Published 9/13/2017 

WSMA Annual Meeting: Book your room by Thursday to receive special rate

Time is running out to secure the special room rate at the Hilton Seattle Airport and Conference Center for the 2017 WSMA Annual Meeting—Thursday, Sept. 14 is the deadline to receive the discount, so be sure to book your room reservations today (make your reservations online or call the Hilton directly at 1.800.HILTONS and reference meeting code WSMA17).

The 2017 Annual Meeting of the WSMA House of Delegates. Oct. 13-15, marks the occasion for WSMA’s approximately 200 voting delegates to gather, debate and chart a course for the association. To review the reports and resolutions for consideration by delegates at the meeting, download the delegate handbook. All WSMA members are welcome to provide testimony on the proposed resolutions, both in-person at the meeting and prior to the meeting by using our 'virtual' reference committees. Take a moment to review and provide feedback on the 37 resolutions currently posted. Online testimony will be accepted until midnight on Wednesday, Oct 11.

Anyone interested in health policy, the work of the association, or simply networking with their colleagues from across the state are welcome to attend the weekend meeting, which is free for WSMA members, members of MGMA Washington and the Washington State Radiological Society, and for all residents and medical students. Beyond the policy discussions, this year’s meeting will feature a discussion with Dr. Lucy Kalanithi, the widow of Dr. Paul Kalanithi, who authored the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir “When Breath Becomes Air.” Other highlights include a WAMPAC luncheon featuring Attorney General Bob Ferguson, a welcome breakfast for first-time meeting attendees, and a pre-meeting suicide prevention training, free for WSMA members and PI insureds, that will satisfy the state’s new requirement for physicians and other clinicians who provide direct patient care. Visit the WSMA website for a full agenda, details on meeting activities and information on how to register.

The WSMA would like to thank our corporate partners for helping to make the meeting possible: Exclusive Premier Partner Physicians Insurance A Mutual Company, Diamond Partner Cordant Health Solutions and Silver Partners Premera Blue Cross, First Choice Health and Hall Render.

Published 9/13/2017

Published 9/13/2017 

MACRA countdown: Oct 2. last day to start reporting under new Quality Payment Program

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services requires 90 days of continuous data reporting to qualify for the partial or full participation tracks in the Quality Payment Program’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System. The last date to begin reporting for these tracks—and possibly earn an upward payment adjustment in 2019—is Oct. 2. March 31, 2018 is the deadline to attest.

To prepare to successfully participate in the MACRA’s Quality Payment Program, visit the WSMA’s dedicated MACRA webpage. Also, Qualis Health has launched an online resource center to help practices and eligible clinicians prepare for and participate in Medicare’s new payment program. Qualis Health also provides customized assistance that includes regular office hours and webinars, monthly program updates, strategic planning for MIPS and access to a help desk. Visit the website to learn more. To contact Qualis Health’s team of experts, email QPP@qualishealth.org or call 877.560.2618.

Published 9/13/2017

Published 9/13/2017 

Register today for the Choosing Wisely Summit, Friday, Oct. 27

Join health care leaders, stakeholders and national initiative representatives in Seattle on Friday, Oct. 27 for a day-long, in-depth look at how the Choosing Wisely® initiative in Washington is making measurable changes in reducing unnecessary tests, procedures and treatments.

Choosing Wisely has gained incredible momentum since launched by the ABIM Foundation in 2012, and Washington state continues to distinguish itself in its efforts to support the campaign. October’s summit is designed to reinforce the mission of Choosing Wisely while giving practices and organizations of all sizes the tools and inspiration to integrate Choosing Wisely recommendations into daily operations.

Conference highlights include:

  • Keynote presenter Richard Baron, MD, president and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine and ABIM Foundation, who will offer a look at the campaign's key accomplishments and goals for the future.
  • Matt Handley, MD, senior medical director of quality and safety at Kaiser Permanente Washington, who will discuss the importance of having a structured implementation plan to successfully make changes at the system level—and outline the steps you need to take for success.
  • Paul McGann, MD, chief medical officer of quality improvement at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, who will show how MACRA's Quality Payment Program aligns with Choosing Wisely recommendations—and how working on one benefits the other.
  • Graham McMahon, MD, president and CEO of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, who will outline strategies for leveraging continuing medical education to change physician behavior and will provide examples of clinical education strategies used around the country that support Choosing Wisely.

Meeting attendees will be able to choose from a number of afternoon breakout sessions, with options including medical group implementation, hospital and health system implementation, communication skill-building to improve the patient experience, sharing physician- and clinic-level results for measuring success and more.

Learn more about the Choosing Wisely Summit and register on the WSMA website (register by Oct. 2 to receive the early-bird rate). This activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. This activity has been approved for ABIM MOC points.

