Skip to main content
Top of the Page
Weekly Rounds
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.

TaggedListQuery

Data pager
Data pager
Page size:
 64 items in 4 pages
Show all 64
NameAlternateNameTagNameLocationblobUpdated OnCreated OnPublication Date
Data pager
Data pager
Page size:
 64 items in 4 pages
Show all 64
weekly_rounds_may_22_2020_five_things_to_know_while_staying_home_for_memorial_dayWeekly Rounds: May 22, 2020 - Five Things to Know While Staying Home for Memorial DayWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_may_22_2020_five_things_to_know_while_staying_home_for_memorial_day<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>May 22, 2020</h5> <h2> Five Things to Know While Staying Home for Memorial Day </h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> While there continues to be a lot of activity at the state and federal levels in response to COVID-19, it feels to me as though we're shifting from the urgent onset reactive phase into a more intentional and thoughtful phase. </p> <p> We know we're in this for the long haul, and along with our COVID response, your WSMA team continues to advocate on the things that impact your ability to practice in today's challenging times. Hopefully you've benefitted from our intensive communications efforts as we work to bring you the latest information in nearly real time across all of our channels, including our social media feeds, our website, our biweekly e-newsletter Membership Memo, and, of course, Weekly Rounds, my personal missive to you. </p> <p> As we ready ourselves for a well-deserved long Memorial Day weekend, I offer a few brief updates you'll want to know about. </p> <h3>Deciding to meet virtually for the WSMA House of Delegates</h3> <p> At its lengthy Zoom meeting last Sunday, the WSMA board of trustees made the difficult decision to transition our usual in-person Annual Meeting in Spokane to a virtual one-day House of Delegates meeting on Saturday, Sept. 26. Out of an abundance of caution for the health and well-being of all concerned, they directed that the meeting be condensed to focus solely on the business of the House of Delegates. </p> <p> In the weeks preceding the meeting, we will open our online reference committee forums in order to give all members an opportunity to provide feedback on resolutions. In addition, we will hold virtual reference committee meetings so that members will have an opportunity to provide verbal testimony. On Sept. 26, the House will act on the reports of the reference committees, vote on the slate of candidates for the board of trustees, and conduct other business of the House. Your WSMA staff is currently working on the new schedule and will share more information soon. </p> <h3>Taking action to say "no" to psychologists' scope expansion</h3> <p> The Washington State Department of Health will hold a sunrise review hearing on psychologists' prescriptive authority. The WSMA opposes efforts to expand non-physician practitioners' prescriptive authority and any scope of practice increase that does not stipulate commensurate education and training to what a physician receives, and thus we oppose this expansion. </p> <p> By way of some background, late in the 2020 legislative session, <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/2000/HB2967.pdf" target="_blank">House Bill 2967</a> was introduced to grant psychologists prescriptive authority. While this bill was not considered during session (i.e. no public hearings were held), it served as the catalyst for this sunrise review. Sunrise reviews are the process by which the DOH considers proposals that would amend practices of regulated health professions in the state. </p> <p> <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/2000/SunriseRequest.pdf" target="_blank">Requested by the Legislature</a>, DOH will now review the <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/2000/2020-Sunrise-PsyScope.pdf" target="_blank">proposal submitted by the Washington State Psychological Association</a> and provide opportunities for stakeholders to engage and provide comments as the department drafts its report. At the end of the review process, DOH will issue a final report with their recommendations to the Legislature. While these recommendations are technically advisory, they often serve as the basis for future legislation. </p> <p> Comments on the initial proposal are due by June 17 at midnight and should be emailed to <a href="mailto:sunrise@doh.wa.gov">sunrise@doh.wa.gov</a>. Once the WSMA has compiled our draft comment we will share it with you. In the meantime, should you have any questions, concerns, or feedback, or if the WSMA can be helpful to your organization on this issue, email Alex Wehinger, WSMA's associate director of legislative and political affairs, at <a href="mailto:alex@wsma.org">alex@wsma.org</a>. </p> <h3>Reporting out to improve opioid prescribing practices</h3> <p> The latest round of the Washington Opioid Reports, the key feature of our <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/Opioids/Better_Prescribing_Better_Treatment/WSMA/Resources/Opioids/Better_Prescribing_Better_Treatment/better_prescribing_better_treatment.aspx?hkey=b6fb0ec0-8bc2-4e53-bf4c-9f148599cbeb&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=KQ4o6">Better Prescribing, Better Treatment</a> initiative, will arrive in your inboxes next week. This feedback reporting program provides data compiled from the state's prescription monitoring program to physicians and other prescribing providers that allows them to see how their opioid prescribing practices compare to others in their health care system and specialty. </p> <p> There are two levels of reports: organizational and prescriber. The organization-level reports are sent quarterly to CMOs and QI leaders and summarize the prescribing practices in their organization by specialty. The prescriber-level reports are sent quarterly to each individual prescriber and summarize how an individual's prescribing practices compare to other prescribers in the same specialty and organization. </p> <p> For more information, please contact Monica Salgaonkar, WSMA's continuing professional development manager, at <a href="mailto:monica@wsma.org">monica@wsma.org</a>. </p> <h3>Developing tomorrow's leaders today</h3> <p> The WSMA <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Physician_Leadership/Physician_Leadership_Course/WSMA/Physician_Leadership/Physician_Leadership_Course/Physician_Leadership_Course.aspx?hkey=30a53472-d3c0-4d7d-bd0c-cf09b4bea7f5&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=LQ4o6">Physician Leadership Course</a> is a 40+ hour course for physicians and physician assistants who want to develop their health care leadership skills. Online virtual sessions will be held on Sept. 18-19 and Dec. 11, with eight weeks in between of self-guided online learning. The deadline to register is Aug. 18. </p> <p> Taking your leadership journey deeper, the WSMA <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Physician_Leadership/Dyad_Leadership_Course/WSMA/Physician_Leadership/Dyad_Leadership_Course/Dyad_Leadership_Course.aspx?hkey=f6387317-48e4-44f1-b623-4b00fcba57ab&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=MQ4o6">Dyad Leadership Course</a> is a 24+ hour educational workshop for physicians and their administrative dyad partners that helps improve team function and achieve greater operational success within their clinical system. Online virtual sessions will be held on Oct. 16-17 and Nov. 13, with four weeks in between of self-guided online learning. The deadline to register is Sept. 16. </p> <h3>Restarting health care in Washington state</h3> <p> Gov. Jay Inslee issued <a href="https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/20-24.1%20-%20COVID-19%20Non-Urgent%20Medical%20Procedures%20Ext%20.pdf" target="_blank">a new proclamation regarding non-urgent procedures</a> this week that allows non-urgent health care services and surgeries to be provided once again. The proclamation emphasizes the importance of a health care provider's clinical judgment, stipulating that physicians and other providers should consider the needs of patients in the broader context of the pandemic, as well as adequate PPE, and urges providers to act with good judgment in delivering care. </p> <p> For more information on the criteria and how to comply with the proclamation, <a href="https://www.informz.net/WSMA/data/images/Attachments/Guidance-Document-Non-Urgent-Procedures-FINAL.pdf" target="_blank">download the WSMA's new guidance and physician practice checklist</a>. And be sure to check out WSMA's <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/COVID-19_Clinical_Guidance_and_Testing/covid_19_clinical_guidance_and_testing.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=NQ4o6">COVID-19 Resource</a> pages for more practice information to help assist you during the pandemic. </p> <p> With that, here's wishing you a restful Memorial Day weekend. As we reflect on the sacrifices of military heroes past and present, I know I'll also be thinking about the sacrifices of the medical heroes who are serving on the front lines of this pandemic. </p> </div>5/22/2020 10:20:02 AM5/22/2020 10:10:03 AM5/22/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_may_1_2020_during_covid_19_advocacy_more_important_than_everWeekly Rounds: May 1, 2020 - During COVID-19, Advocacy More Important Than EverWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_may_1_2020_during_covid_19_advocacy_more_important_than_ever<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>May 1, 2020</h5> <h2> During COVID-19, Advocacy More Important Than Ever </h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> We often describe what we do at the WSMA under the umbrella of one simple word: advocacy. With the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, I've found that to be true more than ever. Since early March, most of my time has been spent doing just that on behalf of our members. </p> <p> In doing that work, I've experienced that the meaning of advocacy is more than its Latin origins - "to call out for support" - though it is surely that. I happened across <a href="https://www.culturepartnership.eu/en/publishing/advocacy-course/what-is-advocacy">this quote</a>, which I think deftly describes our efforts during this pandemic: "To fulfill its aspirations advocacy requires coordination, strategic thinking, information, communication, outreach and mobilization." </p> <p> Each of those aspects is key to the work the WSMA has been doing. You can find out more about our specific efforts <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/WSMA_Advocacy_for_Physicians_During_COVID_19/wsma_advocacy_for_physicians_during_covid_19.aspx">here</a> , and, in addition, I want to highlight a few activities here as well. </p> <p> We will soon shift to helping prepare our state to move into recovery mode by reopening our health system in total. We'll continue our work at the highest state levels with Gov. Jay Inslee, COVID-19 Health Systems Response Director Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, MD, Secretary of Health John Wiesman, and State Health Officer Kathy Lofy, MD. </p> <p> We will continue to advocate for a recovery plan that <a href="https://www.seattletimes.com/business/doctors-practices-are-hurt-by-coronavirus-pandemic-just-when-theyre-most-needed/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=article_inset_1.1&fbclid=IwAR0uEI2kZ_dtFHqbmoIy3bKFwrQfEnPcOVcMjhv3J03fKcQfXaY8zvG0xJo">addresses the care of all of our patients</a>, <a href="https://www.heraldnet.com/news/how-will-it-end-testing-testing-testing-tracing-and-time/?fbclid=IwAR0r0H3JoDa-Vn0Upok8T9gAcwMgBt33gGw_jOXYzcd2C9QpQI3FWEhXZuE">the safety of our patients and health care workers</a>, and the <a href="https://stateofreform.com/news/washington/2020/04/wsma-ceo-jennifer-hanscom-discusses-the-financial-impact-of-covid-19/?fbclid=IwAR3x5RUTQwb0NJkQ98uuslr92qQ--5x3413qgHwlbY2rGDV2iCKIwWraSL0">viability of medical clinics</a> of all sizes and specialties. </p> <p> Currently, we are assessing the impact of COVID-19 on the financial state of practices, as well as the state of PPE and supplies. To that end, we have been gathering intel from our community on how the pandemic is impacting you. I hope you will take a moment to complete <a href="https://wsma.informz.net/informzdataservice/onlineversion/pub/bWFpbGluZ0luc3RhbmNlSWQ9OTI4ODk4NA==" target="_blank">our most recent survey</a>, as acquiring this data is critical to our advocacy work. While your anecdotal stories do help us humanize the issues, it's data that speaks most loudly to legislators. </p> <p> In other behind-the-scenes efforts, along with our partners, I've been working with the state's health leaders to advocate for clarity on the governor's proclamation regarding elective procedures, particularly around the proclamation's definition of "harm" and the intent of physicians using their medical judgment when determining whether a medically necessary procedure or surgery should be postponed. </p> <p> At the urging of the WSMA and others in the health care community, Gov. Inslee issued on Wednesday an <a href="https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/Non-Emergent%20Procedure%20Interpretive%20Statement%204.29.20%20%28tmp%29.