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Weekly Rounds
Jennifer Hanscom, WSMA Executive Director/CEO
News and insights from WSMA CEO Jennifer Hanscom.

Weekly Rounds

A newsletter from WSMA CEO Jennifer Hanscom, sent to health care industry leadership and WSMA members.


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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 SuicideWeekly_RoundsShared_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="">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="">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="">Dave Logan</a> and <a href="">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="">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 9:51:50 AM9/17/2021 9:36:54 AM9/17/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_september_3_2021_learning_from_crisis_past_and_presentWeekly Rounds: September 3, 2021 - Learning from Crisis, Past and PresentWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_september_3_2021_learning_from_crisis_past_and_present<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 3, 2021</h5> <h2>Learning from Crisis, Past and Present</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> More than 18 months in and COVID-19 remains top of mind for us all. Just this week, the WSMA held another COVID Q&A with key physician leaders geared toward answering the questions that are top of mind for you these days. Nearly 200 of you attended that presentation (if you missed it, you can <a href="[@]WSMA/education/On_Demand_Webinars/covid_19_q_and_a_session_august_30_2021.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=KRJr7">view it here</a>). Our panelists-SheAnne Allen of the Washington State Department of Health and Drs. Scott Lindquist, Lisa Jackson, Yuan-Po Tu, and Jason Goldman-fielded as many of your questions as they could during the hour-long webinar. </p> <p> Across all these months, and especially now, I know you're all confronting difficult situations, including how best to allocate resources as critically ill patients increase and equipment, supplies, staffing, and hospital beds are stretched thin. </p> <p> While this pandemic is-as we've heard too often-unprecedented in our lifetime, facing crisis medical situations, sadly, is not. Tragedies happen, and tough decisions are made in the midst of them. </p> <p> We've heard a lot this week about Hurricane Ida, which slammed New Orleans on the 16th anniversary of the unforgettable Hurricane Katrina. That 2005 "perfect storm" blasted communities into crisis mode, including medical response across the region. </p> <p> In her book "Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital," Pulitzer Prize-winning author Sheri Fink, MD, PhD, documented what happened at one hospital and what went horribly wrong in those five days. Since then, she's reported on many medical crises, and most recently has been reporting on COVID-19 for the The New York Times during these many months of response. </p> <p> Dr. Fink is our keynote speaker at this year's WSMA Annual Meeting, being held virtually Sept. 25 and 26. You won't want to miss hearing her observations and our discussion of ethical dilemmas facing medical leaders during times of crisis. </p> <p> All WSMA members are invited to this online event. <strong>If you haven't yet registered, <a href="[@]EventDetail?EventKey=ANNMTG2021&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=LRJr7">you can do so here</a>.</strong> </p> <p> In addition to what I anticipate will be a riveting keynote address from Dr. Fink, we'll also transition WSMA's leadership as we welcome Mika Sinanan, MD, PhD, as our 2021-2022 president, present our Apple Award winners, and do the business of policymaking for our organization. </p> <p> Your voice matters in our policymaking! There are now more than 20 resolutions posted to our website along with a bylaws proposal that would transform our governance. I hope you'll visit our secure discussion forums and make your opinion known on these proposals. Your testimony in our virtual reference committees does matter and will be taken into consideration by the reference committee members as fully as if you were testifying in person at the Annual Meeting. These online forums give every physician and physician assistant across our diverse membership a voice in our policymaking. Please take advantage of this opportunity to help your colleagues craft good policy on behalf of your patients and the practice of medicine. You can review and comment by visiting <a href="[@]iCore/Communities/ForumDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=c103fd78-d661-4c1d-835d-4d912d8653b3&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=NRJr7">Reference Committee B</a> (professional and internal affairs) and <a href="[@]iCore/Communities/ForumDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=1669ef97-c803-4b87-b0e7-daf631556fcb&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=ORJr7">Reference Committee C</a> (legislative affairs and health care economics/reform). </p> <p> Here's hoping I'll see you-even if virtually-in September at our annual meeting. </p> </div>9/3/2021 10:55:16 AM9/3/2021 10:54:45 AM9/3/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_august_20_2021_meeting_our_members_needs_todayand_tomorrowWeekly Rounds: August 20, 2021 - Meeting Our Members' Needs Today...and TomorrowWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_august_20_2021_meeting_our_members_needs_todayand_tomorrow<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>August 20, 2021</h5> <h2>Meeting Our Members' Needs Today...and Tomorrow</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> The delta coronavirus variant is changing the trajectory of summer for many in health care. The state is now facing its fifth wave of infections and COVID-19 patients, taxing overburdened health care systems and staff. As we have throughout the pandemic, your WSMA is quick to respond to changing facts on the ground, always with our members and their patients top of mind. Make sure to note the below updates in response to the rise in infections. Note too that there continue to be bright spots in our ongoing advocacy on behalf of physicians and their practices and patients-some of those are below. </p> <p> There will be more updates on each of these items in the days and weeks ahead. We'll keep you posted on breaking news in our twice monthly email bulletin, the Membership Memo, as well as through special email updates and the WSMA website. </p> <h3>Compliance guidance for health care COVID-19 vaccine mandate</h3> <p> State employees and workers in private health care and long-term care settings will have until Oct. 18 to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment under an emergency order issued by Gov. Jay Inslee. The mandate applies to all state agency worksites and employees, as well as health care employees in private sector health care and in long-term care settings, including nursing homes, adult family homes, assisted living, enhanced services facilities, residential treatment facilities, and other treatment facilities. (For definitions of "health care provider" and "health care setting" as pertains to the mandate, review pages 6 and 7 of the <a href="">emergency order</a>.) </p> <p> This new requirement includes exemptions for individuals with legitimate medical reasons or sincerely held religious reasons. The exemptions do not include personal or philosophical objections. <a href="">Review the emergency proclamation</a>. </p> <p> The Washington State Department of Health this week <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">provided guidance</a> to help health care employees and employers move into compliance with this directive. Please familiarize yourself with this content. </p> <p> To help support our members, the WSMA has prepared additional guidance to help them implement the mandate in their practice settings. For our members in ambulatory/outpatient settings, visit our <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/covid_19_vaccines/covid_19_vaccines.aspx">COVID-19 Vaccines page</a> for sample clinic policy and exemption forms, which may be personalized as appropriate to your clinic. These materials are meant to be informative, not legal advice, and the WSMA strongly recommends working with legal counsel to tailor these resources appropriately for your practice. </p> <p> For our members in hospital-based practices, the Washington State Hospital Association offers a toolkit offering guidance per unionized staff. The WSMA has reached out to WSHA for this resource and will make available shortly. For now, members in hospital-based practices should reach out to WSHA or their hospital legal department for guidance. </p> <p> WSMA members should also be on the lookout for a webinar announcement in the days ahead for more practice guidance. </p> <h3>WSMA Annual Meeting goes virtual</h3> <p> The 2021 Annual Meeting of the WSMA House of Delegates will be virtual, using the same platform as our 2020 meeting. If you would like to attend the meeting, please <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx?hkey=fea49254-3815-4dc9-8710-53ff2e3a100f&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=uolp7">register online</a>. </p> <p> Resolutions are being posted to our <a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Discussion_Forums/Virtual_Reference_Committees/WSMA/Membership/Discussion_Forums/virtual_reference_committees.aspx?hkey=d674a5ae-4fb5-48d6-b969-16aab9b63647&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=wolp7">virtual reference committees</a>, where all WSMA members are encouraged to comment. There you will also find proposed bylaws changes offered by the WSMA board of trustees, which seeks to make numerous changes to the WSMA's governance structure, including reducing the size of the House of Delegates to mirror attendance, creating more opportunities for diversity within the House and the WSMA; and reducing the size of the board of trustees. Please take a moment to review these changes and join the discussion. </p> <h3>DOH allows PMP integration option after WSMA advocacy </h3> <p> After several years of WSMA advocacy, the Department of Health will permit options other than the state's health information exchange to meet the prescription monitoring program integration mandate. As a reminder, as required by Senate Bill 5380, by Jan. 1, physician groups with 10 or more prescribers must integrate their electronic health record with the PMP. Responding to WSMA concerns, the Department of Health will permit "integration options beyond the state HIE [health information exchange] that meet the State Office of Cyber Security and agency security requirements." </p> <p> The WSMA is thankful to Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, and his team for this flexibility. We will provide members with more information on the various integration options available soon. To explore integrating via the existing state health information exchange, visit the <a href="">PMP webpage</a>. </p> <p> The Department of Health is in the final stages of releasing its hardship waiver for the PMP integration mandate. The WSMA will share details of the waiver and how to apply once available. Secretary Shah waived compliance with the PMP integration mandate until Jan. 1, 2022, after WSMA requested a delay to support our members' pandemic response. </p> <h3>E-prescribing waiver rulemaking finalized</h3> <p> The Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission and the Department of Health have <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">adopted rules establishing a hardship waiver</a> for the electronic prescribing mandate required by Senate Bill 5380 from 2019. The WSMA advocated for the waiver during the legislative process and we have been active in the rulemaking. We believe the waiver will be helpful to groups that attest to being unable to meet the mandate due to certain conditions. </p> <p> The waiver forms are in development and will be available online once finalized. Secretary Shah waived compliance with the e-prescribing requirement until Jan. 1, 2022, after WSMA requested a delay to support our members' pandemic response. </p> <p> As these updates demonstrate, the value of our work for our members is both short- and long-term. Making Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care requires a global perspective, one that's rooted in history and growing into the future. Thank you for your help with this effort-and thank you for your membership. </p> </div>8/20/2021 3:37:28 PM8/20/2021 10:37:33 AM8/20/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_august_6_2021_trusting_science_physicians_lead_the_wayWeekly Rounds: August 6, 2021 - Trusting Science, Physicians Lead the WayWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_august_6_2021_trusting_science_physicians_lead_the_way<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-Schlicher-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>August 6, 2021</h5> <h2>Trusting Science, Physicians Lead the Way </h2> <p>Nathan Schlicher, MD, JD, MBA, WSMA President </p> <p>Late last week, your WSMA leadership announced its support of vaccination requirements for health care workers. Subsequently others have as well. By now, it's become a popular stance: A <a href="">recent Axios poll</a> reported Americans support a COVID-19 mandate under certain circumstances. Locally, many organizations are moving to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for their employees, and not just in the <a href="">health care space</a>. Many