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the_whole_personThe Whole PersonLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2022/the_whole_person<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Reports/2022/september-october/reports-sept-oct-2022-cover-article-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="cover illustration for WSMA Reports September/October 2022" /></div> <h5>September 16, 2022</h5> <h2>The Whole Person</h2> <p> <em>Osteopathic principles inform incoming WSMA president Katina Rue's life philosophy.</em> </p> <p> By Milana McLead </p> <p>Nestled on the desk amid numerous photos of Katina Rue's daughter, Valeria, and a sign that says "Mom: A title just above queen," rests a heart-shaped red glass paperweight. It's a shiny reminder of an experience that exemplifies Dr. Rue's approach to life, medicine, and community. It was her first year practicing medicine in Yakima, when a patient presented with gout at the after-hours clinic where she worked. Dr. Rue, an osteopathic family physician, listened to his heart, realizing that he had a "whopping loud heart murmur." She recommended an echocardiogram, which revealed a ruptured leaflet. Thanks to her attentive observation, his valve was repaired. Later, his wife brought her the glass heart, noting, "He was here for his toe. I don't even know why you listened to his heart. But if you hadn't, who knows where my husband would be now."</p> <p>"That heart reminds me that it only takes a few moments to impact patients' lives," says Dr. Rue, "and that the time we spend with patients is a precious opportunity and privilege we have as physicians. It also grounds me in the need to be present with each and every patient."</p> <p>It's an ethos that's integrated into everything she does, whether it's tending patients, teaching medical students and residents, caring for her family and community, or minding her five-acre farm.</p> <p>Her colleagues see this in action. Nicole Austin is a program coordinator at Trios Health Family Medicine Residency in the Tri-Cities, where Dr. Rue serves as residency program director. "She is passionate about her role as an educator and community building," says Austin. "She's made a concerted effort to increase the collaboration between training programs and departments within the hospital. Although that can be challenging and at times frustrating, she has not backed down, realizing that the results will benefit not only our programs and organization, but ultimately and most importantly, the patients we serve."</p> <p>Community, connectedness, and collaboration all played a role in Dr. Rue's journey. In middle school, she thought about heading into marine biology. High school prompted an interest in physical therapy. While shadowing physical therapists during her pre-PT studies at Western Washington University and later at Montana State University, she took note of the education and training they offered in biomechanics, physiology, and more, but felt their scope of practice was limited. After learning about osteopathic medicine, she switched to pre-med and applied to osteopathic medical school at Kansas City University in Missouri.</p> <p>"What spoke to me about osteopathic medicine was the interconnectedness of the patient, the human condition of the mind, the heart, the body, the spirit, and that we are made in a way that structure and function are related," she says. "It's hard to be well when one aspect isn't—it's not only the physical aspect, it's the whole person."</p> <p>While she enjoyed surgery, having grown up around the OR with her mom, as well as psychiatry, it was family medicine that felt like the best fit. "Seeing patients over time in multiple settings, getting to make connections with families, being there for the birth of a child and the passing of grandparents—holding that community and space to be together as a family was really amazing," she says. "When you have those relationships and you understand the different aspects of people's lives, it just made sense to me."</p> <p>Getting involved in organized medicine was another aspect of community in her journey. In medical school, she saw her mentors modeling involvement in state and county medical associations. She stepped up, as well, serving as a student liaison between the Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and the Missouri State Medical Association, and as a student and resident member of the Johnson County Osteopathic Medical Society. When she moved to Washington state, it was a natural progression to join the WSMA and participate in its House of Delegates.</p> <p>"It was naturally what I did when I got here, because I believe it's what you're supposed to do as a doctor," she says. "I wanted to continue to be part of the passion and commitment to communities, patients, and medicine that I saw modeled by my mentors." Once part of the WSMA, she was all in, helping to launch the early career governing councils and sections with Past-President Ray Hsiao, MD, and others, and later stepping into leadership. "For me, it's what you do to support your profession and to represent it in the best way in the eyes of the public. If you're not involved, if you're not at the table, then, as they say, you're on the menu."</p> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right newsbody" style="text-align: center;"> <p><img alt="Katina Rue DO" src="/images/newsletters/Reports/2022/september-october/Rue.Katina_2022.SeptOct-small.jpg" class="pull-right" /></p> </div> <!--<div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"> <blockquote style="text-align: left;"><strong> <em> Would you want your pilot to be the same as your flight attendant? "Good morning, I'm airline worker Carl and I'll be flying your plane today." Would you want your trial attorney to say, "I'm Sarah, your legal worker, and will be defending you today"? I am a physician, yet somehow it has become OK to refer to me as anything but physician.</em></strong> </blockquote> </div>--> <p>Dr. Rue continues to be passionate about engaging younger physicians in the WSMA. As she looks to the year ahead, other interests include prior authorization, scope creep, social determinants of health, physician burnout, and physician workforce diversity. She is the co-chair of WSMA's newly formed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and is an active participant in WSMA's Latinx Advisory Council. "WSMA's vision and mission can be bolstered by the development of a strong, diverse physician workforce that looks like, sounds like, and understands the patients they serve," she says. "For me, WSMA has been an open and accepting place to grow and be a voice for those who are less represented."</p> <p>As she embraces her role as president of the WSMA, how will she lead? Her colleague Russell Maier, MD, offers a glimpse. "Dr. Rue is confident, a good listener, looks to the future, and is committed to the house of medicine," he says. "She is committed to community, learners, and improving patients' health." Just as she did for that patient with gout.</p> <p> <em>Milana McLead is WSMA’s senior director of strategic communications and membership.</em> </p> <h3>Snapshot: Katina Rue, DO</h3> <p><strong>FAMILY</strong></p> <p>Husband of 11 years, Aureliano, 10-year-old daughter, Valeria, and "unofficially adopted" 22-year-old Nataliya Frick and her 25-year-old brother, Anthony.</p> <p><strong>GROWING UP</strong></p> <p>Lived in Pueblo, Colorado until her family moved to Washington when she was 11. Her mom is a retired operating room nurse and ran the OR in Port Townsend for almost 30 years. Her father was the director of pharmacy at Olympic Memorial Hospital in Port Angeles.</p> <p><strong>HERITAGE</strong></p> <p>While Dr. Rue's adoptive mom is of Latino and Navajo heritage, her birth parents were also Latino (and Norwegian!). Dr. Rue's husband, Aureliano, is Mexican, although was born in Yakima, and has family in Mexico that they regularly visit.</p> <p><strong>AT HOME</strong></p> <p>Lives on five acres of farmland populated with five cows (Charlotte, Dixie Mae, Lia, Estrella, and Luna), five chickens, three beehives, a Yorkie named Storm, and 30 fruit trees (cherry, apricot, peach, pear, plum, walnut, and quince). Note: Blueberry the bull (who features in Dr. Rue's virtual Zoom background) recently moved to a ranch nearby.</p> <p><strong>WORDS TO LIVE BY</strong></p> <p>"Live like someone left the gate open!"</p> <p><strong>WHAT GETS HER UP IN THE MORNING</strong></p> <p>"Opportunities! I haven't always been the positive person. But now, in the face of daunting challenges, I see opportunities sprinkled like wildflowers."</p> <p><strong>PET PEEVE</strong></p> <p>Hearing people complain about things. "If you are a member, showed up, participated, and taken action—then maybe I'll listen to you complain." She wants to hear feedback, input, and solutions.</p> <p><strong>FIRSTS</strong></p> <p>She'll be the first DO and the first Latina to serve as WSMA president.</p> <p><strong>SPARE TIME</strong></p> <p>Soccer mom, dance mom, farm wrangler, WSMA leader, Washington Osteopathic Medical Association leader, Washington Academy of Family Physicians alternate delegate to American Academy of Family Physicians, and past president of Northwest Osteopathic Medical Foundation.</p> <p> <em>This article was featured in the September/October 2022 issue of WSMA Reports, WSMA's print magazine.</em> </p> </div>9/26/2022 12:17:06 PM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
