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

Weekly Rounds

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


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weekly_rounds_january_7_2022_wsma_calls_on_state_leaders_to_declare_crisis_take_actionWeekly Rounds: January 7, 2022 - Health Care, Overwhelmed by Omicron Surge, Raises AlarmWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_january_7_2022_wsma_calls_on_state_leaders_to_declare_crisis_take_action<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>January 7, 2022</h5> <h2>Health Care, Overwhelmed by Omicron Surge, Raises Alarm</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> As 2022 launches, we are painfully aware of the ongoing crisis COVID is causing in our emergency departments, urgent care centers, and hospitals. The pressure on the system is beyond unsustainable. </p> <p> I want you to know that the WSMA is standing with you through it all. Earlier today we urged Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health Umair Shah, MD, to officially declare Washington state in crisis and to immediately take action to aid overwhelmed emergency departments and hospitals across the state. <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Read the letter</a>, co-authored with the Washington Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians and delivered to state officials as well as state media. (This press release and a PDF of the letter are also available on the <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Press_Release/2022/wsma_calls_on_state_leaders_to_declare_crisis_take_action.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=Ia978">WSMA website</a>.) </p> <p> In my email to Gov. Inslee and Dr. Shah I wrote: </p> <p> "On behalf of the state's physicians we ask for assistance and resources to tend to the immediate crisis happening in our state's emergency departments and hospitals. As frontline workers, we are in a desperate situation of providing care to an overwhelming number of patients in less-than-ideal conditions. We understand that a meeting is being pulled together to discuss our previous outreach, but the situation we are facing as frontline workers is untenable and we need help now. </p> <p> We are available to share our perspectives as emergency physicians to help you understand what is happening in emergency departments around the state and how it is impacting patient care and to again, outline solutions we believe will take pressure off the systems and free up staff and bed capacity so that we can handle the flow coming through our doors. </p> <p> We appreciate your efforts to urge patients to take advantage of testing sites and at-home tests and your continued support for masking and social distancing. We appreciate local hospitals doing what they can to postpone elective care. But combined that simply isn't enough to help us manage the days ahead. </p> <p> On behalf of our state physicians, we urge you to provide resources now to address this crisis." </p> <p> Further, we delivered this letter along with a press release to statewide media. We know it's more important than ever for physicians to lead public conversations with what they're experiencing in our stressed health care settings. We are raising the alarm on every front. </p> <p> We know we need solutions now. We will continue the effort to make it so. </p> </div>1/7/2022 10:14:10 AM12/29/2021 10:55:21 AM1/7/2022 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_december_29_2021_wsma_advocacy_pays_offWeekly Rounds: December 29, 2021 - WSMA Advocacy Pays OffWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_december_29_2021_wsma_advocacy_pays_off<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/weekly-rounds-article-graphic-jeb-shepard-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds graphic with Jeb Shepard" /></div> <h5>December 29, 2021</h5> <h2>WSMA Advocacy Pays Off</h2> <p>Jeb Shepard, WSMA Director of Policy</p> <p> Chances are, you've had experience in your personal or professional life with a pharmacy or other third-party health care benefit manager. These entities administer various benefits from radiology to pharmaceuticals on behalf of insurance carriers, perform key functions like utilization management, and are among several industry players at the center of debate on rising health care costs and challenges with accessing care in our country. </p> <p> While their stated mission is to efficiently deliver benefits to patients at lower costs to the system, many observers-including WSMA's members, patients, and members of the Legislature, among others-have raised concerns they are doing just the opposite. To our way of thinking, benefit managers add additional layers of complexity to the delivery system, place barriers to patients receiving appropriate care, drive up costs, and are void of transparency and accountability due to a lack of state regulatory oversight. </p> <p> In response to such concerns, the Legislature passed a law in 2020 that grants the Office of the Insurance Commissioner regulatory authority over benefit managers doing business in our state. WSMA-supported <a href="">Senate Bill 5601</a> establishes registration requirements, including licensure fees and penalties for violations, and requires contracts between benefit managers and insurance carriers to be filed with the OIC. </p> <p> This measure is a first major step in the regulation of benefit managers, as it establishes a regulatory basis from which policymakers may address current and future concerns with the industry. </p> <p> So, problem solved, right? Unfortunately, no. As is often the case with new laws, there are unintended consequences that need to be addressed before the law can perform as designed. After the fanfare of a bill signing, the hard work of implementing a new law begins. </p> <p> In the case of SB 5601, the WSMA heard from medical group practices and health systems that utilize delegated credentialing arrangements with insurance carriers that they are being told they are subject to the new law and must register as a benefit manager. On hearing this news, the WSMA connected with our contacts at the OIC to report concerns regarding the insurance carriers' interpretation of the law. We expressed that as supporters of this measure, delegated credentialing arrangements were never intended to be included. </p> <p> In its <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">recently issued response</a>, the OIC states that its interpretation of the law is that medical groups and health systems are exempt from the registration and contract filing requirements when the delegated activity from the carrier to the practice is restricted to performing credentialing services. </p> <p> The WSMA's advocacy on this was effective in that most delegation arrangements will be exempt and practices will not be required to register and pay the associated fees. Our advocacy on your behalf matters! But this is another great example of our partnership with you: We were able to be effective on this because WSMA members took time to alert us to this concern. </p> <p> We're in this work together. We stand ready to respond to your questions about complex state and federal laws, regulations, and policies, and to advocate on your behalf when necessary. I hope you'll keep us informed about any health policy-related unintended consequences by writing <a href=""></a>. </p> <p> In the meantime, we wish you a happy new year! </p> </div>12/29/2021 10:45:53 AM12/29/2021 9:26:40 AM12/29/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_december_18_2021_governors_budget_release_portends_new_state_spendingWeekly Rounds: December 18, 2021 - Governor's Budget Release Portends New State SpendingWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_december_18_2021_governors_budget_release_portends_new_state_spending<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-Sean-Graham-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo with Sean Graham" /></div> <h5>December 18, 2021</h5> <h2>Governor's Budget Release Portends New State Spending, Start of Legislative Session</h2> <p> Sean Graham, WSMA Director of Government Affairs </p> <p> This week Gov. Jay Inslee released his 2022 state budget plan, proposing around $4 billion in new investments in housing, education, and climate, among other areas. In what is the legislative equivalent of a holiday tradition, the unveiling of the governor's budget proposal signals that session is just around the corner. The proposal makes adjustments to the $59 billion, two-year budget approved by legislators during the 2021 session that took effect on July 1 and serves to start the conversation on legislative budget discussions. </p> <p> In the health policy arena, highlights of the governor's budget include: </p> <ul> <li>More than $30 million in health care workforce investments to increase funding for the education and training of nurses and other health care professionals; health care simulation labs; the recruitment of students of color for health care professions; and the Opportunity Scholarship Program.</li> <li>$6.6 million to free up hospital capacity by supporting the transfer of patients out of acute care hospitals and into long-term care facilities.</li> <li>$300 million for COVID-19 response and $18 million for public health services.</li> <li>$18 million to stand up a program to help provide affordable health insurance coverage to undocumented residents of the state.</li> <li>$25 million to help address the opioid epidemic, including funding to bundle opioid treatment provider payments based on current Medicare Part B rates for opioid use disorder treatment services.</li> <li>$60 million to increase access to behavioral health services through the Medicaid program.</li> </ul> <p> The WSMA is pleased to see the proposed investments in the health care workforce but will be advocating for legislators to include provisions for broader investments in its budget proposals, including increased funding for physician residencies. We will also continue to advocate for Medicaid rate increases to be applied across the physician community to include specialty care providers in the interest of facilitating access to care for all residents of our state. </p> <p> More broadly, the governor's budget proposal would spend $800 million to address homelessness and housing, $900 million in education and schools, $250 million to reduce poverty, and $600 million to address climate change, including decarbonization of the building sector. </p> <p> Typically, "supplemental" budgets are used to make tweaks to state spending rather than significant new investments, but the state's fiscal outlook is strong and has been buttressed by federal stimulus funds, leading Gov. Inslee to propose substantial new spending. Legislative Republicans countered that the state's positive financial standing should be used to fund tax cuts. Expect that dynamic tension between spending and saving or tax cuts to continue in the coming months. </p> <p> In addition to consideration of fiscal issues, the 60-day 2022 legislative session that begins on Jan. 10 will see plenty of policy proposals. The 700 or so bills that were introduced in the 2021 session and failed to pass into law will be automatically reintroduced when session begins, and we expect to see at least 1,000 new bills to be proposed next year. </p> <p> As was the case with this year's session, the 2022 iteration will take place largely online, with legislative committee hearings being convened over Zoom. Many legislators do plan to be at the Capitol to debate and vote on bills, and some are indicating they will be holding meetings with constituents and lobbyists in person. As with most aspects of our lives, all subject to change based on the progression of the pandemic. </p> <p> What we do know is that in deference to public health guidelines and the state Capitol being closed to events next session, the 2022 WSMA Legislative Summit will take place over Zoom on Feb. 7 and 8. Plan to join us from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 7 for updates from your government affairs team on everything happening in Olympia, and to hear from key state policymakers. Then put that knowledge to use on Feb. 8 in virtual meetings with your legislative delegation, arranged by WSMA staff. <a href="[@]Shared_Content/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=LEGSUM22&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=j0m58">Register now to secure your spot at the event</a>. </p> </div>12/21/2021 9:53:26 AM12/21/2021 9:51:02 AM12/18/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_december_3_2021_preparing_for_the_new_yearWeekly Rounds: December 3, 2021 - Preparing for the New YearWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_december_3_2021_preparing_for_the_new_year<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>December 3, 2021</h5> <h2>Preparing for the New Year</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> Our members often ask how they can become more involved in raising concerns, shaping policy, or taking action to make a difference for the profession. Of course, by being a member of the WSMA, you are already part of a powerful collective voice for change. But individual action and participation are critical to transformation, as well. I wanted to take a moment to highlight several upcoming opportunities that I hope you'll consider. </p> <p> I'm sure you're aware that the 2022 legislative session is just weeks away, with the opening session on Jan. 10. It's set to be a "short" session, which means it should run for 60 days, with an anticipated closing date of March 10. </p> <p> We're hearing from folks in the Legislature that this session will take place in a hybrid format, with committee hearings being held online and votes being cast in person on the House and Senate floors. We anticipate that the limitations on visits and meetings due to COVID-19 safety precautions will make for an interesting environment for connecting with legislators, but nonetheless your WSMA lobbying staff will be everywhere the legislators are. </p> <p> The WSMA's annual pre-session webinar offers a great opportunity for you to learn more