May 2019

President’s Viewbox

Dear Members,

The first quarter saw the Executive Committee undertake activities involving political advocacy and networking both locally and in Washington D.C.

At the annual Olympia Day held on January 23rd this year, our delegation visited several State House and Senate members to discuss our concerns regarding proposed legislation on Balance Billing and Wrongful Death expansion. A more detailed account of our activities was provided in the prior legislative update from February. Please click on the link to the May State Legislative Update for more information on how these bills fared.

We have just returned from the annual ACR meeting in Washington D.C., from May 18 – 22. The ACR’s Hill Day was a success for the WSRS; our members met in person with Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell as well as representatives Cathy McMorris-Rogers and Dr. Kim Schrier. We also met the aides for representatives Pramila Jayapal, Denny Heck and Adam Smith. A Federal Legislative Update will be posted shortly.

One of our new goals this year is to share ideas on advocacy with other physician groups with the aim of fostering alliances and possibly furthering our legislative priorities. To that end, I had dinner with Dr. Dominque Coco, the President of the Washington State Society of Pathologists and Dr. Robert Hsiung from the Washington State Society of Anesthesiologists. The gathering was fruitful, and we will continue to discuss working together on advocacy and organizational issues.

Another goal for the year is to raise the profile of the WSRS by participating in charity events relevant to our patients. The WSRS will be a corporate sponsor at the annual Susan G. Komen “More Than Pink” Breast Cancer Walk on June 2nd in Seward Park. I would like to encourage as many members as possible to sign up and join the WSRS group.

The annual meeting this year will be co-hosted with the WSMA on October 12th, approximately 3 weeks earlier than usual. Dr. Jeff Robinson is developing the program that will include speakers from the ACR and those provided by the WSMA.

Successful networking events were held by both the YPS and Women In Radiology (WIR) sections.

The WSRS Board and Executive Committee are all volunteers; we are practicing Radiologists from both the private and academic sector. We are always looking for fresh volunteers to provide new energy and ensure the viability of the organization. If you would like to participate, please contact our Executive Director at admin@wsrs.org

Best wishes for the summer, and I hope to see you at the Susan G. Komen walk.

Dr. Ruben Krishnananthan, MBBS. MPH
President, WSRS, 2018-2020

Ruben Krishnananthan, President of WSRS with Dominique Coco, President of WA State Pathologists Society and Robert Hsiung from WA State Anesthesiologists Society".

 

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May 2019 State Legislative Update

The annual WSRS Legislative Day was held on January 23, 2019. This event brings members of WSRS from around the state to Olympia to advocate for policy that assures healthcare access and safety for members of the public. It’s an exciting introduction to how ordinary healthcare providers can promote good sense public policy by making themselves available to explain issues, challenges and innovations to lawmakers and members of their staff.

WSRS Legislative Detail Report 2019

Bills on both Balance Billing and expanded Wrongful Death legislation were signed in to law by Governor Inslee a few weeks ago. Please see the February Legislative Update for background on both bills.

Wrongful Death SB 5163

Despite strong opposition from the WSMA and other non-medical groups, SB 5163 passed without an amendment to the Wrongful Death expansion.

Balance Billing HB 1065

The amendments requested by WSMA and the WSRS were included in the legislation signed by the Governor; a positive outcome for physicians and patients. The relevant points are summarized below:

  • The bill regulates the practice of balance billing by out-of-network providers and facilities and authorizes arbitration of balance billing disputes between carriers and out-of-network providers.
  • Instead of billing patients, providers will now submit out-of-network claims to the insurer. If the insurer and provider cannot come to an agreement, the claim can be submitted to arbitration.
  • Arbitrators will consult a data set of relevant charges when making a decision. The data set will be compiled by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC), in consultation with providers, facilities and carriers. Importantly, Medicare and Medicaid rates will not form part of this reference database.
WSRS Delegation Visits Olympia, January, 2019
 

 

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WSRS Corporate Walk Team: Komen

Sign Up Today for the WSRS Walk Team in support of the 2019 More Than Pink Komen Breast Cancer Walk. The WSRS Board of Directors has formed a team to walk on June 2nd in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walk at Seward Park.

We invite you and your family / friends to join us. We will wear forest green t-shirts that say "Radiology Matters" to raise awareness of radiology and WSRS.  T-shirts will be provided by WSRS to all radiologists that register to walk with us.

Click here to sign up today

Click the "sign up now" button and then scroll to the bottom of the page and look for WSRS under Corporate Teams and choose on the WSRS name. Our team goal is to raise $1500 so please make a contribution to support cancer research when you register.

Walk details:
Sunday, June 2, 2019
Seward Park, Seattle (5900 Lake Washington Blvd S., Seattle , WA 98118)

Time details:
7:00 - 8:30 am:  Registration & Event Day Activities Begin
8:30 am:  Opening Ceremony & More Than Pink March
9:00 am:  Walk Start
9:30 - 11:00 am:  Music & Event Day Activities

For those WSRS members that are cancer survivors, we embrace your desire to wear the Komen Survivor shirt and we will walk with you in support of your courageous battle. If you have any questions, please contact WSRS Executive Director, Kim Conn in the WSRS office: kim@wsrs.org  Click here to join our walk team.

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Last Chance to Apply for ACR Fellowship

Phil Lund MD, RACP, Fellowship Chair

Now is the time to apply for one of the highest honors an ACR member can achieve — ACR Fellowship. To confirm your eligibility, send an email to FACRadmin@acr.org along with any questions. Aim to receive this most prestigious recognition.

The ACR Board of Chancellors reviews and sets the requirements for Fellowship. The Committee on Fellowship Credentials measures each nominee's credentials and makes its recommendations to the board. Information outlining the application process can be found here:  Guidelines.

