Washingtonians," said WSMA's outgoing 2021 president, Nathan Schlicher, MD, JD, who presented the awards during the association's virtual meeting. "In difficult times, we can all be grateful that so many in our profession continue to model the best that medicine has to offer." </p> <p> For more information, contact: </p> <p> Graham Short<br /> WSMA Communications<br /> 206.329.6851 (cell/text)<br /> <a href="mailto:gfs@wsma.org">gfs@wsma.org</a> </p> <h3>About the WSMA </h3> <p> The Washington State Medical Association represents nearly 12,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians, and medical students across all specialties and practice types in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the house of medicine for more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care. </p> </div>9/27/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
getting_started_on_pmp_ehr_integrationGetting Started on PMP-EHR IntegrationLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/September_24/getting_started_on_pmp_ehr_integration<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/September/rx-bottle-doctor-laptop-645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Physician holding up prescription medication bottle" /></div> <h5>September 24, 2021</h5> <h2>Getting Started on PMP-EHR Integration </h2> <p>Starting Jan. 1, the prescription monitoring program integration mandate for practices with 10 or more prescribers, as established by Senate Bill 5380 from 2019, will go into effect. The Washington State Department of Health recently issued the following guidance for practices or other health care organizations.</p> <p>There are currently two ways to integrate a health care organization's electronic health record with the PMP: the state's health information exchange, OneHealthPort, and approved direct integration options, such as Bamboo Health's (formerly Appriss Health) PMP Gateway. </p> <h3>Integrating using OneHealthPort</h3> <p>For information on integrating your organization's EHR through OneHealthPort, you may fill out this <a href="https://www.formstack.com/forms/?1688456-sjNVJY8V7I=">OneHealthPort support request form</a>. Under Issue or Question Area select "Other" and indicate you are interested in PMP integration. Someone from OneHealthPort will contact you after the form has been submitted. </p> <h3>Integrating using Bamboo Health's PMP Gateway</h3> <p>For information on integrating your organization's EHR through Bamboo Health's PMP Gateway, visit the <a href="https://info.apprisshealth.com/ehrrequest">Appriss Health integration request</a> page and fill out the form on the right-hand side. Once the form is submitted you will receive an email inviting you to register for a product overview webinar. If you have questions about the integration process or specific questions about PMP Gateway, please reach out to <a href="mailto:AccountSupport@apprisshealth.com">AccountSupport@apprisshealth.com</a>.</p> <h3>Hardship waivers </h3> <p>The WSMA was instrumental in securing a hardship waiver due to economic or other factors. The DOH is currently promulgating these rules. When finalized, the WSMA will share with members for review to see if your practice may qualify and how to submit a waiver request.</p> </div>9/24/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
health_care_vaccine_mandate_new_practice_resourcesHealth Care Vaccine Mandate: New Practice ResourcesLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/September_24/health_care_vaccine_mandate_new_practice_resources<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/September/covid-vax-vials-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Vials of COVID-19 vaccine" /></div> <h5>September 24, 2021</h5> <h2>Health Care Vaccine Mandate: New Practice Resources</h2> <p>Practices, clinics, and other health care settings across Washington have a little under a month left to ensure clinicians, staff, and other workers in private health care and long-term care settings are fully vaccinated by the state deadline of Oct. 18. Here's what's new since <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/September_10/department_of_health_updates_faqs_for_health_care_vaccine_mandate">our last update</a>:</p> <h3>Sample FAQ from The Everett Clinic</h3> <p>The Everett Clinic has shared its frequently asked questions document that addresses concerns about the mandatory vaccine requirement. The document represents one practice's interpretation of the proclamation, is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any specific facts. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel before implementing any policy or practice or taking any employment-related action. </p> <p><a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/Implementing_the_COVID_19_Vaccine_Mandate_at_Your_Practice/Implementing_the_COVID_19_Vaccine_Mandate_at_Your_Practice.aspx?WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Access The Everett Clinic COVID-19 Vaccination FAQ</a> (sign-in required).</p> <h3>Sample contractor attestation form</h3> <p>Working with the employment attorneys from Montgomery Purdue PLLC, the WSMA offers a sample contractor attestation form, which your practice may adapt for use.