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Weekly Rounds
Jennifer Hanscom, WSMA CEO
News and insights from WSMA CEO Jennifer Hanscom.

Weekly Rounds

A newsletter from WSMA CEO Jennifer Hanscom, sent to health care industry leadership and WSMA members.


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weekly-rounds-september-16-2022-wsma-joins-class-action-suit-against-cignaWeekly Rounds: September 16, 2022 - WSMA Joins Class-Action Suit Against CignaWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly-rounds-september-16-2022-wsma-joins-class-action-suit-against-cigna<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2022-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" /></div> <h5>September 16, 2022</h5> <h2>WSMA Joins Class-Action Suit Against Cigna</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p><strong>You are Our Priority...and Our Specialty</strong></p> <p>Physician driven, patient focused. Those four words are the essence of the WSMA-they describe what we do and who we are in a nutshell. I wrote about one aspect of what that phrase means in this space recently. But there are many ways in which that expression guides our work, including calling us to defend and support you by participating in lawsuits and amicus briefs that argue a physician-centric perspective and protect your relationship with your patients.</p> <p>Earlier this year, that meant that we participated in an amicus brief in which we successfully challenged the independent dispute resolution provisions of the federal No Surprises Act, and locally, a brief that reestablished the difference between medical malpractice and informed consent.</p> <p>Very recently, that also meant that your WSMA joined the American Medical Association and the Medical Society of New Jersey as additional plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit brought forward by three patients against Cigna, one of the country's largest health insurers.</p> <p>The lawsuit documents several instances in which Cigna made misrepresentations to its insureds and to physicians about the money patients owed their physicians for services and Cigna's failure to reimburse physicians at the rates provided in their MultiPlan Network contracts. Among the plaintiffs are a Washington state patient and physician.</p> <p>Given the number of MultiPlan contracts-with some 1.2 million physicians and health care professionals nationwide-it's likely that many of WSMA's members may have a direct and meaningful financial stake in the outcome of this case. Further, this case is broadly important to physicians because it advocates for transparency about medical service payment pricing and pushes back against insurer communications to insureds that interfere with the patient-physician relationship.</p> <p>"Patients and physicians have a right to expect health insurers to uphold their promise to provide fair and accurate payment for medical services," said AMA President Jack Resneck Jr., MD. "But alleged misconduct by Cigna has allowed the insurer's economic self-interest to be prioritized ahead of their promises to physicians in the MultiPlan Network and their patients. The AMA and other physician organizations allege that Cigna's misconduct is riddled with conflicts of interest and manipulations that routinely shortchanged payments to MultiPlan Network physicians and interfered with the patient-physician relationship by ignoring the MultiPlan contracts and making incorrect statements to patients about their liability for the unpaid portion of the billed charges. By joining Stewart v. Cigna as a plaintiff, the AMA hopes to shed light on Cigna's misconduct and create remedies so that patients and physicians can look forward to getting what they are promised."</p> <p>We know that it is not fair for physicians when insurers do not honor their contracts. We joined this lawsuit because the WSMA is committed to fighting for your right to be paid fairly, to have your contracts honored, and to hold insurers accountable.</p> <p>That said, this will be a marathon, not a sprint. We anticipate this case will likely take a few years to be resolved.</p> <p>But, as always, we are in this for the long haul. We don't give up and we will press on when it comes to issues that plague physicians, the profession, and, most especially, your patients. We will continue to defend you so that your rights are protected, your practice or medical group remains financially stable, and you are not encumbered by undue administrative challenges that impact the care of your patients or your personal wellness.</p> <p>Our tagline is our pledge to you: physician driven, patient focused. YOU are our specialty.</p> </div>9/16/2022 10:23:51 AM9/16/2022 10:19:37 AM9/16/2022 12:00:00 AM
weekly-rounds-september-2-2022-playing-hardball-on-your-behalfWeekly Rounds: September 2, 2022 - Playing Hardball on Your BehalfWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly-rounds-september-2-2022-playing-hardball-on-your-behalf<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2022-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" /></div> <h5>September 2, 2022</h5> <h2>Playing Hardball on Your Behalf</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> As your state medical association, one of our primary roles is to keep you informed of what's happening in the political and policy world. We are engaged in relevant health care discussions across the state and at the national level so that we can keep you up to date on current developments, as well as what's coming up next. We also make certain that your voice is heard and considered in those critical conversations. </p> <p> One policy area where we've engaged extensively in recent years-decades, really-is balance billing, or "surprise billing." After a protracted fight, the Washington State Legislature adopted the <a href=";s,balance%20billing%20under%20certain%20circumstances.&text=Enrollee&%2339;s%20obligation%20to%20pay%20for%20services.&text=Dispute%20resolution%20process%E2%80%94Determination%20of%20commercially%20reasonable%20payment%20amount.">Balance Billing Protection Act</a> in 2019, which prohibits balance billing for emergency services and for certain procedures performed by out-of-network physicians working in in-network facilities. While the law was far from perfect, it reflected a fair compromise and was subsequently used by physician groups in other states as a model to work from. </p> <p> Then in 2020, just as our state law was going into effect, Congress passed its own version of a balance billing prohibition known as the No Surprises Act. Since its passage, the No Surprises Act has been tied up in lawsuits (<a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/February_25/federal_judge_rules_for_physicians_in_lawsuit_challenging_no_surprises_act?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=fmjX8">some of which the WSMA has been successfully supporting</a>) and rulemaking to implement the law. Ultimately, the No Surprises Act will end up superseding most provisions of our state law, due largely to the fact that self-insured health plans can only be regulated by the federal government. </p> <p> Through it all, the WSMA and our Director of Government Affairs Sean Graham have been working at the state level with the Legislature and the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to ensure that physicians in Washington are not unduly disadvantaged by balance billing laws, both in contract negotiations with insurance carriers and during the dispute resolution processes that kick in when out-of-network patients are treated under the laws. </p> <p> Despite our efforts, insurance carriers are wasting no time using balance billing laws to play hardball in contract negotiations. A <a href="">recent article from Modern Healthcare</a> showcases how carriers nationally are using the No Surprises Act to push for rate cuts in contract negotiations with physicians as part of an effort to tip the scales when claims go to dispute resolution. And while a recently issued <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">updated rule</a> and <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">guidance</a> implementing the No Surprises Act may help deemphasize the importance of carriers' contracted rates, it's likely that theses heavy-handed negotiating practices are here to stay. </p> <p> It's important that we push back against carriers' overly aggressive contracting practices and maintain a level playing field for physicians to contract at reasonable rates. In meetings with medical group leaders, a common refrain is that carriers are demanding significant rate cuts and, in some cases, refusing to negotiate altogether. </p> <p> If your practice is among those that are experiencing challenges in contracting with insurance carriers due to balance billing laws, we'd like to hear from you. Please contact me at <a href=""></a> and Sean Graham at <a href=""></a> so we can discuss further. </p> </div>9/2/2022 9:57:45 AM9/2/2022 9:55:56 AM9/2/2022 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_august_5_2022_tuesdays_primary_elections_the_wave_that_wasntWeekly Rounds: August 5, 2022 - Tuesday's Primary Elections: The Wave that Wasn't?Weekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_august_5_2022_tuesdays_primary_elections_the_wave_that_wasnt<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/weekly-rounds-article-graphic-alex-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo with Alex Wehinger" /></div> <h5>August 5, 2022</h5> <h2>Tuesday's Primary Elections: The Wave that Wasn't?</h2> <p> Alex Wehinger, WSMA Associate Director of Legislative and Political Affairs </p> <p> With so many factors at play heading into Tuesday's primary elections, even political insiders were reluctant to make predictions. With no shortage of offices up for election, including 123 state legislative positions, all 10 of the state's congressional House seats, and the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Patty Murray, both political parties are expecting primary results to forecast their respective chances in November's general elections. Regardless of the outcome, these elections will have a significant influence over the state's political landscape, impacting the future of health care policy in Washington. </p> <p> The <a href="">secretary of state's elections website</a> is tracking election returns while hundreds of thousands of ballots continue to be counted in the coming days and weeks due to Washington's vote-by-mail system. As such, the takeaways discussed below are preliminary and some results may shift substantially by the time results are finalized and the primary election is certified. </p> <p> At the congressional level, all the state's incumbents appear to be advancing to the November ballot in Washington's "top two" primary system. Issaquah pediatrician Rep. Kim Schrier performed well, garnering just shy of 50% of her district's votes, though the race will remain competitive. It's too soon to tell who Schrier will face in November, with the top Republican challengers separated by less than 1,000 votes. Embattled congressional Republicans who voted for former President Donald Trump's impeachment look to be advancing to the general, with Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Rep. Dan Newhouse surviving conservative challengers. And Sen. Patty Murray bested a crowded field of almost 20 challengers, sailing to a primary victory that portends being repeated in the general. </p> <p> Early results from state legislative races seem to buck conventional wisdom that the president's political party typically loses seats during midterm election years. Going into the primary, Republicans forecasted a "red wave" with campaigns centered on inflation, high gas prices, and public safety. On the other hand, Democrats signaled they were playing defense to retain seats they'd gained since 2018 that looked to once again be competitive. Leaning into the progressive policy wins of recent years, they focused their messaging on abortion access and addressing climate change. </p> <p> Before diving into the details, the open seat race in North Seattle's 46th Legislative District is of particular relevance for the physician community. Lelach Rave, a pediatrician who worked at The Everett Clinic, is leading a crowded primary field, and the other physician in the race, family physician Nancy Connolly, is currently finishing third. There may be shifts in the coming weeks, but at least one physician will be on the ballot for this seat in November, creating an opportunity to see a physician in the state Legislature for the first time in almost a decade. </p> <p> As things stand, Democrats look poised to maintain strong majorities in both the House and Senate, while Republicans are recalibrating expectations and asking themselves what happened. Almost every district that was considered a tossup, or even those targeted as potentially competitive, were handily won by Democrats, including: </p> <ul> <li>10th Legislative District (La Conner): Democrats are performing strongly in both legislative races, with a Democratic challenger on target to potentially knock off a Republican House incumbent.