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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.

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weekly_rounds_august_7_2020_the_good_and_the_bad_of_proposed_new_cms_ruleWeekly Rounds: August 7, 2020 - The Good and the Bad of Proposed New CMS RuleWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_august_7_2020_the_good_and_the_bad_of_proposed_new_cms_rule<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>August 7, 2020</h5> <h2>The Good and the Bad of Proposed New CMS Rule</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> No matter how unusual things have been over the last several months, one thing we can count on every summer is the release of proposed updates to Medicare's physician fee schedule. This year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published its proposed rule, comprised of more than <a href="https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/08/17/2020-17127/medicare-program-cy-2021-revisions-to-payment-policies-under-the-physician-fee-schedule-and-other">1,300 pages of fee and policy proposals for 2021</a>, on the evening of Aug. 3 - the latest the agency has released the document in over a decade. </p> <p> The uncertainty and associated anxiousness created by the late release has given way to concerns around several controversial proposals. Most notably, CMS is overhauling the evaluation and management (E/M) office visit, documentation, and payment system, which will require an 11% budget neutrality reduction in the conversion factor, pitting the house of medicine against itself. </p> <p> While supportive of CMS's proposal to implement reforms and substantial payment increases for office visits, the WSMA is concerned by the <a href="https://www.cmadocs.org/Portals/CMA/files/public/CY%202021%20PFS%20Estimated%20Impact%20on%20Total%20Allowed%20Charges%20by%20Specialty.pdf" target="_blank">associated cuts to the non-primary care specialties</a> that will have a negative impact on many physician practices. </p> <p> Due to the community response to COVID-19, Washington's physician practices of all specialty types have <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Press_Release/2020/washingtons_physician_practices_in_financial_crisis_new_wsma_survey">experienced severe financial difficulty</a>. Instead of compounding these challenges, the WSMA supports the growing <a href="https://www.mgma.com/getattachment/764a1f8b-32b3-4975-85b9-54fa4703a644/E-M-Sign-on-letter-to-HHS-Budget-Neutrality.pdf.aspx">chorus</a> of medical associations and societies calling on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to use its authority under the public health emergency declaration to preserve patient access to care and mitigate financial distress due to the pandemic by implementing the office visit increases as planned while waiving budget neutrality requirements for the new Medicare office visit payment policy. </p> <p> Other notable proposed policies include: </p> <ul> <li>Annual updates to the MIPS quality program, including gradually implementing MIPS in 2021 and postponing the MIPS Value Pathways participation option until 2022.</li> <li>Permanently keeping several codes that were temporarily added to the Medicare telehealth list during COVID-19, including the prolonged office or outpatient E/M visit code and certain home visit services. These policies were included, in part, because of WSMA advocacy with CMS officials.</li> <li>Implementing the Appropriate Use Criteria program, which will require, starting Jan. 1, 2021, physicians to consult AUC using clinical decision support tools prior to ordering advance imaging services for Medicare beneficiaries.</li> </ul> <p> You can find a copy of the proposed rule <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2020-17127.pdf" target="_blank">here</a>, RVU files and other downloads <a href="https://www.cms.gov/medicaremedicare-fee-service-paymentphysicianfeeschedpfs-federal-regulation-notices/cms-1734-p">here</a>, and a CMS fact sheet overviewing the rule <a href="http://wsma.informz.net/z/cjUucD9taT05NTA1NTY2JnA9MSZ1PTEwNzgxMDgzNjEmbGk9Nzk0MzcwOTE/index.html">here</a>. CMS is taking comments on its proposals until 5 p.m. on Oct. 5. We encourage you to review the rule and submit your comments at its <a href="https://beta.regulations.gov/document/CMS-2020-0088-0001">regulations.gov webpage</a>. </p> <p> The Medicare physician fee schedule, in a normal year, is finalized in early November. The WSMA will keep members apprised of developments. If you have any questions, email WSMA's policy team at <a href="mailto:policy@wsma.org">policy@wsma.org</a>. </p> </div>8/7/2020 9:55:05 AM8/7/2020 9:52:56 AM8/7/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_july_31_2020_wsma_zooms_into_its_virtual_futureWeekly Rounds: July 31, 2020 - WSMA Zooms Into Its Virtual FutureWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_july_31_2020_wsma_zooms_into_its_virtual_future<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>July 31, 2020</h5> <h2>WSMA Zooms Into Its Virtual Future</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> One of my favorite things about the WSMA being a member-driven organization is when we come together in person, whether in small meetings or large, to connect, to share, and to get to know one another. But now that COVID-19 has derailed such gatherings for the foreseeable future, I'm