</p> <p> <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/Implementing_the_COVID_19_Vaccine_Mandate_at_Your_Practice/Implementing_the_COVID_19_Vaccine_Mandate_at_Your_Practice.aspx?WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Access the sample contractor attestation form</a> (sign-in required).</p> <p>More resources, including an on-demand webinar and other sample clinic policy and exemption forms are available on the WSMA website. Visit <a href="http://www.wsma.org/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/Implementing_the_COVID_19_Vaccine_Mandate_at_Your_Practice/Implementing_the_COVID_19_Vaccine_Mandate_at_Your_Practice.aspx">Implementing the COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate at Your Practice</a> (sign-in required) for these resources.</p> </div>9/24/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
submit_your_concerns_on_troubling_optometrist_scope_expansion_and_other_proposalsSubmit Your Concerns on Troubling Optometrist Scope Expansion and Other ProposalsLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/September_24/submit_your_concerns_on_troubling_optometrist_scope_expansion_and_other_proposals<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/September/eye-exam-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Patient receiving eye exam" /></div> <h5>September 24, 2021</h5> <h2>Submit Your Concerns on Troubling Optometrist Scope Expansion and Other Proposals</h2> <p>The Washington State Department of Health has issued draft recommendations on three scope of practice proposals under sunrise review. The DOH is now seeking public comment on the recommendations before issuing its final report on the proposals to the Legislature.</p> <h3>Optometrist scope of practice </h3> <p>The Optometric Physicians of Washington is proposing to expand optometrists' scope to include certain surgical procedures, the use of lasers and ultrasounds for therapeutic purposes, and broad prescriptive authority without specifying additional education or training requirements. The WSMA expressed <a href="javascript://[Uploaded files/News and Publications/Newsletters/2021/wsma-comment-optometrist-sunrise.pdf]">opposition to the proposal</a> during the <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Latest_News/2021/sunrise_reviews_on_the_horizon_midwifery_optometrists_and_anesthesiologist_assistants">initial commenting period in July</a>.</p> <p>In its draft recommendations, the DOH supports the concept of the scope proposal, with some limits about services that can be offered and education that optometrists must obtain. <strong>The WSMA has serious concerns regarding the DOH's inappropriate recommendations. We strongly urge you to submit comments in opposition by Oct. 2</strong>. Email comments to <a href="mailto:optom-sunrise@doh.wa.gov">optom-sunrise@doh.wa.gov</a><strong>.</strong> The DOH draft report with recommendations is available <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/2000/2021/2021DraftOptometrySunrise.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">here</a>.</p> <h3>Midwifery scope of practice</h3> <p>The Midwives Association of Washington is proposing an increase in the scope of practice of licensed midwives (not certified nurse-midwives). The proposal includes adding "limited prescription authority for contraception and medications and therapies for various common conditions in pregnancy and postpartum, for those with appropriate training." The WSMA believes additional clarification and safeguards are needed in this proposal, as outlined in <a href="javascript://[Uploaded files/News and Publications/Newsletters/2021/wsma-comment-re-midwives-sunrise-review-proposal.pdf]">comments issued in July</a>.</p> <p>In its draft recommendations, the DOH supports the proposal conceptually, believing it has the potential to increase access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services. The DOH does not, however, support the proposal as submitted, due to patient safety concerns regarding the ambiguity of the proposed prescriptive authority and education and training requirements. The DOH lists recommendations for the applicant group, including collaborating with obstetricians and gynecologists to determine appropriate parameters. The DOH draft report with recommendations is available <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/2000/2021/2021DraftMidwiferySunrise.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">here</a>. Comments should be emailed to <a href="mailto:mwsunrise@doh.wa.gov">mwsunrise@doh.wa.gov</a>.</p> <h3>Anesthesiologist assistant scope of practice</h3> <p>The Washington State Society of Anesthesiologists is proposing the creation of a license for anesthesiologist assistants. The <a href="javascript://[Uploaded files/News and Publications/Newsletters/2021/wsma-support-aa-sunrise.pdf]">WSMA submitted comments</a> in support of this proposal in July, acknowledging that the proposal delineates the advanced graduate degrees, extensive training, and advanced patient monitoring techniques necessary for such a license.