about the upcoming legislative session. This insider's view on what's expected during session is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 15 at noon. WSMA's Olympia team will provide an update on priorities for the profession and issues the WSMA will be tracking. As a bonus, we'll hear directly from WSMA's 2021 Legislator of the Year, Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane), who will share his insights on health care issues and the 2022 session and answer your questions during a Q&A. We'll also leave time to hear from you about concerns your practice is facing, so be sure to join us and speak up. <a href="">Register online</a> today. </p> <p> The <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/WSMA/Events/WSMA_Legislative_Summit/Legislative_Summit.aspx?hkey=795731a5-79ba-45b0-b78b-b9dfbfc336e5&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=Q1148">2022 WSMA Legislative Summit</a> is another opportunity to make your voice heard. The event will be held virtually again this year, with an initial overview hosted by WSMA's Olympia team on Monday Feb. 7, in addition to time for members to meet virtually with their representatives on Tuesday, Feb. 8. Registration will be open soon. </p> <p> There are several other opportunities where WSMA members can lend their voices including: </p> <ul> <li>The <strong>Legislature's Tax Structure Work Group</strong> is interested in hearing from individual taxpayers and businesses about different scenarios for changing Washington state's tax structure. Take this <a href="">short survey</a> to provide your input. While completing the survey, you may reference the work group's tax calculator to see how these ideas might impact the taxes that you pay. Both household and business tax calculators are available. The work group's goal is to improve Washington's tax structure for individuals, families, and businesses and is focused on changing the types of taxes to provide the same total amount of money to the state (revenue). Please note that it is not looking at options that will increase the amount of overall revenue, but rather, who and what the state taxes and how it collects revenue.</li> <li>The <strong>Washington State Board of Health</strong> is seeking individuals with a background in health and sanitation to serve on the board. Board members are appointed by the governor and serve three-year terms. The board is a public forum to inform the development of health policy, and it has broad statutory authority to adopt public health and sanitation rules on topics such as immunizations, prenatal and childhood screenings, disease surveillance, food and drinking water safety, and more. The board also completes health impact reviews and makes policy recommendations to the governor and Legislature. More information about the board and its work can be found on <a href="">its website</a>. Interested applicants can fill out an application on <a href="">Gov. Jay Inslee's website</a>.</li> <li>The <strong>Washington Medical Commission</strong> is currently accepting applications to fill upcoming vacancies. The commission helps make sure physicians and physician assistants are competent and provide quality medical care. The commission is looking for people willing to study the issues and make decisions in the best interest of the public. Member selection reflects the diversity of the profession and provides representation throughout the state. On July 1, 2022 the commission will have openings for the following positions: <ul> <li>One physician representing Congressional District 3</li> <li>One physician representing Congressional District 5</li> <li>One physician representing Congressional District 9</li> <li>One physician-at-large</li> <li>One physician assistant</li> <li>Three public members</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p>To determine what congressional district you live in, visit the <a href="">U.S. House of Representatives</a> webpage and enter your ZIP code. Applications are due to the commission on Friday, March 25. For additional information on the commission's application process, you can view its <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">official notice of recruitment</a>. </p> <ul> <li>There are also three open spots on the <strong>WAMPAC board</strong>, which is WSMA's nonpartisan campaign arm. The board comprises one physician or physician assistant from each of the state's 10 congressional districts, plus a slot for a medical student and resident. If you're interested in politics, board membership provides an excellent opportunity to gain a better understanding of campaigns, as well as to connect with elected officials and candidates for office. Currently there are openings in the 8th and 9th congressional districts, as well as the resident slot. If you're interested in applying to the board or want to learn more, contact WSMA's Government Affairs Director Sean Graham at <a href=""></a>.</li> </ul> <p> As you can see here, there are many ways to jump in, get involved, and have a voice in shaping what's happening in medicine in Washington state. I hope, in addition to <a href="[@]renew?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=X1148">renewing your WSMA membership today</a>, you'll also consider engaging in one of these opportunities! </p> </div>12/3/2021 9:58:10 AM12/3/2021 9:56:03 AM12/3/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_november_22_2021_focusing_efforts_on_health_equityWeekly Rounds: November 22, 2021 - Focusing Efforts on Health EquityWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_november_22_2021_focusing_efforts_on_health_equity<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>November 20, 2021</h5> <h2>Focusing Efforts on Health Equity</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> With the holidays upon us, planning for family and festivities is underway. However, that is isn't the only thing on our minds these days at the WSMA. Even as I write, we are putting the final touches on our 2022 strategic plan and operating budget. Next Tuesday evening, the WSMA board of trustees will meet virtually to finalize that work and areas of focus for next year. </p> <p> A large part of that agenda will be continuing our work on health equity. We are working on that in conjunction with the WSMA Foundation for Health Care Improvement. In June 2020, the Foundation added health equity to its strategic plan, hiring Edwin Lindo, JD, to serve as a consultant to facilitate a strategic planning process with the foundation's board (board members can be found on the <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/WSMA_Foundation/WSMA/About/WSMA_Foundation/WSMA_Foundation.aspx?hkey=5695f210-6aa1-4eaf-94f0-ddea2e6c6261&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=JUt28">foundation's webpage</a>). Through that effort, health equity is being woven into our foundation's mission, vision, and values. Health equity strategies, goals, and objectives will be added to both the WSMA and the foundation's strategic plans. The foundation board will soon review these draft revisions that include an emphasis on advancing health equity in all communities by:</p> <p>Addressing health inequity gaps through education and clinical transformations. Together in 2022 the WSMA and its foundation will: </p> <ul> <li>Host a health equity leadership development course and launch a health equity M&M series.</li> <li>Launch a program that shares best practices/guidelines on assuring needed access and culturally sensitive care for diverse communities.</li> </ul> <p>Build relationships of trust with diverse communities to improve care and mitigate the harm perpetuated throughout medicine.</p> <ul> <li>Develop a plan to provide opportunities for physicians and physician assistants to actively engage with diverse communities to build authentic relationships of trust through mentorship, education, and community support programs.</li> </ul> <p>Support diversity in the field of medicine by funding and operating an endowment to provide scholarships to medical students from racially marginalized communities.</p> <p> These activities will complement other efforts at the WSMA to diversify our membership, including the continuance of our Latinx advisory council and a proposal before the WSMA board to create a DEI committee to inform our policy work. </p> <p> While these efforts will be incorporated into the WSMA and foundation's 2022 operating budgets, you can support this work right now by making a contribution to the foundation. Next Tuesday is <a href="">#GivingTuesday</a>, a global giving movement in which millions of people come together to support and champion the causes in which they believe and the communities in which they live. </p> <p> On this Giving Tuesday, we're inviting members to invest in health equity by making a tax-deductible <a href="[@]WSMA/About/WSMA_Foundation/Give_to_the_Foundation.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=LUt28">donation to the WSMA Foundation</a>. </p> <p> At its recent strategic planning session, the foundation focused its work on not only health equity, but also a commitment to improving physician wellness and continued efforts to improve care at the end of life. </p> <p> The foundation's mission is to create transformational health care change at all levels-individual, organizational, and statewide. With your help, we can achieve our vision of a future where physicians are healthy and fulfilled; where physicians, the health care team, and patients are partners; and where all Washingtonians experience equitable, quality care that aligns with their needs, goals, and values. </p> <p> The new stated values of the foundation included: </p> <ul> <li>Well-being: We promote the well-being of physicians so that we can fulfill our high calling of caring for our patients.</li> <li>Health equity: We commit to health equity and eliminating disparities to improve health care in Washington.</li> <li>Patient voice: We uphold the patient-physician partnership, creating equitable health care settings where conversations are mutual and care decisions are shared.</li> <li>Service: We serve our patients, communities, and each other with compassion in the pursuit of wellness and equity for all Washingtonians.</li> <li>Collaboration: We work with diverse stakeholders to generate high-impact equitable results that improve care in Washington state.</li> <li>Legacy: We build upon the vision of forward-thinking physician leaders to ensure an equitable, thriving medical profession and a healthy population.</li> </ul> <p> Learn more about the <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/WSMA_Foundation/WSMA/About/WSMA_Foundation/WSMA_Foundation.aspx?hkey=5695f210-6aa1-4eaf-94f0-ddea2e6c6261&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=JUt28">WSMA Foundation for Health Care Improvement</a> and stay tuned as new programs launch in 2022. Thank you in advance for the <a href="[@]WSMA/About/WSMA_Foundation/Give_to_the_Foundation.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=LUt28">support you offer</a> on #GivingTuesday. </p> </div>11/22/2021 11:05:44 AM4/30/2021 10:04:32 AM11/20/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_november_5_2021_the_wsma_matters…to_youWeekly Rounds: November 5, 2021 - The WSMA Matters…to YouWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_november_5_2021_the_wsma_matters…to_you<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>November 5, 2021</h5> <h2>The WSMA You</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> We've heard a lot since the onset of the pandemic about physicians, physician assistants, and front-line health care workers being heroes. I can imagine there are plenty of days when you're not feeling so heroic. But as you face the daily challenges of caring for your patients, containing a virus, and protecting your own health and well-being, I hope you know that the WSMA is right there beside you doing the work of supporting you and protecting your interests. </p> <p> We're able to do that work because of the membership investment you make with us. When you partner with us, we are empowered to raise up your voice with the clout of being the largest physician professional association in this state. Our size, credibility, influence, and stature within the community mean that we are part of the highest-level health care conversations in Washington. </p> <p> Thanks to you-and in some cases your medical group's leadership-the WSMA had a record-setting 6% increase in membership this year. We hope to build on that growth as we launch our 2022 membership efforts. There truly is strength in numbers. By standing together, the WSMA has a powerful collective voice with which we speak up for what matters to medicine. With your membership, you're making a direct investment in professional fulfillment and leadership development-which, ultimately, is an investment in quality care and better patient outcomes. </p> <p> You are at the heart of our work. I'm ever mindful of how busy you are, and I know that news about what we're working on and how it impacts you, your patients, and your practice may get overlooked. </p> <p> That's why we utilize every communication channel we can to keep you filled in on the good work we're doing on your behalf. We reach out to you in print with our flagship, nationally recognized magazine, <a href="[@]WSMA/News_Publications/Latest_News/WSMA_Reports/WSMA/News_Publications/Newsletters/WSMA_Reports.aspx?hkey=b19e8949-47e1-4478-be31-53621de96ecc&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=x0B18">WSMA Reports</a> and digitally with our email newsletter, <a href="[@]WSMA/News_Publications/Latest_News/Membership_Memo/WSMA/News_Publications/Newsletters/WSMA_Membership_Memo.aspx?hkey=9d095dd3-4eb8-4e08-902b-06f694114103&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=21B18">Membership Memo</a>. For those of you on social media, be sure to follow our <a href="">Twitter</a>, <a href="">Facebook</a>, <a href="">LinkedIn</a> feeds. Of course, our website hosts an abundance of information about our work and is updated daily. </p> <p> Knowing you are busy, we compiled some of our achievements in our Impact Report which you can <a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Why_Join_the_WSMA/Our_Impact/WSMA/Membership/Why_Join_the_WSMA_/Our_Impact.aspx?hkey=4cbb82b9-b1fe-4983-8e98-9208c0f6fe95&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=71B18">access here online</a> for some quick insights into our work. </p> <p> We're kicking off the 2022 membership year now. Individual and group renewal notices will be in the mail soon. In the meantime, if you pay your dues online, <a href="[@]renew?