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery">interpretive statement</a> providing clarification on his <a href="https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/20-24%20COVID-19%20non-urgent%20medical%20procedures%20%28tmp%29.pdf" target="_blank">proclamation issued March 19</a> that imposed restrictions on "non-urgent" medical procedures. That document also outlines prerequisites for performing procedures and surgeries, such as maintaining appropriate PPE supplies and following <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/ConservationStrat-PPE.pdf" target="_blank">Department of Health guidance on the use of PPE</a>. </p> <p> As a reminder, the original March proclamation (still in effect) does not apply to outpatient clinics. As stated in the interpretive statement, "The proclamation permits outpatient clinic visits, both in hospital-based clinics and other outpatient clinic settings. While not addressed in the proclamation, the department encourages clinicians to weigh the benefits and risks of such visits to patients given the active presence of COVID-19 in our communities. It also encourages clinicians to use telehealth visits where possible." </p> <p> At the same time, WSMA's policy team swiftly worked to create a checklist to help practices adjust workflows and comply with the governor's proclamation. The checklist can be used manually or to build prompts into your electronic health record (e.g. Epic dot phrase). Find the checklist on our COVID-19 <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?hkey=5236cdd9-90b5-46fe-9cbd-d9bf9ad4831e&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=I97k6">Clinical and Professional Resources page</a>. </p> <p> During his press conference on Wednesday, Gov. Inslee also reviewed the <a href="https://coronavirus.wa.gov/what-you-need-know/covid-19-risk-assessment-dashboard">dashboard</a> he uses to help assess next steps on recovery. He uses five key statistical areas including: COVID-19 disease activity, the readiness of the health care system, the availability of testing, the capacity for contact tracing after people have been infected, and the risk to vulnerable populations. </p> <p> The governor also noted that he will announce more information about his plans for recovery today at 2:30 p.m. Watch the announcement at <a href="https://www.tvw.org">tvw.org</a>. </p> <p> Meanwhile, just as your work never ceases, neither does ours. We will continue our efforts, advocating for you and your concerns without ceasing. </p> </div>5/1/2020 4:28:58 PM5/1/2020 2:42:34 PM5/1/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_april_17_2020_advocacy_and_answers_in_the_time_of_covid_19Weekly Rounds: April 17, 2020 - Advocacy and Answers in the Time of COVID-19Weekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_april_17_2020_advocacy_and_answers_in_the_time_of_covid_19<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>April 17, 2020</h5> <h2>Advocacy and Answers in the Time of COVID-19</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> As hard as this COVID-19 crisis is, I'm heartened to see the community expressing appreciation for Washington's physicians, physician assistants, and other health care workers who are right there on the front lines. When I walk around my neighborhood to get a bit of exercise, it's encouraging to see "thank you" scrawled in sidewalk chalk and craft paper mural messages in business windows. During calls this week with several members of Washington's congressional delegation, all have expressed their thanks for your tireless efforts and dedication to patients in the state. </p> <p> The WSMA is working daily to represent medicine's interests during this pandemic. I wanted to alert you to three key updates. This is not a comprehensive list, and we'll continue to update you via our Membership Memo as well as our COVID-19 pages on our website. </p> <h3>WSMA advocates to ease restrictions on non-urgent procedures and surgeries</h3> <p>Last Friday, the WSMA, the Washington State Hospital Association, and the Association of Washington Healthcare Plans wrote to Gov. Jay Inslee urging him to modify his proclamation on elective surgeries and non-urgent procedures, knowing we are no longer projecting that Washington's health care system will be overwhelmed. WSHA has shared that hospitals across the state are 50-70% full and have capacity to care for many more people. The ambulatory surgery center community also has supplies and capacity to add back procedures. WSMA and WSHA have outlined a framework by which to allow some scheduled surgeries and non-emergency procedures in phases. Following our outreach, a broader community of health care organizations and other stakeholders sent a <a href="https://www.informz.net/WSMA/data/images/Attachments/Forum-COVID-return-to-usual-care-FINAL-20-0415.pdf" target="_blank">letter to the governor</a> that mirrored our request and added context for the dental and long-term care communities. </p> <p> With this week's new understanding that Gov. Inslee is working with California and Oregon on a roadmap to recovery, the WSMA is working with our medical association counterparts in those states to outline a West Coast recovery plan. I hope to update you very soon about the specifics of that work. </p> <h3>Stay Home, Stay Healthy…unless you're not</h3> <p>In mid-March, I heard from Abhineet Chowdhary, MD, from Overlake Neuroscience Institute, who flagged his concerns about patients overlooking their stroke symptoms for fear of contracting COVID-19 at the emergency department. We took Dr. Chowdhary's warning to heart and created a <a href="https://vimeo.com/405908032">PSA video</a> and social media campaign to specifically address the topic. </p> <p> And just this week, we heard his concerns validated in a <a href="https://www.knkx.org/post/washington-state-doctors-puzzled-drop-heart-attack-stroke-patients-amid-covid-19">story on KNKX</a> as they reported on a puzzling drop in stroke/heart attack cases. </p> <p> The WSMA will continue to connect with the public via our communications channels to urge them to seek care when they need it. And we also encourage all physicians to do the same - let your patients know that the "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" mandate does not apply when people are sick or need care. In the case of accessing health care, sometimes you need to leave home to stay healthy! </p> <p> Remember that the <a href="https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/20-24%20COVID-19%20non-urgent%20medical%20procedures%20%28tmp%29.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery">governor's proclamation</a> applies to hospitals, ambulatory surgery facilities, dental, orthodontic and endodontic offices in Washington state, and only applies to those entities listed in the proclamation. While hospital outpatient clinics are referenced, it is to distinguish them from the hospital setting. Clinics - hospital-based or otherwise - are not included in this proclamation. If a clinic operates as an ASC, they should follow the proclamation's guidance and cancel or postpone elective or non-urgent procedures unless in their medical judgment a condition will be made worse. The DOH has affirmed that it wants patients to continue to receive care in their communities, whether in person or virtually. </p> <h3>WSMA answers questions on financial assistance available to practices</h3> <p>Earlier this week, the WSMA convened a webinar with attorneys from K&L Gates who presented guidance on two of the financial assistance programs authorized through the federal CARES Act - the Paycheck Protection Program, with loans available through the Small Business Administration, and the Provider Relief Program, with funds from the Department of Health and Human Services. </p> <p> There was a lot of interest in the webinar - more than 200 people participated - and we were glad to be able to help provide information to practices about how to tap into these new programs. If you didn't participate in the webinar, we've archived it on our website along with associated materials <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/Financial_Viability_During_COVID-19/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/Financial_Viability_During_COVID-19/financial_viability_during_covid_19.aspx?hkey=59bdde18-196d-479e-bfab-10b7ddd7b227&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=k9sg6">here</a>. </p> <p> If you have questions about these programs or something that was covered in the webinar, write the WSMA's policy department (<a href="mailto:policy@wsma.org">policy@wsma.org</a>) so that we can help find answers. </p> <p> We're here for you. Take good care. </p> </div>4/21/2020 10:21:15 AM4/17/2020 9:03:23 AM4/17/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_april_6_2020_using_our_voices_in_defense_of_good_care_or_healthWeekly Rounds: April 6, 2020 - Using Our Voices in Defense of Good Care (or Health)Weekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_april_6_2020_using_our_voices_in_defense_of_good_care_or_health<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>April 6, 2020</h5> <h2>Using Our Voices in Defense of Good Care</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> When disasters strike, it's not long before the compelling stories of heroism emerge. Thankfully, the best of humanity does seem to show up at the worst of times, right when we need it the most. </p> <p> We're in such a time right now, as the COVID-19 pandemic makes its way around the globe and knocks at our very own door. Since the very beginning of its advance, we've seen heroes in action - the physicians, physician assistants, and other health care workers who are on the front lines of this crisis. We've heard the stories of those professionals who offer care no matter the cost, those first responders who answer the 911 calls, those caregivers who rush in against this invisible enemy. </p> <p> And in this worst of times, it is a time for unity, for the health care community in our state to work together to defeat this common enemy. </p> <p> It's also a time for transparency, a time to speak up. We cannot be silent about our need for supplies and personal protective equipment in our state and in our communities. </p> <p> It is well past time for the Trump administration to turn its full attention to federal coordination of PPE acquisition and distribution, and ensure that supplies are delivered - in full - to the places where it is most needed, not where it buys the most political good will. It is time for the White House to take every measure to ensure that facilities capable of manufacturing PPE are doing so at the maximum capacity possible. </p> <p> The dire need for health care supplies and PPE in our state is well known and documented. Masks, gowns, and gloves are in extremely limited supply, and the news out of the other Washington <a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/protective-gear-in-national-stockpile-is-nearly-depleted-dhs-officials-say/ar-BB122cFl?ocid=spartanntp">about the national stockpile</a> is disturbing. </p> <p> Showing the steady leadership that's been on display throughout this crisis, Gov. Jay Inslee held a press conference on Wednesday urging Washington state manufacturers to <a href="https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/washington-governor-jay-inslee-covid-19-briefing-transcript-april-1">repurpose their plants to produce needed supplies</a>. </p> <p> "In World War II, the people of Washington state built B-29s in Seattle, they built minesweepers on Bainbridge Island in Kitsap County, and now it is time for all of us to turn to manufacturing the equipment we need in this fight, in this war." </p> <p> If we do not take urgent action, PPE won't be the only items in limited supply. Our most critical resources that must be protected and preserved are the people who don this garb and care for us. </p> <p> So rather than silencing their voices, let's embrace them. Let's work together to ensure that their stories are used to advocate for what we all need: more PPE. </p> <p> Washington state officials and its health care system have worked tirelessly to tackle this unprecedented and crushing pandemic in spite of the most challenging of circumstances. So has this state's brave heath care workforce. </p> <p> Together we all must demand the federal government urgently delivers the protection and supplies needed to stop this coronavirus and protect our strongest line of defense: health care workers. </p> </div>4/16/2020 8:24:52 AM4/6/2020 9:00:09 AM4/6/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_march_23_2020_alarming_shortage_of_ppe_continuesWeekly Rounds: March 23, 2020 - Alarming Shortage Of PPE ContinuesWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_march_23_2020_alarming_shortage_of_ppe_continues<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>March 