</p> <p>The DOH recommended in favor of this sunrise proposal, with some suggested changes to ensure patient safety. According to the DOH, if the recommended changes are made, the proposal will meet the sunrise criteria to demonstrate it protects the public from harm, ensures adequate education and training, and is the most cost-effective option for this credential. The DOH draft report with recommendations is available <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/2000/2021/2021DraftAnesthesAsstSunrise.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">here</a>. Comments should be emailed to <a href="mailto:anesthesiology-sunrise@doh.wa.gov">anesthesiology-sunrise@doh.wa.gov</a>.</p> <h3>Deadline for feedback</h3> <p>Comments on the DOH draft recommendations are due by midnight Oct. 2. The WSMA will share our comments on these draft recommendations once they are compiled.</p> <h3>About sunrise reviews </h3> <p>In Washington state, the Department of Health makes recommendations to the Legislature on health profession scope of practice proposals in a process called a "<a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/AboutUs/ProgramsandServices/HealthSystemsQualityAssurance/SunriseReviews/HealthProfessions">sunrise review</a>." These recommendations are weighted heavily by the Legislature when considering scope expansion proposals during legislative sessions. The above proposals will likely be in play during the upcoming 2022 session.</p> </div>9/24/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
wsma_launches_covid_19_vaccination_confidence_campaignWSMA Launches COVID-19 Vaccination Confidence CampaignLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/September_24/wsma_launches_covid_19_vaccination_confidence_campaign<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/September/talk-to-your-doctor-stevensco-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Talk to your doctor screen image" /></div> <h5>September 24, 2021</h5> <h2>WSMA Launches COVID-19 Vaccination Confidence Campaign</h2> <p>The WSMA this week launched its "Talk to Your Doctor" COVID-19 vaccine confidence campaign to encourage vaccine uptake in rural and disadvantaged communities in our state.</p> <p>This three-month, multiplatform, data-driven marketing campaign features videos with local doctors promoted across popular web platforms, including Facebook and YouTube, and supplemented with traditional media outreach and print resources. Supported through a grant from the Washington State Department of Health, the first phase of the campaign launched this week in the Tri Counties, with potential additional funding available for a second phase in Southeast Washington later this year or in early 2022.</p> <h3>Watch the Tri County "Talk to Your Doctor" videos</h3> <p>For the Tri County campaign, the WSMA produced eight 15-second spots and three 30-second spots, designed to run across Facebook and before and during videos on YouTube and on Google-approved websites. The videos feature familiar local physicians from communities in Pend Oreille, Ferry, and Stevens counties and focus on different key messages to encourage vaccination, each including the tag line to "talk to your doctor about getting the COVID-19 shot." <a href="https://vimeo.com/user/6809798/folder/5498609">Watch the videos</a>.</p> <p>Many thanks to our participating physicians: Curtis Gill, DO, Newport; Geoff Jones, MD, Newport; Lisa Matelich, MD, Newport; Shannon Radke, MD, Newport; Kal Kelley, MD, Republic; Ramon Canto, MD, Colville; Caleb Holtzer, MD, Chewelah; and Edward Johnson, MD, Kettle Falls. And a special thanks to Sam Artzis, MD, health officer for the Northeast Tri County Health District, for his guidance and support.</p> <h3>"Talk to Your Doctor" brochure</h3> <p>A print brochure will be developed for the campaign this fall and will be available to all WSMA members across the state.</p> <p>If you have questions about the campaign, email Graham Short at <a href="mailto:gfs@wsma.org">gfs@wsma.org</a>.</p> </div>9/24/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_september_17_2021_let’s_do_our_part_to_prevent_physician_suicideWeekly Rounds: September 17, 2021 - Let’s Do Our Part to Prevent Physician SuicideLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_september_17_2021_let’s_do_our_part_to_prevent_physician_suicide<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>September 17, 2021</h5> <h2>Let's Do Our Part to Prevent Physician Suicide</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> As the pandemic grinds along month after month, we're all well aware that what was once an acute, emergent disaster has evolved to a long-haul, chronic event. No wonder we're hearing more about how exhausted, frustrated, and burned-out health care workers are. It's a sprint that's turned into marathon after marathon, and sustaining the pace is impacting your health, your heart, and your well-being. </p> <p> Today is National Physician Suicide Awareness Day. #NPSADay is both a reminder and a call to action intended to help us all do our part to prevent physician suicide. We all have a role to play, individually and through health organizations, health systems, hospitals, medical societies, and practices. It’s time we get comfortable discussing mental health concerns and provide safe spaces whereby our family, friends, and colleagues can say “I’m struggling” before it becomes a crisis. Let’s take time to talk and to act so physicians’ struggles don’t become mental health emergencies. </p> <p> One way to do that is to engage with others who are working on this. The Physicians Foundation, Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation, and #FirstRespondersFirst have united to equip you to help prevent physician suicide through <a href="https://npsaday.org/">Vital Signs: The Campaign to Prevent Physician Suicide</a>. </p> <p> Vital Signs curates six actions anyone can take to help physicians in distress seek mental health care, ultimately helping prevent suicide: </p> <ul> <li>Learn the Vital Signs.