businesses are also looking for proof of vaccination from <a href="">their customers</a>. </p> <p>I’m proud of the WSMA for taking this step when we did, and prouder still to note that physicians continue to lead the way as our state and country work to reduce the impact of this disease through vaccination. Early on, we got in line and rolled up our sleeves for the vaccination because we believe in our duty to protect our patients and each other. In fact, <a href="">this report</a> from the American Medical Association confirms that we stepped up in droves. The report notes that 96% of the nation’s physicians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Of those physicians not yet vaccinated, 45% intend to do so. </p> <p>But even though we’ve led by example, on the flip side, one in four hospital workers who have direct contact with patients had not received a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of May, according to a report by WebMD and Medscape Medical News. Further, an analysis of data collected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services found that more than 38% of nursing home staff were not fully vaccinated as of July 11. </p> <p>I’m alarmed by that data. Everything we do is upheld by science. We know the vaccines are safe and effective at preventing severe illness and death from COVID-19. We know that increased vaccinations among health care workers will reduce the spread of the virus and will help protect our workforce and our patients. </p> <p>We also know that it’s not unusual to be required to be vaccinated against deadly diseases such as influenza, hepatitis B, and pertussis. Not to mention that this tracks with WSMA's long-standing policy in support of vaccine mandates for physicians and other health care workers. Such mandatory programs are the reasoned paths by which we largely eliminated, and in some cases eradicated, debilitating and deadly diseases such as polio, measles, mumps, and others. </p> <p>Physicians are a trusted voice in their communities. I urge you to use your voice to encourage your patients, coworkers, and friends to trust the science. If we are ever to get out of this pandemic, we must stop the spread of COVID-19 and its virus variants. The miracle of a COVID-19 vaccine is part of the way forward. Let’s do this! </p> <p>To read the WSMA’s statement in full, click <a href="">here</a>. To access materials to help you with your vaccine hesitant patients, click <a href="">here</a>.</p> </div>8/6/2021 3:07:50 PM8/6/2021 11:05:17 AM8/6/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_july_30_2021_celebrating_wins_strengthening_practicesWeekly Rounds: July 30, 2021 - Celebrating Wins, Strengthening PracticesWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_july_30_2021_celebrating_wins_strengthening_practices<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>July 30, 2021</h5> <h2>Celebrating Wins, Strengthening Practices</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> In happy mid-year news, here at the WSMA we are celebrating an incredibly strong membership year. Despite the pandemic and all its challenges, our membership is up 3% over 2020, with 11,708 members, making the WSMA by far the largest physician professional organization in the state! There truly is strength in numbers, which enables the WSMA to exert a powerful collective voice to speak up for what matters to physicians. I'm grateful to all the groups and individuals who invest in WSMA membership. By doing so, you're making a direct investment not only in yourselves, but also in professional fulfillment, leadership development, and advocacy. </p> <p> Advocacy in Olympia is at the heart of our work, and your WSMA is at the table where discussions regarding health care take place. This year, those strong efforts yielded an unprecedented 100% success rate with our priority bills and budget items. That work is outlined in our 2021 Legislative Report, which you should have received by mail in June. You can also <a href="[@]WSMA/Advocacy/Legislative___Regulatory/WSMA/Advocacy/Legislative_Regulatory/Legislative_Regulatory.aspx?hkey=c0dc6e7c-4385-497a-99db-4a6b6f4e56bd&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=H8Hn7">review that publication</a>. </p> <p> While we know advocacy is one reason our members engage with and support the WSMA, we continue to build on our value proposition with resources that help you, particularly in your practice setting. To that end, we have launched a new Affinity Program. This new program provides members with exclusive access to vendor products and services that will help you and your practice/medical group grow and thrive. Even better, these services are directly aligned with solving practice issues you told us you needed. With that information, we sought vetted partners who would bring you services you need with the additional benefit of a discount thanks to your WSMA membership. </p> <p>In addition to our longstanding partnership with <a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Why_Join_the_WSMA_/Affinity_Program/Physicians_Insurance.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=I8Hn7">Physicians Insurance</a>, our other partners include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Why_Join_the_WSMA_/Affinity_Program/PatientPop.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=K8Hn7">PatientPop</a>, a practice growth platform that offers digital strategy and services to enhance the patient journey.</li> <li><a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Why_Join_the_WSMA_/Affinity_Program/iscribe.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=L8Hn7">iScribeHealth</a>, which offers efficient mobile solutions to help you save time, with one solution for every workflow.</li> <li><a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Why_Join_the_WSMA_/Affinity_Program/gentem.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=O8Hn7">Gentem</a>, medical billing solutions that help you get paid more and faster.</li> <li><a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Why_Join_the_WSMA_/Affinity_Program/wolf-and-associates.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=Q8Hn7">Wolf & Associates</a>, offering long-term care insurance solutions to help members who may be impacted by the Washington Cares Act.</li> <li>Spectrum Information Services Northwest, which helps you outsource services that automate time-intensive processes like mailroom, receivables, payables, and medical records.</li> </ul> <p> Regardless of your practice size or specialty, I hope you'll take a moment to learn more about how your practice can thrive and save at <a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Why_Join_the_WSMA/Affinity_Program/WSMA/Membership/Why_Join_the_WSMA_/Affinity_Program/Affinity_Program.aspx?hkey=607676a3-2820-4e42-9de4-8bffe4b216c6&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=S8Hn7"></a>. Please share with your practice leadership, as well. </p> <p> As always, we're committed to making Washington the best place to practice medicine and receive care. Thanks for being with us on the quest. </p> </div>7/30/2021 10:22:03 AM7/30/2021 10:04:45 AM7/30/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_june_18_2021_helping_you_navigate_the_new_state_long_term_care_taxWeekly Rounds: June 18, 2021 - Helping You Navigate the New State Long-Term Care TaxWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_june_18_2021_helping_you_navigate_the_new_state_long_term_care_tax<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>June 18, 2021</h5> <h2>Helping You Navigate the New State Long-Term Care Tax</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> As a membership organization, the WSMA is always looking for ways to increase the value of membership for our members. Based on recent research, we are building out a new affinity program that connects physicians and their staff with tools to make the practice of medicine more efficient, reduce unnecessary expenses, and maximize payment for care delivered. </p> <p> The first product we have launched in this new program is time sensitive. Due to demand driven by the Washington Long-Term Care Trust Act (now the WA Cares Fund), the WSMA has entered into an agreement with Wolf & Associates to offer long-term care insurance solutions for WSMA members. </p> <h3>WA Cares Fund</h3> <p> The Washington Long-Term Care Trust Act mandates a payroll tax at the rate of 0.58% of your and your employees’ compensation. The tax goes to fund Washington’s new long-term care program referred to as the <a href="">WA Cares Fund</a>. To avoid that tax—which has limited benefits for high-wage earners—you must have an alternative long-term care plan in place before you can request an exemption from the state plan. Despite the act’s provision for an exemption, there is no guarantee you will receive one, so acting quickly is critical. In recent days, market options for high-wage earners under the age of 40 have closed. </p> <p> While the WA Cares Fund goes into effect Jan. 1, 2022, <strong>you only have until Sept. 1 to purchase an alternative plan</strong> to apply for an exemption from the state plan. (The deadline to file an exemption is Nov. 1, but underwriting the plan takes two months.) </p> <p> Why seek an alternative plan to the state plan? Because based on WSMA’s assessment, the state plan is problematic for: </p> <ul> <li>High-wage earners</li> <li>Anyone retiring within 10 years</li> <li>People who plan to live outside Washington in retirement</li> <li>People who live in border communities, such as Idaho and Oregon, but work in Washington state</li> </ul> <p> The <em>maximum lifetime benefits</em> under the <a href="">WA Cares Fund</a> are $36,500. Being fully vested in the program will not occur until after 10 years. Without vesting, you will not be entitled to benefits in retirement, despite having paid into the tax. </p> <p> If the mandated state plan works for you, there is no need to take any further action. However, if you wish to explore an alternative plan, here’s how the WSMA can help: </p> <h3>Step one:</h3> <p> To pursue the purchase of a <strong>MINIMUM PLAN</strong> allowed in order to seek an exemption, <a href="">click here</a>. </p> <p> <strong>Note: </strong>To move forward with purchasing a plan, you need to provide both personal information and medical information (such as medications, past hospitalizations, surgeries, and other cardiac, cancer, orthopedic, and other treatments). Plan on 20 minutes to complete this information. This information is necessary to assess rates and insurability but is NOT an application. You will be prompted by email to schedule a time with a long-term care specialist. </p> <p> To get quotes on <strong>COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE</strong> based on your and/or your family’s needs, <a href="">click here</a>. </p> <p> <strong>Note:</strong> To move forward with getting you an appropriate quote for your needs, you need to provide medical information (such as medications, past hospitalizations, surgeries, and other cardiac, cancer, orthopedic, and other treatments). Plan on 20 minutes to complete this information. This information is necessary to assess rates and insurability but is NOT an application. You will be prompted by email to schedule a time with a long-term care specialist. </p> <h3>Step two:</h3> <p> Once you complete either form you will be emailed a booking link to schedule a meeting with a long-term care specialist who will assist you. You will want to book expeditiously, as the window to act is limited. </p> <h3>For a full understanding</h3> <p> <strong>To understand more about the WA Cares Fund,</strong> <a href="">watch this video</a>. </p> </div>6/18/2021 10:34:27 AM6/18/2021 10:18:55 AM6/18/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_june_4_2021_setting_policy_at_the_wsmaWeekly Rounds: June 4, 2021 - Setting Policy at the WSMAWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_june_4_2021_setting_policy_at_the_wsma<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>June 4, 2021</h5> <h2>Setting Policy at the WSMA</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> At last, it feels as if we are starting to come out of hibernation. Gov. Jay Inslee announced that Washington state will "reopen" on June 30. At the WSMA, after more than a year of virtual meetings, we are looking forward to hosting our <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx?hkey=fea49254-3815-4dc9-8710-53ff2e3a100f&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=HMmg7">Annual Meeting of the WSMA House of Delegates</a> in person at the Westin Bellevue Hotel, Sept. 25-26. </p> <p> If you're not familiar with the WSMA's governance structure, here's a <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/Leadership/House_of_Delegates/WSMA/About/Leadership/House_of_Delegates/House_of_Delegates.aspx?hkey=e2c50002-384d-4ff7-9116-5ce7a51116e7&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=IMmg7">brief overview</a> to get you oriented. There are approximately 200 voting members of the WSMA House of Delegates and this body sets WSMA policy. Currently, the delegates consist of representatives from county medical societies, state specialty societies, special sections, and WSMA's board of trustees. </p> <p> The House convenes its opening session on Saturday morning, when member guests are invited to speak to delegates, and reports and resolutions are referred to reference committees. This is followed by meetings of the reference committees. </p> <p> The in-person reference committees are the key to the deliberations of the House of Delegates. Members of the House and members of the WSMA are encouraged to attend these reference committee meetings. </p> <p> Each reference committee is made up of three members of the House appointed by the speaker and vice speaker. If you would like to serve as a reference committee member, contact Shannon Bozarth at <a href=""></a>. </p> <p> While the in-person reference committees are where delegates and members express their opinions, all WSMA members have an opportunity to share thoughts on the resolutions via WSMA's <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Virtual_Reference_Committees/WSMA/Membership/Discussion_Forums/virtual_reference_committees.aspx?hkey=e30c0e9a-efb8-4160-821e-fa2485cc6bdd&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=JMmg7">virtual reference committees</a>. Resolutions will be posted for online discussion as they are received and processed by staff. </p> <p> Policymaking at the meeting is primarily driven by resolutions. Learn more about resolutions and how they help create and guide WSMA policy. If you are considering submitting a resolution, feel free to reach out to the WSMA policy team at <a href=""></a> to discuss the process and receive feedback on drafting a resolution. </p> <p> Here are several important deadlines related to the House of Delegates: </p> <ul> <li><strong>Aug. 6</strong>: Reports and resolutions due for inclusion in delegate handbook.