Published 6/13/2018 

Proposed Title X rule threatens access to care and physician-patient relationship

The Trump administration has moved to curtail abortions by proposing a rule that, if enacted, would eliminate federal funding for facilities such as Planned Parenthood that offer abortion services or abortion referrals. The federal dollars in question, sometimes referred to as Title X funds, are used to pay for family planning and related preventive health services, such as birth control, screenings for cancer and sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy tests, and other reproductive services. While welcome by anti-abortion advocates, many in the medical community are concerned that the rule will prevent physicians from being able to discuss medical options with their patients.

The proposed rule could have a profound impact on how, and whether, physicians discuss abortion information with patients. The rule would prohibit “any action that directly or indirectly facilitates, encourages or supports in any way the use of abortion as a method of family planning.” Facilities would lose funding if they offered abortions or if their providers offered referrals for abortions, and some fear that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will interpret “indirectly facilitates” broadly enough to include discussions of abortion. In addition, while federal funds are currently banned from covering abortions, the new rule would go further by preventing facilities from using federal funds to subsidize other health care services.

HHS has stated that it believes “[i]f finalized and implemented as proposed, the new regulations would contribute to more clients being served, gaps in service being closed, and improved client care that better focuses on the family planning mission of the Title X program.” Critics worry that the move will increase the number of unsafe abortions performed, and disproportionately affect access to care for low-income women who depend on organizations like Planned Parenthood for other services, such as cancer screenings and birth control.

WSMA policy supports the ability of physicians to practice within their right of conscience, but states that “a conscientious objection should, under most circumstances, be accompanied by a referral to another physician or health care facility.” Additionally, WSMA policy supports the sanctity of the physician-patient relationship and opposes regulations that would prevent providers from providing evidence-based, medically accurate health care services and information to patients in all care settings.

HHS released the proposed rule on June 1 and is accepting public comment until the end of July.

Published 6/13/2018

Published 6/13/2018 

Eleven health insurers file for 2019 individual market

The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner announced that 11 health insurers filed 88 health plans for Washington state’s individual market in 2019, and all 39 counties will be covered. The proposed rates are now available on the OIC’s website. Over the next several months, the OIC will review all proposed health plans and their proposed rate changes, with decisions to be announced this fall.

Published 6/13/2018

Published 6/13/2018 

New medical marijuana authorization form in effect July 1

The Department of Health has released new requirements and changes to the forms physicians and other health care providers complete when authorizing the use of medical marijuana for their patients. Starting July 1, 2018, physicians and providers must use the new form, now a single page, and must complete the form using tamper-resistant paper. DOH has clarified that physicians can order medical marijuana authorization form tamper-resistant paper from the same vendor they order prescription tamper-resistant paper. For more information, visit the Department of Health website.

Published 6/13/2018

Published 6/13/2018 

Nationwide scam on new Medicare cards

The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner warns that scammers are contacting Medicare patients, capitalizing on the change to Medicare cards. Here are examples of those scams:

Scam:

  • Telling Medicare patients they need to pay to obtain a new card. Fake charges range from $5 to $400.
  • A person claiming to be from a government agency says they need bank account information to deposit funds into the patient’s Medicare account.

Fact: The new cards are free. Patients do not need to pay for their new card, and they don’t need to take any action to obtain it. The Medicare program is automatically mailing out the new cards. Patients can sign up to get an email from Medicare to know when to expect their card in the mail.

Scam: Patient needs to confirm or give personal information to get their new card.

Fact: Patients do not need to give any personal information to get their new card. The cards are mailed to the address on file with Social Security. Patients can update their address online, call 800.772.1213, or visit their local Social Security office.

Scam: Patient needs to provide their old Medicare card number to prevent insurance from being interrupted while new cards are being mailed out.

Fact: Patients’ Medicare coverage will not be interrupted because of their new card being mailed to them.

Beneficiaries can access free, confidential assistance with Medicare by contacting the OIC’s Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) program at 800.562.6900.

Published 6/13/2018

Published 6/13/2018 

Funding available for facilities to join new hub-and-spoke networks

The Department of Social and Health Services has announced plans to develop five medication-assisted treatment hub-and-spoke networks in Eastern Washington and areas of Western Washington. The agency has invited organizations capable of providing medication-assisted treatment services to apply for funding to develop and implement a hub-and-spoke network in their area.

Hub-and-spoke networks offer collaborative, tiered levels of behavioral and physical health care to address opioid use disorder. As reported in a previous Membership Memo, the state continues to build out these coordinated care networks as part of its response to the opioid crisis. Networks are currently located in King, Kitsap, Clark, Pierce and Whatcom counties (an updated network directory is available for referrals).

