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

Weekly Rounds

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

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weekly-rounds-april-19-2024-committed-to-advancing-dei-effortsWeekly Rounds: April 19, 2024 - Committed to Advancing DEI EffortsWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2024/weekly-rounds-april-19-2024-committed-to-advancing-dei-efforts<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 with Jennifer Hanscom, WSMA CEO" /></div> <h5>April 19, 2024</h5> <h2>Committed to Advancing DEI Efforts</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> At the risk of divulging my age, as a kid I loved that song "Come and Get Your Love." I learned this week that the band made famous by the tune, Redbone, was all-Native and Mexican American and the first to have made the Billboard top 10 (learning things like this is one of the benefits of a long commute listening to NPR). </p> <p> "Come and Get Your Love" was on the same album as "We Were All Wounded at Wounded Knee," a song written by a member of the band in response to a group of Native activists who <a href="https://www.npr.org/2023/02/27/1159630250/wounded-knee-occupation-50th-anniversary">occupied the town</a> of Wounded Knee in South Dakota, the same site where hundreds of Lakota <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/what-really-happened-at-wounded-knee-the-site-of-a-historic-massacre">had been massacred</a> by U.S. soldiers. According to NPR, "the song became a hit in Europe, but CBS refused to release it in the U.S., fearing it was too controversial." </p> <p> Fear of controversy can often stymie growth and change. While there has been growth in diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts since 2020, more recently there have been changes underfoot to tamp down or halt such efforts. There's a Harvard Business Review article about why people resist social change efforts titled "<a href="https://hbr.org/2023/03/to-overcome-resistance-to-dei-understand-whats-driving-it">To Overcome Resistance to DEI, Understand What's Driving It</a>." If you haven't read it, I recommend it. </p> <p> Regardless of the shift underway to pull back from addressing DEI, the WSMA remains undeterred in its efforts. Echoing our national medical society and health care organization partners that have recently <a href="https://www.ama-assn.org/press-center/press-releases/statement-improving-health-through-dei">called for renewed support</a> of DEI efforts in medicine, the WSMA is steadfast in its commitment to building health equity and eliminating well-documented disparities to improve patient care here in Washington. That work must be done at all levels, from the individual to the institutional, during medical education and training and in medical practice. </p> <p> As leaders in medical education, medical professionalism, and patient care, we are proud to stand with those who have identified the need to mitigate the harm of racism perpetuated throughout medicine, and we are proud to support efforts taking place in our state and throughout the country to help <a href="https://foundation.wsma.org/?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=phDa9">diversify the health care workforce</a> and train health care professionals to provide <a href="[@]wsma/foundation/health-equity/inclusive-language-and-health-equity-resources.aspx?WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=rhDa9">culturally sensitive care</a>. </p> <p> This is the work we must do to accomplish equitable health outcomes for every Washingtonian. Only through these efforts will we realize our vision to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care. </p> <p> At the WSMA and WSMA Foundation, examples of our work in this space include: </p> <h3>Health Equity M&M Webinar Series</h3> <p> Free for WSMA members and offering CME credit, <a href="[@]wsma/education/upcoming_webinars/wsma/education/upcoming_webinars/Upcoming_Webinars.aspx?hkey=b760d6bd-1833-412d-b681-babf251792a8&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=thDa9">this webinar series</a> is held on the second Friday of even-numbered months at noon. What to expect: Think "morbidity and mortality," but with a focus on health equity. </p> <p> If you haven't yet jumped into these ongoing discussions, I highly recommend you do so. They are rich, often challenging conversations that provide a framework for recognizing and examining our own biases and identifying the ways systemic racism exists in our organizations. You'll walk away with new tools to think critically and identify when to advocate for your patients from historically marginalized communities, ensuring they receive the highest quality clinical care. The Health Equity M&M discussions serve as one of many mechanisms to address forms of systemic marginalization of patients. During each webinar, Edwin Lindo, JD, WSMA's health equity advisor, facilitates case-based discussions. This activity has been approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Credit</em>™. </p> <h3>Health Equity in Medicine Podcast</h3> <p> This is WSMA's soon-to-launch, two-hour CME podcast that fulfills the new Washington state requirement of two hours in health equity continuing education at least once every four years. In the four-part podcast, which will be free for WSMA members, Lindo covers the history of racism in medicine and the impacts of the medical profession on health equity. He shares how some of your colleagues have tackled these thorny issues, structurally and individually, and provides ideas on how to incorporate equity principles into practice. </p> <p> Each episode is about 30 minutes long, with the entire four-part program totaling two hours (meeting the new state CME requirement). </p> <ul> <li>Episode 1: Definitions and Background</li> <li>Episode 2: Impact of Medical Profession on Health Equity</li> <li>Episode 3: Individual Interventions with Pam LaBorde, MD</li> <li>Episode 4: Structural Interventions with Mabel Bodell, MD, and Bindu Nayak, MD</li> </ul> <p> We expect the podcast to be available in the next week or two. Nonmember pricing will be available. Check in on the <a href="[@]wsma/foundation/health-equity/health-equity-in-medicine-podcast/wsma/foundation/health-equity/health-equity-in-medicine-podcast.aspx?hkey=026e8213-bc06-4302-85a3-82a56cb013ff&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=uhDa9">Health Equity in Medicine Podcast webpage</a> for details on availability. This activity has been approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Credit</em>™. </p> <h3>Best Practices for Culturally Sensitive Care</h3> <p> Building and maintaining trustworthy relationships with your patients is critical to delivering equitable and culturally sensitive care. The WSMA and the WSMA Foundation have developed the following guidance for delivering culturally sensitive care: </p> <ul> <li><a href="https://wsma.informz.net/WSMA/data/images/Attachments/Colon-Cancer-Best-Practices-One-Pager.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Delivering Culturally Sensitive Care to Improve Rates of Colon Cancer Screenings</a></li> <li><a href="https://wsma.informz.net/WSMA/data/images/Attachments/Maternal-Mortality-Best-Practices-One-Pager.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Delivering Culturally Sensitive Care to Prevent Maternal Mortality</a></li> <li><a href="https://wsma.informz.net/WSMA/data/images/Attachments/Endometrial-Cancer-Best-Practices-One-Pager.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Delivering Culturally Sensitive Care to Improve Early Detection of Endometrial Cancer</a></li> </ul> <p> You may also find these guidance documents on our <a href="[@]wsma/foundation/health-equity/inclusive-language-and-health-equity-resources/wsma/foundation/health-equity/inclusive-language-and-health-equity-resources.aspx?hkey=17162be8-1f3b-402c-b5b3-9371960a4740&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=vhDa9">Inclusive Language and Health Equity Resources</a> webpage, where you'll also find a wealth of information on building trust with your patients from diverse communities, including terms, definitions, tools, templates, and links to research and further reading. </p> <h3>WSMA Foundation Scholarship and Diversity Advancement Fund</h3> <p> Believing that physician and patient racial concordance contributes to a more effective therapeutic relationship and improved health care, the WSMA Foundation has launched a new endowment to build a more diverse physician population in Washington state. Studies show that when the physician is the same race as the patient, patients report higher levels of trust and satisfaction and demonstrate greater treatment compliance. At the same time, medical students trained at diverse schools are more comfortable treating patients from a wide range of racial and ethnic backgrounds. Our goal with the Scholarship and Diversity Advancement Fund is to cover full in-state tuition for four years of medical school for the scholarship recipient. We plan to raise $2 million to award the first scholarship, with our ultimate fundraising goal of $5 million to award three scholarships (one for each of Washington's medical schools). Read more about our <a href="https://foundation.wsma.org/?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=phDa9">Scholarship and Diversity Advancement Fund</a> and <a href="https://foundation.wsma.org/donate-scholarship/?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=xhDa9">make a donation</a> today. </p> <p> "Come and Get Your Love" is not just a catchy tune, it's also about being inclusive. As Pat Vegas from Redbone told NPR, "It's love all around … In other words, where you come from and who you are doesn't matter as much as what you believe and what you feel." At the WSMA, we believe in advancing equitable care for all patients. Embracing diversity and inclusion in medicine and health care will get us there. </p> </div>4/19/2024 3:30:11 PM4/19/2024 3:03:38 PM4/19/2024 12:00:00 AM
weekly-rounds-april-5-2024-can-washington-do-more-to-reduce-health-care-costsWeekly Rounds: April 5, 2024 - Can Washington Do More to Reduce Health Care Costs?Weekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2024/weekly-rounds-april-5-2024-can-washington-do-more-to-reduce-health-care-costs<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 with Jennifer Hanscom, WSMA CEO" /></div> <h5>April 5, 2024</h5> <h2>Can Washington Do More to Reduce Health Care Costs?</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> In recent news, Washington state leads the nation in keeping health care affordable for patients. A new <a href="https://www.forbes.com/advisor/health-insurance/most-and-least-expensive-states-for-health-care-ranked/">Forbes Advisor study</a> that ranks states with the most affordable health care across nine key metrics rated Washington third, after Hawaii and Michigan. </p> <p> We can credit that success in part to the collaborative nature of our state Legislature, policymakers, and our health care system with physicians at the center. Over the years, efforts to support patient care and lower costs have been successfully implemented to appropriately cover preventative services, support a shift to value based payment, and reduce administrative burden for both patients and physicians. Those efforts have paid off in critical ways noted by the Forbes study: </p> <ul> <li>The state boasts the second lowest average premium for residents with family health insurance coverage through an employer ($5,320 annually).</li> <li>Washington holds the fourth lowest percentage of children whose families struggled to pay for their child's medical bills in the past 12 months (5.9%).</li> <li>It also offers the fourth lowest average premium for residents with plus-one health insurance coverage through an employer ($3,758 annually).</li> <li>The state features the fifth lowest average premium for residents with single health insurance coverage through an employer ($1,240 annually).</li> <li>Washington ranks ninth for the lowest health insurance premium for those with silver plans in the Affordable Care Act marketplace ($389 annually).</li> </ul> <p> While we can be proud of these achievements, efforts are continuing to address cost drivers in health care. In a recent <a href="https://tvw.org/video/inside-olympia-health-care-cost-transparency-board-2024031243/?eventID=2024031243">TVW Inside Olympia broadcast</a>, Washington State Health Care Authority Director Sue Birch and former state representative and Health Care Cost Transparency Board member Eileen Cody discussed their visions and aspirations for driving costs down in health care. </p> <p> For the past several years, the WSMA has been engaged in efforts to control health care costs in Washington state via the <a href="[@]wsma/advocacy/health_care_cost_transparency/health_care_cost_transparency.aspx">Health Care Cost Transparency Board</a> by participating in discussions, submitting written feedback, and representing physicians on an advisory group. In short, the board is intended to help reduce the state's health care cost growth by: </p> <ul> <li>Determining the state's total health care expenditures.</li> <li>Setting a health care cost growth benchmark for providers (including health systems and physician practices) and payers.</li> <li>Identifying cost trends and cost drivers in the health care system.</li> <li>Reporting annually to the Legislature, including providing recommendations for lowering health care costs.</li> </ul> <p> We know that more needs to be done to address cost containment, but we firmly believe that effort should look at cost comprehensively and be realistic in terms of the delivery system and the cost of inflation. </p> <p> In the 2023 session, the WSMA opposed legislation that would have given the board punitive tools, such as the ability to fine practices that exceed the benchmark (set at 3% for 2024 and 2025). At the same time, we are steadfast in supporting transparency around the drivers of health care expenditures and efforts to lower costs for patients in ways that are realistic and achievable. </p> <p> The WSMA continues to represent the physician voice during the next phase of the board's work, providing recommendations to the Legislature on reducing the cost of care. Our focus will be ensuring that cost containment initiatives are not disproportionately aimed at one element of the health care system and that concerning strategies (like rate setting and growth caps) are weighed against the impact on care for patients and communities-and a thriving physician professional workforce. </p> <p> Furthermore, we urge the board to lean into proven and successful approaches to reducing health care costs that have landed Washington near the top in terms of affordability relative to other states, such as investments in preventive and chronic care management, appropriate use of the outpatient/ambulatory setting, and increased resources that ensure that physician practices and medical groups can continue to treat all patients in their communities. </p> <p> The WSMA believes that Washington state can only provide affordable, world-class care if physicians are at the center of the discussion. The WSMA motto is "Physician Driven, Patient Focused." To that end, we want to know what you think: </p> <ul> <li>What are some initiatives you are involved in at your practice or health system aimed at reducing inappropriate utilization?</li> <li>Where do you see opportunities to make health care more affordable in our state?</li> </ul> <p> Email your thoughts to <a href="mailto:policy@wsma.org">WSMA's policy department</a>. </p> <p> Your voice and your stories tell the tale more powerfully than any other. Let us hear from you so we can help keep Washington state's health care affordable. </p> </div>4/5/2024 10:42:07 AM4/5/2024 10:20:55 AM4/5/2024 12:00:00 AM
