June 2017

President’s Viewbox

By Pooja Voria, MD, MBA, President, WSRS

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

It’s an exciting time to be a radiologist! We had a delegation of 25 attend the 2017 ACR Annual Meeting and Capitol Hill Day in Washington D.C. in late May.

At the ACR meeting, much of the emphasis was on the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in future of radiology. While I don’t think AI will replace radiologists in the near future, it’s clear that it has the potential to revolutionize our field. The ACR has created a new ACR Data Science Institute (DSI) to work with government, industry and others to guide and facilitate the appropriate development and implementation of AI tools to help radiologists improve medical imaging care. It’s important that we continue to develop deep learning programs in order to enhance our profession and work.

Capitol Hill Day was quite a success, as we met with Senator Maria Cantwell, members of Congress Derek Kilmer, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Denny Heck, Jaime Herrera Beutler and key healthcare policy staff members of members of Congress Pramila Jayapal, Adam Smith, Rick Larsen and Senator Patty Murray. We held discussions around CT colonography screening, maintaining coverage of preventive services, and preserving the current NIH budget.

WSRS also held a successful inaugural Annual Women Radiologists’ Brunch on June 4th at Salty’s on Alki. Thirty individuals attended and we received strong feedback on the event. It was a fantastic opportunity to network across the community.

Finally, thank you to those of you who filled out our membership survey, as we take your feedback seriously. The number one ask was for more networking activities, similar to the women’s brunch. The WSRS plans on hosting a variety of networking activities throughout the state, including in Eastern Washington (Spokane) and Southwestern Washington (Vancouver). Given that these are border cities, we will be reaching out to both the Idaho Radiological Society and Oregon Radiological Society to potentially hold a joint networking event. Please keep an eye out for future details.

Thank you again for being a member of the WSRS and ACR. Your dues truly do make a difference as they provide us with the ability to advocate on your behalf. Have a wonderful summer!

Warmest regards,

Pooja Voria, MD, MBA, President, WSRS

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First Annual Women Radiologists’ Brunch brings colleagues together for networking

The WSRS sponsored a brunch for women radiologists and radiology residents at Salty’s at Alki on Sunday, June 4.  The event was attended by 30 radiologists from around the region and a variety of practice settings.  The event is part of the society’s efforts in 2017 to engage subsets of its membership including early career radiologists and to work to enhance our organization’s diversity and inclusiveness.

Women radiologists from a variety of practice settings from the Seattle/Tacoma area enjoyed a day of networking and socializing at a brunch hosted by WSRS on Sunday, June 4, 2017.  Dr. Gail Morgan, chair of the WSRS Committee on Women and Diversity (standing), welcomed the group and encouraged them to get involved with our society.

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ENGAGE/WSRS opportunities to engage

By Katherine Choi-Chinn, MD
WSRS Board Secretary and Communications Chair

WSRS members may be aware of the recent launch of an online community for ACR members - Engage. There are two mainstream Engage forums: The ACR Open Forum Digest where ACR members can post issues or comments related to radiology and ACR Breakroom Digest, a forum for non-radiology related discussions.

In addition, if you go to the ACR Engage website, you can ask to join subspecialty online communities such as body, breast, IR , medical physics, radiation oncology, etc. There is even a general small and/or rural practice community category.

This summer there will be two new communities that WSRS will be setting up. One will be a forum in which chapter leaders and ACR staff can communicate and share ideas. Another will be a Washington State chapter ACR community where just Washington State ACR members can communicate online with each other.

On Engage forums you can participate in discussions with subject matter experts; post images, videos, and documents to share with other members and communicate privately with colleagues instantaneously. There are curated resource libraries you can dive into. These are just a few things one can do through Engage.

Please check out Engage if you haven't already. Recently I reconnected with an old friend/colleague through Engage and we met up in person at the last RSNA meeting. What a wonderful communication tool that ACR provides for its members!

Speaking about engagement, WSRS needs you!

We are looking for volunteers to help serve WSRS. There will be openings for alternate councilor and committee members. Please reach out to WSRS Executive Director Debra Alderman if you are interested.

Did you know that WSRS has a section for young and early career radiologists?  Our YPS committee, chaired by Dr. Som Prabhu, is recruiting new members to help plan activities around the state. If you are within your first eight years of practice and/or under 40 years of age, we could use your help to develop a robust young physician section.  Again, if you are interested in getting involved, let Debra Alderman know and she’ll connect you with the committee.