</li> <li><strong>Aug. 26</strong>: Final deadline for reports and resolutions. Delegate handbook will be available for download.</li> <li><strong>Sept. 3</strong>: Deadline to make room reservations at the Westin Bellevue.</li> <li><strong>Sept. 25-26</strong>: The 2021 WSMA Annual Meeting</li> </ul> <p> And speaking of setting policy, House Bill 2378 made important changes to the state's physician assistant practice act, a key priority for the WSMA and the Washington Academy of Physician Assistants. You can learn more about the provisions of this legislation during a webinar next Tuesday at noon. <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Upcoming_Webinars/WSMA/education/Upcoming_Webinars/Upcoming_Webinars.aspx?hkey=b760d6bd-1833-412d-b681-babf251792a8&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=KMmg7">Register here</a>. </p> <p> Stay tuned for upcoming Membership Memos and the July/August edition of <em>WSMA Reports</em> where we will share more information about meeting events, speakers, and bylaws changes being put forward by the board of trustees. </p> <p> Meanwhile, enjoy your journey out of hibernation! </p> </div>6/4/2021 9:51:59 AM6/4/2021 9:50:34 AM6/4/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_may_24_2021_wsmas_advocacy_efforts_never_ceaseWeekly Rounds: May 24, 2021 - WSMA's Advocacy Efforts Never CeaseWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_may_24_2021_wsmas_advocacy_efforts_never_cease<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>May 24, 2021</h5> <h2>WSMA's Advocacy Efforts Never Cease</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> It's a rare legislative session when we can say we had a 100% success rate on our legislative priorities, but this is the year! </p> <p> By any measure, the 2021 legislative session was extraordinary, both for being conducted online and for the monumental gains that were made for patients and the physician community. </p> <p> While some might say such legislative success is the advocacy equivalent of seeing a unicorn, we're certainly celebrating the achievement. Your WSMA was successful in advocating for the passage of all our priority bills and defending against those we opposed. On the budget side, generational investments were made, including $140 million for Medicaid rate increases and nearly $150 million for foundational public health services in the next two years alone. </p> <p> A big thank you to our staff team and our physician members who worked tirelessly throughout the past few months to ensure this success. As we have often said, standing together gets results. </p> <p> Even though session has adjourned, our advocacy never stops. Now we turn our undivided attention to the regulatory arena and rulemaking. </p> <p> Here are five topics in which we are engaged in on your behalf. </p> <h3>Balance billing/No Surprises Act</h3> <p> In the months ahead, the WSMA will be focused on a possible effort to reconcile the state's Balance Billing Protection Act with the federal No Surprises Act that was passed in December and goes into effect next year. </p> <p> With federal rulemaking still underway, rendering informed decisions on whether or how state law should be adjusted to accommodate the new national act will be extremely difficult. However, we are engaged with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to help shape any future regulation or legislation. This work is complex, particularly how the rules will apply to state-regulated insurance plans versus self-insured ERISA plans that are regulated at the federal level. </p> <p> Network adequacy and rebalancing the contracting dynamic between physicians and carriers are our top priorities in any balance billing discussion. Since the inception of the state balance billing law, carrier contracting behavior has markedly shifted, resulting in physician groups struggling to get carriers to negotiate on reasonable terms, or, in some cases, being unable to get carriers to come to the table at all. We have made a separate inquiry to the OIC on this issue, noting that insurance carriers cannot be allowed to use the balance billing law as a substitute for contracting with physician organizations. </p> <h3>Washington Medical Commission</h3> <p> WSMA staff are tracking several items of interest at the Washington Medical Commission, including: </p> <ul> <li>Recently initiated rulemaking seeking to define licensure and standard of care for services provided over telemedicine.</li> <li>Implementation of updates to physician assistant regulations per WSMA-supported legislation.</li> <li>Rulemaking to more closely regulate collaborative drug therapy agreements.</li> <li>Rulemaking to create a limited license for international medical graduates.</li> <li>Licensure and disciplinary process improvements.</li> </ul> <p> The WSMA has heard concerns from members who were not able to work due to delays in the licensure process at the commission, in addition to concerns about the disciplinary process. Your WSMA has been advocating on these issues during monthly meetings with commission leadership. In addition, we are encouraged by the Legislature's budget provision calling for a performance audit of the commission. Specifically, the state auditor's office is directed to: "… conduct a performance audit, which must address the length of time required to license individuals and comparatively analyze disciplinary processes with those of other states. The audit should address the obstacles contributing to inefficiencies and make recommendations for improvement." </p> <h3>Health care cost transparency board advisory committee</h3> <p> During the 2020 legislative session, the Legislature passed House Bill 2457, establishing a health care cost transparency board. This board is responsible for reducing Washington's health care cost growth by: </p> <ul> <li>Determining the state's total health care expenditures.</li> <li>Identifying cost trends and cost drivers in the health care system.</li> <li>Setting a health care cost growth benchmark for providers and payers.</li> <li>Reporting annually to the Legislature, including providing recommendations for lowering health care costs.</li> </ul> <p> The board has appointed an advisory committee made up of health care providers and carrier representatives. Representing the WSMA on the committee will be WSMA President-Elect Mika Sinanan, MD, PhD. </p> <h3>Prescription monitoring program hardship waiver</h3> <p> The Department of Health has proposed rulemaking to create a hardship waiver for the state's prescription monitoring program integration mandate required by Senate Bill 5380 from 2019. The WSMA was successful in securing the hardship waiver and continues to influence the direction of the rulemaking. While there are still several items to address, we believe the waiver will be helpful to groups with 10 or more prescribers that attest to being unable to meet the mandate due to certain conditions. For more information, review the <a href="">proposed rule</a>. </p> <h3>Electronic prescribing of controlled substances hardship waiver</h3> <p> The Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission has proposed rulemaking to create a hardship waiver for the electronic prescribing mandate required by Senate Bill 5380 from 2019. While there are still several items to address, we believe the waiver will be helpful to groups with 10 or more prescribers that attest to being unable to meet the mandate due to certain conditions. For more information, review the <a href="">proposed rule</a>. In response to WSMA's request, the secretary of health has delayed implementation of the EPCS mandate from Oct. 1, 2021 until Jan. 1, 2022. </p> <p> As you can see, your WSMA's work on your behalf never ceases. And we are optimistic as we remain on the lookout for that next unicorn! </p> </div>6/3/2021 3:48:51 PM5/24/2021 9:42:35 AM5/24/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_april_30_2021_making_progress_through_advocacyWeekly Rounds: April 30, 2021 - Making Progress Through AdvocacyWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_april_30_2021_making_progress_through_advocacy<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>April 30, 2021</h5> <h2>Making Progress Through Advocacy</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> Time has a way of marching on, as evidenced by the changing seasons of the Pacific Northwest and the refreshing signs of spring all around us. Even a pandemic can't change nature's progress, though it has clearly changed our behavior. Now more than a year on, most of us have learned to adapt and establish new behaviors like wearing masks, limiting social interactions, and keeping our distance. </p> <p> But we have seen patient behaviors change along the way as well, with some delaying care, often to the detriment of their health. In the July/August issue of <em>WSMA Reports</em> we will explore how COVID-19 has impacted those behaviors, particularly the associated effects of postponing visits or annual checkups. Just recently, Crosscut published <a href="">Elway poll results</a> on Washingtonians' views on everyday behaviors during the pandemic. It's interesting reading. </p> <p> In other news you'll want to know, here are three items of note: </p> <h3>As session ends, big wins for WSMA priorities</h3> <p> The 2021 Washington state legislative session ended last Sunday. It was an unprecedented session in that the Legislature met completely virtually—and did so successfully. I am proud to report that the WSMA achieved a 100% success rate in passing our priority policies and defending against those we opposed. On the budget side, generational investments were made in health care, including $140 million for Medicaid rate increases and nearly $150 million for foundational public health services in the next two years alone. </p> <p> Kudos to our Olympia team for an incredible job, and thanks to our members who took time to testify or respond to our calls to action. Further, in addition to WSMA's <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/Leadership/Executive_Committee/WSMA/About/Leadership/Executive_Committee/Executive_Committee.aspx?hkey=1c7411ed-4943-4ccf-9929-d3669b24cef1&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=jNvb7">executive committee</a> and <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/Leadership/Board_of_Trustees/WSMA/About/Leadership/Board_of_Trustees/Board_of_Trustees.aspx?hkey=0abc484b-c165-4fb1-90b5-1f72370b18d2&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=kNvb7">board of trustees</a> providing valuable guidance and direction, our new legislative steering committee met with our Olympia team weekly to help us understand the practical impact of particular bills on the practice and business of medicine. We're grateful to the members of that committee for the time they gave to WSMA's legislative process this year: </p> <ul> <li>Rodney Anderson, MD, Family Care Network</li> <li>Barbara Detering, MD, Washington Permanente Medical Group</li> <li>Nariman Heshmati, MD, The Everett Clinic</li> <li>Garrett Jeffery, DO, PeaceHealth</li> <li>Linda Kampp, MD, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health</li> <li>Ryan Nachreiner, MD, Providence</li> <li>Chris Quarles, MD, CHI Franciscan</li> <li>Keren Rosenblum, MD, Vancouver Clinic</li> <li>Katina Rue, DO, Community Health of Central Washington</li> <li>John Scott, MD, UW Medicine</li> <li>Doug Wilson, MD, Confluence Health</li> </ul> <p> To get the inside scoop on this year's session and WSMA's priorities, don't miss our <a href="">wrap-up webinar</a> hosted by the Olympia team on Friday, May 7 at noon, <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Latest_News/2021/wsma_sees_100_percent_success_rate_among_2021_legislative_priorities?