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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_june_4_2021_setting_policy_at_the_wsmaWeekly Rounds: June 4, 2021 - Setting Policy at the WSMAWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_june_4_2021_setting_policy_at_the_wsma<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>June 4, 2021</h5> <h2>Setting Policy at the WSMA</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> At last, it feels as if we are starting to come out of hibernation. Gov. Jay Inslee announced that Washington state will "reopen" on June 30. At the WSMA, after more than a year of virtual meetings, we are looking forward to hosting our <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx?hkey=fea49254-3815-4dc9-8710-53ff2e3a100f&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=HMmg7">Annual Meeting of the WSMA House of Delegates</a> in person at the Westin Bellevue Hotel, Sept. 25-26. </p> <p> If you're not familiar with the WSMA's governance structure, here's a <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/Leadership/House_of_Delegates/WSMA/About/Leadership/House_of_Delegates/House_of_Delegates.aspx?hkey=e2c50002-384d-4ff7-9116-5ce7a51116e7&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=IMmg7">brief overview</a> to get you oriented. There are approximately 200 voting members of the WSMA House of Delegates and this body sets WSMA policy. Currently, the delegates consist of representatives from county medical societies, state specialty societies, special sections, and WSMA's board of trustees. </p> <p> The House convenes its opening session on Saturday morning, when member guests are invited to speak to delegates, and reports and resolutions are referred to reference committees. This is followed by meetings of the reference committees. </p> <p> The in-person reference committees are the key to the deliberations of the House of Delegates. Members of the House and members of the WSMA are encouraged to attend these reference committee meetings. </p> <p> Each reference committee is made up of three members of the House appointed by the speaker and vice speaker. If you would like to serve as a reference committee member, contact Shannon Bozarth at <a href=""></a>. </p> <p> While the in-person reference committees are where delegates and members express their opinions, all WSMA members have an opportunity to share thoughts on the resolutions via WSMA's <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Virtual_Reference_Committees/WSMA/Membership/Discussion_Forums/virtual_reference_committees.aspx?hkey=e30c0e9a-efb8-4160-821e-fa2485cc6bdd&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=JMmg7">virtual reference committees</a>. Resolutions will be posted for online discussion as they are received and processed by staff. </p> <p> Policymaking at the meeting is primarily driven by resolutions. Learn more about resolutions and how they help create and guide WSMA policy. If you are considering submitting a resolution, feel free to reach out to the WSMA policy team at <a href=""></a> to discuss the process and receive feedback on drafting a resolution. </p> <p> Here are several important deadlines related to the House of Delegates: </p> <ul> <li><strong>Aug. 6</strong>: Reports and resolutions due for inclusion in delegate handbook.</li> <li><strong>Aug. 26</strong>: Final deadline for reports and resolutions. Delegate handbook will be available for download.</li> <li><strong>Sept. 3</strong>: Deadline to make room reservations at the Westin Bellevue.</li> <li><strong>Sept. 25-26</strong>: The 2021 WSMA Annual Meeting</li> </ul> <p> And speaking of setting policy, House Bill 2378 made important changes to the state's physician assistant practice act, a key priority for the WSMA and the Washington Academy of Physician Assistants. You can learn more about the provisions of this legislation during a webinar next Tuesday at noon. <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Upcoming_Webinars/WSMA/education/Upcoming_Webinars/Upcoming_Webinars.aspx?hkey=b760d6bd-1833-412d-b681-babf251792a8&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=KMmg7">Register here</a>. </p> <p> Stay tuned for upcoming Membership Memos and the July/August edition of <em>WSMA Reports</em> where we will share more information about meeting events, speakers, and bylaws changes being put forward by the board of trustees. </p> <p> Meanwhile, enjoy your journey out of hibernation! </p> </div>6/4/2021 9:51:59 AM6/4/2021 9:50:34 AM6/4/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_may_24_2021_wsmas_advocacy_efforts_never_ceaseWeekly Rounds: May 24, 2021 - WSMA's Advocacy Efforts Never CeaseWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_may_24_2021_wsmas_advocacy_efforts_never_cease<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>May 24, 2021</h5> <h2>WSMA's Advocacy Efforts Never Cease</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> It's a rare legislative session when we can say we had a 100% success rate on our legislative priorities, but this is the year! </p> <p> By any measure, the 2021 legislative session was extraordinary, both for being conducted online and for the monumental gains that were made for patients and the physician community. </p> <p> While some might say such legislative success is the advocacy equivalent of seeing a unicorn, we're certainly celebrating the achievement. Your WSMA was successful in advocating for the passage of all our priority bills and defending against those we opposed. On the budget side, generational investments were made, including $140 million for Medicaid rate increases and nearly $150 million for foundational public health services in the next two years alone. </p> <p> A big thank you to our staff team and our physician members who worked tirelessly throughout the past few months to ensure this success. As we have often said, standing together gets results. </p> <p> Even though session has adjourned, our advocacy never stops. Now we turn our undivided attention to the regulatory arena and rulemaking. </p> <p> Here are five topics in which we are engaged in on your behalf. </p> <h3>Balance billing/No Surprises Act</h3> <p> In the months ahead, the WSMA will be focused on a possible effort to reconcile the state's Balance Billing Protection Act with the federal No Surprises Act that was passed in December and goes into effect next year. </p> <p> With federal rulemaking still underway, rendering informed decisions on whether or how state law should be adjusted to accommodate the new national act will be extremely difficult. However, we are engaged with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to help shape any future regulation or legislation. This work is complex, particularly how the rules will apply to state-regulated insurance plans versus self-insured ERISA plans that are regulated at the federal level. </p> <p> Network adequacy and rebalancing the contracting dynamic between physicians and carriers are our top priorities in any balance billing discussion. Since the inception of the state balance billing law, carrier contracting behavior has markedly shifted, resulting in physician groups struggling to get carriers to negotiate on reasonable terms, or, in some cases, being unable to get carriers to come to the table at all. We have made a separate inquiry to the OIC on this issue, noting that insurance carriers cannot be allowed to use the balance billing law as a substitute for contracting with physician organizations. </p> <h3>Washington Medical Commission</h3> <p> WSMA staff are tracking several items of interest at the Washington Medical Commission, including: </p> <ul> <li>Recently initiated rulemaking seeking to define licensure and standard of care for services provided over telemedicine.</li> <li>Implementation of updates to physician assistant regulations per WSMA-supported legislation.</li> <li>Rulemaking to more closely regulate collaborative drug therapy agreements.</li> <li>Rulemaking to create a limited license for international medical graduates.</li> <li>Licensure and disciplinary process improvements.</li> </ul> <p> The WSMA has heard concerns from members who were not able to work due to delays in the licensure process at the commission, in addition to concerns about the disciplinary process. Your WSMA has been advocating on these issues during monthly meetings with commission leadership. In addition, we are encouraged by the Legislature's budget provision calling for a performance audit of the commission. Specifically, the state auditor's office is directed to: "… conduct a performance audit, which must address the length of time required to license individuals and comparatively analyze disciplinary processes with those of other states. The audit should address the obstacles contributing to inefficiencies and make recommendations for improvement." </p> <h3>Health care cost transparency board advisory committee</h3> <p> During the 2020 legislative session, the Legislature passed House Bill 2457, establishing a health care cost transparency board. This board is responsible for reducing Washington's health care cost growth by: </p> <ul> <li>Determining the state's total health care expenditures.</li> <li>Identifying cost trends and cost drivers in the health care system.</li> <li>Setting a health care cost growth benchmark for providers and payers.</li> <li>Reporting annually to the Legislature, including providing recommendations for lowering health care costs.</li> </ul> <p> The board has appointed an advisory committee made up of health care providers and carrier representatives. Representing the WSMA on the committee will be WSMA President-Elect Mika Sinanan, MD, PhD. </p> <h3>Prescription monitoring program hardship waiver</h3> <p> The Department of Health has proposed rulemaking to create a hardship waiver for the state's prescription monitoring program integration mandate required by Senate Bill 5380 from 2019. The WSMA was successful in securing the hardship waiver and continues to influence the direction of the rulemaking. While there are still several items to address, we believe the waiver will be helpful to groups with 10 or more prescribers that attest to being unable to meet the mandate due to certain conditions. For more information, review the <a href="">proposed rule</a>. </p> <h3>Electronic prescribing of controlled substances hardship waiver</h3> <p> The Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission has proposed rulemaking to create a hardship waiver for the electronic prescribing mandate required by Senate Bill 5380 from 2019. While there are still several items to address, we believe the waiver will be helpful to groups with 10 or more prescribers that attest to being unable to meet the mandate due to certain conditions. For more information, review the <a href="">proposed rule</a>. In response to WSMA's request, the secretary of health has delayed implementation of the EPCS mandate from Oct. 1, 2021 until Jan. 1, 2022. </p> <p> As you can see, your WSMA's work on your behalf never ceases. And we are optimistic as we remain on the lookout for that next unicorn! </p> </div>6/3/2021 3:48:51 PM5/24/2021 9:42:35 AM5/24/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_april_30_2021_making_progress_through_advocacyWeekly Rounds: April 30, 2021 - Making Progress Through AdvocacyWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_april_30_2021_making_progress_through_advocacy<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>April 30, 2021</h5> <h2>Making Progress Through Advocacy</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> Time has a way of marching on, as evidenced by the changing seasons of the Pacific Northwest and the refreshing signs of spring all around us. Even a pandemic can't change nature's progress, though it has clearly changed our behavior. Now more than a year on, most of us have learned to adapt and establish new behaviors like wearing masks, limiting social interactions, and keeping our distance. </p> <p> But we have seen patient behaviors change along the way as well, with some delaying care, often to the detriment of their health. In the July/August issue of <em>WSMA Reports</em> we will explore how COVID-19 has impacted those behaviors, particularly the associated effects of postponing visits or annual checkups. Just recently, Crosscut published <a href="">Elway poll results</a> on Washingtonians' views on everyday behaviors during the pandemic. It's interesting reading. </p> <p> In other news you'll want to know, here are three items of note: </p> <h3>As session ends, big wins for WSMA priorities</h3> <p> The 2021 Washington state legislative session ended last Sunday. It was an unprecedented session in that the Legislature met completely virtually—and did so successfully. I am proud to report that the WSMA achieved a 100% success rate in passing our priority policies and defending against those we opposed. On the budget side, generational investments were made in health care, including $140 million for Medicaid rate increases and nearly $150 million for foundational public health services in the next two years alone. </p> <p> Kudos to our Olympia team for an incredible job, and thanks to our members who took time to testify or respond to our calls to action. Further, in addition to WSMA's <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/Leadership/Executive_Committee/WSMA/About/Leadership/Executive_Committee/Executive_Committee.aspx?hkey=1c7411ed-4943-4ccf-9929-d3669b24cef1&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=jNvb7">executive committee</a> and <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/Leadership/Board_of_Trustees/WSMA/About/Leadership/Board_of_Trustees/Board_of_Trustees.aspx?hkey=0abc484b-c165-4fb1-90b5-1f72370b18d2&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=kNvb7">board of trustees</a> providing valuable guidance and direction, our new legislative steering committee met with our Olympia team weekly to help us understand the practical impact of particular bills on the practice and business of medicine. We're grateful to the members of that committee for the time they gave to WSMA's legislative process this year: </p> <ul> <li>Rodney Anderson, MD, Family Care Network</li> <li>Barbara Detering, MD, Washington Permanente Medical Group</li> <li>Nariman Heshmati, MD, The Everett Clinic</li> <li>Garrett Jeffery, DO, PeaceHealth</li> <li>Linda Kampp, MD, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health</li> <li>Ryan Nachreiner, MD, Providence</li> <li>Chris Quarles, MD, CHI Franciscan</li> <li>Keren Rosenblum, MD, Vancouver Clinic</li> <li>Katina Rue, DO, Community Health of Central Washington</li> <li>John Scott, MD, UW Medicine</li> <li>Doug Wilson, MD, Confluence Health</li> </ul> <p> To get the inside scoop on this year's session and WSMA's priorities, don't miss our <a href="">wrap-up webinar</a> hosted by the Olympia team on Friday, May 7 at noon, <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Latest_News/2021/wsma_sees_100_percent_success_rate_among_2021_legislative_priorities?