23, 2020</h5> <h2>Alarming Shortage Of PPE Continues</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> No doubt you have heard about the alarming shortage of PPE in our state. The governor announced today (Friday) that Washington state will receive a shipment from the national stockpile this weekend. Our understanding is that the Northwest Regional Health Care Network and Department of Health will be <a href="https://www.informz.net/WSMA/data/images/Attachments/PPE_prioritization_DOH_3-11-20.pdf" target="_blank">prioritizing supplies based on COVID-19 cases</a>. The City of Seattle <a href="https://durkan.seattle.gov/2020/03/city-of-seattle-leading-coordinated-effort-to-collect-critically-needed-personal-protective-equipment-for-first-responders-medical-professionals-on-the-frontlines-of-covid-19-response/">has announced a donation drive in partnership with Goodwill</a>. The WSMA is in conversations with the City and others to see how we can get supplies to clinics in need. </p> </div>3/23/2020 10:37:17 AM3/23/2020 10:31:04 AM3/23/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_march_23_2020_caring_for_the_caregiver_during_the_outbreakWeekly Rounds: March 23, 2020 - Caring for the Caregiver During the OutbreakWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_march_23_2020_caring_for_the_caregiver_during_the_outbreak<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>March 23, 2020</h5> <h2>Caring for the Caregiver During the Outbreak</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> Responding to the COVID-19 crisis is already taking toll on physicians and the health care team. Remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. We know how critical it is that you can access the support you need and practice self-care while you strive to meet your calling to provide medical care to patients. </p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/cognitive-behavioral-cbt/washington?sid=5e73e0fcbaa71">Find a licensed cognitive behavioral therapist near you</a>. Many therapists provide online and phone sessions. You can either private pay or bill your insurance.</li> <li>Access your employer's Employee Assistance or Physician Assistance Program. Services are 100% confidential and provided by skilled mental health professionals. Online and phone sessions are available through most EAPs. Search your inbox for emails from your "EAP" or "PAP" provider for instructions on how to connect with them directly. Tell your HR department if you need additional on-site support.</li> <li>Quick resources:</li> <ul> <li>Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress: <a href="https://www.cstsonline.org/assets/media/documents/CSTS_FS_Sustaining_Well_Being_Healthcare_Personnel_during.pdf.pdf" target="_blank">Sustaining the Well-Being of Healthcare Personnel during Coronavirus</a></li> <li>CDC: <a href="https://emergency.cdc.gov/coping/responders.asp">Emergency Responders: Tips for taking care of yourself</a></li> <li>Ten Percent Happier: <a href="https://www.tenpercent.com/coronavirussanityguide">Free app and online resources for health care workers</a></li> </ul> </ul> <p> Finally, child care. If you are struggling with child care, know that according to the governor each school district is supposed to come up with a plan to offer child care to health care workers. We are working with the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to see if we can get more details to share. I know last night my local district sent out an email announcing their child care location and hours. If you have a moment, check in with your local district. In the meantime, we will try to compile this information for your easy access.</p> </div>3/23/2020 10:48:05 AM3/23/2020 10:42:13 AM3/23/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_march_23_2020_doh_distributes_8000_tests___we_need_moreWeekly Rounds: March 23, 2020 - DOH Distributes 8,000 Tests - We Need MoreWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_march_23_2020_doh_distributes_8000_tests___we_need_more<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>March 23, 2020</h5> <h2>DOH Distributes 8,000 Tests - We Need More</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> It's been incredibly frustrating and upsetting to hear from so many of our members who are unable to access the supplies necessary to test for COVID-19 - along with the equipment necessary to protect themselves and their staff from infection. </p> <p> While a lack of both testing supplies and protective equipment remains a major issue, we have learned that the Washington State Department of Health received <a href="https://coronavirus.wa.gov/news/washington-receives-8000-additional-covid-19-test-kits">8,000 additional COVID-19 test kits</a> on Thursday from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. </p> <p> DOH is working to distribute the new supplies to local health agencies in the areas hardest hit by the COVID-19 virus thus far - King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. These additional test kits are intended to increase capacity for testing of high-risk populations, including elderly people, those with pre-existing conditions, and the health care providers and first responders who are caring for others during this crisis. </p> <p> FEMA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services plan to provide additional test kits and related equipment to Washington state as these materials become available. </p> <p> The WSMA is conducting surveys of independent docs/clinics to determine need, to help advocate for testing supplies in our rural and non-Puget Sounds impacted areas.</p> </div>3/23/2020 10:58:09 AM3/23/2020 10:26:50 AM3/23/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_march_23_2020_private_discussion_forum_for_physicians_and_pas_to_discuss_covid_19Weekly Rounds: March 23, 2020 - Private Discussion Forum for Physicians and PAs to Discuss COVID-19Weekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_march_23_2020_private_discussion_forum_for_physicians_and_pas_to_discuss_covid_19<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>March 23, 2020</h5> <h2>Private Discussion Forum for Physicians and PAs to Discuss COVID-19</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> We've heard from several physician leaders, critical care specialists, specialty society presidents, and others that a private space is sorely needed to discuss their experience about what's happening on the ground, to share learnings and help scale the knowledge about this new threat, in addition to having a space to create community and support. </p> <p> In response, the WSMA created that space - the <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/COVID-19_Online_Discussion_Forum/WSMA/Membership/Discussion_Forums/COVID_19_Forum.aspx?hkey=3e6020ac-183d-44f8-af91-3d0426522091&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=H0lc6">COVID-19 Forum</a>, a private, secure discussion space for all physicians and physician assistants in Washington state. </p> <p> To participate in forum discussions, you must have a WSMA account and be logged in - any physician or PA licensed in Washington state can create an account, for free, to access the forum - you don't have to be a WSMA member. The forum is divided into four topic areas: </p> <ol> <li>Testing & Treatment</li> <li>Telemedicine</li> <li>Caring for the Caregiver</li> <li>General</li> </ol> <p> <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/COVID-19_Online_Discussion_Forum/WSMA/Membership/Discussion_Forums/COVID_19_Forum.aspx?hkey=3e6020ac-183d-44f8-af91-3d0426522091&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=H0lc6">Visit the forum to see what's being discussed and add to the discussion</a>. You can share links and attachments in your posts. We encourage the open sharing of information and ideas during this time of crisis. </p> </div>3/23/2020 10:41:51 AM3/23/2020 10:39:36 AM3/23/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_march_23_2020_telehealth_payment_parity_needed_nowWeekly Rounds: March 23, 2020 - Telehealth payment parity needed NowWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_march_23_2020_telehealth_payment_parity_needed_now<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>March 23, 2020</h5> <h2>Telehealth Payment Parity Needed Now</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> The WSMA is advocating at every level, and pulling every lever, for telemedicine payment parity. During this outbreak, we know that it is essential for physicians and practices to be able to employ telehealth for their COVID-19 response and be reimbursed fairly. For that to happen, insurance companies and state payers must apply flexibility to telehealth regulations and payments at parity for physicians to provide chronic and routine care to patients. </p> <p> Here’s why it matters during the COVID-19 crisis. Telehealth: </p> <ul> <li>Allows health care workers to screen patients from their home and direct them to the right site of care for their medical needs.</li> <li>Minimizes the demands on in-person primary care offices and EDs and reduces the risk of exposure to patients and medical care teams, ensuring that treatment is available for high-need patients.</li> <li>In some instances, allows health care workers to care for their children when normal childcare services are disrupted, or even work from home if self-quarantined after exposure to the virus.</li> </ul> <p> The WSMA is out in front of this issue on your behalf. We have: </p> <ul> <li>Delivered <a href="https://www.informz.net/WSMA/data/images/Attachments/COVID19_Gov_letter_final2.pdf" target="_blank">a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee</a> urging him to direct the OIC to apply flexibility to telehealth regulations and payments so that we can provide care in spite of isolation at home. We are in constant contact with the governor, the Office of Insurance Commission and the Health Care Authority on this topic, urging them to follow the lead of other states and make this happen now.</li> <li>Issued <a href="https://www.informz.net/WSMA/data/images/Attachments/telehealth_payment_parity_request.pdf" target="_blank">a letter to 11 health insurance carrier CEOs</a> urging them to initiate telehealth payment parity now during this crisis.</li> <li>Partnered with WCAAP to issue a <a href="https://www.informz.net/WSMA/data/images/Attachments/WSMA-WCAAP_statement_on_telehealth_parity.pdf" target="_blank">joint public statement</a> on the importance of physicians having the ability to use telehealth as a COVID-19 response and to ensure patients get access to routine care and chronic care management.</li> <li>Sent a <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_march_23_2020_wsma_joins_impacted_medical_associations_in_letter_to_congress.aspx">letter to Congressional leaders</a> urging that the telemedicine waivers authorized by Congress for Medicare and Medicaid include telephone visits. Telephone visits to Medicare patients should be paid at parity with commercial or Medicaid rates and the patient-initiated requirement should be removed.</li> </ul> <p> As I write this, there are two breaking telehealth developments you should be aware of: </p> <ul> <li>The Health Care Authority has purchased a limited number of licenses for Zoom, a video conferencing technology that can help physicians provide virtual care. The HCA will distribute the licenses free of charge to physicians and providers who have a meaningful need and who don’t already have access to telehealth technology, including physicians in smaller practices. These licenses will go quickly, so <a href="https://www.hca.wa.gov/billers-providers-partners/prior-authorization-claims-and-billing/request-zoom-license-connect">visit the HCA website to apply</a>. We believe this offer by the HCA is a direct result of our advocacy on behalf of our small practice physicians, and we thank the agency for making these available.</li> <li>Regence BlueShield announced today that it has agreed to provide telemedicine parity for its subscribers during the COVID-19 crisis. Thank you Regence!</li> </ul> <p>We’ll keep you posted on our telehealth advocacy as news develops. Be sure to visit our <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/Prepare_Your_Practice_for_COVID-19/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/Prepare_Your_Practice_for_COVID-19/Prepare_Your_Practice_for_COVID-19.aspx?hkey=ed7e0075-97a3-489f-b858-92a741fc58ae&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=C0lc6">Prepare Your Practice for COVID-19 webpage</a> for more information on telehealth and reimbursement related to COVID-19.</p> </div>3/24/2020 5:19:39 PM3/23/2020 9:41:14 AM3/23/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_march_23_2020_the_wsma_supports_governors_ban_on_elective_surgeries_and_non_urgent_pWeekly Rounds: March 23, 2020 - The WSMA Supports Governor's Ban on Elective Surgeries and Non-UrgenWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_march_23_2020_the_wsma_supports_governors_ban_on_elective_surgeries_and_non_urgent_p<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>March 23, 2020</h5> <h2>The WSMA Supports Governor's Ban on Elective Surgeries and Non-Urgent Procedures</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> As you've no doubt heard, the governor issued <a href="https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/20-24%20COVID-19%20non-urgent%20medical%20procedures%20%28tmp%29.