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=mNvb7">read more here</a>, or keep an eye on your mailbox for our year-end Legislative Report. </p> <h3>Final budget includes audit of Washington Medical Commission</h3> <p> For the past year and a half, we have been receiving a steady stream of complaints from WSMA members who were not able to work due to delays in the licensure process at the Washington Medical Commission. We want you to know that we hear you and have actively been working on this issue with the leadership at the commission. And while the WSMA continues to work with commission staff in understanding the root causes of the delays—especially the fingerprinting process at the Washington State Patrol—we were encouraged to see that the Legislature included a budget provision to take a deep dive into the process by including a performance audit of the commission. Specifically, the state auditor's office is directed to: "… conduct a performance audit, which must address the length of time required to license individuals and comparatively analyze disciplinary processes with those of other states. The audit should address the obstacles contributing to inefficiencies and make recommendations for improvement." We will keep you apprised of developments as this progresses. </p> <h3>Big barrier reduced when prescribing buprenorphine</h3> <p> This week new practice guidelines were released that omit the eight-hour training requirement previously necessary to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorder for physicians and providers who treat 30 or fewer patients for the condition. The training is still required for physicians, physician assistants, and other providers treating more than 30 patients at one time. To read more, <a href="">click here</a>. The new guidelines took effect on April 28. WSMA's advocacy on this was directed by policy that passed at the 2019 WSMA House of Delegates. </p> <p> As you can see, your WSMA is always on the job supporting you and your interests. When you speak up, we not only listen, we take action. Your membership makes all the difference. Thank you! </p> </div>6/10/2021 11:02:51 AM4/30/2021 10:04:32 AM4/30/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_april_16_2021_five_things_to_do_while_celebrating_springWeekly Rounds: April 16, 2021 - Five Things to Do While Celebrating SpringWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_april_16_2021_five_things_to_do_while_celebrating_spring<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>April 16, 2021</h5> <h2>Five Things to Do While Celebrating Spring</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> What a delight to see spring arriving in the Pacific Northwest. Judging by our members' Facebook posts, I see that many of you are taking time to enjoy the onset of a welcome season by hiking, gardening, barbecuing, and more. I'm right there with you on those activities and have a few more things to suggest as you contemplate the beauty around us. </p> <h3>A taste of Chelan</h3> <p> While we unfortunately will not be hosting our annual Leadership Development Conference in beautiful Chelan, instead we will bring a taste of Chelan right to your doorstep. <strong>If you register before April 30 for the virtual conference (scheduled for May 14-15), we will ship to you your choice of a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, or Mèthode Champenoise Pink straight from Karma Vineyards. To make this event even more special, we'll include one of Karma's signature "do good" glasses (either wine or champagne).</strong> By <a href="[@]Shared_Content/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=LDC21&_zs=B3aFd1&">registering early for the event</a>, you'll be able to join your colleagues for a virtual wine and champagne tasting on Friday, May 14 at 5:15 p.m. with drinks courtesy of the WSMA. </p> <p> Even if virtual, the LDC's quality programming is still designed to sharpen your leadership skills. This year's conference features nationally recognized speaker <a href="">Bill Eckstrom</a>, who will kick off a conference agenda that will explore new trends in care delivery and quality improvement. Find out more about this year's speakers and learning opportunities on the <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Leadership_Development_Conference/WSMA/Events/LDC/leadership_development_conference.aspx?hkey=c7532c38-057a-4568-8a3c-078182469222&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=wxcX7">conference webpage</a>. </p> <p> We hope you'll join us and other physician leaders from across the state for this premier event. </p> <h3>Get the scoop on session</h3> <p> Hopefully, you received our email this week announcing the passage of WSMA's PPE reimbursement bill. A significant win for the physician community, <a href="">Senate Bill 5169</a> requires state-regulated commercial insurance carriers to begin reimbursing for PPE costs during the pandemic. The bill takes effect today, making Washington the first state in the country to require reimbursement for PPE in this way. More information can be found <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Latest_News/2021/ppe_reimbursement_bill_signed_into_law?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=10dX7">here</a>. </p> <p> With this year's legislative session scheduled to conclude on April 25, be sure to mark your calendar for May 7 when your on-the-ground legislative team will host a session wrap-up. During this members-only lunchtime webinar, they'll give you an inside look at the outcome of WSMA's priority policies, both budget and legislative, for the physician community. Spoiler alert: There's a lot of good news to share, so you won't want to miss it. <a href="">Register for the meeting online</a>. </p> <h3>Step up to lead</h3> <p>True to our slogan, the WSMA is both patient-focused and physician-driven. Our board of trustees is a critical way in which the WSMA is guided in its direction, strategies, and goals. Would you consider bringing your voice to the WSMA leadership table? The April 23 deadline for nominations is coming up quickly, and there are a variety of board positions available. I hope you'll take a moment to reflect on your leadership role within the WSMA. <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/March_11/nominations_for_wsma_leadership_deadline_april_23?_zs=A3aFd1&_zl=N0pU7">Find out more here</a>.</p> <h3>Nominate a winner</h3> <p> It's time to nominate worthy recipients for WSMA's third annual Apple Awards! There are several categories of awards including: <a href="">Early Career Member of the Year</a>, <a href="">Grassroots Advocate</a>, <a href="">Community Advocate</a>, <a href="">Wellness</a>, <a href="">President's Unsung Hero</a>, and the <a href="">William O. Robertson Patient Safety Award</a>. The deadline to nominate is June 4. Learn more and get started nominating your heroes at the links provided. </p> <h3>Help launch new Latinx Section</h3> <p> Thanks to the enthusiasm and efforts of the leadership at the University of Washington's Latino Center for Health, the WSMA is creating a Latinx Section within our membership. The launch of this section grew out of work done during the 2019 legislative session that allocated $150,000 in the 2019-21 state budget for the UW center to examine the Latinx physician workforce in Washington state. Among other actions, the center's advisory council recommended creating a Latinx physician cohort, which led to the 2020 WSMA House of Delegates passing policy establishing a Latinx Section within the WSMA. Objectives of the section will be to provide a forum in which Latinx physicians and PAs are able to gather, network, and support each other professionally, in addition to recruiting other Latinx physicians and developing advocacy strategies. </p> <p> This work is just beginning. If you're interested in learning more, mark your calendars for an informational meeting on May 20 from 6-7:30 p.m. Keep an eye on your email for registration information or write Milana McLead at <a href=""></a> to let us know about your interest in the section. </p> <p> I know this is a busy time, but I hope you'll be able to take advantage of these opportunities in addition to enjoying the lovely springtime. </p> </div>6/3/2021 3:49:23 PM4/16/2021 2:57:39 PM4/16/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_march_19_2021_leading_through_crisisWeekly Rounds: March 19, 2021 - Leading Through CrisisWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_march_19_2021_leading_through_crisis<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>March 19, 2021</h5> <h2>Leading Through Crisis</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> Passing through the crucible of the past 12 months has severely tested even the best of leaders. I've experienced - and observed - three key leadership qualities that made a difference as we all faced the unknowns of a pandemic: patience, persistence, and practice. </p> <h3>Persistence paid off</h3> <p> The numbers from the past year are staggering: more than 500,000 lives lost in United States from the virus. But numbers alone don't tell the human story - a story of lives lost and economies shattered. Now, we have a way out of this crisis. Thanks to persistence, we have a near miracle of three extraordinarily effective vaccines - vaccines that will help prevent further loss of life and help rebuild our economies. </p> <h3>Patience required</h3> <p> With the advent of those vaccines came the inevitable demand that exceeded supply. And though our patience has been deeply tested, we are now receiving good news from the Department of Health. Starting next month, the DOH estimates we will start receiving 600,000 doses per week. This is more than double what we have been receiving and heralds a true turning point to building herd immunity in our communities. </p> <h3>Practice needed</h3> <p> I know leadership is inherent to being a physician, with persistence and patience coming to you quite naturally. I also know there are other leadership skills that must be learned and developed. That is why the WSMA includes physician leadership and professional development as one of our strategic priorities. We bring top-ranked educational opportunities to the medical community through our Center for Leadership Development. To "practice" and further develop your skills, check out the many offerings now available <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Physician_Leadership/WSMA/Physician_Leadership/Physician_Leadership.aspx">here</a>. </p> <p> Another way to actively practice skills is to volunteer for leadership roles within the WSMA. Right now, we are seeking nominations for positions on the board of trustees for 2021-2022. Find out more by visiting our <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/March_11/nominations_for_wsma_leadership_deadline_april_23">nominations page</a>. Serving in these leadership roles is not only an opportunity to shape the profession, but also to help ensure that Washington state continues to be the best place to practice medicine and receive care. Note that the deadline for nominations is Friday, April 23. And be sure to mark your calendar for the <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx">2021 Annual Meeting of the House of Delegates</a>, scheduled for Sept. 25-26 at the Westin Bellevue Hotel. </p> <p> It's hard to believe that we've been in pandemic mode for more than a year. But we've made it this far, and with leaders like each of you, the future is looking brighter every day. </p> </div>6/3/2021 3:53:23 PM3/19/2021 9:27:59 AM3/19/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_march_5_2021_hope_in_the_time_of_covid_19Weekly Rounds: March 5, 2021 - Hope in the Time of COVID-19Weekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_march_5_2021_hope_in_the_time_of_covid_19<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>March 5, 2021</h5> <h2> Hope in the Time of COVID-19 </h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> By now, hearing "I got my first dose of the COVID vaccine" is becoming more of a familiar refrain among friends and family. And there's additional hope on the horizon, with recent news from the Biden administration that there will be enough COVID-19 vaccine shots for all the nation's adults by the end of May (keep your fingers crossed). </p> <p> With the president's recommendation to all states to vaccinate teachers and childcare workers (at least with the first shot) before the end of March, Gov. Jay Inslee immediately moved K-12 educators and childcare workers forward into our current Phase 1B tier 1, allowing these important groups to be vaccinated immediately in our state. </p> <p> These developments demonstrate progress and hope for rolling out of this pandemic in the months ahead, with the big assumption that we will see an increase of vaccine supply not only coming into our state, but also our practices. As has often been the case during this pandemic, two steps forward is followed by one step back, as just today (March 4) we learned that our state's supply of the <a href="">J&J vaccine will be limited until the end of March</a>. </p> <p> Regardless, I also wanted to offer you five other encouraging updates. </p> <h3> Helping you access PPE </h3> <p> While the WSMA doesn't have the ability to increase the supply of vaccine in our state, we can help you with PPE. A public-private collaborative group of health care associations and organizations, including the WSMA, joined together to facilitate group purchasing of vetted, high-quality PPE. The co-op worked with Seattle-based vendor <a href="">PPE.Exchange</a> to facilitate group orders. PPE.Exchange is an online PPE marketplace offering health care and front-line organizations, associations, government entities, and corporations the ability to source critical PPE and place group orders for bulk pricing. PPE.Exchange thoroughly vets suppliers and products and offers quality assurances. To access PPE for your practice, visit <a href="">Washington PPE Purchasing Co-Op</a>. </p> <h3> Seeking recovery for physician practices </h3> <p> Critical to your ability to continue to care for patients in your community, regardless of your specialty or practice setting, is the financial viability of your practice or medical group. Last year, the AMA conducted a survey on the financial impact of COVID-19 on physician practices and found physicians have averaged a 32% drop in revenue since February 2020. Expenses are also up, as 64% of physicians surveyed reported that they were spending more on PPE. The average increase was 57%. </p> <p> At the federal level, the WSMA joins the AMA and more than 120 other physician organizations in urging congressional leaders to support bipartisan legislation to extend the Medicare sequester moratorium suspending the federal budget's 2% payment cuts to physicians through the end of the public health emergency. </p> <p> In a letter to congressional leaders, our coalition urged the leaders to pass H.R. 315, the Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act, "to help alleviate the unrelenting fiscal demands of the pandemic." The measure is sponsored by Reps. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., and David McKinley, R-W.V., and has eight cosponsors—six Democrats and two Republicans. </p> <p> The AMA Physicians Grassroots Network is calling on physicians to tell Congress to support H.R. 315. <a href="">I urge you to take action now</a>. </p> <h3> Advocating in Olympia for financial viability </h3> <p> In Olympia, <a href="">rumor on the street</a> is Washington state may receive as much as $10 billion in federal stimulus funds from the American Rescue Plan Act pending in Congress. The largest chunk of funds would go towards COVID-19-related costs, with other financial support earmarked for education, childcare, and to cities and counties. </p> <p> At this point it's not clear what "strings" the federal government would attach to the money, so we don't know how much impact it will have on state budget discussions, which will begin to ramp up following the next revenue forecast on March 17. In the meantime, our team in Olympia is working on bills that provide direct financial benefit to your practices as we continue to advocate for any opportunity for increased stimulus to keep struggling practices afloat. Those bills include: </p> <p> <strong>House Bill 1196, audio-only telemedicine</strong>: <a href="">HB 1196</a> would allow patients to receive covered health care services over the telephone, advancing the goal of ensuring they get the right care, in the right place, at the right time. Due to existing emergency orders, insurers are currently required to cover and pay for audio-only services, but action is needed to ensure that patients can continue to receive appropriate care over the phone on an ongoing basis. HB 1196 generally requires that insurers provide the same coverage and reimbursement for audio-only telemedicine services as they would for care delivered in person. </p> <p> <strong>Senate Bill 5169, PPE reimbursement</strong>: <a href="">SB 5169</a> would require commercial insurance carriers to reimburse for personal protective equipment costs that were increased as a result of the pandemic. The bill would allow physicians and health care providers to bill newly created CPT code 99072 and be reimbursed $6.57 per patient encounter, pursuant to a recommendation from the AMA's RUC committee. </p> <p> <strong>Re-enacting Medicaid reimbursement rate adjustments</strong> vetoed by Gov. Jay Inslee in 2020 due to state budget concerns arising from the pandemic. Restoring the rate adjustments will improve access to care for Washingtonians by expanding physician participation in Medicaid networks at a time when it is desperately needed and long overdue. </p> <p> <strong>Senate Bill 5271, COVID-19 liability protections</strong>: <a href="">SB 5271</a> would establish a clear method for determining the standard of care for health care providers and facilities caring for COVID-19 patients and reflects the realities of this challenging time. Physicians have faced numerous challenges in delivering care during the pandemic, including shortages of supplies and shifting government directives on when and how services can be delivered. </p> <h3> Learning to maximize practice finances </h3> <p> Speaking of maintaining financially stable practices, if you want to improve your financial I.Q., the WSMA is offering a full-day seminar that builds on the basics of finances and provides you with an in-depth look at the way money moves through your practice or health care system. The course will be offered Friday, April 2 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The course is taught by Dennis Stillman, MHA. Dennis previously worked as the CFO at the University of Washington Medical Center and Pacific Medical Center, in addition to serving as interim CFO at the Polyclinic and Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, among other roles. He authored a book on health care financial management for trustees, "Essentials of Healthcare Organization Finance." He currently teaches at the University of Washington Master's in Health Administration Program and at the Executive MBA in Health Administration Program at the University of Colorado in Denver. <a href="[@]Shared_Content/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=LEADFINA&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=SMKS7">Register online</a>. </p> <h3> Improving end of life care in Washington state </h3> <p> Thank you for responding to our call for comments on our new POLST form and advance directive. We received 120 responses. Many of those suggestions for improvement will be incorporated into the final POLST and advance directive, which are anticipated to be available for download from the WSMA website in April. Stay tuned. </p> <p> With spring officially arriving soon, I am feeling more hopeful about the year ahead! Let's press on together. </p> </div>6/3/2021 3:54:10 PM3/5/2021 10:20:22 AM3/5/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_february_22_2021_five_things_to_know_as_we_begin_the_march_to_springWeekly Rounds: February 22, 2021 - Five Things to Know as We Begin The March to SpringWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_february_22_2021_five_things_to_know_as_we_begin_the_march_to_spring<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>February 19, 2021</h5> <h2>Five Things to Know as We Begin The March to Spring</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> If you're like me, at this point in the Pacific Northwest winter, you'll be counting the days until spring (29 days to be exact). The days are slowly getting longer, and while we still may have snow and storms ahead of us, the telltale green shoots of spring - and the hope they portend - get closer every day. </p> <p> Also, if you're like me, you do a quick read of news updates in the morning, while enjoying your favorite caffeinated beverage of choice (or non-caffeinated - there are a few of you out there!). Here are five quick updates for your morning read: </p> <h3>Legislative session update</h3> <p> We are more than a third of the way through the 2021 legislative session and just passed the first cutoff, when policy bills need to be voted out of their committee of origin. Here are a few quick highlights for the physician community that are too good not to share: The scope of practice bills we were opposing pertaining to naturopaths and ARNPs thankfully appear to be dead for the session. Also, our bill that seeks payment for PPE, Senate Bill 5169, was approved by the Senate unanimously and now is in the House of Representatives for further consideration. And House Bill 1196, which allows for ongoing coverage and payment of audio-only telemedicine services, has passed out of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee and is now pending a vote before the full House. </p> <p> For a comprehensive weekly update on all the bills we are tracking, subscribe to our weekly Outreach & Advocacy Report, which comes out every Friday. To sign up, contact <a href=""></a>. You can also get real-time updates on our online <a href="[@]WSMA/News_Publications/Latest_News/Advocacy_Report/WSMA/News_Publications/Newsletters/WSMA_Advocacy_Report.aspx">Advocacy Report</a>. </p> <h3>COVID-19 update</h3> <p>Word on the street is the Biden Administration has committed to supplying our state with more vaccines. "When" and "how much" have not yet been determined. Our Department of Health has also shared that it will be partnering more closely with local health jurisdictions to determine allocation at the local level. The state will still take orders and require reporting, but the LHJs will make final allocation decisions. The view from DOH is that LHJs know the community and have a better understanding of where their residents will go to get a vaccine. As specific coordination plans unroll, we will let you know what we learn.</p> <h3>Registration now open for WSMA LDC</h3> <p> This year's WSMA Leadership Development Conference is more accessible than ever in a new virtual format. The conference will be held online May 14-15. You may <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Leadership_Development_Conference/WSMA/Events/LDC/leadership_development_conference.aspx">register online now</a>. </p> <p> Our Leadership Development Conference is one of our most popular events, with top-quality programming and speakers. Don't miss this opportunity to invest in yourself, build skills in quality improvement and leadership, and be energized through our virtual networking sessions. Rapid-fire didactic sessions will be complemented by highly interactive small-group discussions with your peers. And with this virtual format, you'll be able to access every session live and on demand. A <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Leadership_Development_Conference/WSMA/Events/LDC/leadership_development_conference.aspx">full agenda</a> and faculty are now available - this promises to be one of our very best conferences. I hope I see you there. </p> <p> Speaking of leadership development, when you are on our website, be sure to check out our extensive suite of physician leadership courses offered via our <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Physician_Leadership/WSMA/Physician_Leadership/Physician_Leadership.aspx">Center for Leadership Development</a>. We are continually building out our leadership curriculum to meet the diverse needs of our members. No matter where you are in your career, there will be something for you. </p> <h3>WSMA board debates governance changes</h3> <p> In 2020, our board of trustees hired a consultant to make recommendations to improve WSMA's governance structure and, more specifically, the House of Delegates. Over the course of 2020, independent consultants looked at the data, gathered input from members, and in November, offered recommendations to the board for consideration. At its last meeting, the board agreed to move forward with proposing changes to WSMA bylaws that would reduce the size of the House of Delegates to mirror typical attendance at the annual HOD meeting, create opportunity for more diversity and inclusion within the HOD by adding at-large delegates, and adjust representation on the board of trustees to reduce its overall size. Currently, our bylaws committee is working on proposed language to be considered at the 2021 House of Delegates meeting. The WSMA will be reaching out to all HOD stakeholders to review the concepts currently under consideration by the bylaws committee. </p> <h3>2021 membership renewal deadline approaches</h3> <p> A hearty thanks to our members who have renewed their membership to date. I'd also like to thank the medical groups and clinics that continue to invest in WSMA membership on behalf of their physicians. The number of groups is too big to list and each group has a different approach to how they pay WSMA dues, with some covering their physicians and physician assistants, others allowing folks to opt out of membership, and some requiring physicians to opt in. If you're not sure how your group handles WSMA membership, check your HR department or medical staff office. Frequently, groups have funds that can be used for WSMA membership. Be sure to tap into these funds if they are at your disposal and you haven't yet <a href="[@]renew">renewed your 2021 dues</a>. Remember 2021 dues are due no later than March 31. </p> <p> I hope that, for each of you, you hold on to the hope I have for spring, for the end of our darkest season, and the beginning of one of renewal. Thank you for your membership to the WSMA and for all you do for Washington. </p> </div>6/3/2021 3:49:56 PM2/22/2021 10:19:28 AM2/19/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_february_5_2021_pathways_for_physician_engagementWeekly Rounds: February 5, 2021 - Pathways for Physician EngagementWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_february_5_2021_pathways_for_physician_engagement<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>February 5, 2021</h5> <h2>Pathways for Physician Engagement</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> One of the things I love the most about my work is building and fostering community. That's what we do and who we are at the WSMA. By coming together and belonging with each other, we put forth a united physician voice that speaks volumes. And we create pathways for engagement, like the four items I want to share with you this week. </p> <h3>Learn: Get on the inside scoop on issues in Olympia</h3> <p> The 