2022-wsma-annual-meeting-final-call-for-preregistration2022 WSMA Annual Meeting: Final Call for PreregistrationLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/september-23/2022-wsma-annual-meeting-final-call-for-preregistration<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/august/2022-annual-meeting-graphic-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="2022 Annual Meeting graphic" /></div> <h5>September 23, 2022</h5> <h2>2022 WSMA Annual Meeting: Final Call for Preregistration</h2> <p>There's still time to preregister and join your colleagues next weekend, Oct. 1-2 in Spokane for the <a href="[@]wsma/events/annual_meeting/wsma/events/annual_meeting/annual_meeting.aspx?hkey=fea49254-3815-4dc9-8710-53ff2e3a100f">2022 Annual Meeting of the WSMA House of Delegates</a>. In addition to the policymaking and networking that are central to the meeting, you'll have an opportunity to attend thought-provoking CME sessions, participate in celebratory events, and be on hand as we inaugurate WSMA's next president, Katina Rue, DO, who will be the first osteopathic physician and the first Latina to hold WSMA's top office. <a href="[@]Shared_Content/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=ANNMTG2022">Reserve your spot today</a>-preregistration closes at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28 (registration is free for all WSMA members). </p> <h3>A quick look at Saturday afternoon presentations</h3> <p>Our two plenary sessions on Saturday will seek to uncover what truly inspires us as physicians, what moves us, and what keeps us connected to ourselves and our work. Sessions include:</p> <ul> <li>The Obstacle is the Path: Finding Meaning and Purpose in Troubling Times: In this presentation, Washington Physicians Health Program Executive Medical Director Chris Bundy, MD, MPH, will explore the core existential concerns as defined in contemporary discourse and identify strategies that physicians can use to promote meaning and purpose in the face of adversity.</li> <li>Thinking Deeper - Necessary Components to Achieve Health Equity: A conversation between Fernando De Maio, PhD, and Edwin Lindo, JD, two nationally recognized scholars and practitioners in health equity. This is an opportunity to observe the rigorous intellectual exploration of health equity, as speak about a few of the most challenging elements of this work.</li> </ul> <h3>Accommodations and COVID-19 precautions</h3> <p>Room availability at The Historic Davenport is very limited. If no rooms are available, ask about availability at the Davenport Tower across the street. Call The Davenport at 800.899.1482 for room information at both locations.</p> <p>The WSMA will have the following COVID-19 precautions in place at the 2022 Annual Meeting, as we look to have a safe and supportive gathering:</p> <ul> <li>Conference attendees and guests will have attested that they are up to date on their vaccines.</li> <li>Wearing a mask during indoor meetings is recommended. We will have masks available at the registration desk.</li> <li>Refunds for lunch and/or dinner tickets will be offered if you get sick prior to the event and are unable to attend. Please call 206.441.9762 or email <a href="mailto:abby@wsma.org">abby@wsma.org</a> if you test positive or are symptomatic for COVID-19.</li> <li>We will have a limited number of COVID-19 test kits available at the registration desk.</li> </ul> <p><em>Thank you to our corporate partners for their generous support: Physicians Insurance, The Polyclinic and The Everett Clinic, and the UW Psychiatry Consultation Line. If your company would like to be a WSMA Corporate Partner, contact Jessica Martinson at </em><a href="mailto:jessica@wsma.org"><em>jessica@wsma.org</em></a><em>.</em></p> </div>9/23/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
gov-inslee-to-rescind-remaining-emergency-proclamations-on-oct-31Gov. Inslee to Rescind Remaining Emergency Proclamations on Oct. 31Latest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/september-23/gov-inslee-to-rescind-remaining-emergency-proclamations-on-oct-31<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/september/state-capitol-olympia-2015-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Washington state capitol building" /></div> <h5>September 23, 2022</h5> <h2>Gov. Inslee to Rescind Remaining Emergency Proclamations on Oct. 31 </h2> <p>After more than two years of emergency proclamations related to COVID-19 being in place, Gov. Jay Inslee <a href="https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-announces-end-remaining-covid-19-emergency-orders-and-state-emergency-october-31">announced</a> that all remaining orders will be rescinded on Oct. 31.</p> <p>Ten emergency orders are currently still in effect following the <a href="https://wsma.org/Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/August_12/gov_inslee_announces_termination_of_emergency_proclamations_related_to_health_care">rescission of 12 orders at the end of July</a>. Included in the list of remaining emergency proclamations is the <a href="https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/20-05%20Coronavirus%20%28final%29.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">underlying order declaring the state of emergency</a> in Washington, which will also be rescinded on Oct. 31, effectively ending the state of emergency.</p> <p>Another notable proclamation among those being rescinded is <a href="https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/21-14.5%20-%20COVID%20Vax_outdoor%20workers%20%28tmp%29.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">21-14</a> regarding vaccines, which requires state workers, staff at educational facilities, and health care employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. However, employers may still voluntarily choose to keep the requirement in place. In addition, the governor will keep the COVID-19 vaccine requirements in place for workers at most Washington state agencies. A separate order by the state Department of Health requiring face coverings for health care and long-term care facilities will remain in place beyond the end of the state of emergency. </p> <h3>Pending issues</h3> <p>In a meeting with the DOH this week, WSMA staff discussed the following issues, with outcomes pending:</p> <ul> <li>Infection control: Conversations continue around updating infection control procedures in health care facilities. The WSMA asked the DOH to continue coordinating with us going forward to ensure physicians in both outpatient and inpatient settings remain fully apprised of updates and have opportunities to provide feedback on any changes. WSMA staff also met with the Department of Labor & Industries, which is in the early stages of drafting a permanent rule aimed at protecting health care workers from infectious diseases, including COVID-19.</li> <li>Waiver on medical assistant supervision: There will be an effort to continue allowing for this flexibility, which has helped ameliorate staffing issues for physician practices during the pandemic.</li> </ul> <p>The WSMA will keep members apprised of developments. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at <a href="mailto:policy@wsma.org">policy@wsma.org</a>.</p> </div>9/23/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
keep-your-messages-to-congress-coming-on-medicare-payment-cuts-and-prior-authorizationKeep Your Messages to Congress Coming on Medicare Payment Cuts and Prior AuthorizationLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/september-23/keep-your-messages-to-congress-coming-on-medicare-payment-cuts-and-prior-authorization<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/september/megaphone-evergreen-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="megaphone illustration" /></div> <h5>September 23, 2022</h5> <!-- **************************NEW ARTICLE****************************** --> <h2>Keep Your Messages to Congress Coming on Medicare Payment Cuts and Prior Authorization</h2> <p>There are two federal action alerts in play that need your attention: <a href="https://physiciansgrassrootsnetwork.org/be-heard?vvsrc=%2fCampaigns%2f96014%2fRespond%3fvvcgUT%3dU2n8B9gDicI8Np0q9ql0_w%26unregistered%3dU2n8B9gDicI8Np0q9ql0_w%26vvcgRD%3dBc7t28PAPWy22WQW%26vvsbr%3dZoWBN17BsEoKbiErNhiL7w">One to prevent a nearly 10% cut in Medicare payments in 2023</a> and one that will hold big insurance companies accountable by <a href="https://physiciansgrassrootsnetwork.org/be-heard?vvsrc=%2fCampaigns%2f85317%2fRespond%3fvvcgUT%3dU2n8B9gDicI8Np0q9ql0_w%26unregistered%3dU2n8B9gDicI8Np0q9ql0_w%26vvcgRD%3dB9btKzqAWPNi2fQP%26vvsbr%3dK_sKdH-101q6AMqONgb-0Q">requiring Medicare Advantage plans to adopt transparent prior authorization programs</a>. In both instances, there are promising bipartisan bills on the table-the Supporting Medicare Providers Act (H.R. 8800) and The Improving Seniors' Timely Access to Care Act (S. 301)-but lawmakers in the Senate and House must hear from more physicians and physician assistant constituents to ensure their passage. Click on the links above to learn more about these action alerts and send your messages today.</p> </div>9/23/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
resolutions-now-available-for-wsma-member-inputResolutions Now Available for WSMA Member InputLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/august-26/resolutions-now-available-for-wsma-member-input<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/august/resolutions-print-2-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="resolutions on paper" /></div> <h5>August 26, 2022 - (<em>Updated Sept. 23)</em></h5> <h2>Virtual Reference Committees Close on Tuesday: Share Your Thoughts Now</h2> <p>The WSMA's secure, password-protected virtual reference committees give all members an opportunity to review and provide feedback on policy proposals that will be considered by the WSMA House of Delegates at its <a href="https://wsma.org/wsma/events/annual_meeting/annual_meeting.aspx">annual meeting</a> in Spokane next weekend. Comments on the proposals will be compiled and reviewed by the reference committees when making their official recommendations to the House. Don't miss this opportunity to lend your expertise and insights to these proposals—your engagement can make a difference in shaping policy that has real-world impact. Share your thoughts now by visiting the <a href="https://wsma.org/wsma/membership/discussion_forums/virtual_reference_committees/wsma/membership/discussion_forums/virtual_reference_committees.aspx?hkey=d674a5ae-4fb5-48d6-b969-16aab9b63647">virtual reference committees</a> (sign-in to the WSMA website is required). The virtual reference committees close Tuesday, Sept. 27 at midnight—don’t delay. </p> <p>WSMA members may also provide testimony during the in-person reference committee sessions scheduled on Saturday, Oct. 1 during the Annual Meeting. <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/WSMA/Events/Annual_Meeting/Annual_Meeting.aspx?hkey=fea49254-3815-4dc9-8710-53ff2e3a100f">Learn more about the meeting, which is free for members, and register online</a>.</p> <p>Click on the resolution title to read the full resolution, any comments from your colleagues, and to comment (you'll be prompted to enter your password to enter the secure forums).