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery">a proclamation</a> that prohibits all hospitals, ambulatory surgery facilities, dental, orthodontic, and endodontic offices in Washington state from providing health care services, procedures, and surgeries that, if delayed, are not anticipated to cause harm to the patient within the next three months, with some exceptions. More than 20 state specialty societies and county medical societies signed on with the WSMA in supporting the governor's proclamation - <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Press_Release/2020/the_wsma_state_specialty_and_county_societies_support_gov_inslees_decision_on_elective_surgeries?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=D0lc6">read our press release</a>. </p> <p> I know this proclamation will have serious implications for some of our members. As WSMA President Bill Hirota, MD, says in the release, "This is not guidance that we issue lightly. The spread of COVID-19 will be determined by our collective actions now. We believe by taking these recommended precautions, physicians can make a difference in helping to preserve the limited supply of PPE critical for emergency care and frontline health care personnel responding to the pandemic, and keeping themselves, their patients, and their communities safe." </p> </div>3/23/2020 10:33:56 AM3/23/2020 9:46:09 AM3/23/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_march_23_2020_wsma_joins_impacted_medical_associations_in_letter_to_congressWeekly Rounds: March 23, 2020 - WSMA Joins Impacted Medical Associations in Letter to CongressWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_march_23_2020_wsma_joins_impacted_medical_associations_in_letter_to_congress<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>March 23, 2020</h5> <h2>WSMA Joins Impacted Medical Associations in Letter to Congress</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> The WSMA joined five other medical associations in states impacted by COVID-19 - California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, and Texas - to send a letter to Congressional leaders urging inclusion of additional measures to protect practice viability and physician health into their COVID-19 response plans: </p> <ul> <li>Implement, immediately, the President's Executive Order to trigger a wartime law to speed the manufacture, production and distribution of personal protective equipment, ventilators, test kits and related supplies, and prioritize distribution to health care workers, emergency workers and the nation's hot zones.</li> <li>Clarify that the telemedicine waivers authorized by Congress for Medicare and Medicaid include telephone visits. Telephone visits to Medicare patients should be paid at parity with commercial or Medicaid rates and the patient-initiated requirement should be removed.</li> <li>Require ERISA plans to pay physicians at in-person rates for covered services provided via telehealth, including the telephone.</li> <li>Consider direct financial support, grants, no-interest or forgivable small business loans for physician practices, deferment of medical student loan payments, and other health care business grants to assist practices. Physician Medicare and Medicaid rates should be enhanced.</li> <li>Urge further expansion of FMLA and sick leave for physicians and their staff. We would also urge that physician practices be given immediate access to tax credits, federal grants and interest free loans to offset the costs of such leave.</li> <li>Suspend several upcoming Medicare and Medicaid funding cuts, including:</li> <ul> <li>Medicare sequestration cuts;</li> <li>Medicare MACRA payment freeze, and replace the freeze with a meaningful payment update;</li> <li>The budget neutrality requirements on the new Medicare Physician Fee Schedule global surgery Evaluation and Management office visit changes that will result in an average 7% payment cuts to surgeons and other facility-based physicians who are central to our inpatient care capacity during the crisis.</li> <li>Block implementation of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposed Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Rule (MFAR) that would cut state and federal Medicaid funding by as much as 50% in all 50 states. If this rule is implemented, state budgets will be devastated at a time when health care resources are needed more than ever.</li> </ul> <li>Suspend all MACRA MIPS Quality Payment Program reporting and other administrative burdens for 2019-2020.</li> <li> Suspend all prior authorization requirements and enact prior authorization reform (HR 3107) for Medicare and ERISA plans regulated by the federal government. </li> <li> Resist attempts to include surprise medical billing legislation that includes median contracted rate payment benchmarks. </li> </ul> <p> <a href="https://www.informz.net/WSMA/data/images/Attachments/Covid19_State_Medical_Association_ltr_3-20-20.pdf" target="_blank">Read the letter</a> for more details on each of our asks. </p> </div>3/23/2020 10:34:20 AM3/23/2020 10:19:19 AM3/23/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_march_6_2020_medical_expertise_and_assessment_are_key_in_covid_19_outbreakWeekly Rounds: March 6, 2020 - Medical Expertise and Assessment Are Key in Covid-19 OutbreakWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_march_6_2020_medical_expertise_and_assessment_are_key_in_covid_19_outbreak<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>March 6, 2020</h5> <h2>Medical Expertise and Assessment Are Key in Covid-19 Outbreak</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> When my phone rang this afternoon and the caller ID said "Jay Inslee," I knew it could only be about one thing: Covid-19. </p> <p> Gov. Inslee, like all of us, is concerned about this outbreak and wants to help ensure that the right messaging is getting out to the people of Washington. He called me to offer his support of the medical community, citing the importance of medical judgment in assessing patients who need testing and those who don't. </p> <p> And now that the University of Washington did the impossible and <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1viO7SUTZbFiySqj1bbJVKWaZ4oIFKIwP/view">created new diagnostic test for the virus</a>, it won't be surprising for more and more patients to ask to be tested. But as we know, while the test is becoming more available (thank you, UW!), that doesn't mean everyone needs to be tested. We want the tests to be available for those who need it most. </p> <p> According to the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-criteria.html">latest CDC guidance</a>, clinicians should use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with Covid-19 and whether the patient should be tested. Decisions on which patients receive testing should be based on the local epidemiology of Covid-19, as well as the clinical course of illness. Most patients with confirmed Covid-19 have <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-criteria.html#foot1">developed fever</a> and/or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing). Clinicians are strongly encouraged to test for other causes of respiratory illness, including infections such as influenza. </p> <p> Epidemiologic factors that may help guide decisions on whether to test include: any persons, including <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-criteria.html#foot2"> </a>, who have had <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-criteria.html#foot3">close contact</a> with a <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-criteria.html#foot4">laboratory-confirmed</a> Covid-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset or a history of travel from <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-criteria.html#foot5">affected geographic areas</a> within 14 days of symptom onset. </p> <p> As always, we encourage you to talk to your patients about whether testing in appropriate based on your medical judgment. </p> <p> If you want to learn more directly from the CDC on what clinicians need to know, you may want to participate in their CDC Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) calls. The next COCA call for clinicians is scheduled tomorrow (Thursday), March 5 from 2-3p.m. (Eastern Time). <a href="https://emergency.cdc.gov/coca/calls/2020/callinfo_030520.asp">Click here</a> to learn more about registering to access the call or watch it <a href="https://www.facebook.com/CDCClinicianOutreachAndCommunicationActivity/?deliveryName=FCP_8_DM21038">here</a> on Facebook Live. </p> <p> We are monitoring this situation closely and reporting out to our physician community as needed. But we want to hear from you. What are you seeing in your practices related to Covid-19? Are you getting inundated with calls? Do you need assistance or resources for your practice? Let us know. Email us at <a href="mailto:wsma@wsma.org">wsma@wsma.org</a> or write me directly at <a href="mailto:jen@wsma.org">jen@wsma.org</a>. In the meantime, be sure to check the latest <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Latest_News/2020/February20/update_and_interim_guidance_on_coronavirus_outbreak.aspx?WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=XTSa6">Covid-19 news and resource roundup on our website</a>. </p> <p> Stay well everyone! </p> </div>3/6/2020 10:16:03 AM3/5/2020 9:49:58 AM3/6/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_february_21_2020_positive_action_on_wsma_priority_billsWeekly Rounds: February 21, 2020 - Positive Action on WSMA Priority BillsWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_february_21_2020_positive_action_on_wsma_priority_bills<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>February 21, 2020</h5> <h2>Positive Action on WSMA Priority Bills</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> One of my sons is in a new relationship, and when my husband and I inquired about the young woman's name he said, "I don't want to tell you, it may jinx it." I get it...I feel the same way about what's happening in Olympia, including an effort to raise Medicaid primary care rates. We are pleased to see at least some interest in raising Medicaid reimbursement for a segment of our membership and I'm hesitant to talk much about it for fear of jinxing it. </p> <p> Even so, it's news that's just too good not to share. As you read in last week's <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20200214/lawmakers_in_olympia_open_door_to_medicaid_reimbursement_increase?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=1XeW6">Membership Memo</a>, for the first time in several years there is serious interest and momentum to implement a Medicaid reimbursement increase that would apply to all primary care services. </p> <p> Sen. David Frockt (D-North Seattle) introduced <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=6676&Year=2019&Initiative=false">Senate Bill 6676</a> and it was co-sponsored by 26 members of the Senate. This bill would raise Medicaid reimbursement rates for primary care services by at least 15% and for certain pediatric services by at least 21%, effective Jan. 1, 2021, and is expected to increase Medicaid reimbursement statewide by an estimated $65 million per year. SB 6676 passed out of the Senate unanimously this week and now heads over to the House. We have heard indications from House health care leadership that the House is planning on making an investment in Medicaid reimbursement in its budget as well. We will keep you appraised on this. </p> <p> These discussions in Olympia are a positive first step toward meaningful increases in Medicaid reimbursement rates and would, in part, help mitigate the effect of the business and occupation (B&O) tax increase on our independent physician practices. <strong>We also believe this will set us up to advocate for broader investments in specialty care in the coming years.</strong> It is imperative that legislators fund fair Medicaid reimbursements to facilitate practice viability and access to care for patients. Stay tuned for more information as SB 6676 makes its way through the Legislature—and be on the lookout for calls to action on the issue. </p> <p> In other news, thus far, we've seen good movement on WSMA priority bills, including the unanimous passage in the houses of origin of the prior authorization bill, <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=6404&Year=2019&Initiative=false">SB 6404</a>, which imposes transparency requirements on insurer prior authorization practices and creates a work group to promote standardization, and the credentialing bill, <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1552&Initiative=false&Year=2019">HB 1552</a>, which generally provides for retroactive reimbursement for services provided while a physician's credentialing application is pending. </p> <p> Coupled with the telemedicine payment parity bill that <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Latest_News/2020/February20/legislative_session_week_five_highlights?