</li> <li>Share suicide prevention resources.</li> <li>Prepare before a moment of crisis.</li> <li>Check in with a physician.</li> <li>Understand structural barriers.</li> <li>Create a culture of well-being.</li> </ul> <p> Being intentionally attentive as the pandemic wears on is critically important. A recent survey by the Physicians Foundation shows that during the COVID-19 pandemic, more than six in 10 physicians (61%) <a href="https://physiciansfoundation.org/physician-and-patient-surveys/the-physicians-foundation-2021-physician-survey/">reported</a> they experienced feelings of burnout. When left untreated, burnout can cause more cases of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use, and lead to suicidal thoughts for physicians, directly impacting physician suicide rates. </p> <p> The WSMA is committed to raising awareness of the physician suicide epidemic and galvanizing physicians, colleagues, and loved ones to create a culture of well-being that prioritizes reducing burnout, safeguarding job satisfaction, and viewing seeking mental health services as a sign of strength. </p> <p> We are fortunate in Washington state to have physician leaders committed to addressing burnout. The Medical Officer Collaborative, co-sponsored by the WSMA and the Washington State Hospital Association, has a call to action to reduce administrative burden and promote evidence-based interventions to address the drivers of burnout. Senior physician leaders from around the state will convene on Nov. 30 for a workshop on engaging, retaining, and sustaining the health care workforce with <a href="https://www.care4th.com/dave-logan-bio">Dave Logan</a> and <a href="https://www.care4th.com/ashleigh-rogriguez-bio">Ashleigh Rodriguez</a>, co-founders of Care4th. Their work focuses on addressing organizational drivers of burnout. </p> <p> In the meantime, I hope you’ll join the #NPSADay effort. Visit the <a href="https://npsaday.org/">campaign website</a> to learn more about ways to take action and use #NPSADay on social media to spread the word. </p> </div>9/17/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
act_today_to_prevent_looming_medicare_cutsAct Today to Prevent Looming Medicare CutsLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/September_10/act_today_to_prevent_looming_medicare_cuts<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/September/medicare-barcode-645px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Medicare barcode" /></div> <h5>September 10, 2021</h5> <h2>Act Today to Prevent Looming Medicare Cuts</h2> <p>Congressional Reps. Ami Bera, MD (D-CA), and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN), recently circulated a <a href="https://physiciansgrassrootsnetwork.org/sites/default/files/2021-08/bera-bucshon-medicare-sign-on.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">"Dear Colleague" letter</a> highlighting the financial uncertainty within the Medicare payment system and the dangers facing the physician community if Congress fails to enact legislation to address these problems. We need you to ask your representative to sign on today.</p> <p>In what amounts to a "perfect storm" of payment cuts going into effect on Jan. 1, physician practices face the following stack of Medicare financial hits:</p> <ul> <li>Expiration of the current reprieve from the repeatedly extended 2% sequester stemming from the Budget Control Act of 2011. Congress originally scheduled this policy to sunset in 2021 but it will now continue into 2030.</li> <li>Imposition of a 4% Statutory PAYGO sequester resulting from passage of the American Rescue Plan Act. Should lawmakers fail to act, it will mark the first time that Congress has failed to waive Statutory PAYGO.</li> <li>Expiration of the congressionally enacted 3.75% temporary increase in the Medicare physician fee schedule conversion factor to avoid payment cuts associated with budget neutrality adjustments tied to PFS policy changes.</li> <li>A statutory freeze in annual Medicare PFS updates under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) that is scheduled to last until 2026, when updates resume at a rate of 0.25% a year indefinitely, a figure well below the rate of medical or consumer price index inflation.</li> </ul> <p>This would result in a combined 9.75% payment cut on Jan. 1. And all of this comes at a time when physician practices are still recovering from the emotional and financial impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency. It's time to give our nation's physicians the peace of mind they deserve as they continue to fight on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic without having to worry if their practices will survive these potentially catastrophic cuts.</p> <p>A strong collection of bipartisan cosigners will help demonstrate to House and Senate leadership that this confluence of payment cuts needs to be addressed via legislation before the end of 2021. <a href="https://urldefense.com/v3/__https:/www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/k8hT3wVFbl3YEs8JheVslg__;!!AI0rnoUB!tsKa7jV3FhEFiG-xeB8t7q_p36o6QP5c3c29iCSwa_wFDpnskdVJQc0U_HI5EFw25iI$">Please contact your representative today</a> and urge them to show their support by signing on to Reps. Bera and Bucshon's Dear Colleague letter.</p> </div>9/10/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