</p> <h3>Reference Committee B (professional and internal affairs)</h3> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=03680c4a-ca73-4c77-8379-a78bc23f3372&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution B-1 - Physician Noncompetes</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=baa8ac83-5392-47e1-a32e-8f8a47cb608b&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution B-2 - WSMA Dues Increase</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=88ce0ea2-6832-422a-a3ab-5940bb0f77aa&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution B-3 - SNF and Multiple Prescribers</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=06d75a8e-96ce-4846-a5f9-85d1f05d8ca3&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution B-4 - Soteria for Early Treatment of Acute Serious Mental Illness</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=c4c99b23-22ac-4138-a3df-772507f4a123&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution B-5 - Private Equity Purchase of Physician Practices</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=9131c4a7-56a8-4ed0-9d66-419037bdd73a&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution B-6 - Commitment to Limit Inhaler-Induced Climate Change</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=28c3b1a2-176e-46b1-b61c-21dd5063250b&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution B-7 - Removing the Race Coefficient from the Calculation of Estimated Glomerular F. Rate</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=4dc05e4f-89d2-476c-8970-ac6ebf92df37&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution B-8 - Parents Deserve Comprehensive Postpartum Care</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=3bbc3c75-6f97-45e2-8836-56cc0bff110d&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution B-9 - Allocate Opioid Funds to Student Debt of Addiction Treatment Physicians and Health Care Professionals</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=93b1c03a-bbd7-4587-9932-6a16acc23b20&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution B-10 - Addressing Physician Burnout Through the Elimination of Mandatory Reporting by Physician Wellness Groups</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=e377e86b-4d7d-477c-a497-8fe51789ba2d&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution B-11: Improving Access to Evidence-Based Harm Reduction Services</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=fe61ae2e-ac94-4727-b952-269ff026dd05&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution B-12: Legislative Advocacy to Support Harm Reduction Services in the State of Washington</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=304aed34-b346-41c6-a74c-cc4ded4ddebb&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution B-13: Racial Bias in Pulse Oximetry</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=c1371340-d1ce-4f3e-860d-20461995bfb2&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution B-14: Washington State Opioid Prescribing Rules</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=3fc16ad6-b511-491a-bc1b-4b65e87b9948&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution B-15: Improving Refugee Primary Care Access and Interpreter Certification Testing</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=425d5393-2a9e-44cf-a825-4afd157eed3f&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution B-16: Addressing Vaccine Misinformation</a></p> <h3>Reference Committee C (legislative affairs and health care economics/reform)</h3> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=9592e3d3-f8ff-46f4-9d0b-21bf17523ca6&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution C-1 - Improving Health Care Staff and Physician Workforce in Washington</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=aa6a451e-888f-4a80-a00b-212b2512f2b7&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution C-2 - Increasing Access to Vasectomies</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=6d4ddf07-d362-4042-8a62-71f1c25e113c&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution C-3 - Education and Support for Physicians Delivering End-of-Life Care</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=0fd80a18-93ca-4d64-9018-5da142d16e13&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution C-4 - Support for Legislation that Improves Health via Implementation of Statewide GBI</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=c4a5b58e-c538-465c-a675-f489ffe72ebc&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution C-5 - Protecting Patient Access</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=b642dc9c-8b85-4b75-a108-32361a876d0e&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution C-6 - Shortage of Mental Health Professionals and Ancillary Mental Health Workers</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=d960aa6d-8d48-471c-9e29-b0a04c933fe9&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution C-7 - Equitable Youth Physical Activity and Sport Organization</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=f1023f18-1a6c-4e2b-8670-b17efce69aa3&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution C-8 - Restricting Derogatory and Stigmatizing Language of ICD-10 Codes</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=b3e46e1f-5779-43bb-bd1f-5dd307f39dd0&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution C-9 - Support Eat, Sleep, Console as Treatment for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=23f6b645-d2d4-4b90-8901-723cf131452d&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution C-10 - Advocating for the Informed Consent for Access to Transgender Health Care Model</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=28d7f3aa-4a29-4897-8107-c61a7d82ed08&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution C-11 - Patient Access to Safe and Legal Information</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=8fdee19e-a49b-4243-a723-a65574abf460&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution C-12: Decreasing Exposure to Air Pollution Near Airports</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=4fbe03ee-11ad-4968-b6a9-39b6cb5762ec&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution C-13: Protecting Physicians who Provide Reproductive Services</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=39afb657-a5fc-4338-94c7-e94a3b93120b&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution C-14: Reducing Gun Harm by Requiring Gun Owners to Obtain and Maintain Liability Insuranc</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=b9ebcb5b-8f30-435b-943f-3aa90a7c8bd9&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution C-15: Expanding Behavioral Health Urgent Care</a></p> <p><a href="[@]iCore/Communities/TopicDefault.aspx?iUniformKey=e1f102ce-3c23-40da-95a5-62481ff53d4e&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">Resolution C-16: Recognizing Issues of Stigma and Equity Amidst the Monkeypox Epidemic</a></p> </div>9/22/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly-rounds-september-16-2022-wsma-joins-class-action-suit-against-cignaWeekly Rounds: September 16, 2022 - WSMA Joins Class-Action Suit Against CignaLatest_NewsShared_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 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
why-not-herWhy Not Her?Latest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2022/why-not-her<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Reports/2022/september-october/heartbeat-website-image-strasik-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Astrid Strasik Heartbeat column graphic" /></div> <h5> September 15, 2022 </h5> <h2> Why Not Her? </h2> <p> By Astrid Strasik </p> <p> Growing up in rural Arizona, my knowledge of medicine was limited to the home remedies of my mother when treating everyday ailments: aloe vera for a burn, a warmed towel with Vicks VapoRub for a cold, or a freshly brewed cup of yerba buena ("good herb") for a stomachache. </p> <p> My earliest memories of the clinical setting are limited to the momentary misery of childhood vaccinations, later expanded upon by the too-frequent 70-mile trips to the "city hospital" to visit extended family who had the misfortune of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or GI bleed. But this was our "normal"; health insurance was a utopian fantasy. A trip to the doctor often meant the difference between buying groceries for the week or not. I can still picture the hospital bills covered in coffee ring stains sitting on the kitchen counter-their ever-presence reminding us to endure the pangs and twinges until absolutely necessary. </p> <p> So naturally, as my own symptoms arose, we reasoned with them in the only way we knew how: The rash was simply from the Arizona heat, joint aches were just "growing pains," and the relentless fatigue was a sign I needed more sleep. It would take another 20-some years for me to put a name to the underlying condition that had been there all along. </p> <p> It is well known that the incidence, morbidity, and mortality of many rheumatologic conditions are much higher among people of color, especially in the case of systemic lupus erythematosus. Research has shown, however, that patients of color have longer times to diagnosis, less access to specialty care, and that disparities exist even in the types of therapies offered to patients of color with these conditions. Research also has shown that patients of color are less likely to see a doctor who looks like them, and that doctors feel less confident in evaluating rashes on patients with melanated skin. Despite our greatest strides forward in medicine, these are just a few examples of how racial and health disparities continue to plague our progress. </p> <p> I often wonder how to best utilize my position of relative power and privilege as a future physician to shed light on the experiences of patients from marginalized communities. As a Latina walking into a space historically occupied by predominantly white male faces, I am frequently overwrought by feelings of inadequacy. I await the moment I am "outed" as an imposter, even as I stand in my white coat in the hallways of the hospital. And yet, I find myself filled with joy in those moments of sincere connection, as when caring for a Spanish-speaking patient whose face lights up in a smile when they learn they can speak with their physician in their native tongue. It is in these moments that I am reminded of my purpose. </p> <p> It wasn't until the age of 23 that I was able to establish care with a primary care physician who came to elucidate my SLE diagnosis. With this, I felt I was closer to taking control of my own health. My only hope is that I may one day do the same for my own patients. </p> <p> It is with these lived experiences that I have come to believe that each clinical encounter can only be strengthened by a physician's ability to see the world through their patients' eyes. Maybe then will we start to uncover and dismantle the underlying racial, sociocultural, and economic disparities that affect the health outcomes of our patients. </p> <p> Maybe then another young girl with a little more melanin in her skin can not only get the care she needs, but also see herself in her physician. </p> <p> <em>Astrid Strasik is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.</em> </p> <p> <em>This article was featured in the September/October 2022 issue of WSMA Reports, WSMA's print magazine.</em> </p> </div>9/15/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