</li> <li>26th Legislative District (Gig Harbor): In what is considered the most competitive Senate race of the year, the Democrat incumbent garnered around 52% of the vote. A Democrat is also ahead in the open seat House race.</li> <li>30th Legislative District (Federal Way): Both Democrat incumbents are winning their races, and a Democrat is also leading the votes for the open seat.</li> <li>44th Legislative District (Mill Creek) and 47th Legislative District (Kent): Between the two districts, all six seats look likely to remain in Democratic control.</li> </ul> <p> Based on preliminary primary returns, the only swing district where Republicans performed particularly well is Whatcom County's 42nd Legislative District. If these numbers hold, there will be lots of speculation in the coming weeks attempting to explain the lack of a Republican wave. There may be several factors, the most obvious being the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which helped galvanize and energize many progressive voters, especially in key Puget Sound swing districts. </p> <p> As you would expect, Democrats are doing victory laps extolling the early returns, while Republicans warn that there are still lots of ballots left to be counted. But barring significant shifts in the primary results as ballots continue to be counted, or political winds shifting between now and November, a Democratic-controlled Legislature looks all but certain to continue in 2023. </p> <p> The general election is on Tuesday, Nov. 8. If you are interested in learning more about campaigns or getting connected with the work of <a href="[@]WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/WAMPAC.aspx">WAMPAC</a>, WSMA's political action committee, please contact Alex Wehinger, WSMA's associate director of legislative and political affairs, at <a href=""></a>. </p> </div>8/5/2022 10:52:14 AM8/5/2022 10:11:57 AM8/5/2022 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_july_29_2022_5_things_you_may_have_missedWeekly Rounds: July 29, 2022 - 5 Things You May Have MissedWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_july_29_2022_5_things_you_may_have_missed<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2022-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" /></div> <h5>July 29, 2022</h5> <h2>5 Things You May Have Missed</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> While for many the news cycle may appear to slow a bit in the summer months, that's rarely the case for physicians and health care. If you've been busy these past weeks, whether in your practice or (hopefully) on a much-needed vacation, here are several quick news updates to keep you abreast of the health care news cycle here in the Evergreen State. </p> <h3>Washington's hospitals and health systems face large financial losses</h3> <p> Last Thursday, the Washington State Hospital Association held a press briefing to announce the results of a statewide financial impact survey of Washington's hospitals. Hospitals representing 97% of all inpatient beds in Washington state responded to survey, which compared hospitals' financial performance of the first quarter of 2022 to the first quarter of 2021. The survey results paint a dire picture, with hospital operating revenues up 5%, operating expenses up 11% (driven by increased workforce, supply, and drug expenses), and total operating losses combined with investment losses resulting in a net loss of $929 million (a 13% net loss). All 52 urban hospitals and health systems reported negative margins, and account for 99% of losses statewide. Of the independent rural hospitals, 18 out of 34 reported negative margins. Reasons cited for these large losses include low Medicaid reimbursement, high inflation and labor shortages, employee compensation increases, temporary labor spending increases, more complex patients with costs of care higher than rates of reimbursement, especially patients on Medicaid and Medicare, and expenses related to the large and increasing number of patients ready for discharge unable to be transferred. </p> <p> In response to this financial shortfall, WSHA is asking the state to act to get difficult-to-discharge patients into appropriate settings to allow hospitals to focus on critical care, and it will seek long-term solutions from the Legislature in 2023, including an increase in Medicaid rates for hospitals, funding for new facilities for patients needing long-term care, and funding to address the behavioral health crisis, including more staffing, facilities, and upstream interventions. </p> <h3>WSMA seeking input for 2023 legislative agenda</h3> <p> Speaking of Medicaid rates, the WSMA will be pursuing raising Medicaid rates to Medicare levels for all physician services in 2023 (to include services performed by PAs and ARNPs). This is just one of the priorities topping our preliminary 2023 legislative agenda. Our team has surveyed WSMA's membership and leadership on the most pressing issues facing their practices and we will be using those results to outline what we plan to pursue in the 2023 session. You can get a preview of what issues are rising to the top of our agenda at our next Advocacy Council meeting on Aug. 16 at noon via Zoom. During the session, our government affairs team will also provide insights on the fall midterm elections and how they may affect our agenda in 2023. <a href="">Register for the WSMA Advocacy Council meeting online</a>. </p> <h3>Registration is now open for the WSMA Annual Meeting</h3> <p> The WSMA is set to have our Annual Meeting Oct. 1 and 2 at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane. In preparing for the policy debate that takes place at the House of Delegates, our staff is collecting resolutions to set our policy or direct our action. If you have an idea you'd like to get before the House of Delegates, a resolution template and other frequently asked questions can be found <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/How_to_Write_a_Resolution/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/How_to_Write_a_Resolution/How_to_Write_a_Resolution.aspx?hkey=a22cd977-aaed-4445-9ee2-6fc4716a7136&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=mhKU8">on the WSMA website</a>. To have your resolution included in the delegate handbook (a compilation of resolutions and other business to be considered by delegates at the Annual Meeting) you must submit it to <a href=""></a> by Aug. 12. All resolutions must be sponsored by two WSMA delegates. If you need help identifying sponsors or have additional questions on the House of Delegates or resolution drafting, email the WSMA Policy Department at <a href=""></a>. </p> <p> As soon as resolutions are finalized with a fiscal note and health equity note, they will be posted in our password-protected Virtual Reference Committees, where all members can share their thoughts and opinions. <a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Discussion_Forums/Virtual_Reference_Committees/WSMA/Membership/Discussion_Forums/virtual_reference_committees.aspx?hkey=d674a5ae-4fb5-48d6-b969-16aab9b63647&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=ohKU8">Bookmark the page to join the conversation</a>. </p> <h3>WSMA provides input on apprenticeship rulemaking to L&I</h3> <p> The Department of Labor and Industries has initiated <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">rulemaking</a> on apprenticeships as a result of <a href="">Senate Bill 5600</a>, which passed the Legislature in 2022 with the intent of sustaining and expanding the state's registered apprenticeship programs. The WSMA supported this legislation during session and will provide the same support throughout the rulemaking process. The WSMA submitted a <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">comment letter</a> on June 24 requesting that L&I consider an apprenticeship platform for medical assistants under the health care and behavioral health platform. Providing medical assistants an apprenticeship pathway will strengthen care teams, improve the quality of care patients receive, and help mitigate workforce issues facing our state. This rulemaking is still in the 101 phase, or Preproposal Statement of Inquiry. The WSMA will be sure to keep you apprised of updates as this rulemaking progresses. </p> <h3>Payers must post negotiated prices</h3> <p> The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' <a href="">Transparency in Coverage final rule</a> took effect on July 1, requiring payers nationwide to publish the cost of nearly every health care service they've negotiated with physicians and health care professionals. The rule requires payers to disclose in-network physician and health care professional rates for covered items and services; out-of-network allowed amounts and billed charges for all covered items and services; and negotiated rates and historical net prices for covered prescription drugs administered by physicians and health care professionals. Payers not in compliance could face fines of up to $100 per day for each violation and for each individual affected by the violation. The rule provides accommodations for health plans using alternative reimbursement arrangements that cannot accurately provide a specific dollar amount until after services are rendered. If you have any questions about CMS' new rule you may contact our policy department at <a href=""></a>. </p> <p> As always, thank you for all you do in caring for Washingtonians, and keeping our state healthy. </p> </div>7/29/2022 10:17:40 AM7/29/2022 10:17:13 AM7/29/2022 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_july_15_2022_impactful_policy_begins_with_a_resolutionWeekly Rounds: July 15, 2022 - Impactful Policy Begins with a ResolutionWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_july_15_2022_impactful_policy_begins_with_a_resolution<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2022-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" /></div> <h5>July 15, 2022</h5> <h2>Impactful Policy Begins with a Resolution</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO </p> <p> Looks like summer has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest. I hope you have had a chance to take some time for yourself during these summer months. We've all seen so much upheaval over the last several years and even in the most recent weeks. It's a lot to take in. In fact, as I write this, I'm at the WSMA executive committee retreat, where your WSMA leaders are taking a moment to reflect on where we are today and where we, as the voice of the profession and our patients, need to focus in the months and years ahead. </p> <p> The executive committee doesn't do this work in a vacuum. We've met with leaders of county medical societies, specialty societies, medical groups, health systems, and other organizations. During our retreat we are meeting with legislative leaders. All of this is meant to inform our work, including the building of our 2023 strategic plan and next year's legislative agenda. </p> <p> We also anticipate more feedback and direction from our membership at the <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx?hkey=fea49254-3815-4dc9-8710-53ff2e3a100f&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=IFpS8">2022 Annual Meeting of the WSMA House of Delegates</a>, to be held in person Oct. 1-2 at The Historic Davenport in Spokane. </p> <p> While we have a few months to go before the Annual Meeting, the summer months of July and August are when WSMA delegates prepare and submit resolutions for consideration by the House when it convenes in the fall. Resolutions are one of the main policy drivers at the association. Simply put, they are proposals that ask the WSMA to take a position or act on an issue. </p> <p> While two WSMA delegates are required to sponsor a resolution, any interested WSMA member may initiate a resolution if they have a policy they wish to see passed by the House. (WSMA staff will help you connect with the delegates.) </p> <p> The WSMA offers detailed instructions on <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/How_to_Write_a_Resolution/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/How_to_Write_a_Resolution/How_to_Write_a_Resolution.aspx?hkey=a22cd977-aaed-4445-9ee2-6fc4716a7136&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=JFpS8">how to write and submit a resolution</a>. There are three stages in a resolution's development: 1. developing your resolution idea, 2. formatting the resolution, and 3. identifying sponsors and submission. </p> <h3>Developing your resolution</h3> <p> To hone your idea, remember that good policy starts with a good resolution. Use the following resources to increase the odds that your resolution leads to a constructive outcome at the House: </p> <ul> <li>Check for existing policy - Take a moment and consult the <a href="[@]WSMA/About/Policies/Whats_Our_Policy/Policy_Index.