WSRS President’s Viewbox: July 2021

The weariness of the past year and a half has weighed on all of us. Cancellation of elective procedures, PPE shortages, and waiting for COVID vaccines are all challenges that we have endured. Now, as social activities have started up in Washington State, we are warned of (or experiencing!) increasing case numbers from the Delta variant. It seems like this pandemic will never end….

Just like the obstacles that radiologists in Washington are constantly facing. Your WSRS is hard at work learning about these issues, and helping you meet the problems head-on.  Did you know that Olympia has instituted a new “tax” on your wages? This begins in the new year (January 1, 2022), with the collections being used to fund a new Long-Term Care Trust, to ensure that there is funding for long-term care for Washingtonians in the future. There is NO cap on the amount being collected each year. If you have your own long-term care policy, you can apply for an exemption from the tax but you need to act well before the end of the year. Find out more details below.

Although the ACR Annual Meeting could not be held in person this year, you can access the Reference Committees’ final reports online. Several of your WSRS Board members were still able to meet with our congressional delegation over Zoom. We met with the staff of Sens. Murray and Cantwell, as well as our representatives, and even briefly chatted with Reps. Schrier and Newhouse. We talked about bills supporting the mental health of health care workers and finding a long-term solution for the reimbursement cuts to radiologists from changes in the E/M (Evaluation & Management) codes.

Our Residents and Fellows Section (RFS) has also been active in setting up a mentorship program for trainees. Drs. Mariam Shehata and Shamus Moran have been recruiting members to become mentors and matching them to residents with similar interests. If you would like to help guide radiologists-in-training (no formal training needed, just life experience!), please contact Dr. Moran for more information.

And Dr. Rachel Gerson was instrumental in coordinating another successful Women in Radiology Mentoring Event this spring. Of our 639 dues-paying WSRS members, only 26.3% are women. Even amongst our state’s members-in-training, only 36.7% are female. When 47.9% of US medical school graduates in 2018-19 are women (from AAMC website), there is a clear disparity for our specialty. More needs to be done to attract women to radiology, to ensure the strength in our field. Many thanks to Dr. Gerson for all of her efforts to make sure that women feel welcome.

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions. I hope you take the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors this summer. I look forward to seeing you at our annual meeting this November!

Cheers,

Sammy Chu, MD, FRCPC, FACR
@SammyChuMD1

Introducing the WSRS Mentorship Program

We are excited to announce the launch of the Washington State Radiological Society Mentorship Program. The goal of the program is to provide valuable networking and educational opportunities to WSRS trainee members across Washington state. The mentors will get the satisfaction of helping early career peers to navigate the industry. 

Please take a moment to review the program overview below. If you are interested in volunteering to be a mentor, contact us at admin@wsrs.org. We have a list of member trainees who are eager to connect with mentors!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

Program Description

The WSRS Mentorship Program is one of the strategies that the organization uses to achieve its mission to provide networking and educational opportunities to its RFS members. The program establishes one-to-one collaborative relationships between residents and fellows wishing to enhance their leadership skills and practicing radiologists looking to contribute to radiologists in training.

The program itself seeks to connect mentees with an appropriate mentor, as well as to provide a framework for the collaboration. This collaboration is expected to last 12 months with a half-hour contact every 12 weeks or as frequently as each match sees fit. Note that telephone calls or video conferencing sessions are perfectly acceptable means to connect. At the end of the engagement, both participants will be released to work with other mentors/mentees – though, of course, one of the points of this program is to build networks that last throughout one’s career.

Participants start by submitting a Mentorship Program Application specifying if they would like to be either a mentor or mentee. The program coordinators – typically Resident and Fellows Section (RFS) leadership with assistance as needed from WSRS board members – compiles the information and connects prospective mentors with a mentee. From there, both parties meet on a regular basis to discuss whatever topics both parties mutually agree to discuss.

Mentors

A mentor is practicing radiologist who gets satisfaction from helping less experienced peers navigate the industry. The mentor’s job is to assist their mentee in addressing career issues, such as providing guidance on how to approach major professional decisions, giving education around a concept they have yet to encounter, or simply acting as a sounding board to provide a different point of view. There are no well-defined rules for what a mentor must cover because each collaboration is different, and the content of the discussions may change from meeting to meeting.