grateful for the technology that enables us to come together - even if virtually - to build and sustain community, even as our need to distance continues. </p> <p> Just like most other organizations, your WSMA team is hard at work transitioning two upcoming events from in-person to virtual. And the silver lining to making that change? Even more of you will be able to participate! So read on and be sure to mark your calendars. </p> <h3>Join our Virtual Road Trip</h3> <p> Last year we launched our first road shows, hitting the road to Spokane, Vancouver, and Bellingham so we could meet with our members face to face. This year, on Aug. 27 from 6 - 8 p.m., we'll make that a virtual trip, without the pesky limitations of geography! </p> <p> Members are welcome to join us as we offer an update on WSMA's advocacy and policy work, with an emphasis on our work during the COVID-19 outbreak. We'll want to hear from you too, so we'll "Zoom" into virtual breakout rooms where you'll have an opportunity to share your thoughts with staff and members of the executive committee about how we can amplify our work in representing the profession or improving patient care. </p> <p> Lest you think this Zoom meeting will be just one more regular ol' meeting or webinar…think again! We'll make it fun, interactive, and there will be prizes. Beyond that, the first 25 folks to register will be the lucky recipients of a dandy "Road Trip Snack Box," shipped to their home just in time for the Virtual Road Trip. Our Zoom space will be limited, so sign up quickly once registration goes live. If the Aug. 27 event becomes over-subscribed, stay tuned as we'll add another date to the schedule if needed. </p> <p> <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Virtual_Road_Trip/WSMA/Events/Virtual_Road_Trip/WSMA_Virtual_Road_Trip.aspx">Click here</a> for the event webpage. Stay tuned - registration will be announced shortly. </p> <h3>WSMA Annual Meeting goes virtual</h3> <p> The WSMA House of Delegates was formed back in 1889. Ever since, we've taken pride that this structure allows policies to spring from our members - staying true to our member-driven roots. Despite COVID-19, your WSMA leadership decided that this year's annual HOD meeting will carry on - albeit virtually. </p> <p> Several deadlines are fast approaching. The deadline for submitting resolutions is Aug. 10. If you have new policy you'd like to propose, consider submitting a resolution through your local county medical society or specialty society. More details about how to structure a resolution can be found <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/How_to_Write_a_Resolution/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/How_to_Write_a_Resolution/How_to_Write_a_Resolution.aspx">here</a>. </p> <p> When the time comes to vote on resolutions during the meeting, remember that only delegates can vote. If you want to serve as a delegate, let us know, and we will put you in touch with your county medical society or state specialty society (see our <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/Policies/WSMA/About/Policies/Policies.aspx">bylaws on who is eligible to vote</a>). If you feel frustrated that you don't have a formal vote except through these societies, consider getting engaged and <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/How_to_Write_a_Resolution/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/How_to_Write_a_Resolution/How_to_Write_a_Resolution.aspx">advance a change to the process</a>. </p> <p> If you are curious to know more about our work, be sure to visit our website at <a href="[@]">wsma.org</a>. There you can also access our <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/Who_We_Are/WSMA/About/Who_We_Are/Who_We_Are.aspx#strat">current strategic plan</a>, find an <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/Leadership/House_of_Delegates/WSMA/About/Leadership/House_of_Delegates/House_of_Delegates.aspx">update on last year's official actions from the House of Delegates</a>, or review <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/Policies/Whats_Our_Policy/WSMA/About/Policies/Whats_Our_Policy/Policy_Index.aspx">current WSMA policy</a>. </p> <p> Another way to inform us about issues of concern to you is to engage with us via our members-only <a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Discussion_Forums/virtual_reference_committees.aspx">virtual reference committees</a> and general discussion forum in advance of the WSMA Annual Meeting on Sept. 26-27. It's easy to post your ideas or comment on the ideas of others. </p> <p> All of this to say…as a member-driven organization, your views and opinions matter, regardless of specialty, geography, and/or whether you are working within a large integrated group or small private practice. You matter. </p> <p> Let us hear from you, and I hope I'll see you online at our Road Trip in August or at the virtual <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx">WSMA House of Delegates</a> in September. </p> <p> If you can't make either event but would like me to speak to your medical staff or group, write me at <a href="mailto:jen@wsma.org">jen@wsma.org</a>. I'm happy to provide an update on our work, live or virtually. </p> </div>7/31/2020 4:17:17 PM7/31/2020 4:15:47 PM7/31/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_july_20_2020_even_covid_19_cant_keep_the_wsma_from_its_missionWeekly Rounds: July 20, 2020 - Even COVID-19 Can't Keep the WSMA From Its MissionWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_july_20_2020_even_covid_19_cant_keep_the_wsma_from_its_mission<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>July 18, 2020</h5> <h2>Even COVID-19 Can't Keep the WSMA From Its Mission</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> The onset and disruption of COVID-19 has shaken us all, to be sure. But even in the midst of it, I'm grateful that the WSMA's vision, mission, and strategy remain relevant and appropriate for the times. The pillars of our strategic plan focus on advocacy through strong, thoughtful policy; physician-directed quality improvement; physician education and development; and organizational stewardship. </p> <p> This framework continues to serve us well as we raise up the interests of physicians at the highest levels of influence and unite our members to make a difference. We know a robust and healthy professional and practice environment is necessary to ensure that patients and communities have access to high-quality care when they need it. We achieve this by advancing strong physician leadership and advocacy to shape the future of medicine and advance quality care for all Washingtonians. Working together, we are building a vibrant medical profession and a healthy population. </p> <p> That effort doesn't stop or change even during a pandemic. Still, we press on. Here are five highlights of some of the ways we are doing just that. </p> <h3>Seeking clarity as hospital COVID-19 data redirected from CDC to HHS</h3> <p> Several physicians have inquired about the <a href="https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/coronavirus-data-is-funneled-away-from-cdc-sparking-worries/">news that hospital data on COVID-19 will be redirected</a> from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the Department of Health and Human Services. </p> <p> Our understanding based on informal discussions with American Medical Association staff is that since April, hospitals have been reporting COVID-19 data to two federal databases: CDC and TeleTracking. The principle purpose of reporting is to allocate federal resources among the hospitals; however, concerns have been raised regarding the burden of the dual reporting. Additionally, the Coronavirus Task Force has needed to periodically change the reporting requirements to coincide with developments. It seems the CDC data collection has been more robust than TeleTracking, but not capable of adapting as quickly to changing requirements. Consequently, the administration decided to require hospitals to report only toTeleTracking. The CDC will remain on the Coronavirus Task Force Data Group. </p> <p> Currently, the CDC helps states analyze and understand the data. While the CDC will continue to have access to the data, it is unclear how that will be operationalized, so the implications of the change in data collection are not clear to us at this time. </p> <p> The AMA continues to stress to officials that data collection is vital to combatting COVID-19. The data needs to be accurate and transparent so it can be actionable and inform the health care community's response. It will closely monitor the situation and weigh in as issues arise. </p> <h3>Speaking up about barriers to COVID-19 testing</h3> <p> State officials recently expanded criteria for who should be tested for COVID-19 to include the mildly symptomatic and their close contacts (for the full criteria, download the <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/Interim-2019NovelCoronavirusQuicksheetProviders.pdf" target="_blank">DOH testing guidance for health care providers</a>, updated June 28). Along with expanding testing criteria, Gov. Jay Inslee delivered a message directly to physicians and medical providers: If a patient comes to you with symptoms, get them tested. As the guidance states, symptomatic patients should be tested within 24 hours or referred to another testing site and provided guidance on the need to isolate (for ill persons) and self-quarantine (for exposed contacts). </p> <p> In our role as advocates for the physician community, the WSMA is helping state officials identify barriers faced by physicians and practices seeking to provide or ramp up testing. We need to hear from you: What is your experience with testing, and are you facing any barriers to increasing testing in your office or practice? <a href="https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XR6QQ5J">Take this brief WSMA survey on testing and PPE supply</a> and let us know. </p> <h3>Supporting candidates that support physicians and their patients</h3> <p> The primary election is just around the corner on Aug. 4, with the general election to follow on Nov. 4. WSMA leaders and staff have been meeting virtually with candidates and providing financial support for those whose priorities align with ours. </p> <p> As you consider how to cast your vote, you can see how your state legislators voted on WSMA's priority issues last session by checking out the "WAMPAC Report Card" in the <a href="https://wsma.informz.net/WSMA/data/images/Attachments/wsma_2020_legislativereport_printers_final.pdf" target="_blank">2020 WSMA Legislative Report</a>. And if you're disappointed with how your legislator voted, remember that one of the best ways to send a message is by <a href="[@]WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/Give_to_WAMPAC.aspx">supporting