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Healthy Doctors, Healthier Patients

WSMA’s Healthy Doctors, Healthier Patients initiative to improve physician satisfaction and decrease burnout seeks to reduce the administrative burdens that get in the way of providing optimal patient care.

Physicians have a clear mission: Provide the best quality of care possible for their patients. Yet the tsunami of regulations emanating from carriers, the state and federal levels generate significant and sometimes unintended consequences. Through our Healthy Doctors, Healthier Patients initiative, the WSMA is tackling administrative burdens with legislative, regulatory and market-based approaches. Learn more about our work on this page. And be sure to visit our Physician Wellness page for tools to help clinicians manage the stressors that place their emotional and physical well-being at risk.

The Healthy Doctors, Healthier Patients campaign is successful when we hear from you. Email Jeb Shepard, WSMA's associate director of health policy and regulatory affairs, at jeb@wsma.org with your feedback.

 

Dear Colleagues,

Just as physicians are responsible for the health and well-being of our patients, the WSMA has a responsibility to protect the health and well-being of our members, which is why the WSMA is launching the Healthy Doctors, Healthier Patients initiative.

Physicians struggling with stress and burnout are ill-equipped to meet IHI’s Triple Aim of better outcomes, improved patient experience and lower costs. A fourth component is needed—an improved clinician experience.

One of the ways Healthy Doctors, Healthier Patients will embrace this “Quadruple Aim” is by exposing and addressing everyday practice burdens and their impact on physicians, their clinical teams and patients. By decreasing administrative burdens, physicians will be better able to focus on what matters most: the health of their patients.

Healthy Doctors, Healthier Patients will also look at ways to combat burnout and keep physicians in the workforce as healthy, engaged and caring providers who have rich professional and personal lives and who are equipped to meet IHI’s Triple Aim.

We must take better care of ourselves. Fitness habits we begin today yield dividends for us tomorrow. Let’s challenge ourselves to improve our health and change our lives.

Ray Hsiao, MD, WSMA president (2015-16)

Healthy Doctors, Healthier Patients Successes

Take a look at what we've managed to achieve since the initiative's inception with your support—real, tangible change that will positively impact the practice of medicine in Washington state.

Prior authorization

Learn more on our dedicated webpage.

Physician credentialing

Learn more on our dedicated webpage.

Prescription monitoring program

In partnership with the WSHA, we brought forth successful legislation making it easier for groups of physicians to use the state’s prescription monitoring program and increasing incentives to boost participation. As a result:

  • The Department of Health is on track to make the state’s prescription monitoring program accessible to prescribers without a DEA license who prescribe legend drugs, extending access to this valuable prescribing data to approximately 14,000 additional providers.
  • The legislation authorizes clinics and facilities with five or more prescribing providers to register with the program on behalf of individual providers.
  • Interim measures currently allow facilities and clinics to send requests using the license of a medical director with an active Prescription Review account.

In our comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services regarding its proposed rule on MACRA (the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015), the WSMA urged CMS to give priority weight to all physician use of state prescription drug monitoring programs when calculating scores for the new Merit-Based Incentive Payment System, to increase financial incentives for physicians to use these important programs.

Smooth workflow

Workflows of clinics and facilities that use medical assistants to retrieve medication were at risk, due to a misinterpretation of language in the MA scope-of-practice statute. During the 2016 legislative session, we focused on minimizing unnecessary interruptions in practice operations. As a result:

  • Beginning June 1, 2016, the “administering” of a drug, including both retrieval and application of medication, by a medical assistant, is now in statute—meaning groups that use medical assistants to retrieve medication can retain their current workflows.

Mental health paperwork reduction

In 2017, the WSMA successfully supported House Bill 1819, requiring the Department of Social and Health Services to immediately review its behavioral health services documentation and paperwork requirements and eliminate duplication and inefficiencies, and, by April 2018, provide agencies a single set of streamlined regulations covering mental health, substance use disorder and co-occurring disorder treatments for children. The legislation provides administrative relief to physicians, removing barriers that prevent timely access to mental health services for children.

Disability parking permits

During the 2017 legislative session, the WSMA successfully supported House Bill 1515, increasing the number of ways health care practitioners can authorize disability parking permits. Legislation from 2014 had required health care practitioners authorizing disabled parking permits to use a prescription pad or paper. HB 1515, brought to legislators by the WSMA, modernizes the statute and eases administrative burden by allowing for authorization of parking permits on office letterhead or by electronic means. The Department of Licensing will establish rules governing electronic authorization.

Join the WSMA today