From the CEO: Your voices are being heard

When the Washington Medical Commission proposed a 54% increase in physician licensing fees, you spoke up.  And the Secretary of Health is listening.  
After many phone calls, emails, in-person meetings, and even a formal public disclosure request to the WMC, our team feels like we have successfully amplified your voices.  I was grateful for the opportunity to discuss this issue with the WA State Secretary of Health, Dr. John Wiesman.
Dr. Wiesman is now reviewing the WMC’s proposed fee increase and reading public input. Dr. Wiesman tells me he will make the final decision on the amount of increase, not the Medical Commission members as they do for all other WMC rule making. Once that evaluation is complete, the Secretary will meet with staff to review and consider all information and then make a decision to implement the rule or not.

From the President: A little communication goes a long way

Recently I have found myself thinking quite a bit about communications and the growing lack of peer-to-peer communication. This lack of communication makes my work and caring for my patients even more complicated.

Throughout my career I have tried to foster supportive, meaningful relationships with my fellow physicians, which is one of the reasons I have remained so active with the King County Medical Society and the Washington State Medical Association. I find that when we make the effort to take a few extra steps to work together, we deliver far better care for our patients.

One easy way to open communications to improve health care is to urge their medical records staff and hospital staff to thoroughly understand the HIPAA laws, which are far too commonly misinterpreted by many in health care. 

Read more from President Teresa Girolami, MD here

The multi-billion dollar costs of burnout

Far too many physicians experience the physical cost of burnout. But a new report puts a staggering price tag to the toll: over $4.6 billion per year.
The King County Medical Society board and staff are exploring a number of new partnerships and initiatives to drive the systemic changes needed to tackle burnout before it's too late.  Look for numerous opportunities to weigh in and join the efforts soon.
KCMS member Carrie Rose, MD, recently spoke about the report and the devastating impact of burnout on providers and patients alike with KIRO Radio's Dave Ross in an interview secured by Communications Director Josh Kerns
If you have an issue of importance you feel is worthy of media coverage, please contact

Pro Club offers KCMS members exclusive offers

We welcome PRO Club as an exclusive benefits provider.
PRO Club is a resort-style destination dedicated to your whole health, with the region’s most expansive offerings of fitness, luxury, and family fun. 

With the region’s most experienced medical and wellness professionals – their mission is to provide everything you need to live your best life every day. State of the art fitness. An award-winning spa, medical spa and salon. Unrivaled amenities. And now PRO Medical — a complete suite of medical and wellness services, including the world’s most successful weight loss program, hormone balancing for optimal aging, sports medicine, genetic science and more.
Exclusive benefits for KCMS members:
  • Initiation fee waived on new memberships
  • Upon joining, free:
Performance Testing
  • In-Body composition testing
  • Personal training session
Medical Testing
  • Genetic testing for fitness and nutrition
  • Endopat test
  • Lipid and Glucose blood panel
  • Blood pressure 

Ask Dr. O

We are thrilled to announce a new partnership with Regence Blue Shield and Drew Oliveira, M.D.

Dr. Oliveira is the Senior, Executive Medical Director for Regence Blue Shield and Population Health Management for Cambia Health Systems. He is a member of the King County Medical Society and is eager to facilitate new lines of communication between providers, patients and Regence to improve care and service for all.

Like a Dear Abby of sorts for insurance related issues, Dr. O will answer questions each month from our member physicians in the monthly newsletter.

“We aren’t sitting by idly watching as the world of medicine rapidly changes,” said Nancy Belcher, PhD, KCMS CEO.  “The Society is helping its physicians to impact medical policy, reassess current strategies and find ways to work together in an effort to promote the highest standards of medical practice.  We are delighted that Dr. Oliveira has agreed to participate in our monthly Q&A.”

Summary: Reimbursements and compensation for non-clinical care such as telemedicine and other related consults were a hot topic at a recent board meeting attended by Dr. Oliveira.  Here are some the questions and his responses:

Q: When a physician responds to a patient via email on issues that may or may not pertain to the sharing lab results from an earlier visit, can they bill for this time/interaction?

A: Dr. Oliveira:  Well, first I highly recommend hiring a coding consultant in your office who can help you remain in compliance and maximize appropriate reimbursement.    I am not a coding specialist and there are many nuances within our health care system of FFS coding.  Typically follow up lab results are part of the E&M code, so a phone call with results or email are part of the original E&M code.