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=mNvb7">read more here</a>, or keep an eye on your mailbox for our year-end Legislative Report. </p> <h3>Final budget includes audit of Washington Medical Commission</h3> <p> For the past year and a half, we have been receiving a steady stream of complaints from WSMA members who were not able to work due to delays in the licensure process at the Washington Medical Commission. We want you to know that we hear you and have actively been working on this issue with the leadership at the commission. And while the WSMA continues to work with commission staff in understanding the root causes of the delays—especially the fingerprinting process at the Washington State Patrol—we were encouraged to see that the Legislature included a budget provision to take a deep dive into the process by including a performance audit of the commission. Specifically, the state auditor's office is directed to: "… conduct a performance audit, which must address the length of time required to license individuals and comparatively analyze disciplinary processes with those of other states. The audit should address the obstacles contributing to inefficiencies and make recommendations for improvement." We will keep you apprised of developments as this progresses. </p> <h3>Big barrier reduced when prescribing buprenorphine</h3> <p> This week new practice guidelines were released that omit the eight-hour training requirement previously necessary to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorder for physicians and providers who treat 30 or fewer patients for the condition. The training is still required for physicians, physician assistants, and other providers treating more than 30 patients at one time. To read more, <a href="">click here</a>. The new guidelines took effect on April 28. WSMA's advocacy on this was directed by policy that passed at the 2019 WSMA House of Delegates. </p> <p> As you can see, your WSMA is always on the job supporting you and your interests. When you speak up, we not only listen, we take action. Your membership makes all the difference. Thank you! </p> </div>6/10/2021 11:02:51 AM4/30/2021 10:04:32 AM4/30/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_april_16_2021_five_things_to_do_while_celebrating_springWeekly Rounds: April 16, 2021 - Five Things to Do While Celebrating SpringWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_april_16_2021_five_things_to_do_while_celebrating_spring<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>April 16, 2021</h5> <h2>Five Things to Do While Celebrating Spring</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> What a delight to see spring arriving in the Pacific Northwest. Judging by our members' Facebook posts, I see that many of you are taking time to enjoy the onset of a welcome season by hiking, gardening, barbecuing, and more. I'm right there with you on those activities and have a few more things to suggest as you contemplate the beauty around us. </p> <h3>A taste of Chelan</h3> <p> While we unfortunately will not be hosting our annual Leadership Development Conference in beautiful Chelan, instead we will bring a taste of Chelan right to your doorstep. <strong>If you register before April 30 for the virtual conference (scheduled for May 14-15), we will ship to you your choice of a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, or Mèthode Champenoise Pink straight from Karma Vineyards. To make this event even more special, we'll include one of Karma's signature "do good" glasses (either wine or champagne).</strong> By <a href="[@]Shared_Content/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=LDC21&_zs=B3aFd1&">registering early for the event</a>, you'll be able to join your colleagues for a virtual wine and champagne tasting on Friday, May 14 at 5:15 p.m. with drinks courtesy of the WSMA. </p> <p> Even if virtual, the LDC's quality programming is still designed to sharpen your leadership skills. This year's conference features nationally recognized speaker <a href="">Bill Eckstrom</a>, who will kick off a conference agenda that will explore new trends in care delivery and quality improvement. Find out more about this year's speakers and learning opportunities on the <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Leadership_Development_Conference/WSMA/Events/LDC/leadership_development_conference.aspx?hkey=c7532c38-057a-4568-8a3c-078182469222&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=wxcX7">conference webpage</a>. </p> <p> We hope you'll join us and other physician leaders from across the state for this premier event. </p> <h3>Get the scoop on session</h3> <p> Hopefully, you received our email this week announcing the passage of WSMA's PPE reimbursement bill. A significant win for the physician community, <a href="">Senate Bill 5169</a> requires state-regulated commercial insurance carriers to begin reimbursing for PPE costs during the pandemic. The bill takes effect today, making Washington the first state in the country to require reimbursement for PPE in this way. More information can be found <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Latest_News/2021/ppe_reimbursement_bill_signed_into_law?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=10dX7">here</a>. </p> <p> With this year's legislative session scheduled to conclude on April 25, be sure to mark your calendar for May 7 when your on-the-ground legislative team will host a session wrap-up. During this members-only lunchtime webinar, they'll give you an inside look at the outcome of WSMA's priority policies, both budget and legislative, for the physician community. Spoiler alert: There's a lot of good news to share, so you won't want to miss it. <a href="">Register for the meeting online</a>. </p> <h3>Step up to lead</h3> <p>True to our slogan, the WSMA is both patient-focused and physician-driven. Our board of trustees is a critical way in which the WSMA is guided in its direction, strategies, and goals. Would you consider bringing your voice to the WSMA leadership table? The April 23 deadline for nominations is coming up quickly, and there are a variety of board positions available. I hope you'll take a moment to reflect on your leadership role within the WSMA. <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/March_11/nominations_for_wsma_leadership_deadline_april_23?_zs=A3aFd1&_zl=N0pU7">Find out more here</a>.</p> <h3>Nominate a winner</h3> <p> It's time to nominate worthy recipients for WSMA's third annual Apple Awards! There are several categories of awards including: <a href="">Early Career Member of the Year</a>, <a href="">Grassroots Advocate</a>, <a href="">Community Advocate</a>, <a href="">Wellness</a>, <a href="">President's Unsung Hero</a>, and the <a href="">William O. Robertson Patient Safety Award</a>. The deadline to nominate is June 4. Learn more and get started nominating your heroes at the links provided. </p> <h3>Help launch new Latinx Section</h3> <p> Thanks to the enthusiasm and efforts of the leadership at the University of Washington's Latino Center for Health, the WSMA is creating a Latinx Section within our membership. The launch of this section grew out of work done during the 2019 legislative session that allocated $150,000 in the 2019-21 state budget for the UW center to examine the Latinx physician workforce in Washington state. Among other actions, the center's advisory council recommended creating a Latinx physician cohort, which led to the 2020 WSMA House of Delegates passing policy establishing a Latinx Section within the WSMA. Objectives of the section will be to provide a forum in which Latinx physicians and PAs are able to gather, network, and support each other professionally, in addition to recruiting other Latinx physicians and developing advocacy strategies. </p> <p> This work is just beginning. If you're interested in learning more, mark your calendars for an informational meeting on May 20 from 6-7:30 p.m. Keep an eye on your email for registration information or write Milana McLead at <a href=""></a> to let us know about your interest in the section. </p> <p> I know this is a busy time, but I hope you'll be able to take advantage of these opportunities in addition to enjoying the lovely springtime. </p> </div>6/3/2021 3:49:23 PM4/16/2021 2:57:39 PM4/16/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_march_19_2021_leading_through_crisisWeekly Rounds: March 19, 2021 - Leading Through CrisisWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_march_19_2021_leading_through_crisis<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>March 19, 2021</h5> <h2>Leading Through Crisis</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> Passing through the crucible of the past 12 months has severely tested even the best of leaders. I've experienced - and observed - three key leadership qualities that made a difference as we all faced the unknowns of a pandemic: patience, persistence, and practice. </p> <h3>Persistence paid off</h3> <p> The numbers from the past year are staggering: more than 500,000 lives lost in United States from the virus. But numbers alone don't tell the human story - a story of lives lost and economies shattered. Now, we have a way out of this crisis. Thanks to persistence, we have a near miracle of three extraordinarily effective vaccines - vaccines that will help prevent further loss of life and help rebuild our economies. </p> <h3>Patience required</h3> <p> With the advent of those vaccines came the inevitable demand that exceeded supply. And though our patience has been deeply tested, we are now receiving good news from the Department of Health. Starting next month, the DOH estimates we will start receiving 600,000 doses per week. This is more than double what we have been receiving and heralds a true turning point to building herd immunity in our communities. </p> <h3>Practice needed</h3> <p> I know leadership is inherent to being a physician, with persistence and patience coming to you quite naturally. I also know there are other leadership skills that must be learned and developed. That is why the WSMA includes physician leadership and professional development as one of our strategic priorities. We bring top-ranked educational opportunities to the medical community through our Center for Leadership Development. To "practice" and further develop your skills, check out the many offerings now available <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Physician_Leadership/WSMA/Physician_Leadership/Physician_Leadership.aspx">here</a>. </p> <p> Another way to actively practice skills is to volunteer for leadership roles within the WSMA. Right now, we are seeking nominations for positions on the board of trustees for 2021-2022. Find out more by visiting our <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/March_11/nominations_for_wsma_leadership_deadline_april_23">nominations page</a>. Serving in these leadership roles is not only an opportunity to shape the profession, but also to help ensure that Washington state continues to be the best place to practice medicine and receive care. Note that the deadline for nominations is Friday, April 23. And be sure to mark your calendar for the <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx">2021 Annual Meeting of the House of Delegates</a>, scheduled for Sept. 25-26 at the Westin Bellevue Hotel. </p> <p> It's hard to believe that we've been in pandemic mode for more than a year. But we've made it this far, and with leaders like each of you, the future is looking brighter every day. </p> </div>6/3/2021 3:53:23 PM3/19/2021 9:27:59 AM3/19/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_march_5_2021_hope_in_the_time_of_covid_19Weekly Rounds: March 5, 2021 - Hope in the Time of COVID-19Weekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_march_5_2021_hope_in_the_time_of_covid_19<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>March 5, 2021</h5> <h2> Hope in the Time of COVID-19 </h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> By now, hearing "I got my first dose of the COVID vaccine" is becoming more of a familiar refrain among friends and family. And there's additional hope on the horizon, with recent news from the Biden administration that there will be enough COVID-19 vaccine shots for all the nation's adults by the end of May (keep your fingers crossed). </p> <p> With the president's recommendation to all states to vaccinate teachers and childcare workers (at least with the first shot) before the end of March, Gov. Jay Inslee immediately moved K-12 educators and childcare workers forward into our current Phase 1B tier 1, allowing these important groups to be vaccinated immediately in our state. </p> <p> These developments demonstrate progress and hope for rolling out of this pandemic in the months ahead, with the big assumption that we will see an increase of vaccine supply not only coming into our state, but also our practices. As has often been the case during this pandemic, two steps forward is followed by one step back, as just today (March 4) we learned that our state's supply of the <a href="">J&J vaccine will be limited until the end of March</a>. </p> <p> Regardless, I also wanted to offer you five other encouraging updates. </p> <h3> Helping you access PPE </h3> <p> While the WSMA doesn't have the ability to increase the supply of vaccine in our state, we can help you with PPE. A public-private collaborative group of health care associations and organizations, including the WSMA, joined together to facilitate group purchasing of vetted, high-quality PPE. The co-op worked with Seattle-based vendor <a href="">PPE.Exchange</a> to facilitate group orders. PPE.Exchange is an online PPE marketplace offering health care and front-line organizations, associations, government entities, and corporations the ability to source critical PPE and place group orders for bulk pricing. PPE.Exchange thoroughly vets suppliers and products and offers quality assurances. To access PPE for your practice, visit <a href="">Washington PPE Purchasing Co-Op</a>. </p> <h3> Seeking recovery for physician practices </h3> <p> Critical to your ability to continue to care for patients in your community, regardless of your specialty or practice setting, is the financial viability of your practice or medical group. Last year, the AMA conducted a survey on the financial impact of COVID-19 on physician practices and found physicians have averaged a 32% drop in revenue since February 2020. Expenses are also up, as 64% of physicians surveyed reported that they were spending more on PPE. The average increase was 57%. </p> <p> At the federal level, the WSMA joins the AMA and more than 120 other physician organizations in urging congressional leaders to support bipartisan legislation to extend the Medicare sequester moratorium suspending the federal budget's 2% payment cuts to physicians through the end of the public health emergency. </p> <p> In a letter to congressional leaders, our coalition urged the leaders to pass H.R. 315, the Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act, "to help alleviate the unrelenting fiscal demands of the pandemic." The measure is sponsored by Reps. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., and David McKinley, R-W.V., and has eight cosponsors—six Democrats and two Republicans. </p> <p> The AMA Physicians Grassroots Network is calling on physicians to tell Congress to support H.R. 315. <a href="">I urge you to take action now</a>. </p> <h3> Advocating in Olympia for financial viability </h3> <p> In Olympia, <a href="">rumor on the street</a> is Washington state may receive as much as $10 billion in federal stimulus funds from the American Rescue Plan Act pending in Congress. The largest chunk of funds would go towards COVID-19-related costs, with other financial support earmarked for education, childcare, and to cities and counties. </p> <p> At this point it's not clear what "strings" the federal government would attach to the money, so we don't know how much impact it will have on state budget discussions, which will begin to ramp up following the next revenue forecast on March 17. In the meantime, our team in Olympia is working on bills that provide direct financial benefit to your practices as we continue to advocate for any opportunity for increased stimulus to keep struggling practices afloat. Those bills include: </p> <p> <strong>House Bill 1196, audio-only telemedicine</strong>: <a href="">HB 1196</a> would allow patients to receive covered health care services over the telephone, advancing the goal of ensuring they get the right care, in the right place, at the right time. Due to existing emergency orders, insurers are currently required to cover and pay for audio-only services, but action is needed to ensure that patients can continue to receive appropriate care over the phone on an ongoing basis. HB 1196 generally requires that insurers provide the same coverage and reimbursement for audio-only telemedicine services as they would for care delivered in person. </p> <p> <strong>Senate Bill 5169, PPE reimbursement</strong>: <a href="">SB 5169</a> would require commercial insurance carriers to reimburse for personal protective equipment costs that were increased as a result of the pandemic. The bill would allow physicians and health care providers to bill newly created CPT code 99072 and be reimbursed $6.57 per patient encounter, pursuant to a recommendation from the AMA's RUC committee. </p> <p> <strong>Re-enacting Medicaid reimbursement rate adjustments</strong> vetoed by Gov. Jay Inslee in 2020 due to state budget concerns arising from the pandemic. Restoring the rate adjustments will improve access to care for Washingtonians by expanding