Mentors need to:

  • Serve as a role model
  • Share experiences as a practicing radiologist
  • Provide career guidance
  • Assist the mentee in setting professional goals and develop the skills needed to reach them
  • Generate motivation and support
  • Assist the mentee with networking
  • Be objective and independent

Mentees

A mentee is an active WSRS RFS member who feels that she or he could benefit from the one-on-one attention and guidance that a mentor would provide. The mentee’s job is to bring issues to the mentor for discussion; the mentor will provide direct feedback and assistance based on his or her own professional history. This is an important point: the mentee is ultimately the one who establishes the content for the meeting. The mentor’s job is to provide guidance.

All mentees must be active members with WSRS. In addition, mentees need to:

  • Keep appointments with your mentor
  • Learn as much as possible
  • Permit your mentor to make recommendations regarding professional goals and objectives
  • Be open to feedback
  • Come to each mentoring session prepared with items to discuss including areas where you need your mentor’s help 

Program Framework

The framework for how mentors and mentees work together is just a suggestion – if this framework doesn’t work well for the parties, then they may change it as needed. For example, if the meeting frequency expectation is too much, they can elect to meet less often. The important thing, however, is that both parties need to agree on what that new framework should look like.

2021 Day of Advocacy Virtual Event on February 16

Registration is closed. Thank you to everyone who joined us!

In lieu of WSRS’s traditional “Day of Advocacy in Olympia,” please join us on February 16 at 10am for a Zoom meeting with Nick Streuli, Executive Director of External Affairs for Governor Jay Inslee. Nick Streuli has been the Inslee Administration’s point man on business re-opening, COVID testing, and COVID vaccine efforts. Nick can give us a first hand account of how the governor’s office pivoted quickly a year ago and the state’s current effort to deploy vaccines and at what time they will be readily available. 

Nick Streuli is a member of Governor Jay Inslee’s Executive Team and was appointed executive director of the external affairs in May 2020. He has more than 10 years of experience in public policy, government relations, and executive management.

Nick joined the Inslee administration after spending four years as legislative director for the Employment Security Department (ESD). He also worked as the ESD federal government and tribal affairs liaison prior to serving as the legislative director.

Nick worked closely with the legislature and stakeholders on groundbreaking legislation such as the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act in 2017 and the Long-Term Care Trust Act in 2019.

Nick holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics and a master’s degrees in business administration from the Washington State University. He and his wife, Christina, have one son and live in Tumwater.

WSRS President’s Viewbox: December 2020

Dear WSRS members,

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your WSRS President. I am grateful and honored for the opportunity to represent you and the other radiologists of Washington State. I am equally thankful for the chance to work with the other dedicated officers of WSRS, all of whom volunteer many hours serving our ACR state chapter. We owe many, many thanks to Ruben Krishnananthan, who pivoted quickly this past year with the COVID-19 crisis during his term as President. Ruben made sure that members were informed of CMS and ACR initiatives and communicated radiology’s interests to WSMA. I look forward to his sage advice as he transitions to Immediate Past-President.

Jenny Favinger is our new Vice-President. Jenny began her involvement with WSRS as a resident, and I will greatly value her perspective as we further the mission of WSRS. Ed Kim has also volunteered at WSRS for many years and now serves as our Treasurer. Ed is a radiation oncologist, and I am happy to see representation from throughout the “House of Radiology.” Rachel Gerson was elected as our new Secretary, and is also the Chair of our Women and Diversity Committee. Rachel is working on several initiatives to increase inclusion in our society, and radiology in general. Should any of you have any ideas, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Rachel or me.

Few of us have seen such a complete disruption to our lives that COVID-19 has wrought. Our practices, our hobbies, our families, and our health have all been adversely affected. Vaccines are now just coming on board, so we can begin to see a glimmer of hope. However, this is going to be a tough holiday, as we will not be gathering with extended family and friends. Hopefully, this will be the last winter we need to maintain our social restrictions.

As many of you know, on top of the precipitous drop in exam volumes we saw this year, CMS is hitting radiologists with the plummet in the Medicare Conversion Factor in the New Year. [Late breaking news: The ACR-led effort has resulted in mitigation of the drop by half. This is part of the $900 billion “Pandemic Relief Package” on the President’s desk.] Yes, it seems like our specialty is always under threat; if it isn’t coming from one side, it’s coming from another, then another. However, we can celebrate a few small victories. As part of my work as the Chair of the ACR CAC Network, we have managed to get coverage for CT cerebral perfusion from Noridian in the setting of acute stroke management. For an exam that has increased significantly in volumes in the last few years, getting reimbursed is a welcome change. This just took effect earlier this month. True, this is only a small drop compared to what is about to occur on January 1, but it is a small light amongst all the darkness.