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=KFpS8">WSMA Policy Compendium</a> to make sure the subject isn't already addressed in current WSMA policy. Alternatively, you may seek to modify existing WSMA policy. If you'd like to advance a change in the governance and regulation of the WSMA, download and review the <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/Policies/WSMA/About/Policies/Policies.aspx?hkey=672dbce4-f8bc-4f92-9c63-c72558dfa7b6&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=LFpS8">WSMA bylaws</a> for reference.</li> <li>Check for health equity impact - Before submitting your policy proposal, use this <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/How_to_Write_a_Resolution/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/How_to_Write_a_Resolution/How_to_Write_a_Resolution.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=NFpS8#DEI">equity evaluation tool</a> to consistently assess the diversity, equity, and inclusion impacts of potential new WSMA policy.</li> <li>Discuss with other WSMA members - Tapping the expertise of your colleagues can help you hone your proposal and increase its chances for adoption. Post your resolution idea to the WSMA's <a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Discussion_Forums/General_Discussion_Forum/WSMA/Membership/Discussion_Forums/general_discussion_forum.aspx?hkey=904922a3-1548-46a9-8634-44aa41a0d45d&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=OFpS8">online general discussion forum</a> for discussion with other members. The forum is password-protected and available year-round.</li> </ul> <h3>Formatting the resolution</h3> <p> Once you've developed and honed your idea, it's time to organize your proposal into the required resolution format. For details on how to format your proposal using the five basic elements of a resolution, review our <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/How_to_Write_a_Resolution/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/How_to_Write_a_Resolution/How_to_Write_a_Resolution.aspx?hkey=a22cd977-aaed-4445-9ee2-6fc4716a7136&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=QFpS8#howto">detailed instructions</a> on how to format a resolution (a template is provided). </p> <h3>Identifying sponsors and submission deadlines</h3> <p> Remember, resolutions must be sponsored by at least two WSMA delegates, and must be submitted in writing by a delegate, alternate delegate, or member of the board of trustees. If you are interested in authoring a resolution but are not a delegate or board member, the WSMA will work with you to find a sponsor. Contact us at <a href=""></a> or 206.441.9762 for assistance. </p> <p> To be considered at the 2022 WSMA House of Delegates, be sure to meet these deadlines for resolution submission. </p> <ul> <li>Aug. 12 - Resolutions due for inclusion in delegate handbook.</li> <li>Sept. 1 - Final deadline for resolutions.</li> </ul> <p> Per the WSMA bylaws, resolutions submitted after the final Sept. 1 deadline are considered late and require a two-thirds vote of the House to be considered for debate at the meeting. </p> <h3>What happens after you submit your resolution?</h3> <p> Once you submit your resolution, WSMA staff will review the resolution for any legal or legislative concerns and will work with you to establish a fiscal note (the cost, if any, to implement the resolution if adopted). The WSMA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee will also evaluate resolutions for equity impacts and will add a health equity note as appropriate. </p> <h3>How to serve as a WSMA delegate at the Annual Meeting</h3> <p> The House of Delegates is composed of WSMA members who represent, and are designated by, their respective county society or specialty society, as well as representatives of WSMA's special sections and board of trustees. If you would like to serve as a delegate at the 2022 WSMA Annual Meeting, please contact your local <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/Partner_Organizations/County_Medical_Societies/WSMA/About/Partner_Organizations/County_Medical_Societies/County_Medical_Societies.aspx?hkey=718f0a74-10ca-4fe2-8c45-d2434ed861de&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=TFpS8">county society</a> or <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/Partner_Organizations/State_Specialty_Societies/WSMA/About/Partner_Organizations/State_Specialty_Societies/State_Specialty_Societies.aspx?hkey=df249f5e-6385-417e-ba44-426ac03fa84d&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=VFpS8">state specialty society</a>. </p> <p> This will be our first in-person Annual Meeting in three years, so I hope to see many returning faces for the first time in a long while. And I hope to see even more new faces! For you physicians and physician assistants who are new to the WSMA, the Annual Meeting is an excellent way to get involved and help us achieve our vision to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care. Please consider joining us, and let's make this meeting one to remember. </p> </div>7/28/2022 4:28:37 PM7/15/2022 10:29:46 AM7/15/2022 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_july_1_2022_services_to_assist_your_practiceWeekly Rounds: July 1, 2022 - Services to Assist Your PracticeWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_july_1_2022_services_to_assist_your_practice<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2022-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" /></div> <h5>July 1, 2022</h5> <h2>Services to Assist Your Practice</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> We are halfway through 2022 and here at the WSMA we are celebrating a strong membership year. Currently our membership is up nearly 6% over our 2021 numbers, with a record-breaking 12,431 members! </p> <p> There truly is strength in numbers, a strength which enables the WSMA to have a powerful collective voice in speaking up for what matters to physicians. I'm grateful to all the groups and individuals who invest in WSMA membership. By doing so, you're making a direct investment in professional fulfillment, leadership development, and, of course, advocacy. </p> <p> As you know, advocacy is at the heart of our work in Olympia, where we are at the table raising up your voice when discussions regarding health care are taking place. Thanks to those efforts, we had a 100% success rate with our priority bills this year. I hope you've taken a moment to review those successes by reading the 2022 Legislative Report we mailed to you recently. You'll find WSMA's achievements on your behalf outlined there in detail. In case you missed it, WSMA members can access the <a href="[@]WSMA/Advocacy/Legislative___Regulatory/wsma_legislative_report/WSMA/Advocacy/Legislative_Regulatory/wsma_legislative_report/wsma_legislative_report.aspx?hkey=cbef4d49-c104-4c3a-96b4-ac866dcbf5e0&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=RHgR8">2022 Legislative Report</a> on our website. </p> <p> While we know advocacy is one reason our members engage with and support the WSMA, we continue to deliver on our value proposition to build out resources that help you, particularly in your practice setting. Your membership entitles you to exclusive access to vendor products and services that will help you and your practice or medical group grow and thrive. Even better, these services are directly aligned with solving the practice issues you told us you needed. With your input, we sought vetted partners who would bring you services you need with the additional benefit of a WSMA members-only discount. </p> <p> In addition to our longstanding partnership with Physicians Insurance, our other partners include: </p> <ul> <li><a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Why_Join_the_WSMA_/Affinity_Program/PatientPop.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=SHgR8">PatientPop</a> - A practice growth platform offering digital strategy and services to enhance the patient journey.</li> <li><a href="">iScribeHealth</a> - Efficient mobile solutions to help you save time, with one solution for every workflow.</li> <li><a href="">Gentem</a> - Medical billing solutions that help you get paid more and faster.</li> <li><a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Why_Join_the_WSMA_/Affinity_Program/sis_nw.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=WHgR8">Spectrum Information Services Northwest</a> - Outsource services that automate time intensive processes like mailroom, receivables, payables, and medical records.</li> </ul> <p> Regardless of your practice size or specialty, take a moment to learn more about how your practice can thrive and save at <a href="[@]affinity?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=aHgR8"></a>. Please share with your practice leadership, as well. </p> <p> As always, thanks for your support of the WSMA. We are here for, and because of, you! </p> </div>7/1/2022 10:22:27 AM7/1/2022 10:20:37 AM7/1/2022 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_june_17_2022_progress_and_priorities_for_the_professionWeekly Rounds: June 17, 2022 - Progress and Priorities for the ProfessionWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_june_17_2022_progress_and_priorities_for_the_profession<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2022-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" /></div> <h5>June 17, 2022</h5> <h2>Progress and Priorities for the Profession</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> I'm writing this as I fly back to Seattle from the American Medical Association's annual meeting in Chicago. Like many of the participants, this was my first large in-person conference since the pandemic began. It was wonderful to reconnect with WSMA delegates, physicians, and medical association colleagues from across the country, as well as AMA staff. </p> <p> Several physicians from Washington state were in attendance, and two WSMA members were voted into AMA council positions: Sheila Rege, MD, WSMA board member and radiation oncologist from the Tri Cities, was reelected to her position on the Council on Medical Service; and David Cundiff, MD, from Ilwaco, was elected to a position on the Council on Science and Public Health. </p> <p> Along with inaugurating a new president, Jack Resneck, Jr., MD, a practicing dermatologist and health policy expert from the San Francisco Bay Area, the AMA also elected its first openly gay president-elect, Jesse Ehrenfeld, MD, an anesthesiologist from Wisconsin. </p> <p> At the meeting the AMA unveiled its <a href="">Recovery Plan for America's Physicians</a> and highlighted its agenda. If you read our biweekly e-newsletter, Membership Memo, or follow us on social media, you know that the AMA's recovery plan mirrors the WSMA's top priorities: </p> <ul> <li>Fixing prior authorization</li> <li>Reforming Medicare payment</li> <li>Fighting scope creep</li> <li>Supporting telehealth</li> <li>Reducing physician burnout</li> </ul> <p> <strong>As a refresher, here is a quick summary of our work in those areas:</strong> </p> <p> <strong>Fixing prior authorization: </strong>As I referenced in a <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_april_29_2022_prior_authorization_plagues_us_all?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=aqJQ8">recent Weekly Rounds</a>, addressing prior authorization is a top priority for the WSMA. You may recall that <a href="">new rules</a> went into effect in 2018 that were intended to ease the administrative burden you face as you strive to meet the requirements of state-regulated insurers or their third-party administrators when seeking prior authorization of medical services. The rules set specific timelines and communication requirements and are <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">summarized here</a>. You'll also find guidance on 2015 rules covering prior authorization of prescription drugs. </p> <p> We encourage all of our members who encounter an insurer or third-party administrator out of compliance with Office of the Insurance Commissioner's prior authorization requirements to file a complaint by utilizing the <a href="">WSMA's Prior Authorization Navigator's complaint form</a>. </p> <p> <strong>Reforming Medicare payment:</strong> While the WSMA endorses the <a href="">AMA's principles for reforming Medicare</a>, in the short term we are calling on Congress to stop the permanent 2% cut that is due on July 1, which will raise the physician pay cut from 1.75% to 2.75%, barring congressional intervention. Stay tuned for more information on WSMA and organized medicine's advocacy on this front. And keep your eyes on your inboxes for a potential call to action. </p> <p> <strong>Fighting scope creep:</strong> After two years of virtual legislative sessions in Washington state, we anticipate that many groups will be looking to expand their scope of practice when the Legislature (presumably) returns to in-person work in 2023. This past session, the WSMA was successful in defeating attempts at scope expansion by optometrists, naturopaths, psychologists, and others that would have jeopardized patient safety. You can read more about those efforts in our <a href="[@]WSMA/Advocacy/Legislative___Regulatory/wsma_legislative_report/WSMA/Advocacy/Legislative_Regulatory/wsma_legislative_report/wsma_legislative_report.aspx?hkey=cbef4d49-c104-4c3a-96b4-ac866dcbf5e0&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=uqJQ8">WSMA Legislative Report</a> (WSMA members only - sign in required). We are confident these groups and others will make another attempt at scope expansion in 2023. </p> <p> <strong>Supporting telehealth:</strong> The WSMA has been advocating for laws to facilitate the proliferation of high-value care delivered via telemedicine for nearly a decade, and Washington state is considered a leader across the country in our telemedicine laws. Based on lessons learned around delivering care over telemedicine early in the pandemic, the WSMA championed legislation that generally requires state-regulated insurers to provide the same coverage and reimbursement for audio-only telemedicine services provided to established patients as they would for care delivered in person or via audio-visual telemedicine. More information about this law and more telehealth flexibilities can be found on the <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/Telehealth/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/COVID_19_Telehealth/covid_19_telehealth.aspx?hkey=ed7e0075-97a3-489f-b858-92a741fc58ae&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=1rJQ8">WSMA website</a>. </p> <p> Additionally, as you have read in recent <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/June_10/alaska_updates_telemedicine_licensure_policies_for_established_patients?