doctors-making-a-difference-elizabeth-peterson-mdDoctors Making a Difference: Elizabeth Peterson, MDLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2022/doctors-making-a-difference-elizabeth-peterson-md<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Reports/2022/september-october/dmd-website-image-peterson-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Doctors Making a Difference logo with Elizabeth Peterson MD " /></div> <h5>September 14, 2022</h5> <h2>Doctors Making a Difference: Elizabeth Peterson, MD</h2> <p> As a board member of both AMPAC and WSMA's political action committee, WAMPAC, Elizabeth Peterson, MD, is no stranger to health care advocacy. Throughout her years as a physician advocate, the issues have shifted, but the end goal remains the same: making sure the physician voice shapes the future of our health care system. Dr. Peterson, a pediatric plastic surgeon at Mary Bridge Children's Health Center in Tacoma, talked with WSMA Reports about her history with advocacy work and why physicians should get involved. </p> <p> <strong>WSMA Reports: What does health care advocacy mean to you?</strong> </p> <p> Dr. Peterson: Advocacy simply means to ask for something on behalf of or in support of another person or thing. Health care advocacy, to me, is the intersection of medical education and evidence-based information with organized groups of physicians who have recognized patient or physician issues. Much of the time, these challenges require the creation of solutions through public policy. The advocacy, the driving force, is the art of how to get there. </p> <p> <strong>How did you first get involved with health care advocacy?</strong> </p> <p> I was in my first two years of practice when the local county medical society president asked if I would become involved on their board of trustees. I found that through this involvement I developed insights into the broader view of how medicine in our community was practiced and how we could serve our patients the best. It became clear that collectively we could educate ourselves about the many challenges that we faced and that changed how we practiced. </p> <p> Back in those days, we had to learn about and share with our physician communities information on restricted physician health plan panels, how to implement new HIPAA rules, information about EMTALA, how to work collectively yet avoid monopoly rule violations, and how to navigate many other regulatory actions that have come and gone involving insurance and payments. </p> <p> But organized medicine is not limited to regulatory or financial issues at all. It helps develop and communicate a consensus around disease management, public health practices, and now, more deeply, how social determinants of health are pervasive. </p> <p> <strong>Are there issues you've become especially passionate about during your years of advocacy?</strong> </p> <p> Universal access to health care for patients. Fair and enhanced reimbursements for physicians. No, I do not think these are mutually exclusive. </p> <p> <strong>What advocacy successes are you most proud of?</strong> </p> <p> Years ago, I was but a small voice in the larger plastic and reconstructive surgery community advocating that breast cancer reconstruction be covered by health insurance. We were very gratified when Congress passed the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act and President Bill Clinton signed it into law in 1998. </p> <p> One small secret of advocacy work is that a great deal of what we accomplish is not limited to laws we support that are passed, but that we also keep uninformed, unworkable, and patientor physician-harming legislation from being passed (or even getting out of committee) on a regular basis. </p> <p> <strong>What's the best way for WSMA members to get involved with advocacy?</strong> </p> <p> Show up at organized medicine events like the WSMA House of Delegates. Join political action committees of medical organizations (including WAMPAC and AMPAC). Participate in county and specialty society committees and leadership positions. A single act of participation leads to opportunities to become involved and eventually become an advocate. </p> <p> <em>This article was featured in the September/October 2022 issue of WSMA Reports, WSMA's print magazine.</em> </p> </div>9/14/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
generational-changeGenerational ChangeLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2022/generational-change<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Reports/2022/september-october/reports-sept-oct-2022-cover-article-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="cover illustration for WSMA Reports September/October 2022" /></div> <h5>September 12, 2022</h5> <h2>Generational Change</h2> <h5> <em>Members only; sign-in required.</em> </h5> <p> By John Gallagher </p> <p> When Nancy Auer, MD, entered The University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine in Memphis, Tennessee in the mid1970s, there were 13 women in her class of more than 100. And that was a record number. </p> <p> "I absolutely thought we were affirmative action," recalls Dr. Auer, a past president of the WSMA (2000-2001) and one of the first women to lead an integrated medical system as chief medical officer at Swedish. "In the past, there were maybe five women in a class if you were lucky." </p> <p> As rapidly as the practice of medicine has changed over the past several decades, so too has the status of women in medicine. In 1976, women made up only about 20% of the enrollment in medical schools. During the 2021-2022 application cycle, 56.8% of applications to MD-granting medical schools came from women, who made up 52.7% of matriculating students. </p> <p> By contrast, Bridget Bush, MD, began her career 30 years later. "I feel my experience in my career has been much more a traditional male experience," says Dr. Bush. "I was in the Navy as a flight surgeon. I have always been the breadwinner in both of my marriages." </p> <p> The similarities-and differencesbetween the two doctors provide a useful illustration about what has changed over time, as well as the barriers that still remain. While the most blatant forms of discrimination have for the most part faded, some remnants still linger. Perhaps more interestingly, the discussion of gender parity is shifting in recognition that parity can be as much a challenge among the sexes as between them. </p> <h3>A pioneer in the doctors' lounge </h3> <p> Dr. Auer began her career on the path common to many women of her generation: secretary and teacher. Taking a break from college, she worked at a dental school in Kentucky for two years for the chair of orthodontics. "I was hired as 'secretary,' but I got to do a lot of things," Dr. Auer recalls. Her boss encouraged her to consider a career in medicine. "He used to say to me, 'Wouldn't you like to hear them say one day, 'Paging Dr. Auer'?'" </p> <p> After the dental school, Dr. Auer went on to become a teacher, and in hopes of teaching at the college level, she decided to seek a master's in biology. But when the funding for the program she was accepted to fell through, she looked at other options. </p> <p> "Several of my colleagues were going to medical school, and I thought, I'm as smart as they are, so I applied and got accepted," she said. </p> <p> Dr. Auer quickly discovered a love of surgery, but also ran up against systemic discrimination. She was recruited for a neurosurgical residency, but she says, "Once they took me, they didn't know what to do with a woman." A lot of teaching took place in the doctors' lounge, which was men only. </p> <p> Dr. Auer eventually switched her specialty to emergency medicine, moving to Swedish in 1980 just as it was establishing its presence in the field. Her skill led to a series of promotions: chief of emergency medicine, chief of staff, vice president for medical affairs, and finally chief medical officer. In addition to serving as president of the WSMA, Dr. Auer also served as the first female president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. </p> <h3>A matter of respect</h3> <p> Yet even with her success, Dr. Auer observed inequities in pay. She also noticed that other women physicians weren't granted the same respect. "I can remember when the first woman neurosurgeon came to work at Swedish," says Dr. Auer. "The talk in the doctors' lounge was, 'Who would go to her?'" </p> <p> Dr. Bush believes that that kind of egotistical attitude has changed, in part because of the presence of women physicians. </p> <p> "I think one of the fields that has had the greatest change is surgery," she says. "It used to be a typical female surgeon was an uber-competitive woman who has put her career first and has to be the best of the best of the best to play with the boys on the boys' field. Nowadays, there's less tolerance for the typical male surgeon who was king. It's become much more of a team sport. I'd like to think it's the female physicians who helped change the culture." </p> <p> One thing that hasn't changed is casual sexism. Dr. Auer remembers a thoracic surgeon putting his hands on her sexually. "I stepped on his instep with clogs as hard as I could," she says. </p> <p> For Dr. Bush, it was a patient in a Veterans Affairs hospital who began catcalling and making rude comments. "It was the first time I felt uncomfortable about my body," she says. The incident left a lasting mark. "I never wore a skirt again at the VA or in the rest of my medical career. I've had to overcome the feeling that my femininity is something to be ashamed of in the workplace and that is something I struggle with." </p> <p> While there has been tremendous progress over time, it has produced new challenges. As more women physicians balance family and children with their professional lives, it can create a tension with those, like Dr. Bush, who chose not to have children. "It's had [an] unfortunate side effect of not helping me understand my female colleagues' struggles," she says. </p> <p> Indeed, says Dr. Bush, the struggle for gender equity is as much within genders as between them. "I feel unequal to my female counterparts because I'm not like them," she admits. "Gender-equity-wise, I have never felt unequal to my male counterparts." </p> <p> While that focus has helped her thrive in her career, it has also sometimes created a challenge in relating to other women physicians. When an anesthesiologist colleague needed additional time for breastfeeding after giving birth, Dr. Bush said she was initially upset. </p> <p> "I was kind of put out that we had to rearrange how I was going to do breaks," she recalls. "And then I was also feeling really [upset] about that feeling. How am I supposed to be a champion for my fellow female physicians when I don't have the basic experiences that a lot of them do?" </p> <p> What helped Dr. Bush was going to an all-female dance studio with one of her attendings. "Every class was a celebration of the women around you," she says. "The easier it was to cheer on these women, the easier it was to cheer on yourself and be easier on yourself. I brought that into the workplace. I could cheer these women and boost them up. It took nothing from me because there's not a finite amount of generosity." </p> <p> What Dr. Auer and Dr. Bush have in common is a firm belief in ignoring limits based on gender. "I just never recognized barriers," says Dr. Auer. "A lot of the women who were my contemporaries saw barriers where there didn't have to be any. It was kind of like a cattle guard. Cattle can get across the cattle guard without a problem, but they think they can't. I never saw the cattle guard." </p> <p> <em>John Gallagher is a freelance writer specializing in health care.</em> </p> <p> <em>This article was featured in the September/October 2022 issue of WSMA Reports, WSMA's print magazine.</em> </p> </div>9/12/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
