Press Room

Published 1/31/2018 

Washington Physicians Make House (and Senate) Calls in Olympia Today to Lobby for Patients & Profession

WSMA PRESS STATEMENT
For Immediate Release
  CONTACT
Jan. 31, 2018   Cindy Sharpe
813.244.2883
cindy@wsma.org

Graham Short
206.956.3633
gfs@wsma.org


Olympia, Wash. – Physicians and physician assistants from throughout the state are putting on their white coats and meeting with their elected officials in Olympia today for the 2018 Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) Legislative Summit. More than 100 WSMA members will talk with legislators about issues important to their patients and their profession, including the opioid epidemic, affordable drug pricing and accessibility and raising the age of the sale of tobacco and vapor products from age 18 to age 21.

“Members of the Washington State Medical Association are committed to making Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care,” said Donna Smith, M.D., WSMA president and executive medical director of Virginia Mason Clinics. “We convene in Olympia each year to advocate for issues that protect patients and improve the practice of medicine in our state. As physicians, we are on the frontlines of care, and it’s important for us to share what we experience in our practices across the state with our legislators.”

There are several key issues important to physicians and patients being addressed in the 2018 Legislative Session:

  • Opioid epidemic: Physicians see firsthand the toll the opioid epidemic is taking on Washington patients, families and communities, and they are speaking to legislators today about efforts to reduce opioid-related overdose and death, and increase the availability of addiction treatment. WSMA is supporting numerous bills that would create a comprehensive approach to opioid misuse, addiction treatment (SB 6150 and HB 2489) and drug take back programs (HB 1047), as well as reminding the legislature of their action during the 2017 legislative session in passing HB 1427, which is currently going through the regulatory rule making process, and will improve opioid prescribing practices and facilitate access to the state’s prescription monitoring program.

  • Drug pricing and availability: High drug costs adversely affect patients and their families. WSMA physicians are supporting bills that will attempt to make drug pricing changes transparent and allow access to affordable, appropriate medications.

  • Increase the age of sale of tobacco and vapor products to 21: Smoking continues to be the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S. Most smokers start using tobacco before age of 21. WSMA physicians are talking to legislators today in support of bills that raise the age of sale for tobacco and vapor products from age 18 to 21.

About the WSMA

The Washington State Medical Association represents nearly 11,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students in Washington State. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the House of Medicine more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington State the best place to practice medicine and receive care.

For more information on the WSMA or any issues of interest to Washington physicians and the patients they serve, contact Graham Short at 206.956.3633 or gfs@wsma.org.

Video b-roll and soundbites of today’s 2018 WSMA Legislative Summit is available at www.vimeo.com/wsma, Twitter at @wsma_update and Facebook at @wsma.

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Published 1/31/2018

Published 1/30/2018 

WSMA and WSHA's joint statement on governor's opioid legislation

WSMA PRESS STATEMENT
For Immediate Release
  CONTACT
Jan. 16, 2018   Graham Short
206.956.3633
gfs@wsma.org


Seattle, Wash. – The Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) and Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) Joint Opioid Safe Practices Task Force supports Gov. Inslee’s legislation (HB 2489 & SB 6150) aimed at addressing the opioid epidemic in Washington state.

Since 2016, our associations have worked with the governor to implement his executive order “Addressing the Opioid Use Public Health Crisis,” which brings together state agencies, health provider organizations, law enforcement and other partners in a coordinated and unprecedented effort to combat the opioid crisis in this state. We are proud of the work we have accomplished, including HB 1427 from the 2017 legislative session that promotes safe and appropriate prescribing while establishing the nation’s first overdose notification system. In addition to providing prescribers with the data they need to inform and update clinical practice, the bill requires the Department of Health to promulgate rules to ensure patient safety, including reasonable requirements for reviewing prescription monitoring program data and limits on prescriptions that also include flexibility for physicians to provide appropriate treatments to their patients.