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=3rJQ8">Membership Memos</a>, Alaska will join <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/May_13/oregon_updates_telehealth_policy_to_allow_care_by_washington_physicians_and_pas.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=4rJQ8">Oregon</a> as the second state in our region to permit follow-up care to established patients without being licensed in those states. </p> <p> We still have work to do to secure continued access to telemedicine services for Medicare patients; a major priority for both the AMA and the WSMA. Stay tuned as those conversations continue with our congressional delegation and in Congress. </p> <p> <strong>Reducing physician burnout:</strong> The WSMA Foundation recently received a $150,000 two-year grant to identify best practices that improve well-being and reduce burnout and have practices and organizations pledge to meet the criteria; and to deliver education on emotional intelligence and peer support. This will be an expansion of our work in transforming practices by introducing efficiencies into care delivery such as <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Latest_News/2022/pre_visit_planning_is_increasing_efficiency?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=7rJQ8">pre-visit planning</a>. </p> <p> As always, we will continue to keep you up to date on the WSMA and the AMA's work in these areas via our Membership Memo and website. </p> </div>6/17/2022 9:55:53 AM6/17/2022 9:54:39 AM6/17/2022 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_june_3_2022_physician_driven_patient_focused_starts_with_youWeekly Rounds: June 3, 2022 - 'Physician Driven, Patient Focused' Starts With YouWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_june_3_2022_physician_driven_patient_focused_starts_with_you<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2022-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" /></div> <h5>June 3, 2022</h5> <h2>'Physician Driven, Patient Focused' Starts With You</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> You've probably noticed the tagline that is part of WSMA's logo: "Physician Driven, Patient Focused." That phrase is a guiding principle in all of WSMA's work, and nowhere is that more apparent than at the Annual Meeting of the WSMA House of Delegates. </p> <p> Not familiar with WSMA's HOD? Here's what you need to know: The WSMA is governed by a House of Delegates comprising delegates from <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/Partner_Organizations/County_Medical_Societies/WSMA/About/Partner_Organizations/County_Medical_Societies/County_Medical_Societies.aspx?hkey=718f0a74-10ca-4fe2-8c45-d2434ed861de&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=hopO8">county medical societies</a>, <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/Partner_Organizations/State_Specialty_Societies/WSMA/About/Partner_Organizations/State_Specialty_Societies/State_Specialty_Societies.aspx?hkey=df249f5e-6385-417e-ba44-426ac03fa84d&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=iopO8">state specialty societies</a>, special sections, and members of the WSMA <a href="[@]WSMA/About/Leadership/Board_of_Trustees/Board_of_Trustees.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=jopO8">board of trustees</a>. </p> <p> All of WSMA's legislative power-including the power to alter, amend, or repeal the bylaws-is vested in the House of Delegates. The speaker of the House serves as parliamentarian. The current speaker of the House is Matthew Grierson, MD, of Seattle, and the vice speaker is Ray Hsiao, MD, of Seattle. </p> <p> Policymaking at the Annual Meeting is primarily driven by resolutions. A resolution is a proposal asking the WSMA to take a position or act on an issue. <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/How_to_Write_a_Resolution/How_to_Write_a_Resolution.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=kopO8">Learn more about resolutions and how they help create and guide WSMA policy</a>. </p> <p> These resolutions are debated in two ways: via WSMA's virtual reference committees (in advance of the in-person meeting) and in person at the Annual Meeting (to be held this year in Spokane Oct. 1-2). </p> <p> Reference committee members consider all testimony-online and in person-as they prepare recommendations for the House of Delegates on how to act on resolutions. These reports are distributed during the final House of Delegates session at the Annual Meeting prior to voting on Sunday, Oct. 2. </p> <p> While only delegates can vote on issues before the House of Delegates, all WSMA members are encouraged to add their voice to the process. If you have an issue you'd like the WSMA to rally behind, a law or regulation you'd like to see opposed or implemented, or a quality issue you'd like the WSMA to advance, a resolution is the perfect way to bring the matter to the attention of the largest physician organization in the state. </p> <p> If you are looking for how to begin putting your idea into motion, check out this webinar presented by your WSMA policy team. The policy team is here to help you draft your resolution and can be reached at <a href=""></a>. </p> <p> Resolutions will be accepted and posted to the virtual reference committees prior to the end of August. We encourage you to engage in the debate online in advance of the meeting. </p> <p> If you'd like to serve as a delegate to the House of Delegates, check with your local county medical society and/or specialty society. </p> <p> If you'd like to serve on a reference committee and join us in Spokane Oct. 1 and 2, contact us at <a href=""></a>. </p> <p> As always, if you have questions, let us know. Contact us at <a href=""></a> or <a href=""></a>. </p> </div>6/6/2022 10:53:08 AM6/3/2022 10:17:24 AM6/3/2022 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_may_6_2022_roe_v_wade_in_the_balanceWeekly Rounds: May 6, 2022 - Roe v. Wade in the BalanceWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_may_6_2022_roe_v_wade_in_the_balance<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/weekly-rounds-article-graphic-heshmati-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Nariman Heshmati, MD" /></div> <h5>May 6, 2022</h5> <h2>Roe v. Wade in the Balance</h2> <p> Nariman Heshmati, MD, WSMA Vice President </p> <p> On Monday, the national media outlet <a href="">Politico</a> released what appeared to be a leak of an initial draft majority opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court that indicated the justices were prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade. This was a historic breach of the court's protocols for a potentially even more historic change in the law. As expected, this report captured the news cycle and has prompted concern among physicians, health care workers, patients, and beyond. </p> <p> It's important to recognize several things. First, this is a draft opinion. It hasn't changed any laws or the ability of patients to have an abortion. Second, even if the final opinion from the court mirrors this draft opinion, abortion will still be legal in Washington state. In 1970, prior to Roe v. Wade, Washington state was one of the first states to decriminalize abortion, and there have been additional steps taken since then to reaffirm this right. </p> <p> This year, the Legislature passed and Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Affirm Washington Abortion Act</a>, which notes that "it has also been longstanding public policy of the state to promote access to affordable, high-quality reproductive health care, including abortion care, without unnecessary burdens or restrictions" on patients, physicians, or other clinicians or facilities that provide abortion services. </p> <p> So how does this week's news and its implications impact us in Washington state? </p> <p> We likely will see more patients cross state lines to receive care. Speaking to the <a href="">Spokesman-Review</a>, Paul Dillon, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho, estimated that their health centers in Washington could see as much as a 385% increase in patients seeking abortion services if Roe v. Wade is overturned. </p> <p> We don't know if we have enough resources to meet this potential patient demand since we don't know yet what that demand is. What we do know is that the house of medicine supports a person's right to an abortion without interference. Last year, in response to the Texas law restricting abortions, the American Medical Association said, "<a href=",physician%20relationship%2C%E2%80%9D%20said%20AMA%20President">the American Medical Association stands firmly against government interference in the clinical exam room</a>." In response to the leaked draft opinion, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reiterated, "<a href="">We will continue to affirm that the ability of patients to access safe, legal abortion is critical for their health and well-being</a>." </p> <p> The WSMA affirms a <a href="[@]WSMA/About/Policies/Whats_Our_Policy/Abortion/Abortion.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=JVVL8">person's right to an abortion as a medical decision to be made under the advice and guidance of a physician</a>, and strongly opposes any attempt to restrict the availability of abortion or other reproductive health care. As <a href="">noted by ACOG</a>, restrictive abortion access laws put physicians and clinicians in the unconscionable position of having to choose between upholding the law and providing appropriate patient care. </p> <p> We do not know what the future will hold. We do know abortion will remain legal in Washington state regardless of how the Supreme Court ultimately rules. We also know that we must continue to advocate at all levels of government, in this Washington and the other Washington, to protect our patients and their access to evidence-based health care services. </p> <p> <em>Nariman Heshmati, MD, is an OB-GYN and vice president of the WSMA. In addition to his role on the WSMA executive committee, Dr. Heshmati is the past chair of the Washington section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.