Pooja Voria, MD, MBA, President, WSRS
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
At the recent 2018 ACR Annual Meeting, the new Chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors, Dr. Geraldine McGinty, stated “The ACR is the voice of radiology. As the unified voice of more than 35,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists and medical physicists, we have power and influence. Let’s use that for the good of our patients.”
The work of WSRS exemplifies this sentiment, and I’m thrilled that our organization is so committed to making an impact in the community. As an example, we sent a delegation of 21 radiologists from the state of Washington to the 2018 ACR Annual Meeting in late May and 11 of them participated in the 2018 ACR Day of Advocacy, visiting Congressional representatives and senators on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.
As many of you know, it can be challenging to showcase the value that we bring as members of the healthcare team to our lawmakers, as we are often mistakenly viewed as just image interpreters. “Hill Day” was a powerful way for us to partner with radiologists from across the country and meet with legislators to discuss healthcare economics and policy. This year, our delegation met with Senator Maria Cantwell, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, as well as the legislative staff in the congressional offices of Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Denny Heck, Derek Kilmer, Adam Smith and Rick Larsen and a staff member in Senator Patty Murray’s office. The specific bills we discussed with these lawmakers and their aides dealt with coverage of CT colonography for Medicare beneficiaries and legislation regarding Medicare reimbursement for the work of Registered Radiology Assistants.
At the state level, legislation regarding breast density notification and mandated insurance coverage of tomosynthesis passed this year. Under the direction of Dr. Peter Eby, the WSRS Breast Imaging Task Force is currently working on developing tools to help both clinicians and patients navigate through the questions and concerns that may arise during the implementation of these new laws. We will be collaborating with other specialty societies in the process. Please keep an eye out for communications later this year.
Meanwhile the WSRS has been part of the successful effort to (so far) keep flawed “balance billing” legislation from passing in the state legislature. This legislation will likely be back in 2019, so WSRS will continue to participate with WSMA and other specialty societies to make sure any proposed version of the law is reasonable and fair to the healthcare provider groups and we will continue to try to bring attention to what we believe is the real issue: narrow networks.
In addition to our advocacy efforts, WSRS demonstrated our commitment to women and diversity by holding two special events so far this year. In March, we co-hosted our first ever women’s mentoring event with the Women in Radiology group at the University of Washington. Approximately 20 trainees and 15 practicing radiologists attended the daytime event held at the Waterfront Activities Center at the University of Washington. The moderated panel discussion offered insights into many of the challenges new professionals face as they launch their careers. We hope to continue this collaboration with the UW faculty and residents in the future.
In late April WSRS held our second annual women radiologists’ networking event. This year we held an elegant afternoon tea at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle. Over thirty attendees gathered to enjoy delicious refreshments and the company of old and new friends and to discuss ways that we can continue to invest in the diversity and inclusion space.
We are soliciting nominations for the WSRS Gold Medal Award, which is a lifetime achievement award for those who have significantly impacted the field of radiology. This can represent noteworthy service to the profession, particularly meritorious scientific achievement or distinction in education and mentorship. Nomination forms are on our website at https://wsrs.org/about/gold-medal/ and will be accepted through July 31, 2018.
Thank you to all of our members who have helped support these efforts. Have a wonderful summer!
Pooja Voria, MD, MBA