Published 9/13/2017

Published 9/13/2017 

Washington Health Benefit Exchange set to finalize 2018 offerings

The board of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange will meet this week to finalize its plan offerings for 2018. The board anticipates that seven insurers will participate on the exchange, down from nine this year, offering 42 qualified health plans, down from 98. There are no counties in the state without an exchange offering and nine counties with only one participating insurer: Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Grays Harbor, Island, Pend Oreille, San Juan, Skagit and Skamania.

The average percent increase across all counties for the lowest cost plan is 36 percent. Deductibles for all metal levels are expected to increase for 2018—the median deductible for the silver plans is estimated to increase from $3,000 to $4,500; gold from $1,200 to $1,250; and bronze from $6,000 to $6,350. Rising deductibles impact not only the patient, who faces greater out-of-pocket expenses, but also the physician practice, which invests the usual expense in billing the insurer, but receives no payment from the insurer until after the deductible is satisfied—further increasing operating expenses as the practice then must pursue payment from the patient.

Exchange customers will receive a renewal notice on Nov. 1. Open enrollment for 2018 coverage begins on Nov. 1 and ends Jan. 15.

Published 9/13/2017

Published 9/13/2017 

HCA webinar on new Medicaid opioid prescribing policy

The Health Care Authority is hosting a one-hour webinar next Tuesday, Sept. 19, from 7-8 a.m., to educate prescribers and pharmacists on new its new clinical policy on opioid prescribing for Apple Health. The new policy, scheduled to go into effect Nov. 1 (note the new effective date), includes provisions intended to reduce long-term opioid use and the risk of developing opioid use disorder.

Visit the Health Care Authority website for details on the new policy. Joining the HCA as a webinar presenter will be Nathan Schlicher, MD, JD, representing the WSMA and Washington State Hospital Association Joint Opioid Safe Practices Task Force. The WSMA was instrumental in negotiating the broad exemption available for physicians and providers in the new policy.

Register for the webinar online.

Published 9/13/2017

Published 9/13/2017 

Upcoming public meetings on DOH opioid prescribing rulemaking

The Washington State Department of Health has announced public meetings to collect input on rules being developed for House Bill 1427, legislation passed by the Legislature earlier this year that aims to facilitate best practices for safe, effective and appropriate opioid prescribing. The rulemaking will focus on two components: opioid prescribing and improvements to the state’s prescription monitoring program.

For the first component, as required by HB 1427, the DOH must initiate rulemaking on opioid prescribing, to be completed in 2019. The WSMA was successful in amending the bill language to include physicians in the rulemaking, ensuring that clinician expertise will help shape the final rule. The WSMA will seek evidence-based rules that reduce inappropriate prescribing while ensuring access to appropriate pain care, without additional administrative burden, and will also work to obtain appropriate exemptions for physicians based on education, training, number of opioids prescribed, patient panel and practice environment.

The second rulemaking component makes changes to the prescription monitoring program to make it easier for physicians and other clinicians to make informed decisions about prescribing. The legislation directs the program to send prescribing reports to individual clinicians to compare against established standards and guidelines and gives groups of five or more prescribers access to practice-level prescribing data for quality improvement efforts. The legislation also establishes an overdose notification system, using the prescription monitoring program to alert clinicians when their patient has presented in an ED with an overdose. These provisions are largely based on recommendations from the WSMA and Washington State Hospital Association Joint Opioid Safe Practices Task Force.

The DOH will hold seven public meetings in locations across the state between September and March to gather input on both rulemaking components. Physicians are encouraged to attend their area meeting. If unable to attend in person, comments can be submitted via email to opioidprescribing@doh.wa.gov. Locations include:

  • Tumwater, Sept. 20, Educational Service District 113
  • Spokane, Oct. 19, Spokane Convention Center.
  • Yakima, Nov. 15, Red Lion Hotel Yakima Convention Center.
  • Kent, Dec. 12, CenterPoint Conference Center.
  • Vancouver, Jan. 18, Fort Vancouver Regional Library.
  • Tumwater, Mar. 14, WA State Dept. of Labor & Industries Building.

For more information on the rulemaking or these meetings, visit the DOH website. For more information on HB 1427, view this WSMA/WSHA webinar, originally recorded on July 27, on how to prepare your practice for the law’s implementation.

Published 9/13/2017

Published 9/13/2017 

Final emergency pharmacy rules for hospital-owned clinics

The Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission, or PQAC, recently finalized emergency rulemaking that details the licensing, regulation, inspection and investigation of pharmacy services provided in clinics owned and operated by a hospital. Stemming from legislation in 2016, the standards in this emergency rule have not changed from the last emergency rule released on April 12, 2017. The emergency rule will remain in effect until permanent rules are adopted—a process PQAC initiated this week, with a series of public meetings. Contact Jeb Shepard at jeb@wsma.org with questions.