</em> </p> </div>5/10/2022 10:31:29 AM5/10/2022 10:31:02 AM5/6/2022 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_april_29_2022_prior_authorization_plagues_us_allWeekly Rounds: April 29, 2022 - Prior Authorization Plagues Us AllWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_april_29_2022_prior_authorization_plagues_us_all<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>April 29, 2022</h5> <h2>Prior Authorization Plagues Us All</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> If there's one issue that unifies all physicians-regardless of specialty, practice size, or employment status-it is their mutual loathing of prior authorizations. According to a 2021 survey from the American Medical Association, physicians complete an average of 41 prior authorizations per week, an administrative burden that consumes nearly two business days of physician and staff time. The burden has become so acute that 40% of physician survey respondents hired staff to work exclusively on prior authorization requirements. </p> <p> Getting authorized to provide services demands time and attention that would be better spent on patients and their care. After-hours navigation of ever-changing, non-reimbursable criteria only adds to the frustration. Physicians and staff are driven to madness by red tape while patients suffer potentially health-threatening delays in receiving approval for necessary treatment, even if-and that's a big "if"-at the end of a long and often arbitrary process the procedure or prescription is approved. </p> <p> Prior authorization undermines physicians' medical expertise and leads to considerable delays in patient care. According to that same AMA survey, 93% of physicians reported care delays associated with prior authorization, and 82% said these requirements can at least sometimes lead to patients abandoning treatment. Failure to administer medically necessary care can lead to poor health care outcomes. Most startlingly, 34% of AMA survey participants reported that prior authorization led to a serious adverse event, such as hospitalization, disability, and permanent bodily damage or death, for a patient in their care. </p> <p> On a macro level, because physician practices need to hire staff to work exclusively on prior authorizations, and with delays caused by the process sometimes leading to serious adverse events requiring higher levels of care, prior authorizations increase the cost of delivering care for everyone. </p> <p> The WSMA has worked hard to address prior authorization challenges in Washington. You may recall that <a href="">new rules</a> went into effect in 2018 that were intended to ease the administrative burden you face as you strive to meet the requirements of state-regulated insurers or their third-party administrators when seeking prior authorization of medical services. </p> <p> The rules set specific timelines and communication requirements and are <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">summarized here</a>. You'll also find guidance on 2015 rules covering prior authorization of prescription drugs. </p> <p> <strong>If you encounter an insurer or third-party administrator out of compliance with Office of the Insurance Commissioner's prior authorization requirements, you can easily file a complaint by utilizing the WSMA's Prior Authorization Navigator's <a href="">complaint form</a>. We urge you to take advantage of this tool.</strong> </p> <p> At the federal level, Congress is increasingly concerned about the negative impact of prior authorization on patients and physicians within federal health care programs. In fact, just this week a <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">federal report</a> found that some people enrolled in private Medicare Advantage plans were denied necessary care. Helpfully, a bipartisan collection of House and Senate lawmakers have introduced H.R. 3173/S. 3018, the Improving Seniors' Timely Access to Care Act. The bill is sponsored by Washington's CD 1 Rep. Suzan DelBene, with other co-signers from our state including Reps. Schrier (CD 8), Smith (CD 9), Strickland (CD 10), Herrera-Beutler (CD 3), and Larsen (CD 2). </p> <p> The bill reduces unnecessary delays in care by streamlining and standardizing prior authorization under the Medicare Advantage program. Specifically, the bill would: </p> <ul> <li>Require Medicare Advantage plans to implement electronic prior authorization programs that adhere to newly developed federal standards and are capable of seamlessly integrating into electronic health systems (vs. proprietary health plan portals), as well as establish real-time decision-making processes for items and services that are routinely approved.</li> <li>Mandate that plans report to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on the extent of their use of prior authorization and the rate of approvals and denials.</li> <li>Require plans to adopt transparent prior authorization programs that are reviewed annually, adhere to evidence-based guidelines, permit gold carding, and include continuity of care for individuals transitioning between coverage policies to minimize any care disruptions.</li> <li>Hold plans accountable for making timely prior authorization determinations and providing rationales for denial.</li> </ul> <p> While the legislation would only apply to Medicare Advantage plans, it represents a major first step at the federal level toward combatting insurer oversteps. The WSMA continues to meet with our members of Congress urging a vote on the bill this calendar year. </p> <p> While we wait to see what action Congress will take, the WSMA continues to work on the issue in our state. Based on the WSMA's recent advocacy, plans in Washington are required to provide data on their prior authorization practices to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. Data points include those medical/surgical services most frequently requiring authorization, those most frequently approved, and those where authorization is initially denied and then overturned on appeal. Carriers must also report on their average response time for prior authorization requests. This information will help increase transparency and strengthen WSMA's advocacy by improving lawmakers' understanding about the effect prior authorization has on access to care. </p> <p> Even as I write, we are working on our 2023 legislative agenda, and we anticipate our work is far from over on this topic. As we contemplate next steps on this and many other issues in advance of the 2023 legislative session, I hope you'll participate in our upcoming advocacy survey. Your voice-and your membership-matter. </p> </div>4/29/2022 9:58:04 AM4/29/2022 9:56:24 AM4/29/2022 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_april_15_2022_take_action_today_to_influence_legislation_tomorrowWeekly Rounds: April 15, 2022 - Take Action Today to Influence Legislation TomorrowWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_april_15_2022_take_action_today_to_influence_legislation_tomorrow<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>April 15, 2022</h5> <h2>Take Action Today to Influence Legislation Tomorrow</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> Even though this year's state legislative session adjourned about a month ago, the WSMA's representation of medicine never ceases! Our work continues now with a focus on elections. With just months until the midterm elections, we already know that at least 18 Washington state lawmakers are calling it quits. Among those departing are many known to medicine, including Rep. Eileen Cody, long-time chair of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee, and Sen. David Frockt, vice chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and the Health and Long Term Care Committee. Coupled with more than 100 state legislative seats that will be on the ballot in November, there's a lot at stake for WSMA's legislative advocacy in this year's election. </p> <p> Over the next several months, through <a href="[@]WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/WAMPAC.aspx?hkey=269c3c03-cf72-4568-be5b-7893557300a7&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=7VeI8">WAMPAC</a>, WSMA's non-partisan campaign arm, we will be working to identify and develop the next generation of champions for the physician community. I hope you'll get involved in any of the following ways. </p> <h3>Money talks when it comes to legislative influence</h3> <p> To have a significant influence in electing candidates that support medicine, we need your help. Your contributions, both individually and from your medical groups, will help us elect candidates that support our agenda in the 2023 session and beyond. Legislative races are expensive. To be blunt, we need more resources to maximize our influence. </p> <p> WAMPAC's board of directors will be meeting with legislative leaders and candidates over the campaign season and making determinations on who to support financially. Please consider <a href="[@]WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/Give_to_WAMPAC/WSMA/Advocacy/WAMPAC/Give_to_WAMPAC.aspx?hkey=665ce949-b574-4ec7-8e5a-7a796233e5d7&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=9VeI8">making a contribution to WAMPAC online</a> or by mailing a check to our Seattle office (WAMPAC, 2001 6th Ave., Suite 2700, Seattle, WA 98121) to help ensure that we are able to support candidates who will be supporting the house of medicine next session. Again, contributions from both individuals and medical groups are sincerely appreciated and there is no limit on how much a person or eligible business can contribute to WAMPAC. </p> <h3>Engagement influences candidate support</h3> <p> Besides financial contributions, we could use your professional participation, as well. If you want to help WAMPAC determine the best candidates to support this election cycle, consider applying to serve on the WAMPAC board. WAMPAC's board of directors is made up of physicians from across the state, each representing one of the state's 10 congressional districts, in addition to two at-large positions where participation of a resident and a medical student are prioritized. The board works to identify and support political candidates who share the house of medicine's policy priorities, build physicians' interest in campaigns, and help steer WSMA's political engagement. </p> <p> There are currently two vacancies on the board. The first is in the state's <a href="">8th Congressional District</a>, which is represented by Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Issaquah) and runs along I-90 from Issaquah to Ellensburg and up to Wenatchee. The second is in the <a href="">9th Congressional District</a>, represented by Rep. Adam Smith (D-Bellevue) and comprised of South Seattle and Bellevue, down through Kent and Federal Way and into Tacoma. </p> <p> The WAMPAC board meets roughly quarterly, with two meetings typically occurring in conjunction with regular WSMA events (the Annual Meeting of the House of Delegates and the Leadership Development Conference) and other meetings held via Zoom. The time commitment is less than an hour per month, and board members have opportunities to connect with elected officials, learn about the political landscape, and influence health care policy. </p> <p> For more information, contact Sean Graham, WSMA's director of government affairs, at <a href=""></a>. </p> <h3>Opinions shape WSMA's legislative priorities</h3> <p> While WAMPAC will be focusing on political races in the coming months, your WSMA leadership is already formulating our legislative agenda for the 2023 session that will begin next January. Priorities will include advocating for across-the-board Medicaid rate increases to apply to all specialties, opportunities to cut administrative burden by pushing back against prior authorization and other requirements, and fighting inappropriate scope of practice expansions from other health professions. </p> <p> We want to hear from you, as well. Soon, we will be surveying members to hear from you about the issues we should be engaged in. This feedback will be shared with WSMA leadership as we work to fine tune our 2023 legislative agenda. </p> <p> Your involvement in this work really does matter. As the largest physician professional organization in the state, we speak up for the house of medicine. Having your support and hearing from you ensures that we put our clout and influence where it matters most. </p> </div>4/15/2022 11:01:46 AM4/15/2022 11:00:09 AM4/15/2022 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_march_30_2022_a_doctors_day_thank_youWeekly Rounds: March 30, 2022 - A Doctors' Day Thank YouWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_march_30_2022_a_doctors_day_thank_you<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/doctors-day-2022-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="National Doctors' Day logo" /></div> <h5>March 30, 2022</h5> <h2>A Doctors' Day Thank You</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> In honor of National Doctors' Day, I wanted to take a moment to say thank you for standing on the front lines of care in our communities. </p> <p> As I reflect on these past two pandemic years, I am in awe of each and every one of you. You are the caregivers in your communities. You show up-time and again-to bring health and healing to your patients. You lead the way with science and heart. And because you care, you make a difference. </p> <p> I'm so grateful that here at the WSMA everything we do drives toward supporting and advocating for you. As the world universally navigated an unimaginable pandemic, along with our families and loved ones, we have experienced your care. Because of your dedication and leadership, we have endured. </p> <p> It's my privilege to do this work on your behalf. By standing together, we're making Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care. </p> <p> When the hours are long and you grow weary, I hope you will remember that we are grateful. </p> <p> Thank you for all you do. </p> </div>3/30/2022 10:20:46 AM3/30/2022 10:15:37 AM3/30/2022 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_march_18_2022_physicians_needed_to_lead_the_way_forwardWeekly