Balance Billing Legislation Dead for 2018 Session

You did it! Thanks to your phone calls and emails to legislators,  HB 2114 never advanced to a vote in the Senate. The issue certainly will be back next session, and we will call on you again to educate legislators about our position. But, for now, let’s savor this victory.

Thank you WA-ACEP Members!


Poster Submission Deadline Extended

Washington Chapter ACEP is calling for posters to be presented at its Scientific Assembly to be held during Summit to Sound May 31-June 1. Design a poster that highlights an interesting study or unique solutions to problems faced in emergency medicine today. Posters will be on display throughout the conference, along with the opportunity to discuss ideas with other colleagues. Submit an electronic copy of your abstract by March 15, 2018 to Jason Heiner, MD at for it to be considered for display at the conference and to have it included in the conference syllabus. See poster rules for more information.


Keep the Pressure On: Ask Your Senator to Oppose HB 2114

Call Your Senator AGAIN about HB 2114

If you contacted your Senator last week, contact them again TODAY and urge them to oppose HB 2114. Don’t know your State Senator? Find out by entering your home address here.

WA-ACEP concerns with HB 2114:

  • The bill creates obvious incentives for carriers to “game the system” by driving down physician reimbursement. This could be accomplished by decreasing the rates they pay out-of-network physicians, and by discontinuing contracts that reimburse physicians more generously (thus driving down the median contracted rate over time).
  • Insurance carriers would also be incentivized to contract with fewer physicians – further exacerbating the trend towards “narrow” insurance networks that include few physicians.
  • The bill references the Washington State All-Payer Claims Database which is not yet fully operational.

Ask your Senator to oppose the bill.


Physician Wellness Video

WA-ACEP Past President John Matheson, MD, FACEP, ED Chair and Medical Director at Kadlec Regional Medical Center, was recently featured in a TeamHealth video on Physician Wellness. Dr. Matheson offers strategies individuals and practices can employ to reduce burnout. Watch the video.



Pharmacy Commission: Hospital EDs Can Distribute Naloxone

The (Pharmacy Quality Assurance) Commission’s position is that RCW 69.41.095, among other things, authorizes a hospital emergency department, pursuant to practitioner’s prescription, standing order, or protocol, to distribute opioid overdose reversal medication to people at risk of overdose or to first responders, family members, or other persons or entities in a position to assist such at-risk people.”

Read the Jan. 19 Policy Statement – Naloxone Distribution from ED


Emergency Physicians Expose Anthem’s Unlawful Emergency Care Policy with New Video

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) launched a new video to push back on a dangerous policy by Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BCBS) to deny coverage for emergency patients in six states, Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire and Ohio. If the insurance giant decides your visit to the ER was not an emergency, based on their undisclosed lists of diagnoses, they’ll leave patients with the entire bill.

“Anthem’s policy has deadly serious implications for patients,” said Paul Kivela, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP. “Anthem is risking patients’ lives by forcing them to second guess their medical symptoms before they get to the ER, and some may not go when they need to. As the video explains, people may have identical symptoms but have different diagnoses — one life threatening, one non-urgent. Insurers cannot reasonably expect patients to know the difference.”

The company is using secret lists of pre-determined diagnoses — which Anthem BCBS considers to be “non-urgent” — that may not be covered if the patient goes to the emergency department. In Missouri, the original list of nearly 2,000 diagnoses included “influenza,” — which has killed several people this season — “ovarian cyst” and “blood in the urine,” which can be symptoms of medical emergencies.

In December, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-MO, representing a state where Anthem implemented this policy, sent a letter to Anthem’s CEO requesting answers and internal documents from the company.

“Patients are not physicians,” said Sen. McCaskill in the letter.  “I’m concerned that Anthem is requiring its patients to act as medical professionals when they are experiencing urgent medical events.”

Learn more at