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=A1B18">pay now and save</a> $25 off the full-physician dues rate. Also, when making an individual payment online, you can enroll in WSMA's auto-pay program to select a one-time annual payment or monthly installments. </p> <p> As always, thanks for your commitment to, and support of, the WSMA as we strive to achieve our vision of making Washington the best place to practice medicine and to receive care. Standing together, I know we can do it! </p> </div>11/5/2021 9:59:25 AM11/5/2021 9:34:42 AM11/5/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_october_29_2021_five_updates_from_the_other_washingtonWeekly Rounds: October 29, 2021 - Five Updates from the Other WashingtonWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_october_29_2021_five_updates_from_the_other_washington<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>October 29, 2021</h5> <h2>Five Updates from the Other Washington</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> The adage "never a dull moment" continues to ring true in the health care space, even as the pandemic wears on and another fall flu season rolls around. No surprise then that in a meeting this week with large group leaders, to a person, we heard that staffing, supply chain, burnout, cost containment, and access to care still lead the list of deep concerns in our community. As always, the WSMA is here to help, and hearing from these leaders goes a long way toward helping shape our advocacy agenda. </p> <p> While most of our work is focused here in Washington state, we do keep an intentional eye on the other Washington, as well. With that in mind, I wanted to flag several federal items you need to know about. </p> <h3>Federal COVID-19 public health emergency extension impacts you</h3> <p> The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' extension of the federal COVID-19 public health emergency until Jan. 16, 2022 means many of the waivers that public and private payers have instituted remain in place. The extension of the public health emergency allows the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to maintain several COVID-19-related Medicare <a href="">waivers and flexibilities</a>, including paying the same rate for telemedicine visits as for in-person visits, and allowing use of audio-only telemedicine services. </p> <p> The extension also means private health insurers' copayments related to COVID-19 testing (though not necessarily treatment) and related to any forthcoming vaccinations will be waived. </p> <p> Certain <a href="">HIPAA enforcement actions</a> also will continue to be relaxed. Specifically, physicians who use certain telemedicine platforms in good faith will not be penalized for noncompliance. </p> <h3>Take action to oppose Medicare cuts</h3> <p> Since last spring, organized medicine has been working with Congress to avoid the <a href="">Medicare payment</a> cuts expected to go into effect Jan. 1. The cuts, if allowed to go into effect, amount to about a 10% reduction. The cuts include: </p> <ul> <li>Expiration of the current reprieve from the <a href="">2% sequester</a> stemming from the Budget Control Act of 2011.</li> <li>Imposition of a 4% statutory pay-as-you-go sequester resulting from passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, presumably for at least another 10 years.</li> <li>Expiration of the congressionally enacted 3.75% temporary increase in the <a href="">Medicare physician fee schedule</a> (PFS) conversion factor to avoid pay cuts associated with budget-neutrality adjustments tied to PFS policy changes.</li> <li>A statutory freeze in annual Medicare PFS updates under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act that is scheduled to last until 2026, when updates resume at a rate of 0.25% a year indefinitely-a figure well below the rate of medical or consumer price index inflation.</li> </ul> <p> More to come on this in the coming weeks. If you haven't done so already, <a href="">click here</a> to write your congressional representative directly. </p> <h3>Crack down on EFT fees needed</h3> <p> The WSMA has joined the American Medical Association and other state medical associations in urging the Biden administration to crack down on fees insurers charge when paying physicians by electronic funds transfer. </p> <p> In a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, we requested that the administration issue guidance that "affirms physicians' right to choose and receive basic EFT payments without paying for additional services." </p> <p> The letter notes that an increasing number of physicians have reported "being forced to incur mandatory, percentage-based fees" on such transactions. In fact, a recent <a href="">Medical Group Management Association poll</a> found that 57% of medical practices reported that health plans, when paying the practice by EFT, charged fees the practice didn't agree to. Of that group, 86% reported being charged either 2% or 3% of their total payment. </p> <h3>MIPS deadline extended</h3> <p> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reopened its reweighting request period for performance categories during the 2020 <a href="">Merit-based Incentive Payment System</a> program year. </p> <p> CMS acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt practice operations and many physicians did not have time to submit an extreme and uncontrollable circumstances exception request before the previous March 31 deadline for the 2020 MIPS program, which affects 2022 Medicare payments. Under the EUC policy, physicians, groups, virtual groups, and alternative payment model entities have through Nov. 29 to submit a request for the reweighting of one or more of the MIPS performance categories, which are: quality, cost, promoting interoperability, and improvement. Find out more <a href="">here</a>. </p> <h3>Speak up about telehealth gaps and opportunities</h3> <p> The WSMA is working with the American Medical Association on a Telehealth Immersion program for our members. We are working to identify gaps or opportunities in telehealth. If you deliver care via telehealth, please inform the future of telehealth by sharing your experience. Your insights will shape future telehealth programs, research and advocacy efforts, resource development, and continued support for physicians, practices, and health systems. Your voice matters, so I hope you'll take 10 minutes right now to <a href="">complete the survey</a>. </p> <p> We will continue to keep you posted on further developments via our Membership Memo and our website. In the meantime, thank you for all you do! </p> </div>11/5/2021 1:28:12 PM10/29/2021 10:14:58 AM10/29/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_october_15_2021_concerning_trajectory_for_health_care_cost_containment_effortWeekly Rounds: October 15, 2021 - Concerning Trajectory for Health Care Cost Containment EffortWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_october_15_2021_concerning_trajectory_for_health_care_cost_containment_effort<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>October 15, 2021</h5> <h2>Concerning Trajectory for Health Care Cost Containment Effort</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> For several years, the unsustainable, rising cost of health care has been the subject of intense discussion in the hallways of Olympia. The WSMA is a steadfast advocate for physicians and patients in these negotiations, supporting efforts that seek to reduce costs while maintaining current or improving levels of service and opposing initiatives that would have the net result of reducing quality or access to care. </p> <p> To that end I want to make you aware of the state's latest and potentially most consequential work on this topic: the creation of a health care cost transparency board. </p> <p> The board has been meeting since early 2021, and your WSMA monitors and participates in these conversations. While certainly well-intended, we are concerned about the aggressive approach the board is pursuing, which seems to ignore that we are still fighting a global pandemic that has upended our delivery system and distorted the market in countless ways, many of which you are intimately familiar with: hospitals at full capacity, loss of life, unmanaged chronic care, postponement of elective surgeries, delaying or forgoing of routine care, an increasing need for mental health services, an exacerbated environment of limited services like affordable housing and other stressed social drivers, and situations where care has been delayed or denied due to a lack of space, staff, or other factors. </p> <p> The approach is similar to those adopted by <a href="">five other states</a> (pre-pandemic, I'll point out) including Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Rhode Island. As with these states, the WSMA expects the board's reports to have significant influence on state health care policy decisions. Unlike some of these states, the board does not wield an enforcement mechanism, nor does it have the ability to levy financial or other penalties. The Legislature may choose at some future date to grant this authority to the board. </p> <p> But as of today, the board is intended to help reduce the state's health care cost growth by: </p> <ul> <li>Determining the state's total health care expenditures.</li> <li>Setting a health care cost growth benchmark for providers and payers.</li> <li>Identifying cost trends and cost drivers in the health care system.</li> <li>Reporting annually to the Legislature, including providing recommendations for lowering health care costs.</li> </ul> <p> The board will publicly identify health care providers, including health systems and physician practices, and payers that exceed the established benchmark with the aims of: </p> <ol> <li>Making health care costs more transparent to the public and policymakers.</li> <li>Encouraging providers and payers to keep costs at or below the benchmark.</li> <li>Reducing the overall trend of health care cost growth in Washington state.</li> </ol> <p> The board is required to review and consult with entities that exceed the benchmark before publicly identifying them. Determining entities that are subject to the benchmark is the topic of forthcoming work by the board. The WSMA will advocate that certain practices, especially smaller and in rural areas, are at high risk for being adversely impacted by the benchmark and should be carved out. </p> <p> The board comprises 14 members representing various government agencies and industries. In general, most members of the board represent purchasers of health care. Physicians, providers, health systems, and insurance carriers do not have representation on the board. Rather, these perspectives are considered during meetings of an <a href="">advisory committee of health care providers and carriers</a>, a subcommittee of the board, and then reported out by staff and a member of the advisory committee who serves as a non-voting member of the board. </p> <p> The WSMA is an engaged and constructive partner in this important work. WSMA president Mika Sinanan, MD, PhD, represents the WSMA on the advisory committee. The WSMA created a work group to help Dr. Sinanan and WSMA staff navigate and participate effectively in this work. The work group includes: </p> <ul> <li>Donald Benz, MD</li> <li>Monica Blykowski-May, MD</li> <li>Carrie Horwitch, MD</li> <li>Mark Mantei</li> <li>Christine Palermo, MD</li> <li>Ralph Rossi, MD</li> </ul> <p> The board has been meeting monthly since February 2021. At its September 2021 meeting, the board voted to set the following aggressive total cost of health care benchmarks:</p> <ul> <li>2022-2023: 3.2%</li> <li>2024-2025: 3.0%</li> <li>2026: 2.8%</li> </ul> <p> The WSMA believes that for this endeavor to be successful, benchmarks should be meaningful, supported by evidence, and achievable to maintain credibility and garner confidence and support from stakeholders. While we understand and share the desire of the board to reduce health care costs, the WSMA is concerned by lack of evidence or sufficient rationale to support such an aggressive reduction-especially in the face of a pandemic that has devastated capacity in the system. </p> <p> We fear that setting unrealistically high expectations undermines future recommendations to the Legislature and might lead entities subject to the benchmark to ignore the work of the board, or worse, force them to initiate changes that have the effect of degrading access to high quality health care. </p> <p> The WSMA and many advisory committee members believe that a stable, five-year benchmark would provide the flexibility needed to work toward the admirable and challenging target of 3.2% (half of our recent growth rate) in a responsible way. Despite this recommendation, the board has adopted the declining benchmark growth rate target. The WSMA has requested the board adjust its benchmark to align with the advisory committee's recommendation, or that it recommend to the Legislature that it delay application of the benchmark until the global pandemic is behind us, at least until 2023 or 2024. </p> <p> The WSMA will continue to offer critical perspectives on these points and the upcoming work of the board which will include identifying cost trends and cost drivers in the health care system, and what entities will be subject to the benchmark. <strong>To advocate well, we need to hear from physician practices of all types and specialties about what this work means for you practice and your patients.</strong> Real world examples are very helpful! For example, what actions would you need to take at your practice to come in under the 3.2% growth benchmark in 2022? What steps would you need to take to ensure your costs do not exceed 2.8% in 2026? Let us know at <a href=""></a>. </p> </div>10/19/2021 10:26:57 AM10/19/2021 10:26:34 AM10/19/2021 10:26:57 AM