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=5XeW6">passed the Senate last week</a>, our legislative agenda is generally in good shape with all our priority bills still alive and constituting significant wins if passed into law. </p> <p> Wednesday was a key deadline for the state legislative session that also saw two bills WSMA opposes fail to advance: one that would have expanded scope of practice for naturopaths and another that would have expanded "qui tam" liability for physician practices and other businesses. While nothing is truly dead while legislators are still meeting in Olympia, these are also tentatively big wins for the house of medicine. Thank you to everyone who responded to our calls to action. </p> <p> As you know, in spite of aggressive opposition from the WSMA and our members on the B&O tax surcharge, legislators saw fit to keep their earlier promise to fund higher education, considering that to be a more pressing concern than exempting independent physician practices from the increase. That said, SB 6492, as signed by Gov. Jay Inslee last week, does reflect some improvement in the B&O tax policy, such as applying the increase at a lower rate of 1.75% (rather than 1.8%), exempting businesses that gross less than $1 million, and postponing implementation by four months. </p> <p> While not all that we'd hoped for, that is still helpful for many of our members and is a direct result of WSMA advocacy efforts. Our advocacy gains were accomplished thanks to the tenacious efforts of our team in Olympia, in addition to the presence of many of our members who went to Olympia to speak directly to legislators. </p> <p> With no physicians or physician assistants in the Legislature, it's more important than ever that we bring the physician perspective to their attention. We've done that—and are doing that—effectively this session. In addition to WSMA staff, many physicians have testified during session this year—and that really does make a difference on legislative decisions that relate to the profession and to the patients we serve (our <a href="https://vimeo.com/showcase/5729481">Doctors Making a Difference video series</a> captures some of this physician testimony). </p> <p> All of these various advocacy efforts are critical, so I hope you're planning to join us at our <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/Legislative_Summit.aspx?hkey=ec5e0510-cee2-4aa9-b549-905d63952454&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=7XeW6">WSMA Legislative Summit</a> next Tuesday. We're nearly at capacity, but if you can make it, we'd love to see you. There's still time to <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/Legislative_Summit.aspx?hkey=ec5e0510-cee2-4aa9-b549-905d63952454&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=7XeW6">pre-register online today</a> or you can register at the event itself, which is free for WSMA members. Bring your white coat because nothing says physician or PA like that visual! We want to "take the Hill" in full force, so please join us. </p> <p> I also want to say thank you to all of you who have already renewed your membership in the WSMA this year. And if you haven't yet joined or renewed, please take a moment to do so right now <a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Join_Renew/WSMA/Membership/Join_Renew/Join_Renew.aspx?hkey=37a820cf-9d05-4812-b9dd-c29b9a75356d">online at wsma.org</a>, by calling 206.441.9762, or by email at <a href="mailto:membership@wsma.org">membership@wsma.org</a>. You belong with us! </p> </div>2/25/2020 3:50:28 PM2/21/2020 9:59:06 AM2/21/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_january_31_2020_5_things_to_know_as_you_try_to_stay_dryWeekly Rounds: January 31, 2020 - 5 Things to Know as You Try to Stay DryWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_january_31_2020_5_things_to_know_as_you_try_to_stay_dry<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>January 31, 2020</h5> <h2 id="thingstoknowasyoutrytostaydry">5 Things to Know as You Try to Stay Dry</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p>Even after living in the Pacific Northwest for years, I still find a rainy winter like this one hard to take. Thank goodness for my recent trip to the Physicians Foundation meeting in beautiful Naples, Florida, where I was able to catch a few rays of sunshine between strategic planning sessions, committee and board meetings. </p> <p>Despite rainy days, inverted umbrellas, and ankle-deep puddles, at the WSMA we keep our focus on our work making Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care. To that end, while I was in Florida, I was able to give the Physician Foundation board an update on our Practice Transformation and Wellness initiative and thank them for the grant that allowed us to kick off this work. You'll recall, the Physicians Foundation also provided the seed money for WSMA's successful leadership courses. I was proud to share that more than 700 physicians have benefited from these programs. </p> <p>Now back in our state, I wanted to highlight several updates that I know matter to you.</p> <h3 id="tacklingpriorauthorization">Tackling prior authorization</h3> <p>This morning in Olympia, there is a hearing in the Senate Health & Long Term Care committee on prior authorization. <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=6404&Year=2019&Initiative=false">Senate Bill 6404</a>, introduced by Sen. David Frockt, would improve transparency and promote standardization around the prior authorization process. Supporting SB 6404 is a top priority for the WSMA.</p> <p>This transparency would provide clarity on which services are subject to prior authorization and what the result is when prior authorization is imposed (i.e., whether the request is ultimately approved or denied), informing patients, physicians, providers, and policymakers about prior authorization practices and appropriate next steps. </p> <p>The bill would also create a clinical work group to select and review services each year, and make recommendations regarding the applicability of prior authorization and the potential for appropriate use criteria to be used as an alternative, using the information collected and provided by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. Commercial insurers, PEBB/SEBB programs, and Medicaid managed care organizations would then incorporate the recommendations into their health plans. </p> <p>Special thanks to Eugene Yang, MD, Christina Palermo, MD, and Woodcreek Provider Services CEO James Hudson, who will take time out of their busy practices this morning to come to Olympia and testify in support of SB 6404. Each will share real-life patient stories highlighting instances where prior authorization added unnecessary burden, inefficiency, and cost—in addition to needless and harmful delay—when providing patients with necessary care.</p> <p>We all know that insurance company executives love to claim prior authorization is a necessary tool to drive down costs. This bill says, "prove it!" </p> <h3 id="speakingupinolympiaatthelegislativesummit">Speaking up in Olympia at the Legislative Summit</h3> <p>Grab your white coat and join us in Olympia on Tuesday, Feb. 25 for WSMA's <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/Legislative_Summit.aspx?hkey=ec5e0510-cee2-4aa9-b549-905d63952454&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=o7qS6">Legislative Summit</a>. This is your opportunity to personally bring medicine's message to your legislators and to let them know how their decisions impact your care of patients. </p> <p>In addition to hearing from Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig and Attorney General Bob Ferguson, you'll learn about being an effective physician grassroots advocate from WSMA member Avanti Bergquist, MD, and her husband, Rep. Steve Bergquist. Our team will be there to prep you on issues to discuss during afternoon meetings with your legislators. <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/Legislative_Summit.aspx?hkey=ec5e0510-cee2-4aa9-b549-905d63952454&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=o7qS6">Register today on our website</a>. The event is free for WSMA members.</p> <h3 id="volkv.demeerleerrecommendations">Volk v. DeMeerleer recommendations</h3> <p>At the request of the Washington State Legislature, the Dr. Robert Bree Collaborative recently adopted recommendations intended to address clinician uncertainty resulting from the 2016 Washington State Supreme Court decision Volk v. DeMeerleer. <a href="http://www.breecollaborative.org/topic-areas/previous-topics/risk-of-violence/">The Risk of Violence to Others Report and Recommendations</a> can be downloaded for review from the Bree Collaborative website. You can also read more in last week's <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20200123/bree_collaborative_finalizes_recommendations_in_response_to_volk_v_demeerleer?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=q7qS6">Membership Memo</a>.</p> <h3 id="advancecareplanningandspanish-languagewashingtonians">Advance care planning and Spanish-language Washingtonians</h3> <p>Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest and a team at the University of California, San Francisco have been granted an award to distribute Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)-funded, evidence-based advance care planning resources to vulnerable and Spanish-speaking communities in Washington. UCSF researchers will collaborate with Honoring Choices PNW to further engage with community and health care partners across Washington and to build the infrastructure to disseminate and implement the PREPARE online program and the PREPARE easy-to-read advance directives. Honoring Choices PNW is a joint initiative of the WSMA Foundation for Health Care Improvement and Washington State Hospital Association with partnerships in health care and community organizations across the state. For more information about this latest development in WSMA's advance care planning outreach, <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Press_Release/2020/honoring_choices_pacific_northwest_ucsf_granted_advance_care_planning_award?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=r7qS6">read the press release</a>.</p> <h3 id="freetechnicalassistanceforpmpconnection">Free technical assistance for PMP connection</h3> <p>Comagine Health (formerly Qualis Health) has teamed up with the University of Washington and the Washington State Department of Health to provide free technical assistance to physician practices wishing to integrate the state's prescription monitoring program into their electronic health record system. Comagine Health tracks the progress and assists with facilitation and implementation of the technology to support your clinic to integrate the PMP directly into your patient's chart. Comagine welcomes all specialties including primary care, behavioral health, surgical, and dental to participate in this opportunity to simplify workflows. Email <a href="mailto:WAPMP@comagine.org">WAPMP@comagine.org</a> for more information.</p> <p>There's a lot of work going on across the state, focusing on making the profession better for our members and their patients. We're grateful for your leadership in helping make that happen. Stay the course, even if it's a rainy one!