Published 8/23/2016 

Changing medicine for the better: WSMA member input and expertise needed

WSMA members have the power to affect real change in the practice of medicine in Washington by participating in the association’s policy-making process. Each year, your colleagues put forth a wide range of proposed resolutions, each with the intent of guiding the association’s advocacy efforts and policy positions, and each year members of the WSMA’s House of Delegates are tasked with determining if these proposals will assist the WSMA in its efforts toward making Washington the best place to practice medicine and to receive care.

The WSMA has received a number of resolutions in anticipation of the WSMA Annual Meeting, Oct. 1-2 in Seattle, and we have posted them on the WSMA website, on our 'virtual' reference committees. We highly encourage all WSMA members to visit the website and provide feedback on the policies your colleagues are proposing. WSMA delegates depend upon the input and expertise of their physician peers as they endeavor to shape strong policy for the association.

At the time of this writing, fourteen resolutions are available for your review and feedback, and more will be added as they arrive. Current resolutions include:

WSMA members interested in shaping association policy still have time to submit a resolution. For information on how to do so, please visit the WSMA website or talk to your local county medical or state specialty society. WSMA staff can also help you develop your resolution idea. If you have questions or need assistance, email us at hod@wsma.org or call 206.441.9762. The final deadline for submitting resolutions is Sept. 1.

Now is the time to register for the 2016 WSMA Annual Meeting, Oct. 1 & 2 at the SeaTac Hilton Hotel and Conference Center. The meeting is free for WSMA and MGMA Washington members. Find more information and register for the meeting on the WSMA website. Book your room reservations at the Hilton by Sept. 9 to get the special WSMA room rate of $139.

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Published 08/10/2016

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Published 8/23/2016 

Registration begins for 2016 WSMA Annual Meeting

Register today for the WSMA 2016 Annual Meeting of the House of Delegates, Oct. 1-2 in Seattle, a terrific opportunity to spend some quality time with your colleagues and set the future direction of your state medical association. The meeting is free for all WSMA members.

This year’s meeting will feature keynote presenter Kevin Pho, MD, a practicing internist and founder of KevinMD.com, the popular health care-focused website. Dr. Pho will share his experience in the world of social media and talk about how these new media can be utilized to make a difference in health care.

The meeting will also feature two returning events, both popular with our members: the Young Physician Section reception and the WAMPAC luncheon. Attendees of this year’s YPS reception will have a chance to ask questions of young legislative leaders from the Washington State House of Representatives, Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane) and Rep. Melanie Stambaugh (R-Puyallup). At the WAMPAC luncheon, leaders from the Senate’s two caucuses, Sen. Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville) and Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-Maury Island), will be on hand to share their thoughts on the 2016 elections.

The annual meeting is where the WSMA sets policy for the upcoming year and elects officers. All members are invited to the presidential banquet honoring our incoming president, Shane Macaulay, MD, at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1. At the banquet, in addition to inaugurating Dr. Macaulay, the WSMA will present its Legislator of the Year award and honor our new 50-Year Club members.

In advance of the meeting, members are welcome to author a "resolution," the key policy driver for the WSMA. Resolutions help guide the association’s policy decisions and can help to raise awareness of issues of importance to the practice of medicine in our state. Learn more about how to write and propose a resolution to be considered by WSMA delegates at the meeting. The deadline to submit a resolution for inclusion in the delegate handbook is Aug. 5, so don’t delay.

For a full agenda and to register for the meeting, visit the WSMA website.

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Published 07/13/2016

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Published 8/23/2016 


Pre-WSMA annual meeting dinner and discussion on financial wellness

Join us on Friday, Sept. 30—the day before the WSMA Annual Meeting—for an exclusive opportunity to learn more about strategies that will help promote your financial wellness. Hosted by the AMA, Strategies for Financial Wellness: A Roadmap for Physicians is free for AMA members, and now features a reduced rate of $99 for WSMA members who are not members of the AMA (down from $500, as previously indicated in WSMA communications). Guests will be charged only $49. The event will feature dinner and cocktails, and a discussion on the following topics:

  • Navigating the employment contract process
  • Preparing for your financial future
  • Debt management

The event will take place in Seattle at the Hotel Sorrento, 900 Madison St. (free valet parking is available). Cocktails and dinner will begin at 6 p.m. Register today from the AMA website. Seating is limited.