Published 9/13/2017

Published 9/13/2017 

It’s not too late to register for the NW Communication and Resolution Program Leader Retreat

Hear from national and local experts and learn about the elements of a communication and resolution program at the Northwest Communication and Resolution Program Leader Retreat: Achieving Benefits, Avoiding Pitfalls this Sept. 27 and 28 at the SeaTac Marriott.

Communication and resolution programs are quickly becoming a leading model for resolving adverse events. Based on the recognition that most adverse events are not caused by incompetent providers, but rather by the interaction between competent clinicians and faulty systems or conditions, this innovative approach addresses patient, provider and institutional concerns, allowing for both appropriate closure and continued learning after an event. (For more on CRPs, see this post on the Bree Collaborative website, by Washington Patient Safety Coalition Program Director Kelly Veit and UW Medicine Center for Scholarship in Patient Care Quality and Safety’s Jennifer Zech.)

Attendees of the two-day retreat will learn how to implement communication and resolution programs effectively in their organizations. Click here to review the meeting prospectus. The event is hosted by The Collaborative for Accountability and Improvement and The Foundation for Health Care Quality. Find out more and register for the event online.

Published 9/13/2017

Published 9/13/2017 

Newly revised POLST now available

The Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, or POLST—the portable medical order form that allows a person with a serious illness or frailty to summarize their wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment—has been updated by the Washington State POLST Task Force, which now operates under the WSMA Foundation for Health Care Improvement. The updated form is now available for order and download.

Changes to the form include a reordered and revised Section B (Medical Interventions) and a revised Section D (Non-Emergency Medical Treatment Preferences), and reflect an extended period of deliberation by the task force and a larger advisory committee consisting of clinicians and other stakeholders, including the Department of Health and the Washington State Hospital Association.

For a summary of form revisions, visit the WSMA POLST webpage. Forms are available free of charge for WSMA members. A downloadable form is provided for any practice or organization wishing to print their own. Visit the WSMA POLST webpage for the downloadable form, for additional POLST resources and for information on how to order.

Interested health care professionals can also attend a free lunchtime webinar on Wednesday, Sept. 27, for an overview of POLST revisions from task force co-chairs Bruce Smith, MD and Sharmon Figenshaw, ARNP. The webinar will also cover changes to Washington state’s durable power of attorney for health care and provide an update on the WSMA and WSHA joint Honoring Choices® Pacific Northwest initiative.

The form was last updated in 2014. Earlier editions of the POLST are still valid (versions are identified by a revision date on the bottom of the form. The new version is marked “Revised 8/2017”). Patients with an existing POLST do not have to make a new one. As each revision represents an improvement over earlier editions, practices and organizations are encouraged to recycle their supply of blank older edition forms and use the latest edition for new POLST orders.

For more information on POLST, contact Graham Short, gfs@wsma.org, or 206.956.3633.

Published 9/13/2017

Published 9/13/2017 

New POLST and Advance Directives: Best Practices for Documenting Advance Care Planning Conversations

Significant changes have been made to Washington state’s durable power of attorney for health care and Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment forms. Are you aware of the changes—some required by law—and are you using the latest documents? Join us for a free webinar Wednesday, Sept. 27 from noon-1 p.m., for an overview of these changes and more.

Presenters include co-chairs of the POLST Task Force, who will outline the recent changes to the POLST form and describe how they align with national best practices. Leaders from Honoring Choices® Pacific Northwest will provide attendees a first look at their new customized advance directive, which meets new state law requirements and provides many benefits over standard advance directives. They will also review Honoring Choices PNW’s successes in working with health care organizations across the state to implement a systems-based approach to advance care planning.

For more information and to register, please visit www.wsma.org/CPIN. This activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

Published 9/13/2017

Published 9/21/2017 

Donate to the Florida Medical Association Foundation's Medical Disaster Fund

As Hurricane Irma devastated parts of Florida, many physician practices suffered damage that forced them to relocate or stop delivering patient care for extended times. The Foundation for Healthy Floridians Medical Disaster Fund, established following Hurricane Katrina, was created to help doctors reopen their doors in the wake of natural disasters.

Click here to support the Medical Disaster Fund so that medical practices affected by Hurricane Irma can recover and continue delivering patient care. The Foundation, the FMA's philanthropic vehicle, is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. All or part of your donation may be tax deductible as a charitable contribution. Donate at the link above or mail a check made out to: The Foundation for Healthy Floridians, 1430 Piedmont Dr. E., Tallahassee, FL 32308.

Published 9/21/2017