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 (firstname.lastname@example.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