For more information and to apply for DSHS funding, read the agency’s announcement. Funding for the expansion of the state’s hub-and-spoke integrated network was included in the state supplemental budget as part of critical investments in treatment capacity supported by the WSMA during the 2018 state legislative session.

Published 6/13/2018

Published 6/13/2018 

New dates and locations (and online option) for buprenorphine waiver trainings 

The Department of Health has announced new dates and locations for its series of buprenorphine waiver trainings to help physicians and other clinicians qualify for the required waiver to prescribe the partial opioid agonist. Information for free online training is also now available. All trainings are accredited.

The following in-person trainings, some at no cost, are coming up in June and July:


Seattle

Saturday, June 16
Time TBD
Virginia Mason Medical Center, Volney Richmond Auditorium
1201 Terry Ave., Seattle, WA 98101
Contact the Virginia Mason CME department to register at 206.341.0142 or cme@virginiamason.org.

Thursday, July 19
1–5 p.m.
Kaiser Permanente
201 16th Ave. E, Seattle, WA 98112
Contact Dr. John Caldeiro to register at caldeiro@ghc.org.

Bellingham
Saturday, June 16
10 a.m.–2 p.m.
St. Joseph Hospital main campus, conference rooms 5-6
2901 Squalicum Pkwy, Bellingham, WA 98225
Contact Amanda Wren to register at 360.410.4013 or awren@cascademedicaladvantage.org.

Lakewood
Saturday, June 30
9 a.m.–1 p.m.
Northwest Integrated Health
9740 S Tacoma Way, Lakewood, WA 98499
Contact Kara Koehn to register at 253.328.5836 or kkoehn@nwih.org.

Yakima
Tuesday, July 10
12:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
Central Family Medicine Residency
1806 W Lincoln Ave., Yakima, WA 98926
To register, email russell.maier@chcw.org.

Moses Lake
Tuesday, July 24
Time TBD
Moses Lake Clinic, conference room A
840 E Hill Ave., Moses Lake, WA 98837
Contact Dr. Eric Olson to register at eric.olson@confluencehealth.org.

For a look at dates and times after July, click here. Completion of the four-hour in-person course as well as a four-hour online follow-up allows physicians to prescribe buprenorphine for office-based treatment of opioid use disorder. CME is approved by the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry or American Society of Addiction Medicine. Free training is also available online—for more information, visit the Providers Clinical Support System website.

Published 6/13/2018

Published 6/13/2018 

Fact sheets about 42 CFR Part 2 and confidentiality of substance use disorder records

The federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, has released two new fact sheets about 42 CFR Part 2, the federal law governing confidentiality for people seeking treatment for substance use disorders from federally assisted programs. The fact sheets were developed to help health information exchange organizations, physicians and other health care providers learn how Part 2 provisions can be used across different environments, including through electronic health information exchanges and in office settings.

Published 6/13/2018

Published 6/13/2018 

Bree Collaborative seeks comments on draft guidelines for prescribing opioids for postoperative pain

The Dr. Robert Bree Collaborative is seeking feedback from clinicians on its new draft guidelines for prescribing opioids for postoperative pain. The feedback survey will take 10-15 minutes to complete, with responses due by 5 p.m. Friday, June 22. To review the draft and complete the survey, visit the Bree Collaborative website. Physicians and other providers are encouraged to review and provide feedback on these recommendations that, once final, help to guide state purchasing for Medicaid and public employees, and provide guidance for clinicians seeking to engage patients in shared decision-making. For more information, visit the Bree Collaborative website or contact Ginny Weir, program director, at GWeir@qualityhealth.org or 206.204.7377.

Published 6/13/2018

Published 6/13/2018 

Medicaid: New interpreter services contractor

The Health Care Authority has selected a new contractor to provide interpreter services for limited English proficiency and deaf/hard of hearing patients. The new contractor will start accepting requests for interpreters on July 1, 2018. Important: You will not be able to access the Language Link portal after June 30, 2018. Please immediately log into your portal with Language Link and complete the check in/out process for all appointments and be sure to complete this process each time Language Link provides an interpreter for your patients. For more details, visit the HCA website.

Published 6/13/2018

Published 6/13/2018 

New Medicaid Transformation resources available

As the nine Accountable Communities of Health move into the next phase of their Medicaid Transformation projects, the Health Care Authority’s Initiative 1 resources webpage has been reorganized, and a new section, ACH submitted documents, has been added to house a growing number of documents. Additionally, an overview of statewide accountability for the Medicaid Transformation has been added to that list of resources, which explains how progress will be monitored, assessed and incentivized for Washington state.

Published 6/13/2018