biden-administration-issues-final-rules-on-balance-billing-arbitrationBiden Administration Issues Final Rules on Balance Billing ArbitrationLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/september-9/biden-administration-issues-final-rules-on-balance-billing-arbitration<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/september/billing-invoice-645x425.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="billing invoice" /></div> <h5>September 9, 2022</h5> <!-- **************************NEW ARTICLE****************************** --> <h2>Biden Administration Issues Final Rules on Balance Billing Arbitration</h2> <p>The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and the Treasury have issued <a href="https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/EBSA/about-ebsa/our-activities/resource-center/faqs/ebsa1210-ac00-and-1210ab99-idr-process-final-rule-dol816-final.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">final rules</a> and supporting <a href="https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/EBSA/about-ebsa/our-activities/resource-center/faqs/aca-part-55.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">guidance</a> addressing several provisions of the payment process for out-of-network care under the federal No Surprises Act. The rules make <a href="https://www.ama-assn.org/health-care-advocacy/advocacy-update/sept-2-2022-advocacy-update-spotlight-final-rules-nsa?utm_source=SFMC&utm_medium=email&utm_term=922022&utm_content=22-9997_Advocacy_Update_090222&utm_campaign=Advocacy_Email_Newsletter_AdvocacyUpdate&utm_uid=8809453&utm_effort=">several important changes</a>, including the removal of provisions that directed the independent resolution process arbiter to presume that the qualifying payment amount is the appropriate out-of-network rate (an <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">interpretation of the legislation challenged in a WSMA-supported lawsuit filed by the Texas Medical Association</a>). While there are outstanding concerns, the final rules represent a step toward a more balanced independent resolution process.</p> <p>Ultimately, the No Surprises Act will end up superseding most provisions of our <a href="[@]wsma/resources/balance_billing/wsma/resources/balance_billing/balance_billing.aspx?hkey=a3b550fb-fd76-4368-83ba-800b0d57c8a6">state balance billing law</a>, hard-won compromise legislation that protects patients from unexpected bills while preserving physicians' ability to negotiate fair reimbursement from Washington's health insurers. Since passage of the federal bill, the WSMA has worked at the state level with the Legislature and the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to ensure that physicians in Washington are not unduly disadvantaged from these 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>While the recently updated final rules should help to deemphasize the importance of carriers' contracted rates during arbitration, <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly-rounds-september-2-2022-playing-hardball-on-your-behalf">insurance carriers are wasting no time using balance billing laws to play hardball in contract negotiations</a>. 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: Contact Sean Graham at <a href="mailto:sean@wsma.org">sean@wsma.org</a>.</p> </div>9/9/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
how-your-organization-can-support-national-physician-suicide-awareness-dayHow Your Organization Can Support National Physician Suicide Awareness DayLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/september-9/how-your-organization-can-support-national-physician-suicide-awareness-day<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/september/npsaday-2022-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="National Physician Suicide Awareness Day logo" /></div> <h5>September 9, 2022</h5> <h2>How Your Organization Can Support National Physician Suicide Awareness Day </h2> <p>National Physician Suicide Awareness Day is a reminder and a call to action to make time to talk, and to act, so physicians' struggles don't become mental health emergencies. Health systems, hospitals, medical societies, clinics, and practices all have a part to play in breaking down the culture of silence around physician mental health. Here's what you and your organization can do this #NPSADay.</p> <h3>Communicate about #NPSADay throughout your organization </h3> <p>Make sure that everyone in your organization knows about #NPSADay and knows that your organization is a committed supporter of preventing physician suicide.</p> <ul> <li>Showcase the importance of physician mental health and well-being by having it come from the top. Get your leadership involved; have them share their own stories, talk about #NPSADay and highlight the organization's ongoing and upcoming efforts to create a culture of well-being, such as implementing the five actions from <a href="https://www.allinforhealthcare.org/articles/76-2022-healthcare-workforce-rescue-package">ALL IN: WellBeing First for Healthcare's Rescue Package</a> that can build the foundation for a long-term well-being strategy.</li> <li>Health organizations can serve as a pivotal resource for physicians. There are programs you can implement for workforce well-being, such as the <a href="https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/sustainability/practice-transformation">Practice Transformation Initiative</a>, the <a href="https://afsp.org/interactive-screening-program">Interactive Screening Program</a>, <a href="https://www.theschwartzcenter.org/programs/schwartz-rounds/">Schwartz Rounds</a>, and <a href="https://www.theschwartzcenter.org/programs/stress-first-aid-landingpage/">Stress First Aid</a>.</li> <li>Utilize the <a href="https://npsaday.org/Toolkit/">org toolkit</a> to spread the word about #NPSADay in your newsletter, by hanging posters, or sending postcards to remind leadership and your organization about the importance of preventing physician suicide.</li> </ul> <h3>Encourage physicians to consider their own mental health </h3> <p>On #NPSADay, encourage physicians in your organization to block some time in their day to take action to support their own mental health. Share mental health support resources to arm them with the necessary information and tools they may need to prevent a mental health emergency. If a physician is in a crisis, make sure they know they can call or text 988 or chat <a href="https://988lifeline.org/">988lifeline.org</a> for free 24/7 support. For ongoing support, direct them to <a href="https://therapyaid.org/">Therapy Aid Coalition</a>, <a href="https://emotionalppe.org/">The Emotional PPE Project</a>, <a href="https://www.peerrxmed.com/">PeerRXMed</a>, and the <a href="https://wphp.org/">Washington Physicians Health Program</a>.</p> <h3>Educate your community about #NPSADay </h3> <p>Tap your organization's platforms and expertise to reach your broader communities with messages about preventing physician suicide and #NPSADay. Examples may include running digital ads on your website, posting across your social media channels, and distributing handouts to your community partners to distribute at their locations or events.</p> <h3>Learn more about evidence-based actions organizations can take to prevent suicide</h3> <p>Because suicide is a complex health outcome with many drivers of risk, preventing suicide requires a strategic, multipronged, longitudinal, evidence-based plan. <a href="https://npsaday.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/PF22-NPSADay-Guide-for-Organizations_V1d.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Learn more about evidence-based actions different health organizations</a>, including regulatory agencies, specialty and privileging boards, continuing education, and more, can take to help prevent physician suicide.</p> <h3>Become a #NPSADay supporting organization</h3> <p>#NPSADay supporting organizations are committed to raising awareness of the physician suicide epidemic and creating a culture of well-being that prioritizes reducing the burnout that can lead to it. <a href="https://npsaday.org/become-supporting-organization/">Complete this form to be a supporting organization</a> on Sept.17 and beyond.</p> <p>Visit the <a href="https://npsaday.org/become-supporting-organization/">#NPSADay website</a> for more information and resources.</p> </div>9/9/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