Don’t forget: Registration is now available to attend the WSMA Annual Meeting, Oct. 1-2 in Seattle. The annual meeting is free for WSMA members. For more information about the annual meeting and to register, visit the WSMA website.

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Published 07/27/2016

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Published 3/31/2016 

February Health Equity Spotlight

The following entry in our monthly health equity spotlight is from Kelsey Petrie, a medical student and WSMA member at the University of Washington School of Medicine, as well as co-chair of the WSMA Health Equity Task Force.

During my OB/GYN clerkship, a young woman came in with severe abdominal pain and fever. She was several weeks preterm and had received no prenatal care. Given the severity of the initial fetal heart tracing, she was rushed back for an emergency C-section soon after arrival. The baby was small with suboptimal Apgar scores, but after receiving treatment for a perinatal infection and scheduling a follow-up visit, both mother and baby were free to leave. After this experience, I was left wondering not only what social and structural obstacles may have prevented this new mother from receiving or utilizing prenatal care, but also what the next year would hold for the two.

In Washington state, infant mortality rates are not evenly distributed, with American Indians having more than twice the rate of infant death in the first year of life1-3. Further, while the overall infant mortality rate in Washington has declined, it continues to increase among American Indians1-3. Statistics regarding the cause of death are similarly striking. Babies born to American Indian mothers are three times as likely to die from SIDS or from an infectious disease, five times as likely to die from an injury, 1 ½ times as likely to die from a complication of pregnancy and delivery or from a cause attributed to prematurity and low birth weight, and 1.3 times as likely to die from a birth defect2. Risk factors associated with poor pregnancy outcomes among American Indians in Washington are often socially or structurally rooted—a mental health diagnosis, alcohol or other substance abuse, smoking, threatened pre-term birth, history of pre-term birth or fetal death, and obesity prior to pregnancy with weight gain beyond what is recommended2.

These statistics have prompted efforts to improve birth outcomes across Washington state in recent years. Notable examples include the American Indian Health Commission’s Tribal Maternal-Infant Health Strategic Plan, which focuses on identifying risk factors causing poor outcomes and developing measurable objectives for improvement, and the First Steps Program, which helps low-income pregnant women access medical services through Medicaid. Last year, the Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities convened an Adverse Birth Outcomes Disparities Advisory Committee meeting with community-based organizations, providers and state agencies1. The committee recently issued three recommendations, rooted in evidence-based medicine, for reducing disparities1:

  • Support community-driven approaches.
  • Enhance the First Steps Program.
  • Promote equity in state government.
Let’s support the excellent work being done to reduce infant mortality across the board in Washington. Familiarize yourself with the community programs in your area and utilize them. Lobby for increased funding for the First Steps Program. And make an effort to incorporate cultural sensitivity into your daily practice.


What do you think? How can physicians help to reduce disparities in maternal and birth outcomes? Leave your comments below.


Citations:

  1. Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities. (June 2015) Update State Action Plan to Eliminate Health Disparities. Retrieved from http://healthequity.wa.gov/Portals/9/Doc/Publications/Reports/HDC-ActionPlan-June2015-Final.pdf.
  2. American Indian Health Commission for Washington State. (2010). Executive Summary Healthy Communities: A Tribal Maternal-Infant Health Strategic Plan. Retrieved from http://www.aihc-wa.com/files/2011/09/MIH-Ex-Sum-web-FINAL-030811.pdf
  3. Washington State Department of Health. (March 2013). Infant Mortality. Retrieved from http://www.doh.wa.gov/portals/1/documents/5500/mch-im2013.pdf
  4. Washington State Healthcare Authority. (2015). First Steps. Retrieved from http://www.hca.wa.gov/medicaid/firststeps/Pages/index.aspx
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