The governor’s legislation and budget request ensure that Washington state is taking a comprehensive approach to the opioid crisis by making critical investments in treatment capacity. Building out and sustaining the “hub and spoke” medication-assisted treatment (MAT) model, raising MAT rates in the Medicaid program, piloting programs to pay for non-opioid treatment therapies and initiating a statewide standing order for opioid overdose medication are significant investments that will make a meaningful difference in addressing the opioid crisis.

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Published 1/16/2018

Published 12/18/2017 

WSMA Responds to Amtrak Train Derailment

WSMA PRESS STATEMENT
For Immediate Release
  CONTACT
Dec. 18, 2017   Graham Short
206.956.3633
gfs@wsma.org


Seattle, Wash. – Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) President Donna Smith, MD, issued the following statement today:

“On behalf of the statewide medical community, the Washington State Medical Association extends its deepest sympathy to the victims, their families and everyone impacted by the tragic train derailment that occurred today in Washington state.

“Many of our physician members are helping to provide life-saving support in the hospitals and emergency rooms where care is being provided for those in need. We are grateful for their service and skill in times like these—when it matters the most.

“For our friends, neighbors and colleagues who want to help—blood donations are always needed. Please contact Bloodworks Northwest at 206.292.6500 or visit bloodworksnw.org/donate/locations to find out how and where you can donate blood. Thank you for your life-saving help.”



About the WSMA
The Washington State Medical Association represents nearly 11,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the House of Medicine more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care.

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Published 12/18/2017

Published 11/27/2017 

WSMA Responds to Potential Repeal of the Inividual Mandate

WSMA PRESS STATEMENT
For Immediate Release
  CONTACT
Nov. 27, 2017   Graham Short
206.956.3633
gfs@wsma.org


Seattle, Wash. – Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) President Donna Smith, MD, issued the following statement today:

“The Washington State Medical Association is troubled once again that the Senate is threatening health insurance coverage for millions and greater market instability by repealing the Affordable Care Act’s mandate. We stand with the coalition of the country’s top health care organizations, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, the Federation of American Hospitals and America's Health Insurance Plans in urging Congress to maintain the individual mandate and to pass measures to stabilize the insurance market to help ensure our patients have access to comprehensive, affordable health care coverage.

“Too many Washingtonians and too many Americans who are simply trying to access needed care are facing rising premiums and uncertainty regarding the future of their coverage. It’s time to set aside our fractious debate and come together to pursue bi-partisan fixes to the Affordable Care Act so that we have a health care system that works for everyone.”

About the WSMA 

The Washington State Medical Association represents nearly 11,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the House of Medicine more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care.

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Published 11/27/2017

Published 11/22/2017 

WSMA Responds to Attorney General’s Announcement on Opioid Crisis

WSMA PRESS STATEMENT
For Immediate Release
  CONTACT
Nov. 21, 2017   Graham Short
206.956.3633
gfs@wsma.org


Seattle, Wash. – Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) Executive Director Jennifer Hanscom issued the following statement today in response to Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson's announcement of opioid-related legislation he will take to the Legislature in January:

“The WSMA appreciates the intent of the Attorney General’s bill limiting pill counts, which is to reduce the amount of prescription opioids in our communities. The WSMA supported and helped to pass a bill earlier this year that seeks to achieve the same result. As one of its provisions, House Bill 1427 calls for all state licensing boards that regulate prescribers to implement new opioid prescribing rules. We are currently working with the state Department of Health on this rulemaking, in an open and transparent process involving the state, prescribing professions and the public. We encourage the Attorney General to join his fellow state agencies and us in this work currently in progress, rather than initiating an unnecessary, duplicative effort.

“Similarly, the WSMA appreciates the Attorney General's suggestion to increase usage of the state prescription monitoring program—improving the use of the PMP is also one of the goals of HB 1427. Physicians and other prescribing providers have indeed needed, and asked for, PMP prescribing data for over a decade to help inform their prescribing. But while the idea of a mandate sounds good on the surface, until the PMP can integrate with electronic health records to bring this data to physicians in an efficient manner—which is the case in states with similar mandates—then a mandate will only add to the administrative entanglement physicians currently face with the PMP and, most importantly, take time away from patient care.