physician participation in Medicaid networks at a time when it is desperately needed and long overdue. </p> <p> <strong>Senate Bill 5271, COVID-19 liability protections</strong>: <a href="">SB 5271</a> would establish a clear method for determining the standard of care for health care providers and facilities caring for COVID-19 patients and reflects the realities of this challenging time. Physicians have faced numerous challenges in delivering care during the pandemic, including shortages of supplies and shifting government directives on when and how services can be delivered. </p> <h3> Learning to maximize practice finances </h3> <p> Speaking of maintaining financially stable practices, if you want to improve your financial I.Q., the WSMA is offering a full-day seminar that builds on the basics of finances and provides you with an in-depth look at the way money moves through your practice or health care system. The course will be offered Friday, April 2 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The course is taught by Dennis Stillman, MHA. Dennis previously worked as the CFO at the University of Washington Medical Center and Pacific Medical Center, in addition to serving as interim CFO at the Polyclinic and Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, among other roles. He authored a book on health care financial management for trustees, "Essentials of Healthcare Organization Finance." He currently teaches at the University of Washington Master's in Health Administration Program and at the Executive MBA in Health Administration Program at the University of Colorado in Denver. <a href="[@]Shared_Content/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=LEADFINA&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=SMKS7">Register online</a>. </p> <h3> Improving end of life care in Washington state </h3> <p> Thank you for responding to our call for comments on our new POLST form and advance directive. We received 120 responses. Many of those suggestions for improvement will be incorporated into the final POLST and advance directive, which are anticipated to be available for download from the WSMA website in April. Stay tuned. </p> <p> With spring officially arriving soon, I am feeling more hopeful about the year ahead! Let's press on together. </p> </div>6/3/2021 3:54:10 PM3/5/2021 10:20:22 AM3/5/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_february_22_2021_five_things_to_know_as_we_begin_the_march_to_springWeekly Rounds: February 22, 2021 - Five Things to Know as We Begin The March to SpringWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_february_22_2021_five_things_to_know_as_we_begin_the_march_to_spring<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>February 19, 2021</h5> <h2>Five Things to Know as We Begin The March to Spring</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> If you're like me, at this point in the Pacific Northwest winter, you'll be counting the days until spring (29 days to be exact). The days are slowly getting longer, and while we still may have snow and storms ahead of us, the telltale green shoots of spring - and the hope they portend - get closer every day. </p> <p> Also, if you're like me, you do a quick read of news updates in the morning, while enjoying your favorite caffeinated beverage of choice (or non-caffeinated - there are a few of you out there!). Here are five quick updates for your morning read: </p> <h3>Legislative session update</h3> <p> We are more than a third of the way through the 2021 legislative session and just passed the first cutoff, when policy bills need to be voted out of their committee of origin. Here are a few quick highlights for the physician community that are too good not to share: The scope of practice bills we were opposing pertaining to naturopaths and ARNPs thankfully appear to be dead for the session. Also, our bill that seeks payment for PPE, Senate Bill 5169, was approved by the Senate unanimously and now is in the House of Representatives for further consideration. And House Bill 1196, which allows for ongoing coverage and payment of audio-only telemedicine services, has passed out of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee and is now pending a vote before the full House. </p> <p> For a comprehensive weekly update on all the bills we are tracking, subscribe to our weekly Outreach & Advocacy Report, which comes out every Friday. To sign up, contact <a href=""></a>. You can also get real-time updates on our online <a href="[@]WSMA/News_Publications/Latest_News/Advocacy_Report/WSMA/News_Publications/Newsletters/WSMA_Advocacy_Report.aspx">Advocacy Report</a>. </p> <h3>COVID-19 update</h3> <p>Word on the street is the Biden Administration has committed to supplying our state with more vaccines. "When" and "how much" have not yet been determined. Our Department of Health has also shared that it will be partnering more closely with local health jurisdictions to determine allocation at the local level. The state will still take orders and require reporting, but the LHJs will make final allocation decisions. The view from DOH is that LHJs know the community and have a better understanding of where their residents will go to get a vaccine. As specific coordination plans unroll, we will let you know what we learn.</p> <h3>Registration now open for WSMA LDC</h3> <p> This year's WSMA Leadership Development Conference is more accessible than ever in a new virtual format. The conference will be held online May 14-15. You may <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Leadership_Development_Conference/WSMA/Events/LDC/leadership_development_conference.aspx">register online now</a>. </p> <p> Our Leadership Development Conference is one of our most popular events, with top-quality programming and speakers. Don't miss this opportunity to invest in yourself, build skills in quality improvement and leadership, and be energized through our virtual networking sessions. Rapid-fire didactic sessions will be complemented by highly interactive small-group discussions with your peers. And with this virtual format, you'll be able to access every session live and on demand. A <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Leadership_Development_Conference/WSMA/Events/LDC/leadership_development_conference.aspx">full agenda</a> and faculty are now available - this promises to be one of our very best conferences. I hope I see you there. </p> <p> Speaking of leadership development, when you are on our website, be sure to check out our extensive suite of physician leadership courses offered via our <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Physician_Leadership/WSMA/Physician_Leadership/Physician_Leadership.aspx">Center for Leadership Development</a>. We are continually building out our leadership curriculum to meet the diverse needs of our members. No matter where you are in your career, there will be something for you. </p> <h3>WSMA board debates governance changes</h3> <p> In 2020, our board of trustees hired a consultant to make recommendations to improve WSMA's governance structure and, more specifically, the House of Delegates. Over the course of 2020, independent consultants looked at the data, gathered input from members, and in November, offered recommendations to the board for consideration. At its last meeting, the board agreed to move forward with proposing changes to WSMA bylaws that would reduce the size of the House of Delegates to mirror typical attendance at the annual HOD meeting, create opportunity for more diversity and inclusion within the HOD by adding at-large delegates, and adjust representation on the board of trustees to reduce its overall size. Currently, our bylaws committee is working on proposed language to be considered at the 2021 House of Delegates meeting. The WSMA will be reaching out to all HOD stakeholders to review the concepts currently under consideration by the bylaws committee. </p> <h3>2021 membership renewal deadline approaches</h3> <p> A hearty thanks to our members who have renewed their membership to date. I'd also like to thank the medical groups and clinics that continue to invest in WSMA membership on behalf of their physicians. The number of groups is too big to list and each group has a different approach to how they pay WSMA dues, with some covering their physicians and physician assistants, others allowing folks to opt out of membership, and some requiring physicians to opt in. If you're not sure how your group handles WSMA membership, check your HR department or medical staff office. Frequently, groups have funds that can be used for WSMA membership. Be sure to tap into these funds if they are at your disposal and you haven't yet <a href="[@]renew">renewed your 2021 dues</a>. Remember 2021 dues are due no later than March 31. </p> <p> I hope that, for each of you, you hold on to the hope I have for spring, for the end of our darkest season, and the beginning of one of renewal. Thank you for your membership to the WSMA and for all you do for Washington. </p> </div>6/3/2021 3:49:56 PM2/22/2021 10:19:28 AM2/19/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_february_5_2021_pathways_for_physician_engagementWeekly Rounds: February 5, 2021 - Pathways for Physician EngagementWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_february_5_2021_pathways_for_physician_engagement<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>February 5, 2021</h5> <h2>Pathways for Physician Engagement</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> One of the things I love the most about my work is building and fostering community. That's what we do and who we are at the WSMA. By coming together and belonging with each other, we put forth a united physician voice that speaks volumes. And we create pathways for engagement, like the four items I want to share with you this week. </p> <h3>Learn: Get on the inside scoop on issues in Olympia</h3> <p> The 2021 legislative session is well under way as we wrap up week four of the 105-day "long" session. With hundreds of bills already in play, there is a lot to learn about the issues being debated virtually in both the House and Senate. We will provide you the full inside scoop at our virtual Legislative Summit coming up on Tuesday, Feb. 9 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. </p> <p> Along with hearing about the health care issues that are up for debate, we'll hear from Washington state's newly appointed Secretary of Health Umair Shah, MD, MPH, who will offer an update on the state's COVID-19 response efforts. Speaker of the House Laurie Jinkins will be our other featured speaker and she's agreed to share her perspective on the legislative session. </p> <p> This event is free for WSMA members—one of the many benefits made possible by your dues dollars. There's still time to register! <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/WSMA/Events/WSMA_Legislative_Summit/Legislative_Summit.aspx">Click here to get signed up today</a>. </p> <h3>Comment: Share input on advance directive and POLST forms</h3> <p> A group of Washington organizations, including the WSMA, is seeking physicians to comment about proposed revisions to the advance directive and Washington POLST documents. </p> <p> To comment, <a href="[@]doc_library/resources/advance_care_planning/call_for_comment.pdf">review these materials first</a> (current and proposed advance directive and POLST); then complete the <a href="">advance directive survey</a>, as well as the <a href="">Washington POLST survey</a>. The group is accepting comments until Feb. 22. </p> <p> Extensive conversations with the end-of-life stakeholder community informed these revisions. The goal is to streamline, clarify, and modernize the documents, and ensure these documents continue to be relevant and effective even as the health care environment changes. </p> <p> Questions? Contact <a href=""></a>. </p> <h3>Engage: Don't miss this COVID-19 seminar</h3> <p> The Washington Association of Physicians of Indian Origin is co-organizing a seminar as a joint partnership with Indian-American Community Services tomorrow, Feb. 6, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. WSMA members are welcome to attend. </p> <p> The seminar features Helen Chu, MD (University of Washington and Seattle Flu Study), Rena C. Patel, MD (University of Washington Infectious Diseases), and Uma Malhotra, MD (Virginia Mason Franciscan Health). They will provide information detailing treatment and epidemiology of COVID-19 and the FDA-approved vaccines. </p> <p> Following their presentation, Anita Chopra, MD, and Deepthi Mani, MD, from the Washington Chapter of the American College of Physicians will join them for a Q&A on COVID-19 vaccinations. </p> <p> This seminar is open to the public, your family members, and patients. Here's the <a href="">Zoom link</a> for connecting to this meeting. Alternatively, you may use this information:<br /> Meeting ID: 864-0038-2762<br /> Password: 708351 </p> <h3> Watch out: Be on the alert for medical license fraud</h3> <p>We want to be sure you are aware of the latest fraud scheme where physicians are being contacted by a fraudster masking themselves as the Washington Medical Commission. </p> <p> According to the commission, the fraud includes actual medical license numbers relayed during a call from the commission's phone number. Victims are informed their license is temporarily suspended pending an investigation and told to go to nearby fax machines to receive suspension letters. Victims are told they cannot work under their Washington or Oregon license. </p> <p> The Washington Medical Commission will never contact you about disciplinary action in this way. This technique is highly deceptive due to similar terminology and replication of their phone number. Do not send personal information, or money, or accept that your license has been disciplined and stop work. Call 360.236.2706 or email the commission at <a href=""></a> right away if this happens to you. The commission is working with law enforcement, and federal and state agencies to stop this scam. </p> <p> It's important to bring you news you need to know and opportunities to learn and engage. As the state's largest physician professional association, we are on the front lines of these activities that impact you, the profession, and your patients. </p> <p> Membership in the WSMA makes you part of a community of physicians and PAs who are in the know. Our work has this impact because of your support. If you're among the many who have already renewed your membership, thank you! </p> <p> If you haven't yet renewed, don't miss out. <a href="">Renew today online</a>, by phone at 206.441.9762, or return the renewal notice that was recently mailed to you. </p> <p> As always, we stand together with you. Thanks for being part of our community. </p> </div>6/3/2021 3:50:09 PM2/5/2021 10:46:53 AM2/5/2021 12:00:00 AM