2021 legislative session is well under way as we wrap up week four of the 105-day "long" session. With hundreds of bills already in play, there is a lot to learn about the issues being debated virtually in both the House and Senate. We will provide you the full inside scoop at our virtual Legislative Summit coming up on Tuesday, Feb. 9 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. </p> <p> Along with hearing about the health care issues that are up for debate, we'll hear from Washington state's newly appointed Secretary of Health Umair Shah, MD, MPH, who will offer an update on the state's COVID-19 response efforts. Speaker of the House Laurie Jinkins will be our other featured speaker and she's agreed to share her perspective on the legislative session. </p> <p> This event is free for WSMA members—one of the many benefits made possible by your dues dollars. There's still time to register! <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/WSMA/Events/WSMA_Legislative_Summit/Legislative_Summit.aspx">Click here to get signed up today</a>. </p> <h3>Comment: Share input on advance directive and POLST forms</h3> <p> A group of Washington organizations, including the WSMA, is seeking physicians to comment about proposed revisions to the advance directive and Washington POLST documents. </p> <p> To comment, <a href="[@]doc_library/resources/advance_care_planning/call_for_comment.pdf">review these materials first</a> (current and proposed advance directive and POLST); then complete the <a href="">advance directive survey</a>, as well as the <a href="">Washington POLST survey</a>. The group is accepting comments until Feb. 22. </p> <p> Extensive conversations with the end-of-life stakeholder community informed these revisions. The goal is to streamline, clarify, and modernize the documents, and ensure these documents continue to be relevant and effective even as the health care environment changes. </p> <p> Questions? Contact <a href=""></a>. </p> <h3>Engage: Don't miss this COVID-19 seminar</h3> <p> The Washington Association of Physicians of Indian Origin is co-organizing a seminar as a joint partnership with Indian-American Community Services tomorrow, Feb. 6, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. WSMA members are welcome to attend. </p> <p> The seminar features Helen Chu, MD (University of Washington and Seattle Flu Study), Rena C. Patel, MD (University of Washington Infectious Diseases), and Uma Malhotra, MD (Virginia Mason Franciscan Health). They will provide information detailing treatment and epidemiology of COVID-19 and the FDA-approved vaccines. </p> <p> Following their presentation, Anita Chopra, MD, and Deepthi Mani, MD, from the Washington Chapter of the American College of Physicians will join them for a Q&A on COVID-19 vaccinations. </p> <p> This seminar is open to the public, your family members, and patients. Here's the <a href="">Zoom link</a> for connecting to this meeting. Alternatively, you may use this information:<br /> Meeting ID: 864-0038-2762<br /> Password: 708351 </p> <h3> Watch out: Be on the alert for medical license fraud</h3> <p>We want to be sure you are aware of the latest fraud scheme where physicians are being contacted by a fraudster masking themselves as the Washington Medical Commission. </p> <p> According to the commission, the fraud includes actual medical license numbers relayed during a call from the commission's phone number. Victims are informed their license is temporarily suspended pending an investigation and told to go to nearby fax machines to receive suspension letters. Victims are told they cannot work under their Washington or Oregon license. </p> <p> The Washington Medical Commission will never contact you about disciplinary action in this way. This technique is highly deceptive due to similar terminology and replication of their phone number. Do not send personal information, or money, or accept that your license has been disciplined and stop work. Call 360.236.2706 or email the commission at <a href=""></a> right away if this happens to you. The commission is working with law enforcement, and federal and state agencies to stop this scam. </p> <p> It's important to bring you news you need to know and opportunities to learn and engage. As the state's largest physician professional association, we are on the front lines of these activities that impact you, the profession, and your patients. </p> <p> Membership in the WSMA makes you part of a community of physicians and PAs who are in the know. Our work has this impact because of your support. If you're among the many who have already renewed your membership, thank you! </p> <p> If you haven't yet renewed, don't miss out. <a href="">Renew today online</a>, by phone at 206.441.9762, or return the renewal notice that was recently mailed to you. </p> <p> As always, we stand together with you. Thanks for being part of our community. </p> </div>6/3/2021 3:50:09 PM2/5/2021 10:46:53 AM2/5/2021 12:00:00 AM
Weekly_Rounds_January_15_2021_Preparing_For_Public_VaccinationsWeekly Rounds: January 15, 2021 - Preparing for Public VaccinationsWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/Weekly_Rounds_January_15_2021_Preparing_For_Public_Vaccinations<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" /></div> <h5> January 15, 2021 </h5> <h2> Preparing for Public Vaccinations </h2> <p> Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO </p> <p> Washington state is on the cusp of moving beyond health care into vaccinating the wider public, with the Department of Health <a href="">moving up its timeline</a> for Phase 1B of its vaccine rollout. While much is still to be determined, including the effect of potential increased federal support, here are some developments this week that can help you assist with the vaccine rollout. </p> <h3> Phase 1B and impact of changing federal guidance </h3> <p> The state has broken its Phase 1B into four tiers. At this time, the Department of Health has not decided if it will align with the updated guidance announced by the federal government this week. State public health officials are also waiting to hear from the Biden administration on what its plan is, and if it aligns with the new federal announcements. </p> <h4> 1B1 (Tier 1) </h4> <ul> <li>All people 70 years and older.</li> <li> People 50 years and older who live in multigenerational households.</li> </ul> <h4> 1B2 (Tier 2) </h4> <ul> <li> High-risk critical workers 50 years and older who work in congregate settings: <ul> <li> Agriculture; food processing; grocery stores; K-12 (teachers and school staff); child care; corrections, prisons, jails, or detention facilities (staff); public transit; fire; law enforcement.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <h4> 1B3 (Tier 3) </h4> <ul> <li> People 16 years or older with two or more comorbidities or underlying conditions.</li> </ul> <h4> 1B4 (Tier 4) </h4> <ul> <li> High-risk critical workers in congregate settings under 50 years old.</li> <li> People, staff, and volunteers of all ages in congregate living settings: <ul> <li> Correctional facilities; group homes for people with disabilities; shelters for people experiencing homelessness.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <h3> Regulatory flexibilities for vaccine providers </h3> <p> To encourage more practice and clinic enrollment in the federal COVID-19 Vaccination Program and assistance in public vaccinations, the Department of Health has confirmed this week that: </p> <ul> <li> The activities of everyone engaged in the operation of vaccination clinics (and other vaccine efforts related to the COVID-19 response) is afforded the liability protections granted under the federal PREP Act.</li> <li> Reporting vaccine administration information to the Washington Immunization Information System (WIIS) satisfies any reporting that might be required in an electronic medical record to capture that a vaccine has been administered.</li> </ul> <p> For details on these flexibilities, see this <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Department of Health notice</a>. To enroll your practice or organization in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program, visit the <a href="">DOH website</a>. Check that page for a detailed FAQ. In addition, the WSMA has learned the following: </p> <ol> <li> <strong>When will vaccines be delivered to outpatient practices that have signed up to be COVID-19 vaccine providers? </strong>Similar to the state's childhood vaccine program, after the Department of Health approves a vaccine order for a provider, vaccines are delivered via FedEx from a central CDC warehouse directly to each provider facility, according to the facility's office hours.</li> <li> <strong>How are vaccines ordered?</strong> Currently the program is placing orders for providers based off information shared through a weekly survey. In the next few weeks, the DOH will transition to ordering through the Washington Immunization Information System (WIIS).</li> <li> <strong> Are there plans in place for mass vaccination sites?</strong> The Department of Health says that mass vaccination plans are in process.</li> </ol> <p> For questions about the enrollment process or for technical assistance, contact <a href=""></a>. </p> <h3> Volunteers needed for mass vaccination clinics </h3> <p> The state is calling for more clinician volunteers to assist with its COVID-19 response, including mass vaccination clinics. Register with the <a href="">Washington State Emergency Registry of Volunteers</a> (WAserv) to partner with public health and others who need assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. </p> <h3> Finishing Phase 1A </h3> <p> This week, the Department of Health called on all workers in health care settings to get their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. The DOH is asking workers in health care settings to use its Phase Finder tool at <a href=""></a> to locate a vaccine provider site and to confirm eligibility when presenting at the site. </p> <p> Phase Finder will launch broadly on Jan. 18. The tool will be available in multiple languages and is intended to be used to provide eligibility confirmation on site. </p> <p> Local health jurisdictions and some county medical societies are assisting in the vaccine rollout. Check your <a href="">local health jurisdiction website </a> and your <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/Partner_Organizations/County_Medical_Societies/WSMA/About/Partner_Organizations/County_Medical_Societies/County_Medical_Societies.aspx">county medical society website</a> for information. If you would like WSMA's help getting connected with your local hospital to get you and your staff vaccinated, <a href="">complete our clinic form</a>. (Note: If you are in King County, fill out this <a href="">King County Medical Society form</a>.) </p> <p> The Department of Health has clarified that some communities may move into phase 1B before other communities have finished 1A, in recognition of the differing makeup and needs of localities. For in-depth guidance for all released phases, see the Department of Health's <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization Guidance and Interim Allocation Framework</a> or visit their <a href="">COVID-19 vaccine webpage</a>. </p> <h3> More information </h3> <p> While information and guidance are developing daily, the WSMA is meeting regularly with the Department of Health, the Washington State Hospital Association, and other stakeholders to assist with the largest mass vaccination effort in recent history. If you have additional questions, reach out to <a href=""></a>. </p> </div>6/3/2021 3:50:44 PM1/15/2021 4:29:00 PM1/15/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_january_4_2021_a_new_year_new_opportunitiesWeekly Rounds: January 4, 2021 - A New Year, New OpportunitiesWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_january_4_2021_a_new_year_new_opportunities<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>January 1, 2021</h5> <h2>A New Year, New Opportunities</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> Reflecting on this most unusual of years - though obviously full of challenges - I'm a bit surprised to find a silver lining to inform my New Year's resolution. </p> <p> In the "beforetimes," I rarely worked from home, my calendar was full of cross-country travel, and important meetings were held in person. Had it not been for COVID-19 universally upending our world, we wouldn't have had such a radical transformation in how we do business. That sea change allowed me more time for family, even while I was working around the clock. I also learned that if we're willing to do things differently - for example, doing a meeting via Zoom rather than flying to meet in person - it's possible to do both. </p> <p> And so, my resolution for this brand new - and hopefully, brighter - year is to embrace the acceptance and openness to do things differently. </p> <p> What about you? I know we've all had to adapt to these new times we're in. I hope as you consider how you might do things differently in 2021 that you'll consider these "investment" ideas for your New Year's resolutions. </p> <ol> <li><strong>Invest in a brighter future</strong>: WSMA's ability to follow our mission to improve the medical profession is fueled by the membership investment you make with us. When you partner with us, we are enabled to raise the physician voice with the clout associated with being the <em>largest physician association in the state</em>. We are part of the highest-level health care conversations because of our size, credibility, influence, and stature within the health care community. As policymakers grapple with complex issues that impact patients and health care, it is the WSMA that brings forth the unique clinical view that only a physician can provide. I hope you will resolve to <a href="">renew your membership</a> today!