omicron-covid-19-vaccine-boosters-authorizedOmicron COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters AuthorizedLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/september-9/omicron-covid-19-vaccine-boosters-authorized<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/september/unsplash-teen-covid-vaccine-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="teen receiving vaccine" /></div> <h5>September 9, 2022</h5> <!-- **************************NEW ARTICLE****************************** --> <h2>Omicron COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters Authorized </h2> <p>Physicians and practices will soon be able to offer their patients omicron variant-targeted bivalent booster doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines following authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup. </p> <p>The bivalent vaccines combine the companies' original COVID-19 vaccine compositions with BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components, providing additional protection by targeting variants that are more transmissible and immune-evading. The primary COVID-19 vaccine series will stay the same, given their proven efficacy in preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.</p> <p>The Washington State Department of Health's <a href="https://doh.wa.gov/emergencies/covid-19/vaccine-information/vaccine-booster-doses">updated booster dose recommendations</a> are as follows: </p> <ul> <li>People ages 12-17 who have completed a primary vaccine series can receive the Pfizer bivalent booster at least two months after their most recent dose. </li> <li>People 18 and older who have completed a primary vaccine series can receive either company's bivalent booster at least two months after their most recent dose. </li> </ul> <ul> <li>Those ages 5-11 who have completed Pfizer's primary vaccine series should continue to receive the company's original monovalent booster at least five months after their most recent dose. </li> <li>Children ages 6 months-4 years are currently not authorized for any COVID-19 booster doses. </li> <li>People ages 12 and over who currently have appointments to receive COVID-19 booster doses will need to contact their physicians to ensure the bivalent booster is available; if not, those appointments will need to be rescheduled, as the former monovalent booster doses are <a href="https://doh.wa.gov/emergencies/covid-19/healthcare-providers/vaccine-information-healthcare-providers/toolkit-and-resources#monovalent">no longer authorized for this age group.</a> </li> </ul> <p>An initial allocation of 191,100 bivalent booster doses is currently being distributed throughout the state. Subsequent weekly allocations will follow, building the state's inventory levels over time.</p> </div>9/9/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly-rounds-september-2-2022-playing-hardball-on-your-behalfWeekly Rounds: September 2, 2022 - Playing Hardball on Your BehalfLatest_NewsShared_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="https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=48.49#:~:text=Definitions.&text=Balance%20billing%E2%80%94When%20prohibited%E2%80%94Carrier&%2339;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="https://www.modernhealthcare.com/insurance/no-surprises-act-influencing-insurers-rate-setting-plans">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="https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/EBSA/about-ebsa/our-activities/resource-center/faqs/ebsa1210-ac00-and-1210ab99-idr-process-final-rule-dol816-final.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">updated rule</a> and <a href="https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/EBSA/about-ebsa/our-activities/resource-center/faqs/aca-part-55.pdf" 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="mailto:jen@wsma.org">jen@wsma.org</a> and Sean Graham at <a href="mailto:sean@wsma.org">sean@wsma.org</a> so we can discuss further. </p> </div>9/2/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
setting-their-sights-on-leadershipSetting Their Sights on LeadershipLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2022/setting-their-sights-on-leadership<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Reports/2022/september-october/reports-sept-oct-2022-cover-article-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="cover illustration for WSMA Reports September/October 2022" /></div> <h5>September 1, 2022</h5> <h2>Setting Their Sights on Leadership</h2> <h5> <em>Members only; sign-in required.</em> </h5> <p> By Rita Colorito </p> <p> Lola Oluyitan-Okeze, MD, MHMS, experienced pandemic child care stress firsthand when the daycare her toddler attends shut down for a week. Fortunately, she says, her husband rearranged his schedule and stayed home. But she heard from other women physicians who had to take time off when child care fell through. "Their supervisors were upset. And it's not their first choice." </p> <p> While the COVID-19 pandemic placed significant stress on all physicians, workforce studies have found women physicians, especially those with children, were disproportionately affected. Among some specialists, women were significantly more likely than men to report salary cuts and reduced or discontinued work, citing the burden of child care responsibilities. They also continued to shoulder more child care responsibilities overall. </p> <p> For women physicians eyeing greater leadership responsibilities, time will tell whether the pandemic affects their advancement. For Dr. Oluyitan-Okeze, the burden of her lived experience is evident when she recounts her colleagues' stories. "These decisions are sometimes levied against women when it comes time to hire or promote." </p> <h3>More, yet not enough</h3> <p> Dr. Oluyitan-Okeze is one of several physician leaders WSMA Reports spoke with for this article, who, in many ways embody the successes, struggles, and setbacks of women physicians everywhere aspiring to a seat at the decision table. </p> <p> Women continue to enter medical school in groundbreaking numbers. Data from the Association of American Medical Colleges show that for the past three years, women have comprised the majority of MD-granting medical school applicants, matriculants, and enrollees, representing 56.8%, 55.5%, and 52.7%, respectively, in 2021-2022. For the past four years, women have also been the majority of applicants to DO-granting medicals schools, representing 57.9% of applicants in 2021-2022, according to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. The most recent DOmatriculant data puts women at 51.9%. </p> <p> Whether these numbers translate into the workforce remains to be seen. The percentage of women in the physician workforce increased from 34% in 2015 to 36.3% in 2019, according to the AAMC's Physician Specialty Data Reports. Women also made up 45.8% of residents and fellows, up from 45% in 2016. </p> <p> Despite these advancements, nationwide women continue to be underrepresented in the highest levels of medical leadership, holding only 17.5% of board chair positions and 15.3% of CEO roles, according to a November 2021 research letter in JAMA Network Open. It's not a clear apples-to-apples analysis, but women may have lost ground among CEO slots: In 2018, they accounted for 18% of CEOs, according to a <em>Harvard Business Review</em> report. </p> <p> Even when women reach the C-suite, gender discrimination persists. A 2019 study found female CEOs at not-for-profit hospitals earned 22.6% less than their male counterparts-an annual gender wage gap of $132,652. </p> <h3>A change in the conversation</h3> <p> Despite the glacial pace toward medical leadership representation, there's been a marked increase in cultural awareness of issues hindering gender and racial equity, both in health care and in society, says Donna Smith, MD, senior vice president at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health and president of the Franciscan Medical Group. </p> <p> "In so many ways, we're not as far as we thought we were in terms of respect for women and other people," says Dr. Smith. "Social justice issues are relevant to the health of the people we serve, whether it's gun safety or freedom to choose. These are basic issues of public health and human rights that women do need to be involved in and help inform." </p> <p> Dr. Oluyitan-Okeze, who joined Swedish Health Services in February as regional medical director for primary care in Snoqualmie, says that awareness has translated into positive steps for women in medicine and particularly for women of color who aspire to leadership roles. </p> <p> "With the social and racial reckoning that this country is going through, I do think more organizations are looking at their leadership and asking, 'What is missing?'" she says. "As a Black woman, I check off two boxes, and it's an easy choice to peg me for leadership if I meet the qualifications. I will say more and more people are interested in what I have to say and offer in the leadership room. But it doesn't make it any easier, because I still walk into a room and I'm maybe the only African American, or there are only one or two other women there." </p> <p> Representation at the top matters for promoting women down ladder; it sets the tone for the organization and for health policy. </p> <p> The 2021 JAMA research letter found health systems with women CEOs had higher proportions of women serving on either the board of directors or in senior executive positions. Overall, women hold approximately 20% to 50% of positions on boards of directors and senior executive teams. </p> <h3>Hitting the 'maternal wall'</h3> <p> One disadvantage many women in medicine face that impacts leadership ascendency is balancing the desire to have a career with the desire to have a family. The struggle is both personal and systemic. According to a 2018 University of Michigan study, within six years of finishing their residencies, 40% of women physicians either quit or go part time, citing family as the primary reason. In the general workforce, pregnant women and mothers are often viewed as less competent and less committed to their jobs, a concept known as the "maternal wall bias," first coined in 2004 by feminist legal scholar Joan C. Williams. </p> <p> "When you're a young female physician, there's no good time to have your baby," says Dr. Oluyitan-Okeze. "As a physician who wants to be a mom, that's one of the hardest things we have to maneuver." </p> <p> Last year, when Dr. Oluyitan-Okeze interviewed for her new role at Swedish Medical Group, she was six weeks pregnant with her second child. Her intention had always been to work in medical leadership, so she jumped at the chance for her first full-time leadership position. She now has oversight of some 40 medical staff across five clinics. </p> <p> While Dr. Oluyitan-Okeze wasn't legally obligated to disclose her pregnancy, she did so. She felt guilty knowing she would need to take maternal leave within a few months of starting. "It's a tug on your emotions. </p> <p> If you're doing what you're doing well, you want to give your organization some legroom and let them know what your situation is. But the other side of the coin is, why is this a situation at all? " she says. </p> <p> She also worried how her pregnancy would be perceived. "When you're up for a leadership position, they look at you as a young woman with young children. And you look at your competition, and they're all men. </p> <p> It's possible these men will not take paternity leave and they will probably not need to take a sick day because of child care issues. Their wives may need to, but men will not. It's just an unsaid thing," says Dr. Oluyitan-Okeze. </p> <p> She says she's been fortunate that her current and previous employers have supported her with what she needed to succeed in her job and as a mom. </p> <p> "These things just aren't in place for women physicians, let alone women in leadership," says Dr. Oluyitan-Okeze. "If you have a boardroom full of all men, no one's thinking about maternity leave, breast milk pumping breaks, milk storage, and all those