Weekly_Rounds_January_15_2021_Preparing_For_Public_VaccinationsWeekly Rounds: January 15, 2021 - Preparing for Public VaccinationsWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/Weekly_Rounds_January_15_2021_Preparing_For_Public_Vaccinations<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" /></div> <h5> January 15, 2021 </h5> <h2> Preparing for Public Vaccinations </h2> <p> Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO </p> <p> Washington state is on the cusp of moving beyond health care into vaccinating the wider public, with the Department of Health <a href="">moving up its timeline</a> for Phase 1B of its vaccine rollout. While much is still to be determined, including the effect of potential increased federal support, here are some developments this week that can help you assist with the vaccine rollout. </p> <h3> Phase 1B and impact of changing federal guidance </h3> <p> The state has broken its Phase 1B into four tiers. At this time, the Department of Health has not decided if it will align with the updated guidance announced by the federal government this week. State public health officials are also waiting to hear from the Biden administration on what its plan is, and if it aligns with the new federal announcements. </p> <h4> 1B1 (Tier 1) </h4> <ul> <li>All people 70 years and older.</li> <li> People 50 years and older who live in multigenerational households.</li> </ul> <h4> 1B2 (Tier 2) </h4> <ul> <li> High-risk critical workers 50 years and older who work in congregate settings: <ul> <li> Agriculture; food processing; grocery stores; K-12 (teachers and school staff); child care; corrections, prisons, jails, or detention facilities (staff); public transit; fire; law enforcement.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <h4> 1B3 (Tier 3) </h4> <ul> <li> People 16 years or older with two or more comorbidities or underlying conditions.</li> </ul> <h4> 1B4 (Tier 4) </h4> <ul> <li> High-risk critical workers in congregate settings under 50 years old.</li> <li> People, staff, and volunteers of all ages in congregate living settings: <ul> <li> Correctional facilities; group homes for people with disabilities; shelters for people experiencing homelessness.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <h3> Regulatory flexibilities for vaccine providers </h3> <p> To encourage more practice and clinic enrollment in the federal COVID-19 Vaccination Program and assistance in public vaccinations, the Department of Health has confirmed this week that: </p> <ul> <li> The activities of everyone engaged in the operation of vaccination clinics (and other vaccine efforts related to the COVID-19 response) is afforded the liability protections granted under the federal PREP Act.</li> <li> Reporting vaccine administration information to the Washington Immunization Information System (WIIS) satisfies any reporting that might be required in an electronic medical record to capture that a vaccine has been administered.</li> </ul> <p> For details on these flexibilities, see this <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Department of Health notice</a>. To enroll your practice or organization in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program, visit the <a href="">DOH website</a>. Check that page for a detailed FAQ. In addition, the WSMA has learned the following: </p> <ol> <li> <strong>When will vaccines be delivered to outpatient practices that have signed up to be COVID-19 vaccine providers? </strong>Similar to the state's childhood vaccine program, after the Department of Health approves a vaccine order for a provider, vaccines are delivered via FedEx from a central CDC warehouse directly to each provider facility, according to the facility's office hours.</li> <li> <strong>How are vaccines ordered?</strong> Currently the program is placing orders for providers based off information shared through a weekly survey. In the next few weeks, the DOH will transition to ordering through the Washington Immunization Information System (WIIS).</li> <li> <strong> Are there plans in place for mass vaccination sites?</strong> The Department of Health says that mass vaccination plans are in process.</li> </ol> <p> For questions about the enrollment process or for technical assistance, contact <a href=""></a>. </p> <h3> Volunteers needed for mass vaccination clinics </h3> <p> The state is calling for more clinician volunteers to assist with its COVID-19 response, including mass vaccination clinics. Register with the <a href="">Washington State Emergency Registry of Volunteers</a> (WAserv) to partner with public health and others who need assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. </p> <h3> Finishing Phase 1A </h3> <p> This week, the Department of Health called on all workers in health care settings to get their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. The DOH is asking workers in health care settings to use its Phase Finder tool at <a href=""></a> to locate a vaccine provider site and to confirm eligibility when presenting at the site. </p> <p> Phase Finder will launch broadly on Jan. 18. The tool will be available in multiple languages and is intended to be used to provide eligibility confirmation on site. </p> <p> Local health jurisdictions and some county medical societies are assisting in the vaccine rollout. Check your <a href="">local health jurisdiction website </a> and your <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/Partner_Organizations/County_Medical_Societies/WSMA/About/Partner_Organizations/County_Medical_Societies/County_Medical_Societies.aspx">county medical society website</a> for information. If you would like WSMA's help getting connected with your local hospital to get you and your staff vaccinated, <a href="">complete our clinic form</a>. (Note: If you are in King County, fill out this <a href="">King County Medical Society form</a>.) </p> <p> The Department of Health has clarified that some communities may move into phase 1B before other communities have finished 1A, in recognition of the differing makeup and needs of localities. For in-depth guidance for all released phases, see the Department of Health's <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization Guidance and Interim Allocation Framework</a> or visit their <a href="">COVID-19 vaccine webpage</a>. </p> <h3> More information </h3> <p> While information and guidance are developing daily, the WSMA is meeting regularly with the Department of Health, the Washington State Hospital Association, and other stakeholders to assist with the largest mass vaccination effort in recent history. If you have additional questions, reach out to <a href=""></a>. </p> </div>6/3/2021 3:50:44 PM1/15/2021 4:29:00 PM1/15/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_january_4_2021_a_new_year_new_opportunitiesWeekly Rounds: January 4, 2021 - A New Year, New OpportunitiesWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_january_4_2021_a_new_year_new_opportunities<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>January 1, 2021</h5> <h2>A New Year, New Opportunities</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> Reflecting on this most unusual of years - though obviously full of challenges - I'm a bit surprised to find a silver lining to inform my New Year's resolution. </p> <p> In the "beforetimes," I rarely worked from home, my calendar was full of cross-country travel, and important meetings were held in person. Had it not been for COVID-19 universally upending our world, we wouldn't have had such a radical transformation in how we do business. That sea change allowed me more time for family, even while I was working around the clock. I also learned that if we're willing to do things differently - for example, doing a meeting via Zoom rather than flying to meet in person - it's possible to do both. </p> <p> And so, my resolution for this brand new - and hopefully, brighter - year is to embrace the acceptance and openness to do things differently. </p> <p> What about you? I know we've all had to adapt to these new times we're in. I hope as you consider how you might do things differently in 2021 that you'll consider these "investment" ideas for your New Year's resolutions. </p> <ol> <li><strong>Invest in a brighter future</strong>: WSMA's ability to follow our mission to improve the medical profession is fueled by the membership investment you make with us. When you partner with us, we are enabled to raise the physician voice with the clout associated with being the <em>largest physician association in the state</em>. We are part of the highest-level health care conversations because of our size, credibility, influence, and stature within the health care community. As policymakers grapple with complex issues that impact patients and health care, it is the WSMA that brings forth the unique clinical view that only a physician can provide. I hope you will resolve to <a href="">renew your membership</a> today!</li> <li><strong>Invest in the profession</strong>: Next week, the January/February issue of <em>WSMA Reports</em> will be in your mailbox. Within its pages, you'll read about how the challenges of 2020 will shape the 2021 legislative session. This year's session will be conducted remotely, with many legislators remaining in their districts as they convene to shape new laws and regulations via Zoom. WSMA's Legislative Summit offers members an opportunity to hear insights about how the pandemic is impacting state policy, as well as the downstream impacts on the profession and health care in general. We'll also provide a briefing on legislative and budget policy issues that will set you up for more constructive outreach with your elected officials, particularly on items critical to the profession and patients. Mark your calendar for Feb. 9 at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom. The Summit is free to all members. <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/WSMA/Events/WSMA_Legislative_Summit/Legislative_Summit.aspx">Find out more here</a>.</li> <li><strong>Invest in yourself</strong>: The WSMA is committed to your professional development, particularly enhancing and building your leadership skills, regardless of where you are in your career or the type or size of your organization. Our <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Physician_Leadership/WSMA/Physician_Leadership/Physician_Leadership.aspx">Center for Leadership Development</a> offers multiple opportunities to develop your leadership skills without taking time away from your practice. This year, we are also launching a new quality improvement course to help our members lead in the transformation of care. Many physicians did not receive training in medical school on how to lead quality improvement. But with this training, physicians can acquire the skills to guide their organizations to deliver safe and effective care. Let this be the year you take advantage of these educational opportunities.</li> </ol> <p> As we embark on a new year, one thing will not change: The WSMA will remain committed to aggressively advocating for you, our members, at the highest levels of influence so that we can continue to advance strong physician leadership and advocacy that shapes the future of medicine and improves quality care for all Washingtonians. </p> <p> Here's to 2021. Happy New Year! </p> </div>6/3/2021 3:53:38 PM1/4/2021 12:53:08 PM1/1/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_december_18_2020_covid_19_vaccines_arrive_in_washington_stateWeekly Rounds: December 18, 2020 - COVID-19 Vaccines Arrive in Washington StateWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_december_18_2020_covid_19_vaccines_arrive_in_washington_state<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>December 18, 2020</h5> <h2>COVID-19 Vaccines Arrive in Washington State</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> So much of this past year has made history, but surely nothing has been more historic than the rapid development of a COVID-19 vaccine in mere months. Considering that vaccines for mumps, yellow fever, typhoid fever, smallpox, and others took years to develop, seeing the first COVID-19 vaccines in our state being administered this week is nothing short of a minor miracle. </p> <p> I know all of our members are following these developments closely, but I wanted to summarize a few things here that you need to know. </p> <p> With COVID-19 vaccines now on the ground in Washington state, initial allocations of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are on their way to selected health care facilities and FDA authorization is expected for a Moderna vaccine shortly. </p> <p> The WSMA continues to work closely with the state to help inform its efforts, including providing input on the state's interim COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, hosting public health leaders and physician experts in our member education efforts, and coordinating with health care stakeholders to help instill confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccines and ensure successful and equitable distribution and administration. </p> <p> The Washington State Department of Health released Phase 1A of the COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Guidance on Dec 10. Phase 1A focuses on vaccinating two groups: </p> <ul> <li>High-risk workers in health care settings and high-risk first responders.</li> <li>Residents and staff of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other community-based, congregate living settings where people over 65 are getting care or assistance.</li> </ul> <p> The DOH estimates around 500,000 people in Washington will be eligible for the vaccine in Phase 1A. For more specific information, please see the <a href="">WA State COVID-19 Allocation Guidance for Phase 1A PDF</a>. The DOH will make decisions on who will be vaccinated in later phases based on guidance made by the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. </p> <p> For an overview of the state's vaccine distribution plan, see the Washington State Interim COVID-19 Vaccination Plan available on the <a href="">DOH website</a>. The plan is a living document and will change over time as we learn more about the vaccines and figure out the most equitable way to protect people. </p> <p> <strong>The DOH recommends that outpatient practices not affiliated with a hospital enroll as a COVID-19 vaccine provider as soon as possible.</strong> <a href="">Complete enrollment information is available here</a>. According to the DOH, enrollment will allow practices to get the vaccine directly and administer it to their patients and staff. For clinics needing less than 100 doses, the DOH recommends partnering with another practice nearby for the purposes of vaccinating staff. </p> <p> Some hospitals will be setting up "pods" to vaccinate outpatient workers. Hospitals operating a pod will be required to designate themselves as such. Reach out to your local hospital today to learn about their plans for vaccinating outpatient health care workers. </p> <p> The Department of Health is continually gathering feedback on the COVID-19 vaccination process. Visit the <a href="">DOH website</a> to learn more about engagement efforts and how to provide feedback. </p> <p> I never cease to be amazed at the creativity, tenacity, and commitment of the medical profession and the physicians who care for us all. That includes each of you. Thank you! </p> </div>6/3/2021 4:17:05 PM12/18/2020 9:55:15 AM12/18/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_december_4_2020_pierce_county_concerns_other_covid_19_news_for_physiciansWeekly Rounds: December 4, 2020 - Pierce County Concerns, Other COVID-19 News for PhysiciansWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_december_4_2020_pierce_county_concerns_other_covid_19_news_for_physicians<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>December 4, 2020</h5> <h2>Pierce County Concerns, Other COVID-19 News for Physicians</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> Public health officers across our state and country have been on the front lines of the worst pandemic in recent history and have come under intense political, and sometimes personal, pressure and attacks. This troubling pattern has caused many communities to be <a href="">without sound leadership</a> as they face an ever-increasing number of COVID-19 cases on top of the other necessary and needed responsibilities of local public health - food worker safety, immunizations and infectious diseases, clean water, and child and family health among them. </p> <p> In the latest development, the Pierce County Council will consider a deeply troubling proposal to terminate the interlocal agreement between the City of Tacoma and Pierce County that established the joint Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. </p> <p> The <a href="">ordinance being considered</a> by the council is hasty, poorly timed, and could have severe negative consequences on public health. The WSMA strongly agrees with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department's <a href="">response</a> that "efforts that divide our attention from this critical public health response are an unfortunate distraction." </p> <p> Now, during the worst public health crisis in more than a century, is not the time to distract Pierce County's public health leaders from taking care of the health and well-being of their constituents. </p> <p> The first hearing on the resolution is Dec. 7 with a planned final vote scheduled for Dec. 15. Please <a href="[@]WSMA/Advocacy/Take_Action/Call_to_Action.aspx">call and email your council member today</a> and urge them to oppose this proposal. </p> <h3>Proclamation update</h3> <p> Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee issued updated requirements for the continued performance of non-urgent health care services, procedures, and surgeries. <a href="" target="_blank">Proclamation 