“Together with the efforts established by HB 1427, the WSMA has also partnered with the governor's office, the state Health Care Authority and other stakeholders like the hospital association, to put forward community- and evidence-based approaches that address the opioid issue while ensuring patients have access to appropriate quality care. We look forward to having the Attorney General join us in this work.”

The WSMA and the state hospital association are leading a task force to address prescription drug opioid abuse, addiction and overdose in Washington state—learn more about the Joint Opioid Safe Practices Task Force

About the WSMA 

The Washington State Medical Association represents nearly 11,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the House of Medicine more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care.

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Published 11/21/2017

Published 10/24/2017 

WSMA Patient Safety Awards go to The Everett Clinic, Jefferson Healthcare and The Vancouver Clinic

WSMA PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
  CONTACT
Oct. 20, 2017   Graham Short
206.956.3633
gfs@wsma.org


WSMA Patient Safety Awards go to The Everett Clinic, Jefferson Healthcare and The Vancouver Clinic


Seattle, Wash. – Three health care organizations in Washington state have been recognized by the Washington State Medical Association for their contribution to improving patient safety and quality care in the state. Jefferson Healthcare, The Vancouver Clinic and The Everett Clinic were each presented a William O. Robertson Patient Safety Award on Saturday, Oct. 14 at the medical association’s annual meeting at the Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center in Seattle.

Each year, the WSMA, which represents physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students throughout the state, honors innovative patient safety initiatives in the ambulatory care setting. This year, the medical association gave three awards: a Patient Safety Award of Excellence and two Awards of Achievement.

The William O. Robertson Patient Safety Award of Excellence was presented to The Everett Clinic for its work on addressing the opioid epidemic in its patient community. Over the past year, the Everett Clinic pursued three strategies: appropriate pain control, safe opioid prescribing, and identification/management of high-risk chronic opioid therapy patient groups. This three-pronged approach resulted in:

  • A stable chronic opioid therapy population despite significant growth of the patient population following the closure of the Seattle Pain Centers.
  • A 26 percent decline in total walk-in-clinic (WIC) opioid prescriptions and a 62 percent decline in pediatric WIC opioid prescriptions.
  • A 27 percent reduction in the number of chronic opioid therapy patients receiving opioid prescriptions by their surgeons.
  • Increased compliance with best practice by 14 percent in the Comprehensive Pain Center and by 37 percent in primary care.
  • And they doubled the number of patients managed by their pain specialists.
  • A 56 percent decline in the number of high morphine equivalent dose patients.

Accepting the award on behalf of the Everett Clinic were Chief Medical Officer Al Fisk, MD, Associate Medical Director of Quality Kent Hu, MD and occupational medicine physician Dianna Chamblin, MD.

The first William O. Robertson Patient Safety Award of Achievement was given to Jefferson Healthcare for its work to improve communication, teamwork and collaboration to significantly reduce adverse events. After training its entire staff—both clinical and non-clinical—using the evidence-based teamwork approaches of TeamSTEPPS and “Just Culture” principles of accountability, Jefferson Healthcare decreased the number of patient falls with injury, reduced re-admissions and continues to report zero health-care-acquired pressure ulcers. Jefferson Healthcare’s CEO Mike Glenn accepted the award on behalf of the organization.

The second William O. Robertson Patient Safety Award of Achievement was presented to The Vancouver Clinic for its work on standardizing and improving its process for patient advance care planning through the Honoring Choices® Pacific Northwest initiative. Since adopting the initiative, the clinic has held 157 advance care planning conversations—discussions between patients and facilitators on patient's future treatment preferences—72 percent of which included the health care agent, which is the gold standard, and all of which were documented in the electronic medical record. Physician assistant Katie Pence, PA-C, from The Vancouver Clinic accepted the award on behalf of the organization.