weekly_rounds_september_30_2021_what_makes_us_physiciansWeekly Rounds: September 30, 2021 - What Makes Us PhysiciansWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_september_30_2021_what_makes_us_physicians<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/weekly-rounds-article-graphic-sinanan-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Dr. Mika Sinanan" /></div> <h5>September 30, 2021</h5> <h2>What Makes Us Physicians</h2> <p> <em>Dr. Mika Sinanan celebrates the art of medicine in his inaugural address as WSMA president on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021.</em> </p> <p> It is a pleasure and honor to address you as your president. I fully acknowledge that you and the WSMA membership at large have taken on a bit of risk, putting a surgeon again in this role that has been discharged with so much skill and grace by my immediate predecessors, Nathan Schlicher, Bill Hirota, Tom Schaaf, and Donna Smith. I did note while working with them that they all have something of a "surgical" demeanor, and I mean this in the kindest possible way. Alas, they do hail from different, nonsurgical specialties. That said, the WSMA has had surgeons serve previously as president with distinction. I recall introducing Nick Rajacich, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon from Tacoma, to present to the UW Physicians board of trustees, serving as a great advocate for our organization. These are all very big footprints to fill … I hope to justify the risk you've all taken. </p> <p> A little about me: I was born in Finland and grew up in the West Indies, the US, and Vancouver, BC. My father was an ear, nose, and throat surgeon; my mother a former nurse and homemaker, and a great cook! I completed medical school at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and my general surgical residency at the University of Washington. I completed a PhD in physiology at the University of British Columbia and have spent the last 33 years on faculty at the UW with a practice focused on gastrointestinal and complex abdominal surgical disorders. My research interests have been in the areas of surgical robotics and simulation training, and the objective measurement of surgical performance, working with the WISH Surgical Simulation Division and engineers in the biorobotics lab at the UW Department of Electrical Engineering. </p> <p> I am grateful for a wonderful set of clinical and research partners at the University of Washington, as well as an inspiring and dedicated cadre of residents in our department who I am helping to train to take great care of me-and you-and our community, when we need it! After all, everyone should have at least one major operation in their lifetime! All of this is built on the foundation of an incredibly supportive family: two sons, Josh and Reilly, who are carving their own paths outside of health care, three great Brittany spaniels, and my wonderfully supportive and patient spouse of 41 years, Jenny. I have also been blessed with great mentors through my career. It is only by standing on their shoulders that I am before you today. </p> <p> The duties of the president are outlined in the WSMA bylaws: to preside at all general meetings of the association, to serve as a member of the executive committee, chair the board of trustees, and ex officio on all other WSMA committees except the nominating committee and judicial council. Most importantly, the president serves as the spokesperson for our profession to our state and to all component county societies. That means I serve you all, and I ask and expect you to call on me for help and support in any way that I and our great executive team can be of assistance. </p> <p> I want you to know that I have been preparing for this role. I've instructed my family that calling me "Mr. President" around the house is not necessary, at least not more than a half dozen times a day. The welts on my head and back that followed this suggestion are a testament to their measured response, but also probably the best preparation for the coming year. Clearly the titles of "Excellency" or "Chosen One," as Nathan and Bill were rumored to have tried out at home, won't be sustainable. </p> <p> In all seriousness, we all-all of the nearly 12,000 physician and physician assistant members of the WSMA, representing over half of the practicing physicians in Washington state-are challenged as we "live in interesting times." This saying is thought to be a loose translation of the Chinese proverb: "Better to be a dog in times of tranquility than a human in times of chaos." I'm not sure that my dogs would agree! But our times do seem chaotic with challenges that assail us all as we strive to meet our WSMA mission: to "Provide strong physician leadership and advocacy to shape the future of medicine. To advance quality care for all Washingtonians." </p> <p> Access to safe, effective, available, and affordable health care remains out of reach for too many in our community. We have not yet developed the tools to effectively address those social determinants of health that drive, to such a high degree, the health and health care needs of our patients. We face great disparities in income AND structural inequity across races and ethnicities in our communities and even within our own health care workforce. As Walter Cronkite, the journalist, noted, our health care system is too often not "healthy, caring, nor a system," fragmented and sometimes incomprehensibly complex. </p> <p> Coming into yet another wave of the COVID epidemic we face capacity and safety challenges with a stressed and stretched workforce who are, themselves, at risk of the illness that we are treating. Dr. Schlicher eloquently reviewed this in his presidential address last year. The ravages of climate change evident through reports of drought, previously "100 year" weather events that are now annual, heatwaves, and wildfires-are all a constant reminder of an even more complex future. New climate-related illnesses, population shifts due to rising sea water levels, and changes in the food supply will undoubtedly have a profound effect on our society, health care needs, and our resources to deliver that care. </p> <p> Any one of these topics could be a focus of an entire talk. Fortunately, they are well represented in the WSMA strategic plan and have been the subject of careful review by our board of trustees and select WSMA committees. They also undergird many of the resolutions brought forward for consideration through the House of Delegates as well as in our advocacy and regulatory agendas. We have much more work to do, but we should pause briefly and reflect on this past, enormously successful year. </p> <p> Our WSMA leadership team-led by CEO Jennifer Hanscom-has worked tirelessly to retain and expand our membership and maintain strong relationships with both smaller practice groups and larger organizations, all while holding the line on expenses. The thoughtful, constructive governance changes proposed by our Executive Committee and board of trustees-if approved by the House-will certainly make the WSMA more nimble, representative, and stronger. [See update at bottom.] And just as we achieved our own clinical pivot to telemedicine, the WSMA made a graceful move to virtual meetings and training without missing a step. </p> <p> The 2021 legislative session focused on the COVID pandemic. Despite a virtual format, the WSMA brought forward an ambitious agenda and achieved a 100% success rate in passing our priority bills and funding requests, truly remarkable work by Sean Graham, Jeb Shepard, and the entire advocacy team with help from many of you! </p> <ul> <li>We secured the first Medicaid reimbursement rate increase in memory, $140 million more for primary care, behavioral health, and pediatric services.</li> <li>Foundational Public Health Services were funded at $147 million over the next two years with a promise for twice that amount in the next biennial budget.</li> <li>Audio-only telemedicine is now a covered service, supporting our ability to reach rural, lower income, and older patients.</li> <li>Liability protections for care delivered or delayed due to COVID were instituted.</li> <li>Health equity CME for all state health care professionals, based on recent House of Delegates resolutions, will be starting in 2024.</li> <li>We also avoided any new taxes targeted at physicians or inappropriate expansion of scope of practice, holding a safe line on expanded prescriptive authority for naturopathic physicians and parity in reimbursement for ARNPs while embracing modernization of practice agreements for our PA partners.</li> </ul> <p> As I have pointed out, our profession and our society are being forced to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. In the next legislative session, I urge you to help us maintain this tremendous momentum. Topline issues include: </p> <ul> <li>Improved Medicaid funding for ALL physician specialty services.</li> <li>Support and replenishment of our COVID-ravaged workforce guided by principles of inclusion and diversity that, with physician leadership, will deliver a more robust delivery system and better patient experience.</li> <li>Promoting development of public health infrastructure and the efficacy of vaccines.</li> <li>Starting to meaningfully address the social determinants of health: income inequity, pollution, racism, and poor access to nutritious foods, these and other structural issues that determine overall health and chronic illness.</li> <li>Supporting our community response to climate change.</li> </ul> <p> We should all be proud of our present success while looking forward to next year's priorities. But I believe that preserving a historical perspective is also important in guiding our path to the future. </p> <p> The roots of the WSMA run deep and long in our state. In the historical compilation "Saddlebags to Scanners," which documented the first 100 years of medicine in Washington state, providing for the health of our community was a key consideration when the state of Washington was first established. The WSMA was formed in some of the first articles of state incorporation. The Washington Territorial Medical Society was founded in 1874, and renamed the Washington State Medical Association in 1894, to "represent the interest of physicians in matters of public policy and professional practice." Indeed, WSMA had a key role in developing some of the first capitated health model plans in the US and helping establish the UW School of Medicine in 1945. We, the WSMA, have been woven into the fabric of our community from its early days. We should be proud of our accomplishments and poised to build on them! </p> <p> In the past year, we have quite appropriately focused on the science, on public health measures, on team practice, on deploying electronic tools in support of coordinated care and excellent communication. It was clearly the right approach, but as we continue pursuing the science, we must not lose sight of those essential attributes of our art that brought so many of us into medicine. </p> <p> I would like to close with my own very personal observation and request to us all. Donna Smith, in her presidential address to the WSMA, noted, "We cannot lose sight of the why, why we came to medicine, why we remain, why we are effective as we touch lives around us." </p> <p> I, like so many of you, find my inspiration in the wisdom, courage, and calm endurance of our patients. Every patient I take to the operating room is putting their faith in me and my team while they surrender their autonomy under anesthesia. That is a sacred trust. It is a simple thing, but I acknowledge this trust by holding the hand of each patient as they're going under anesthesia and then being present when they wake up so that they know that I was there with them from beginning to end as I had promised. Many of my patients have mentioned that this simple gesture was memorable and comforting at a time of fear and uncertainty. </p> <p> Today, we continue to use the tools, data, and technology of public health in pursuit of the best health for all. But that is only part of the solution. William Osler, in his 1904 collection of addresses, "Aequanimitas," described the critical ability to listen and hear the experience and suffering of the soul before us, that these human skills are essential to good diagnosis but also to healing. President Theodore Roosevelt observed, "No one cares what you know until they know you care." Our knowledge and training equip us for the technical aspects of our profession. However, it is our caring and compassion, our ability to touch with empathy and skill that sustains a common bond of humanity with our patients, that makes us physicians-and pretty good surgeons-instead of technicians, and that sustains all of us in the WSMA as a community. I relish the challenges before us-so much opportunity!-and look forward to working in the coming year with you all as your president. </p> <p> Thank you. </p> <p> <em>In a postscript to my speech on Sunday, your leadership's attempt to bring more voices into our policymaking and to create a more diverse and inclusive organization - whether based on race, geography, or practice setting - had strong support but did not quite make the 2/3 threshold to pass the House of Delegates. However, this is just one of many steps we are taking on this important topic. Please stay tuned!