things that you would think of if you're a woman in that same boardroom helping shape policies for your organization." </p> <p> In her own leadership role, Dr. Oluyitan-Okeze takes a proactive approach for physicians going on maternity leave. "I want them to know we have those systems in place," she says. </p> <h3>Women and burnout </h3> <p> For women in medicine, the COVID-19 pandemic amplified the disproportionate burnout they were already experiencing, says Tamara Chang, MD, medical director of clinician wellness at MultiCare. </p> <p> "Female physicians are at significantly higher risk of burnout, depression, and suicide than male physicians. Women in medicine also have higher deaths by suicide than women in the general population, like 400% higher, which is pretty dramatic," says Dr. Chang. </p> <p> Five years ago, Dr. Chang took an emergency leave of absence. She was only five years into being an attending pediatric hematology oncologist. "I was one of those physicians who hit rock bottom-severe burnout, severe depression, suicidal," she says. </p> <p> Women aspiring to medical leadership face other barriers besides pregnancy and child care issues. "I'm one of the lucky few in medicine who has a supportive spouse who does everything at home for me. And I don't have children," says Dr. Chang. "And yet, I still was one of those with severe burnout." </p> <p> Women often take on what they think are promising work tasks, but they ultimately contribute to burnout, says Dr. Chang. Taking a physician leadership course through the WSMA or another organization can help women identify potential blind spots and common pitfalls that hold women back, she says. </p> <p> Burnout also hit WSMA's incoming president, Katina Rue, DO. In February 2021, Dr. Rue quit her full-time job to work part time and refocus her career. "I took the whole summer off, and it was an amazing thing for my life," she says. Allowing herself the chance to reenergize made the difference climbing up the leadership ladder, says Dr. Rue, who, after consulting for Trios Health Family Medicine Residency Program in Kennewick, in January 2022 became its program director. </p> <p> The key to helping herself and other women, Dr. Chang realized, was changing things from the inside. "That was the catalyst for everything I do. My deepest passion now is how do we get women into leadership, especially women in medicine," she says. </p> <p> To that end, about a year ago, Dr. Chang helped found and now serves as the director of ELEVATE, a leadership development program for women physicians at the American Medical Women's Association. She is also co-founder of Pink Coat, MD, a digital platform exclusively for women physicians, and co-author of "How to Thrive as a Woman Physician." </p> <p> Dr. Rue also has made it her mission to promote women in medicine through the various boards she serves on, including the nominating committee of the Washington Academy of Family Physicians. "At WAFP, we've been pretty intentional in the nominating committee to look at representation," she says, adding that she hopes to bring that same focus to the WSMA. </p> <h3>The push forward </h3> <p> While there are now more resources than ever to help women attain leadership roles, in many ways, the more things change, the more they stay the same. A common sentiment echoed by the women leaders WSMA Reports spoke to: Women in medicine still need to overcome implicit bias. </p> <p> "Women get treated differently for the same behaviors and characteristics that men exhibit and get applauded for," says Dr. Rue. </p> <p> Over her 25-year career, Sheila Rege, MD, a radiation oncologist in the TriCities and a WSMA board member, dealt with the some of the same issues facing her younger counterparts today. "Confident, professionally assertive women will succeed faster if they show their empathetic side and elevate others," she says. </p> <p> Mentors and friends played an important role in her own career, Dr. Rege notes. "Many women go through a zigzag path in their careers, and I am passionate about supporting formal and informal career development opportunities for women and students," she says. </p> <p> Another common sentiment: Women can't advance without allies, both women and men. "It's so much more powerful, unfortunately still, when a man is the ally, rather than another woman," says Dr. Chang. </p> <p> That's been Dr. Rege's experience, too. "I find that requests for women to advance are seen in a more positive light when male physician colleagues or department chairs speak up in support," she says. </p> <p> Dr. Oluyitan-Okeze urges women who aspire to medical leadership to voice their intention early and often. "When I was at my former organization, they were looking for a department chair for family practice. They remembered I had expressed interest in leadership. I don't know if my name would have ever come up for that role otherwise," she says. </p> <p> Dr. Smith, who served as WSMA president from 2017-2018, encourages women to join community and organizational boards. "Put yourself in situations where you get exposed to healthy dialogue around a boardroom table of really smart people who care about what they're doing." </p> <p> However, Dr. Smith cautions, power dynamics still exist. </p> <p> "The typical male/female kind of dynamics can still happen at a table when the majority of the people around the table are female," she says. "You still need to make sure people are heard and people's opinions are respected. You still need to be curious about what people are saying and encourage debate and open dialogue if you want to make the best decisions for an organization." </p> <p> There's no quick fix to help women overcome the myriad obstacles to advancing in health care leadership, according to a 2021 systematic review published in The Lancet's eClinical Medicine. It outlines dozens of specific evidence-based organizational interventions in four broad categories, including organizational process; awareness and engagement; mentoring and networking; and leadership development. </p> <p> Dr. Chang takes the long view, too. "These are discussions that need to happen on every leadership level in an organization, from the top to the lowest levels," she says. "We are just trying to reach equality. We haven't even started talking about equity. So, we have a long way to go, but I'm hopeful. I hope over the next several generations that we can do it." </p> <p> <em>Rita Colorito is a freelance writer specializing in health care.</em> </p> <p> <em>This article was featured in the September/October 2022 issue of WSMA Reports, WSMA's print magazine.</em> </p> </div>9/1/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
action-alert-on-medicare-payment-cuts-and-prior-authorizationAction Alert on Medicare Payment Cuts and Prior AuthorizationLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/august-26/action-alert-on-medicare-payment-cuts-and-prior-authorization<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/august/megaphone-evergreen-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="megaphone illustration" /></div> <h5>August 26, 2022</h5> <!-- **************************NEW ARTICLE****************************** --> <h2>Action Alert on Medicare Payment Cuts and Prior Authorization</h2> <p>The August recess is in full swing, and your members of Congress are currently back in their districts meeting with their constituents. Now is the perfect opportunity for you to remind them that there is still much work to be done before the November elections on important health care issues, including looming cuts to physician Medicare payments and fixing the cumbersome prior authorization process. </p> <h3>Physician Medicare payment cuts</h3> <p>Late last year, physician advocates from across the country united to successfully persuade Congress to delay Medicare payment cuts that, if enacted, would have severely impeded patient access to care. Unfortunately, if Congress does not act by the end of the year, these delayed cuts, and some new ones, will take effect in 2023 and cause serious financial hardship to physician practices.</p> <p>It's clear that Congress must work with the physician community to develop long-term solutions to the systemic problems with the Medicare physician payment system. In the meantime, we are once again urging Congress to:</p> <ul> <li>Extend the congressionally enacted 3% temporary increase in the Medicare physician fee schedule.</li> <li>Provide relief for an additional 1.5% budget neutrality cut that is planned for 2023.</li> <li>End the statutory annual freeze and provide an inflation-based update for the coming year.</li> <li>Waive the 4% PAYGO sequester necessitated by passage of legislation unrelated to Medicare.</li> </ul> <p>Join us in reaching out to Congress: <a href="https://physiciansgrassrootsnetwork.org/be-heard?vvsrc=%2fcampaigns%2f96014%2frespond">Send a message</a>.</p> <h3>Prior authorization</h3> <p>Physicians complete an average of 41 prior authorizations per week, amounting to roughly 13 hours weekly that physicians and their staff must spend on administrative work instead of seeing and treating patients. If an insurance plan covers a treatment that would benefit a patient, physicians should not have to waste time ensuring access to it.</p> <p>Further, the criteria used for prior authorizations are unclear. Physicians rarely know at the point-of-care if the prescribed treatment requires prior authorization, only to find out later when a patient's access is delayed or denied. This ineffective system can cause unnecessary tension in the physician-patient relationship and negatively impact patient health.</p> <p>Congress has taken steps to address this by introducing the Improving Seniors' Timely Access to Care Act (H.R. 8487), which would require Medicare Advantage plans to adopt transparent prior authorization programs that adhere to evidence-based medical guidelines and hold plans accountable for making timely determinations and providing rationales for denials.</p> <p>With enough grassroots pressure this month, we can get H.R. 8487 across the finish line when Congress returns in the fall. <a href="https://physiciansgrassrootsnetwork.org/be-heard?vvsrc=%2fCampaigns%2f85317%2fRespond">Send a message</a>.</p> <p>Remember, elections are approaching, and time is running out for this Congress to take the critical steps required to help physicians and the patients they care for. Please do your part by answering these urgent calls to action!</p> </div>8/26/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