department_of_health_updates_faqs_for_health_care_vaccine_mandateDepartment of Health Updates FAQs for Health Care Vaccine MandateLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/September_10/department_of_health_updates_faqs_for_health_care_vaccine_mandate<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/September/dr-schlicher-covid-vaccine1-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Physician getting COVID-19 vaccine" /></div> <h5>September 10, 2021</h5> <h2>Department of Health Updates FAQs for Health Care Vaccine Mandate</h2> <p>Practices, clinics, and other health care settings across Washington are working under pressure to meet the new state deadline of Oct. 18 for health care providers and other workers in private health care and long-term care settings to be fully vaccinated.</p> <h3>What's new this week</h3> <p>The Washington State Department of Health this week released an updated <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/505-160-VaccinationRequirementFAQs.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">FAQ and guidance document to help health care employees and employers move into compliance with this directive</a>. Be sure to familiarize yourself with this content. If you still don't see the answers to your questions, let us know: Email <a href="mailto:policy@wsma.org">policy@wsma.org</a>.</p> <p>If you haven't yet done so, watch the vaccine mandate webinar Q&A hosted by the WSMA and employment attorneys from Montgomery Purdue PLLC. The recorded webinar and sample clinic policy and exemption forms prepared by the attorneys for use by WSMA members and their clinics are available on the WSMA website. Visit <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/Implementing_the_COVID_19_Vaccine_Mandate_at_Your_Practice/Implementing_the_COVID_19_Vaccine_Mandate_at_Your_Practice.aspx">Implementing the COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate at Your Practice</a> (sign-in required) for more information on these resources.</p> </div>9/10/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
prescribing_medicaid_physicians_must_check_pmp_starting_oct_1Prescribing Medicaid Physicians Must Check PMP Starting Oct. 1Latest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/September_10/prescribing_medicaid_physicians_must_check_pmp_starting_oct_1<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/September/rx-bottle-doctor-laptop-645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Physician holding up prescription medication bottle" /></div> <h5>September 10, 2021</h5> <h2>Prescribing Medicaid Physicians Must Check PMP Starting Oct. 1</h2> <p>As a reminder, starting Oct. 1, physicians must check an Apple Health client's history in the state's prescription monitoring program before prescribing controlled substances, as required by the federal SUPPORT Act and rulemaking from the Washington State Health Care Authority.</p> <p>Prior to writing and shortly after dispensing a prescription for a controlled substance to a Medicaid patient, physicians and providers will be expected to review the most recent 12-month period prescription drug history of a covered individual in the PMP for:</p> <ul> <li>The number and type of controlled substances prescribed and filled.</li> <li>Who prescribed a controlled substance.</li> </ul> <p>Physicians may delegate this task to anyone at the practice with authorization to access the PMP, so long as the physician reviews all of the client's prescriptions. The date and time of the retrieval and review of information must be documented in the patient record.</p> <p>Outpatient pharmacists will also be required to review the PMP before dispensing a controlled substance.</p> <p>The Health Care Authority's finalized guidelines will be included in the agency's Oct. 1 prescription drug program billing guide. The WSMA has expressed concerns with the HCA about this lack of detail. For now, practices will need to do their best to adjust workflow with the information we have. <a href="https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WAHCA/bulletins/2eb061b">See this HCA notice for details</a>.</p> <p>To receive the latest information, sign up for HCA's email list <a href="https://wsha.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=381c2b109dc0809662b7cd0da&id=c6e70e7d57&e=e55ee2cbd5">here</a>. Specific questions about the rule may be sent via email to <a href="mailto:AppleHealthPharmacyPolicy@hca.wa.gov">AppleHealthPharmacyPolicy@hca.wa.gov</a>.</p> </div>9/10/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
 
Join or renew your membership today!