</p> </div>1/31/2020 10:48:11 AM1/31/2020 10:20:56 AM1/31/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_january_17_2020_5_things_to_know_while_reconsidering_those_new_years_resolutionsWeekly Rounds: January 17, 2020 - 5 Things to Know While Reconsidering Those New Year's ResolutionsWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_january_17_2020_5_things_to_know_while_reconsidering_those_new_years_resolutions<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>January 17, 2020</h5> <h2>5 Things to Know While Reconsidering Those New Year's Resolutions</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> As your medical association, one of our primary roles is to keep you informed of what's happening in the political and policy world. We are engaged in relevant health care discussions locally and nationally so that we can keep you up to date on current developments, as well as what's coming up next. We also ensure that your voice - as physicians and physician assistants - is heard and considered in those critical conversations. </p> <p> During this time of rapid change, we are seeing a desire and intent to reduce costs in health care by using an "easy" lever - ratcheting down physician reimbursement, among other things. It is more critical than ever that we engage in these conversations - no matter how uncomfortable - and advocate for policies and processes that will improve the health of patients, while not jeopardizing your ability to practice and to financially withstand any new payment models. Only by engaging can you realize the full potential of your expertise. Physicians and PAs have a role to play not only in healing patients' ills, but also in preventing unaffordable health care that can be a causal agent in creating those ills in the first place. </p> <h3>State legislative session begins</h3> <p> This year's session is off to a fast start, with 2,000 bills rolled over from last year, another 500+ prefiled by opening day on Monday, and another 1,000+ yet to come. On Tuesday alone, there were more than 200 new bills introduced. </p> <p> For the WSMA, our top advocacy priorities this session will be working to repeal the business and occupation (B&O) tax increase on independent physicians, promoting a sensible alternative to prior authorization, and advocating for telemedicine payment parity. </p> <p> With your help, our efforts will be even more powerful. Do you have personal experiences of egregious prior authorization requirements? The impact of the B&O tax surcharge on your practice? Problems incorporating telemedicine due to low reimbursement? </p> <p> Your stories, particularly specific instances that negatively impacted your ability to provide optimal care, help inform our advocacy. Share those stories with Sean Graham, WSMA's government affairs director at <a href="mailto:sean@wsma.org">sean@wsma.org</a>. </p> <p> As this year's 60-day session evolves, we'll keep you posted regularly on developments via our communications channels. You can also visit our <a href="[@]WSMA/News_Publications/Latest_News/Advocacy_Report/WSMA/News_Publications/Newsletters/WSMA_Advocacy_Report.aspx?hkey=fbce906b-dbfb-4af3-8790-11f84275cf1e&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=Ij0R6">online Advocacy Report page</a> for breaking news, and for weekly "insider" email updates from our legislative staff, write Alex Wehinger at <a href="mailto:alex@wsma.org">alex@wsma.org</a> to be added to the distribution list. </p> <p> Also, if you can break away from your practice, join us in Olympia at the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 25 for the 2020 WSMA Legislative Summit. We need WSMA members from all of Washington's 49 legislative districts to attend so that lawmakers personally meet their physician constituents and directly hear their concerns. The event is free for members - learn more and <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/Legislative_Summit.aspx?hkey=ec5e0510-cee2-4aa9-b549-905d63952454&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=Jj0R6">register online</a> today. </p> <h3>Washington's balance billing ban</h3> <p> Since the first of the year, balance billing for emergency services and for certain procedures performed by out-of-network physicians working in in-network facilities are prohibited due to Washington state's Balance Billing Protection Act (BBPA). For more on what you need to know, visit the <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/Practice_Management/Balance_Billing/Balance_Billing.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=Kj0R6">balance billing page</a> on the WSMA website to learn about the scope of prohibition, reimbursement, determining patient eligibility, dispute resolution, network adequacy, enforcement, etc. </p> <h3>Leadership Development Conference scholarships available </h3> <p> One of our most popular, must-attend events is the WSMA Leadership Development Conference, scheduled for May 15-16 at Campbell's Resort on Lake Chelan. Providing professional development for physicians and PAs at all stages of their career is one of our top priorities, and the LDC is a centerpiece of our educational offerings. </p> <p> We believe growing leadership skills is so important, we are offering a limited number of scholarships for this year's conference. Scholarships cover registration fees, event meals, and lodging for two nights in one standard room (travel to and from the conference is not covered by the scholarship). </p> <p> To be eligible for a scholarship, applicants must: </p> <ul> <li>Be a member of the WSMA in 2020. </li> <li>Have not attended a WSMA Leadership Development Conference before. </li> <li><a href="https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2020LDCScholarship">Submit a complete application</a> by Wednesday, Jan. 29. </li> </ul> <h3>MIPS data due March 31</h3> <p> The data submission period for Merit-based Incentive Payment System-eligible clinicians who participated in the Medicare Quality Payment Program's 2019 performance period is now open. The deadline for submission is 5 p.m. PST, March 31. Accountable care organizations and pre-registered groups and virtual groups may also submit their 2019 data through the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services web interface. Quality measures reported via Medicare Part B claims have been submitted throughout the 2019 performance period. Sign into the CMS <a href="https://qpp.cms.gov/">QPP website</a> for your preliminary feedback on Part B claims measure data processed to date. CMS will update this feedback at the end of the submission period with claims processed by your Medicare Administrative Contractor within the 60-day runout period. </p> <p> How to submit your 2019 MIPS data </p> <ol> <li>Go to the <a href="https://qpp.cms.gov/">Quality Payment Program website</a>. </li> <li>Sign in using your QPP access credentials*.</li> <li>Submit your MIPS data for the 2019 performance period or review the data reported on your behalf by a third party.</li> </ol> <p> *To sign in, clinicians will need to register in the HCQIS Authorization Roles and Profile (HARP) system. For clinicians who need help enrolling with HARP, please refer to the <a href="https://qpp.cms.gov/">QPP Access User Guide</a>. Clinicians who are not sure if they are eligible to participate in the Quality Payment Program can check their final eligibility status using the <a href="https://qpp.cms.gov/participation-lookup">QPP Participation Status Lookup Tool</a>. Clinicians and groups that are opt-in eligible will need to make an election before they can submit data. (No election is required for those who don't want to participate in MIPS.) </p> <p> Clinicians in small practices (including those in rural locations), health professional shortage areas, and medically underserved areas may <a href="https://qpp.cms.gov/about/small-underserved-rural-practices">request technical assistance</a> from organizations that can provide no-cost support. </p> <p> To learn more about how to submit data, please review the resources available in the <a href="https://qpp.cms.gov/about/resource-library">QPP Resource Library</a>. </p> <h3>Standing together yields results</h3> <p> You belong with us! Membership in the WSMA makes you part of a community of physicians and PAs who believe in a brighter health care future. It also makes you part of the largest physician professional association in the state, and the only one that represents all physicians and PAs, regardless of specialty, practice setting, beliefs or political views. </p> <p> Our work has a greater impact with your support - your time, talent, and financial contribution. If you're among the many who have already renewed your membership, thank you! If you haven't yet renewed, please do so today. </p> <p> <a href="[@]renew?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=Qj0R6">Renew online</a>, by phone at 206.441.9762, or return the renewal notice that was recently mailed to you. </p> <p> Thank you for being an important part of the WSMA! </p> </div>1/31/2020 11:05:16 AM1/24/2020 10:50:32 AM1/17/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_december_30_2019_as_the_year_ends_budget_wrangling_beginsWeekly Rounds: December 30, 2019 - As the Year Ends, Budget Wrangling BeginsWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2019/weekly_rounds_december_30_2019_as_the_year_ends_budget_wrangling_begins<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>December 30, 2019</h5> <h2>As the Year Ends, Budget Wrangling Begins </h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> As we prepare to bid adieu to 2019 and chill the Champagne to greet 2020, I'm reflecting on federal and state budget actions that impact our work and profession. Here's a rundown on recent activities. </p> <p> Just before Christmas, the president signed two spending packages - totaling $1.4 trillion - that not only averted a government shutdown, but also included several wins for health care. One of the attached bills followed recent Washington state action as it will ban the sale of tobacco and e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 21. The package also included $25 million for federal research on gun safety, delays Medicaid payment cuts to disproportionate-share hospitals for five months, and repeals three Affordable Care Act taxes: a 40% excise tax on employer-provided health plans that exceed certain thresholds; a health insurance tax; and a 2.3% excise tax on medical devices. </p> <p> Surprisingly, Congress did not include any provisions on balance billing, nor did it address prescription drug costs - both were issues that we had expected to see in the final package. </p> <p> As that spending package heads toward the president's desk, here in the "other" Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee released his 2020 supplemental budget proposal. This budget is primarily intended to make necessary adjustments to the two-year budget adopted by the Legislature last year, which went into effect July 1. </p> <p> In summary, the governor's proposal appropriates all forecasted revenue and does not propose to raise any new revenue, though it does rely on funds from the state's "rainy day" reserve account. Here are some highlights of interest to us: </p> <ul> <li>$1.1M toward supporting the prescription drug monitoring program.</li> <li>$8.4M to backfill Washington state family planning services that lost funding when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services changed the rules related to abortion services.</li> <li>$10.5M to cover funding for Foundational Public Health Services that was anticipated from vapor distribution taxes, which will be insufficient given the governor's executive order banning flavored vapor products.</li> <li>$989K toward vape and tobacco cessation via counseling support services for 18- to 20-year-olds in recognition of the new state law raising the minimum age for legal sale of tobacco and vapor products to 21.</li> <li>$366K to support the Newborn Screening Laboratory since the State Board of Health added spinal muscular atrophy to the list of diseases screened through the state's mandatory newborn screening panel.</li> <li>o HCA is requesting $183K in addition to DOH's request to cover costs related to the inclusion of this test.</li> <li>$2.8M to fund ProviderOne operational costs. </li> <li>$1.2M to support a pilot program that provides mental health drop-in services.</li> <li>$558K to plan and administer efforts to implement the public option.</li> <li>$298K toward developing and implementing the prescription drug price transparency program.</li> <li>$11.3M to reconcile amounts owed to Federally Qualified Health Centers for reimbursements for Medicaid patients.</li> <li>$150K for the HCA to conduct an information request for a diabetes disease management program.</li> <li>$1.9M for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).</li> </ul> <p> You can <a href="https://ofm.wa.gov/budget/state-budgets/gov-inslees-proposed-2020-supplemental-budget">review the governor's proposal here</a>. It's worth nothing that this is only the first step in the 2020 budget process and is by no means the final product. The House and Senate will introduce their respective supplemental budgets during the 2020 session, which may incorporate elements of the governor's proposals. A final budget must be approved before lawmakers conclude their work for 2020. </p> <p> Your WSMA government affairs and policy team in Olympia is working hard in preparation for the start of the 2020 legislative session. It will be what is known as a "short" session. It's a 60-day session that occurs during even-numbered years each biennium as outlined in the state constitution. Session starts on Jan. 13, but some legislators have already <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/prefiled.aspx?year=2019">prefiled bills</a> in anticipation of session. </p> <p> Looking ahead to the new year, here are some important dates to keep in mind: </p> <ul> <li>Jan. 8: Pre-session Advocacy Council webinar (<a href="https://zoom.us/meeting/register/877b81fe318b5500c5b9141539e44ee6">click here to register</a>)</li> <li>Jan. 13: Start of regular session</li> <li>Feb. 25: <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/Legislative_Summit.aspx?hkey=ec5e0510-cee2-4aa9-b549-905d63952454&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=VAXO6">WSMA Legislative Summit</a> (be sure to join us!)