September 2010

Classified & Job Posting Information

To have your job posting or classified advertising included in the JobWatch, submit your copy to

Your ad will appear in our electronically distributed NewsWatch. Ads for job postings will also be placed in the Job Posting section of the website, until the position has been filled.

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WA-ACEP is looking for volunteers: Get Involved!

The WA-ACEP NewsWatch is your newsletter! All member contributions are welcome! We encourage you to submit articles, letters, practices tips to share in the newsletter, or send us a question you would like answered or your ideas for future articles. Email your contribution and suggestions to the WA-ACEP office at

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Don't Miss Out on the $350 Million UnitedHealth Group Settlement

October 5, 2010 is the deadline for filing a claim in the UnitedHealth settlement. In order to be eligible to file a claim you must have provided covered out-of-network services or supplies between March 15, 1994 and November, 18, 2009 to patients who were covered by a health plan insured or administered by one of the defendant companies: UnitedHealthCare, Oxford Health Plans, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, American Airlines, or any associated company.

Access the online AMA resource to file a claim.

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OxyContin-Free Emergency Room

Swedish Hospitals' Cherry Hill and First Hill emergency departments will no longer write prescriptions for Schedule II narcotics. This move at the Seattle emergency rooms is an effort to combat the dramatic rise in abuse and overdose deaths associated with drugs like OxyContin, Dilaudid and morphine.

Patients who seek treatment at the Swedish Cherry Hill ER will not be turned out in the street in pain. In most cases, the physicians will prescribe a non–narcotic, nonaddictive pain medication like acetaminophen. If a more powerful drug is needed a less addictive but still effective Schedule III drug like codeine will be prescribed.

The effort to rein in the practice of prescribing opiate pain medications has reached the state level as well. Today, a work group made up of medical professionals is meeting to hammer out the details of a new law that will take effect next June. It's aimed at physicians who manage chronic pain with opiates.

WA-ACEP participates on this work group and has helped draft guidelines to Emergency Departments for opioid prescriptions. These guidelines will be issued to our membership in the coming months.

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Physicians Insurance A Mutual Company Announces a $5 Million Dividend Distribution to Physician Owners

The Physicians Insurance Board of Directors recently announced that the company will distribute $5,000,000 in dividends to eligible members in September 2010. Those eligible will receive a pro rata share of the total dividend based on their individual premium written from January 1, 1982, through September 1, 2010. Physicians Insurance is a mutual company, where the physician insureds are owners who share in the company's success. With this year's distribution, Physicians Insurance has returned $15,000,000 to policyholders in the last three years.

In addition to the dividend as a means of rewarding members for the company's outstanding performance, premium credits are available to insureds through exclusive programs, including the company's ACCOLADES loss experience credit, now available in all service territories.

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Over-the-phone Interpretive Services Now Available

Health care providers can use over-the-phone interpretive services for direct contact (face-to-face) beginning September 1st.

Benefits of over-the-phone interpretation

  • Access to rare languages – over 180 languages available
  • Real-time access to a more comprehensive network of interpreters
  • No scheduled appointment is necessary
  • Interpreters available on the phone within 30 – 60 seconds


  1. No authorization required on open claims. Check claim status prior to ordering over-the-phone interpretive services.
  2. Provide the claim number, worker’s/victim’s full name, date of injury and language when you call for an interpreter.
  3. L&I does not pay for interpretive services for legal purposes. Payment is the responsibility of the attorney or other requesting party(ies).


  Pacific Interpreters   CTS Language Link
State Fund claim: 877-810-4721 or 877-626-0678
Self-Insurance claim: 877-810-4723 or 877-626-0678
Crime Victims claim: 877-840-2083 or 877-626-0678


Additional information is available at or contact Cecilia Maskell at 360-902-5161 or

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Health care providers encouraged to sign up for Electronic Fund Transfers

The Washington State Medicaid program is asking its health care providers around the state to enroll in an Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) system to avoid the additional costs and time required to issue reimbursement checks, also called state warrants.