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Government Relations

Report from Olympia

By Jim Hedrick, WSRS lobbyist

Governor Inslee convened a second special session on May 23. The first 30-day special session realized no budget accord between the Democrat-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate. There continues to be little indication that lawmakers are making headway toward a budget agreement. The legislature needs to reach an agreement and pass a budget prior to the end of the fiscal biennium on June 30 to avoid a state government shutdown. 

The focus for the house of medicine this legislative Spring is the on-going pursuit of legislation to eliminate surprise or “balance billing” of patients who receive services from health care providers outside of their insurance network. House Bill (HB) 2114 sponsored by House Health Care Committee Chair, Representative Eileen Cody (D-Seattle), aims to remove patients from fiscal responsibility by regulating the practice of "balance billing" by out-of-network providers and facilities. The proposed solution would utilize arbitration to settle disputes in such cases. HB 2114 would also require insurance carriers to treat hospitals as out-of- network if a certain percentage of providers who provide surgical services do not contract with the same carrier. It would also require health care facilities, providers, and carriers to provide patients with information about their network status. HB 2114 was passed by the House in special session on a 61-33 vote, down from the 81-17 vote from earlier this year.

The bill seems to be losing steam especially among Republican lawmakers as opposition to the bill from the insurance industry has been intense. HB 2114 is currently in the Senate Health Care Committee which approved an earlier version of the bill this year. Private negotiations continue among legislators in an attempt to get a bill out of the Senate before the legislature adjourns for the year. The Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) is at the table representing the interests of health care providers. 

The current second legislative session is scheduled to end June 23, upon which the governor can convene a 3rd special session. The Legislature will get an update in state revenue collections on June 20 which may serve as an impetus to reach an agreement and finish the legislative session.

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By Jonathan Medverd, MD, WSRS PAC Chair

Dear Washington State Medical Imaging Community –

Strong representation of the priorities and perspectives of the medical imaging community in Olympia requires access and perseverance. Without vigilance and representation, our livelihoods can be unnecessarily harmed. WSRS Political Action Committee (PAC) is a critical component preserving the inclusion of our interests in all relevant legislative discussions in Olympia. Anyone can donate to WSRS PAC. All radiologists, radiation oncologists, and medical physicists are encouraged to contribute for the benefit of their practices. In addition, donors are invited to participate in the stewardship of the Committee. Please read on to learn more about WSRS PAC and opportunities to multiply its impact for you and your practice.

Throughout the past decade, your state radiological society has been cultivating avenues for impactful representation of the interests of medical imaging in Washington State. Investments of time and resources have increased to support the activities of the WSRS Government Relations Committee, pay the salary of a contract lobbyist to represent the interests of radiologists in Olympia, and underwrite greater outreach to membership. These have been important steps.

But the simple truth is that these efforts, while they have been successful, are not enough. Political donation cycles are an integral component of our present-day governance systems, and, like it or not, cannot be ignored. WSRS PAC is a distinct entity and serves to help achieve and maintain access and voice for the imaging community in Washington State.

WSRS PAC is a good investment. A current example can be seen with the evolution of proposed “balance billing” legislation, originally HB 1117, reintroduced as HB 2114 in special session. WSRS leaders and our lobbyist Jim Hedrick provided tireless advocacy throughout the session, in tandem with the Washington State Medical Association, to achieve a bill that is fair to radiologists and other specialty physician groups that contract with hospitals while achieving a reduction financial harm to patients who get stuck in the middle of  provider – payor contract disputes.  In addition, WSRS has articulated the need for network adequacy improvements which will, we believe, minimize balance billing occurrences going forward. Important features of this bill are still being negotiated in the current 2nd legislative special session, including reimbursement provisions. While the ultimate outcome still remains uncertain, the voice of medical imaging is at the table advocating for fair and reasonable treatment of your patients and practices.

Please remember, there is no political party predilection of the WSRS PAC. Campaign contributions from the PAC have been made roughly equally over the past several years between Democratic and Republican candidates.  Strategic giving is based on both the need to maintain access to key lawmakers as well as to promote good relationships with legislators from all parts of the state.  WSRS PAC recognizes that political action is inherently controversial and that, predictably, you will not agree with every position on every issue that supported candidates and legislators take. However, these decision makers are selected specifically for their likelihood of yielding benefits to the interests of imaging professionals. It is important to concentrate on our shared goals and maintain our unity and purpose as an advocacy group for medical imagers and not allow political party predilection and unrelated social issues divide us. Please make your donation to the WSRS PAC today.

