The WSUS had 6 representatives at the 2022 Annual AUA Advocacy Summit from Washington State:
Jeff Frankel, MD - WSUS Government Affairs Chair Ken Berger, MD - WSUS President with solo practice in Clarkston WA Tasha Posielski, MD - finishing her GU Oncology Fellowship at Virginia Mason Medical Center and headed to Kaiser in Tacoma Rishi Sekar - Resident at UW headed to Michigan for a GU Oncology Fellowship Beth Andersen - pediatric urologist in Seattle WA Carleen Bensen - WSUS Board Member and urologist in Port Angeles WA
The group met (virtually) with the legislative aides for Senator Maria Cantwell, and Representatives Derek Kilmer, Primila Jayapal and Adam Smith. We were scheduled to meet with the aides for Senator Murray and Representative Newhouse, but those were cancelled due to schedule conflicts. We hope to arrange those soon.
Our requests of the legislative offices were to:
Support HR 5030/S.2706 - the DIVERSE Clinical Trials Act which allows sponsors to reimburse patients for non-medical costs associated with clinical trial participation (travel, parking, food, and housing). The hope is that this will encourage more diversity in the participants of clinical trials.
Support HR 2256/S.834 - to increase the number of residency slots by 2000 per year for the next 7 years. This will still not solve the physician shortage projected to be 124,000 by 2034, but it is a start.
Support HR.944 to address specialty medicine physician shortages in rural areas. This would guarantee a maximum of $250,000 debt relief to specialty physicians who commit to practicing in rural areas for 6 years after residency. Only 38% of US counties have a practicing urologist; 26.8% of urology residents have more than $250,000 student debt.
Support HR.2903/S.1512 to permanently expand telehealth services. The emergency expansion enacted during the pandemic has been extended, but it needs to be made permanent including parity with office visits, enabling the reimbursement of telephone only visits and eliminating geographic restrictions for patients and physicians.
Support of equitable reforms to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. The financial uncertainty of the current system makes it impossible to run a business, purchase capital equipment and pay staff. There is currently no bill attached to this ask.
We also attended some general sessions in Deceptive and Fraudulent Marketing in Urology, Growing the Specialty Physician Workforce, an update on State Advocacy, CPT/RUC, prior Authorization and Patient Advocacy. We heard from several physician members of Congress and had a reception at the National Archives where we saw the original Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
Please feel free to contact any of us if you have questions. I encourage everyone to attend next year. You can make a difference.