The WSMA established the William O. Robertson Patient Safety Award in 2005 to recognize and share innovative patient safety initiatives in the ambulatory care setting. The award was named after WSMA past-president, the late William O. Robertson, MD, who was a champion for patient safety, risk management and quality improvement throughout his long and distinguished career.

About the WSMA 

The Washington State Medical Association represents nearly 11,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the House of Medicine more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care.

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Published 10/20/2017

Published 10/20/2017 

Seattle Pediatrician Named President of State Medical Association

 
WSMA PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
  CONTACT
Oct. 16, 2017   Graham Short
206.956.3633
gfs@wsma.org
 
 
 
 
  
 
 


Seattle Pediatrician Named President of State Medical Association


Seattle, Wash. – Donna Smith, MD was elected president of the Washington State Medical Association at the association’s annual meeting in Seattle, Sunday, Oct. 15. The WSMA represents physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students and throughout Washington state.

Dr. Smith, who lives in Seattle, is a pediatrician and serves as the executive medical director of Virginia Mason Clinics.

Dr. Smith received her medical degree from Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland. She completed her internship and residency at Seattle Children's Hospital and Medical Center before launching into private practice. She joined Virginia Mason in 1995.

Dr. Smith has served in various leadership roles at Virginia Mason, including medical director of Virginia Mason Hospital, chief of pediatrics, and medical director of the emergency department. She joined WSMA’s executive committee in 2012 after serving several years on its board.

The following physicians were also elected as officers at the association’s annual meeting: Tom Schaaf, MD, Spokane family physician, president-elect; Bill Hirota, MD, Tacoma gastroenterologist, 1st vice president; Nathan Schlicher, MD, JD, Tacoma emergency physician, 2nd vice president; Mika Sinanan, MD, Seattle surgeon, secretary-treasurer; Katina Rue, DO, Yakima osteopathic physician, assistant secretary-treasurer. The seventh officer of WSMA’s executive committee is past-president Shane Macaulay, MD, Bellevue radiologist, who will serve as committee chair.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo of Dr. Donna Smith. 

About the WSMA 

The Washington State Medical Association represents nearly 11,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the House of Medicine more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care.

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Published 10/16/2017

Published 10/20/2017 

Senator Rivers Honored by State Medical Association

 
WSMA PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
  CONTACT
Oct. 16, 2017   Graham Short
206.956.3633
gfs@wsma.org
 
 
 
 
  
 
 


Senator Rivers Honored by State Medical Association


Seattle, Wash. – Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center) has been named the Washington State Medical Association’s 2017 Legislator of the Year for her support of the medical association’s legislative efforts, including a bill to help physicians fight the opioid epidemic and legislation protecting the public from distracted driving. The senator, who represents the state’s 18th Legislative District serving parts of Clark County, received the award on Saturday, Oct. 14, at the medical association’s annual meeting at the Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center in Seattle.

Each year, the statewide professional organization, representing physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students, honors a legislator whose knowledge and influence do much to improve the health of people in Washington state.

As a member of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus and chair of the Senate Health Care Committee, Sen. Rivers was instrumental in getting WSMA-supported bills scheduled for hearings, moved out of committee and passed out of the Senate. She also sponsored or co-sponsored bills that were top priority for the medical association, including legislation in 2017 that advanced solutions identified by the medical and state hospital association’s joint opioid task force to help clinicians fight the opioid epidemic.

“Washington state is facing a worsening crisis of opioid-related addiction and overdose, and Sen. Rivers was crucial in working with the WSMA and our partners to pass legislation giving physicians and hospitals new tools to fight the epidemic” said Dr. Donna Smith, president of the WSMA. “Sen. Rivers helped us secure provisions in the bill that support safe, appropriate prescribing and, importantly, do not interfere with a patient’s ability to have their pain treated.”

Sen. Rivers was also the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 5289, a priority bill for the medical association that allows law enforcement to cite individuals for using electronic devices while driving, a significant factor in automobile-related injuries and deaths.

Sen. Rivers was praised by the association for her contribution to WSMA’s successful legislative efforts in Olympia on behalf of physicians and patients.