Rounds: March 18, 2022 - Physicians Needed to Lead the Way ForwardWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_march_18_2022_physicians_needed_to_lead_the_way_forward<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>March 18, 2022</h5> <h2>Physicians Needed to Lead the Way Forward</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> This week, I have a direct request-or, more of an invitation. I'm inviting you to consider stepping into WSMA leadership by <a href="">nominating yourself or a colleague</a> for consideration for the WSMA board of trustees or executive committee. </p> <p> Backing up a bit: During a meeting this week with several medical group leaders, many of them physicians, I was again reminded of the importance of physician leadership. We talked in depth about how the practice of medicine and the world around us have changed in ways we could never have imagined. Yet it is our reality, and more than ever physician leadership is crucial to charting the path ahead. </p> <p> We depend on that strong physician leadership to effectively represent the voices of physicians, physician assistants, and patients as we seek to shape the future of health care in Washington state. Your voice, your leadership, and your service are key to influencing the medical profession and creating an environment where Washingtonians can access high-quality care. </p> <p> Here at the WSMA, we are so firmly committed to the importance of leadership that we offer top-ranked educational opportunities to the medical community through our <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Physician_Leadership/WSMA/Physician_Leadership/Physician_Leadership.aspx?hkey=4a910f13-3bb1-4b95-853f-6f93e33637d2&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=puUF8">leadership courses and conference</a>. </p> <p> After two tough years of battling COVID-19 and witnessing all the ways our health care workforce and patients' access to care have been decimated, we know physician leadership is essential to the rebuild. We will need creative and strategic approaches to address pent-up demand for care and ensure it is equitable, while at the same time confront a shrinking and fatigued workforce. It is essential for physicians to lead during these times to navigate a better way forward for the profession and patients. </p> <p> That's why today I'm personally extending the invitation for you to consider leadership here at the WSMA by nominating yourself or a colleague for consideration for the WSMA board of trustees or executive committee. </p> <p> Learn more about desired qualifications and find a roster of current board members, a nomination form, conflict of interest disclosure statement, and candidate information sheet <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/Leadership/Board_of_Trustees/WSMA/About/Leadership/Board_of_Trustees/Board_of_Trustees.aspx?hkey=0abc484b-c165-4fb1-90b5-1f72370b18d2&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=ouUF8">on our website</a>. </p> <p> Here are a few things to note about the nomination process: </p> <ul> <li>The nominating committee meets in early June to prepare a slate of nominees.</li> <li>The slate is presented to the House of Delegates at this year's Annual Meeting, scheduled for Oct. 1-2 at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane.</li> <li>The deadline for nominations is April 29, although additional nominations may be made from the floor of the House of Delegates.</li> <li>In considering yourself or colleagues for nominations, consider whether you or they are:</li> <ul> <li>Well-informed</li> <li>Forward thinking</li> <li>Committed to the future of the profession</li> <li>Committed to service and the profession above oneself</li> <li>Experienced, enthusiastic, credible, and open-minded</li> <li>Able to put the WSMA above personal desires or agenda</li> <li>Capable of serving as a future president of our state medical association</li> </ul> </ul> <p> It takes bold leadership and a strong sense of service to tackle the challenges facing the profession, your patients, and our communities. If you believe in our mission to provide strong physician leadership and advocacy to shape the future of medicine and advance quality of care for all Washingtonians, I hope you will consider this opportunity. </p> </div>3/18/2022 12:03:01 PM3/18/2022 11:59:06 AM3/18/2022 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_march_7_2022_a_moment_of_thanks_and_a_look_aheadWeekly Rounds: March 7, 2022 - A Moment of Thanks, and a Look AheadWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_march_7_2022_a_moment_of_thanks_and_a_look_ahead<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>March 5, 2022</h5> <h2>A Moment of Thanks, and a Look Ahead</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> Next Thursday, March 10 is the last day of this year's "short" 60-day legislative session. The state's final supplemental budget is still in flux and our team's advocacy continues. Among those efforts? Continued work seeking a fix to our state's balance billing legislation to ensure that physicians aren't at a disadvantage when contracting with carriers. How things will end is anyone's guess for now, but rest assured that we'll be providing updates in the days ahead. </p> <p> In fact, WSMA's government affairs team is hosting its annual post-session Advocacy Council meeting on March 11 at noon via Zoom. <a href="">Registration is required</a> for this virtual event. All WSMA members are welcome to join this session, where, in addition to reviewing outcomes of the 2022 session, you'll get the inside perspective from our team on the general dynamic heading into midterm elections. We look forward to connecting with you and will record the meeting for those who are unable to attend. If you have any questions regarding our post-session Advocacy Council meeting, reach out to Shelby Wiedmann at <a href=""></a>. </p> <p> As we close out this year's legislative session and look ahead to the rest of the year, it's a good time to stop and extend our thanks to so many of you!</p> <ul> <li>Thank you to each and every one of you who has engaged during the virtual session. As a member-driven organization, having your involvement and hearing your voice is critical. We do so hope that we will be able to gather together in person next session.</li> <li>I also want to thank all of you who have renewed your 2022 WSMA membership. We are pleased to report that we are close to achieving our goals, which is a good indicator that with your help we may have a record membership year!</li> <li>Many of our members pay their dues individually, while many others are part of medical groups in the state that choose to cover dues for physicians and physician assistants who are part of their practice, clinic, or system. Either way, thank you!</li> </ul> <p> While some groups cover WSMA membership for their physicians and PAs proactively, many will cover your dues if you ask. If you're in this category, don't leave this benefit on the table. Take a moment to check with your medical group leadership or medical staff office to find out if they will cover or reimburse you for your WSMA membership. You can also sign in and follow the membership tab to your profile to check your membership status. </p> <p> The WSMA is stronger with your involvement and engagement. I'd appreciate it if you would encourage your physician and PA colleagues to join us. If you are on social media, you'll see our "Why WSMA?" campaign featuring our own members on why they belong to the WSMA. Check out #WhyWSMA on <a href="">Twitter</a>, <a href="">Facebook</a>, and <a href="">LinkedIn</a>. </p> <p> Our strength at the WSMA not only comes from member engagement, it also comes through productive partnerships. One of those key partnerships is with WSMA's long-time partner Physicians Insurance A Mutual Company, the only professional liability company that we exclusively endorse. Since I'm thanking folks, here's a shout out and thank you to PI CEO Bill Cotter and his team. Not only do they provide <a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Why_Join_the_WSMA_/Affinity_Program/Physicians_Insurance.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=WE2E8">a discount</a> for our members, they are actively engaged in supporting and advocating on behalf of the physician and medical community. And in case you missed it in the chaos of COVID, PI has an abundance of risk management and educational courses available via <a href="">their website</a>. There, you can also read about current market trends impacting professional liability. Take a minute to check these resources out. </p> <p> Finally, thanks for staying with us! We are here for you and appreciate that you're here for us too. </p> </div>3/7/2022 9:45:57 AM3/7/2022 9:45:36 AM3/5/2022 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_february_19_2022_icymi_news_you_need_to_know_from_last_weekWeekly Rounds: February 19, 2022 - ICYMI: News You Need to Know from Last WeekWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_february_19_2022_icymi_news_you_need_to_know_from_last_week<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>February 19, 2022</h5> <h2>ICYMI: News You Need to Know from Last Week</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> It's been another busy week! I can hardly believe we are more than two years into the pandemic, more than halfway through this year's legislative session, and 50 days into 2022. Time surely flies, and the news never stops, either. Here are five quick news items I wanted to flag for you from this past week. </p> <h3>Changes to statewide mask mandate</h3> <p> On Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced his intent to rescind several elements of the statewide mask mandate effective March 21. Here are the changes in a nutshell: </p> <ul> <li>As of that date, face masks will no longer be required in most settings, including K-12 schools and childcare facilities.</li> <li>Masks will still be required in health care settings such as hospitals, outpatient and dental offices, long-term care settings, and correctional facilities.</li> <li>Beginning March 1, vaccine verification for large events will no longer be required.</li> <li>Businesses and local governments will still be able to choose to implement vaccination or face mask requirements for workers or customers, and school districts can still choose to have students and teachers wear masks.</li> <li>Federal law still requires face masks in certain settings such as public transportation and school buses.</li> </ul> <h3>Applications due for AMA's wellness program</h3> <p> The WSMA Foundation is committed to strengthening physician wellness and restoring the joy in medicine. A key Foundation objective is to develop and deliver organizational-level intervention plans to reduce burnout and improve wellness. The goal is to identify best practices that improve physician and physician assistant well-being at work and reduce burnout and invite health care organizations and systems to pledge to meet the criteria. </p> <p> To that end, the American Medical Association is accepting applications from health care organizations for its <a href="">2022 Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program</a>. This program, now in its third year, engages health systems with a demonstrated commitment to reducing work-related burnout among care teams. I hope you'll consider applying! Past awardees in Washington state include Confluence Health (2021) and Virginia Mason Medical Center (2019). The <a href="">application process</a> closes on March 31. </p> <h3>COVID-19 therapies and antiviral medications available for high-risk patients</h3> <p> COVID-19 therapeutics including monoclonal antibodies Sotrovimab, Bebtelovimab, and Tixagevimab/Cilgavimab (Evusheld) and antiviral medications Molnupiravir and Paxlovid are available in Washington state through allocations from the federal government. The medications are available by prescription only. Currently all therapeutics are being underutilized and there is an overstock of Molnupiravir. The Washington State Department of Health is encouraging physicians to prescribe these therapeutics when clinically indicated for individuals at high risk for hospitalization and death consistent with state and national guidance. For more information, <a href="">click here</a>. </p> <h3>WSMA annual leadership conference returns in person</h3> <p> We are excited to be returning to Campbell's Resort on Lake Chelan for the 2022 Leadership Development Conference, May 20-21. With COVID-19 safety protocols in place, space will be limited, so be sure to <a href="[@]@/WSMA/Events/LDC/leadership_development_conference?hkey=c7532c38-057a-4568-8a3c-078182469222">register today</a>! </p> <p> No matter your official role, this leadership conference is for you! As we clearly saw during the pandemic, we are all leaders, regardless of title, hierarchy, or work setting. This year's theme focuses on building strong teams, and includes