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WSRS sends a large contingent to Capitol Hill in “The Other Washington”

Reflections on Hill Day

By Tom Anderson, MD, PhD, radiology resident, University of Washington

The ACR Day On the Hill was the highlight of ACR 2017.  A total of 19 WSRS members from Washington State participated in the ACR’s day of advocacy in Washington DC on Wednesday, May 24. Resident participants were Emily Johnson, MD and Phil Smith, MD of  Virginia Mason and Keegan Hovis, MD; Aaron Daub, MD; Tina Coleman, MD  and I from the University of Washington.

It was my first time meeting with my elected representatives. It was interesting and educational to get a closer look at the legislative process. We had the chance to meet with staff of many of our Washington representatives as well as Senator Cantwell and a key legislative aid on Senator Murray's staff. We definitely got our exercise going back and forth across the Capitol grounds between the House and Senate offices!

During meetings with lawmakers and their legislative staff members, we discussed the importance of cancer screening for early detection and treatment and advocated for protecting access to screening mammography, CT colonography, and low dose CT for lung cancer screening in any new healthcare legislation. We also asked them to reject proposed cuts to NIH funding and to pass a budget that would maintain or increase NIH funding. A highlight was meeting Senator Cantwell and hearing her commitment to continue fighting for these issues.

WSRS participants in the Day of Advocacy in Washington DC on May 24th took a short break for a photo while walking from the Senate side of the Capitol campus back to the House side.

Congressman Derek Kilmer, left, Dr. Phil Lund, center, and Dr. Gail Morgan had a productive conversation about the importance of access to preventive screenings.

A delegation of WSRS members, led by Spokane radiologist Som Prabhu, MD (third from right), visited with Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (center) at her DC office.

WSRS members in training waited for their appointment with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal’s legislative director at her Washington DC office. Pictured (left to right): Keegan Hovis, MD (UW radiology resident); Phil Smith, MD (Virginia Mason radiology resident); Tom Anderson, MD, PhD and Aaron Daub, MD (both residents at the UW).

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ACR Meeting Highlights

Five WSRS members were inducted as Fellows of the American College of Radiology at the 2017 Convocation. Pictured (left to right): Dr. Peter Eby, Dr. Gail Morgan, Dr. Eric Stern, Dr. Jeff Robinson and Dr. Felix Chew.

WSRS members inducted as ACR Fellows

Five WSRS members became Fellows of the American College of Radiology at the ACR’s 2017 convocation ceremony on Sunday evening, May 21 in Washington DC.  (See photo, above). This prestigious designation acknowledges these radiologists’ many years of significant contribution to their profession and to the advancement of healthcare. Congratulations to all of them!

Thinking about applying for ACR Fellowship?
Although the deadline has now passed to get your application in for the 2018 convocation year, it’s not too early to begin planning an application for the 2019 convocation year. To begin the process, please visit the Fellowship Page of the ACR website.

If you have questions about your eligibility, the online application process or anything else, feel free to contact the ACR Fellowship office staff via email: facradmin@acr.org

A list of WSRS members who have already been honored as ACR Fellows is on the Fellowship page of the WSRS website.


Virginia Mason radiology technologist Ann Polin honored with prestigious humanitarian award

Congratulations to Ann C Polin, MSc, RDMS, RDCS, RVT, a sonographer from Virginia Mason, who was honored with a prestigious humanitarian award at the ACR meeting in May in Washington DC.

This award recognizes Ann’s selfless devotion to developing and building a program to train sonographers in the West African country of Ghana over the past two decades. 

Ann originally moved to Kumasi, Ghana with her two young daughters in 2000 where she volunteered to conduct a one year private ultrasound training program for 20 students at Aninwah Medical Center. Since returning to the US in 2001, Ann has traveled to Ghana and Nigeria many times-- organizing and teaching short term ultrasound workshops and courses.

But more impressively, Ann worked with the administration of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the government of Ghana to establish a 4-year bachelor’s degree program in ultrasound (the first of its kind in Africa).  The program gained approval and the first class of students began their studies in the Fall of 2009, graduating with a BS (sonography) in the summer of 2013. 