weekly-rounds-march-29-2024-make-a-difference-by-leading-and-serving-the-professionWeekly Rounds: March 29, 2024 - Make a Difference by Leading and Serving the ProfessionWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2024/weekly-rounds-march-29-2024-make-a-difference-by-leading-and-serving-the-profession<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2022-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo with Jennifer Hanscom, WSMA CEO" /></div> <h5>March 29, 2024</h5> <h2>Make a Difference by Leading and Serving the Profession</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> Leadership is one of WSMA's strategic priorities-perhaps an obvious choice as we strive to influence and shape the future of the medical profession. And we've heard-loud and clear-from our members that leadership development is one aspect of our work that they highly value. That's another reason why we work so hard to bring top-ranked educational opportunities to the medical community, through our <a href="https://wsma.org/wsma/physician_leadership/center-for-leadership-development.aspx?WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=nfEW9">leadership courses</a> and our annual <a href="https://wsma.org/wsma/events/leadership_development_conference/wsma/events/ldc/leadership_development_conference.aspx?hkey=c7532c38-057a-4568-8a3c-078182469222&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=ofEW9">Leadership Development Conference</a> (registration is still open but hotel rooms are filling up fast). </p> <p> Strong physician leadership across all aspects of the profession is of paramount importance to the WSMA and our motto: Physician Driven, Patient Focused. With the shifting landscape of health care, the unpredictable direction of regulation and policy, and the need to emphasize the sanctity of the physician-patient relationship, physicians must be directly involved in leadership ito navigate a better way forward for the profession and patients. </p> <p> To make a difference on behalf of the profession and patients most directly in Washington state, we invite you to consider getting involved in the WSMA. The WSMA depends upon strong physician leadership to represent the voices of physicians and patients as we seek to shape the future of health care in Washington state. We need your voice, your leadership, and your service. </p> <p> I'm personally inviting you to consider being part of that leadership by nominating yourself or a colleague for consideration for a position on the WSMA board of trustees, executive committee, or by serving in WSMA leadership as a delegate to the American Medical Association. </p> <p> More information about the responsibilities of serving on the board, desired qualifications for board members, a roster of current board members, a nomination form, conflict of interest disclosure statement, and candidate information sheet are <a href="[@]wsma/about_us/who_we_are/board-of-trustees/wsma/about/who_we_are/board-of-trustees.aspx?hkey=57dca355-fca4-4f4e-9c83-6e35aa4baabe&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=pfEW9">available here</a>. </p> <p> Further, here are a few things to note about the nomination process: </p> <ul> <li>The WSMA Nominating Committee meets in late May to prepare a slate of nominees.</li> <li>The slate is presented to the House of Delegates at its 2024 Annual Meeting, scheduled for Sept. 28-29 in Spokane.</li> <li><strong>The deadline for nominations is Friday, April 26</strong>, although additional nominations may be made from the floor of the House of Delegates.</li> <li>In considering yourself or colleagues for nominations, consider whether you or they are: <ul> <li>Well-informed.</li> <li>Forward-thinking.</li> <li>Committed to the future of the profession.</li> <li>Committed to service and the profession above oneself.</li> <li>Experienced, enthusiastic, credible, and open-minded.</li> <li>Able to put the WSMA above personal desires or agenda.</li> <li>Capable of serving as a future president of the WSMA.</li> <li>Able to attend and conscientiously participate in quarterly board meetings and other association events.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p> It takes bold leadership and a strong sense of service to tackle the challenges facing the profession, your patients, and our communities. If you believe in our mission to provide strong physician leadership and advocacy to shape the future of medicine and advance quality of care for all Washingtonians, I hope you will consider this opportunity. </p> </div>3/29/2024 9:42:02 AM3/29/2024 9:39:22 AM3/29/2024 12:00:00 AM
weekly-rounds-march-15-2024-legislative-session-ends-our-work-continuesWeekly Rounds: March 15, 2024 - Legislative Session Ends, Our Work ContinuesWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2024/weekly-rounds-march-15-2024-legislative-session-ends-our-work-continues<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 with Jennifer Hanscom, WSMA CEO" /></div> <h5>March 15, 2024</h5> <h2>Legislative Session Ends, Our Work Continues</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> With the adjournment of the 2024 legislative session, I want to take a moment to thank our physician members and the WSMA team who helped advance WSMA priorities or stop bills we viewed as detrimental to patient care or the WSMA agenda. </p> <p> This short session was a sprint, and while we were unable to achieve a broad investment in Medicaid during this off-budget year, we did lay significant groundwork for the proposal in the 2025 session and will continue to build on that momentum during the interim. So many of you engaged with us, reaching out to your legislators via email and phone calls, or meeting with them in person. Thank you and please keep the pressure up. We need to continue to speak to this priority during the interim and the election season. Our <a href="http://takeaction.wsma.org/?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=OusU9">Medicaid website</a> is still live, and our messages and talking points have been refined for the interim, so please use them. At this point in time, please make sure your local legislators know that this is an important issue that is not going away. And certainly, engage your patients in the conversation, as well. They, too, are important advocates. Again, direct them to our <a href="http://takeaction.wsma.org/?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=OusU9">Medicaid website</a>. </p> <p> We would be remiss if we didn't celebrate other achievements, such as state funding for physician residencies that will leverage an additional $69 million for graduate medical education through the Family Medicine Residency Network and UW Medicine. In addition, we saw funding for a statewide POLST registry, which was established in law in 2006 but defunded during the subsequent recession. </p> <p> Overall, legislators boosted state operating spending by around 3%, roughly split between "maintenance-level updates" for programs already in place that saw increased utilization and spending on new programs. In the health care space, much of the new spending was focused on increasing capacity for behavioral health treatment, including the operation of the new Olympic Heritage Behavioral Health facility, which the state acquired last year. </p> <p> Learn about these achievements and more by watching our <a href="[@]wsma/advocacy/legislative_regulatory/legislative-activities.aspx?hkey=231ee068-da1d-49ae-b5bc-01a857b21a9b&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=PusU9">legislative session wrap-up webinar</a>. </p> <p> This month we also saw some success at the national level with a reduction in the 2024 Medicare cuts. On Friday, March 8, the Senate passed a 2024 appropriations package including a provision that mitigated about one-half of the 3.4% Medicare fee schedule conversion factor that became effective on Jan. 1. The 1.68% increase in current payment levels took effect on March 9 and will continue through the calendar year. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill shortly. </p> <p> Our work to improve payment for the physician community, regardless of their specialty or where they practice, never ceases. This election cycle is critical to WSMA's agenda and ensuring that we have elected leaders who understand issues critical to medicine, your profession, and your patients. </p> <p> Key races on November's ballot include governor, insurance commissioner, and attorney general, as well as several congressional and numerous legislative seats. As the 2024 election cycle ramps up, we'll provide more information on WSMA's work through WAMPAC, our nonpartisan campaign arm, to identify and support candidates whose priorities align with the physician community. I encourage you to support WAMPAC; your contribution will help us ensure we have the resources we need to support physician-friendly candidates. <a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/wampac-donation/?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=QusU9">Please join me in making a donation of $250 or more today</a>. </p> <p> Your support on all of this work really matters. I'm grateful for all you do! </p> </div>3/15/2024 12:49:47 PM3/15/2024 12:49:21 PM3/15/2024 12:00:00 AM
weekly-rounds-march-1-2024-in-the-fight-for-a-stronger-medicaid-patients-are-our-bottom-lineWeekly Rounds: March 1, 2024 - In the Fight for a Stronger Medicaid, Patients Are Our Bottom LineWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2024/weekly-rounds-march-1-2024-in-the-fight-for-a-stronger-medicaid-patients-are-our-bottom-line<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/weekly-rounds-article-graphic-heshmati-2023-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo with Nariman Heshmati, MD" /></div> <h5>March 1, 2024</h5> <h2>In the Fight for a Stronger Medicaid, Patients Are Our Bottom Line</h2> <p>Nariman Heshmati, MD, MBA, FACOG, WSMA President</p> <p> This year is the 10th anniversary of Washington state's expansion of the Medicaid program. The WSMA was proud to support the expansion, which immediately provided health insurance to hundreds of thousands of Washington residents-giving them access to needed health services and protection from health-related economic hardship. </p> <p> The number of Medicaid enrollees has grown to 2 million people in our state, demonstrating a significant scale of need. But as physicians and physician assistants, we know that coverage doesn't equal access. While Washington has made coverage available to more people, reimbursement rates are so abysmal that many, if not most, practices simply cannot afford to see the number of Medicaid patients who need care. </p> <p> The WSMA has long advocated for improved reimbursement rates, and we have had some targeted success. The Legislature has improved rates for primary care, for example, and the rate increase made it easier for thousands of patients to access care. </p> <p> <strong>This year, we asked the Legislature to raise Medicaid reimbursement rates across the board for the physician community.</strong> Working in partnership with legislative leaders, we developed a covered lives assessment, which is a financial mechanism for leveraging federal funds without the appropriation of state general fund dollars (Read more about how the assessment works on our <a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=RQQT9">dedicated webpage</a>). </p> <p> The assessment was introduced in both the House and Senate and received a hearing in the House Appropriations Committee. The WSMA's financial modeling indicated that the benefit to the state would be nearly $500 million, which would have been sufficient to get Medicaid rates up to Medicare levels and would provide an ongoing source of revenue. </p> <p> With a short 60-day legislative session, we knew passage would require an unprecedented effort. With experts in finance, state budgeting, and advocacy, the WSMA helped legislators see how low rates hurt access to care across specialties and regions. Hundreds of WSMA members from across the state sent in letters of support, provided stories, <a href="https://vimeo.com/913800890?share=copy">briefed reporters</a>, and much more. </p> <p> <strong>It's clear that tenacity will also be required. </strong>The covered lives assessment faced opposition from some in the insurance carrier community and skepticism on the part of state agencies. Lawmakers from both parties reviewed the bills and raised their own questions, and ultimately key legislators signaled that the assessment is unlikely to be included in this year's budget update. We're going to spend the next few months working with these stakeholders and legislators to address their concerns, build their allyship, and implement a lasting fix for Medicaid rates. </p> <p> Next year, the Legislature will develop a new biennial state budget, but make no mistake, our work is already underway. WSMA staff, leadership, and membership all have crucial roles to play in educating lawmakers about the necessity of improving Medicaid reimbursement rates for all specialties and all regions. We will have more information in the weeks ahead on concrete actions you can take during this interim period to advocate and educate. All Medicaid patients deserve the same access to whole-body care that Medicare and privately insured patients receive. It's time for the state to stop denying essential care to 2 million Washington residents. </p> <p> We are profoundly grateful for everyone who took the time to advocate on this issue and are committed to continuing the fight. If you want to know more, please join us on March 8 at noon for the full legislative debrief. Our government affairs director, Sean Graham, and his team will break down the politics, lessons, and successes of the session, detail the concerns from insurers and state agencies with the covered lives assessment, and talk about the direction for next year. <a href="https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUlcOqgrTIrH9Jk0YGY6iZo6F91QLeJtgUo#/registration">Register online</a> for this free session. </p> </div>3/1/2024 3:36:51 PM3/1/2024 3:34:04 PM3/1/2024 12:00:00 AM