an emphasis on diversity, well-being, and sustainability. We hope you can join us. </p> <h3>2022 Legislative Session Update: Week 6</h3> <p> We're past the halfway point in this year's 60-day legislative session. Every week, our team in Olympia reports out via video updates on what happened during the week. We had some good news to report this week, so don't miss WSMA Associate Director of Legislative and Political Affairs Alex Wehinger's <a href="">video update</a> on bills that are considered "dead" for the 2022 legislative session, including several scope of practice bills that the WSMA opposed. </p> <p> I also want to call out for you that we anticipate several calls to action in the weeks ahead, particularly as we enter the budget writing phase of session. For more information on advocacy, check out our <a href="[@]WSMA/Advocacy/Advocacy_During_a_Virtual_Legislative_Session/WSMA/Advocacy/Advocacy_During_a_Virtual_Legislative_Session/advocacy_during_a_virtual_legislative_session.aspx?hkey=45525c27-972f-4263-9669-5f7584463668&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=clLC8">resources and tips</a>. </p> <p> Our work for you, your patients, and the profession never stops. We press on, raising up the physician voice everywhere we can. I hope if you haven't already renewed your membership with the WSMA that you'll <a href="[@]WSMA/Membership/Join_Renew/WSMA/Membership/Join_Renew/Join_Renew.aspx?hkey=37a820cf-9d05-4812-b9dd-c29b9a75356d&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=dlLC8">take a moment to do so right now</a>. We are stronger together and you belong with us! </p> <p> Have a great weekend. </p> </div>2/23/2022 10:31:40 AM2/23/2022 10:31:19 AM2/19/2022 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_february_4_2022_creating_community_through_shared_actionWeekly Rounds: February 4, 2022 - Creating Community Through Shared ActionWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_february_4_2022_creating_community_through_shared_action<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>February 4, 2022</h5> <h2>Creating Community Through Shared Action</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> One of the things I love the most about my work is building and fostering community. That's what we do and who we are at the WSMA. By coming together and belonging with each other, we put forth a united physician voice that speaks volumes. And we create pathways for engagement, like the four items I want to share with you this week. </p> <h3>Engage: Get the inside scoop on issues in Olympia</h3> <p> The 2022 legislative session is well under way as we wrap up week four of this 60-day "short" session. With hundreds of bills already in play, there is a lot to know about what issues are virtually being debated in both the House and Senate. We will provide you the inside scoop at our virtual Legislative Summit coming up this Monday, Feb. 7 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. </p> <p> Along with hearing from our team in Olympia about all the health care issues that are up for debate, we'll hear from Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler and Washington Health Care Authority Director Sue Birch. </p> <p> This event is free for WSMA membersone of the many benefits made possible by your dues dollars. There's still time to <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/WSMA/Events/WSMA_Legislative_Summit/Legislative_Summit.aspx?hkey=795731a5-79ba-45b0-b78b-b9dfbfc336e5&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=l6NA8">register</a>! </p> <p> If you are unable to join us on Monday evening, there are still several ways in which you can engage in legislative advocacy. The WSMA has an advocacy resource page with tips and information on how to stay informed on our issues and communicate our positions with your local legislators. Click here to learn more about how to be a voice for medicine and our patients. </p> <h3>Learn: Health Equity M&M Webinar Series</h3> <p> The WSMA is committed to providing continuing professional development as a benefit of membership. Next Friday, Feb. 11 at noon we are launching our Health Equity M&M Webinar Series. Think "morbidity and mortality," but with a focus on health equity. Free for WSMA members, the webinars will be held on the second Friday of even-numbered months at noon. </p> <p> These Health Equity M&M discussions will provide a framework for recognizing and examining our own biases and identifying the ways systemic racism exists in our organizations. You'll take away new tools with which to think critically and identify when to advocate for your patients from historically marginalized communities, ensuring they receive the highest quality clinical care. </p> <p> Learn more about this <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Upcoming_Webinars/WSMA/education/Upcoming_Webinars/Upcoming_Webinars.aspx?hkey=b760d6bd-1833-412d-b681-babf251792a8&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=n6NA8">new webinar series</a>. </p> <h3>Inform: Urge patients to get fully vaccinated</h3> <p> As omicron continues to surge in our state, please be sure to keep talking to your patients about getting fully vaccinated. We know that physicians are trusted voices in their communities. That is why we worked to leverage the physician voice in our "<a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/September_24/wsma_launches_covid_19_vaccination_confidence_campaign.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=o6NA8">Talk to Your Doctor</a>" COVID-19 vaccine confidence campaign targeting rural communities and featuring WSMA member physicians. Aligned with that campaign, we produced a patient education brochure titled "Information About the COVID-19 Vaccine" in English and Spanish. These brochures feature several Tri-County (Pend Oreille, Ferry, and Stevens counties) physicians, and are available at no charge to all physicians and physician practices in the state. <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/COVID-19_Vaccine_Patient_Brochure/COVID-19_Vaccine_Patient_Brochure.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=q6NA8">Download, review, and order the brochures here</a>. </p> <h3>Be well: Take care of you, too</h3> <p> I know how mentally exhausted I feel after two years of responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency. I can only imagine what many of you are experiencing. If you need support, assistance, or simply a moment to vent, please consider some of these <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/Care_for_the_Caregiver_During_COVID-19_Outbreak/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/Care_for_the_Caregiver_During_COVID-19_Outbreak/care_for_the_caregiver_during_covid_19_outbreak.aspx?hkey=997ed483-e3fa-466e-bd81-a66e0fc1575b&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=s6NA8">resources we've compiled</a>. </p> <p> I often use the war analogy when describing what we've all gone through over these past two years. Facing one battle after another, we haven't even had a moment to start to rebuild or consider lessons learned. And for physicians and health care workers in the trenches, the ongoing trauma has taken its toll mentally and physically, with little time between surges to catch a break, rest, and recharge. </p> <p> The COVID-19 saga continues, but I believe there is hope. When else have we ever seen a miracle like a vaccine be developed and delivered in mere months? When else in our lifetime has humanity collectively experiencedand survivedsomething like this? When else have we seen health care come together like never before? </p> <p> People make the difference. Your heart, compassion, and care make the difference. </p> <p> My rallying cry to each of you is to stay engaged, just as you are by reading this email. Bring your stories to legislators and policymakers. Share your ideas for policy change with the WSMA. Continue to talk to your patients about their concerns related to the vaccines. We know that physicians are a trusted voice, especially in times like these. You play a huge role in communicating public health messages and fighting against harmful false information. </p> <p> Physicians are the best people to lead health care as we rebuild. I believenow more than everin the WSMA mission: To provide strong physician leadership and advocacy to shape the future of medicine and advance quality care for all Washingtonians. </p> <p> Together with each of you, I know we can do it! </p> </div>2/9/2022 1:16:03 PM2/4/2022 9:40:20 AM2/4/2022 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_january_21_2022_through_the_ups_and_downs_the_wsma_is_with_youWeekly Rounds: January 21, 2022 - Through the Ups and Downs, the WSMA is With YouWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_january_21_2022_through_the_ups_and_downs_the_wsma_is_with_you<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>January 21, 2022</h5> <h2>Through the Ups and Downs, the WSMA is With You</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> Last week, <a href="">this article by Becker's Hospital Review Editor-in-Chief Molly Gamble</a> nailed the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on health care professionals. The article's headline, "Healthcare workers can't get off the COVID-19 rollercoaster," certainly reflects the experience of our members over these past two years. Here at the WSMA, we've been strapped in right alongside you on that rollercoaster. </p> <p> The most recent stomach-churning episode has been over these last several weeks with the omicron surge. We've been loudly speaking up (or should I say shouting?) on behalf of our overworked and overwrought physician and physician assistant members since December, when we even pushed <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/COVID-19_Patient_Education/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/COVID-19_Patient_Education/covid_19_patient_education.aspx?hkey=1883b646-8a34-48dc-926d-c9711850a7cd&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=3vj88">our message</a> out through paid advertising across the state's newspapers. </p> <p> As the rollercoaster accelerated into the new year, we implored Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health Umair Shah, MD, to meet with us so they could hear first-hand accounts of what's been happening on the front lines. Physician leaders from the Washington Chapter - American College of Emergency Physicians joined us at the table, and we are gratified that the governor and secretary of health took <a href="[@]doc_library/news/letter-to-inslee-shah-crises-resources.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">our message</a> to heart and <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/January_14/governor_responds_to_crisis_facing_overwhelmed_eds_and_hospitals.aspx?WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=5vj88">took action</a>, providing National Guard to help on site and resources to discharge patients to more appropriate care facilities. He also moved forward-contrary to our opposition-with limiting "non-urgent" surgeries and procedures in all hospitals for the next four weeks; however, he emphasized that <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/January_14/governor_responds_to_crisis_facing_overwhelmed_eds_and_hospitals?