The program has now graduated its fifth class of sonographers (over 100 students in total), with students enrolled from both Ghana and Nigeria.  One student has now earned his PhD from the University of Derby in Great Britain, and is in line to become the head of department for the sonography program.  Another student has just begun her master’s degree program at the University of South Wales in Great Britain.  She is also in line to join the faculty of the sonography program at KNUST when she completes her degree. 

Ann continues her involvement with the program – supervising 4th year students with their research projects, and conducting ultrasound lectures for 3rd year students.

Ann Polin, sonographer at VMMC, was honored  with a prestigious humanitarian award for her many years of commitment to of providing ultrasound to patients in Ghana and establishing a school for the training of sonographers.

Phil Smith, MD, (far right),  a radiology resident from Virginia Mason, participated in the RFS track at the ACR meeting. Dr. Smith won a gold merit award for the abstract he presented at the conference. 


Dr. Pooja Voria, President of WSRS, (right), accepts a Chapter Recognition Award in the category of Quality and Safety at the the ACR Annual Meeting in May. Our chapter was recognized for the significant work done by WSRS members, in particular Kalpana Kanal, PhD, a medical physicist at the UW, who worked tirelessly to develop CT safety guidelines which were adopted by Washington State and have now taken effect as of January 2017.

WSRS board members received the Chapter Regognition Award at ACR Annual Meeting 2017.

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Radiology Leadership Institute

Did you know that you can join Radiology Leadership Institute for free? RLI is a program of the ACR with a  mission “to prepare leaders who will shape the future of radiology to ensure quality, elevate service and deliver extraordinary patient care.” 

On the RLI website you can download the RLI common book of knowledge  including seven topics areas with 151 competencies identified as critical for leadership success. You can explore at your own pace, studying areas that meet your needs and you can earn certificates and awards as you go through the curriculum. There’s even an iTunes app for monthly leadership insider podcast. Check it out!

In addition, WSRS chapter members can select access to one recorded RLI webinar.  Below is the link to use for selecting the webinar from the list. 

Chapter Benefit RLI Recorded Webinar Selection       

And don’t forget that WSRS has a fund to offer scholarships to members interested in participating in the RLI programs in 2018. The deadline to apply for next year is August 15, 2017.  For details, visit this page of the WSRS website.

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Radiologists may be exempt from new suicide-prevention CME requirement

There is a new Washington Department of Health requirement for providers to complete a one-time 6-hour training on suicide risk assessment, prevention and treatment.

However, physicians and other providers may be exempt from this requirement if they have brief, limited or no patient contact. This describes many radiologists in our state. Unfortunately, DOH has not defined “brief or limited” contact.

During license renewal, providers can attest to completing the CME requirements or attest to qualifying for the "brief or limited" patient contact exemption. Although there is no routine audit at current time to check, if in the future an audit does occur,  the provider maybe asked to defend his or her claim of having little to no patient contact.

The initial penalty would be to have the provider complete the suicide prevention training. Further action may be required if the provider fails to complete or refuses to complete the suicide prevention training. If you are unsure whether or not you fall under “brief or limited” patient contact excemption, please refer to your own practice/hospital for guidance.

For those WSRS members who believe they do not qualify for the exemption to this requirement, detailed information is available on the MQAC website.  A list of approved trainings is available on this page, including online options. Note that WSMA will be offering a 6-hour course that meets this requirement on Friday, October 13 at the SeaTac Hilton. This course will be free of charge to WSMA members and those who are insured by Physicians Insurance.  More information will be available by mid-summer on the WSMA website.

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Residents and Fellows Section

Why I Joined WSRS

By Brandon C. Perry, MD, UW Radiology Chief Resident, WSRS RFS President, 2016-2017

When I first moved to Seattle and began my residency at the University of Washington, I enjoyed working in an academic setting, but was interested in expanding my professional network. The opportunity to interact with radiologists from different backgrounds and experience levels is one reason of many that I decided to join WSRS.

WSRS also provides unique leadership opportunities that are not available elsewhere, allowing residents to connect with leaders in the field. In a changing healthcare environment, it is more important than ever for graduating residents and fellows be able to contribute to practice and hospital leadership, practice building, and safety and quality improvement. Involvement in WSRS has helped my development of of these important non-clinical skills.