Q: Am I required to have a video interaction in order to bill for services?

A: Dr. Oliveira:  There is no requirement for video.  Telephonic only consultation with a patient is acceptable.  Note – unfortunately, every insurance carrier may have their own criteria for coverage for telemedicine services.   That said, such an encounter could constitute a telemedicine visit if it is a new problem or issue.  Here’s a link to our virtual care guidelines for reference:

Q: Does an email communication qualify as a telemedicine encounter? And if so, what is the code that physicians should use?

A: Dr. Oliveira:  Currently, virtually all states exclude email, phone and/or fax from the definition of telemedicine.  But I would always encourage you to confirm with a coding expert.

Q: What codes should physicians use to bill for continuation of care and consultations with ongoing patient cases when there are a variety of communications such as email, phone, text etc.?

A: Dr. Oliveira:  There are codes for complex care coordination over the course of a month.  Those are time-based and must have documentation to support what was done.  

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

BoxBar Vascular leads new

KCMS Platinum Partnerships

We welcome 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 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 at her website.

Welcome new members

Our membership continues to grow and we welcome the following physicians to the King County Medical Society

Jamie Massie, MD

Jamie Massie, MD, is a board-certified OB/GYN and reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist who recently joined ORM Fertility’s Bellevue clinic.

Dr. Massie began her training at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi. Only a few months in to her internship, Hurricane Katrina struck, destroying the hospital where she worked. She was accepted into the program at Stanford University, where she remained while completing her OB/GYN residency and reproductive endocrinology and infertility fellowship.

Amrit S Lamba, MD

Amrit Lamba, MD is a board-certified internal medicine specialist and hospitalist at EvergreenHealth Hospitalist Services in Kirkland.
After graduating from the University of Washington Medical School, Dr. Lamba conducted his internship and residency at Tulane University in New Orleans.  He also earned a Master's in education.
Lamba completes the KCMS trifecta, with his mother Charanjit and brother Raj also practicing medicing and serving as longtime members to the King County Medical Society.

Eric Burlingame, MD

Eric Burlingame, MD is a board-certified pediatrician with Swedish Pediatrics Meadow Creek in Issaquah.
Dr. Burlingame graduated from the Temple University School of Medicine and conducted his internship and residency at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.  He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and served in the National Health Service Corps.

Don't forget your exclusive savings!

You can save thousands of dollars simply by clicking on the image below or visiting

Listen: Docs Talk

In the latest Docs Talk - the official podcast of the King County Medical Society, Josh Kerns visits with vascular surgeon and KCMS board member Ellen Derrick, MD for a wide-ranging, thought-provoking and sometimes enraging discussion on tackling burnout, surgical standards, overhauling EMR's, maintaining a thriving independent practice and more.

Speaker Series:

Lead exposure, poisoning and testing

Join Virginia Mason rheumatologist and KCMS board member Amish Dave, MD and experts from Public Health Seattle & King County for an important and informative discussion on the continued threat, misperceptions and dramatic need for increased testing for lead exposure in children at the monthly Speaker Series luncheon.
200 Broadway, Seattle
Please park in gravel lot north of building or in lot behind building
Complimentary lunch provided (donations for KCMS Foundation and scholarships accepted)
All members are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Please RSVP to Josh Kerns -

Exclusive Member Benefit:

Key Bank offers King County Medical Society members and staff exclusive concierge mortgage loan service, discount home loans
Primary Care Internal Medicine practice for sale

 Independent 30-year-old, 2 physician practice available.  Approximately 3,500 patients, 2/3 PPO and 1/3 Medicare (no HMO). Excellent staff. Comfortable large leased office in an attractive professional office building in the near north end of Seattle. Approximately 1,900 square feet, 4 exam rooms, corner office for physicians, 3 stand up stations, reception area, coffee room, on site restroom and lab space. We have long-standing referral relationships with excellent specialists city-wide. Be your own boss, control your own schedule, freely choose your consultants.  Our patients are a pleasure and we will actively assist in transition.  

If interested contact:

Don't forget to check our member benefits page to learn about all the special offers and discounts available to our members and their staffs.

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