weekly-rounds-feb-16-2024-5-things-to-know-this-weekWeekly Rounds: Feb. 16, 2024 - 5 Things to Know This WeekWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2024/weekly-rounds-feb-16-2024-5-things-to-know-this-week<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-2022-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo" /></div> <h5>February 16, 2024</h5> <h2>5 Things to Know This Week</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> As is typical during each year's legislative session, we are laser focused on bills that impact the practice of medicine and patients' access to care. However, there are several other issues we are working on at the WSMA. Here are some quick highlights from Olympia and DC and for the profession. </p> <h3>Stalled bills for this year</h3> <p> We've entered the final half of this year's legislative session, as Feb. 13 marked the date policy bills needed to pass from their originating chamber. Already, several bills have stalled, at least for this session, including the following WSMA-opposed bills related to scope of practice and the business of medicine. These bills didn't meet key deadlines and are not expected to receive further consideration this year: </p> <ul> <li><a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5411&Initiative=false&Year=2023">SB 5411</a>: Would have granted naturopaths prescriptive authority for all Schedule II-V drugs, including opioids, fentanyl, and ketamine, without detailing specific education and training requirements.</li> <li>H<a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=2116&Initiative=false&Year=2023">B 2116</a>: Would have granted the Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission authority to establish rules identifying drugs, drug classes, and devices that a pharmacist may prescribe and the types of patients and circumstances in which a pharmacist can prescribe.</li> <li><a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=6144&Initiative=false&Year=2023">SB 6144</a>: Would have allowed, under certain conditions, psychologists to be granted prescriptive authority for psychotropic medications used in the diagnosis and treatment of individuals with certain mental and behavioral disorders.</li> <li><a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5373&Year=2023&Initiative=false">SB 5373</a>: Would have required that ARNPs and physician assistants be reimbursed by commercial insurers at the same rate as physicians, counter to <a href="[@]wsma/about/policies/whats_our_policy/insurance/equal-pay-for-equal-work.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=U56S9">WSMA policy</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=2119&Year=2023&Initiative=false">HB 2119</a>: Would have limited the ability to collect medical debt.</li> <li><a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=2066&Initiative=false&Year=2023">HB 2066</a>: Would have prohibited health care facilities and providers from engaging in certain contracting tactics to shift more power in contract negotiations toward insurance carriers.</li> </ul> <p> For an update on other bills the WSMA is actively working on, be sure to review our weekly Outreach and Advocacy Report, emailed weekly to members via our Olympia team (to subscribe, email <a href="mailto:chelsea@wsma.org">Chelsea Thumberg</a>). Bills considered necessary to implement the budget, such as WSMA-priority <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=2476&Year=2023&Initiative=false">HB 2476</a>/<a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=6309&Chamber=Senate&Year=2023">SB 6309</a> that would increase Medicaid reimbursement rates via a covered lives assessment, are exempted from the policy deadlines. </p> <h3>Medicaid reimbursement rates</h3> <p> Speaking of the covered lives assessment, HB 2476 had a public hearing yesterday, Thursday, Feb 15. I'm happy to report that over 600 individuals and groups signed on in support of HB 2476 prior to the hearing-a fantastic show of support for the bill and the need to address low reimbursement rates this legislative session. Thank you to Sung-Won Kim, MD, an Olympia ENT, and Douglas Seiler, MD, a Tacoma radiologist, for testifying in support at the hearing and sharing the physician perspective of how Medicaid underpayments translate to care barriers for their patients. </p> <p> The WSMA is sparing no effort to support HB 2476/SB 6309 this session. Following the hearing on Thursday, we held a media briefing on Friday to make our case to the media and the public. Our briefing explained how years of underfunding in the Medicaid program has hampered access to outpatient care in communities throughout Washington. Thank you to Douglas Seiler, MD, from TRA Imaging, Katina Rue, DO, WSMA past president, and Andrea Kalus, MD, University of Washington associate professor of dermatology, who were able to shed light on what their patients are enduring to the reporters present. </p> <p> Be sure to <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Press_Release/2024/hb-2476-will-improve-reimbursements-strengthen-medicaid-improve-access-to-care-in-washington-state?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=a56S9">read our press release</a> for more details. And if you or your clinic is active on social media, help us spread the need to pass HB 2476/SB6309 this legislative session. </p> <h3>Medicare cuts</h3> <p> In the other Washington, organized medicine continues the battle to reverse cuts to Medicare. H.R. 6683 would eliminate the 3.6% payment cut that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2024. The WSMA is advocating that Congress pass H.R. 6683 or include a fix in the next congressional appropriations package, expected to be voted on in March. Earlier this week, we sent letters to Washington's congressional delegation expressing our disappointment in Congress for not addressing the cut during the most recent continuing resolution and urging them to take action that is long overdue. Please contact your members of Congress and share the importance of reversing the cuts. You may contact your members through the <a href="https://physiciansgrassrootsnetwork.org/be-heard?vvsrc=%2fCampaigns%2f108965%2fRespond">AMA's Call to Action</a> or by contacting offices directly. </p> <h3>Health equity CME requirement</h3> <p> We know that continuing professional development is an obligation and prerequisite for enhancing the quality of health care. The WSMA offers exclusive learning opportunities for members either free of charge or at a discounted rate. While Washington state has very few required CME courses, beginning this year, the state will require that health care professionals complete a minimum of two hours of health equity continuing education training at least once every four years. </p> <p> As a benefit of membership, the WSMA will soon launch a podcast series that meets this new requirement free of charge. The material will be presented in a four-part miniseries podcast for convenient access for busy professionals. The series will showcase how some of your colleagues have tackled health equity, diversity, racism, and inclusion both structurally and individually. The podcast series is scheduled to launch in March and has been approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Credit</em><sup>TM</sup>. Learn more on the <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2024/february-9/new-wsma-program-will-meet-state-requirement-for-health-equity-cme?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=c56S9">WSMA website</a>. </p> <h3>Membership matters</h3> <p> I am so grateful for your investment in the WSMA. If you haven't yet paid your membership dues for 2024 or are unsure of your membership status, call our membership team at 206.441.9762 or <a href="mailto:membership@wsma.org">send them an email</a>. Many medical groups cover WSMA dues on your behalf; others ask that you submit receipts to your medical staff office or HR department for reimbursement. If you have questions, our membership team can help. </p> <p> And as always, thanks for all you do! </p> </div>2/20/2024 10:09:21 AM2/20/2024 10:08:37 AM2/16/2024 12:00:00 AM
weekly-rounds-feb-2-2024-we-need-your-advocacy-to-help-medicaid-bills-advanceWeekly Rounds: Feb. 2, 2024 - We Need Your Advocacy to Help Medicaid Bills AdvanceWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2024/weekly-rounds-feb-2-2024-we-need-your-advocacy-to-help-medicaid-bills-advance<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>February 2, 2024</h5> <h2>We Need Your Advocacy to Help Medicaid Bills Advance</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> Last week I hit the road for points south to connect with our members at WSMA's Legislative Summit in Olympia, as well as at a physician engagement event at TRA Imaging in Tacoma. Ever since the pandemic, I am so deeply appreciative of these opportunities to connect in person! It's a great way for me to hear from you and to share how the WSMA is representing you and your patients in our advocacy work. Thanks to all of you who took the time to join these discussions. </p> <p> As you've heard quite a bit lately, the WSMA's number one priority this year is to address Medicaid reimbursement. Our greatest challenge is it being an off-budget session where significant new investments aren't often considered. Regardless, at the direction of legislative leadership we have brought forth a proposal that provides an alternate source of funding to draw down federal funds to support bringing Medicaid rates in line with 2023 Medicare rates, with inflationary adjustments. Bills have been introduced in both the Senate (SB 6309) and the House (HB 2476). </p> <p> As soon as a public hearing on the bill is scheduled, we will let you know. In the meantime, help us ensure that the Legislature understands the urgency of addressing this issue now. <a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/share-your-story/?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=SLWQ9">Please email your local legislators today using our grassroots advocacy platform</a>. </p> <p> We ask that you also email budget chairs <a href="mailto:timm.ormsby@leg.wa.gov">Rep. Timm Ormsby</a> (D-Spokane) and <a href="mailto:june.robinson@leg.wa.gov">Sen. June Robinson</a> (D-Everett), and caucus leaders <a href="mailto:laurie.jenkins@leg.wa.gov">Speaker Laurie Jinkins</a> (D-Tacoma) and <a href="mailto:andy.billig@leg.wa.gov">Sen. Andy Billig</a> (D-Spokane) and ask that they give HB 2476 and SB 6309 a hearing as soon as possible. You can use this message as a template: </p> <p> <em>I'm writing to urge your support for the covered lives assessment in HB 2476 and SB 6309, which would increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for professional services delivered by physicians, physician assistants, and ARNPs, and ask that you give these bills a hearing as soon as possible.</em> </p> <p> <em>Prioritizing a broad-based Medicaid reimbursement rate increase through the proposed covered lives assessment will improve access to care for Washingtonians at a time when it is desperately needed and long overdue. This is a short session and the issue is urgent-our patients can't wait.</em> </p> <p> <em>Please support HB 2476 and SB 6309 and bring these bills forward for a public hearing.</em> </p> <p> We heard from several key legislators at the Summit-they all noted the importance of hearing from physicians on these issues. With few health care practitioners in the Legislature-and no physicians-your voice matters. Speak up today. </p> <p> Speaking up is a key aspect of leadership, and the WSMA is here to support you on your leadership journey. Registration is now open for the popular <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Leadership_Development_Conference/WSMA/Events/LDC/leadership_development_conference.aspx?hkey=c7532c38-057a-4568-8a3c-078182469222">WSMA Leadership Development Conference</a>, scheduled for May 17-18 at Campbell's Resort in Chelan. </p> <p> Heading a strong speaker lineup for the Thomas J. Curry Leadership Keynote address is social scientist and futurist Jeff Goldsmith, who believes that physicians have been badly mistreated by the changes in health care. He argues that the impact of disruption in health care has often been destructive, as the focus on technological potential and large corporate enterprises disrupt traditional care enterprises. He explores the questions: Have they neglected the disruptive potential of economic and political forces on how health care is paid for? And how can disrupters be partners in the strategic development of the health enterprise? </p> <p> Other conference speaker highlights include Alex Ding, MD, who will explore what physicians should know about artificial intelligence, and Joel Bervell, a WSU medical student and popular social media "Medical Mythbuster," who will speak about health equity for health care leaders. A host of other speakers will be on hand to discuss topics ranging from financial wellness to building strong teams to supporting better patient care. The conference is approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Credit</em><sup>TM</sup>. </p> <p> Be sure to register today and make plans to bring your whole family. The resort is family friendly, and this is the perfect conference to recharge your battery, both professionally and personally. </p> <p> I hope to see you there! </p> </div>2/2/2024 3:57:21 PM2/2/2024 3:56:53 PM2/2/2024 12:00:00 AM
Weekly_rounds_jan_19_2024_fighting_for_the_sustainability_of_medicare_and_medicaidWeekly Rounds: Jan. 19, 2024 - Fighting for the Sustainability of Medicare and MedicaidWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2024/Weekly_rounds_jan_19_2024_fighting_for_the_sustainability_of_medicare_and_medicaid<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>Jan. 19, 2024</h5> <h2>Fighting for the Sustainability of Medicare and Medicaid</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> Welcome to 2024. While it's a new year, the work at the WSMA remains the same: Advocating for the sustainability of our two major government health insurance programs and payers, Medicare and Medicaid. As we shared in the fall, the WSMA is focused on addressing these two programs that are crippling the financial viability of many practices and impeding access to care in communities around our state, as so eloquently shared by Judy Kimelman, MD, (OB-GYN); Sung-Won Kim, MD, (ENT); Jeffrey Frankel, MD, (urologist); Anna McKeone, MD, (emergency physician); and Douglas Seiler, MD, (radiologist) in the <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Latest_News/2024/when_practicing_medicine_is_a_losing_proposition.aspx">January/February issue</a> of WSMA Reports. </p> <p> </p> <h3>Congress fails to provide "fix" to Medicare payment cut in new continuing resolution to fund federal government</h3> <p>Today, Congress passed a continuing resolution to temporarily fund the federal government, just barely meeting the deadline to act and avoid a government shutdown. Unfortunately, as part of the continuing resolution, Congress did not include a "fix" to reverse the 3.37% Medicare physician payment cut that went into effect Jan. 1, 2024.</p> <p> As many of you know, the only way to reverse this cut was by an act of Congress. The WSMA engaged extensively on this issue, meeting with our congressional delegates to secure their support, issuing calls to action urging physicians in Washington state to contact their members of Congress, submitting comment letters to Washington's delegation beginning in April of 2023, and signing onto American Medical Association letters to key members of Congress.</p> <p> The need for Congress to act to reverse this cut is imperative. The fiscal stability of physician practices is now in greater jeopardy with the new cut in effect, as is the ability for patients to access care in their communities. We will keep members apprised of developments at the federal level and of opportunities for you to advocate for a fix.</p> <p> Congress’ failure demonstrates the need for broader, long-term Medicare payment reform that includes annual inflationary updates. To that end, the WSMA supports the Strengthening Medicare for Patients and Providers Act (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/house-bill/2474">H.R. 2474</a>) and will be urging Washington's congressional delegation to sign on in support. </p> <h3>Urging state action on Medicaid reimbursements</h3> <p> Speaking of timing, the WSMA is preparing to formally introduce our Medicaid reimbursement proposal, which puts into motion a covered lives assessment in order to bring reimbursement for physician and other professional services at a minimum in line with Medicare payments. The assessment would be applied to insurance carriers (mainly Medicaid managed care organizations) to generate revenue, mostly from the federal government, which would then be used to fund an across-the-board rate increase up to at least Medicare equivalents indexed to inflation in future years.</p> <p>As we await the final bill, here are four things you can do right now to support this effort:</p> <ol> <li>Sign on to our <a href="javascript://[Uploaded files/News and Publications/newsletters/2024/Sign-on letter Medicaid Jan2024.pdf]">letter to Washington lawmakers</a> expressing the need to expand access to care through improved reimbursement rates and a covered lives assessment. Staff is aiming to finalize the signatories by the end of this week. Email WSMA Director of Communications <a href="mailto:gfs@wsma.org">Graham Short</a> if your organization would like to sign on. If you miss the deadline, there may me other opportunities, so don’t hesitate to act.</li> <li>Visit our campaign website at <a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/">takeaction.wsma.org</a>.</li> <li><a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/share-your-story/">Share your story</a>. Tell legislators how low Medicaid reimbursements are impacting your patients and community.</li> <li>Learn more about our solution and tell others. <a href="javascript://[Uploaded files/News and Publications/newsletters/2024/WSMA_2024_IssueBrief_Medicaid.pdf]">Download and share a one-page summary of our covered lives assessment solution</a>.</li> </ol> <p> If you are able to take time away from your practice to testify on the bill when introduced, or if you are interested in sharing your story with the media, either via an interview or by submitting an op-ed to your local paper, please fill out our <a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/get-engaged/">Get Engaged</a> form. Our team will be in touch with more information on how you can help.</p> <h3>Stay informed on the action</h3> <p> This legislative session is a short one, expected to adjourn March 7. The WSMA will keep you up to date on issues that impact you and your patients. Here are several ways you can stay informed:</p> <ul> <li> Follow the WSMA on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/wsma.org/">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/company/10419659/admin/feed/posts/">LinkedIn</a>, and <a href="https://twitter.com/WSMA_update">X</a>. </li> <li> Watch for our legislative update emails every Monday during session. </li> <li> Sign up for the Outreach & Advocacy Report, our Olympia team’s weekly comprehensive update, by emailing <a href="mailto:chelsea@wsma.org">Chelsea Thumberg</a>. </li> <li> Also, please ensure that WSMA emails are getting through to you by making sure your email preferences are up to date in your member profile on the <a>WSMA website</a>.</li> </ul> <p> As you know too well, policy changes can take years of advocacy. This year our message to Congress and local legislators is: Time’s up. Please join us in communicating the urgency behind these fixes. Thanks for standing together and for supporting your WSMA.</p> </div>1/23/2024 11:27:32 AM1/23/2024 9:59:15 AM1/23/2024 11:27:29 AM