Since joining WSRS, I have also gained a deeper understanding of issues that affect the present and future of radiology at both state and national levels. WSRS has given me insight into how radiologists can better communicate with legislators, and I have learned a lot about the importance of political advocacy. As the phrase goes, “all politics is local." Membership in ACR and WSRS offers both members and members-in-training ideas and opportunities to create change within our own medical communities and nationwide.


UW radiation oncology chief resident elected to national RFS Executive Committee

Congratulations to Meghan Macomber, MD, Chief Resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Washington, who was elected to the position of  Radiation Oncology Representative on the ACR’s Resident and Fellow Section Executive Committee at the ACR Annual Meeting in Washington DC in May. Dr. Macomber says her goals for the coming year are to develop educational resources for distribution through the ACR, to establish a research grant to foster collaboration between our specialties,  increase engagement with the ACR Annual Meeting and to promote advocacy at the state and national level.

The ACR's RFS Executive Committee is a group of elected officers that lead the RFS throughout the year and provide representation for members-in-training on the ACR Council. The RFS EC represents residents and fellows within the ACR and in other specialty organizations, helping to coordinate responses to issues and events that affect trainees. They work on several ongoing projects and develop communications and resources to benefit all trainees. Members of the RFS EC work closely with the leadership of the ACR and represent members-in-training on the ACR Council and Council Steering Committee.

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Volunteer registration for the 2017 Seattle/King County Clinic is now open!

Because of the generosity, time and abilities of hundreds of healthcare providers and other volunteers,  the Seattle King County Clinic has served 11,900 patients in the past three years and provided over $10,000,000 worth of care to low income and under-insured individuals from our region. The clinic organizers invite you to join the SKCC for another rewarding year.

Signing up is easy! If your information is already in the system, simply click here to go to the login page and find the red button that says “Recall my Information”. Enter or reset your password to see your dashboard. Select the event you want to attend, review and make necessary updates to your information, then choose your desired assignment for the day(s) you want to participate. Click SAVE AND SUBMIT and you should receive both an on screen and email confirmation. Contact them  if you have problems or questions. Please do not start a new registration form if you are already in the SKCC volunteer system. 

If you are new to SKCC as a volunteer, go to this page and fill out the form.

To avoid missing any correspondence, please add SKCClinic@seattlecenter.org to your safe senders list in your email account and add the phone/text number 206-455-6628 to your contact list if you selected texting as a communication option.

Remember, you can always find the most current volunteer information and FAQs at seattlecenter.org/volunteers.

For more information, contact the Seattle/King County Clinic Team via email:  SKCClinic@seattlecenter.org  or by phone:  206-615-1835

WSRS board member Kalpana Kanal - right - volunteering at SKCC

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Interventional radiologists needed to participate in short survey for research project

Dr. David R. Naimi, Clinical Asst.  Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington who practices at Northwest Asthma & Allergy Center, has reached out to WSRS to ask a favor of our members.  He’s working with a resident, Dr. Jason Schend, on a research project and they are seeking radiologists to participate in a brief (3-5 minutes), anonymous survey inquiring about medical practices relating to IV/PO contrast allergy.

To go directly to the survey, click here. 

The resident is hoping to gather as much data as possible with the goal of creating a poster presentation and eventual publication. The questions in the survey are very general and, again, all answers are anonymous.  Thanks for considering his request to participate.

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Conferences and Events

The Western Regional Society of Nuclear Medicine
Venue: Westin Bayshore, Vancouver BC
Dates: November 3-5, 2017

Educational sessions will include: PETCT, cardiac imaging, lymohoscintigraphy, AI and machine learning, new radoopharmaceuticals, endocrine imaging and therapy, prostate imaging and prostate cancer therapy, brain imaging, and radiation safety. For radiologists, nuclear medicine physicians, and nuclear medicine technologists 20.75 hours CME.
or more information visit SNMMI website or contact Marie Lee radmel@vmmc.org

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Save these Dates

WSRS Annual Meeting (held jointly with WSMA Annual Mtng.)
October 14, 2017
Seatac Hilton

More information will be available soon on the WSRS website and will be forwarded to WSRS members via email. 

ACR Annual Meeting 2018, May 20-24, 2018
Washington DC


Nominations for WSRS RLI Scholarships for 2018: August 15, 2017.

Nominations for WSRS Gold Medal Award for 2017: July 31, 2017.

Nominations for ACR Fellowship for the 2019 convocation year: Please submit all of your materials via the online ACR application process by May 31, 2018.

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