Under the EFT system, the providers’ reimbursement is simply deposited directly into a bank account. That saves the state the expense and work of issuing, addressing, and mailing checks to the providers, who range from hospitals and clinics to individual doctors, dentists and nursing homes.

The sooner providers sign up, the quicker they can start receiving the electronic transfers.

  • Providers can download the EFT authorization agreement (DSHS EFT Form 18-633) from the Department’s Web site at:
  • Fax the authorization agreement to (360) 725-2144.
  • DSHS will test the transaction first to verify that the deposit can be transferred successfully. Until the transaction works, providers continue to receive mailed checks.
  • Once testing is complete, Medicaid will begin transferring the deposits electronically.

Questions? Call Medicaid at 1-800-562-3022 Ext. 1-6132 or e-mail to

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Emergency Department Visit Statistics Released

Two important reports were released recently by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) debunking the myth that emergency departments are crowded with non-urgent patients, among other data. ACEP issued press releases on the CDC and the JAMA studies and more information including a short video can be found on the ACEP Website.

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ERs turn more violent as government help shrinks for volatile mentally ill, addicted patients

Violence against nurses and other medical professionals appears to be increasing around the country as the number of drug addicts, alcoholics and psychiatric patients showing up at emergency rooms climbs. Nurses have responded, in part, by seeking tougher criminal penalties for assaults against health care workers. Visits to ERs for drug- and alcohol-related incidents climbed from about 1.6 million in 2005 to nearly 2 million in 2008, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. From 2006 to 2008, the number of those visits resulting in violence jumped from 16,277 to 21,406, the agency said. Nurses and experts in mental health and addiction say the problem has only been getting worse since then because of the downturn in the economy, as cash-strapped states close state hospitals, cut mental health jobs, eliminate addiction programs and curtail other services.

Full Story

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ACEP Comments on PPACA's New Patient Protection Regulation

ACEP recently sent a comment letter to CMS Administrator Donald Berwick on an interim final rule which goes into effect on August 27 outlining how federal agencies will implement new patient protections and provisions regarding payment for emergency services contained in the new health reform law. Our letter advocates for the inclusion of provisions to extend the prudent layperson definition to all plans, and to create parity in co-payments for emergency services between in-network and out-of-network emergency physicians. We also express concerns with how "reasonable" payments would be defined, constructed and enforced in the private sector, but overall indicate support of the new protections. The letter is available on the ACEP website.

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ED Interpreters Improve Physician, Patient Satisfaction

Professional on-site interpreters in the emergency department greatly improve patient and physician satisfaction, and might improve efficiencies and outcomes, according to a study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

"The magnitude of the difference was striking: Patients who had professional in-person interpreters were four times more likely to be satisfied than patients who didn't," said Ann Bagchi, of Mathematica Policy Research in Princeton, the lead author for Examining Effectiveness of Medical Interpreters in Emergency Departments for Spanish-Speaking Patients with Limited English Proficiency: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial.

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Urgent Care Could Replace ED For Some Patients, Report Says

A trip to a retail clinic or urgent care center can substitute for a trip to the emergency department for between 13.7% and 27.1% of patients who don't require hospital level of care, "with a potential cost-saving of $4.4 billion annually."

That's the conclusion of a new report by Robin Weinick and colleagues from the RAND Corp. in a report published in this month's edition of the journal Health Affairs.

Use of an urgent care or a retail clinic might be a good solution for the growing shortage of office-based primary care doctors, a deficit that will only get worse as an aging physician workforce retires and as the country's population ages, requiring more acute care and pushing more patients into already crowded emergency rooms, the authors wrote.

This shortage is expected to further crowd emergency rooms with patients who can't make a timely appointment with their primary care doctor.

Full Story

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Job Postings

Click here for the latest WA-ACEP Job Postings

Calendar of Events

King County Healthcare Collation
Overcoming Barriers & Improving Hospital Throughput

Friday, October 15, 2010
Bellevue College – Paccar Atrium

2010 ED Leadership Summit
November 3, 2010
Hilton Conference Center
SeaTac, Washington
Register Online

Summit to Sound – NW Emergency Medicine Assembly
May 19-20, 2011
Seattle, Washington


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