weekly-rounds-december-15-2023-your-membership-powers-our-workWeekly Rounds: December 15, 2023 - Your Membership Powers Our WorkWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2023/weekly-rounds-december-15-2023-your-membership-powers-our-work<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" /><span style="text-align: left;"></span></div> <h5>December 15, 2023</h5> <h2>Your Membership Powers Our Work</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> Everything we do at the WSMA is inspired by these words: "physician driven, patient focused." We exist to powerfully raise up the voices and priorities of physicians, physician assistants, and the patients they serve. With a new year just days away, it's a great time for a moment of reflection to acknowledge accomplishments, while also looking at what's ahead. </p> <h3>Increasing Medicaid reimbursement</h3> <p> Our top priority this coming year above all else is urging the Legislature to act on increasing Medicaid reimbursement. While Washington's Medicaid program has nearly doubled since 2013, it has been decades since the last general Medicaid reimbursement rate increase in the state. Reimbursement rates here are nearly the lowest in the nation, forcing physicians, clinics, and medical groups to subsidize the state. </p> <p> However, as the physician community knows, a patient having Medicaid coverage is not the same as being able to access care. The state's low Medicaid reimbursement rates mean that many physicians are often unable to meet the needs of their communities. </p> <p> The state's failure to cover the cost of care is bad for patients and physicians right now, and bad for all Washington communities in the long run. In the 2024 legislative session, WSMA will be proposing to increase Medicaid rates for all specialties funded by an assessment on insurance carriers based on a model recently passed in California. We'll share more details on the proposal and how you can get involved in the coming weeks. </p> <h3>Preventing scope expansion</h3> <p> When I think about accomplishments that matter to our members, I can't help but point to our dogged efforts in holding off inappropriate scope of practice expansion over the past several years. We are always on the lookout to prevent proposals from non-physician professions looking to expand their scope that could potentially endanger patient safety. In 2023 alone, there were a remarkable number of scope proposals put before lawmakers. Thanks to our sharp-eyed Olympia team and their effective lobbying, we defeated all but one of the proposals we opposed. No doubt, there will be more to oppose in 2024. While we support a multipronged approach to building our state's workforce, we are strongly opposed to scope proposals that ignore the unique training of physicians, fail to include necessary education and training requirements, and jeopardize patient safety. </p> <h3>Ensuring telemedicine payment parity</h3> <p> Receiving payment parity for telemedicine services is another WSMA win for Washington physicians. Implemented out of necessity during the pandemic, telemedicine proved to be a critical tool in our health care tool kit. As the public health emergency began to unwind, it was critical to ensure that this requirement didn't end. WSMA-supported legislation requires health insurance plans regulated by the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner to pay at parity for service delivered via telemedicine passed and is now permanent. </p> <h3>Expanding diversity in medicine</h3> <p> I'm proud to note that we have also taken steps to view everything we do through a health equity lens. This includes stepping up to help build a better pathway into medicine for underrepresented populations. </p> <p> Health care is a relatively diverse field except in the physician community: In Washington state, fewer than 6% of our physician population is Latino, African American, Native American, or Alaska Native, compared to 20% in the patient community. Racial concordance between physicians and their patients matters. There is striking evidence that racial concordance contributes to improved maintenance of preventive care and lower patient mortality. </p> <p> The WSMA Foundation is striving for transformational change by building a more diverse physician population, one that mirrors the faces of our patients and our communities. To that end, we recently launched the Scholarship and Diversity Advancement Fund with the goal of eliminating a major barrier for underrepresented students who would like to be tomorrow's physicians: costs. </p> <h3>Leading the way through education</h3> <p> With continued consolidation and complexity in health care, it's more critical now than ever that physicians lead the way by stepping into C-suite conversations and being a voice for the profession and for patients. At the WSMA, we believe physician leadership is critical to the future of medicine and a strong health care system in Washington state. WSMA's <a href="[@]wsma/physician_leadership/center-for-leadership-development.aspx?WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=jlUM9">Center for Leadership Development</a> provides professional development for physicians and physician assistants seeking to acquire the confidence and acumen to be at the leadership table where decisions are made. </p> <p> These are just a few highlights of what your WSMA is working on. Your investment in membership makes this advocacy and these accomplishments possible. Much of what we do is behind the scenes, but everything we do puts you, our members, first. The WSMA is your essential organization. We are the change agent making a difference in health care in Washington state, but it's you that powers this work. Please <a href="[@]wsma/Auxiliary_Menu/Join_Renew_Unauth/wsma/membership/join_renew/join_renew.aspx?hkey=37a820cf-9d05-4812-b9dd-c29b9a75356d&hkey=4582fc7e-98f5-4b4d-a922-31d6fc4d7258&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=llUM9">continue your membership investment</a> in the WSMA in 2024. </p> </div>12/15/2023 11:16:25 AM12/15/2023 11:16:04 AM12/15/2023 12:00:00 AM
weekly-rounds-december-1-2023-something-for-everyone-this-holiday-seasonWeekly Rounds: December 1, 2023 - Something for Everyone This Holiday SeasonWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2023/weekly-rounds-december-1-2023-something-for-everyone-this-holiday-season<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" /><span style="text-align: left;"></span></div> <h5>December 1, 2023</h5> <h2>Something for Everyone This Holiday Season</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> In a recent survey of WSMA members, when asked why they joined the association, second to advocacy work was the desire to stay current with issues in the medical profession. At the WSMA we strive to keep you connected to what's happening in health care in Washington state but appreciate that you don't always have the time to read every email or newsletter or to peruse our website. As we often say, we understand that our members' job is to care for their patients while we look out for the profession. Still, we want to give you an opportunity to hear first-hand about our work. In the months ahead, we have several webinars, professional development courses, and events meant to provide value to you and your day job. Here are some of those opportunities: </p> <h3>2024 Pre-Session Legislative Preview Webinar</h3> <p> <em>Friday, Dec. 15 at noon</em> </p> <p> In advance of the 2024 legislative session, WSMA's government affairs team will offer a legislative preview webinar via Zoom on Friday, Dec. 15 at noon. Our team will cover top priorities impacting medicine including across-the-board Medicaid rate increases; health care workforce retention and pipeline investments; and opposing inappropriate scope expansions; and we'll provide an overview of the broader health care policy landscape in Washington state. Your feedback is critical to WSMA's legislative advocacy, so we will welcome questions and encourage sharing of professional experiences and expertise to help guide our engagement at the Capitol. <a href="https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIlfuupqDsjG9Fzmh2JzDVgNCRa3XmVsYtf#/registration">Register online</a>. </p> <h3>Health Equity Leadership Development & Action Collective</h3> <p> <em>Jan. 19-Nov. 15</em> </p> <p> If you have an interest in DEI issues, we urge you to sign up for our Health Equity Leadership Development & Action Collective, which provides education, guidance, and support in addressing inequities that exist within your sphere of influence. This collective is design to assist those who are ready to act on the understanding that systemic racism exists within health care, and who are positioned to lead and facilitate change in their organizations and beyond. If you are committed to making lasting, equitable change in your organization, then this course is here to support you on that path. </p> <p> The collective will meet virtually in six two-hour sessions held monthly or every other month from January-November 2024. This activity has been approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Credit</em><sup>TM</sup>. <a href="[@]wsma/education/physician_leadership/health_equity/wsma/physician_leadership/health_equity_leadership_development_and_action_collective/health_equity_leadership_development_and_action_collective.aspx?hkey=17f095ae-34e3-407f-9877-3b0f79264c0a&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=6N5L9">Learn more and register</a>. </p> <h3>2024 WSMA Legislative Summit</h3> <p> <em>Wednesday, Jan. 24</em> </p> <p> Grab your white coat and join us in Olympia for the 2024 WSMA Legislative Summit on Wednesday, Jan. 24! Free for members, the Summit gives Washington's physicians, physician assistants, and medical students an opportunity to amplify WSMA's advocacy message with state legislators. </p> <p> This in-person event will feature a legislative update from WSMA's government affairs team, optional meetings with your legislative representatives, and keynote speakers such as Sen. Andy Billig (D-Spokane), majority leader of the state Senate and recipient of WSMA's 2023 Legislator of the Year award. Come to Olympia and help deliver our advocacy message directly to your elected representatives. Don't forget your white coat! <a href="[@]wsma/events/legislative_summit/wsma/events/wsma_legislative_summit/legislative_summit.aspx?hkey=795731a5-79ba-45b0-b78b-b9dfbfc336e5&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=7N5L9">Register online</a>. </p> <h3>Physician Leadership Course</h3> <p> <em>March 22-May 31</em> </p> <p> The WSMA Physician Leadership Course is a 40+ hour hybrid-distance leadership skills-development course for physicians and physician assistants who want to know more about health care leadership. </p> <p> Once out of residency, many physicians will find themselves leading a multidisciplinary team charged with delivering the highest quality care to our patients. To be an effective team leader, core leadership competencies are required-skills not taught in medical school. Without these skills, physicians may find themselves unprepared and overburdened with unexpected responsibilities-a recipe for burnout. </p> <p> The Physician Leadership Course combines face-to-face and online learning to enable course participants to begin developing and honing their leadership skills at their convenience. Designed with a physician's busy schedule in mind, only three in-person classes are required; the remainder of the course is conducted online. This activity has been approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Credit</em><sup>TM</sup>. <a href="[@]wsma/education/physician_leadership/physician_leadership_course/wsma/physician_leadership/physician_leadership_course/physician_leadership_course.aspx?hkey=efdc4ad1-ff20-4089-ab51-caafbe73572b&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=8N5L9">Learn more and register</a>. </p> <h3>Dyad Leadership Course</h3> <p> <em>April 5-May 3</em> </p> <p> Safe, cost-effective, and quality care can only be achieved when physicians and administrators are strong partners in leadership. Forging such a partnership effectively connects the culture of patient care with the culture of business, yielding better outcomes and real change. </p> <p> The WSMA Dyad Leadership Course is a month-long hybrid-distance course with three in-person educational workshop days. This course is intended for physicians and their administrative dyad partners who wish to improve team function and achieve greater operational success within their clinical system. The course develops leadership knowledge and skills based on the ongoing operational needs of the physician and their administrative partners. The course is adapted to fit the specific clinical culture of participating teams. At the end of the course, participants will have a greater understanding of how to enhance leadership and operational success within their clinical system. This activity has been approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Credit</em><sup>TM</sup>. <a href="[@]wsma/education/physician_leadership/dyad_leadership_course/wsma/physician_leadership/dyad_leadership_course/dyad_leadership_course.aspx?hkey=f6387317-48e4-44f1-b623-4b00fcba57ab&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=9N5L9">Learn more and register</a>. </p> </div>12/11/2023 10:43:30 AM12/4/2023 12:18:38 PM12/1/2023 12:00:00 AM