WAMPAC</a> and helping physicians speak with a loud, unified voice on campaigns. </p> <h3>Equipping the front lines with information they need to know</h3> <p> Given that COVID-19 will impact the medical community for the foreseeable future, WSMA is launching a Virtual Grand Rounds webinar series to provide you the latest on local developments. The series will focus on the evolution of the disease, management of COVID-19 patients, and our state's response to the pandemic - with an emphasis on what front-line physicians need to know. </p> <p> We will be joined by state public health leaders - Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, MD; Kathy Lofy, MD; and Charissa Fotinos, MD - on July 22, Aug. 5, Aug. 19 and Sept. 4 for sessions that will offer the latest information on COVID-19. This series is free to all WSMA members. The format will include 45 minutes of content and 30 minutes for a Q&A discussion with the speakers. This activity has been approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Creditâ„¢</em>. <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Upcoming_Webinars/WSMA/education/Upcoming_Webinars/Upcoming_Webinars.aspx">Click here to learn more and to register</a>. </p> <h3>Influencing policy, shaping the future</h3> <p>The <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx">2020 Annual Meeting of the WSMA House of Delegates</a> will be held virtually on Sept. 26 and 27 via Zoom. If you are interested in proposing policy or serving as a delegate at the meeting, be sure to take note of the following guidance and key dates. Resolutions, one of the key policy drivers for the association, are considered for adoption by the House of Delegates at its annual meeting each fall. Resolutions must be sponsored by a WSMA delegate, alternate delegate, or member of the board of trustees. If you are interested in authoring a resolution but are not a delegate or board member, the WSMA will work with you to develop your resolution idea and help find a sponsor. <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/How_to_Write_a_Resolution/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/How_to_Write_a_Resolution/How_to_Write_a_Resolution.aspx">Learn more about resolutions on the WSMA website</a> and be sure to mark your calendar for the following dates:</p> <ul> <li>Aug. 10 - Deadline to submit your resolution for publication in the WSMA Delegate Handbook, the compilation of resolutions and other business to be considered by the House of Delegates.</li> <li>Aug. 21 - Delegate Handbook will be available on the <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx">WSMA website</a>.</li> <li>Aug. 27 - Final deadline to submit your resolution. Resolutions received after this date must have consent of two-thirds of the House to be considered.</li> </ul> </div>7/20/2020 10:06:13 AM7/20/2020 9:41:10 AM7/18/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_july_3_2020___six_things_to_know_while_planning_your_virtual_july_4th_celebrationWeekly Rounds: July 3, 2020 - Six Things to Know While Planning Your Virtual July 4th CelebrationWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_july_3_2020___six_things_to_know_while_planning_your_virtual_july_4th_celebration<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>July 3, 2020</h5> <h2>Six Things to Know While Planning Your Virtual July 4th Celebration</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> It's hard to believe it's already time for July 4th celebrations - such as they will be, without the usual fireworks displays and crowded gatherings. As I plan how best to celebrate the Fourth with my immediate household, I do feel increasingly better equipped to cope and adapt as needed. My growing collection of face masks is at least one indication that our new reality is becoming more familiar! </p> <p> It's also been heartening to see some of our WSMA team back in the office, with staff alternating days and schedules. Things are far from the way they used to be, but seeing team members occasionally around the office is certainly encouraging. </p> <p> We all press on, and there is plenty of news to share with you this week. Here are several things you need to know about. </p> <h3>HHS will renew public health emergency</h3> <p> On Monday, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Michael Caputo tweeted the news that the agency intends to extend the COVID-19 public health emergency that is set to expire July 25. The extension would prolong the emergency designation by 90 days. This is welcome news for physicians because several payment policies and regulatory adjustments are attached to the public health emergency. </p> <p> Some <a href="https://www.modernhealthcare.com/law-regulation/how-ending-covid-19-public-health-emergency-will-impact-healthcare-industry">notable policies</a> attached to the public health emergency are the <a href="https://www.modernhealthcare.com/politics-policy/covid-19-economic-stimulus-deal-passes-senate-billions-hospital-funding">Medicare inpatient 20% add-on payment for COVID-19 patients</a>, increased federal <a href="https://www.modernhealthcare.com/politics-policy/trump-signs-second-major-covid-19-relief-package">Medicaid matching rates</a>, requirements that insurers cover COVID-19 testing without cost-sharing, and <a href="https://www.modernhealthcare.com/politics-policy/cms-use-glide-path-when-removing-covid-19-waivers">waivers