20-24.2</a> allows health care facilities, practices, and practitioners to provide non-urgent health care services if the facilities, practices, and practitioners act in good faith and with reasonable clinical judgment to meet specific criteria and making certain considerations, as detailed in <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/COVID-19_Clinical_Guidance_and_Testing/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/COVID-19_Clinical_Guidance_and_Testing/covid_19_clinical_guidance_and_testing.aspx">WSMA guidance issued to members</a>. </p> <p> The governor's proclamation is effective Dec. 3 through the end of the state of emergency, or until it is rescinded or updated. </p> <p> Be sure to familiarize yourself with the new proclamation by reading WSMA's guidance materials available from our <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/COVID-19_Clinical_Guidance_and_Testing/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/COVID-19_Clinical_Guidance_and_Testing/covid_19_clinical_guidance_and_testing.aspx">COVID-19 Professional Resources webpage</a>. If you have questions on these resources or what the proclamation means for you and your practice, contact the WSMA policy department at <a href=""></a>. </p> <h3>Telemedicine payment parity</h3> <p> Last month, the Legislature granted a brief extension - through Dec. 7 - of Gov. Jay Inslee's proclamation temporarily requiring telemedicine payment parity. Similarly, the Office of the Insurance Commissioner extended its emergency order to health insurers expanding telehealth and other coverages until Dec. 11, including requiring all state-regulated carriers to permit and reimburse for care provided over non-HIPAA-compliant platforms, including video chat applications and telephones. </p> <p> We continue to advocate for these policies to be extended - for the governor's proclamation, through the end of the year, which is when the provisions of Senate Bill 5385, permanently requiring payment parity from state-regulated health plans, take effect. For the OIC emergency order, for the duration of the public health crisis. We should hear if these orders are extended further next week - the next extension of the governor's payment parity order would presumably go through the end of the year, with SB 5385 taking effect on Jan. 1. </p> <h3>Enroll your practice in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program</h3> <p> According to the <a href="">DOH briefing</a> on Wednesday, Dec. 2, facilities enrolled in the state's <a href="">COVID-19 Vaccination Program</a> by Dec. 6 will be eligible to receive doses from the initial allotment, expected potentially as early as mid-December. To enroll your practice or facility, you must simply initiate the process by completing the <a href="" target="_blank">provider inquiry form</a>. The DOH has shared a <a href="" target="_blank">COVID-19 provider agreement enrollment guide</a> to help guide physicians and providers through the enrollment process, as well as a <a href="" target="_blank">provider preparation checklist</a>. For questions about the enrollment process or for technical assistance, please contact <a href=""></a>. </p> <p> As a benefit of membership, WSMA members may also contact the WSMA's policy team with questions or support on the state's rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine. Email <a href=""></a> with your questions. </p> <h3>Invitation to join PPE group buy</h3> <p> With the heightened need for vetted and affordable PPE due to the novel coronavirus, a public-private collaborative group of local health care associations and organizations has come together to purchase high-quality PPE as a group. (Learn more about the purchasing co-op on the <a href="">OneHealthPort website</a>.) </p> <p> The WSMA is inviting our members to join in a group buy for the following: </p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank">BYD NIOSH approved N95 respirators</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">3-ply surgical masks - ASTM Level 3</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Level 3 surgical gowns (sterile)</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Level 3 surgical gowns disposable (non-sterile)</a></li> </ul> <p> Don't delay; the deadline to submit your order is fast approaching. For more details, visit the <a href="">WSMA website</a>. </p> <h3>Adult flu vaccine doses available</h3> <p> Through the aid of a CDC grant, the Washington State Department of Health is now offering <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20200813/covid_19_adds_urgency_to_preparations_for_flu_season">additional adult flu vaccine doses</a> for un- and under-insured individuals. These adult doses will be distributed to physicians and providers participating in the state's adult vaccine program. To enroll, complete the provider agreement form located in Appendix A of the <a href="" target="_blank">Adult Vaccine Program User Manual</a>. Email <a href=""></a> for details. </p> <h3>COVID-19 patient education material</h3> <p> The WSMA continues to make available to our members multilingual resources on the state's Safer Gatherings campaign, plus a new poster created by one of our members - a "Rosie the Riveter"-style poster encouraging mask wearing (it's great!). Go to our <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/COVID-19_Patient_Education/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/COVID-19_Patient_Education/covid_19_patient_education.aspx?hkey=1883b646-8a34-48dc-926d-c9711850a7cd&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=1vTH7">COVID-19 Patient Education webpage</a> to download these materials for use in your office or on your social media channels. Also, while you're there, don't miss a new AMA-produced public service announcement co-branded with the WSMA as part of our #MaskUp public awareness campaign - the PSA carries the message of "3 simple steps you can take to stop the spread of COVID-19." <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/COVID-19_Patient_Education/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/COVID-19_Patient_Education/covid_19_patient_education.aspx?hkey=1883b646-8a34-48dc-926d-c9711850a7cd&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=1vTH7">Take a look and let us know what you think</a>. </p> <h3>Call for physicians fluent in other languages</h3> <p> To reach more populations and cultures with important health messages, the WSMA is looking for physicians fluent in non-English languages who would be interested in helping us on our public education initiatives (COVID-19 and otherwise). If you are interested in volunteering your time to help the WSMA enhance its patient outreach to non-English-speaking communities, please contact Graham Short at <a href=""></a>. </p> <h3>Get your flu shot</h3> <p> While flu activity in Washington is low, the WSMA continues its Be Safe. Be Smart. Get Your Flu Shot. campaign to encourage flu vaccination. As part of our targeted media and community outreach, we recently distributed to Yakima-area media and stakeholders two PSAs featuring WSMA 1st Vice President Katina Rue, DO, a <a href="">30-second version</a> designed for social/broadcast media, and a <a href="">60-second version</a> designed for websites. And don't miss WSMA board member Monica Blykowski-May, MD, who was featured in <a href="">two Spokane</a> <a href="">area papers</a> sending our topline messages. </p> <p> Remember to leverage the trust patients have in their physicians and be sure to get your flu shot - and let your patients know. </p> </div>6/3/2021 4:17:44 PM12/4/2020 3:03:51 PM12/4/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_november_23_2020_the_wsma_mattersto_youWeekly Rounds: November 23, 2020 - The WSMA YouWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_november_23_2020_the_wsma_mattersto_you<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>November 23, 2020</h5> <h2>The WSMA You</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> During times of chaos and change, WSMA is your steady hand. </p> <p> As you grapple with trying to treat your patients, contain a virus, and protect your own health and well-being, the WSMA is behind the scenes working to protect your interests. We are: </p> <ul> <li>Working with the governor's office and Department of Health to ensure that we can continue to provide care to patients when it is needed.</li> <li>Amplifying a science- and evidence-based approach to combatting this virus.</li> <li>Working to ensure that policymakers understand the benefits of telemedicine payment parity and that carriers are complying with the law.</li> <li>Giving a voice and a face to a medical community that is sacrificing its own financial viability in order to protect their staff and patients, while complying with new orders.</li> </ul> <p> I could go on and on about the ways in which WSMA supports you, advocates for you, and influences change for you…but I know you're busy, so I'll keep this short. </p> <p> What I do want to say is whether we are working behind the scenes or front and center, the work we do directly benefits every single physician in this state. </p> <p> Ever since 1996 when I joined the WSMA, my job has been to convince you to <a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Join_Renew/Join_Renew.aspx?hkey=37a820cf-9d05-4812-b9dd-c29b9a75356d&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=pN6G7">renew your membership</a> in WSMA. After the year we've had and all the work we've done together, my hope is that WSMA's value proposition is more clear than ever! </p> <p> This is about survival. The survival and well-being of your patients, your practice, your profession, and your sanity. It is about preserving science, evidence, and public health. It is about keeping your doors open - literally - and preserving your ability to practice your craft while keeping your patients and community safe. </p> <p> It's also about partnership. The work we do is enabled by the membership investment you make with us. And when you partner with us, we are enabled to raise up your voice with the clout carried by being the largest physician association in this state. We are part of the highest-level health care conversations because of our size, our credibility, our influence, and our stature within the community. </p> <p> And our work is far from over. We need your support and engagement as Washington eventually moves from the combat zone to recovery. Soon the Legislature will convene, and COVID-19 recovery and the state's budget will be the primary topics of debate. We must be ready to advance an agenda for medicine's recovery, to ensure that patients have access to a physician when they need one, and to take lessons learned and apply them in a meaningful way to improve care delivery, efficiency, a better public health system, and financially viability for all practices regardless of size or specialty. </p> <p> Thank you in advance for your continued support of WSMA. </p> </div>6/3/2021 4:18:06 PM11/23/2020 9:49:55 AM11/23/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_november_5_2020_2020_election_update_excitement_but_no_immediate_resolutionWeekly Rounds: November 5, 2020 - 2020 Election Update: Excitement, but No Immediate ResolutionWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_november_5_2020_2020_election_update_excitement_but_no_immediate_resolution<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-Sean-Graham-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds with Sean Graham" /></div> <h5>November 5, 2020</h5> <h2>2020 Election Update: Excitement, but No Immediate Resolution</h2> <p> Sean Graham, Director of Government Affairs </p> <p> Election Day has come to a close, but the race that's at the top of the ticket and the front of everyone's mind remains unsettled, with the presidential election looking like it will take time to untangle. It's not the clean resolution that the record number of Americans who turned out for the election were hoping for, but it's also no surprise given the multiple modes of voting and ballot counting and reporting utilized across the country. </p> <p> The pandemic that has permeated all aspects of our lives has played a significant part in the election, both in terms of who folks voted for and how they cast their votes. Washington state transitioned to all-mail voting nearly 10 years ago, but other states have had to make significant changes to allow for more early and absentee voting. A number of swing states chose to tabulate ballots received before Election Day after the fact, leaving pundits to guess at how those votes will ultimately trend. </p> <p> Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was preaching "patience" on election night, saying he expects to win the race as votes are counted in the coming days. President Donald Trump spoke later, lamenting the delay in victory being declared for his campaign, making unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud, and threatening to pursue legal action to halt additional votes from being counted. </p> <p> The picture at the state level is clearer—if anything, it's more complete than we're accustomed to seeing on Election Day due to early turnout. Results have already been tabulated for more than 68% of our state's registered voters, representing an increase of one million votes more than the number tabulated at this point in the process in 2016. Many votes have yet to be counted and things will surely shift, but here's a look at where things stood in our state at the end of Election Day. </p> <p> There were no surprises in statewide races, with most incumbents cruising to reelection by wide margins. That includes Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson, both of whom are garnering nearly 60% of the vote, and Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, at nearly 68%. Denny Heck looks poised to win the open-seat race for lieutenant governor that was a contest between two Democrats. The lone incumbent likely to be upset is Treasurer Duane Davidson, a Republican who is trailing Democratic challenger Mike Pellicciotti 56-44. </p> <p> Of Washington's 10 congressional seats, WSMA's focus was on the reelection campaign of Rep. Kim Schrier, the Issaquah Democrat who, as a pediatrician, is the only physician in higher office in our state. Rep. Schrier is staked to a solid 54-46 lead in the 8th Congressional District, a swing district that spans I-90 from Issaquah to Ellensburg. In the intraparty open-seat race for the 10th Congressional District centered on Olympia, Democrat Marilyn Strickland is handily winning. Incumbents lead in the rest of the state's congressional races. </p> <p> The dynamic in the state Legislature will likely be similar to what we've seen over the last two years, where Democrats have enjoyed wide majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives. As things stand, Democrats would increase their Senate majority by one seat to 29-20 and would pick up two more seats in the House to move to 59-39. </p> <p> A number of state legislative races are too close to call, however, particularly given how sky-high turnout may disrupt the voting patterns we're used to seeing. While pre-election predictions varied considerably based on who you talked to, Olympia insiders who follow campaigns closely were projecting results in line with how things are shaping up. Key legislative races WSMA is watching include: </p> <ul> <li>Senate <ul> <li>28th District: Republican Sen. Steve O'Ban is trailing Democratic challenger T'wina Nobles by around 2,000 votes in this Pierce County contest that will likely tighten as late votes are counted. O'Ban is the lead Republican on the Senate Health Care Committee.</li> <li>5th District: An intraparty contest in the Issaquah area has moderate Democrat Sen. Mark Mullet trailing more progressive challenger Ingrid Anderson by less than 1,000 votes. While the seat will remain in the hands of Democrats either way, the outcome will influence the tenor of the Senate.</li> </ul> </li> <li>House of Representatives <ul> <li>The state's few remaining "split" districts where each party controls one state House seat all look to be consolidating into single-party rule. Democrats are poised to pick up a seat in Whatcom County's 42nd District and the 10th District centered on Stanwood, turning both districts blue. Conversely, Republicans will add a seat in southwest Washington's 19th District.