</li> <li><strong>Invest in the profession</strong>: Next week, the January/February issue of <em>WSMA Reports</em> will be in your mailbox. Within its pages, you'll read about how the challenges of 2020 will shape the 2021 legislative session. This year's session will be conducted remotely, with many legislators remaining in their districts as they convene to shape new laws and regulations via Zoom. WSMA's Legislative Summit offers members an opportunity to hear insights about how the pandemic is impacting state policy, as well as the downstream impacts on the profession and health care in general. We'll also provide a briefing on legislative and budget policy issues that will set you up for more constructive outreach with your elected officials, particularly on items critical to the profession and patients. Mark your calendar for Feb. 9 at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom. The Summit is free to all members. <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/WSMA/Events/WSMA_Legislative_Summit/Legislative_Summit.aspx">Find out more here</a>.</li> <li><strong>Invest in yourself</strong>: The WSMA is committed to your professional development, particularly enhancing and building your leadership skills, regardless of where you are in your career or the type or size of your organization. Our <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Physician_Leadership/WSMA/Physician_Leadership/Physician_Leadership.aspx">Center for Leadership Development</a> offers multiple opportunities to develop your leadership skills without taking time away from your practice. This year, we are also launching a new quality improvement course to help our members lead in the transformation of care. Many physicians did not receive training in medical school on how to lead quality improvement. But with this training, physicians can acquire the skills to guide their organizations to deliver safe and effective care. Let this be the year you take advantage of these educational opportunities.</li> </ol> <p> As we embark on a new year, one thing will not change: The WSMA will remain committed to aggressively advocating for you, our members, at the highest levels of influence so that we can continue to advance strong physician leadership and advocacy that shapes the future of medicine and improves quality care for all Washingtonians. </p> <p> Here's to 2021. Happy New Year! </p> </div>6/3/2021 3:53:38 PM1/4/2021 12:53:08 PM1/1/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_december_18_2020_covid_19_vaccines_arrive_in_washington_stateWeekly Rounds: December 18, 2020 - COVID-19 Vaccines Arrive in Washington StateWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_december_18_2020_covid_19_vaccines_arrive_in_washington_state<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>December 18, 2020</h5> <h2>COVID-19 Vaccines Arrive in Washington State</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> So much of this past year has made history, but surely nothing has been more historic than the rapid development of a COVID-19 vaccine in mere months. Considering that vaccines for mumps, yellow fever, typhoid fever, smallpox, and others took years to develop, seeing the first COVID-19 vaccines in our state being administered this week is nothing short of a minor miracle. </p> <p> I know all of our members are following these developments closely, but I wanted to summarize a few things here that you need to know. </p> <p> With COVID-19 vaccines now on the ground in Washington state, initial allocations of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are on their way to selected health care facilities and FDA authorization is expected for a Moderna vaccine shortly. </p> <p> The WSMA continues to work closely with the state to help inform its efforts, including providing input on the state's interim COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, hosting public health leaders and physician experts in our member education efforts, and coordinating with health care stakeholders to help instill confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccines and ensure successful and equitable distribution and administration. </p> <p> The Washington State Department of Health released Phase 1A of the COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Guidance on Dec 10. Phase 1A focuses on vaccinating two groups: </p> <ul> <li>High-risk workers in health care settings and high-risk first responders.</li> <li>Residents and staff of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other community-based, congregate living settings where people over 65 are getting care or assistance.</li> </ul> <p> The DOH estimates around 500,000 people in Washington will be eligible for the vaccine in Phase 1A. For more specific information, please see the <a href="">WA State COVID-19 Allocation Guidance for Phase 1A PDF</a>. The DOH will make decisions on who will be vaccinated in later phases based on guidance made by the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. </p> <p> For an overview of the state's vaccine distribution plan, see the Washington State Interim COVID-19 Vaccination Plan available on the <a href="">DOH website</a>. The plan is a living document and will change over time as we learn more about the vaccines and figure out the most equitable way to protect people. </p> <p> <strong>The DOH recommends that outpatient practices not affiliated with a hospital enroll as a COVID-19 vaccine provider as soon as possible.</strong> <a href="">Complete enrollment information is available here</a>. According to the DOH, enrollment will allow practices to get the vaccine directly and administer it to their patients and staff. For clinics needing less than 100 doses, the DOH recommends partnering with another practice nearby for the purposes of vaccinating staff. </p> <p> Some hospitals will be setting up "pods" to vaccinate outpatient workers. Hospitals operating a pod will be required to designate themselves as such. Reach out to your local hospital today to learn about their plans for vaccinating outpatient health care workers. </p> <p> The Department of Health is continually gathering feedback on the COVID-19 vaccination process. Visit the <a href="">DOH website</a> to learn more about engagement efforts and how to provide feedback. </p> <p> I never cease to be amazed at the creativity, tenacity, and commitment of the medical profession and the physicians who care for us all. That includes each of you. Thank you! </p> </div>6/3/2021 4:17:05 PM12/18/2020 9:55:15 AM12/18/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_december_4_2020_pierce_county_concerns_other_covid_19_news_for_physiciansWeekly Rounds: December 4, 2020 - Pierce County Concerns, Other COVID-19 News for PhysiciansWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_december_4_2020_pierce_county_concerns_other_covid_19_news_for_physicians<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>December 4, 2020</h5> <h2>Pierce County Concerns, Other COVID-19 News for Physicians</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> Public health officers across our state and country have been on the front lines of the worst pandemic in recent history and have come under intense political, and sometimes personal, pressure and attacks. This troubling pattern has caused many communities to be <a href="">without sound leadership</a> as they face an ever-increasing number of COVID-19 cases on top of the other necessary and needed responsibilities of local public health - food worker safety, immunizations and infectious diseases, clean water, and child and family health among them. </p> <p> In the latest development, the Pierce County Council will consider a deeply troubling proposal to terminate the interlocal agreement between the City of Tacoma and Pierce County that established the joint Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. </p> <p> The <a href="">ordinance being considered</a> by the council is hasty, poorly timed, and could have severe negative consequences on public health. The WSMA strongly agrees with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department's <a href="">response</a> that "efforts that divide our attention from this critical public health response are an unfortunate distraction." </p> <p> Now, during the worst public health crisis in more than a century, is not the time to distract Pierce County's public health leaders from taking care of the health and well-being of their constituents. </p> <p> The first hearing on the resolution is Dec. 7 with a planned final vote scheduled for Dec. 15. Please <a href="[@]WSMA/Advocacy/Take_Action/Call_to_Action.aspx">call and email your council member today</a> and urge them to oppose this proposal. </p> <h3>Proclamation update</h3> <p> Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee issued updated requirements for the continued performance of non-urgent health care services, procedures, and surgeries. <a href="" target="_blank">Proclamation 20-24.2</a> allows health care facilities, practices, and practitioners to provide non-urgent health care services if the facilities, practices, and practitioners act in good faith and with reasonable clinical judgment to meet specific criteria and making certain considerations, as detailed in <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/COVID-19_Clinical_Guidance_and_Testing/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/COVID-19_Clinical_Guidance_and_Testing/covid_19_clinical_guidance_and_testing.aspx">WSMA guidance issued to members</a>. </p> <p> The governor's proclamation is effective Dec. 3 through the end of the state of emergency, or until it is rescinded or updated. </p> <p> Be sure to familiarize yourself with the new proclamation by reading WSMA's guidance materials available from our <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/COVID-19_Clinical_Guidance_and_Testing/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/COVID-19_Clinical_Guidance_and_Testing/covid_19_clinical_guidance_and_testing.aspx">COVID-19 Professional Resources webpage</a>. If you have questions on these resources or what the proclamation means for you and your practice, contact the WSMA policy department at <a href=""></a>. </p> <h3>Telemedicine payment parity</h3> <p> Last month, the Legislature granted a brief extension - through Dec. 7 - of Gov. Jay Inslee's proclamation temporarily requiring telemedicine payment parity. Similarly, the Office of the Insurance Commissioner extended its emergency order to health insurers expanding telehealth and other coverages until Dec. 11, including requiring all state-regulated carriers to permit and reimburse for care provided over non-HIPAA-compliant platforms, including video chat applications and telephones. </p> <p> We continue to advocate for these policies to be extended - for the governor's proclamation, through the end of the year, which is when the provisions of Senate Bill 5385, permanently requiring payment parity from state-regulated health plans, take effect. For the OIC emergency order, for the duration of the public health crisis. We should hear if these orders are extended further next week - the next extension of the governor's payment parity order would presumably go through the end of the year, with SB 5385 taking effect on Jan. 1. </p> <h3>Enroll your practice in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program</h3> <p> According to the <a href="">DOH briefing</a> on Wednesday, Dec. 2, facilities enrolled in the state's <a href="">COVID-19 Vaccination Program</a> by Dec. 6 will be eligible to receive doses from the initial allotment, expected potentially as early as mid-December. To enroll your practice or facility, you must simply initiate the process by completing the <a href="" target="_blank">provider inquiry form</a>. The DOH has shared a <a href="" target="_blank">COVID-19 provider agreement enrollment guide</a> to help guide physicians and providers through the enrollment process, as well as a <a href="" target="_blank">provider preparation checklist</a>. For questions about the enrollment process or for technical assistance, please contact <a href=""></a>. </p> <p> As a benefit of membership, WSMA members may also contact the WSMA's policy team with questions or support on the state's rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine. Email <a href=""></a> with your questions. </p> <h3>Invitation to join PPE group buy</h3> <p> With the heightened need for vetted and affordable PPE due to the novel coronavirus, a public-private collaborative group of local health care associations and organizations has come together to purchase high-quality PPE as a group. (Learn more about the purchasing co-op on the <a href="">OneHealthPort website</a>.) </p> <p> The WSMA is inviting our members to join in a group buy for the following: </p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank">BYD NIOSH approved N95 respirators</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">3-ply surgical masks - ASTM Level 3</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Level 3 surgical gowns (sterile)</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Level 3 surgical gowns disposable (non-sterile)</a></li> </ul> <p> Don't delay; the deadline to submit your order is fast