</em> </p> </div>9/30/2021 10:49:10 AM9/30/2021 10:47:21 AM9/30/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_september_17_2021_let’s_do_our_part_to_prevent_physician_suicideWeekly Rounds: September 17, 2021 - Let’s Do Our Part to Prevent Physician SuicideWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_september_17_2021_let’s_do_our_part_to_prevent_physician_suicide<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>September 17, 2021</h5> <h2>Let's Do Our Part to Prevent Physician Suicide</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> As the pandemic grinds along month after month, we're all well aware that what was once an acute, emergent disaster has evolved to a long-haul, chronic event. No wonder we're hearing more about how exhausted, frustrated, and burned-out health care workers are. It's a sprint that's turned into marathon after marathon, and sustaining the pace is impacting your health, your heart, and your well-being. </p> <p> Today is National Physician Suicide Awareness Day. #NPSADay is both a reminder and a call to action intended to help us all do our part to prevent physician suicide. We all have a role to play, individually and through health organizations, health systems, hospitals, medical societies, and practices. It’s time we get comfortable discussing mental health concerns and provide safe spaces whereby our family, friends, and colleagues can say “I’m struggling” before it becomes a crisis. Let’s take time to talk and to act so physicians’ struggles don’t become mental health emergencies. </p> <p> One way to do that is to engage with others who are working on this. The Physicians Foundation, Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation, and #FirstRespondersFirst have united to equip you to help prevent physician suicide through <a href="">Vital Signs: The Campaign to Prevent Physician Suicide</a>. </p> <p> Vital Signs curates six actions anyone can take to help physicians in distress seek mental health care, ultimately helping prevent suicide: </p> <ul> <li>Learn the Vital Signs.</li> <li>Share suicide prevention resources.</li> <li>Prepare before a moment of crisis.</li> <li>Check in with a physician.</li> <li>Understand structural barriers.</li> <li>Create a culture of well-being.</li> </ul> <p> Being intentionally attentive as the pandemic wears on is critically important. A recent survey by the Physicians Foundation shows that during the COVID-19 pandemic, more than six in 10 physicians (61%) <a href="">reported</a> they experienced feelings of burnout. When left untreated, burnout can cause more cases of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use, and lead to suicidal thoughts for physicians, directly impacting physician suicide rates. </p> <p> The WSMA is committed to raising awareness of the physician suicide epidemic and galvanizing physicians, colleagues, and loved ones to create a culture of well-being that prioritizes reducing burnout, safeguarding job satisfaction, and viewing seeking mental health services as a sign of strength. </p> <p> We are fortunate in Washington state to have physician leaders committed to addressing burnout. The Medical Officer Collaborative, co-sponsored by the WSMA and the Washington State Hospital Association, has a call to action to reduce administrative burden and promote evidence-based interventions to address the drivers of burnout. Senior physician leaders from around the state will convene on Nov. 30 for a workshop on engaging, retaining, and sustaining the health care workforce with <a href="">Dave Logan</a> and <a href="">Ashleigh Rodriguez</a>, co-founders of Care4th. Their work focuses on addressing organizational drivers of burnout. </p> <p> In the meantime, I hope you’ll join the #NPSADay effort. Visit the <a href="">campaign website</a> to learn more about ways to take action and use #NPSADay on social media to spread the word. </p> </div>9/17/2021 9:51:50 AM9/17/2021 9:36:54 AM9/17/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_september_3_2021_learning_from_crisis_past_and_presentWeekly Rounds: September 3, 2021 - Learning from Crisis, Past and PresentWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_september_3_2021_learning_from_crisis_past_and_present<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>September 3, 2021</h5> <h2>Learning from Crisis, Past and Present</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> More than 18 months in and COVID-19 remains top of mind for us all. Just this week, the WSMA held another COVID Q&A with key physician leaders geared toward answering the questions that are top of mind for you these days. Nearly 200 of you attended that presentation (if you missed it, you can <a href="[@]WSMA/education/On_Demand_Webinars/covid_19_q_and_a_session_august_30_2021.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=KRJr7">view it here</a>). Our panelists-SheAnne Allen of the Washington State Department of Health and Drs. Scott Lindquist, Lisa Jackson, Yuan-Po Tu, and Jason Goldman-fielded as many of your questions as they could during the hour-long webinar. </p> <p> Across all these months, and especially now, I know you're all confronting difficult situations, including how best to allocate resources as critically ill patients increase and equipment, supplies, staffing, and hospital beds are stretched thin. </p> <p> While this pandemic is-as we've heard too often-unprecedented in our lifetime, facing crisis medical situations, sadly, is not. Tragedies happen, and tough decisions are made in the midst of them. </p> <p> We've heard a lot this week about Hurricane Ida, which slammed New Orleans on the 16th anniversary of the unforgettable Hurricane Katrina. That 2005 "perfect storm" blasted communities into crisis mode, including medical response across the region. </p> <p> In her book "Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital," Pulitzer Prize-winning author Sheri Fink, MD, PhD, documented what happened at one hospital and what went horribly wrong in those five days. Since then, she's reported on many medical crises, and most recently has been reporting on COVID-19 for the The New York Times during these many months of response. </p> <p> Dr. Fink is our keynote speaker at this year's WSMA Annual Meeting, being held virtually Sept. 25 and 26. You won't want to miss hearing her observations and our discussion of ethical dilemmas facing medical leaders during times of crisis. </p> <p> All WSMA members are invited to this online event. <strong>If you haven't yet registered, <a href="[@]EventDetail?EventKey=ANNMTG2021&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=LRJr7">you can do so here</a>.</strong> </p> <p> In addition to what I anticipate will be a riveting keynote address from Dr. Fink, we'll also transition WSMA's leadership as we welcome Mika Sinanan, MD, PhD, as our 2021-2022 president, present our Apple Award winners, and do the business of policymaking for our organization. </p> <p> Your voice matters in our policymaking! There are now more than 20 resolutions posted to our website along with a bylaws proposal that would transform our governance. I hope you'll visit our secure discussion forums and make your opinion known on these proposals. Your testimony in our virtual reference committees does matter and will be taken into consideration by the reference committee members as fully as if you were testifying in person at the Annual Meeting. These online forums give every physician and physician assistant across our diverse membership a voice in our policymaking. Please take advantage of this opportunity to help your colleagues craft good policy on behalf of your patients and the practice of medicine. You can review and comment by visiting <a href="[@]iCore/Communities/ForumDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=c103fd78-d661-4c1d-835d-4d912d8653b3&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=NRJr7">Reference Committee B</a> (professional and internal affairs) and <a href="[@]iCore/Communities/ForumDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=1669ef97-c803-4b87-b0e7-daf631556fcb&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=ORJr7">Reference Committee C</a> (legislative affairs and health care economics/reform). </p> <p> Here's hoping I'll see you-even if virtually-in September at our annual meeting. </p> </div>9/3/2021 10:55:16 AM9/3/2021 10:54:45 AM9/3/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_august_20_2021_meeting_our_members_needs_todayand_tomorrowWeekly Rounds: August 20, 2021 - Meeting Our Members' Needs Today...and TomorrowWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_august_20_2021_meeting_our_members_needs_todayand_tomorrow<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>August 20, 2021</h5> <h2>Meeting Our Members' Needs Today...and Tomorrow</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> The delta coronavirus variant is changing the trajectory of summer for many in health care. The state is now facing its fifth wave of infections and COVID-19 patients, taxing overburdened health care systems and staff. As we have throughout the pandemic, your WSMA is quick to respond to changing facts on the ground, always with our members and their patients top of mind. Make sure to note the below updates in response to the rise in infections. Note too that there continue to be bright spots in our ongoing advocacy on behalf of physicians and their practices and patients-some of those are below. </p> <p> There will be more updates on each of these items in the days and weeks ahead. We'll keep you posted on breaking news in our twice monthly email bulletin, the Membership Memo, as well as through special email updates and the WSMA website. </p> <h3>Compliance guidance for health care COVID-19 vaccine mandate</h3> <p> State employees and workers in private health care and long-term care settings will have until Oct. 18 to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment under an emergency order issued by Gov. Jay Inslee. The mandate applies to all state agency worksites and employees, as well as health care employees in private sector health care and in long-term care settings, including nursing homes, adult family homes, assisted living, enhanced services facilities, residential treatment facilities, and other treatment facilities. (For definitions of "health care provider" and "health care setting" as pertains to the mandate, review pages 6 and 7 of the <a href="">emergency order</a>.) </p> <p> This new requirement includes exemptions for individuals with legitimate medical reasons or sincerely held religious reasons. The exemptions do not include personal or philosophical objections. <a href="">Review the emergency proclamation</a>. </p> <p> The Washington State Department of Health this week <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">provided guidance</a> to help health care employees and employers move into compliance with this directive. Please familiarize yourself with this content. </p> <p> To help support our members, the WSMA has prepared additional guidance to help them implement the mandate in their practice settings. For our members in ambulatory/outpatient settings, visit our <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/covid_19_vaccines/covid_19_vaccines.aspx">COVID-19 Vaccines page</a> for sample clinic policy and exemption forms, which may be personalized as appropriate to your clinic. These materials are meant to be informative, not legal advice, and the WSMA strongly recommends working with legal counsel to tailor these resources appropriately for your practice. </p> <p> For our members in hospital-based practices, the Washington State Hospital Association offers a toolkit offering guidance per unionized staff. The WSMA has reached out to WSHA for this resource and will make available shortly. For now, members in hospital-based practices should reach out to WSHA or their hospital legal department for guidance. </p> <p> WSMA members should also be on the lookout for a webinar announcement in the days ahead for more practice guidance. </p> <h3>WSMA Annual Meeting goes virtual</h3> <p> The 2021 Annual Meeting of the WSMA House of Delegates will be virtual, using the same platform as our 2020 meeting. If you would like to attend the meeting, please <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx?hkey=fea49254-3815-4dc9-8710-53ff2e3a100f&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=uolp7">register online</a>. </p> <p> Resolutions are being posted to our <a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Discussion_Forums/Virtual_Reference_Committees/WSMA/Membership/Discussion_Forums/virtual_reference_committees.aspx?hkey=d674a5ae-4fb5-48d6-b969-16aab9b63647&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=wolp7">virtual reference committees</a>, where all WSMA members are encouraged to comment. There you will also find proposed bylaws changes offered by the WSMA board of trustees, which seeks to make numerous changes to the WSMA's governance structure, including reducing the size of the House of Delegates to mirror attendance, creating more opportunities for diversity within the House and the WSMA; and reducing the size of the board of trustees. Please take a moment to review these changes and join the discussion. </p> <h3>DOH allows PMP integration option after WSMA advocacy </h3> <p> After several years of WSMA advocacy, the Department of Health will permit options other than the state's health information exchange to meet the prescription monitoring program integration mandate. As a reminder, as required by Senate Bill 5380, by Jan. 1, physician groups with 10 or more prescribers must integrate their electronic health record with the PMP. Responding to WSMA concerns, the Department of Health will permit "integration options beyond the state HIE [health information exchange] that meet the State Office of Cyber Security and agency security requirements." </p> <p> The WSMA is thankful to Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, and his team for this flexibility. We will provide members with more information on the various integration options available soon. To explore integrating via the existing state health information exchange, visit the <a href="">PMP webpage</a>. </p> <p> The Department of Health is in the final stages of releasing its hardship waiver for the PMP integration mandate. The WSMA will share details of the waiver and how to apply once available. Secretary Shah waived compliance with the PMP integration mandate until Jan. 1, 2022, after WSMA requested a delay to support our members' pandemic response. </p> <h3>E-prescribing waiver rulemaking finalized</h3> <p> The Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission and the Department of Health have <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">adopted rules establishing a hardship waiver</a> for the electronic prescribing mandate required by Senate Bill 5380 from 2019. The WSMA