of telehealth restrictions</a>. </p> <p> Even if HHS maintains the public health emergency, some changes the Trump administration has made to help health care practitioners also depend on a separate <a href="https://www.modernhealthcare.com/politics-policy/trump-declares-covid-19-emergency-asks-hospitals-activate-emergency-plans">Stafford Act national emergency declaration</a> staying active (the emergency declaration is effective until March 13, 2021, or until the president issues a proclamation terminating the declaration, whichever comes first). These changes include <a href="https://www.modernhealthcare.com/medicaid/cms-grants-new-york-5-other-states-medicaid-waivers-respond-coronavirus">CMS Medicaid waivers</a> that allow bypassing some prior authorization requirements, temporarily enrolling out-of-state providers, delivering care in alternative settings, and pausing fair hearing requests and appeal times. </p> <h3>Governor to announce extension of telemedicine parity proclamation to Aug. 1</h3> <p> Earlier this week, we received word that the Legislature has approved extending Gov. Jay Inslee's proclamation requiring payment parity for telemedicine services through Aug. 1. No formal announcement has been made yet, but we will let you know once the governor's office officially confirms. </p> <p> Payment at parity is critical for patients and physicians. The WSMA will continue to advocate that this important policy be extended through the end of the year when the provisions of parity legislation Senate Bill 5385 take effect. </p> <h3>$15 billion being distributed to Medicaid providers by HHS: Has your practice received its share?</h3> <p> The federal CARES Act appropriated $175 billion to health care providers and facilities through a variety of mechanisms. The most recent distribution that was <a href="https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/06/09/hhs-announces-enhanced-provider-portal-relief-fund-payments-for-safety-net-hospitals-medicaid-chip-providers.html">announced by HHS</a> is $15 billion dedicated for eligible physicians and providers who participate in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. To be eligible for this funding, clinicians must have billed their state's Medicaid/CHIP programs or Medicaid managed care plans between Jan. 1, 2018 and Dec. 31, 2019. Additionally, they must not have received payments from the earlier $50 billion Provider Relief Fund general distribution based on Medicare utilization. </p> <p> Our state's Medicaid agency has raised concerns with HHS about the Medicaid distribution, asserting the funds allotted are insufficient and that it's administratively burdensome for practices to tap into. Perhaps most concerningly, practices were not aware that accepting the Medicare general distribution would preclude them from receiving Medicaid funds where the latter may have been financially advantageous for a practice. Further, there is no mechanism for a practice to return the Medicare funds to create eligibility for the Medicaid distribution. </p> <p> If you believe you're eligible for a payment under the Medicaid distribution, HHS provides an <a href="https://www.hhs.gov/coronavirus/cares-act-provider-relief-fund/for-providers/index.html">Enhanced Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal</a> that allows you to report your annual patient revenue, as well as information such as the number of Medicaid patients you serve, which will be used as factors in determining your payment. Distributions to eligible physicians will equal to at least 2% of reported gross revenues from patient care. </p> <p> If you have concerns pertaining to the Medicaid distribution or anything related to the Provider Relief Fund under the CARES Act, the WSMA wants to know. Share your perspective by emailing our policy team at <a href="mailto:policy@wsma.org">policy@wsma.org</a>. </p> <h3>WSMA advocates for flexibility as state grapples with COVID-19</h3> <p> The WSMA continues to advocate on several fronts related to COVID-19, including with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. In recent correspondence, we shared with CMS the need to make permanent, or continue for a reasonable duration of time after the public health emergency is declared over, the following regulatory flexibilities: </p> <ol> <li> Continue telehealth flexibilities so that the Medicare population, which is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, may access appropriate remote care. Audio-only coverage is particularly important for those who may not feel comfortable with or are unable to navigate audio/visual platforms or cannot afford or do not live in an area that has access to the broadband required to use the platforms. <ol style="list-style-type: lower-alpha; margin-left: 40px;"> <li> Continue coverage for audio-only telephone evaluation and management when necessary. </li> <li> Continue coverage of video and telephone E/M for patients who could make an office visit. </li> <li> Continue coverage of telehealth treatment services to patients at home. </li> <li> Maintain payment parity between audio-only E/M claims and their in-person equivalents, as well as between all telehealth and in-person visits. </li> <li> Establish clear telehealth billing guidance. Maintain the increased payment rates for these codes to equal Medicare's established in-person codes (99212-99214) to ensure that patients