approaching. For more details, visit the <a href="">WSMA website</a>. </p> <h3>Adult flu vaccine doses available</h3> <p> Through the aid of a CDC grant, the Washington State Department of Health is now offering <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20200813/covid_19_adds_urgency_to_preparations_for_flu_season">additional adult flu vaccine doses</a> for un- and under-insured individuals. These adult doses will be distributed to physicians and providers participating in the state's adult vaccine program. To enroll, complete the provider agreement form located in Appendix A of the <a href="" target="_blank">Adult Vaccine Program User Manual</a>. Email <a href=""></a> for details. </p> <h3>COVID-19 patient education material</h3> <p> The WSMA continues to make available to our members multilingual resources on the state's Safer Gatherings campaign, plus a new poster created by one of our members - a "Rosie the Riveter"-style poster encouraging mask wearing (it's great!). Go to our <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/COVID-19_Patient_Education/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/COVID-19_Patient_Education/covid_19_patient_education.aspx?hkey=1883b646-8a34-48dc-926d-c9711850a7cd&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=1vTH7">COVID-19 Patient Education webpage</a> to download these materials for use in your office or on your social media channels. Also, while you're there, don't miss a new AMA-produced public service announcement co-branded with the WSMA as part of our #MaskUp public awareness campaign - the PSA carries the message of "3 simple steps you can take to stop the spread of COVID-19." <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/COVID-19_Patient_Education/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/COVID-19_Patient_Education/covid_19_patient_education.aspx?hkey=1883b646-8a34-48dc-926d-c9711850a7cd&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=1vTH7">Take a look and let us know what you think</a>. </p> <h3>Call for physicians fluent in other languages</h3> <p> To reach more populations and cultures with important health messages, the WSMA is looking for physicians fluent in non-English languages who would be interested in helping us on our public education initiatives (COVID-19 and otherwise). If you are interested in volunteering your time to help the WSMA enhance its patient outreach to non-English-speaking communities, please contact Graham Short at <a href=""></a>. </p> <h3>Get your flu shot</h3> <p> While flu activity in Washington is low, the WSMA continues its Be Safe. Be Smart. Get Your Flu Shot. campaign to encourage flu vaccination. As part of our targeted media and community outreach, we recently distributed to Yakima-area media and stakeholders two PSAs featuring WSMA 1st Vice President Katina Rue, DO, a <a href="">30-second version</a> designed for social/broadcast media, and a <a href="">60-second version</a> designed for websites. And don't miss WSMA board member Monica Blykowski-May, MD, who was featured in <a href="">two Spokane</a> <a href="">area papers</a> sending our topline messages. </p> <p> Remember to leverage the trust patients have in their physicians and be sure to get your flu shot - and let your patients know. </p> </div>6/3/2021 4:17:44 PM12/4/2020 3:03:51 PM12/4/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_november_23_2020_the_wsma_mattersto_youWeekly Rounds: November 23, 2020 - The WSMA YouWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_november_23_2020_the_wsma_mattersto_you<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>November 23, 2020</h5> <h2>The WSMA You</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> During times of chaos and change, WSMA is your steady hand. </p> <p> As you grapple with trying to treat your patients, contain a virus, and protect your own health and well-being, the WSMA is behind the scenes working to protect your interests. We are: </p> <ul> <li>Working with the governor's office and Department of Health to ensure that we can continue to provide care to patients when it is needed.</li> <li>Amplifying a science- and evidence-based approach to combatting this virus.</li> <li>Working to ensure that policymakers understand the benefits of telemedicine payment parity and that carriers are complying with the law.</li> <li>Giving a voice and a face to a medical community that is sacrificing its own financial viability in order to protect their staff and patients, while complying with new orders.</li> </ul> <p> I could go on and on about the ways in which WSMA supports you, advocates for you, and influences change for you…but I know you're busy, so I'll keep this short. </p> <p> What I do want to say is whether we are working behind the scenes or front and center, the work we do directly benefits every single physician in this state. </p> <p> Ever since 1996 when I joined the WSMA, my job has been to convince you to <a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Join_Renew/Join_Renew.aspx?hkey=37a820cf-9d05-4812-b9dd-c29b9a75356d&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=pN6G7">renew your membership</a> in WSMA. After the year we've had and all the work we've done together, my hope is that WSMA's value proposition is more clear than ever! </p> <p> This is about survival. The survival and well-being of your patients, your practice, your profession, and your sanity. It is about preserving science, evidence, and public health. It is about keeping your doors open - literally - and preserving your ability to practice your craft while keeping your patients and community safe. </p> <p> It's also about partnership. The work we do is enabled by the membership investment you make with us. And when you partner with us, we are enabled to raise up your voice with the clout carried by being the largest physician association in this state. We are part of the highest-level health care conversations because of our size, our credibility, our influence, and our stature within the community. </p> <p> And our work is far from over. We need your support and engagement as Washington eventually moves from the combat zone to recovery. Soon the Legislature will convene, and COVID-19 recovery and the state's budget will be the primary topics of debate. We must be ready to advance an agenda for medicine's recovery, to ensure that patients have access to a physician when they need one, and to take lessons learned and apply them in a meaningful way to improve care delivery, efficiency, a better public health system, and financially viability for all practices regardless of size or specialty. </p> <p> Thank you in advance for your continued support of WSMA. </p> </div>6/3/2021 4:18:06 PM11/23/2020 9:49:55 AM11/23/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_november_5_2020_2020_election_update_excitement_but_no_immediate_resolutionWeekly Rounds: November 5, 2020 - 2020 Election Update: Excitement, but No Immediate ResolutionWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_november_5_2020_2020_election_update_excitement_but_no_immediate_resolution<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-Sean-Graham-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds with Sean Graham" /></div> <h5>November 5, 2020</h5> <h2>2020 Election Update: Excitement, but No Immediate Resolution</h2> <p> Sean Graham, Director of Government Affairs </p> <p> Election Day has come to a close, but the race that's at the top of the ticket and the front of everyone's mind remains unsettled, with the presidential election looking like it will take time to untangle. It's not the clean resolution that the record number of Americans who turned out for the election were hoping for, but it's also no surprise given the multiple modes of voting and ballot counting and reporting utilized across the country. </p> <p> The pandemic that has permeated all aspects of our lives has played a significant part in the election, both in terms of who folks voted for and how they cast their votes. Washington state transitioned to all-mail voting nearly 10 years ago, but other states have had to make significant changes to allow for more early and absentee voting. A number of swing states chose to tabulate ballots received before Election Day after the fact, leaving pundits to guess at how those votes will ultimately trend. </p> <p> Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was preaching "patience" on election night, saying he expects to win the race as votes are counted in the coming days. President Donald Trump spoke later, lamenting the delay in victory being declared for his campaign, making unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud, and threatening to pursue legal action to halt additional votes from being counted. </p> <p> The picture at the state level is clearer—if anything, it's more complete than we're accustomed to seeing on Election Day due to early turnout. Results have already been tabulated for more than 68% of our state's registered voters, representing an increase of one million votes more than the number tabulated at this point in the process in 2016. Many votes have yet to be counted and things will surely shift, but here's a look at where things stood in our state at the end of Election Day. </p> <p> There were no surprises in statewide races, with most incumbents cruising to reelection by wide margins. That includes Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson, both of whom are garnering nearly 60% of the vote, and Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, at nearly 68%. Denny Heck looks poised to win the open-seat race for lieutenant governor that was a contest between two Democrats. The lone incumbent likely to be upset is Treasurer Duane Davidson, a Republican who is trailing Democratic challenger Mike Pellicciotti 56-44. </p> <p> Of Washington's 10 congressional seats, WSMA's focus was on the reelection campaign of Rep. Kim Schrier, the Issaquah Democrat who, as a pediatrician, is the only physician in higher office in our state. Rep. Schrier is staked to a solid 54-46 lead in the 8th Congressional District, a swing district that spans I-90 from Issaquah to Ellensburg. In the intraparty open-seat race for the 10th Congressional District centered on Olympia, Democrat Marilyn Strickland is handily winning. Incumbents lead in the rest of the state's congressional races. </p> <p> The dynamic in the state Legislature will likely be similar to what we've seen over the last two years, where Democrats have enjoyed wide majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives. As things stand, Democrats would increase their Senate majority by one seat to 29-20 and would pick up two more seats in the House to move to 59-39. </p> <p> A number of state legislative races are too close to call, however, particularly given how sky-high turnout may disrupt the voting patterns we're used to seeing. While pre-election predictions varied considerably based on who you talked to, Olympia insiders who follow campaigns closely were projecting results in line with how things are shaping up. Key legislative races WSMA is watching include: </p> <ul> <li>Senate <ul> <li>28th District: Republican Sen. Steve O'Ban is trailing Democratic challenger T'wina Nobles by around 2,000 votes in this Pierce County contest that will likely tighten as late votes are counted. O'Ban is the lead Republican on the Senate Health Care Committee.</li> <li>5th District: An intraparty contest in the Issaquah area has moderate Democrat Sen. Mark Mullet trailing more progressive challenger Ingrid Anderson by less than 1,000 votes. While the seat will remain in the hands of Democrats either way, the outcome will influence the tenor of the Senate.</li> </ul> </li> <li>House of Representatives <ul> <li>The state's few remaining "split" districts where each party controls one state House seat all look to be consolidating into single-party rule. Democrats are poised to pick up a seat in Whatcom County's 42nd District and the 10th District centered on Stanwood, turning both districts blue. Conversely, Republicans will add a seat in southwest Washington's 19th District.</li> <li>One new split district may be created in Clark County's 17th Legislative District where Republican Rep. Paul Harris looks likely to be reelected, but a Democratic challenger is leading the Republican incumbent in the other seat. Rep. Harris was named WSMA's legislator of the year in 2019 for leadership on immunization legislation.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p> With so much at stake for patients, physicians, and health policy, WSMA will continue to monitor election results closely and will provide continued analysis on the implications for the house of medicine in the weeks to come. Through engagement in campaigns via our non-partisan political arm, WAMPAC, we have already made connections with many of the elected officials who will be new to office in 2021. We'll also be looking to the physician community to engage directly with your state legislators, as next year's session is likely to be held remotely, precluding many of the traditional avenues for access in Olympia. </p> <p> For more information on election returns, visit the <a href="">website for the Secretary of State</a>. If you have questions about anything related to the election or would like to learn more about how you can engage with your elected officials, please contact WSMA's Director of Government Affairs, Sean Graham, at <a href=""></a>. </p> </div>6/3/2021 4:18:22 PM11/5/2020 9:24:59 AM11/5/2020 12:00:00 AM
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