As our officers and Board members volunteer their time for the specialty, we also ask you for your help. Continue the quality of your work, as that is what defines our specialty and is the basis for our reimbursement. Renewing your ACR & WSRS membership helps us take on the challenges to our profession. Consider volunteering some of your time to WSRS; even if you are not able to commit long-term, we have small short-term projects that could use our members’ help.

Please feel free to contact me or our Executive Director Emily Jones (emily@wsrs.org) if you are interested in the activities of WSRS or if you have any questions. Enjoy your holidays in a unique 2020 fashion, stay well, and may 2021 bring a happier, more “normal” life.

Sammy Chu, MD, FRCPC, FACR
samchu.rad@gmail.com
@SammyChuMD1

Welcome the New WSRS Executive Board

Thank you to everyone who attended our first ever virtual annual meeting on Saturday, November 14! Please help us congratulate our new executive officers:

PRESIDENT: Sammy Chu, MD, FACR
VICE PRESIDENT: Jennifer Favinger, MD
TREASURER: Edward Kim, MD
SECRETARY: Rachel Gerson, MD

And please help us thank Dr. Ruben Krishnananthan, our immediate past president, for all of his hard work and commitment to WSRS as president for the past two years!

Registration is OPEN for the WSRS 2020 Annual Meeting

Register TODAY for the WSRS 2020 Annual Meeting

Saturday, November 14, 2020
8:00am – 12:30 pm
Online via Zoom Webinar

Please join us for our first ever virtual meeting, a half day of hot topics and timely updates, including presentations from Howard Fleishon, MD, Chair, Board of Chancellors, American College of Radiology, and Jim Hedrick, WSRS lobbyist. View the full agenda here.

Due to the pandemic, we are waiving registration fees for members. 

Registration has closed for this event. Thank you to everyone who joined us!

Campaign Finance Webinar: Wednesday, September 23

Thank you to everyone who joined us on Wednesday, September 23 at 7:00pm PT for our first fall webinar. Just in time for the general election, WSRS lobbyist Jim Hedrick will cover several topics, including:

  • How Campaigns are Financed
  • Regulatory Structure in Washington Campaigns
  • The Effect of Campaign Money on State Legislature / Public Policy Development
  • Biggest Players in Financing Campaigns
  • Why it’s Important for Organizations to Engage in the Political Process

Jim Hedrick has been the WSRS lobbyist for 4 years serving the radiology profession as its advocate in state government and consultant on public policy matters important to radiology. Jim has worked various issues including scope of practice, balance billing, insurance coverage of tomography, and patient notification of breast density. Jim has worked in Olympia for over 30 years in the legislative arena with stints in state agencies and the governor’s office and has represented not only health care clients but also has extensive experience in state budgets and taxation, natural resources, higher education, and economic development.

SBI Recommendations for a Thoughtful Return to Caring for Patients

The Breast Imaging Task Force of the WSRS fully endorses the recent statement put forth by the Society of Breast Imaging which outlines a thoughtful and sensible approach to re-opening of breast imaging services during these uncertain times. We strongly encourage anyone considering this to read the “SBI Recommendations for a Thoughtful Return to Caring for Patients.” We also strongly recommended adhering to evolving guidelines issued by State Government to protect patients and healthcare providers from coronavirus infection.

A message from the WSRS Board

Dear Members,

As you are aware, the Washington State government has taken several measures to slow the coronavirus pandemic, such as social distancing and a pause on all elective medical procedures. The latter includes non-urgent imaging studies and screening examinations. The latest data suggests these measures may have succeeded in slowing the spread of the virus. The WSRS continues to support the WA government’s stance on pausing non-urgent imaging until data supports a return to more normal levels of activity.

The WSRS is an all-volunteer organization and the Board and Executive Committee are composed of practicing Radiologists in the academic and private sector as well Fellows and Residents. As such we too are impacted by the state government public health measures. We are familiar with many of the practice-related and wider economic and societal consequences of the shutdown and extend our empathy and best wishes to all members. The pandemic and its consequences may have provided the time and incentive for members to consider taking a role in some of WSRS’s committees including Government Relations, Membership and Professional Development, and Education and Events. Please forward any expressions of interest to the Executive Director Emily Jones at emily@wsrs.org.

Stay safe,

Dr. Ruben Krishnananthan, MBBS, MPH
President, Washington State Radiological Society