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WSMA's staff professionals are available to present—at no charge—at your residency program on request.

DocTalks for Residents

WSMA’s staff professionals bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the business of medicine. These subject matter experts are available—free of charge—to offer supplemental educational presentations for residents that enhance their understanding of the profession and expand their business skills.

How it works

Our team members will come to your location to meet with your residents. The presentations are approximately 60 minutes and can be modified to meet your program’s specific needs. To schedule a presentation at your convenience, email the presenters directly.

Meet the Educators

Tierney Edwards, JD,  is the associate director of legal and federal affairs at the WSMA. After working in the Chambers of the Honorable Benjamin Settle and within the criminal division of the Seattle City Attorney’s office, her interest in health law led her to join WSMA’s legal department in 2013.

Katie Kolan, JD,  is the director of legislative and regulatory affairs for the WSMA. Katie oversees the association’s advocacy efforts before the state legislature, agencies and the governor’s office, and coordinates federal relations. Prior to joining WSMA, Katie worked in the legislative and policy department of a state agency and for Sen. Ed Murray at the state legislature. She has been with the WSMA since 2011.

Denny Maher, MD, JD,  is the general counsel and director of legal affairs for the WSMA. Previously, he was an associate professor of surgery at UT-Houston where he was director of microsurgery and chief of the hand surgery service before entering private practice in Seattle in 1991. After leaving his medical practice, Dr. Maher received his law degree from the University of Washington in 2008. He has been with the WSMA since 2009.

Bob Perna, MBA, FACMPE,  economics for the WSMA, overseeing practice management programs for physicians, practice managers and administrative staff. With more than 40 years’ experience in the health care industry, he is board certified as a certified medical practice executive through the Medical Group Management Association and is also a registered lobbyist in Washington state.

Class Offerings

Health care delivery

Quality Metrics and Reporting – Bob Perna, rjp@wsma.org
Organizations that pay health insurance premiums demand value from the health care system, imposing quality reporting requirements to assess health outcomes and reward achievements. This presentation addresses data capture and analysis, population health, and operational strategies in clinical and administrative management of quality improvement initiatives.

Electronic Health Records Overview – Bob Perna, rjp@wsma.org
The migration to electronic health records led to competing proprietary EHRs, and added complexity across care delivery systems. This presentation provides an overview of how EHRs are being used and common pitfalls. Also addressed are “meaningful use” requirements, which determine whether hospitals and physicians qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments in adopting certified EHR technology.

Health Insurers Overview – Bob Perna, rjp@wsma.org
The delivery of health care services is tied to the availability of health insurance and its operational requirements. This program reviews the predominant health insurance and government “entitlement” programs that physicians and staff will encounter. Also, this presentation explains how the intricacies of those often uncoordinated products and programs can facilitate—or impede—the course of treatment.

Health care financing

Internal Finances of Health Care – Bob Perna, rjp@wsma.org
The success of a physician practice depends upon establishing appropriate charges for services, conducting effective billing operations and ensuring adequate clinical productivity. Also, a fair compensation program for the practice’s physicians improves productivity and retention. This presentation addresses techniques for achieving those goals.

Financial Relationships with External Partners – Bob Perna, rjp@wsma.org
Physicians and practices are under increasing scrutiny by external partners, requiring complex tracking and reporting of services provided and associated quality metrics. Insurers and purchasers require that practices bear greater financial risk, shifting “from volume to value.” This presentation addresses riskbased contracting, population health and emerging payment models.

Value-Based Payment Models – Bob Perna, rjp@wsma.org
Moving from fee-for-service models to valuebased payment models has a profound impact on physicians, their administrative staff and their practices. MACRA/MIPS and the state’s Healthier Washington initiatives are built around valuebased payment models. This presentation focuses on actions to consider as part of your practice’s implementation strategy.

Physician advocacy and politics

Legislative Advocacy: Representing Doctors and Patients in Olympia – Katie Kolan, JD, kak@wsma.org
This presentation explains the phases of the state legislative process. It highlights areas where physicians can influence the process and help drive change that improves care delivery in the state. The presentation includes the role of state agencies, the importance of rulemaking and tips on being an effective advocate.

Legislative and Regulatory Update – Katie Kolan, JD, kak@wsma.org
This presentation explores policies and issues raised during the previous legislative session and previews the upcoming session. It also addresses rulemaking and regulatory issues, as well as ways physicians can best engage their policy makers.

Professionalism, social media, personal finances

Employment Contracts – Denny Maher, MD, JD, dpm@wsma.org
This presentation focuses on what residents need to know about employment contracts, providing contract basics and outlining how to prepare before making a commitment. Topics include understanding personal priorities, performing due diligence and identifying red flags, in addition to individual contract terms, termination of employment, and non-compete and nonsolicitation provisions.

Social Media: What Physicians Need to Know Now – Tierney Edwards, JD, tee@wsma.org
Physicians need to use social media safely and appropriately without risk of violating professional boundaries, laws, rules and commission guidance. Additionally, online review sites necessitate that physicians actively manage their online reputation. This presentation covers applicable state and federal laws (such as HIPAA and the Washington State Uniform Health Care Information Act), as well as guidance issued by the Washington Medical Commission.

Debt and Financial Management – Bob Perna, rjp@wsma.org
After being a physician in training, your new income as a practicing physician will seem substantial. However, with limitless opportunities to spend money, you may find it difficult to save. This is the time to develop a “saving” lifestyle and spend money wisely. Financial considerations are important to make now, and this presentation offers simplified recommendations for both new and seasoned physicians.

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