without advanced video-sharing capabilities can access care. </li> <li> Change the definition of "originating site" to allow for patients to receive telehealth services in any location/permanently extend the policy to lift geographical and originating-site restrictions. This will allow patients who cannot or should not make office visits and for whom such services are safer or more feasible. </li> <li> Continue coverage for remote patient monitoring services. </li> <li> Permanently remove frequency limitations on telehealth utilization. </li> <li> Continue the reduction or waive cost-sharing requirements for telehealth service. </li> <li> Continue to allow direct supervision to be performed via audio-video real-time communications when necessary, especially in rural and underserved areas. </li> </ol> </li> <li> Allow multimedia communication equipment, such as smartphones, to provide telehealth, and release practical examples of the technologies and devices that Medicare beneficiaries are permitted to use so that the public can have a better understanding of what is allowed. </li> <li> Cover inpatient hospital services in patients' homes to accommodate socially distanced services for this high-risk population. </li> <li> Continue to cover emergency department, critical care, and other telehealth services to patients at sites outside their homes, and do so without frequency limits, especially in rural and underserved areas, to facilitate access to this high-risk population. </li> <li> CMS should not reinstate the once-per-lifetime limit for Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program services and should allow these services to continue to be provided virtually, including allowing the first core session to be provided virtually. </li> <li> Continue to permit durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) items except for powered medical devices (PMDs) to be provided via a verbal order. </li> <li> Continue to permit physician assistants to order home health services. </li> <li> We urge CMS to further reduce burden by enabling the use of telemedicine and remote patient monitoring services to satisfy the face-to-face requirement in certifying eligibility for Medicare home health services. </li> </ol> <p> If we are missing anything, please contact our policy team at <a href="mailto:policy@wsma.org">policy@wsma.org</a>. </p> <h3>Tell your patients to mask up</h3> <p> The mandatory use of face masks is now in effect statewide. The order applies to anyone who is: </p> <ul> <li>Inside of, or in line to, enter any indoor public space.</li> <li>Seeking health care services.</li> <li>Waiting for or riding public transportation.</li> <li>Outdoors and unable to keep six feet away from others not in their household.</li> </ul> <p> There are exceptions to this order for children under the age of five and people with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering. In no case should children under two years of age wear a face covering due to the risk of suffocation. </p> <p> Washington state purchased 3.6 million cloth face masks to provide two masks to every person in Washington below 200% of the federal poverty level (which means, for example, a family of four earning $52,400 or less). They have already sent 2.8 million masks to local emergency management programs that are working with various community organizations and service providers to deliver to people who need them. </p> <p> If you have patients in need, masks are available through your <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/AboutUs/PublicHealthSystem/LocalHealthJurisdictions">local public health department</a> and other community organizations. </p> <p> If you need masks for your medical practice, the WSMA is partnering with the Washington State Hospital Association, and its subsidiary Washington Hospital Services, to supply FDA-approved disposable ASTM Level 1 simple procedural masks to medical groups and physician practices throughout the state at bulk pricing. Orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Submit your order by 9 a.m. each Monday to be included in that week's distribution. <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/PPE/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/PPE/PPE.aspx">Learn more and place your order</a>. </p> <h3>Gaining a better understanding of cultural diversity</h3> <p> In our <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Press_Release/2020/wsma_statement_on_the_death_of_george_floyd">statement on the death of George Floyd</a>, the WSMA noted that physicians and health care professionals wield power, privilege, and responsibility for dismantling structural racism in medicine, and we have an obligation and opportunity to contribute to health equity through legislative action and advocacy. The disparate health outcomes of Black Americans in the United States are an extension of a historical context where Black lives and the lives of people of color have been devalued. </p> <p> We are shaken by these racist and unjust events, and we join the many voices calling out the connectedness between these issues and health equity. As a health care community, we know well that racism is detrimental to public health and must be addressed. </p> <p> We are renewing our efforts to contribute to health equity and are examining what steps we can take to make a difference. As always, we seek to reflect the voices of our members, and we'd like to hear from you about this - write me at <a href="mailto:jen@wsma.org">jen@wsma.org</a>. We will continue to keep members apprised about opportunities to learn, reflect, and improve the house of medicine. </p> <p> In the meantime, here are some opportunities we encourage you to take advantage of: </p> <ul> <li> View AMA's recent virtual meeting: "<a href="https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/health-equity/time-tackle-hard-questions-root-causes-health-inequities">Time to tackle hard questions on root causes of health inequities</a>." </li> <li> Access the online CME multicultural care and cultural diversity courses offered by Physicians Insurance via their <a href="https://www.phyins.com/education/all-courses">online education portal</a>.