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=7vj88">physician discretion is still permitted when weighing harm to patients</a>. </p> <p> After almost two years of fighting this pandemic, we know you are exhausted, both mentally and physically. We know the days ahead will be long and will feel endless. In case you missed it, I hope you'll give yourself a moment of quiet and view WSMA President Dr. Mika Sinanan's <a href="">message of encouragement</a> for each of you. </p> <p> To do our part to lessen the impact on our local emergency departments, we've produced a <a href="">public service announcement</a> featuring two emergency physicians, Nathan Schlicher, MD, JD, past president of the WSMA, and C. Ryan Keay, MD, president of the Washington chapter of ACEP. In the 45-second video message, Drs. Keay and Schlicher encourage patients to get vaccinated or boosted if they're not already, and to only come to the ED if they are experiencing very serious or life-threatening conditions. If you are not testing at your practice, please encourage your worried patients to use at-home COVID-19 tests or the state's testing sites and to not present to the ED unless they are experiencing life-threatening symptoms. If patients can't access testing, encourage them to stay home and monitor their symptoms. Use <a href="">Department of Health-produced materials</a> with your patients. </p> <p> At the end of Gamble's article, she quotes Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD, chief quality and clinical transformation officer of University Hospitals in Cleveland, as he addressed how to cope with this rollercoaster ride: "We need authentic leadership, the balance of hopeful and humble. Hopeful that we will get through this. But also the courage to confront our current reality: It sucks. Let's not pretend this isn't really hard. Now how can we make your work better?" </p> <p> That is a question we regularly ask WSMA leadership and our members. Let us know how we can help as we face everything that is really hard right now. Meanwhile, thank you. For everything. </p> </div>1/21/2022 9:25:13 AM1/21/2022 9:23:30 AM1/21/2022 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_january_7_2022_wsma_calls_on_state_leaders_to_declare_crisis_take_actionWeekly Rounds: January 7, 2022 - Health Care, Overwhelmed by Omicron Surge, Raises AlarmWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_january_7_2022_wsma_calls_on_state_leaders_to_declare_crisis_take_action<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2021-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" width="645" height="425" /></div> <h5>January 7, 2022</h5> <h2>Health Care, Overwhelmed by Omicron Surge, Raises Alarm</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> As 2022 launches, we are painfully aware of the ongoing crisis COVID is causing in our emergency departments, urgent care centers, and hospitals. The pressure on the system is beyond unsustainable. </p> <p> I want you to know that the WSMA is standing with you through it all. Earlier today we urged Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health Umair Shah, MD, to officially declare Washington state in crisis and to immediately take action to aid overwhelmed emergency departments and hospitals across the state. <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Read the letter</a>, co-authored with the Washington Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians and delivered to state officials as well as state media. (This press release and a PDF of the letter are also available on the <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Press_Release/2022/wsma_calls_on_state_leaders_to_declare_crisis_take_action.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=Ia978">WSMA website</a>.) </p> <p> In my email to Gov. Inslee and Dr. Shah I wrote: </p> <p> "On behalf of the state's physicians we ask for assistance and resources to tend to the immediate crisis happening in our state's emergency departments and hospitals. As frontline workers, we are in a desperate situation of providing care to an overwhelming number of patients in less-than-ideal conditions. We understand that a meeting is being pulled together to discuss our previous outreach, but the situation we are facing as frontline workers is untenable and we need help now. </p> <p> We are available to share our perspectives as emergency physicians to help you understand what is happening in emergency departments around the state and how it is impacting patient care and to again, outline solutions we believe will take pressure off the systems and free up staff and bed capacity so that we can handle the flow coming through our doors. </p> <p> We appreciate your efforts to urge patients to take advantage of testing sites and at-home tests and your continued support for masking and social distancing. We appreciate local hospitals doing what they can to postpone elective care. But combined that simply isn't enough to help us manage the days ahead. </p> <p> On behalf of our state physicians, we urge you to provide resources now to address this crisis." </p> <p> Further, we delivered this letter along with a press release to statewide media. We know it's more important than ever for physicians to lead public conversations with what they're experiencing in our stressed health care settings. We are raising the alarm on every front. </p> <p> We know we need solutions now. We will continue the effort to make it so. </p> </div>1/7/2022 10:14:10 AM12/29/2021 10:55:21 AM1/7/2022 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_december_29_2021_wsma_advocacy_pays_offWeekly Rounds: December 29, 2021 - WSMA Advocacy Pays OffWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_december_29_2021_wsma_advocacy_pays_off<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/weekly-rounds-article-graphic-jeb-shepard-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds graphic with Jeb Shepard" /></div> <h5>December 29, 2021</h5> <h2>WSMA Advocacy Pays Off</h2> <p>Jeb Shepard, WSMA Director of Policy</p> <p> Chances are, you've had experience in your personal or professional life with a pharmacy or other third-party health care benefit manager. These entities administer various benefits from radiology to pharmaceuticals on behalf of insurance carriers, perform key functions like utilization management, and are among several industry players at the center of debate on rising health care costs and challenges with accessing care in our country. </p> <p> While their stated mission is to efficiently deliver benefits to patients at lower costs to the system, many observers-including WSMA's members, patients, and members of the Legislature, among others-have raised concerns they are doing just the opposite. To our way of thinking, benefit managers add additional layers of complexity to the delivery system, place barriers to patients receiving appropriate care, drive up costs, and are void of transparency and accountability due to a lack of state regulatory oversight. </p> <p> In response to such concerns, the Legislature passed a law in 2020 that grants the Office of the Insurance Commissioner regulatory authority over benefit managers doing business in our state. WSMA-supported <a href="">Senate Bill 5601</a> establishes registration requirements, including licensure fees and penalties for violations, and requires contracts between benefit managers and insurance carriers to be filed with the OIC. </p> <p> This measure is a first major step in the regulation of benefit managers, as it establishes a regulatory basis from which policymakers may address current and future concerns with the industry. </p> <p> So, problem solved, right? Unfortunately, no. As is often the case with new laws, there are unintended consequences that need to be addressed before the law can perform as designed. After the fanfare of a bill signing, the hard work of implementing a new law begins. </p> <p> In the case of SB 5601, the WSMA heard from medical group practices and health systems that utilize delegated credentialing arrangements with insurance carriers that they are being told they are subject to the new law and must register as a benefit manager. On hearing this news, the WSMA connected with our contacts at the OIC to report concerns regarding the insurance carriers' interpretation of the law. We expressed that as supporters of this measure, delegated credentialing arrangements were never intended to be included. </p> <p> In its <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">recently issued response</a>, the OIC states that its interpretation of the law is that medical groups and health systems are exempt from the registration and contract filing requirements when the delegated activity from the carrier to the practice is restricted to performing credentialing services. </p> <p> The WSMA's advocacy on this was effective in that most delegation arrangements will be exempt and practices will not be required to register and pay the associated fees. Our advocacy on your behalf matters! But this is another great example of our partnership with you: We were able to be effective on this because WSMA members took time to alert us to this concern. </p> <p> We're in this work together. We stand ready to respond to your questions about complex state and federal laws, regulations, and policies, and to advocate on your behalf when necessary. I hope you'll keep us informed about any health policy-related unintended consequences by writing <a href=""></a>. </p> <p> In the meantime, we wish you a happy new year! </p> </div>12/29/2021 10:45:53 AM12/29/2021 9:26:40 AM12/29/2021 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_december_18_2021_governors_budget_release_portends_new_state_spendingWeekly Rounds: December 18, 2021 - Governor's Budget Release Portends New State SpendingWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_december_18_2021_governors_budget_release_portends_new_state_spending<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-Sean-Graham-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo with Sean Graham" /></div> <h5>December 18, 2021</h5> <h2>Governor's Budget Release Portends New State Spending, Start of Legislative Session</h2> <p> Sean Graham, WSMA Director of Government Affairs </p> <p> This week Gov. Jay Inslee released his 2022 state budget plan, proposing around $4 billion in new investments in housing, education, and climate, among other areas. In what is the legislative equivalent of a holiday tradition, the unveiling of the governor's budget proposal signals that session is just around the corner. The proposal makes adjustments to the $59 billion, two-year budget approved by legislators during the 2021 session that took effect on July 1 and serves to start the conversation on legislative budget discussions. </p> <p> In the health policy arena, highlights of the governor's budget include: </p> <ul> <li>More than $30 million in health care workforce investments to increase funding for the education and training of nurses and other health care professionals; health care simulation labs; the recruitment of students of color for health care professions; and the Opportunity Scholarship Program.</li> <li>$6.6 million to free up hospital capacity by supporting the transfer of patients out of acute care hospitals and into long-term care facilities.</li> <li>$300 million for COVID-19 response and $18 million for public health services.</li> <li>$18 million to stand up a program to help provide affordable health insurance coverage to undocumented residents of the state.</li> <li>$25 million to help address the opioid epidemic, including funding to bundle opioid treatment provider payments based on current Medicare Part B rates for opioid use disorder treatment services.</li> <li>$60 million to increase access to behavioral health services through the Medicaid program.</li> </ul> <p> The WSMA is pleased to see the proposed investments in the health care workforce but will be advocating for legislators to include provisions for broader investments in its budget proposals, including increased funding for physician residencies. We will also continue to advocate for Medicaid rate increases to be applied across the physician community to include specialty care providers in the interest of facilitating access to care for all residents of our state. </p> <p> More broadly, the governor's budget proposal would spend $800 million to address homelessness and housing, $900 million in education and schools, $250 million to reduce poverty, and $600 million to address climate change, including decarbonization of the building sector. </p> <p> Typically, "supplemental" budgets are used to make tweaks to state spending rather than significant new investments, but the state's fiscal outlook is strong and has been buttressed by federal stimulus funds, leading Gov. Inslee to propose substantial new spending. Legislative Republicans countered that the state's positive financial standing should be used to fund tax cuts. Expect that dynamic tension between spending and saving or tax cuts to continue in the coming months. </p> <p> In addition to consideration of fiscal issues, the 60-day 2022 legislative session that begins on Jan. 10 will see plenty of policy proposals. The 700 or so bills that were introduced in the 2021 session and failed to pass into law will be automatically reintroduced when session begins, and we expect to see at least 1,000 new bills to be proposed next year. </p> <p> As was the case with this year's session, the 2022 iteration will take place largely online, with legislative committee hearings being convened over Zoom. Many legislators do plan to be at the Capitol to debate and vote on bills, and some are indicating they will be holding meetings with constituents and lobbyists in person. As with most aspects of our lives, all subject to change based on the progression of the pandemic. </p> <p> What we do know is that in deference to public health guidelines and the state Capitol being closed to events next session, the 2022 WSMA Legislative Summit will take place over Zoom on Feb. 7 and 8. Plan to join us from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 7 for updates from your government affairs team on everything happening in Olympia, and to hear from key state policymakers. Then put that knowledge to use on Feb. 8 in virtual meetings with your legislative delegation, arranged by WSMA staff. <a href="[@]Shared_Content/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=LEGSUM22&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=j0m58">Register now to secure your spot at the event</a>. </p> </div>12/21/2021 9:53:26 AM12/21/2021 9:51:02 AM12/18/2021 12:00:00 AM
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