</li> <li>One new split district may be created in Clark County's 17th Legislative District where Republican Rep. Paul Harris looks likely to be reelected, but a Democratic challenger is leading the Republican incumbent in the other seat. Rep. Harris was named WSMA's legislator of the year in 2019 for leadership on immunization legislation.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p> With so much at stake for patients, physicians, and health policy, WSMA will continue to monitor election results closely and will provide continued analysis on the implications for the house of medicine in the weeks to come. Through engagement in campaigns via our non-partisan political arm, WAMPAC, we have already made connections with many of the elected officials who will be new to office in 2021. We'll also be looking to the physician community to engage directly with your state legislators, as next year's session is likely to be held remotely, precluding many of the traditional avenues for access in Olympia. </p> <p> For more information on election returns, visit the <a href="">website for the Secretary of State</a>. If you have questions about anything related to the election or would like to learn more about how you can engage with your elected officials, please contact WSMA's Director of Government Affairs, Sean Graham, at <a href=""></a>. </p> </div>6/3/2021 4:18:22 PM11/5/2020 9:24:59 AM11/5/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_october_30_2020_let_the_physician_voice_be_heard_vote_todayWeekly Rounds: October 30, 2020 - Let the Physician Voice be Heard: Vote TodayWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_october_30_2020_let_the_physician_voice_be_heard_vote_today<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>October 30, 2020</h5> <h2> Let the Physician Voice be Heard: Vote Today </h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> With election day looming next Tuesday, it feels like there's a lot that's up in the air. How will our country respond to the pandemic? Will the Supreme Court overturn the Affordable Care Act? What's next in terms of health care reform? Every four years we hear that this is the most important election of our lifetime, but if there ever was a time that was true, 2020 has to be the year. </p> <p> I was surprised and frankly dismayed by a <a href="">report in JAMA last week</a> that found that less than 50% of physicians vote. Granted, they were only looking at data from New York, Texas, and California, so I'd like to think that our state's participation rates would be higher. But based on the report, physicians in those states vote at a rate that's 14% lower than the general public, so we'd have to be doing quite a bit better for me to feel good about physician participation in elections! </p> <p> If you haven't voted or even registered to vote yet, the good news is it's not too late. You can check whether you're registered and find more information about how to vote on the <a href="">secretary of state's website</a>. If you're interested in information about how your state legislators voted on the bills most important to the house of medicine, check out our 2020 Legislator Report Card (available here under 2020 Legislative Report). And if you've got questions about anything pertaining to elections, you can contact WSMA's Director of Government Affairs Sean Graham at <a href=""></a>. </p> <p> As the returns come in on Tuesday, everyone's focus will understandably be on the presidential election. WSMA engages in races down the ballot and across the state through WAMPAC, our non-partisan political arm, so we'll be looking at things through a broader lens. Here are a few of the races we'll be watching closely: </p> <ul> <li><strong>8th Congressional District</strong> <ul> <li>This is the first reelection campaign for Rep. Kim Schrier, MD (D-Issaquah), a Virginia Mason pediatrician who is the only physician holding state or federal office in Washington. She faces a Republican challenger who is not well known, but the 8th is very much a swing district and pundits figure this race will be close.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>10th Congressional District </strong> <ul> <li>When the 10th Congressional District was created in 2012, it was designed to be a swing seat. But by a confluence of factors things have shifted so dramatically that this open seat race is an intraparty affair, with two Democrats facing off. Former Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland is running against state Rep. Beth Doglio, whose husband is a family physician.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Lieutenant governor </strong> <ul> <li>Another intraparty contest where Rep. Denny Heck (D-Olympia) is squaring off against state Sen. Marko Liias (D-Mukilteo). The lieutenant governor office is largely a ceremonial post, presiding over the state Senate and filling in for the governor when they're out of state. But it's drawn more focus this year due to speculation that Gov. Jay Inslee may find himself appointed to a federal position should Joe Biden be elected, hence the lieutenant governor would ascend, at least temporarily, to serve as governor.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>State Legislature </strong> <ul> <li>Democrats will likely retain control of the state House and Senate in Olympia, but what those majorities will look like and focus on is not yet clear. With 126 legislative races on the ballot across the state this year, it's difficult to distill things down to a digestible size. But there are two state Senate races that will have outsized influence on how things look in Olympia next year. <ul> <li>In the Issaquah-area 5th Legislative District, moderate Democrat state Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah) is being challenged by Ingrid Anderson, a nurse who is a more progressive Democrat. Millions of dollars will be spent on the seat before all is said and done, with business groups favoring Mullet and labor unions supporting Anderson.</li> <li>In Pierce County's 28th Legislative District, state Sen. Steve O'Ban (R-University Place) is being challenged by T'wina Nobles, a Democrat who is president of the Tacoma Urban League. Health care policy has featured prominently in the race, in part due to O'Ban's position as the lead Republican on the Senate Health Care Committee.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p> I know some people feel as though their voice and vote don't matter, but the reality is, every vote counts. Sometimes a race is decided by the casting of just one vote. Let the physician voice be heard at the ballot box—take action to vote today! </p> </div>6/3/2021 4:18:39 PM10/30/2020 9:47:17 AM10/30/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_october_16_2020_together_we_are_an_oceanWeekly Rounds: October 16, 2020 - Together We Are an OceanWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_october_16_2020_together_we_are_an_ocean<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>October 16, 2020</h5> <h2>Together We Are an Ocean</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> While there are tempered signs of hope for a COVID-19 vaccine, we are far from out of the woods from the economic destruction that the pandemic has inflicted on our communities and our practices. As we move into fall, the WSMA continues to make financial stability a primary focus of our work. We need your help. As Ryunosuke Satoro wrote, "individually we are one drop, together we are an ocean." This message of unity concluded our <a href="">2020 year in review</a>, recently shown during our annual House of Delegates meeting, and serves as a précis of our work on behalf of the house of medicine: By bringing together the voices of Washington state's physicians, we can move forward policies and actions that make Washington the best place to practice medicine and to receive care. </p> <p> In the weeks ahead, we will be conducting a new practice financial health survey, as well as meeting with lawmakers in Olympia to discuss how the physician community is faring. More to come on those items, but for now, we need your help on the following: </p> <h3>Contact your congressional representatives to stop payment cuts</h3> <p> We <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_august_7_2020_the_good_and_the_bad_of_proposed_new_cms_rule">shared in August</a> that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published the 2021 Medicare physician fee schedule proposed rule, comprising numerous payment policy proposals - some of which are deeply concerning to the house of medicine. </p> <p> Most notably, CMS is restructuring and revaluing the office-based evaluation and management codes following broad changes made in 2019. While the proposal provides an increase in payments for primary care and other office-based services, the effect will result in drastic cuts - as high as 11% - to certain physician specialties. This is due to current law requiring any changes to the physician fee schedule to be budget neutral. </p> <p> H.R. 8505, introduced in Congress by Representatives Michael Burgess, MD, and Bobby Rush, would prevent pending Medicare payment cuts by waiving the budget neutrality requirements stipulated in the Social Security Act for the finalized E/M code proposal slated for implementation in January 2021. We understand other pieces of legislation are also in the works. </p> <p> The WSMA continues to express our concerns that adhering to existing budget neutrality requirements for implementing the new policy will generate sizeable cuts for various specialties. We urge you to join us in <a href="">contacting your member of Congress now</a>. Share with them that given the financial pressures many practices and medical groups are facing due to COVID-19, now is the time to implement any payment reductions. </p> <p> According to the AMA, nearly 200 members of the House of Representatives have indicated their support for mitigating the forthcoming payment cuts. Please contact your congressional representative today and urge continued collaboration and support of H.R. 8505 or another legislative remedy to stop forthcoming payment reductions generated by budget neutrality requirements. </p> <p> CMS is expected to release its final 2021 fee schedule rule by Dec. 1. </p> <h3>HHS announces additional Provider Relief Fund payments</h3> <p> The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that $20 billion in new funding will be available for physicians and providers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Eligible practitioners may apply for funding now through Friday, Nov. 6. </p> <p> Under this Phase 3 General Distribution allocation, physicians who have already received Provider Relief Fund payments will be invited to apply for additional funding that considers financial losses and changes in operating expenses caused by the coronavirus. HHS is making a large number of previously ineligible practitioners eligible for Phase 3 General Distribution funding, including: </p> <ul> <li>Physicians and providers who previously received, rejected, or accepted a General Distribution Provider Relief Fund payment. Physicians who have already received payments of approximately 2% of annual revenue from patient care may submit more information to become eligible for an additional payment.</li> <li>Behavioral health practitioners, including those who previously received funding and new providers.</li> <li>Physicians and health care providers who began practicing Jan. 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020. This includes Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, dentists, assisted living facilities, and behavioral health providers.</li> </ul> <p> HHS is urging all eligible practitioners to apply early; do not wait until the last day or week of the application period. Applying early will help to expedite HHS's review process and payment calculations, and ultimately accelerate the distribution of all payments. For more information on the methodology and application process, read the <a href="">press release</a>. </p> <h3>Premera PPE policy</h3> <p> Premera Blue Cross and its subsidiaries have made a determination to follow Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services guidelines and have been allowing for separate reimbursement for personal protective equipment over the past several months when billed appropriately. Premera will be following this practice through the end of October 2020. This policy applies to dates of service on or before Nov. 1, 2020. </p> <ul> <li>For dates of service after Nov. 1, Premera will consider such supplies to be included in the standard office visit reimbursement. Premera will no longer pay separately for such equipment but will resume the prior policy of considering such equipment to be part of the services covered under standard office visit codes. PPE will no longer be reimbursed as of dates of service on Nov. 1, 2020 and after.</li> <li>Practices should correctly code for PPE using HCPCS codes (A-series of codes) for coverage of gowns and masks. Premera notes that the "A" codes typically billed for such miscellaneous supplies are: <ul> <li>A4927 - Gloves, non-sterile</li> <li>A4928 - Surgical masks</li> <li>A4930 - Gloves, sterile</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p> Practices should submit their standard charges or acquisition costs for each visit, and each contract will either have a set fee (not to exceed billed charges) or a default percentage. All other "miscellaneous codes" billed will potentially incur a "denial," not for PPE, but for other reasons. Providers can access a copy of the policy on the <a href="">OneHealthPort website</a> (registration is required). </p> <p> Practices that were not aware of Premera's policy can be reimbursed for those PPE expenses if those charges were not included in claims already submitted. They would need to rebill per the above guidance for dates of service prior to Nov. 1, 2020. For any further clarifications, please contact your Premera provider service. Thank you to the Washington State Medical Group Management Association for providing this information. </p> <h3>Urge local legislators to support payment parity for virtual and audio visits</h3> <p> The Legislature has granted a brief extension - through Nov. 9 - of Gov. Jay Inslee's proclamation temporarily requiring telemedicine payment parity. While the WSMA was glad to see the proclamation extended, we continue to advocate for the policy to be extended through the end of the year, which is when the provisions of Senate Bill 5385, permanently requiring payment parity from state-regulated health plans, take effect. </p> <p> Similarly, the Office of the Insurance Commissioner has extended its emergency order to health insurers expanding telehealth and other coverages until Nov. 13, including requiring all state-regulated carriers to permit and reimburse for care provided over non-HIPAA-compliant platforms, including video chat applications and telephones. </p> <p> We need you to act: Please write your local legislators and urge them to: </p> <ul> <li>Extend the governor's telemedicine parity proclamation through Dec. 31, 2020.</li> <li>Call on the OIC to extend its emergency telemedicine order for the duration of the public health crisis.</li> <li>Share how both video visits and audio visits benefit your patients. Once the Legislature convenes WSMA will advocate for further permanent expansion of telehealth parity, including the use of audio-only visits.