weekly-rounds-november-3-2023-its-past-time-to-fix-medicaid-ratesWeekly Rounds: November 3, 2023 - It's (Past) Time to Fix Medicaid RatesWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2023/weekly-rounds-november-3-2023-its-past-time-to-fix-medicaid-rates<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>November 3, 2023</h5> <h2>It's (Past) Time to Fix Medicaid Rates</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> With government-program reimbursement rates traditionally less than the cost of providing care, the effort to persuade legislators to keep up with costs feels continuous. What makes now different from other times? </p> <p> A few numbers to know: </p> <ul> <li>2024 will be the 10th anniversary of Washington state's expansion of Medicaid (known as Apple Health).</li> <li>In 2013, Medicaid enrollment was 1.1 million.</li> <li>In 2023, Medicaid enrollment was 2.1 million.</li> <li>Around 25% of all Washington residents are Medicaid enrollees.</li> <li>Medicaid rates for most specialty services are 43% lower than Medicare, whose rates are intended to cover the bare-bones cost of providing care.</li> <li>Washington state's Medicaid reimbursement rates are among the worst in the nation, above only New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Tennessee.</li> </ul> <p> Ten years ago, the WSMA supported the expansion of Medicaid because of the importance of insurance coverage for all patients, and we continue to support the program and the people it serves. But coverage does not equal access. Those on Medicaid may be protected from the economic catastrophe of a health emergency or serious illness, but they also may be turned away from many specialty services because the reimbursement rate does not cover the cost of service delivery. </p> <p> Ten years ago, when the number of people enrolled in Medicaid was comparatively small, physicians, clinics, and medical groups were able to accommodate individual Medicaid patients in the context of a larger patient base that covered costs. But now that Medicaid enrollees comprise around one out of every four Washington state residents, the losses are increasingly difficult to sustain, and patients are being turned away. </p> <p> The Legislature has done significant work in recent years to increase the reimbursement rates for many primary care physicians and advanced practitioners, and that has had substantial impact on the lives of patients in all parts of our state. Specialists, by our calculation, haven't seen a change in rates in more than 20 years. The impact of stagnant or decreasing reimbursement has played out in our marketplace with increasing consolidation and, for some patients, lack of access to needed and timely specialty care. </p> <h3>WSMA's solution</h3> <p> In Olympia there isn't sufficient political appetite for an increase that is funded solely by the state's general fund. That's why we have worked with legislators and other experts to identify a funding model that will improve access to care, increase federal dollars, and preserve the general fund. </p> <p> A covered lives assessment is similar to Washington's current assessments for hospitals, nursing homes, and ambulances. In this case, the covered lives assessment would be applied to insurance carriers based on their enrollment, generating revenue to support Medicaid investments. These funds would allow us to draw down federal matching funds to make substantial increases in available Medicaid funding. </p> <p> The 2024 legislative session is a "short" 60-day session, and the Legislature is not doing a complete update of the budget. However, this issue should not-cannot-wait. The state needs to implement a covered lives assessment, leverage federal funds, and increase Medicaid rates for professional services. With around a quarter of all Washington residents on Medicaid, we must act now to ensure access to care before it's too late. </p> <p> No one likes a doomsday scenario or a threat that the sky is falling. However, it's important for all of us to be cognizant of changing conditions. In this case, our state has doubled the number of people on Medicaid without ensuring they can actually access life-saving care. </p> <p> We are proud of the physician community in Washington, and we know you go to extraordinary lengths to serve Medicaid patients in your communities. We know many patients don't ever experience a loss of service because you are so good at "making it work." But Washington needs a more sustainable system, so physicians can treat a patient population that reflects their community without risking the financial solvency of their practice. </p> <p> Currently at the WSMA we are developing the technical financial model and the legislative language that will give Washington state a solid assessment. We look forward to giving you more of those details as they are finalized. </p> <h3>Share your story</h3> <p> In the meantime, we need your stories. </p> <p> One of our greatest challenges with legislators is showing the effects of something that <em>doesn't</em> happen: A diagnostic test is not done early enough; a treatment is delayed; a chronic condition that turns acute and must be treated in the emergency department. </p> <p> We are working on a public survey to help illuminate the patient experience of being denied care, but we need your stories, as well. Some of your clinics have given us sample payment data models; others have talked about the number of people turned away or on waiting lists. We need all these and more. Email <a href="mailto:jen@wsma.org">WSMA CEO Jennifer Hanscom</a> or keep an eye out for a call for stories in the days ahead. </p> <p> Raising Medicaid reimbursement rates is the most effective method of increasing physician participation in Medicaid networks. As more and more residents are enrolled in Medicaid plans, expanding physician participation in Medicaid networks and paying them appropriately for their care is desperately needed and long overdue. </p> </div>11/3/2023 10:53:29 AM11/3/2023 10:47:54 AM11/3/2023 12:00:00 AM
weekly-rounds-october-20-2023-medicare-reform-cant-waitWeekly Rounds: October 20, 2023 - Medicare Reform Can't WaitWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2023/weekly-rounds-october-20-2023-medicare-reform-cant-wait<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>October 20, 2023</h5> <h2>Medicare Reform Can't Wait</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> The need for Congress to act quickly and decisively to fix a broken Medicare payment system cannot be overstated. The fiscal stability of physician practices is in jeopardy, and with it, the ability for patients to access care in their communities across the country. However, the current dysfunction in Congress is presenting new challenges, particularly troubling as we near year-end and the annual adoption of the Medicare fee schedule rule. </p> <p> With the U.S. House of Representatives speakerless, it's unclear when Congress will conduct votes on legislation like pending fiscal 2024 spending bills. If they rally behind a speaker in the coming days, attention will quickly turn to the six-week stopgap spending deal that prompted the removal of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. This causes much trepidation in terms of stopping the looming 3.36% proposed Medicare cut and the corresponding reduction in anesthesia rates. </p> <p> Although the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicated in 2023 that practice expenses rose 4.5%, the proposed 2024 Medicare physician fee schedule rule provides no inflationary update for physician services. The combination of a lack of an annual inflationary update and the ongoing threat of budget neutrality cuts in the fee schedule is adding to physicians' financial instability and undermining patient access to care across Washington state and the country. </p> <p> The budget neutrality payment reductions in the proposed fee schedule are due to two factors: a 1.25% cut that Congress staved off in 2023 and a budget neutrality adjustment linked to the implementation of a CMS-developed office visit add-on code. Congress had delayed introduction of this code during the pandemic to prevent cuts to specialists. </p> <p> In response to American Medical Association advocacy, CMS reduced its utilization assumptions from 100% to 38% for the new add-on code, which significantly reduced the amount of the conversion factor payment cuts to all physicians. However, the AMA is urging CMS to further reduce the utilization assumptions because there isn't clarity about the appropriate circumstances in which to bill this code. Doing this will also alleviate unwarranted Medicare payment cuts. </p> <p> While the WSMA is urging Washington's congressional delegation to avert these cuts before the end of the year, the annual need to do so speaks to the need for broader Medicare physician payment reform. Even with Congress in turmoil, the WSMA is joining the AMA in continuing to advocate for Congress to pass H.R. 2474 before the end of the year. H.R. 2474 would counteract the budget neutrality adjustments in the fee schedule and provide an annual inflation-based payment update to keep pace with costs. This bipartisan measure so far has the support of Rep. Kim Schrier and Rep. Derek Kilmer from Washington's congressional delegation, and the WSMA will continue to urge support from all of our elected representatives to Congress. <a href="https://votervoice.net/WSMA/Campaigns/107365/Respond">Learn more about H.R. 2474 and how you can add your voice of support</a>. </p> <p> <strong>Additionally, please keep an eye out for the AMA Physician Practice Information Survey.</strong>The AMA survey is being distributed to thousands of physician practices and individual physicians across the U.S. The intent of the survey is to collect updated and accurate data on practice costs, which are a key element of physician payment. These data have not been updated since last collected over 15 years ago, and it is critically important to update these data to ensure accurate payment. </p> <p> See <a href="https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/medicare-medicaid/physician-answers-survey-will-shape-future-medicare-pay">here</a> for more information about this survey. <a href="https://www.mathematica.org">Mathematica</a>, a well-regarded consulting firm, is helping the AMA run this survey. Your practice may receive an email (from <a href="mailto:ppisurvey@mathematica-mpr.com">ppisurvey@mathematica-mpr.com</a>) and a USPS priority mail packet from Mathematica that contains a link to the survey as well as supporting information. We urge you to speak with your practice management colleagues to determine if they have received these communications and ask them to complete this important survey. In the coming weeks or months, your practice, or Mathematica, may ask you to complete a brief survey on the number of weekly hours spent on direct patient care. We urge you to complete this two-minute survey. </p> <p> While challenges beset medicine and physicians from all sides these days, the need for federal reform of one of the nation's primary health insurance programs to ensure sustainability remains central to the advocacy of organized medicine, reflecting the central role the program serves in the lives of so many in Washington state and our country. As always, the physician voice is crucial in supporting this advocacy. We will keep members apprised of the developments at the federal level and of opportunities to make your voice heard in the coming weeks. </p> </div>10/27/2023 10:10:14 AM10/27/2023 10:09:47 AM10/20/2023 12:00:00 AM
weekly-rounds-october-6-2023-wsma-house-of-delegates-passes-policies-centered-on-patientsWeekly Rounds: October 6, 2023 - WSMA House of Delegates Passes Policies Centered on PatientWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2023/weekly-rounds-october-6-2023-wsma-house-of-delegates-passes-policies-centered-on-patients<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>October 6, 2023</h5> <h2>WSMA House of Delegates Passes Policies Centered on Patients and the Profession</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> The WSMA wrapped its 134th Annual Meeting of the House of Delegates at the end of September. Over 175 physicians joined to debate a variety of issues, with a clear interest in topics that centered on the desire to advocate in the best interests of patients and the profession. </p> <p> Topics related to noncompete contracts, physician unions, transparency, and patient care appeared to stem from the underlying frustration many in the profession are experiencing in their daily professional lives. </p> <p> Underscoring that point, the meeting was held on the heels of the release of The Physicians Foundation 2023 Survey of America's Current and Future Physicians, with findings from physicians, residents, and medical students on their sentiments surrounding the practice environment and patient care. The survey found that physicians are experiencing burnout at record-high levels. For the third year in a row, six in 10 physicians often have feelings of burnout, compared to four in 10 before the pandemic in 2018. The research noted that numerous systemic factors and regulations, including health care consolidation, negatively impact physicians' well-being and impede their autonomy to deliver high-quality, cost-efficient health care. </p> <p> Physicians, their ability to provide quality care to their patients, and the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship are under increasing strain in Washington state and across the U.S., as reflected in abnormally high rates of physician suicide, an epidemic of clinician burnout, and worsening health disparities impacting our communities. The policies passed during the House of Delegates meeting reflect an urgency on behalf of Washington's physician community to address some of the most pressing issues exacerbating this strain, which stand to further erode patient and physician autonomy in directing the health care they receive and provide, as well as the trust that is at the heart of the patient-physician relationship. </p> <h3>Patient-Focused Policies: Putting Patients First</h3> <p> Reflecting WSMA's "patient focused" motto, delegates took forward-thinking stands on artificial intelligence and patient autonomy at the end of life, and sought to curb two of the most pressing public health epidemics, opioid addiction and overdose and gun violence, with the following policies: </p> <h4>Artificial intelligence</h4> <p> Delegates passed a multipronged policy on the use of AI in health care, directing the WSMA to: support efforts to prevent discrimination by AI applications; ensure the use of AI in patient care is transparent to patients; require patient-facing AI systems to be interpretable by human coders and users; and to encourage physicians to engage in a continuous feedback loop with AI systems. </p> <h4>End-of-life care</h4> <p> Delegates amended WSMA's longstanding policy on the withdrawal of life support to read: "For humane reasons, with informed consent, a physician may cease treatment, including artificial nutrition or hydration, when such treatment is no longer desired by a patient, even if doing so would likely result in a patient's death," and coupled that amended policy with a second amended policy that the WSMA "remain committed to professional standards that will always allow our patients to feel safe under our care without fear regarding any conflicting motives physicians may have." These changes in policy reflect the will of a majority of delegates who, in their testimony supporting these amendments, sought to both honor the autonomy of patients in decision-making at the end of life and to empower the WSMA to engage with policymakers on future improvements to the state's Death with Dignity law. </p> <h4>Opioid use disorder</h4> <p> As they have in recent years, delegates adopted policy that continues to position the WSMA ahead of national opioid policy and at the forefront of states addressing the opioid epidemic. Policies adopted include: support for the elimination of non-evidence-based buprenorphine limits currently preventing physicians from providing appropriate treatment for opioid use disorder; support for all qualified physicians to prescribe methadone and other opioid use disorder treatment to be dispensed at pharmacies; support for ensuring patients can continue medical treatment of substance use disorder in post-acute and long-term care settings; and support for allocating funds from opioid settlements to be used for health care professional loan repayments that require addressing opioid use disorder. </p> <h4>Gun violence</h4> <p> Preventing gun violence has been a WSMA priority for decades, with many strong policies adopted by previous years' delegates. This year, to further raise awareness of the ravages of gun violence that physicians bear witness to when treating its victims, delegates adopted policy asking the WSMA to support legislation requiring firearm owners to obtain and maintain gun liability insurance covering losses or damages resulting from negligent or accidental use of the firearm, and for proof of insurance to be kept where