“Sen. Rivers was always available when we needed her, and was excellent at sharing important and timely information on bills and other key issues during session,” said Dr. Smith. “Sen. Rivers is truly a physician and patient advocate, and we look forward to working with her in the years ahead.”

Sen. Rivers lives with her husband Fred and their two sons in La Center.

About the WSMA
The Washington State Medical Association represents nearly 11,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the House of Medicine more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care.

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Published 10/16/2017

Published 10/13/2017 

The WSMA Reponds to CSR Payments, Encourages Patients to Enroll

 
WSMA PRESS STATEMENT
For Immediate Release
  CONTACT
Oct. 13, 2017   Graham Short
206.956.3633
gfs@wsma.org
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


The WSMA Responds to CSR Payments, Encourages Patients to Enroll


Seattle, Wash. – Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) President Shane Macaulay, MD, issued the following statement today:

“The Washington State Medical Association is deeply disappointed in the Trump administration’s decision to end cost-sharing reduction subsidies to insurers, which help financially support the cost of the health plans offered to low-income individuals through the ACA marketplaces. A Congressional Budget Office analysis has shown that without these subsidies premiums will increase and insurers will be more likely to pull out of the ACA exchanges. Here in Washington, uncertainty in the individual market has already led to insurers not offering products on the exchange and/or increasing premiums by double-digit percentages. Ending the CSR payments will further erode the remaining market stability, impacting tens of thousands of our patients.

“We are additionally concerned that this decision has been made practically on the eve of an open enrollment period, potentially creating additional confusion for consumers already facing a shorter window in which to obtain health coverage.

“We urge Congress to act immediately to reinstate these payments and to engage in bipartisan discussions to improve our health care system and ensure access to comprehensive, affordable health care for everyone. We also encourage our patients here in Washington to get covered and stay covered by visiting Washington Healthplanfinder at www.wahbexchange.org starting Nov. 1.”

About the WSMA
The Washington State Medical Association represents nearly 11,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the House of Medicine more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care.

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Published 10/13/2017

Published 9/25/2017 

The Washington State Medical Association responds to Graham-Cassidy bill

 
WSMA PRESS STATEMENT
For Immediate Release
  CONTACT
Sept. 25, 2017   Graham Short
206.956.3633
gfs@wsma.org
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


The Washington State Medical Association responds to Graham-Cassidy bill


Seattle, Wash. – Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) President Shane Macaulay, MD, issued the following statement today in response to the Graham-Cassidy bill in the U.S. Senate that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act:

“At the WSMA, we are deeply concerned with the Graham-Cassidy bill and its impact on Washington state. The bill’s proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion and replace with block grants would result in massive cuts to our Medicaid program. Studies indicate Washington could lose nearly $10 billion over the next 10 years. Such devastating cuts would not only impact those who have benefited from the program’s expansion, but also those patients who qualify for traditional Medicaid services, such as children and the disabled. In addition to putting coverage out of reach for thousands of Washingtonians, the cuts would severely impact our state’s already strained budget and would force people to access routine care through emergency rooms, driving up the cost of care for all.

“The bill also would undermine protections for those with pre-existing conditions, threatening the existing coverage finally obtained by many under the ACA. Furthermore, the bill would repeal the individual and employer mandates, which would create further market uncertainty and endanger employer-sponsored coverage.

“The WSMA is committed to improving health care in our state, but we believe that any legislative effort should be guided by our principles for health care reform, at the heart of which is access to comprehensive, affordable health care for all Washingtonians. Adequate funding for Medicaid and stability in the market are essential if we are to ensure that everyone in our state has access to affordable coverage.

“We urge lawmakers in both chambers to reject this proposal and instead engage in bipartisan discussions to improve the health care system and ensure access to high-quality, affordable care and coverage.”

Click here to read WSMA’s Principles for Health Care Reform.

About the WSMA
The Washington State Medical Association represents nearly 11,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the House of Medicine more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care.

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Published 9/25/2017