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WSMA Advocacy for Physicians During COVID-19

WSMA Advocacy for Physicians During COVID-19

Highlights, by date, of WSMA's advocacy at the state and federal level to assist the physician and health care community response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Washington.

May 14, 2020
Letter to the Washington State Legislature identifying four key priorities for physician practices as the state rebuilds - In anticipation of the first meeting of the Legislature's bipartisan Special Committee on Economic Recovery, the WSMA submitted a letter to state legislators detailing key policy priorities for physician practices that would help ensure they can keep their doors open and continue to treat patients.

May 13, 2020
Press release reporting physician practice successes and struggles in the transition to telemedicine during COVID-19 - The WSMA announces survey data on telemedicine use by practices in Washington state and urges policymakers to prioritize measures that facilitate the use of these remote care delivery models.

May 5, 2020
Press release announcing concerning results of new economic impact survey of physician practices - The WSMA announces the results of its latest economic impact survey of physician clinics in Washington state, illustrating the severe economic hardship many doctors' offices are facing during the COVID-19 crisis as they struggle to remain available to patients in the community.

April 29, 2020
Statement thanking governor for clarity on nonurgent care delay order - The WSMA thanks the governor for releasing an interpretive statement clarifying application of his nonurgent procedure delay order.

April 28, 2020
Press release urging governor to clarify nonurgent care delay order, provide liability protections - The WSMA urges Gov. Inslee to clarify the application of his nonurgent procedure delay order, so that physicians have clear direction on the conditions under which patient care may be delivered, and asks for assurance that physicians won't be held civilly liable for exercising their clinical judgment when providing needed care during the pandemic.

April 20, 2020
Press release: WSMA survey shows some practices may not survive coronavirus outbreak - The WSMA announces results of its first economic impact survey of physician members in Washington state, which reveal Washington state's health care community at a critical juncture, when many physicians are questioning whether their practice or clinic will survive the coronavirus outbreak.

April 15, 2020
Recommendations for health system reactivation - Recommendations developed by the Washington Healthcare Forum, with input from the WSMA, delivered to Gov. Inslee and Washington's COVID-19 health systems response director V. Admiral Bono, MD. The recommendations outlines steps to increasing elective patient care in Washington in a manner that comprehensively addresses the foundational concerns of the March 19 gubernatorial proclamation on nonurgent procedures. The recommendations are for all hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, outpatient care facilities, and dental practices.

April 9, 2020
Letter to Washington's congressional delegation on financial relief for physician practices - The WSMA urges state congressional representatives for more support for the physician community in the second stimulus package as well as additional relief measures.

April 3, 2020
Memo to the governor on liability protections - The WSMA, the Washington State Hospital Association, and others submit a proposal to the governor and the legislature that asks for assurance that physicians and providers won't be held civilly liable for exercising their clinical judgment when providing needed care during the pandemic.

March 26, 2020
Letter to V. Admiral Bono, MD, on PPE supplies and distribution - The WSMA and nearly 30 medical societies across the state urge Washington state's new COVID-19 health systems response director, Vice Admiral Raquel C. Bono, MD, to: 1.) Globally assess the current supplies of PPE at the state level, and 2.) Create a more comprehensive distribution model that considers the critical role of ambulatory sites.

March 25, 2020
Letter to leaders in the U.S. Congress on financial relief for physician practices - The WSMA urges leaders of both parties in both chambers of Congress to consider measures that will support and sustain physicians and their practices as they prepare to vote on a final stimulus package.

March 24, 2020
Letter to Washington's congressional delegation on financial relief for physician practices - The WSMA urges state congressional representatives to consider measures that will support and sustain physicians and their practices through tax relief, no-interest loans, direct payments, payments for virtual visits and phone calls, and other measures, as they prepare to vote on a final stimulus package.

March 23, 2020
Statement supporting governor's "Stay Home and Stay Healthy" order in response to COVID-19 - Due to a lack of capability to test and isolate those infected with the virus, the WSMA supports Gov. Jay Inslee's actions mandating the closure of non-essential businesses and ordering Washington residents to stay at home and avoid any unnecessary travel.

March 21, 2020
Press release urging governor to implement telemedicine payment parity bill immediately - The WSMA and WCAAP urge the state to direct payers to honor parity billing under SB 5385 for telemedicine services immediately to aid in COVID-19 response.

March 20, 2020
Letter to Congressional leaders urging practice viability/physician health measures - The WSMA joins five other medical associations in states impacted by COVID-19—California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, and Texas—to send a letter to Congressional leaders urging inclusion of additional measures to protect practice viability and physician health into their COVID-19 response plans.

March 20, 2020
Press release supporting the governor's decision on elective surgeries - The WSMA and over 20 state specialty and county medical societies support Gov. Jay Inslee's proclamation prohibiting elective surgeries and procedures.

Letter to health insurer CEOs urging telehealth payment parity - The WSMA issues a letter to 11 health insurance carrier CEOs urging them to initiate telehealth payment parity immediately during the COVID-19 crisis.

March 17, 2020
Letter to EAPs/PAPs with health care clients in Washington state - The WSMA calls on employee assistance programs and physician assistance programs to address the barriers that create skepticism and reluctance to use these services available through physician employers, to help ensure our state's physicians and advanced practitioners receive the psychological support they need during the COVID-19 crisis.

March 13, 2020
Letter to Gov. Inslee urging greater social distancing, telehealth flexibility - The WSMA delivers a letter, cosigned by more than 25 other state and specialty societies, to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee urging him to expand social distancing limitations to restrict gatherings of 50 or more. Additionally, the letter urged more flexibility on telehealth, so that physicians are able to continue caring for their chronically ill patients.

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