the guns are stored or transported. </p> <h3>Physician-Driven: Policies Keeping Health Care Physician-led</h3> <p> Underscoring WSMA's "physician driven" motto, delegates sought to ensure not only that patient care remains physician-led in the face of a rapidly evolving health care industry, but also that physicians and clinicians are supported appropriately to ensure they are healthy enough to provide that care, by adopting the following policies: </p> <h4>Medical titles and patient safety</h4> <p> Delegates continue to be concerned about the proliferation of other professions using the term "doctor" and the potential for patient confusion and patient safety issues in health care settings when the credentials of the attending health professional are not easily understood. Delegates adopted policies advocating for: enforcement of regulations in health care settings to prevent the misappropriation of medical titles; initiatives to raise public awareness about the different health care disciplines and the responsibilities of each; establishment of a standardized system for verifying medical credentials; discouraging the misappropriation of titles such as doctor, physician, and specialty titles in health care settings; and condemning false advertising and misrepresentation of medical credentials by non-physicians. </p> <h4>Physician wellness</h4> <p> Confronting the epidemics of physician burnout and suicide, delegates passed policies advocating for state legislation recognizing entities that function as physician wellness programs and protecting the confidentiality of participants of such programs. </p> <h4>Protecting the profession</h4> <p> Reflecting the continued move away from independent medical practice and toward physician employment within hospitals and health systems, delegates sought to empower the employed physician voice by adopting policy supporting physicians in their decision-making when determining whether to unionize and for improvements in noncompete agreements and laws. Delegates directed the WSMA to provide more information on both topics, demonstrating growing concerns in the physician community that their clinical voice may diminish in today's health care environment. </p> <p> To read all the actions of the House of Delegates go to the <a href="[@]wsma/about_us/who_we_are/house-of-delegates/wsma/about/who_we_are/house-of-delegates.aspx?hkey=c5e98d40-6e37-4bc0-9bda-a7aa66e67919&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=pO8F9">WSMA website</a>. </p> <p> As newly elected 2023-2024 WSMA President Nariman Heshmati, MD, noted at the conclusion of the meeting, "The health care delivery system has rapidly evolved in Washington state over the past 10 years. It is critical that physicians continue to be the leading voice for what is paramount: our patients' health. The WSMA is committed to helping physicians in our state be engaged leaders and patient advocates to ensure a healthy Washington." </p> <h3>Introducing WSMA's 2023-2024 President, Nariman Heshmati, MD</h3> <p> At the meeting, Nariman Heshmati, MD, Mukilteo OB-GYN, was elected president of the WSMA for 2023-2024. Dr. Heshmati is the executive medical director of affordability, advocacy, and pharmacy for Optum Washington, which includes The Everett Clinic, The Polyclinic, and The Optum Care Network Pacific Northwest. In his role at Optum Washington, Dr. Heshmati has accountability for total cost of care, external relationships, and pharmacy services. Watch Dr. Heshmati's <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SooGZSQ6vcU">inauguration speech</a>, delivered Sunday, Sept. 24 at the Annual Meeting. </p> <p> Also elected at the meeting and joining Dr. Heshmati on the WSMA Executive Committee are John Bramhall, MD, PhD, Seattle anesthesiologist, president-elect; Bridget Bush, MD, FASA, Anacortes anesthesiologist, vice president; and Matt Hollon, MD, MPH, FACP, Spokane internist, secretary-treasurer. The fifth officer of the executive committee is Past President Katina Rue, DO, FAAFP, FACOFP, Yakima family physician, who will serve as committee chair. </p> <p> Newly elected WSMA board of trustees members include Rajneet Lamba, MD, Kirkland internist; Amy Ellingson, MD, Brewster family physician; Lisa Ivanjack, MD, Bothell internist; John Scott, MD, Seattle gastroenterologist; Peter Barkett, MD, Silverdale internist; and Andy Shang, medical student, Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences. For more information, see this <a href="[@]wsma/about/who_we_are/board-of-trustees.aspx?hkey=57dca355-fca4-4f4e-9c83-6e35aa4baabe&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927">full roster of WSMA board of trustees members</a>. </p> <p> To learn more about the House of Delegates and the voting delegates go to the <a href="[@]wsma/about_us/who_we_are/house-of-delegates/wsma/about/who_we_are/house-of-delegates.aspx?hkey=c5e98d40-6e37-4bc0-9bda-a7aa66e67919&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=pO8F9">House of Delegates webpage</a>. </p> </div>11/27/2023 3:30:10 PM11/27/2023 3:29:49 PM10/6/2023 12:00:00 AM
weekly-rounds-september-25-2023-facing-challenges-with-optimismWeekly Rounds: September 25, 2023 - Facing Challenges With OptimismWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2023/weekly-rounds-september-25-2023-facing-challenges-with-optimism<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/weekly-rounds-article-graphic-heshmati-2023-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo with Nariman Heshmati, MD" /></div> <h5>September 25, 2023</h5> <h2>Facing Challenges With Optimism</h2> <p> <strong>Nariman Heshmati, MD, shares what motivates him in his inaugural address on Sunday, Sept. 24</strong> </p> <p> It's a pleasure to be with you here in Bellevue for the opening session of our 2023 meeting of the House of Delegates! I'm honored to be standing here and look forward to our usual robust debate and policymaking. But first...</p> <p> Anyone here remember where you were on New Year's Day in 1980? </p> <p> Well, to be honest, I don't remember either-because that's the day I was born. </p> <p> In Iran. </p> <p> For those of you who were "of an age" in 1980, you may not recall that particular New Year's Day, but I bet you do remember the drama of the Iran hostage crisis that was under way during the Iranian Revolution. </p> <p> I entered the world in the midst of that upheaval-I can only imagine the fear my mom had to be feeling along with her contractions. Even as she labored to deliver me, our family's homeland was being ripped apart by war, it was the 59th day of the hostage situation, politics were making life dangerous there, and my dad-an orthopedic surgeon-knew we wouldn't be safe for too much longer. </p> <p> That year, we fled our homeland leaving everything behind, crossed a good many borders, and in due time we made our way to Florida. Through hard work and a few minor miracles along the way, my dad reestablished his medical credentials, became a beloved pillar of our community, and set our family up for success. </p> <p> Can you imagine, secretly planning a daring, life-threatening escape with three young children? And you have to leave everything behind? If you're lucky, you escape with your lives as we did, but it was so hard that many people died by suicide. It was a terrible, frightening time. </p> <p> Through it all, my parents were optimists. They are my inspiration. I once asked my father about that time and he said, "America is a land of opportunity! Where else can you go, reestablish, make a life, and be welcomed?" My father always stressed that despite things being difficult, we were fortunate to have had the privilege to escape and come to a land of opportunity. He taught me-in words and actions-never to let the negative get in the way of recognizing opportunity. </p> <p> And so, my family was welcomed. In Florida! I know that's a long distance from Washington. My parents remind me of that often. </p> <p> It was pretty much destiny that I would go into medicine. My father, uncles, and brother are all physicians. My mom and sister are psychologists. Florida was a great place to grow up, and to follow my dad's example of becoming a physician. </p> <p> I literally grew up playing with toys in my father's medical office. When I was 10 years old my dad paid me to set up electronic insurance billing for him! Seriously, I was that nerdy of a kid that I was able to do that for him-and charge him for it! Do you remember the screeching sound the old 2400 baud modems use to make? I'll never forget that sound. </p> <p> The optimism-and example-of my parents inspired me then and now. They lived out their optimism with the belief that no matter what the challenges are, we have the ability to effect change. My parents are the reason I'm able to stand here today, looking forward to serving as your WSMA president. </p> <p> Inspired by my dad, I went into medicine for the same reasons you probably did-because we want to make a difference, we want to take care of people. To do that, we need the right ingredients, the right rules, the right system around us. If we're not at that table helping guide the process-that's when we start seeing increased administrative burdens, rules and regulations we don't need, policies that don't make sense, and interference in our relationship with our patients. </p> <p> Health care is a dynamic and changing field. We have to be there to make it change in a positive direction, to make sure that at its core, it continues to help care for communities and keep patients healthy. We have significant power when we come together. Our patients and communities are counting on us to be their voice to impact how health care is delivered. </p> <p> My father also instilled in me the notion that we have an obligation to improve our communities and that access to health care is a right. Back in his day, not everyone agreed with that concept. As director of the health department, my dad worked tirelessly to identify care gaps and create solutions. Every child in our county had access to immunizations. When OB-GYNs stopped seeing Medicaid patients because of soaring malpractice rates, he partially employed OB-GYNs with the health department and covered their malpractice if they agreed to see those patients. He always found a way to make sure people were cared for. </p> <p> I know our health care system is broken and it's not that I'm so optimistic that I see it through rose-colored glasses. I'm optimistic because of all of you. </p> <p> We all suffered our way through the pandemic and watched how it strained the system and impacted our communities. We focused on keeping our communities healthy despite the obstacles. When we had to close our practices, we pivoted to telehealth. When we ran out of PPE, we made our own. When critical lab products and medical equipment dwindled in supply, we found alternatives. The public called us health care heroes. All of you were-and still are-heroes. </p> <p> As we exited the pandemic, we were reminded that the challenges facing health care hadn't gone away, they had worsened. Deaths from cardiac disease skyrocketed. Maternal outcomes digressed-especially in our most vulnerable populations. And according to a recent Medscape survey, 53% of us feel burned out and 23% are depressed. Medscape appropriately, but sadly, titled the report, "I cry, but no one cares." </p> <p> I know we are facing complicated problems in a complex system. But I also know that we have to make it better, because otherwise it's going to impact the care our patients need, the care we're going to be able to give. And I believe we can make it better. </p> <p> We have challenges. We've lost some trust from the public. We have physicians and physician assistants who are burned out, frustrated, and even considering retiring at younger ages. We've never seen that before. We have to make the system better, because you don't have a health care system if you don't have physicians or PAs in it. We must preserve the sanctity of evidence-based medicine and enable patients to receive health care without the interference of politics. Patients should be able, without interference, hurdles, or burdens, to have access to the best care we can provide. </p> <p> We need change, and I believe we can be the change we want to see. I believe that the WSMA is the organization that can help make it happen. We are a leading voice for how health care should be delivered. We are at the table for all of the important health care meetings and work groups and processes that happen in this state. We are the voice of physicians and patients. </p> <p> As I look out into the crowd, I see so many familiar faces-colleagues and friends-patient advocates and health care champions. More than that, I see the team that will make Washington the best place to practice medicine and receive care. We face monumental challenges that will take innovative ideas to fix. Sure, it's a big task-even overwhelming-but as always, I am optimistic! </p> <p> You are a battle-tested team who've endured a pandemic, navigated regulatory changes, faced economic hardships-and every day you still provide the best care you can to those in need. You don't skip a beat. So, if health care in Washington is the challenge we need to fix, we couldn't ask for a better team. </p> <p> I truly believe in WSMA's mission to make Washington the best place to practice medicine and receive care. My priorities-our priorities-are based on that, just as they have been for years. </p> <p> We have an opportunity-just as my family had an opportunity when we came to the United States- to improve health care and not get bogged down in the negative. Just as my father taught me to improve our communities, I know each of you have your own similar stories that call you to action. </p> <p> This work will be difficult, but we will get through it because we will support each other like family-and our patients are counting on us. </p> <p> Together, we will make Washington the best place to practice medicine and receive care. </p> <p> Thank you! </p> <p> Watch Dr. Heshmati's inaugural address to the 2023 WSMA House of Delegates on his <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SooGZSQ6vcU">YouTube channel</a>. </p> </div>11/27/2023 3:43:04 PM9/27/2023 3:52:41 PM9/25/2023 12:00:00 AM