advocated for the waiver during the legislative process and we have been active in the rulemaking. We believe the waiver will be helpful to groups that attest to being unable to meet the mandate due to certain conditions. </p> <p> The waiver forms are in development and will be available online once finalized. Secretary Shah waived compliance with the e-prescribing requirement until Jan. 1, 2022, after WSMA requested a delay to support our members' pandemic response. </p> <p> As these updates demonstrate, the value of our work for our members is both short- and long-term. Making Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care requires a global perspective, one that's rooted in history and growing into the future. Thank you for your help with this effort-and thank you for your membership. </p> </div>8/20/2021 3:37:28 PM8/20/2021 10:37:33 AM8/20/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_august_6_2021_trusting_science_physicians_lead_the_wayWeekly Rounds: August 6, 2021 - Trusting Science, Physicians Lead the WayWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_august_6_2021_trusting_science_physicians_lead_the_way<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-Schlicher-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /></div> <h5>August 6, 2021</h5> <h2>Trusting Science, Physicians Lead the Way </h2> <p>Nathan Schlicher, MD, JD, MBA, WSMA President </p> <p>Late last week, your WSMA leadership announced its support of vaccination requirements for health care workers. Subsequently others have as well. By now, it's become a popular stance: A <a href="">recent Axios poll</a> reported Americans support a COVID-19 mandate under certain circumstances. Locally, many organizations are moving to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for their employees, and not just in the <a href="">health care space</a>. Many businesses are also looking for proof of vaccination from <a href="">their customers</a>. </p> <p>I’m proud of the WSMA for taking this step when we did, and prouder still to note that physicians continue to lead the way as our state and country work to reduce the impact of this disease through vaccination. Early on, we got in line and rolled up our sleeves for the vaccination because we believe in our duty to protect our patients and each other. In fact, <a href="">this report</a> from the American Medical Association confirms that we stepped up in droves. The report notes that 96% of the nation’s physicians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Of those physicians not yet vaccinated, 45% intend to do so. </p> <p>But even though we’ve led by example, on the flip side, one in four hospital workers who have direct contact with patients had not received a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of May, according to a report by WebMD and Medscape Medical News. Further, an analysis of data collected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services found that more than 38% of nursing home staff were not fully vaccinated as of July 11. </p> <p>I’m alarmed by that data. Everything we do is upheld by science. We know the vaccines are safe and effective at preventing severe illness and death from COVID-19. We know that increased vaccinations among health care workers will reduce the spread of the virus and will help protect our workforce and our patients. </p> <p>We also know that it’s not unusual to be required to be vaccinated against deadly diseases such as influenza, hepatitis B, and pertussis. Not to mention that this tracks with WSMA's long-standing policy in support of vaccine mandates for physicians and other health care workers. Such mandatory programs are the reasoned paths by which we largely eliminated, and in some cases eradicated, debilitating and deadly diseases such as polio, measles, mumps, and others. </p> <p>Physicians are a trusted voice in their communities. I urge you to use your voice to encourage your patients, coworkers, and friends to trust the science. If we are ever to get out of this pandemic, we must stop the spread of COVID-19 and its virus variants. The miracle of a COVID-19 vaccine is part of the way forward. Let’s do this! </p> <p>To read the WSMA’s statement in full, click <a href="">here</a>. To access materials to help you with your vaccine hesitant patients, click <a href="">here</a>.</p> </div>8/6/2021 3:07:50 PM8/6/2021 11:05:17 AM8/6/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_july_30_2021_celebrating_wins_strengthening_practicesWeekly Rounds: July 30, 2021 - Celebrating Wins, Strengthening PracticesWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_july_30_2021_celebrating_wins_strengthening_practices<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>July 30, 2021</h5> <h2>Celebrating Wins, Strengthening Practices</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> In happy mid-year news, here at the WSMA we are celebrating an incredibly strong membership year. Despite the pandemic and all its challenges, our membership is up 3% over 2020, with 11,708 members, making the WSMA by far the largest physician professional organization in the state! There truly is strength in numbers, which enables the WSMA to exert a powerful collective voice to speak up for what matters to physicians. I'm grateful to all the groups and individuals who invest in WSMA membership. By doing so, you're making a direct investment not only in yourselves, but also in professional fulfillment, leadership development, and advocacy. </p> <p> Advocacy in Olympia is at the heart of our work, and your WSMA is at the table where discussions regarding health care take place. This year, those strong efforts yielded an unprecedented 100% success rate with our priority bills and budget items. That work is outlined in our 2021 Legislative Report, which you should have received by mail in June. You can also <a href="[@]WSMA/Advocacy/Legislative___Regulatory/WSMA/Advocacy/Legislative_Regulatory/Legislative_Regulatory.aspx?hkey=c0dc6e7c-4385-497a-99db-4a6b6f4e56bd&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=H8Hn7">review that publication</a>. </p> <p> While we know advocacy is one reason our members engage with and support the WSMA, we continue to build on our value proposition with resources that help you, particularly in your practice setting. To that end, we have launched a new Affinity Program. This new program provides members with exclusive access to vendor products and services that will help you and your practice/medical group grow and thrive. Even better, these services are directly aligned with solving practice issues you told us you needed. With that information, we sought vetted partners who would bring you services you need with the additional benefit of a discount thanks to your WSMA membership. </p> <p>In addition to our longstanding partnership with <a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Why_Join_the_WSMA_/Affinity_Program/Physicians_Insurance.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=I8Hn7">Physicians Insurance</a>, our other partners include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Why_Join_the_WSMA_/Affinity_Program/PatientPop.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=K8Hn7">PatientPop</a>, a practice growth platform that offers digital strategy and services to enhance the patient journey.</li> <li><a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Why_Join_the_WSMA_/Affinity_Program/iscribe.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=L8Hn7">iScribeHealth</a>, which offers efficient mobile solutions to help you save time, with one solution for every workflow.</li> <li><a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Why_Join_the_WSMA_/Affinity_Program/gentem.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=O8Hn7">Gentem</a>, medical billing solutions that help you get paid more and faster.</li> <li><a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Why_Join_the_WSMA_/Affinity_Program/wolf-and-associates.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=Q8Hn7">Wolf & Associates</a>, offering long-term care insurance solutions to help members who may be impacted by the Washington Cares Act.</li> <li>Spectrum Information Services Northwest, which helps you outsource services that automate time-intensive processes like mailroom, receivables, payables, and medical records.</li> </ul> <p> Regardless of your practice size or specialty, I hope you'll take a moment to learn more about how your practice can thrive and save at <a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Why_Join_the_WSMA/Affinity_Program/WSMA/Membership/Why_Join_the_WSMA_/Affinity_Program/Affinity_Program.aspx?hkey=607676a3-2820-4e42-9de4-8bffe4b216c6&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=S8Hn7"></a>. Please share with your practice leadership, as well. </p> <p> As always, we're committed to making Washington the best place to practice medicine and receive care. Thanks for being with us on the quest. </p> </div>7/30/2021 10:22:03 AM7/30/2021 10:04:45 AM7/30/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_june_18_2021_helping_you_navigate_the_new_state_long_term_care_taxWeekly Rounds: June 18, 2021 - Helping You Navigate the New State Long-Term Care TaxWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_june_18_2021_helping_you_navigate_the_new_state_long_term_care_tax<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>June 18, 2021</h5> <h2>Helping You Navigate the New State Long-Term Care Tax</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> As a membership organization, the WSMA is always looking for ways to increase the value of membership for our members. Based on recent research, we are building out a new affinity program that connects physicians and their staff with tools to make the practice of medicine more efficient, reduce unnecessary expenses, and maximize payment for care delivered. </p> <p> The first product we have launched in this new program is time sensitive. Due to demand driven by the Washington Long-Term Care Trust Act (now the WA Cares Fund), the WSMA has entered into an agreement with Wolf & Associates to offer long-term care insurance solutions for WSMA members. </p> <h3>WA Cares Fund</h3> <p> The Washington Long-Term Care Trust Act mandates a payroll tax at the rate of 0.58% of your and your employees’ compensation. The tax goes to fund Washington’s new long-term care program referred to as the <a href="">WA Cares Fund</a>. To avoid that tax—which has limited benefits for high-wage earners—you must have an alternative long-term care plan in place before you can request an exemption from the state plan. Despite the act’s provision for an exemption, there is no guarantee you will receive one, so acting quickly is critical. In recent days, market options for high-wage earners under the age of 40 have closed. </p> <p> While the WA Cares Fund goes into effect Jan. 1, 2022, <strong>you only have until Sept. 1 to purchase an alternative plan</strong> to apply for an exemption from the state plan. (The deadline to file an exemption is Nov. 1, but underwriting the plan takes two months.) </p> <p> Why seek an alternative plan to the state plan? Because based on WSMA’s assessment, the state plan is problematic for: </p> <ul> <li>High-wage earners</li> <li>Anyone retiring within 10 years</li> <li>People who plan to live outside Washington in retirement</li> <li>People who live in border communities, such as Idaho and Oregon, but work in Washington state</li> </ul> <p> The <em>maximum lifetime benefits</em> under the <a href="">WA Cares Fund</a> are $36,500. Being fully vested in the program will not occur until after 10 years. Without vesting, you will not be entitled to benefits in retirement, despite having paid into the tax. </p> <p> If the mandated state plan works for you, there is no need to take any further action. However, if you wish to explore an alternative plan, here’s how the WSMA can help: </p> <h3>Step one:</h3> <p> To pursue the purchase of a <strong>MINIMUM PLAN</strong> allowed in order to seek an exemption, <a href="">click here</a>. </p> <p> <strong>Note: </strong>To move forward with purchasing a plan, you need to provide both personal information and medical information (such as medications, past hospitalizations, surgeries, and other cardiac, cancer, orthopedic, and other treatments). Plan on 20 minutes to complete this information. This information is necessary to assess rates and insurability but is NOT an application. You will be prompted by email to schedule a time with a long-term care specialist. </p> <p> To get quotes on <strong>COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE</strong> based on your and/or your family’s needs, <a href="">click here</a>. </p> <p> <strong>Note:</strong> To move forward with getting you an appropriate quote for your needs, you need to provide medical information (such as medications, past hospitalizations, surgeries, and other cardiac, cancer, orthopedic, and other treatments). Plan on 20 minutes to complete this information. This information is necessary to assess rates and insurability but is NOT an application. You will be prompted by email to schedule a time with a long-term care specialist. </p> <h3>Step two:</h3> <p> Once you complete either form you will be emailed a booking link to schedule a meeting with a long-term care specialist who will assist you. You will want to book expeditiously, as the window to act is limited. </p> <h3>For a full understanding</h3> <p> <strong>To understand more about the WA Cares Fund,</strong> <a href="">watch this video</a>. </p> </div>6/18/2021 10:34:27 AM6/18/2021 10:18:55 AM6/18/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_june_4_2021_setting_policy_at_the_wsmaWeekly Rounds: June 4, 2021 - Setting Policy at the WSMAWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_june_4_2021_setting_policy_at_the_wsma<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>June 4, 2021</h5> <h2>Setting Policy at the WSMA</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> At last, it feels as if we are starting to come out of hibernation. Gov. Jay Inslee announced that Washington state will "reopen" on June 30. At the WSMA, after more than a year of virtual meetings, we are looking