</li> </ul> <p> <a href="">Send a message to your legislators today</a>. </p> <h3>Don't forget to vote</h3> <p> Ballots for the general election on Nov. 3 are in the mail. As a reminder, online and mail registrations must be received eight days before Election Day on Oct. 26. At the end of every legislative session, the WSMA prepares a legislator "report card" to show how each legislator voted on WSMA's top-priority bills. Make sure to check out the <a href="[@]WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/WAMPAC.aspx">2020 Legislator Report Card</a>, which includes bills from both the 2019 and 2020 legislative sessions, while you are filling out your ballot to see how your local state legislators fared. </p> <p> In closing, please urge your patients to get their flu shots (and get one yourself). Facing a "twindemic" of flu plus COVID-19, WSMA has launched the Be Smart, Be Safe, Get Your Flu Shot campaign. The campaign is initially focusing on early vaccination, with <a href="">several</a> <a href="">op-eds</a> and <a href="">news stories</a> published, and a partnership with the Department of Health to offer patient awareness materials (in English and Spanish) for immunization partners to promote through their own communication channels. The WSMA has also been working with the DOH to alert practices on the availability of additional adult flu doses available this year for un- and under-insured individuals. It's not too late to enroll to receive these doses for your practice or clinic. Visit our new flu webpages at <a href="[@]flu"></a> to learn more, and to find resources to help your practice get the word out on the importance of getting vaccinated. </p> <p> In the coming weeks, we'll introduce new PSAs on the topic and we're continuing to work on getting media traction in communities throughout the state. More to come. </p> <p> With that, I'll conclude by sending warm wishes to you all here at the start of fall, and a heartfelt thank you to the extraordinary work you all do every day on behalf of Washington's patients. We are all in this together - and it is our unity that gives us strength. It's from that deep well that I draw courage, compassion, and hope, and I hope you do as well. Thank you </p> </div>6/3/2021 4:18:53 PM10/16/2020 9:26:20 AM10/16/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_september_29_2020_a_beacon_of_light_in_the_darknessWeekly Rounds: September 29, 2020 - A Beacon of Light in the DarknessWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_september_29_2020_a_beacon_of_light_in_the_darkness<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>September 29, 2020</h5> <h2>A Beacon of Light in the Darkness</h2> <p> <em>On Saturday at the virtual 2020 Annual Meeting of the WSMA House of Delegates, we inaugurated our incoming president, Nathan Schlicher, MD, JD. For those of you who couldn't be with us, we wanted you to have the opportunity to read an amended version of his speech, so he is our guest columnist this week for Weekly Rounds. You can also watch a video of <a href="">Dr. Schlicher's speech here</a>.<br /> - Jennifer Hanscom, WSMA CEO</em> </p> <p><strong>Nathan Schlicher, MD, JD, WSMA 2020-2021 incoming president's speech, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020.</strong></p> <p> Good morning colleagues and friends. It is a privilege to serve as your president of the Washington State Medical Association. I am honored to assume the post from my friend Bill Hirota and all the WSMA presidents with whom I’ve worked over the past nine years. </p> <p> In 2009, when I joined the WSMA as a newly minted emergency medicine physician, we were mired in the Great Recession. It seemed an inhospitable place for a young doctor as there were few jobs, existential threats of governmental regulation, and of the march of corporatization in health care. </p> <p> Those were uncertain times. </p> <p> But this year we faced a threat not seen for a hundred years. The coronavirus pandemic upended the practice of medicine and the broader world in unimaginable ways. Where we once happily gathered at concerts and theme parks, we now socially distance. Where we once shared hugs, smiles, and handshakes, now our facial expressions are masked. In a time when Snapchat and text messaging are preferred modes of communication, COVID compounded our isolation, increasing the distance between us, and eroding personal connections. And as COVID took so much away, it left many of us wondering where the light had gone. </p> <p> When the darkness overwhelmed the nation—it was health care heroes, physicians and nurses who stepped up to care for those in need. We provided care, we held the hands of the dying, we answered the call of our profession, in spite of the risk we faced. </p> <p> To all of you let me say this: Well done, heroes! In those moments of great challenge, I hope fear was met with hope and a sense of purpose. </p> <p> Now it’s time to look ahead. I see four key things that will make a difference in our future, and with WSMA’s help, we can make it happen. </p> <p> First, if we take anything from this pandemic, it’s that physicians must lead our health care system. As Peter Drucker said, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right thing.” We have too much management and not enough leadership in health care today. </p> <p> Physicians can serve in administration, while also working clinically. We can be both CEO and physician, medical director and doctor, CMO and practitioner. More than 50% of us are now employed by large groups—now is the time for the employed to lead. </p> <p> Here’s an example—during the early days of COVID, the medical executive committee met to discuss how to face this epidemic. A physician shared the challenges and fears his team faced as they wrestled with caring for their patients, while striving to keep their families safe. He described a plan to open tents, eliminate hallway beds, and encouraged cancelling of surgeries to make the space he needed to combat a pandemic. </p> <p> But the ever-present business impact of such decisions overrode the innovation. A non-physician leader noted the idea would be taken under consideration, but in that moment the feeling in that room was clear, we were not essential, we were expendable. </p> <p> That kind of thinking demonstrates perfectly the “iceberg of ignorance.” If you’re not familiar with the concept, it’s a knowledge gap study that reveals the higher up you are on the leadership ladder, the less you know. </p> <p> Physicians must lead the future and straddle the chasm of ignorance from the front line to the C-suite. Through the WSMA you can make this a reality by attending our Center for Leadership Development programming that promotes leadership development, governance education, and courses to help train the future generation. You are already leaders by being here today with the WSMA, but lets not stop here. Let’s take it to the top! </p> <p> Second: As we lead, let’s care for those we lead. An emergency physician who survived a near suicide event said: “When we witness trauma and death among the innocent, a little piece of my soul died. We’re never offered counseling and in the end, you get the jaded emergency doctor who struggles to care. My psychologist says it wasn’t just the last girl. It was trauma after trauma after trauma.” </p> <p> Like you, the patients I have lost remain with me. I can still close my eyes and feel room #12 where Haley died. I was a brand-new attending, three months out of residency, full of confidence, ready to conquer the world in another pandemic, the H1N1 pandemic. I remember intubating her while pulmonary edema filled her lungs and obscured my view, but I managed to sneak the tube in near blind. The cheers of the nurses faded as I saw her heart rate drop from 180 to 60. Her pulse was gone. I well remember those three hours, on and off again coding her, talking to her mom in the hall as she sat motionless in a hard-plastic chair, texting family on her old flip phone. We would get her to Mary Bridge for ECMO, but she would never make it, arresting one last time upon arrival. To this day, 12 years into my practice, it still brings tears to my eyes. </p> <p> With this pandemic we’ve seen death on a scale not seen in decades. Add its risk to us, to our families, add the moral injury of what we’re facing, and the stress on physicians is profound. Moral injury is the suffering people experience when we are in high-stakes situations, things go wrong, and harm results that challenges our deepest moral codes and ability to trust in others or ourselves. The harm may be something we did, something we witnessed, or something that was done to us. It results in moral emotions such as shame, guilt, self-condemnation, outrage, and sorrow. </p> <p> It is the type of sorrow and guilt that we know has resulted in the suicide death of colleagues, such as Dr. Lorna Breen, an emergency physician in Manhattan. She was one of the dedicated front-line workers who put her own health at risk, having contracted COVID personally, but going back to work 10 days later to help, once more, caring for those in need. Despite her training, her leadership as a medical director, and her supportive family, she could not reconcile the world in which she worked with the world in which she wanted to live. Her story is tragically not unique. </p> <p> We can’t simply yoga our way out of this problem. The WSMA is working hard to combat the epidemic of burnout and moral injury. We are pushing for real change by looking at the drivers of the problem. Administrative simplification and easing the work of running a practice remains a high priority of our Olympia team. The WSMA Foundation is leading a wellness initiative with PDSA cycles to improve the practice of medicine. And when we take our rightful place as the leaders of our health system, we will be the drivers of change that builds a robust and holistic system that cares for its doctors as well as its patients. </p> <p> Third: As we lead our way into a healthier future, we must reinvigorate passion for professionalism. When I started law school, our civil law professor, standing in the deep well of the auditorium of new 1L students, spoke in the deep baritone of professors past about the three learned professions: religion, law, and medicine. He noted how each held an important role not just because of the job they did, but because of their leadership in the community and the example they set through their actions. </p> <p> Each of the professions cared about the forgotten before themselves, seeking to serve rather than be served. They cared for parts of the human condition: the body (medicine), the soul (religion), and society (law). I believe that medicine has the power, and obligation, to work on body, soul, and society. </p> <p> I’m disillusioned with many in our profession when I see what they write on social media or how they speak to a colleague with whom they disagree. Civil discourse has gotten lost. We’ve become subject to the echo chamber effect of politics, religion, and science denialism. </p> <p> As the learned profession of medicine, we should be able to discuss the challenges of racism and acknowledge the differential experience of our African American colleagues, patients, and citizens, while respecting that most police officers are good people doing hard work in a challenging environment, as are we. As physicians we should be willing to speak about the increasing economic disparity in our communities and the risk it poses to our patients if they cannot afford care even while working two jobs. </p> <p> The WSMA is a beacon of civility in an uncivil world. Our Olympia efforts are not flashy, making threats or big burns in testimony. We do not rage or tweet against a bill, no matter how much it upsets us (can you say: naturopath scope of practice?). </p> <p> We will continue that standard of educated dialogue and reflect well on our profession. We will advocate to address the social determinants of health including racial disparities this year by supporting a Health Equity Continuing Medical Education Program. We will, with your approval today, start a Latinx Section in the WSMA to increase the representation of Latinx members and give a new conduit to their voice. </p> <p> If we are going to heal a divided nation that is far too isolated, we must lead through our actions together. I hope today as we discuss some of these challenging resolutions we will rise to that occasion as the first step on building a better future. </p> <p> Fourth: As we advocate for a more civil world, we must be scientists first. The American author Jim Butcher once wrote “The human mind isn't a terribly logical or consistent place. Most people, given the choice to face a hideous or terrifying truth or to conveniently avoid it, choose the convenience and peace of normality. That doesn’t make them strong or weak people, or good or bad people. It just makes them people.” </p> <p> In these times of COVID, it seems easier to accept illogical truths. I’ve been shocked to see physicians argue against masks, ignoring observational studies and mountains of historical evidence from other diseases. We’ve seen physicians trying to profiteer by minimizing the risk. Now there’s a neuroradiologist pushing debunked theories over the objection of the world class expert Dr. Anthony Fauci. Others on the front lines have given in to fatalism, believing that there is nothing we can do to prevent the disease, so why even try? </p> <p> Physicians must help lead a course correction. We understand the scientific method that guides trial and error, the ethical standards that limit our ability to certain types of studies, and how to review the quality of source materials. The WSMA provides Continuing Medical Education and promotes valid science. We advocate for sound public policy like the elimination of the personal exemption from the MMR vaccine and support DOH rules on mandatory masking in schools. We continue to advocate for the health and welfare impacts of climate change and the social determinants of health. But it is imperative that we lead these conversations with our patients, organizations, and colleagues in an honest, respectful way. </p> <p> If we do not confront the half-truths and mistruths with compassionate advocacy, we give them room to grow and breed. </p> <p> So this… my mentor in life was a wily old Methodist preacher whom I met when he was 77 and I was 11. He never shied away from controversial topics, choosing to lead with compassion and respect. When he gave a controversial sermon at Seattle’s First United Methodist Church in the ’80s and received hundreds of letters from “Christians” who wrote some of the most vile language you could imagine, he responded to each of them with compassion and love. When I gave my first homily at 13 and upset a church member who demanded a swift rebuke of this young man, Big David graciously said all were welcome in the church and when they threatened to leave, he wished them luck on their journey. </p> <p> He led by example, giving generously to those in need and challenging his privileged congregation to host Seattle’s Tent City on their church grounds. When the neighbors complained, at the age of 85 he limped around in his Ultrasuede jacket and bicycle socks, knocking on their doors, inviting them to sit in the pews with those they had condemned. And when he died at the age of 94, his closing lines on his life were simple, “I love you, thank you, I love you.” </p> <p> Like David, we must step forward to lead our health system, with professionalism and compassion, seeking the wellness of those we serve, and encouraging the pursuit of knowledge. I believe when we rise to this calling and become the beacon of light and embrace our professionalism, we give our life’s work purpose. </p> <p> It is not easy, it is not simple. We must choose to care for our neighbors and go the extra mile. We must choose to lean into leadership rather than be led. I believe that our future is bright if we stand together, defend our trade, and reinvigorate our profession. </p> <p> This is my pledge because I love what I do as a physician and I love you for what you do to care for our neighbors. </p> <p> Thank you. </p> </div>6/3/2021 4:19:28 PM9/29/2020 9:24:45 AM9/29/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_september_18_2020_your_voice_your_vote_it_all_mattersWeekly Rounds: September 18, 2020 - Your Voice, Your Vote - It All MattersWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_september_18_2020_your_voice_your_vote_it_all_matters<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>September 18, 2020</h5> <h2>Your Voice, Your Vote - It All Matters</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> As my middle son turns 18 on Monday, I can't help but wonder...where has the time gone? In some ways, it seems like only yesterday that instead of heading to the 2002 WSMA House of Delegates, I was on my way to Swedish to deliver my son. It's the only WSMA Annual Meeting I've missed in 24 years! </p> <p> Obviously, with the impact of COVID-19, this year's annual gathering will look different than years' past, as we move to an online meeting format. Even so, that hasn't tempered