weekly-rounds-september-15-2023-on-the-state-of-physician-well-beingWeekly Rounds: September 15, 2023 - On the State of Physician Well-BeingWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2023/weekly-rounds-september-15-2023-on-the-state-of-physician-well-being<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>Sept. 15, 2023</h5> <h2> On the State of Physician Well-Being </h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> In anticipation of <a href="https://npsaday.org/">National Physician Suicide Awareness Day</a> this Sunday, The Physicians Foundation has announced findings from its annual survey on the state of physician well-being. Surprising to no one within health care, the findings paint a picture of low physician morale and well-being. Additionally, the survey breaks out young physicians and physicians in training for the first time, and notes that residents and medical students are also plagued by the effects of burnout and suicide. </p> <p> Key survey findings include: </p> <ul> <li>Medical students' overall well-being is lower than both residents and physicians. <ul> <li>More than six in 10 residents (61%) and seven in 10 students (71%) report experiencing feelings of burnout.</li> <li>Though just starting their careers, a shocking proportion of students (45%) know a colleague or peer who has considered suicide, compared to residents (38%) and physicians (36%).</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <ul> <li>Current and future physicians alike report stigma and structural barriers negatively affect their overall well-being and mental health. <ul> <li>Nearly eight in 10 physicians (78%), residents (79%), and medical students (76%) agree that there is stigma surrounding mental health and seeking mental health care among physicians.</li> <li>Nearly five in 10 residents and medical students were either afraid or knew another colleague fearful of seeking mental health care given questions asked in medical licensure/credentialing/insurance applications.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p> Find the full survey findings from the 2023 Survey of America's Current and Future Physicians on <a href="https://physiciansfoundation.org/research/amplifying-physician-resident-and-student-voices-to-drive-wellbeing-and-care-delivery-solutions/">The Physicians Foundation website</a>. </p> <p> Physician and clinician burnout and related resignations and early retirements continue to pose a major threat to a health care industry that remains in need of clinical leaders, physicians, and other front-line staff to ensure capacity. </p> <p> The issue has been in the forefront of industry news for years, with the pandemic bringing it firmly into the national spotlight: In May 2022, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued an <a href="https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/health-worker-wellbeing-advisory.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">advisory highlighting the urgent need to address the health worker burnout crisis across the country</a>, pointing to the record numbers of health workers who are quitting or reporting that they intend to quit. </p> <p> The future of medicine is dependent on change to offer the right resources and eliminate barriers that impact physicians' well-being. The solutions to improve physician well-being and prevent suicide are not a secret-physicians, residents, and medical students have identified the solutions they need. At the top of the list, physicians (80%) and residents (85%) agree that reducing administrative burdens, such as low-value work, insurance approvals, and unnecessary mandatory training, is helpful to improving well-being. </p> <p> The health worker burnout and workforce retention crisis, if not addressed, will make it harder for patients to get care when they need it, cause health costs to rise, hinder our ability to prepare for the next public health emergency, and worsen health disparities. </p> <p> To that end, the WSMA has convened a small work group with members from the Washington State Medical Group Management Association and several large group leaders to create a package of workforce policy solutions in advance of the 2024 legislative session. This workforce work group is putting the finishing touches on its draft recommendations, which will go before WSMA leadership this month. Look for a wider release of these recommendations later this year. </p> <p> In addition, the WSMA Foundation has been awarded a grant from The Physicians Foundation for a physician wellness initiative that will look at systemic solutions to physician and physician assistant burnout, including convening health systems and large groups to develop best practices and to pledge their commitment to meet those best practices. We are seeking physician and PA members to join a new committee to help lead this work, with compensation available for your time and commitment. To learn more about the expectations of service on the committee, reach out to WSMA Associate Director of Quality and Leadership Programs <a href="monica@wsma.org">Monica Salgaonkar</a>. </p> <p> For this Sunday's day of awareness around physician suicide, I hope you'll join me in doing what you can to raise the visibility of the issue. Find social media and other materials in the <a href="https://npsaday.org/toolkit/">Toolkit</a> section on the <a href="https://npsaday.org/">NPSA Day website</a>. </p> </div>10/27/2023 10:06:40 AM10/27/2023 10:06:10 AM9/15/2023 12:00:00 AM
weekly-rounds-september-1-2023-every-voice-counts-in-setting-policyWeekly Rounds: September 1, 2023 - Every Voice Counts in Setting PolicyWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2023/weekly-rounds-september-1-2023-every-voice-counts-in-setting-policy<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 1, 2023</h5> <h2>Every Voice Counts in Setting Policy</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> In reflecting on the leadership role the WSMA plays within our community, I'm often reminded of this quote: "Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean." We all know too well that health care is complicated. Solving its problems, working for change, and striving for improvement take all the brilliant minds we can muster. </p> <h3>Engage in leading our profession</h3> <p> Leadership in health care is not a solo sport. That's where WSMA's House of Delegates comes in. It is a democratic structure of the members, by the members, and for the members of the WSMA. It enables a path by which policies emerge from the grassroots levels of the organization. Its duty is to represent not only societies and geography, but also the welfare of the association and our profession. </p> <p> But that structure only works when <strong>all members</strong> are engaged, express their opinions, and utilize the process to advance issues that improve health care and the practice of medicine in Washington state. </p> <p> While our House of Delegates is made up of approximately 175 delegates-representing county medical societies, specialty societies, special sections, and the WSMA board of trustees-too often, a good many voting seats go unfilled. When a delegate's seat is vacant, that means a critical voice isn't heard. </p> <p> So, I urge you to consider serving as a voting delegate at the <a href="[@]wsma/events/annual_meeting/wsma/events/annual_meeting/annual_meeting.aspx?hkey=fea49254-3815-4dc9-8710-53ff2e3a100f&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=aHdB9">Annual Meeting of the WSMA House of Delegates</a>, being held Sept. 23-24 in Bellevue. Let us know about your interest and we will put you in touch with your county medical society or state specialty society. Please contact <a href="mailto:abby@wsma.org">Abby Vincent</a> if you are interested in serving. </p> <h3>Weigh in on proposed policymaking</h3> <p> This year has been an active one for resolution writing, with more than 30 resolutions submitted for debate by the House of Delegates at the Annual Meeting. These resolutions are posted to the <a href="[@]wsma/events/annual_meeting/virtual-reference-committees.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=bHdB9">WSMA Virtual Reference Committees</a>. Your perspective on these proposed policies counts, so I hope you will take time to lend your voice and share your opinions. Virtual testimony is closely reviewed by the reference committees and is considered equally alongside in-person testimony at the meeting. The committees rely on all of that input as they draft their final recommendations to the House for its final debate and vote on Sunday, Sept. 24. </p> <h3>Listen in on critical topics</h3> <p> Not only is the Annual Meeting free for members (although registration is required), as an added bonus, we will present two thoughtful presentations Saturday afternoon (approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Credit</em><sup>TM</sup>), in addition to an update from American Medical Association board member Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, MD. </p> <p> The first, "How Can Doctors Make America Healthy Again?" by Stephen Bezruchka, MD, will explore factors that have the greatest impact on population health. As associate teaching professor emeritus in the departments of health systems and population health and global health at the University of Washington School of Public Health, Dr. Bezruchka reports on the ways that economic inequality kills, and how conditions in early life foretell adult health. By most measures, Hawaii is the healthiest state, and Dr. Bezruchka's presentation considers what it would it take for Washington state to achieve a similar status in health. </p> <p> The second, "Are You Reacting to Crisis or Leading Transformational Change?" by Ed Walker, MD, MHA, will focus on the importance of burnout recognition and treatment from a system-level perspective rather than a self-care, wellness model. As professor of psychiatry and population health and services at the University of Washington and senior physician advisor for the WSMA Center for Leadership Development, Dr. Walker strives to equip leaders to understand and interact with administrative counterparts to build a more sustainable "care-full" system. </p> <p> Saturday wraps up with the inauguration of 2023-2024 WSMA President Nariman Heshmati, MD, a networking reception for all meeting attendees, and a gathering of WSMA's leadership courses alumni with Dr. Walker. I hope to <a href="[@]wsma/events/annual_meeting/wsma/events/annual_meeting/annual_meeting.aspx?hkey=fea49254-3815-4dc9-8710-53ff2e3a100f&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=aHdB9">see you there</a>. </p> <h3>Consider nominations for AMA alternate delegate</h3> <p> In late-breaking news, there is a vacant American Medical Association alternate delegate position on the WSMA board of trustees. As a result, we will be accepting nominations over the next two weeks to complete the remainder of that term, which expires at the end of 2024. Candidates must be current WSMA and AMA members with an interest in state and national issues, and the ability to attend quarterly WSMA board meetings and two out-of-state AMA meetings per year. </p> <p> Interested members should submit a <a href="https://wsma.informz.net/WSMA/data/images/Attachments/BOT-conflict-of-interest-2023.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">conflict of interest disclosure statement</a>, <a href="https://wsma.informz.net/WSMA/data/images/Attachments/BOT-candidate-info-sheet-2023.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">candidate information sheet</a>, and curriculum vitae to <a href="mailto:slb@wsma.org">Shannon Bozarth</a> by Wednesday, Sept. 13. The election will be held on Sunday, Sept. 24 at the WSMA Annual Meeting. We anticipate that this will be a competitive election and, as such, candidates will have the opportunity to submit a recorded two-minute speech, which will be made available to the members of the House prior to voting. </p> <p> As noted in the WSMA bylaws, additional nominations for all open board positions are accepted from the floor of the House of Delegates. </p> <h3>Take action</h3> <ul> <li>Register for the 2023 Annual Meeting on the <a href="[@]wsma/events/annual_meeting/wsma/events/annual_meeting/annual_meeting.aspx?hkey=fea49254-3815-4dc9-8710-53ff2e3a100f&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=aHdB9">meeting webpage</a>.</li> <li>To add your opinion to the 30+ resolutions available for member comments, visit the <a href="[@]wsma/events/annual_meeting/virtual-reference-committees.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=bHdB9">Virtual Reference Committees</a>.</li> <li>To review delegate(s) for your specialty society and/or county medical society, visit the <a href="[@]wsma/about_us/who_we_are/house-of-delegates/wsma/about/who_we_are/house-of-delegates.aspx?hkey=c5e98d40-6e37-4bc0-9bda-a7aa66e67919&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=cHdB9">House of Delegates webpage</a>.</li> <li>To submit a nomination for the AMA alternate delegate position, complete the necessary documents and email them to <a href="mailto:slb@wsma.org">Shannon Bozarth</a>.</li> </ul> <p> I do hope you will join in on this critical democratic process. Your engagement ensures that the House hears diverse perspectives, benefits from the wisdom of many, and establishes the best policy for our profession. </p> </div>9/1/2023 12:03:34 PM9/1/2023 12:02:21 PM9/1/2023 12:00:00 AM
weekly-rounds-august-18-2023-a-preview-of-election-season-with-wampacWeekly Rounds: August 18, 2023 - A Preview of Election Season With WAMPACWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2023/weekly-rounds-august-18-2023-a-preview-of-election-season-with-wampac<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-sm-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/Weekly%20Rounds/weekly-rounds-article-graphic-alex-wehinger-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Weekly Rounds logo with Alex Wehinger" /></div> <h5>August 18, 2023</h5> <h2> A Preview of Election Season With WAMPAC </h2> <p> Alex Wehinger, WSMA Associate Director of Legislative Advocacy, Director of WAMPAC </p> <p> While the 2024 elections are still more than a year away, candidates have already begun to hit the campaign trail as a number of statewide offices will have open seats for the first time in over a decade. Soon enough, all our newsfeeds will become 24/7 election coverage as the 2024 races fall on a presidential election year. So, for now, you'll find a high-level overview below of the political landscape as we know it today. </p> <p> Before diving into the elections preview, I want to invite you to attend the WAMPAC Luncheon at the Bellevue Westin on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 12:30 p.m. during the WSMA Annual Meeting. This luncheon is always popular, never more so than when a presidential election is on the horizon. Tickets can be purchased when <a href="https://wsma.org/wsma/events/annual_meeting/wsma/events/annual_meeting/annual_meeting.aspx?hkey=fea49254-3815-4dc9-8710-53ff2e3a100f&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=htEA9">registering</a><a href="https://wsma.org/wsma/events/annual_meeting/wsma/events/annual_meeting/annual_meeting.aspx?hkey=fea49254-3815-4dc9-8710-53ff2e3a100f&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=htEA9"> for the meeting</a>, with members of the WAMPAC Diamond Club receiving free admission as a perk of membership (a $50 value). Stay tuned for more information about the event's speakers and agenda. </p> <h3> Governor </h3> <p> Jay Inslee has served as Washington state governor since 2013, and he <a href="https://governor.wa.gov/news/2023/inslee-statement-weve-made-washington-beacon-progress-nation-im-ready-pass-torch#:~:text=Gov.%20Jay%20Inslee%20announced%20today%20he%20does%20not,Washington%20state%20governor%20to%20serve%20three%20consecutive%20terms.">announced in early May</a> that he would not seek an unprecedented fourth term in office. To date, the following noteworthy candidates have launched gubernatorial campaigns: </p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.bobferguson.com/">Bob Ferguson</a> (Democrat): Spent a decade on the King County Council and then another decade as the state's attorney general, where he prioritized gun safety (among other issues). He is considered by many as the likely frontrunner.</li> <li><a href="https://www.mulletforgovernor.com/">Mark Mullet</a> (Democrat): Has served in the state Senate since 2012, sitting on budget and business-focused committees. As the owner of a pizza restaurant and ice cream shops, he is the favored candidate by many in the business community.</li> <li><a href="https://www.hilaryfranz.com/">Hilary Franz</a> (Democrat): An attorney specializing in environmental law, she has been the state's commissioner of public lands since 2017.</li> <li><a href="https://www.reichertforgovernor.com/">Dave Reichert</a> (Republican): A former law enforcement officer made famous for his role in apprehending Gary Ridgway, known as the Green River Killer, he later spent 14 years in Congress for the district now represented by Rep. Kim Schrier, MD.</li> </ul> <p> As a reminder, Washington state has a top-two primary, so the two candidates in any race who receive the most votes will advance to the general election regardless of political party. </p> <h3> Attorney general </h3> <p> With the state's current Attorney General Bob Ferguson seeking the governor's office, that leaves another open seat for a statewide position. To date, the following noteworthy candidates have launched campaigns for attorney general: </p> <ul> <li><a href="https://electmanka.com/">Manka Dhingra</a> (Democrat): A King County prosecutor for over two decades, she joined the state Senate in 2017, becoming the first Sikh state legislator elected in the nation. Sen. Dhingra currently serves as the deputy majority leader and chair of the Law & Justice Committee.