forward to hosting our <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx?hkey=fea49254-3815-4dc9-8710-53ff2e3a100f&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=HMmg7">Annual Meeting of the WSMA House of Delegates</a> in person at the Westin Bellevue Hotel, Sept. 25-26. </p> <p> If you're not familiar with the WSMA's governance structure, here's a <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/Leadership/House_of_Delegates/WSMA/About/Leadership/House_of_Delegates/House_of_Delegates.aspx?hkey=e2c50002-384d-4ff7-9116-5ce7a51116e7&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=IMmg7">brief overview</a> to get you oriented. There are approximately 200 voting members of the WSMA House of Delegates and this body sets WSMA policy. Currently, the delegates consist of representatives from county medical societies, state specialty societies, special sections, and WSMA's board of trustees. </p> <p> The House convenes its opening session on Saturday morning, when member guests are invited to speak to delegates, and reports and resolutions are referred to reference committees. This is followed by meetings of the reference committees. </p> <p> The in-person reference committees are the key to the deliberations of the House of Delegates. Members of the House and members of the WSMA are encouraged to attend these reference committee meetings. </p> <p> Each reference committee is made up of three members of the House appointed by the speaker and vice speaker. If you would like to serve as a reference committee member, contact Shannon Bozarth at <a href=""></a>. </p> <p> While the in-person reference committees are where delegates and members express their opinions, all WSMA members have an opportunity to share thoughts on the resolutions via WSMA's <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Virtual_Reference_Committees/WSMA/Membership/Discussion_Forums/virtual_reference_committees.aspx?hkey=e30c0e9a-efb8-4160-821e-fa2485cc6bdd&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=JMmg7">virtual reference committees</a>. Resolutions will be posted for online discussion as they are received and processed by staff. </p> <p> Policymaking at the meeting is primarily driven by resolutions. Learn more about resolutions and how they help create and guide WSMA policy. If you are considering submitting a resolution, feel free to reach out to the WSMA policy team at <a href=""></a> to discuss the process and receive feedback on drafting a resolution. </p> <p> Here are several important deadlines related to the House of Delegates: </p> <ul> <li><strong>Aug. 6</strong>: Reports and resolutions due for inclusion in delegate handbook.</li> <li><strong>Aug. 26</strong>: Final deadline for reports and resolutions. Delegate handbook will be available for download.</li> <li><strong>Sept. 3</strong>: Deadline to make room reservations at the Westin Bellevue.</li> <li><strong>Sept. 25-26</strong>: The 2021 WSMA Annual Meeting</li> </ul> <p> And speaking of setting policy, House Bill 2378 made important changes to the state's physician assistant practice act, a key priority for the WSMA and the Washington Academy of Physician Assistants. You can learn more about the provisions of this legislation during a webinar next Tuesday at noon. <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Upcoming_Webinars/WSMA/education/Upcoming_Webinars/Upcoming_Webinars.aspx?hkey=b760d6bd-1833-412d-b681-babf251792a8&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=KMmg7">Register here</a>. </p> <p> Stay tuned for upcoming Membership Memos and the July/August edition of <em>WSMA Reports</em> where we will share more information about meeting events, speakers, and bylaws changes being put forward by the board of trustees. </p> <p> Meanwhile, enjoy your journey out of hibernation! </p> </div>6/4/2021 9:51:59 AM6/4/2021 9:50:34 AM6/4/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_may_24_2021_wsmas_advocacy_efforts_never_ceaseWeekly Rounds: May 24, 2021 - WSMA's Advocacy Efforts Never CeaseWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_may_24_2021_wsmas_advocacy_efforts_never_cease<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>May 24, 2021</h5> <h2>WSMA's Advocacy Efforts Never Cease</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> It's a rare legislative session when we can say we had a 100% success rate on our legislative priorities, but this is the year! </p> <p> By any measure, the 2021 legislative session was extraordinary, both for being conducted online and for the monumental gains that were made for patients and the physician community. </p> <p> While some might say such legislative success is the advocacy equivalent of seeing a unicorn, we're certainly celebrating the achievement. Your WSMA was successful in advocating for the passage of all our priority bills and defending against those we opposed. On the budget side, generational investments were made, including $140 million for Medicaid rate increases and nearly $150 million for foundational public health services in the next two years alone. </p> <p> A big thank you to our staff team and our physician members who worked tirelessly throughout the past few months to ensure this success. As we have often said, standing together gets results. </p> <p> Even though session has adjourned, our advocacy never stops. Now we turn our undivided attention to the regulatory arena and rulemaking. </p> <p> Here are five topics in which we are engaged in on your behalf. </p> <h3>Balance billing/No Surprises Act</h3> <p> In the months ahead, the WSMA will be focused on a possible effort to reconcile the state's Balance Billing Protection Act with the federal No Surprises Act that was passed in December and goes into effect next year. </p> <p> With federal rulemaking still underway, rendering informed decisions on whether or how state law should be adjusted to accommodate the new national act will be extremely difficult. However, we are engaged with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to help shape any future regulation or legislation. This work is complex, particularly how the rules will apply to state-regulated insurance plans versus self-insured ERISA plans that are regulated at the federal level. </p> <p> Network adequacy and rebalancing the contracting dynamic between physicians and carriers are our top priorities in any balance billing discussion. Since the inception of the state balance billing law, carrier contracting behavior has markedly shifted, resulting in physician groups struggling to get carriers to negotiate on reasonable terms, or, in some cases, being unable to get carriers to come to the table at all. We have made a separate inquiry to the OIC on this issue, noting that insurance carriers cannot be allowed to use the balance billing law as a substitute for contracting with physician organizations. </p> <h3>Washington Medical Commission</h3> <p> WSMA staff are tracking several items of interest at the Washington Medical Commission, including: </p> <ul> <li>Recently initiated rulemaking seeking to define licensure and standard of care for services provided over telemedicine.</li> <li>Implementation of updates to physician assistant regulations per WSMA-supported legislation.</li> <li>Rulemaking to more closely regulate collaborative drug therapy agreements.</li> <li>Rulemaking to create a limited license for international medical graduates.</li> <li>Licensure and disciplinary process improvements.</li> </ul> <p> The WSMA has heard concerns from members who were not able to work due to delays in the licensure process at the commission, in addition to concerns about the disciplinary process. Your WSMA has been advocating on these issues during monthly meetings with commission leadership. In addition, we are encouraged by the Legislature's budget provision calling for a performance audit of the commission. Specifically, the state auditor's office is directed to: "… conduct a performance audit, which must address the length of time required to license individuals and comparatively analyze disciplinary processes with those of other states. The audit should address the obstacles contributing to inefficiencies and make recommendations for improvement." </p> <h3>Health care cost transparency board advisory committee</h3> <p> During the 2020 legislative session, the Legislature passed House Bill 2457, establishing a health care cost transparency board. This board is responsible for reducing Washington's health care cost growth by: </p> <ul> <li>Determining the state's total health care expenditures.</li> <li>Identifying cost trends and cost drivers in the health care system.</li> <li>Setting a health care cost growth benchmark for providers and payers.</li> <li>Reporting annually to the Legislature, including providing recommendations for lowering health care costs.</li> </ul> <p> The board has appointed an advisory committee made up of health care providers and carrier representatives. Representing the WSMA on the committee will be WSMA President-Elect Mika Sinanan, MD, PhD. </p> <h3>Prescription monitoring program hardship waiver</h3> <p> The Department of Health has proposed rulemaking to create a hardship waiver for the state's prescription monitoring program integration mandate required by Senate Bill 5380 from 2019. The WSMA was successful in securing the hardship waiver and continues to influence the direction of the rulemaking. While there are still several items to address, we believe the waiver will be helpful to groups with 10 or more prescribers that attest to being unable to meet the mandate due to certain conditions. For more information, review the <a href="">proposed rule</a>. </p> <h3>Electronic prescribing of controlled substances hardship waiver</h3> <p> The Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission has proposed rulemaking to create a hardship waiver for the electronic prescribing mandate required by Senate Bill 5380 from 2019. While there are still several items to address, we believe the waiver will be helpful to groups with 10 or more prescribers that attest to being unable to meet the mandate due to certain conditions. For more information, review the <a href="">proposed rule</a>. In response to WSMA's request, the secretary of health has delayed implementation of the EPCS mandate from Oct. 1, 2021 until Jan. 1, 2022. </p> <p> As you can see, your WSMA's work on your behalf never ceases. And we are optimistic as we remain on the lookout for that next unicorn! </p> </div>6/3/2021 3:48:51 PM5/24/2021 9:42:35 AM5/24/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_april_16_2021_five_things_to_do_while_celebrating_springWeekly Rounds: April 16, 2021 - Five Things to Do While Celebrating SpringWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_april_16_2021_five_things_to_do_while_celebrating_spring<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>April 16, 2021</h5> <h2>Five Things to Do While Celebrating Spring</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> What a delight to see spring arriving in the Pacific Northwest. Judging by our members' Facebook posts, I see that many of you are taking time to enjoy the onset of a welcome season by hiking, gardening, barbecuing, and more. I'm right there with you on those activities and have a few more things to suggest as you contemplate the beauty around us. </p> <h3>A taste of Chelan</h3> <p> While we unfortunately will not be hosting our annual Leadership Development Conference in beautiful Chelan, instead we will bring a taste of Chelan right to your doorstep. <strong>If you register before April 30 for the virtual conference (scheduled for May 14-15), we will ship to you your choice of a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, or Mèthode Champenoise Pink straight from Karma Vineyards. To make this event even more special, we'll include one of Karma's signature "do good" glasses (either wine or champagne).</strong> By <a href="[@]Shared_Content/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=LDC21&_zs=B3aFd1&">registering early for the event</a>, you'll be able to join your colleagues for a virtual wine and champagne tasting on Friday, May 14 at 5:15 p.m. with drinks courtesy of the WSMA. </p> <p> Even if virtual, the LDC's quality programming is still designed to sharpen your leadership skills. This year's conference features nationally recognized speaker <a href="">Bill Eckstrom</a>, who will kick off a conference agenda that will explore new trends in care delivery and quality improvement. Find out more about this year's speakers and learning opportunities on the <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Leadership_Development_Conference/WSMA/Events/LDC/leadership_development_conference.aspx?hkey=c7532c38-057a-4568-8a3c-078182469222&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=wxcX7">conference webpage</a>. </p> <p> We hope you'll join us and other physician leaders from across the state for this premier event. </p> <h3>Get the scoop on session</h3> <p> Hopefully, you received our email this week announcing the passage of WSMA's PPE reimbursement bill. A significant win for the physician community, <a href="">Senate Bill 5169</a> requires state-regulated commercial insurance carriers to begin reimbursing for PPE costs during the pandemic. The bill takes effect today, making Washington the first state in the country to require reimbursement for PPE in this way. More information can be found <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Latest_News/2021/ppe_reimbursement_bill_signed_into_law?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=10dX7">here</a>. </p> <p> With this year's legislative session scheduled to conclude on April 25, be sure to mark your calendar for May 7 when your on-the-ground legislative team will host a session wrap-up. During this members-only lunchtime webinar, they'll give you an inside look at the outcome of WSMA's priority policies, both budget and legislative, for the physician community. Spoiler alert: There's a lot of good news to share, so you won't want to miss it. <a href="">Register for the meeting online</a>. </p> <h3>Step up to lead</h3> <p>True to our slogan, the WSMA is both patient-focused and physician-driven. Our board of trustees is a critical way in which the WSMA is guided in its direction, strategies, and goals. Would you consider bringing your voice to the WSMA leadership table? The April 23 deadline for nominations is coming up quickly, and there are a variety of board positions available. I hope you'll take a moment to reflect on your leadership role within the WSMA. <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/March_11/nominations_for_wsma_leadership_deadline_april_23?