<br /> Titles include: </li> <ul> <li>Building a Multicultural Care Environment (1.25 credits)</li> <li>Individual and Organizational Approaches to Multicultural Care (1.25 credits)</li> <li>Culture Responsiveness in Clinical Practice (1.50 credits)</li> <li>Culture Competence (.50)</li> </ul> <li>Add your voice to the "<a href="http://thenocturnists.com/blackvoices">Black Voices in Health Care</a>," a new audio documentary series created by <a href="http://thenocturnists.com/whoweare">The Nocturnists</a>, an independent medical storytelling community. They've issued an "open call" for voices, recognizing that more needs to be done to create equity and erase racism in our society.</li> </ul> <p> With all that's happening in our world these days, I'm actually grateful for what I anticipate will be a quiet Fourth of July. I want to reflect about what more I can do as an individual - and what we can do as an organization - to bring health and healing to a world that sorely needs it. </p> </div>7/8/2020 5:07:31 PM7/2/2020 2:27:12 PM7/3/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_june_5_2020_standing_in_solidarity_and_supportWeekly Rounds: June 5, 2020 - Standing in Solidarity and SupportWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_june_5_2020_standing_in_solidarity_and_support<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>June 5, 2020</h5> <h2>Standing in Solidarity and Support</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> As our nation continues to be shaken by racism and injustice, the WSMA joins the many voices that are calling out the connectedness between these issues and health equity. As a health care community, we know well that racism is detrimental to public health and must be addressed. We join our communities of color in solidarity and support. Your WSMA leadership issued a statement earlier this week and wanted to ensure that all WSMA members received it directly. That statement is below. </p> <p> If, as a member of the physician and PA community, you are seeking to take action, we've learned about health-care-specific events today and tomorrow in which you may wish to participate. Both events are urging mindfulness about social distancing and best protection practices in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <ul> <li>Join health care professionals across the county for a <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23WhiteCoatsForBlackLives&src=typeahead_click">#whitecoatsblacklives</a> moment of remembrance for George Floyd and countless others at 10 a.m. today, Friday, June 5. Join in at your clinic, hospital, or virtual site.</li> <li><a href="https://twitter.com/EdwinLindo/status/1268007582146285570/photo/1">Time for Change event</a> in Seattle, Saturday at 9 a.m.</li> </ul> <h3>WSMA's Statement on the Death of George Floyd</h3> <p> The Washington State Medical Association, like the rest of the U.S. and the world, is shocked and saddened by the needless loss of life resulting from the use of excessive force and violence, the latest in a long line of many such incidents in our country. </p> <p> In the midst of a pandemic that is disproportionately impacting our communities of color, the death of George Floyd serves as a harsh reminder that the responsibility for dismantling structural racism is incumbent upon all of us, particularly those in positions of leadership. </p> <p> Racism is a social determinant of health. The disparate health outcomes of black Americans in the U.S. can be seen as an extension of a historical context where non-white, and specifically black, lives have been devalued. Physicians and other health care professionals wield power, privilege, and responsibility for dismantling structural racism, and we have an obligation and opportunity to contribute to health equity through legislative action and advocacy. </p> <p> Just as COVID-19 has revealed the disparate impact on communities of color, the death of George Floyd has shown how too easily persons of color in our culture can become victims of racist acts of violence. We urge our political leaders at this time to join us as we repay our obligation to contribute to health equity, here in Washington state and across the U.S., through stronger public policy, so that George Floyd's death—and those of the thousands of victims disproportionately impacted by COVID-19—will not have been in vain. </p> </div>6/5/2020 10:08:25 AM6/5/2020 9:16:18 AM6/5/2020 12:00:00 AM
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>7/2/2020 2:30:48 PM1/31/2020 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
 

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