</li> <li><a href="https://nickbrownforag.com/">Nick Brown</a> (Democrat): Previously served in the U.S. Army before becoming general counsel to Gov. Inslee and then the state's first Black U.S. attorney.</li> </ul> <h3> Insurance commissioner </h3> <p> Current Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, who has held the statewide office for more than two decades, will also <a href="https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/longtime-wa-insurance-commissioner-mike-kreidler-will-not-seek-reelection/">not seek reelection</a>. At this time, only two candidates have filed to run for this office: </p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.pattykuderer.com/">Patty Kuderer</a> (Democrat): An attorney with a background in employment discrimination who has been in the state Legislature since 2015 and now chairs the Housing Committee.</li> <li>Michele Forgues-Fisher (No party): Chief financial officer at Valley Medical Center, with a background in contracting with insurance carriers on behalf of hospitals.</li> </ul> <h3> State Legislature </h3> <p> While statewide races will likely garner a lot of attention, more than two-thirds of the state Legislature will also be up for election in 2024. Recent election cycles resulted in a fairly static composition of the Legislature, with Democrats maintaining control of both the state House and Senate since 2018. We already know that a handful of legislators will not be returning, most notably the Senate's lead budget writer Sen. Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island). </p> <h3> Federal </h3> <p> As a state-level political action committee, WAMPAC cannot contribute to federal races, however we do work with AMPAC (the American Medical Association's PAC) to help direct and deliver contributions to candidates for Washington state's U.S. Senate and House seats. </p> <p> The presidential race will be at the top of the ticket in 2024, but of particular relevance to the physician community, Rep. Kim Schrier, MD, will be facing her fourth reelection campaign to the 8th Congressional District, which remains one of the most competitive in the nation. Yakima-area physician Raul Garcia, DO, has filed to run as a Republican against incumbent U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell. </p> <h3> Support the PAC that supports you </h3> <p> As you can see, there are many races ahead that could shift the health care policy landscape in our state. The relationships we build on the campaign trail will help achieve WSMA's goals to make Washington the best place to practice medicine and receive care. To ensure candidates supportive of our agenda advance into key positions, WAMPAC needs to raise enough money to make meaningful contributions in these races. By directing your political contributions through WAMPAC, together we can elect candidates who support our profession and our patients. </p> <p> Contributing to WAMPAC is now easier than ever. Enroll in our new no-hassle <a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/wampac-donation/?_zs=lfaFd1&_zl=xhE69">auto-donation program</a> that allows you to set up your donation on a monthly recurring basis. You can also join as a <a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/wampac-donation/?_zs=lfaFd1&_zl=xhE69">Diamond Club member</a> and receive recognition at WSMA events, insider information on elections from our government affairs team, invitations to exclusive events, opportunities to connect with elected officials, and more. </p> <p> If you have any questions about your Diamond Club membership or WAMPAC's engagement on campaigns, please <a href="mailto:alex@wsma.org">contact me</a>. </p> </div>12/11/2023 10:43:30 AM11/27/2023 3:51:50 PM8/18/2023 12:00:00 AM
weekly-rounds-august-4-2023-listen-and-learn-with-wsma-podcastsWeekly Rounds: August 4, 2023 - Listen and Learn with WSMA PodcastsWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2023/weekly-rounds-august-4-2023-listen-and-learn-with-wsma-podcasts<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>August 4, 2023</h5> <h2>Listen and Learn with WSMA Podcasts</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO </p> <p> At our all-staff appreciation luncheon this week, a few of us were discussing the first show we ever streamed. Can you remember what you first streamed? I believe mine was The Sopranos on HBO, if that counts. When Netflix moved from mailing videos to streaming online, I was busy balancing my career while starting my family, so those years are a little blurry for me. </p> <p> Some of us were also talking about our commutes-with staff traveling to our Seattle event from Olympia, Port Orchard, Bainbridge Island, Shoreline, and other points around the Sound. As I thought about it, I realized I've never had a commute of less than 45 minutes. That's a lot of time with NPR. In fact, sometimes I'm in the car long enough that the morning news starts to repeat before I arrive at my destination. When that happens, I turn to music, audio books, or a podcast. </p> <p> Lately, I've been tuning into WSMA's new podcast series on opioid prescribing. Hosted by former WSMA President Nathan Schlicher, MD, JD, the podcast series includes conversations with policymakers, physicians, and WSMA staff on an array of topics about the opioid crisis: How we got there; myths about treatment; and how to reduce the dependence on opioids for pain management where appropriate, help those suffering with chronic conditions safely, and help those with addiction. </p> <p> In less than 30 minutes, the podcast can be listened to or viewed at your convenience, with a new episode posted every couple of weeks. Even better, each podcast has CME credit, as well. </p> <p> If you are a commuter or are looking for something to listen to during your workouts or walks with your dog, give the Better Prescribing, Better Treatment Podcast a listen. Dr. Schlicher is so engaging and his conversations with guests on the podcast are informative and insightful. I've even recommended the series to my friends, particularly those who have read the excellent book "Dreamland" or watched the show "Dopesick." The podcast similarly explains how the opioid crisis has evolved in Washington state and provides useful information about work that is being done at the bedside to improve care for patients and our communities. </p> <p> For your convenience, here is the current episode guide. Just click on a link below via your phone or computer to listen. We'll soon be launching an official podcast station, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, enjoy these episodes! </p> <h3>Episode Guide</h3> <p> Episode 1: <a href="[@]wsma/resources/opioids/better-prescribing-better-treatment-podcast.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=His89#episode1">The Future of the Better Prescribing, Better Treatment Program at WSMA</a> </p> <p> Episode 2: <a href="[@]wsma/resources/opioids/better-prescribing-better-treatment-podcast.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=Iis89#episode2">The History of Opioid Prescribing Legislation</a> </p> <p> Episode 3: <a href="[@]wsma/resources/opioids/better-prescribing-better-treatment-podcast.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=Jis89#episode3">Prescribing Opioids in a Rural Setting</a> </p> <p> Episode 4: <a href="[@]wsma/resources/opioids/better-prescribing-better-treatment-podcast.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=Kis89#episode4">Opioids in Obstetrics</a> </p> <p> Episode 5: <a href="[@]wsma/resources/opioids/better-prescribing-better-treatment-podcast.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=Lis89#episode5">Opioids in Pediatrics</a> </p> <p> Episode 6: <a href="[@]wsma/resources/opioids/better-prescribing-better-treatment-podcast.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=Mis89#episode6">Opioids in Hospice</a> </p> </div>11/27/2023 3:53:18 PM11/27/2023 3:52:22 PM8/4/2023 12:00:00 AM
weekly-rounds-july-21-2023-cms-proposes-medicare-cuts-againWeekly Rounds: July 21, 2023 - CMS Proposes Medicare Cuts...AgainWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2023/weekly-rounds-july-21-2023-cms-proposes-medicare-cuts-again<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 21, 2023</h5> <h2>CMS Proposes Medicare Cuts...Again</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> There are a handful of certainties in life: death, taxes, and for physicians, the August announcement of how much the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposes in Medicare cuts. This ritual has happened almost yearly since the mid-1990s, and this year is no exception. The proposed 2024 physician payment schedule was published late last week, highlighting a 3.36% cut in physician Medicare payments for the coming year. </p> <p> Experts at the American Medical Association are analyzing the nearly 2,000-page proposal from CMS in detail, but here's what we know to date via communication from the AMA: </p> <ul> <li>The 2024 Medicare conversion factor is proposed to be reduced by 3.36% from $33.8872 to $32.7476. Similarly, the anesthesia conversion factor is proposed to be reduced from $21.1249 to $20.4370.</li> <li>CMS also proposes to increase the performance threshold to avoid a penalty in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System from 75 points to 82 points. CMS estimates this would result in an increase in the number of MIPS-eligible clinicians who would receive a penalty of up to -9%.</li> <li>CMS proposes to delay mandatory electronic clinical quality measure adoption by Medicare Shared Savings Program participants, who would have the option to continue using the CMS web interface in 2024. As finalized in previous rulemaking, Medicare Shared Savings Program participants would have been required to report their quality measures electronically starting in 2024. We are very glad to see CMS recognize the lack of maturity with health information technology standards to seamlessly aggregate data from electronic health records from physicians who practice at multiple sites or are part of an accountable care organization.</li> </ul> <p> The text of the proposed rule can be accessed <a href="https://public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2023-14624.pdf">here</a>. </p> <p> The WSMA, the AMA, and organizations throughout organized medicine continue to call for Medicare payment reform with members of Congress. More details about that effort can be found at the <a href="https://fixmedicarenow.org">Fix Medicare Now website</a>. </p> <p> This news is a disappointing, as just this past January the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission recommended tying the physician payment update to the Medical Economic Index, the government's measure of inflation on medical practices (currently measured at 4.5%). </p> <p> Rest assured that the WSMA will join the AMA in our yearly effort to stop these drastic cuts before year end. In the coming months, we will also continue to draw attention for the <a href="https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/medicare-medicaid/efforts-improve-medicare-payment-reform">need to reform the Medicare payment system</a> to ensure that physicians can continue to care for Medicare patients. </p> <p> Another certainty in life is that the WSMA never stops its advocacy efforts to make Washington the best place to practice medicine and receive care. You can count on it. </p> </div>11/27/2023 3:55:39 PM11/27/2023 3:55:18 PM7/21/2023 12:00:00 AM
weekly-rounds-july-7-2023-big-changes-ahead-for-washington-state-politicsWeekly Rounds: July 7, 2023 - Big Changes Ahead for Washington State PoliticsWeekly_RoundsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2023/weekly-rounds-july-7-2023-big-changes-ahead-for-washington-state-politics<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 7, 2023</h5> <h2>Big Changes Ahead for Washington State Politics</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, CEO</p> <p> Things are about to get interesting in politics in Washington state, considering that Gov. Jay Inslee and Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler have both announced they will not seek reelection. While the 2024 election may seem far away, in campaign years it's just around the corner. </p> <p> With that in mind, WSMA's nonpartisan campaign arm, <a href="[@]wsma/advocacy/wampac/wsma/advocacy/wampac/wampac.aspx?hkey=269c3c03-cf72-4568-be5b-7893557300a7&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=uhE69">WAMPAC</a>, is gearing up for the campaign season by meeting with candidates and donors. </p> <p> The 2023-24 election cycle will see big races that will change the landscape of state politics and influence policy decisions that impact how health care is delivered in the coming years. For the first time in several years there will be open seats for governor, attorney general, and insurance commissioner, and more than half of the seats in the state Legislature will be up for election. </p> <p> Your support of WAMPAC is critical to our ability to elect legislators and other statewide candidates who support medicine's agenda. Consider the results of our work this year: Due to our support of several legislators in critical positions, during this year's legislative session, the WSMA was able to secure prior authorization reform, Medicaid reimbursement rate increases, abortion protections, gun violence safeguards, and more. You can read all about that work in our 2023 Legislative Report, which was recently mailed to all members and is now available on the WSMA website: <a href="[@]wsma/advocacy/legislative_regulatory/wsma-legislative-report.aspx?WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=vhE69">WSMA Legislative Report</a>. </p> <p> To ensure candidates supportive of our agenda advance into key positions, WAMPAC needs to raise enough money to make meaningful contributions in these races. That's where you come in. By directing your political contributions through WAMPAC, together we can elect candidates who support our profession and our patients. </p> <p> Contributing to WAMPAC is now easier than ever. Enroll in our new no-hassle <a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/wampac-donation/?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=xhE69">auto-donation program</a> that allows you to set up your donation on a monthly recurring basis-a set-it-and-forget-it option! </p> <p> You can also join as a <a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/wampac-donation/?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=xhE69">Diamond Club member</a> and receive recognition at WSMA events, insider information on elections from our government affairs team, invitations to exclusive events, opportunities to connect with elected officials, and more. If you have questions about the Diamond Club, including questions about your club membership status, contact WAMPAC staff lead <a href="mailto:alex@wsma.org">Alex Wehinger</a>. </p> <p> The advocacy we do in Olympia and our campaign efforts work together to achieve WSMA's goals. That starts with a strong PAC ready to identify and support political candidates whose priorities align with the house of medicine. </p> <p> Current members of the WAMPAC board of directors are: </p> <ul> <li>Katina Rue, DO - Chair</li> <li>Tony Quang, MD, JD - Vice Chair</li> <li>Elizabeth Peterson, MD - Past Chair</li> <li>Amish Dave, MD - Secretary-Treasurer</li> <li>Bridget Bush, MD - Assistant Secretary-Treasurer</li> <li>Stuart Freed, MD</li> <li>Loren Ihle, MD</li> <li>Dino Ramzi, MD</li> <li>John Scott, MD</li> <li>Nathan Schlicher, MD, JD, MBA</li> <li>Kim Ha Wadsworth, DO</li> <li>Hart Edmonson, medical student</li> </ul> <p> There will be lots of action ahead and we want to be sure you're in the loop as things evolve. I urge you to <a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/wampac-donation/?_zs=lfaFd1&_zl=Doi59">donate today</a> and we'll keep you informed about WAMPAC's activities and events. As always, thanks for all you do. </p> </div>12/11/2023 10:43:31 AM7/10/2023 4:54:24 PM7/7/2023 12:00:00 AM
 
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