board-of-naturopathy-considers-if-abortions-vasectomies-are-within-scope-of-practiceBoard of Naturopathy Considers if Abortions, Vasectomies Are Within Scope of PracticeLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/august-26/board-of-naturopathy-considers-if-abortions-vasectomies-are-within-scope-of-practice<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/august/mortar-pestle-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="mortar and pestle" /></div> <h5>August 26, 2022</h5> <h2>Board of Naturopathy Considers if Abortions, Vasectomies Are Within Scope of Practice </h2> <p>The WSMA recently received a copy of a letter from the Washington Association of Naturopathic Physicians requesting that the Board of Naturopathy-comprising naturopaths and public members-decide whether in-clinic abortions (dilation and evacuation, vacuum aspiration) and vasectomies are within the scope of practice of naturopaths. The naturopathic <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=18.36A&full=true#18.36A.040">scope of practice</a> includes a "minor office procedures" provision that WANP argues allows them to perform these procedures. They also requested that the board petition the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to add naturopaths to the list of authorized prescribers for mifepristone.</p> <p>The board considered these requests at its Aug. 12 meeting. WSMA President-Elect Katina Rue, DO, spoke in opposition to the request related to abortions and vasectomies, noting that while the WSMA supports reproductive freedom, there is no reasonable way to interpret the definition of "minor office procedures" as intending to include the performance of in-office operations like D&E/aspiration abortions and vasectomies. Dr. Rue held that it is within the jurisdiction of the Legislature, not the board, to determine scope of practice. Jeffrey Frankel, MD, on behalf of the Washington State Urological Society, and Linda Dale, PA-C, on behalf of the Washington Academy of Physician Assistants, also shared their concerns.</p> <p>The board ultimately decided to postpone a decision on the performance of abortions and vasectomies until its next meeting in November. It did, however, agree to petition the FDA on the use of mifepristone. The WSMA will continue to engage on this issue. We will be sharing additional written comments and plan to participate heavily in November's WANP board meeting.</p> <p>If you have questions or thoughts on this proposal, email WSMA Associate Policy Director Billie Dickinson at <a href="mailto:billie@wsma.org">billie@wsma.org</a>.</p> </div>8/26/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
register_today_for_the_2022_annual_meeting_of_the_wsma_house_of_delegatesRegister Today for the 2022 Annual Meeting of the WSMA House of DelegatesLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/August_12/register_today_for_the_2022_annual_meeting_of_the_wsma_house_of_delegates<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/august/2022-annual-meeting-graphic-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="2022 WSMA Annual Meeting graphic" /></div> <h5>August 12, 2022</h5> <h2>Register Today for the 2022 Annual Meeting of the WSMA House of Delegates </h2> <p>Join your colleagues from across the state for WSMA's premier policymaking event, when the approximately 200 voting members of the WSMA House of Delegates gather to determine policy for the association, elect officers, and network. This year's meeting will be held Oct. 1<em>-</em>2 at The Historic Davenport in Spokane.</p> <p>The Annual Meeting isn't just for delegates-all are welcome to attend the event. Come and take advantage of the educational offerings, social events, and networking opportunities. It's a great way to gain insight into how policy is made at the association and witness firsthand how the dedicated, passionate physicians and physician assistants of the WSMA are working to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care.</p> <p>Learn more about the meeting and register <a href="http://wsma.informz.net/z/cjUucD9taT0xMDY4MTY5MSZwPTEmdT0xMDc4MTA4MzYwJmxpPTk2MjM0MTUw/index.html">online</a>. More information on individual events will be added in the days ahead. Tickets for the WSMA Foundation luncheon and WAMPAC dinner are sold separately and can be purchased when registering for the Annual Meeting.</p> <p>Join us Saturday afternoon for CME sessions on wellness with Chris Bundy, MD, MPH, and on health equity with Fernando De Maio, PhD, and Edwin Lindo, JD. This activity has been approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Credit</em>â„¢.</p> <p>Thank you to our corporate partners for their generous support: Physicians Insurance, The Polyclinic and The Everett Clinic, and the UW Psychiatry Consultation Line.</p> <p><em>On Friday, Sept. 30, the Spokane County Medical Society will present Medicine 2022, also at The Historic Davenport. Come a day early to attend! Information for Medicine 2022 can be found on the Spokane County Medical Society </em><a href="http://wsma.informz.net/z/cjUucD9taT0xMDY4MTY5MSZwPTEmdT0xMDc4MTA4MzYwJmxpPTk2MjM0MTUx/index.html"><em>website</em></a>.</p> </div>8/12/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
strategies_to_discuss_the_covid_19_vaccine_with_your_most_reluctant_patientsStrategies to Discuss the COVID-19 Vaccine with Your Most Reluctant PatientsLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/August_12/strategies_to_discuss_the_covid_19_vaccine_with_your_most_reluctant_patients<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/july/covid-vaccines-doh-webinars-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="COVID Vaccines Webinar Series logo" /></div> <h5>August 12, 2022</h5> <h2>Strategies to Discuss the COVID-19 Vaccine with Your Most Reluctant Patients</h2> <p>Join an expert panel of physicians to learn effective strategies to engage patients in conversations about the COVID-19 vaccine by addressing their questions, fears, and concerns. Physicians from communities with low vaccination rates will provide real-world examples of how to discuss the pediatric and adult vaccines, as well as booster vaccines. Representatives from the Washington State Department of Health will outline the key elements of its Power of Providers initiative and the resources included in the toolkit.</p> <p>Guest speakers:</p> <ul> <li>Amy Carter, MD, FAAP, chief medical officer, Allegro Pediatrics</li> <li>Shireesha Dhanireddy, MD, medical director, Infectious Disease Clinic, Harborview Medical Center</li> <li>Alison Hilkiah, provider outreach supervisor, COVID-19 Vaccine Initiatives, Washington State Department of Health</li> <li>Geoff Jones, MD, hospitalist and family medicine, Newport Health Center</li> <li>Gretchen LaSalle, MD, family medicine, MultiCare Rockwood Clinic - Quail Run</li> </ul> <p>This activity has been approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Credit</em>â„¢. <a href="https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_HC9jY0RkSSq5y_ZkR4Coqg">Register online</a>.</p> </div>8/12/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_july_29_2022_5_things_you_may_have_missedWeekly Rounds: July 29, 2022 - 5 Things You May Have MissedLatest_NewsShared_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="https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAsf-qqrD4uGdf1lsde7ItlaqVlUGqxCIRr">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="mailto:hod@wsma.org">hod@wsma.org</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="mailto:policy@wsma.org">policy@wsma.org</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="https://lni.wa.gov/rulemaking-activity/AO22-15/2215CR101.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">rulemaking</a> on apprenticeships as a result of <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5600&Year=2021&Initiative=false">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="https://wsma.informz.net/WSMA/data/images/Attachments/LI-Apprenticeships-WSMA-Letter.pdf" 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="https://www.beckerspayer.com/policy-updates/payers-must-post-negotiated-prices-starting-july-1-8-things-to-know.html#key-provisions">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="mailto:policy@wsma.org">policy@wsma.org</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 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
aetna_rescinds_prior_authorization_requirement_on_cataract_surgeriesAetna Rescinds Prior Authorization Requirement on Cataract SurgeriesLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2022/July_22/aetna_rescinds_prior_authorization_requirement_on_cataract_surgeries<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2022/july/surgeon-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="closeup photo of surgeon with headgear" /></div> <h5>July 22, 2022</h5> <h2>Aetna Rescinds Prior Authorization Requirement on Cataract Surgeries</h2> <p>Aetna recently <a href="https://www.aetna.com/content/dam/aetna/pdfs/olu/July-2022-olu-monthly-notice-final.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">announced</a> that as of July 1, it will no longer require prior authorization for cataract surgery, with the exception of Florida and Georgia Medicare Advantage patients. This change follows advocacy by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, and other members of the federation of medicine that highlighted the care delays, practice administrative burdens, and patient and public safety concerns associated with this policy. For an update on other prior authorization reform efforts, including federal legislation that would streamline prior authorization in Medicare Advantage plans, see this <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2022/weekly_rounds_april_29_2022_prior_authorization_plagues_us_all">recent Weekly Rounds issue</a> from WSMA CEO Jennifer Hanscom.</p> <p>The WSMA has worked hard to address prior authorization challenges in Washington state. You may recall that <a href="https://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=284-43-2050">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. To help practices adjust workflows to accommodate the new requirements, the WSMA introduced the <a href="https://priorauth.wsma.org/">Prior Authorization Navigator</a> - a mobile-friendly "one-stop-shop" website for guidance on the new rules. There you'll find a <a href="https://priorauth.wsma.org/">one-minute bullet-point summary</a> of the new rules as well as in-depth guidance on the rules' provisions. You'll also find guidance on 2015 rules covering <a href="https://priorauth.wsma.org/prescription-drugs/">prior authorization of prescription drugs</a>.</p> <p>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="https://priorauth.wsma.org/file-a-complaint/?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=IInK8">complaint form</a>. We urge you to take advantage of this tool.</p> </div>7/22/2022 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
 
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