Your July 2019 NEWSLETTER
Nancy L. Belcher, CEO
Nancy L. Belcher, Ph. D.
CEO/King County Medical Society

From the CEO

This summer, the KCMS staff, and your colleagues will be busy developing legislation that will enact real change in the practice of medicine.
King County Medical Society has taken on another role as the program management team to support the critical work of the Firearm Safety Coalition. This broad-based Coalition is working to devise ways that medical professionals can help reduce firearm injury and death. We will share more on this unique partnership in the coming months.
We have also enjoyed helping our members to publish Op-Eds. On Thursday, Dr. John Benson had an Op-Ed published in the Seattle Times on the topic of electric scooters. Thank you, Dr. Benson, for drawing attention to the increase in traumatic brain injuries as alternative modes of transportation are being offered.
Additionally, the Society is providing lead testing for children throughout King County in partnership with Public Health King County and the Washington Department of Health. WE NEED VOLUNTEERS TO HELP WITH THIS WORK. More on this below.
We are delighted to announce that two new staff members are joining our team. Please help me to welcome Salem Adisu and Chas Rinne. Both of their bios are included below. Josh Kerns, our previous Director of Communications, has moved on to work on his Golf Talk Radio show. Josh will continue to provide society members with podcasts opportunities.
Teresa Girolami, MD
Teresa Girolami, MD
Board President
From the Society's President
Dear King County Medical Society colleagues,

With the Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) Annual Meeting right around the corner, the Society has begun its yearly process of formulating resolutions and legislation to improve the quality of healthcare in King County and WA State! As you may already know, KCMS was very active in the WSMA delegation last year, getting several resolutions adopted by them. This year we aim to continue our strong presence.

KCMS delegate meetings will be held throughout the summer months, where members from all over King County will gather to discuss the state of medicine, issues they are facing in everyday practice and ways that we can enact change. A special thank you to the over 60 (!) physician members who have volunteered to participate in the KCMS delegation. We are lucky to have such an extraordinary group of physicians offering their insight and representing KCMS. With those volunteers, we already have a full delegation to the WSMA!
That doesn’t mean we can’t have more participants in our KCMS delegate meetings, though. If you have any great ideas on resolutions or would just like to sit in on the meetings to hear what’s being discussed, please attend the meetings even if you’re not a delegate! If you are a member of King County Medical Society you can sign up to be an alternate delegate as well by reaching out to Reed Belcher at

There have already been great ideas brought to the table such as vaccination records, physician non-compete agreements, methadone clinics, opposing the increased licensing fees, and many more. We are reaching out to the lawmakers all over Washington who affect our lives in medicine. My hope is that this year we can make great strides, and forging a new landscape for physicians all over Washington State and beyond.

Let’s get involved in shaping our profession’s future!


Teresa Girolami, MD
King County Medical Society President

Unsafe at Any Speed
King County Medical Society member,  Dr. John Benson's Op-Ed was recently published in the Seattle Times. To read the full letter please click here.
Dr. Benson specializes in treating individuals who have experienced a traumatic brain injury and is deeply concerned about Seattle’s proposed plan to allow the rental of dockless e-scooters. Nationwide, e-scooters are causing serious injuries and even fatalities. Dr. Benson believes electric scooters represent a significant public health risk and any plan to welcome them in Seattle should be thoroughly vetted.

Testing blood-lead levels across King County.

Looking for Volunteers!

High blood lead levels can cause lifelong damage. A simple blood test can make all the difference. KCMS and PHKC are committed to eliminating this burden to public health.
KCMS has partnered with PHKC on a new program to expand awareness of lead exposure and poisoning. We will conduct 12 lead testing events this summer at community locations and events. 
KCMS is seeking volunteers to assist at testing sites. Whatever amount of time you can provide would be greatly appreciated. 
We have secured a number of volunteers to help with data collection and cultural comfort and translation for the patients, but we need your medical expertise.
Please email Salem Adisu directly at 
Lead Testing Protocol:
Working directly w/ employes from WA DOH and PH KC volunteers will:

1. Wipe finger with alcohol wipe, a quick finger prick testing. 
2. Testing instruments will identify within a few (~2) minutes blood lead levels. 
3. While waiting for results, a patient questionnaire will be completed by guardians. 
4. Guardians will receive information and counsel as to the potential risks of elevated lead levels, what the test result means, and a referral to their primary care physician.
5. Supplemental referral services where appropriate will also be provided.
6. Test results (elevated, not-elevated, age, etc.) will be recorded, collated and reported to PHSKC and DOH. 
7. The entire process should take no more than 5 minutes per family.
Dr. Drew Oliveira Regence
Dr. Drew Oliveira, Regence

Ask Dr. O

Dr. Drew Oliveira, Senior Executive Medical Director and Population Health at Cambia Health Solutions, Regence Blue Shield, has agreed to answer member's questions for each of our monthly newsletters. 
Q: I'm curious about residential treatment and partial hospitalizations.  I hear Medicaid is actually better at covering this than providers like Regence.

A: Dr. Oliveira:  For residential treatment and partial hospitalizations, we follow standard Utilization Management functions and guidelines (Milliman and ASAM depending on diagnosis). After doing some research, I have learned that Medicaid may actually pay more for some residential treatment facilities by law.

Q: As a rheumatologist, I feel like it is a constant battle for prior authorization when it comes to medications for my patients.  And I have to often fight just to speak with a peer specialist after you issue a denial.  What are you doing to make things better and easier for everyone?

A: Dr. Oliveira:  Most common issues related to pharmacy prior authorization have to do with pharmacy providers like CVS, ESI or Optum in addition to regional health plans in this market.  We have already put in a request to our pharmacy to begin looking at adding some specialty review for autoimmune disorders.

Overall, we have implemented 35 different specialties so we can offer closer peer-to-peer reviews and in a much timelier process.  We have identified a series of steps and goals to significantly speed up our review and authorization process.  We are currently exceeding 90% of PA completion within 5 days which we feel is still too slow.  If you ever need an expedited review, all carriers should have a process in place when there is a more urgent and timely need for a coverage decision.

If you have an insurance related question, comments or feedback for Dr. Drew, please email

BoxBar Vascular 

Leads KCMS Platinum Partnerships

A unique program that provides new funding for scholarships and other Society initiatives. 
We are proud to welcome and acknowledge KCMS board member and delegate Ellen Derrick, MD as our inaugural Platinum Partner.

Dr. Derrick is board certified by the American Board of Surgery in both general and vascular surgery.  Prior to founding BoxBar, she practiced at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett where she also served as Medical Director of Safety.

We strongly encourage you to meet Dr. Derrick, learn more about her practice, and refer your patients to her.  The financial support of BoxBar Vascular as a Platinum Partner helps fund medical scholarships and the other vital services.
You can learn more about her practice and diverse experiences in everything from her pioneering work in establishing the nation's first Surgical Care and Outcomes Assessment Program database to her leadership role with the American College of Surgeons here.
If you are interested in advertising with King County Medical Society, please contact:
Link to Boxbar

Please help us welcome our new

KCMS Employees

Salem Adisu

Program Manager
Salem Adisu was born and raised in Seattle, where she first developed her passion for non-profit work and working with children. Salem is inspired to create a positive impact within the communities she is involved in and appeal to their diverse needs.
Salem graduated from Santa Clara University a few weeks ago with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Child Studies. During her time at Santa Clara, Salem became involved with Ethiopia Reads, an organization dedicated to improving child literacy in Ethiopia.
As a Program Manager for the Society, she will be coordinating a new program to expand awareness of lead exposure and poisoning in children. She is excited to begin the process of bettering a community that is near and dear to her heart, and we are delighted to have her join our team. Salem can be reached at:

Chas Rinne

Program Assistant 
Chas Rinne graduated from Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences (SAAS) this spring, and will be attending the College of William and Mary in the fall of 2019. He is interested in pursuing Psychology and Political Activism, in addition to vocal programs.
Chas was originally an intern at King County Medical Society through a program provided by SAAS, but now serves as a Program Assistant. Chas will be focusing on policy development and research.

Our Monthly Speaker Series

is on

Summer Break! 

We look forward to a new line-up of speakers greeting you in October!

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