delegates' enthusiasm for discussing new policy at the WSMA. Thirty-eight resolutions will be debated during the annual meeting on Sept. 26-27. While only delegates can vote, all members are encouraged to share their opinions. You can do that in two ways: either by adding your comments to our password-protected <a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Discussion_Forums/Virtual_Reference_Committees/WSMA/Membership/Discussion_Forums/virtual_reference_committees.aspx">virtual reference committees</a> or by participating in the online event. Be sure to <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx">register in advance</a> to gain access to the special meeting platform. </p> <p> In addition to resolutions, several reports also have been submitted for review. Some of the reports are internal to the association, others are from external stakeholders. All can be viewed in the Delegate Handbook at <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx"></a>. </p> <p> If you are a voting delegate, note that this year we are showcasing all candidates nominated for office. To be as well-informed as possible, I urge you to review their materials in advance, in addition to watching their video speeches which are available via the WSMA <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx">Annual Meeting webpage</a> (look under BOT Elections). The House of Delegates will vote on candidates for office on Sunday, Sept. 27 </p> <p> Speaking of candidates, as my soon-to-be 18-year-old comes of age on Monday, he will also gain the right to vote. I hope he will duly embrace his civic duty, research candidates that reflect his values, views, and desires for leadership, and cast his vote effectively. </p> <p> That's my hope for you as well! I encourage you to research who you plan to support. And remember, WAMPAC produced a legislator report card (downloadable <a href="[@]WSMA/Advocacy/Legislative___Regulatory/WSMA/Advocacy/Legislative_Regulatory/Legislative_Regulatory.aspx">here</a>) that can help inform you about how your state legislators voted on issues that impact the profession and patients. This information is key to your decision-making as you strive to elect representatives who support the house of medicine. </p> <p> WSMA's government affairs and policy team is also hosting an Advocacy Council meeting to provide updates on the legislative and campaign landscape at noon on Friday, Sept. 25. We're excited to be joined by Senate Democratic Leader Andy Billig and House Republican Leader JT Wilcox, who will provide their insights on all things 2020. We will also share an update on WAMPAC's campaign activities and preview how the election may impact WSMA's 2021 legislative priorities. </p> <p> The meeting will be held via Zoom and <a href="">registration is required</a>. You will receive a confirmation email containing the Zoom information after completing the registration. </p> <p> Another way to help ensure that the profession has solid representation in the state Legislature is to support our political action committee. WAMPAC is the nonpartisan campaign arm of WSMA that builds relationships and connections between our members and their elected officials. The start of that connection is via a donation - whether a one-time donation or an ongoing commitment, we urge you to give today so that we can advance an advocacy agenda that bolsters the profession and improves patient care throughout Washington. Your contribution really does make a difference. I hope you'll consider <a href="[@]WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/Give_to_WAMPAC/WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/Give_to_WAMPAC.aspx">joining the Diamond Club or contributing to our $20 for 2020 campaign</a>. </p> <p> At the congressional level, WSMA's priority race is Rep. Kim Schrier, the Issaquah pediatrician who's running for re-election for the first time. Rep. Schrier bested a crowded field in the primary election and has advanced to the general against a challenger who is not well-known; however, the 8th Congressional District is a swing district and the race will likely be close. Rep. Schrier needs the continued support of the physician community and has received contributions from the AMA's political action committee and several other physician organizations. You can support Rep. Schrier by visiting her <a href="">campaign website</a>. </p> <p> In the 10th Congressional District seat currently held by Rep. Denny Heck, former Tacoma mayor Marilyn Strickland and current state House Rep. Beth Doglio are facing off in the general election. Rep. Doglio is married to WSMA member Dr. Eddy Cates. </p> <p> The governor's race is at the top of the ticket for statewide campaigns. Gov. Jay Inslee will go up against Loren Culp, a conservative Republican from Ferry County. In other statewide races of interest to WAMPAC, Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler will be heavy favorites in the general election. And in the race for lieutenant governor, the aforementioned Denny Heck will face off against fellow Democrat Marko Liias in November. </p> <p> With all the unexpected events this year, there is a lot to consider as we all head to the polls on Nov. 3. If you have questions about anything related to campaigns or would like to get more involved, contact WSMA Government Affairs Director Sean Graham at <a href=""></a>. </p> <p> Most importantly, remember to vote early and get those ballots in the mail. Every vote matters! </p> </div>6/3/2021 4:19:11 PM9/18/2020 9:06:13 AM9/18/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_september_5_2020_contact_congress_this_labor_day_weekendWeekly Rounds: September 5, 2020 - Contact Congress This Labor Day WeekendWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_september_5_2020_contact_congress_this_labor_day_weekend<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>September 5, 2020</h5> <h2>Contact Congress This Labor Day Weekend</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> Are you feeling a little nostalgic this Labor Day weekend, remembering past family barbeques, local street fairs and markets, or attending a local pancake breakfast fundraiser for your local legislators or members of Congress? Regardless of many of these events being cancelled, it's still important to use this time to raise up your voice on issues that impact you and your profession. </p> <p> Your congressional representatives are now in your area and they need to hear from you on two critical issues before they return to Washington, D.C., after the holiday weekend. </p> <h3>COVID-19 relief package</h3> <p> With Congress currently gridlocked over the next relief package, they need to hear from you about what you need in order to keep your practices open so patients can continue to receive care. The American Medical Association Physician Grassroots Network has provided tools for arranging meetings via phone or videoconferencing technology —see this <a href="">AMA advocacy update</a>. Here are the messages that need to be communicated: </p> <ul> <li>Continue the expansion of, and add flexibility to, the Medicare Accelerated and Advanced Payments Program.</li> <li>Better address Medicare and Medicaid payment policy to account for the lack of positive updates.</li> <li>Include direct financial support to help sustain physician practices through the COVID-19 crisis.</li> <li>Permanently lift the geographic and site restrictions on telehealth technologies so all Medicare beneficiaries have access to telehealth services.</li> <li>Institute broader liability protection for physicians.</li> <li>Provide federal assistance for the purchase of PPE.</li> </ul> <h3>Urge congressional action to halt Medicare payment cuts</h3> <p> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has published the 2021 Medicare physician fee schedule proposed rule, comprising numerous payment policy proposals—some of which are deeply concerning to the house of medicine. </p> <p> Most notably, CMS is restructuring and revaluing the office-based evaluation and management (E/M) codes, following broad changes made in 2019. While the proposal provides an increase in payments for primary care and other office-based services, the effect will result in drastic cuts—as high as 11%—to certain physician specialties. This is due to current law requiring any changes to the physician fee schedule to be budget neutral. </p> <p> This weekend, take a moment to urge your congressional representative to waive the budget neutrality requirements stipulated in Section 1848(c)(2) of the Social Security Act before the final E/M code proposal is implemented on Jan. 1, 2021. This much-needed action by Congress, for inclusion in any forthcoming legislative package, will provide a critical reprieve for physicians and a broad scope of health care professionals facing substantial payment reductions in the coming months. </p> <p> <a href="">Learn more and take action</a>. </p> <p> In honor of the Labor Day holiday, just a few brief words of gratitude. As your professional society, we are deeply grateful for the sacrifices each of you has made, and continue to make each day, on behalf of Washington's patients and Washington state communities. Your work is valued, respected, and upheld in every moment of our work on your behalf—it's why we do what we do. </p> <p> Respect for the value of the work you do motivates and informs our work, and also helps create good health care policy at both the state and national levels. As we head into the long weekend, we hope you find some much-needed respite and relaxation. </p> </div>6/3/2021 4:19:40 PM9/8/2020 9:05:58 AM9/5/2020 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_august_21_2020_its_back_to_school_timeWeekly Rounds: August 21, 2020 - It's Back-to-School TimeWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_august_21_2020_its_back_to_school_time<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>August 21, 2020</h5> <h2>It's Back-to-School Time</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> Recently, I had to share the news with my boys that their school will be remote through the end of the first quarter, if not longer. They were pretty devastated. The novelty of not attending school has worn off and they're eager to reconnect with friends and do normal high school activities. </p> <p> I know the launch of this new school year is on the minds of many of us, <a href="">doctors included</a>. With most of Washington's schools utilizing a remote learning environment, parents are not only grappling with the logistics of having their kids at home, they're also concerned about the long-term ramifications, as well as the social isolation. </p> <p> We asked child psychiatrist Avanti Bergquist, MD, to tackle the topic in our latest WSMA public service announcement. In the video, she offers tips on how best to cope as parents and school-age children experience anxiety at the start of the school season. <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/COVID-19_Patient_Education/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/COVID-19_Patient_Education/covid_19_patient_education.aspx">Click here</a> to see the PSA and share it with your friends. </p> <p> Since the onset of COVID-19, we've been producing these PSAs as part of our mission to provide the best care for patients. We encourage you and/or your medical group to share these messages via your personal or practice's social media channels. </p> <p> We've also produced a number of COVID-19-related resources, including graphics for your use to help encourage patients to mask up. Take a moment to download these resources <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/COVID-19_Patient_Education/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/COVID-19_Patient_Education/covid_19_patient_education.aspx">here</a> and feel free to make them available as posters or social media graphics. </p> <p> While you're on our website, don't miss the various educational offerings we offer to our members. These continuing professional development opportunities are convenient and readily available for your lifelong learning journey. </p> <h3>WSMA education on COVID-19 and health equity</h3> <p> Given that COVID-19 will impact the medical community for the foreseeable future, we convened a Virtual Grand Rounds mini-series to focus on the evolution of the disease, management of COVID-19 patients, and our state's response to the pandemic—with an emphasis on what front-line physicians need to know. WSMA brings you the state's public health leaders—Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, MD, Kathy Lofy, MD, and Charissa Fotinos, MD—for free sessions that will offer the latest information on COVID-19 that directly impacts you, your practice, and your patients. Guest speakers will share their expertise as well. The format includes 45 minutes of content and 30 minutes for a Q&A discussion with the speakers. Catch our recent COVID-19 sessions on demand <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Webinars_OnDemand/WSMA/Resources/Practice_Management/OnDemand/Webinars_OnDemand.aspx">here</a>; details on future sessions will be available on our website <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Upcoming_Webinars/WSMA/education/Upcoming_Webinars/Upcoming_Webinars.aspx">here</a>. </p> <p> The WSMA also recently launched a new <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Upcoming_Webinars/WSMA/education/Upcoming_Webinars/Upcoming_Webinars.aspx">webinar series on health equity</a>. The first in the series is titled "Cultural Agility: Creating Sustained Systemic Change in Health Care." This Continuing Professional Development webinar will educate physicians and physician assistants on the current state of health inequity, describe how the systems that were created impact patient care, and outline strategies to create lasting change within health care organizations. </p> <p> The second webinar, "LGBTQ Health Care," will educate physicians and physician assistants on strategies to align care delivery with existing evidence-based, culturally sensitive standards of care for LGBTQ people in Washington state to decrease health disparities. </p> <p> To register for our health equity sessions, visit the <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Upcoming_Webinars/WSMA/education/Upcoming_Webinars/Upcoming_Webinars.aspx">WSMA website</a>. </p> <h3>Leadership development</h3> <p> You may be aware of our popular <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Physician_Leadership/Physician_Leadership_Course/WSMA/Physician_Leadership/Physician_Leadership_Course/Physician_Leadership_Course.aspx">physician leadership</a> and <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/Physician_Leadership/Dyad_Leadership_Course/Dyad_Leadership_Course.aspx">dyad courses</a>. These in-depth leadership courses continue this fall via a live online learning environment. You can learn more <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Physician_Leadership/WSMA/Physician_Leadership/Physician_Leadership.aspx">here</a>. </p> <p> We are also launching several leadership seminars designed for graduates of the WSMA Physician Leadership Course. Seminars will provide in-depth exposure to the topics that were covered in the PLC, with an emphasis on skill development and practical application of leadership principles using role-playing, demonstrations, and case studies. All seminars will be held via Zoom and will range between half-day and full-day sessions depending on the seminar topic. </p> <p>Topics include:</p> <ul> <li>Communication is a Two-way Street: Tips on Shaping Your Message and Listening Effectively.</li> <li>The Art of Persuasion and Influence in Medical Leadership.</li> <li>Harness Your EQ to Change Culture and Influence Colleagues.</li> <li>Your Personal Leadership Style: The Key to Unlocking Versatility.</li> <li>Beyond the Basics: Building High Performing Teams.</li> <li>A Leader's Guide to Providing Feedback and Managing Conflict.</li> <li>Lessons from a CFO: How to Increase Your Financial I.Q.</li> </ul> <p> We intentionally design these efforts to support our members in their work and lives. I trust you'll find these resources helpful, and I hope you're surviving these back-to-school days in good health. </p> </div>6/3/2021 4:20:00 PM8/21/2020 10:22:34 AM8/21/2020 12:00:00 AM
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