Click here to view the FACR application

Our Chapter has established May 31, 2019 as the deadline for our members to complete their applications for the 2020 Convocation.There is a minimum requirement of at least 10 consecutive years of ACR membership to be eligible to apply. Members apply online and submit their applications directly to the chapter.

Congratulations to our newest 2019 fellow,
Randolph Kevin Otto, MD, FACR!

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Young Professionals’ Section

Diana Lam, MD & Baiju Shah, MD, Co-Chairs

"The Young Professional Section (YPS) of WSRS recently co-hosted a financial planning seminar on March 9th along with the Finity Group, a physician focused wealth management and strategic financial planning advisory. The dinner event was held at Ivar's Salmon House in Seattle with focused presentations given by Finity advisors specifically tailored to the unique financial situation of young practicing Radiologists in the Pacific Northwest. The presented material was informative and thought provoking with ample opportunity for questions throughout. Given the success of this seminar, YPS plans to have other similar events in the future. Stay tuned!"

The YPS co-chairs are continuing to work on 2019 events. If you’d like to get involved, please contact the WSRS office and we’ll put you in touch with the co-chairs: admin@wsrs.org

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WSRS Women and Diversity Committee hosts mentoring event

Rachel Gerson, MD, Incoming Chair, WSRS Women and Diversity Committee

WSRS’s second annual Women’s Mentoring Event, jointly hosted with UW’s Women in Radiology group, was a great success. The event was held on Saturday, March 2nd, at the UW Waterfront Activities Center. It featured a panel of women radiologists from a variety of practice settings and in different stages in their careers as well as a lively group discussion. Hot topics were covered including finding a good fit job, identifying priorities and opportunities, diverse practice cultures and responsibilities, career advancement, work life balance, and #MeToo in radiology.

The event was well attended, with 33 participants including, members-in-training from our RFS division, representatives from our YPS divisions, and even a medical student interested in radiology. The event provided a wonderful opportunity for new and seasoned women in radiology to network and connect. Mentorship is a career long journey. Thanks to everyone who attended and to those who expressed interest in participating on our Women and Diversity Committee. We look forward to working together! Stay tuned for future WSRS events.

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WSRS Annual Meeting 2019

Jeffrey Robinson, MD MBA FACR, Annual Meeting Chair

Saturday, October 12, 2019 will be the annual meeting of the Washington State Radiological Society. This year we will again be holding the meeting in conjunction with the WSMA annual meeting at the SeaTac Hilton. We have an exciting program lined up with presentations addressing a broad range of interests: Artificial Intelligence, Clinical Decision Support, state legislative activity and more. We are fortunate to have Dr. Rich Duszak joining us from the ACR, and Dr. Nathan Cross from RLI (and UW, for those who know him) joining us. The program is being finalized soon and will appear in the next issue of this newsletter. If you have questions regarding the 2019 Annual Meeting please feel free to contact me at jrobinsonmd@gmail.com or WSRS Executive Director, admin@wsrs.org

So, block out the date and join us at the Hilton for a day of practical education, networking as well as the business of the WSRS. We hope to see you there!

2018 Annual Meeting Attendees

 

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CAC/Payer Relations Committee

Sammy Chu, MD, FRCPC, Chair, WSRS CAC/Payer Relations Committee
Radiology representative to WA State CAC

As we head into spring, the Medicare Contractors are sprouting new ideas—and those ideas may not benefit Washington State radiologists. First, some background: As Medicare insures such a large number of individuals in the country, the federal government is not able to process all those claims, especially since the age 65+ segment is such a large user of health services. So CMS (the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) bundles up the 50 states into 12 jurisdictions, and every few years, awards contracts for processing Medicare claims in a jurisdiction to private insurance companies in a bidding process. Noridian is the Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) for Jurisdiction F, which includes WA State.

Fortunately, the MACs don’t get to do whatever they want. The federal government still oversees everything, and it sets regulations that MACs must follow. One of these regulations obliges each MAC to meet with physicians from each specialty in each state at least three times a year—the Contractor Advisory Committee (CAC). At these CAC meetings, physicians are given the opportunity to offer feedback on payment policies that each MAC puts forth, known as LCDs, or Local Coverage Determination policies. (Are those enough abbreviations for you?) Physicians are not be able to directly change the proposed policies at the CAC meetings, but at least each MAC will hear what we don’t like about the LCDs and what we REALLY don’t like about the LCDs.

But the times, they are a-changing. At the beginning of this year, several changes to the CAC and LCD process were put forth by the federal government, as mandated by the 21st Century Cures Act. Those changes are too numerous to put forth in this brief article, but one of them includes the possibility to hold a multi-jurisdictional CAC. And that they did—at least six MACs teamed up to host a four-hour conference call in March. The single topic on the agenda? Whether vertebroplasties and kyphoplasties were “medically necessary,” given the recent literature. There were 62 articles on the bibliography list in preparation for the call. Fortunately, I have a good relationship with the CAC members from California (who also have Noridian as its MAC), and we teamed up and sought spine experts throughout the country to join us on the call. I believe a strong case was presented to continue to reimburse these procedures, but all of us await the decisions from the various MACs.

I believe the other LCD and CAC procedural changes will prove to be beneficial to radiologists. If you would like more details, please feel free to e-mail me.

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WSRS 2019 Gold Medal Award – please consider nominating a colleague or mentor!

Each year the WSRS board honors a member radiologist, radiation oncologist or clinical medical physicist with its prestigious Gold Medal Award recognizing outstanding service to our profession demonstrated throughout the recipient’s career. Nominations for the 2019 Gold Medal Award will be accepted between now and July 31, 2019.  Download the nomination form from the Gold Medal page of our website.

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