_zs=A3aFd1&_zl=N0pU7">Find out more here</a>.</p> <h3>Nominate a winner</h3> <p> It's time to nominate worthy recipients for WSMA's third annual Apple Awards! There are several categories of awards including: <a href="">Early Career Member of the Year</a>, <a href="">Grassroots Advocate</a>, <a href="">Community Advocate</a>, <a href="">Wellness</a>, <a href="">President's Unsung Hero</a>, and the <a href="">William O. Robertson Patient Safety Award</a>. The deadline to nominate is June 4. Learn more and get started nominating your heroes at the links provided. </p> <h3>Help launch new Latinx Section</h3> <p> Thanks to the enthusiasm and efforts of the leadership at the University of Washington's Latino Center for Health, the WSMA is creating a Latinx Section within our membership. The launch of this section grew out of work done during the 2019 legislative session that allocated $150,000 in the 2019-21 state budget for the UW center to examine the Latinx physician workforce in Washington state. Among other actions, the center's advisory council recommended creating a Latinx physician cohort, which led to the 2020 WSMA House of Delegates passing policy establishing a Latinx Section within the WSMA. Objectives of the section will be to provide a forum in which Latinx physicians and PAs are able to gather, network, and support each other professionally, in addition to recruiting other Latinx physicians and developing advocacy strategies. </p> <p> This work is just beginning. If you're interested in learning more, mark your calendars for an informational meeting on May 20 from 6-7:30 p.m. Keep an eye on your email for registration information or write Milana McLead at <a href=""></a> to let us know about your interest in the section. </p> <p> I know this is a busy time, but I hope you'll be able to take advantage of these opportunities in addition to enjoying the lovely springtime. </p> </div>6/3/2021 3:49:23 PM4/16/2021 2:57:39 PM4/16/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_march_19_2021_leading_through_crisisWeekly Rounds: March 19, 2021 - Leading Through CrisisWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_march_19_2021_leading_through_crisis<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>March 19, 2021</h5> <h2>Leading Through Crisis</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> Passing through the crucible of the past 12 months has severely tested even the best of leaders. I've experienced - and observed - three key leadership qualities that made a difference as we all faced the unknowns of a pandemic: patience, persistence, and practice. </p> <h3>Persistence paid off</h3> <p> The numbers from the past year are staggering: more than 500,000 lives lost in United States from the virus. But numbers alone don't tell the human story - a story of lives lost and economies shattered. Now, we have a way out of this crisis. Thanks to persistence, we have a near miracle of three extraordinarily effective vaccines - vaccines that will help prevent further loss of life and help rebuild our economies. </p> <h3>Patience required</h3> <p> With the advent of those vaccines came the inevitable demand that exceeded supply. And though our patience has been deeply tested, we are now receiving good news from the Department of Health. Starting next month, the DOH estimates we will start receiving 600,000 doses per week. This is more than double what we have been receiving and heralds a true turning point to building herd immunity in our communities. </p> <h3>Practice needed</h3> <p> I know leadership is inherent to being a physician, with persistence and patience coming to you quite naturally. I also know there are other leadership skills that must be learned and developed. That is why the WSMA includes physician leadership and professional development as one of our strategic priorities. We bring top-ranked educational opportunities to the medical community through our Center for Leadership Development. To "practice" and further develop your skills, check out the many offerings now available <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Physician_Leadership/WSMA/Physician_Leadership/Physician_Leadership.aspx">here</a>. </p> <p> Another way to actively practice skills is to volunteer for leadership roles within the WSMA. Right now, we are seeking nominations for positions on the board of trustees for 2021-2022. Find out more by visiting our <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/March_11/nominations_for_wsma_leadership_deadline_april_23">nominations page</a>. Serving in these leadership roles is not only an opportunity to shape the profession, but also to help ensure that Washington state continues to be the best place to practice medicine and receive care. Note that the deadline for nominations is Friday, April 23. And be sure to mark your calendar for the <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx">2021 Annual Meeting of the House of Delegates</a>, scheduled for Sept. 25-26 at the Westin Bellevue Hotel. </p> <p> It's hard to believe that we've been in pandemic mode for more than a year. But we've made it this far, and with leaders like each of you, the future is looking brighter every day. </p> </div>6/3/2021 3:53:23 PM3/19/2021 9:27:59 AM3/19/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_march_5_2021_hope_in_the_time_of_covid_19Weekly Rounds: March 5, 2021 - Hope in the Time of COVID-19Weekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_march_5_2021_hope_in_the_time_of_covid_19<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>March 5, 2021</h5> <h2> Hope in the Time of COVID-19 </h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> By now, hearing "I got my first dose of the COVID vaccine" is becoming more of a familiar refrain among friends and family. And there's additional hope on the horizon, with recent news from the Biden administration that there will be enough COVID-19 vaccine shots for all the nation's adults by the end of May (keep your fingers crossed). </p> <p> With the president's recommendation to all states to vaccinate teachers and childcare workers (at least with the first shot) before the end of March, Gov. Jay Inslee immediately moved K-12 educators and childcare workers forward into our current Phase 1B tier 1, allowing these important groups to be vaccinated immediately in our state. </p> <p> These developments demonstrate progress and hope for rolling out of this pandemic in the months ahead, with the big assumption that we will see an increase of vaccine supply not only coming into our state, but also our practices. As has often been the case during this pandemic, two steps forward is followed by one step back, as just today (March 4) we learned that our state's supply of the <a href="">J&J vaccine will be limited until the end of March</a>. </p> <p> Regardless, I also wanted to offer you five other encouraging updates. </p> <h3> Helping you access PPE </h3> <p> While the WSMA doesn't have the ability to increase the supply of vaccine in our state, we can help you with PPE. A public-private collaborative group of health care associations and organizations, including the WSMA, joined together to facilitate group purchasing of vetted, high-quality PPE. The co-op worked with Seattle-based vendor <a href="">PPE.Exchange</a> to facilitate group orders. PPE.Exchange is an online PPE marketplace offering health care and front-line organizations, associations, government entities, and corporations the ability to source critical PPE and place group orders for bulk pricing. PPE.Exchange thoroughly vets suppliers and products and offers quality assurances. To access PPE for your practice, visit <a href="">Washington PPE Purchasing Co-Op</a>. </p> <h3> Seeking recovery for physician practices </h3> <p> Critical to your ability to continue to care for patients in your community, regardless of your specialty or practice setting, is the financial viability of your practice or medical group. Last year, the AMA conducted a survey on the financial impact of COVID-19 on physician practices and found physicians have averaged a 32% drop in revenue since February 2020. Expenses are also up, as 64% of physicians surveyed reported that they were spending more on PPE. The average increase was 57%. </p> <p> At the federal level, the WSMA joins the AMA and more than 120 other physician organizations in urging congressional leaders to support bipartisan legislation to extend the Medicare sequester moratorium suspending the federal budget's 2% payment cuts to physicians through the end of the public health emergency. </p> <p> In a letter to congressional leaders, our coalition urged the leaders to pass H.R. 315, the Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act, "to help alleviate the unrelenting fiscal demands of the pandemic." The measure is sponsored by Reps. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., and David McKinley, R-W.V., and has eight cosponsors—six Democrats and two Republicans. </p> <p> The AMA Physicians Grassroots Network is calling on physicians to tell Congress to support H.R. 315. <a href="">I urge you to take action now</a>. </p> <h3> Advocating in Olympia for financial viability </h3> <p> In Olympia, <a href="">rumor on the street</a> is Washington state may receive as much as $10 billion in federal stimulus funds from the American Rescue Plan Act pending in Congress. The largest chunk of funds would go towards COVID-19-related costs, with other financial support earmarked for education, childcare, and to cities and counties. </p> <p> At this point it's not clear what "strings" the federal government would attach to the money, so we don't know how much impact it will have on state budget discussions, which will begin to ramp up following the next revenue forecast on March 17. In the meantime, our team in Olympia is working on bills that provide direct financial benefit to your practices as we continue to advocate for any opportunity for increased stimulus to keep struggling practices afloat. Those bills include: </p> <p> <strong>House Bill 1196, audio-only telemedicine</strong>: <a href="">HB 1196</a> would allow patients to receive covered health care services over the telephone, advancing the goal of ensuring they get the right care, in the right place, at the right time. Due to existing emergency orders, insurers are currently required to cover and pay for audio-only services, but action is needed to ensure that patients can continue to receive appropriate care over the phone on an ongoing basis. HB 1196 generally requires that insurers provide the same coverage and reimbursement for audio-only telemedicine services as they would for care delivered in person. </p> <p> <strong>Senate Bill 5169, PPE reimbursement</strong>: <a href="">SB 5169</a> would require commercial insurance carriers to reimburse for personal protective equipment costs that were increased as a result of the pandemic. The bill would allow physicians and health care providers to bill newly created CPT code 99072 and be reimbursed $6.57 per patient encounter, pursuant to a recommendation from the AMA's RUC committee. </p> <p> <strong>Re-enacting Medicaid reimbursement rate adjustments</strong> vetoed by Gov. Jay Inslee in 2020 due to state budget concerns arising from the pandemic. Restoring the rate adjustments will improve access to care for Washingtonians by expanding physician participation in Medicaid networks at a time when it is desperately needed and long overdue. </p> <p> <strong>Senate Bill 5271, COVID-19 liability protections</strong>: <a href="">SB 5271</a> would establish a clear method for determining the standard of care for health care providers and facilities caring for COVID-19 patients and reflects the realities of this challenging time. Physicians have faced numerous challenges in delivering care during the pandemic, including shortages of supplies and shifting government directives on when and how services can be delivered. </p> <h3> Learning to maximize practice finances </h3> <p> Speaking of maintaining financially stable practices, if you want to improve your financial I.Q., the WSMA is offering a full-day seminar that builds on the basics of finances and provides you with an in-depth look at the way money moves through your practice or health care system. The course will be offered Friday, April 2 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The course is taught by Dennis Stillman, MHA. Dennis previously worked as the CFO at the University of Washington Medical Center and Pacific Medical Center, in addition to serving as interim CFO at the Polyclinic and Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, among other roles. He authored a book on health care financial management for trustees, "Essentials of Healthcare Organization Finance." He currently teaches at the University of Washington Master's in Health Administration Program and at the Executive MBA in Health Administration Program at the University of Colorado in Denver. <a href="[@]Shared_Content/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=LEADFINA&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=SMKS7">Register online</a>. </p> <h3> Improving end of life care in Washington state </h3> <p> Thank you for responding to our call for comments on our new POLST form and advance directive. We received 120 responses. Many of those suggestions for improvement will be incorporated into the final POLST and advance directive, which are anticipated to be available for download from the WSMA website in April. Stay tuned. </p> <p> With spring officially arriving soon, I am feeling more hopeful about the year ahead! Let's press on together. </p> </div>6/3/2021 3:54:10 PM3/5/2021 10:20:22 AM3/5/2021 12:00:00 AM
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