</li> <li>March 12: End of regular session</li> </ul> <p> Even as 2019 comes to a close during these cloudy, gray days, there's never a dull moment as we strive to protect your interests and the profession. Your participation with us makes a difference, and we appreciate your involvement. </p> <p> And with that, here's to 2020! </p> </div>12/30/2019 9:18:48 AM12/30/2019 9:09:59 AM12/30/2019 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_december_16_2019_the_physician_voice_influenceWeekly Rounds: December 16, 2019 - The Physician Voice = InfluenceWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2019/weekly_rounds_december_16_2019_the_physician_voice_influence<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>December 16, 2019</h5> <h2>The Physician Voice = Influence </h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> At a <a href="https://www.virginiamason.org/health-in-a-changing-climate-symposium">Climate and Health Symposium</a> held just over a week ago, Gov. Jay Inslee spoke to a packed room of health care professionals at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. During his keynote address, he encouraged physicians and nurses to pursue issues with legislators, saying, "You are the most credible people in Washington to influence legislators." </p> <p> And in a recent <a href="https://www.politico.com/news/agenda/2019/11/25/is-medicare-for-all-right-answer-wrong-idea-072462">Politico article on the topic of Cascade Care</a>, Washington state Rep. Eileen Cody was quoted as saying "the docs have a lot of influence." She was speaking about the physician voice that legislators and insurers loudly heard during discussions about a public option in our state. </p> <p> Lawmakers in Olympia appreciate hearing the physician perspective on health care matters. In fact, many of them have told us they've heard from you directly about concerns pertaining to the B&O tax increase, dismal Medicaid reimbursement, and the anticipated increase in MD and PA licensure fees. </p> <p> The work we do together influencing legislators does make a difference! I want to thank you for reaching out to legislators, and strongly encourage you to continue your personal outreach while legislators are home in their districts. Our policy team in Olympia has been doing the same, recently spending time meeting with members of the Legislature as they prepare for the next legislative session, which begins Jan. 13. </p> <p> Another way to make your voice heard is to contribute to WSMA's political action committee, WAMPAC. I hope you'll support our <a href="[@]WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/Give_to_WAMPAC.aspx">$20 for 2020 campaign</a>, or even consider joining the WAMPAC Diamond Club, as I have. Your contribution will go a long way toward furthering a pro-medicine agenda in Olympia. </p> <p> We have influence—you have influence—because of the strength of the Washington State Medical Association. In 2019, the WSMA had another record-breaking membership year as our numbers reached nearly 11,300 members, making us the largest medical professional organization in the state. Not only that, our overall membership is getting younger, signaling a bright future for the house of medicine here. Today, the average age of a WSMA member is 51 and we are cultivating a new generation of engaged members with a 214% growth of early career members (medical students, residents, and 10 years or less in practice) in the last five years. </p> <p> Membership is a direct investment in improving the profession, professional fulfillment, and leadership development, which ultimately is an investment in quality care and better patient outcomes. You belong with us—and we appreciate your membership. </p> <p> We have so much to do in 2020—we need you with us. If you haven't done so already, I urge you to renew your membership today. It's easy to <a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Join_Renew/Join_Renew_Auth.aspx">pay your dues online</a>, by phone at 206.441.9762, or return the renewal notice that was recently mailed to you. If you're part of a group that covers your dues, take a moment right now to encourage your practice administrator to remit by year end. If you pay your dues individually, remember that you can tap into your CME funds to cover dues. And, as always, for personal assistance, email <a href="mailto:membership@wsma.org">membership@wsma.org</a>—the WSMA is here for you. </p> <p> In other news, here are three highlights for you to consider while you're prepping for the holidays: </p> <ol> <li>I hope you closely reviewed our Membership Memo from last week—it provided a succinct overview of new laws and regulations that impact medicine going into effect in the new year. You'll want to be prepared, so check it out <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20191211/practice_impact_new_laws_taking_effect_jan_1?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=dK7N6">here</a>. </li> <li>To hear more insights directly from policymakers, make plans today to attend the <a href="https://stateofreform.com/conference/2020-washington-state-of-reform-health-policy-conference/registration/">State of Reform Conference</a> on Jan. 9 at the Westin Seattle Hotel. WSMA members receive a 20% discount. When you register, use the WSMA20 discount code.</li> <li>Register today for the annual <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/Legislative_Summit.aspx?hkey=ec5e0510-cee2-4aa9-b549-905d63952454&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=fK7N6">WSMA Legislative Summit</a> set for Feb. 25 in Olympia. Attorney General Bob Ferguson will be one of our keynote speakers. The Summit provides you with an excellent opportunity to meet your elected representatives and to personalize priority issues on WSMA's session agenda. Hearing directly from a physician or provider constituent with firsthand expertise on complex issues helps to inform lawmakers and ensures physicians have a seat at the table as policy is being made.</li> </ol> <p> We are your fierce advocate as we work all day, every day, to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care. We're here for you, and we appreciate that you're here for us too. </p> <p> Happy holidays! </p> </div>12/16/2019 10:03:47 AM12/16/2019 9:06:03 AM12/16/2019 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_december_2_2019_grateful_for_the_care_you_provideWeekly Rounds: December 2, 2019 - Grateful for the Care You ProvideWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2019/weekly_rounds_december_2_2019_grateful_for_the_care_you_provide<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>December 2, 2019</h5> <h2>Grateful for the Care You Provide </h2> <p> Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO </p> <p> My family, friends, and co-workers know that I'm more than a little bit obsessed with <a href="https://www.glassybaby.com/">glassybabys</a> (for the uninitiated, a glassybaby is a unique piece of hand-blown glass art crafted to support causes of hope and healing). </p> <p> I love the back story of how and why entrepreneur Lee Rhodes created them out of her own adversity to bring light and inspiration to people in need of it. I also love that part of the proceeds is donated to charity, and that each color has a story. </p> <p> Lately at the WSMA, when we've needed a special gift to say thank you—such as our gift for past president Donna Smith, MD—we choose a beautiful evergreen glassybaby called "gratitude." As a bonus, the color of "gratitude" perfectly matches the WSMA's new logo color. </p> <p> Gratitude is on my mind at the moment, and not just because I'm writing this column over the Thanksgiving weekend. Even as I write—from the warmth and joy of a family vacation in Maui—our trip is bittersweet because this may be the last opportunity my mom is able to travel. About two years ago, she received a diagnosis of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and now that her model end stage liver disease score has reached 15, we will soon determine what the next steps will be with the help of a transplant specialist. </p> <p> As we embark on this complex journey, I am grateful that we have access to the best and brightest physicians and health care professionals right in our community. And more than ever, I'm not only glad, but also incredibly proud of the work that the WSMA does to make that so. </p> <p> It's no surprise to us that one of the most pressing problems facing the physician community and our state is that there likely won't be enough physicians in the future to care for our burgeoning population here or elsewhere in the country. This is confirmed in a <a href="https://www.informz.net/WSMA/data/images/Documents/2019%20workforce%20report%20w-additions.d3.pdf" target="_blank">WSMA-commissioned workforce report</a> by John Gallagher that sheds light on state and local data to highlight the challenges ahead. </p> <p> The report quotes an analysis released by the Association of American Medical Colleges last April that the nation will experience a physician shortage of between 46,900 and 121,900 doctors by 2032 (the range reflects the difference between the 25th and 75th percentile of projections). The projected shortage of primary care physicians is as high as 55,200, and for physicians in surgical specialties as high as 23,400. </p> <p> Further, the report notes the expectation that Washington's population will grow by 1.8 million people by 2040. Most of this increase will be from people moving into the state, which will likely disproportionately impact the largest population areas in the state: Clark, King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Spokane counties. Also, the increased population will be more diverse, putting additional pressure on the need for linguistically and culturally appropriate health services. </p> <p> At the same time as the population is growing, it will also be getting older. By 2030, more than one in five state residents will be age 65 or older, compared with one in seven today. Twelve rural counties will have over 30 percent of their population older than 65, including Clallam, Jefferson, Stevens, and San Juan counties. An aging population presents more complex health conditions and needs, with a greater demand on health care and care coordination. </p> <p> What's to be done? At the WSMA, we are on the front lines advocating for access to care, debt forgiveness, increased funding for residencies, and more. This is what we do, all day, every day on behalf of you, our physician and physician assistant members. And that's a two-way street—we need you with us, and you belong with us. Help us ensure that Washington state is the best place to practice medicine and receive care by joining or renewing your membership today. </p> <p> I know that it's more challenging to be a physician today than in years gone by. But as I consider my mother's health burden, I couldn't be more grateful to those of you who've dedicated your lives and profession to caring for her and patients like her. </p> <p> I'm personally grateful to each of you. I wish you the inspiration and light of a flickering candle in a glassybaby called "gratitude," and hope that no matter the stress and the burdens you face, you'll keep caring for us all. </p> <p> Thank you. </p> </div>12/2/2019 10:21:02 AM12/2/2019 10:18:08 AM12/2/2019 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_november_18_2019_democracy_in_action_at_the_wsma_house_of_delegatesWeekly Rounds: November 18, 2019 - Democracy in Action at the WSMA House of DelegatesWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2019/weekly_rounds_november_18_2019_democracy_in_action_at_the_wsma_house_of_delegates<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>November 18, 2019</h5> <h2>Democracy in Action at the WSMA House of Delegates</h2> <p> Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO </p> <p> Nearly three years ago, University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce, while <a href="https://www.washington.edu/president/2017/01/16/pursuing-the-ideals-of-a-more-perfect-union/">reflecting on the ideals of a "more perfect union,"</a> said "The messiness of democracy is a feature, not a defect. The interplay of differing ideas, deeply held and passionately argued, is how we reach understanding. If we permanently retreat into like-minded bubbles of our own making, or if we treat democracy and discourse as zero sum games, then we do so at great cost to our society, and ultimately to ourselves." </p> <p> We're all reflecting these days on the messiness of democracy, as it plays out daily from the nation's Capitol to our own Hill in Olympia and in our own communities. Though it can be messy, I have seen it succeed in action. </p> <p> Most recently, your county and state specialty society delegates along with WSMA board members came forward on Oct. 12 and 13 at our 130th Annual Meeting of the House of Delegates to respectfully debate and deliberate policy for this organization. That work is member focused and member driven, as it not only represents member issues that impact the profession, but also responds to member needs in the professional environment and the care of their patients. </p> <p> We saw that quite clearly as your representatives in the House brought forward nearly 50 resolutions for consideration, many inspiring impassioned testimonies at the meeting. Once the yeas and nays were tallied, delegates had passed 45 new policies and nearly 30 directives to take action, reaffirmed four policies, modified one, and referred five items. We saw democracy at work—perhaps somewhat flawed at times—but always with good intentions and thoughtful interactions. </p> <p> In case you missed it, <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx?hkey=fea49254-3815-4dc9-8710-53ff2e3a100f&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927#video">watch this brief video</a> to see your peers in action. </p> <p> To recap all that happened as this energized House resolved to take progressive stands on public health policy and protect the health and well-being of physicians, here's a summary, including information on how to learn more. </p> <p> Policy adopted by delegates at the meeting typically falls into one of three categories: </p> <ol> <li>New policy (new policies are added to the <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/About_Us/Policies/Whats_Our_Policy/WSMA/About/Policies/Whats_Our_Policy/Policy_Index.aspx?hkey=f42b9a91-1f83-466f-ae3e-d58a7a6bd763">WSMA Policy Compendium</a> and help inform WSMA's advocacy in the Legislature, in the media, and in the industry at large).</li> <li>A reaffirmation of existing policy.</li> <li>A directive to take action.</li> </ol> <p> Policies "referred" by delegates go to WSMA leadership (the executive committee and board of trustees) for further consideration. </p> <p> This year, delegates directed your WSMA to: </p> <ul> <li>Advocate to amend state law to exempt all physicians from the B&O tax surcharge resulting from 2019 House Bill 2158.</li> <li>Explore options for tracking physician suicides and report back to the House in 2020.</li> <li>Support services to help assist physicians, residents, students, and PAs who are suffering symptoms of depression and burnout.</li> <li>Pursue, with stakeholder input, an aggressive strategy to reduce administrative burden.</li> <li>Support advocacy to eliminate the buprenorphine DEA waiver requirement.</li> <li>Publicize the interspecialty statement on "Firearm-Related Injury and Death in the United States: A Call to Action From the Nation's Leading Physician and Public Health Professional Organizations"</li> </ul> <p> Climate change was top of mind during the meeting, with delegates adopting policy to: </p> <ul> <li>Expand WSMA climate change policy (including directing the WSMA to divest from fossil fuels and encourage others in the health care industry to do the same).</li> <li>Support legislative efforts to create a low-carbon fuel standard for Washington state.</li> <li>Support the use of reusable isolation gowns.</li> </ul> <p> Public health, an ongoing concern of the House, was addressed by policy to: </p> <ul> <li>Endorse a ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.</li> <li>Reduce firearm-related injury and death, including supporting research and legislative policy based on proven public health practices.</li> <li>Advocate for the removal of barriers to the immunization of "mature minors."</li> <li>Support improvements to the state's immunization information system.</li> <li>Support policy requiring pharmacies, when administering vaccines, to notify a patient's primary care provider when possible.</li> <li>Support the reform of health care access and delivery in the criminal justice system.</li> <li>Promote greater gender equity in medicine.</li> <li>Support physician education on critical race theory in medicine to help address disparate health outcomes of black Americans.</li> <li>Support investments to decrease racial inequities in cancer care.</li> <li>Support evidence-based sexual education; encourage legislation to expand sexual education to include contraception options, condom use demonstrations, LGBTQ+ sexual health, STI education, and discussions of consent.</li> <li>Support the rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming patients, including opposing legislative or other efforts to limit access to gender-affirming health services and encouraging health care facilities that provide direct patient care to adopt gender-affirming practices.</li> <li>Encourage better data-gathering on the victims of human trafficking; educate physicians on the issue and condemn the practice.</li> <li>Support efforts to encourage the wearing of helmets when riding e-scooters and e-bikes.</li> </ul> <p> Other policy adopted by the House call on the WSMA to: </p> <ul> <li>Work with partners to support legislation calling for an increase in primary care spending as a proportion of total health care spending.</li> <li>Support patients and referring clinicians knowing both the name and credentials of the clinicians to whom they are referred.</li> <li>Acknowledge the public health threat of medical misinformation.</li> <li>Oppose digital/online "coercion" of physicians and provide resources on managing one's online reputation.</li> <li>Oppose unpaid heath care data collection and data mining work for insurance company purposes, unless the provider chooses to provide it for free without coercion.</li> <li>Support establishing a statewide credentialing and onboarding process for medical and PA students from Washington state's medical schools.</li> </ul> <p> Referred policies (those issues needing additional study before further action) included: </p> <ul> <li>Policy advocating for the tracking of physicians sanctioned by the Washington Medical Commission and physician enrollees of the Washington Physician Health Program, with specific enumeration of physician suicides.</li> <li>Policy encouraging the Washington Medical Commission to use peer review when passing judgement on standards of care.</li> <li>Policy detailing standards for the prior authorization of prescription medication requests used by insurance companies regulated by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.</li> <li>Policy directing the WSMA to take immediate action on gender inequities.</li> </ul> <p> For details on the above policies, and for a look at all policies and actions from the 2019 Annual Meeting, download the Official Actions of the 2019 WSMA House of Delegates, available from the <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/About_Us/Leadership/House_of_Delegates/WSMA/About/Leadership/House_of_Delegates/House_of_Delegates.aspx?hkey=e2c50002-384d-4ff7-9116-5ce7a51116e7">WSMA website</a>. The WSMA will update the status of these items on a monthly basis. </p> <p> This democratic work of policy setting is of the people, by the people, and for the people. The work needs you, and I hope you'll plan now to attend the 2020 WSMA Annual Meeting, Sept. 26-27 at the Historic Davenport, Autograph Collection in Spokane, and be part of it. To learn more about the Annual Meeting of the WSMA House of Delegates and its role shaping policy for the medical association, visit the <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx?hkey=fea49254-3815-4dc9-8710-53ff2e3a100f">meeting webpage</a>. </p> <p> And don't forget: You can directly impact the democratic work of our state Legislature by attending our Legislative Summit on Feb. 25 at the state Capitol. This is medicine's moment to advocate for medicine's advocacy priorities. Be sure to save the date—free registration will be announced shortly. </p> </div>11/18/2019 9:48:09 AM11/18/2019 9:44:58 AM11/18/2019 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_october_29_2019_make_your_voice_heard_loud_and_clearWeekly Rounds: October 29, 2019 - Make Your Voice Heard Loud and ClearWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2019/weekly_rounds_october_29_2019_make_your_voice_heard_loud_and_clear<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>October 29, 2019</h5> <h2>Make Your Voice Heard Loud and Clear</h2> <p>Election season is here: the 2020 election cycle is ramping up and this year's Election Day is just a week away. If you are like me, your phone has been ringing and your email has been clogged with political fundraising requests. When making your decisions on local legislative and statewide races, consider asking candidates where they stand on two critical issues facing physicians and physician assistants: <a href="https://wsma.org/Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20191023/department_of_health_adopts_fee_increases_for_mds_and_pas">impending licensure fee increases</a> and a <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/Advocacy/Legislative___Regulatory/No_to_B_and_O/WSMA/Advocacy/Legislative_Regulatory/No_to_B_and_O/no_to_b_and_o_.aspx?hkey=d5807781-a824-4b2c-a8f4-70ed597ddfa8">20 percent business and occupation (B&O) tax increase</a>.</p> <p>Both issues are critical to the ability of physicians and PAs to practice in Washington state. Any business owner knows it’s a losing equation when expenses go up yet revenues stay stagnant or decrease. These two actions make it challenging, not only to stay in practice but also to recruit more physicians to our state, which, like the rest of the country, is facing <a href="https://www.aamc.org/system/files/2019-07/workforce_projections-15-year_outlook_-key_findings.pdf">physician shortages</a>. When the licensure fee increases go into effect on Feb. 1, 2020, Washington state will be one of the most expensive states in the country to maintain a license as an MD or PA.</p> <p>At the same time, the B&O tax stifles competition and may limit choice as where an MD or PA chooses to practice. For those physicians or physician assistants looking to practice independently, they will have an additional 20 percent surcharge added to their B&O tax. Adding new taxes on practices that already operate on thin margins not only puts our independent practices at a competitive disadvantage, it could also result in a loss of jobs or, worse, a loss of access for patients. <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/Advocacy/Legislative___Regulatory/No_to_B_and_O/WSMA/Advocacy/Legislative_Regulatory/No_to_B_and_O/no_to_b_and_o_.aspx?hkey=d5807781-a824-4b2c-a8f4-70ed597ddfa8#impact">Learn more about how some of our members will be impacted by this tax increase</a>.</p> <p>In addition to sharing your stories with legislators and the governor, remember to vote! This year’s ballot includes a variety of issues that require your input, including Advisory Vote 24 related to the B&O tax increase. Advisory votes are nonbinding and do not change the results of the law, but they do provide the public an opportunity to register their opinion on recent tax increases enacted by the state legislature. The WSMA and a large coalition of health care partners vehemently opposed this tax increase and will continue our advocacy efforts to exempt physicians from the surcharge. A vote to “repeal” the increase can send a message to the legislature about its impact on patients and physician practices.</p> <p>For updates on WSMA’s legislative and regulatory work, be sure you are getting our advocacy news—bookmark our <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/News_Publications/Newsletters/WSMA_Advocacy_Report.aspx">online Advocacy Report</a> or send a request to Alex Wehinger (<a href="mailto:alex@wsma.org">alex@wsma.org</a>) to receive our regular Outreach and Advocacy newsletter. The most recent issue includes information on the issues above and provides the latest on updates to Apple Health’s opioid prescribing policy, balance billing rulemaking, Gov. Jay Inslee’s executive order on vaping and associated physician reporting requirements, and the OIC’s efforts to monitor enforcement of the state’s new prior authorization rules.</p> <p>Recent events have shown that politics are more important than ever to physicians and the patients they serve. It’s crucial for the WSMA to be effective and influential on political campaigns, because as we all know, it’s easier to help elect someone who agrees with you than it is to change the mind of a politician who doesn’t. I hope you will take a moment right now to make a modest contribution to WAMPAC, our nonpartisan campaign arm, by <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/Give_to_WAMPAC/WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/Give_to_WAMPAC.aspx?hkey=665ce949-b574-4ec7-8e5a-7a796233e5d7">donating $20 as part of our $20 for 2020 campaign</a> or consider contributing at an increased level by becoming a member of the <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/Give_to_WAMPAC/WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/Give_to_WAMPAC.aspx?hkey=665ce949-b574-4ec7-8e5a-7a796233e5d7">WAMPAC Diamond Club</a>.</p> <p>Finally, mark your calendar to join us at the Capitol in Olympia on Feb. 25, 2020, for <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/Legislative_Summit.aspx?hkey=ec5e0510-cee2-4aa9-b549-905d63952454">the Legislative Summit</a>, WSMA’s annual day on the hill. Registration will be open soon—for now, save the date.</p> </div>10/28/2019 1:19:35 PM10/28/2019 1:13:45 PM10/28/2019 1:19:35 PM
 

Join or renew your membership today