Save the Date: 2023 WRA Annual Meeting

Dear Colleagues,

We are looking forward to gathering in person for the Washington Rheumatology Alliance Annual Meeting! Once again, we will be hosting the event at the charming Sleeping Lady Resort in the beautiful Cascade Mountains. Please join us from Friday, September 22nd – Sunday, September 24th, 2023.

Attendees and guest speakers are welcomed to stay on site at Sleeping Lady Resort. We request that industry representatives stay at the Icicle Village Resort (just a few miles away from the conference venue) in the Bavarian-themed village of Leavenworth. There will be a discounted room block available.

If you are interested in exhibiting at the annual event, please complete the following form:
Exhibitor Interest Form

We look forward to seeing you this summer! Thank you for your continued support of the WRA.

Jeff Peterson, MD

WRA President

TAKE ACTION: Sign in ‘PRO’ to Share the Savings!

Washington’s own Share the Savings bill (SB 5445, HB 1465) is a measure that will help lower the cost of prescription drugs for patients throughout the state.

Share the Savings will improve the lives of Washingtonians who may struggle to cover out-of-pocket costs for medications and treatments by requiring health insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to share their negotiated savings directly with patients.

We need as many people possible to sign in ‘PRO’ before NEXT WEDNESDAY 2/1. It only takes 30 seconds!

➡️ Senate sign in HERE!

➡️ House sign in HERE!

Share the Savings

Health care is, unfortunately, a complicated system in the United States, with numerous players involved at every step. While the manufacturer makes the drug, the PBM contracts with the health insurance carriers to manage their prescription drug programs. PBMs are essentially the middlemen who negotiate rebates for the cost of prescription drugs and place medications within each health plan’s drug formulary. On average, manufacturers rebate 40% of a medication’s list price back to insurers or PBMs.

However, these rebates are really intended to be passed on to patients, which is particularly necessary for patients with health plans that utilize high deductibles or significant cost sharing. These patients are charged the full list price at the pharmacy counter, not the after-rebate price. PBMs and insurers pocket the savings from these rebates, while patients rarely see their fair share.

Share the Savings would fix that loophole by requiring 100% of rebates to be shared directly with patients – meaning patients see immediate savings at the pharmacy counter. Access to these rebates will help ensure patient adherence to their prescribed medications, as patients will often ration or stop medications if the over-the-counter costs are prohibitive. Share the Savings is one step that can help prevent patients from having to make that choice.

Drug manufacturers, health insurance companies and PBMs all play a part in delivering necessary medications to patients. The legislature has done much over the past few years to address the manufacturer’s role in drug pricing. Share the Savings ensures that we address other parts of the prescription drug supply chain that currently prevent savings from reaching the patients most in need of these rebates.

The WRA aim to expand access to healthcare and most importantly, improve the lives of the patients we treat. Share the Savings is one way to ensure Washingtonians can afford the lifesaving medications they need. We look forward to continuing this work to help all Washingtonians access innovative, affordable medicines.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to learn more ways to engage on this effort!

CSRO Action Alert

Earlier this year, Congressman Ami Bera, MD (D-CA-07) and Congressman Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN-08) introduced legislation to provide relief for the large Medicare Physician Fee Schedule reimbursement cuts that are currently set to take effect on January 1, 2023.

This legislation, Supporting Medicare Providers Act of 2022 (H.R. 8800), would provide a one-year “hold harmless” payment to offset the looming reductions in the Fee Schedule. The bill also establishes a “Sense of the Congress” that the Department of Health and Human Services and the Congress should commit to:

  1. ensuring financial stability and predictability in the Medicare physician payment system;
  2. promoting and rewarding value-based care innovation; and
  3. safeguarding timely access to high-quality care by advancing health equity and reducing disparities.

H.R. 8800 already has over 80 bipartisan cosponsors, but your support is needed to urge Congress to act on this bill.

Visit the CSRO Action Center to convey your support TODAY. With just a few keystrokes, you can send our template message to your representatives and make a lasting impact.


Thank you for getting involved!

Take Action Now

Join us for the Arthritis Foundation Bone Bash

The Washington Rheumatology Alliance is Honored to Sponsor the 14th Annual Bone Bash!

October 22nd, 2022

6:30 PM- 10:00 PM

Brightwater Environmental Education and Community Center

22505 State Route 9 SE

Woodinville WA, 98072-6010


The Arthritis Foundation Great West Bone Bash is one of Seattle’s most cherished traditions and one of the hottest Halloween themed fundraisers in town. The evening features amazing costumes, frighteningly fabulous food stations throughout the night, wine, dancing, and jaw-dropping silent and live auction items.

Bone Bash brings the community together to raise awareness of the prevalence and seriousness of arthritis, as well as raise funds to support mission driven programs. Funds raised support research to find a cure, provide funding for our local Juvenile Arthritis KAT-Fish Family Camp and our free community education programs.

Purchase your tickets today:


Support the Arthritis Foundation by making a donation here:

Support the Cause

For more information or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities and auction donations please contact Michal W. Wiesbrock at or call 805-295-8891.

15th Annual Conference Update

It is finally here, the week of our 15th Annual Washington Rheumatology Alliance Conference! We have had such great interest in our 2022 meeting, we look forward to hosting those of you joining us this Friday, September 16th through Sunday, September 18th.

Due to the Bolt Creek Fire, Highway 2 is currently closed to vehicle use. Please be sure to plan ahead and use Highway 97, which may result in extended travel time. 

For those hoping to register and the attend the conference day-of, please note that same-day registration will not be possible this year. Our conference is entirely sold out to attendees, exhibitors, and all other guests. Sleeping Lady has graciously accommodated the WRA event to their absolute maximum capabilities.

Below is the weekend agenda for the Annual Conference:

2022 Conference Agenda

Practice Management Conference Agenda


We look forward to seeing you!


Attendee Registration is NOW OPEN for the 15th Annual WRA Conference!

Time to Register!
WRA 15th Annual Conference 

September 16-18, 2022

Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort

7375 Icicle Road

Leavenworth, WA 98826

Thank you for your interest in attending the WRA 15th Annual Conference. Registration is now closed due to the conference selling out.

Register for the Washington Rheumatology Alliance’s 15th Annual Conference and book your room at Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort in the breathtaking Leavenworth, Washington.

Your registration includes the following:

Friday night opening reception with appetizers and hosted bar. Open to all participants and their family members.

1.5 days of educational programming for physicians (Saturday and Sunday) 

Topics include:

  • Mastering E/M Changes
  • What’s New in Rheumatology?
  • What’s New and Old in the Laboratory: Reporting and Interpretation of ANA tests, ACPA, and COVID testing
  • The Downstream Effects of Drug Pricing and PBM/Insurance Policies on Patient Care
  • Calcium is an Important Hormone! Parathyroid Disease in Rheumatology
  • We also look forward to our annual Advocacy Panel, which is open to all attendees.

Half- Day Practice Management Track on Saturday

Similar to the annual meeting last year, this program will be a half day event; stay tuned for an updated agenda. Participants are welcome to join sessions in the Physician Track.

Final drafts of both programs will be posted here on the WRA website soon!

Also you won’t want to miss our keynote presentation Saturday evening followed by the Annual Banquet!

Registration Details

You can pay your annual WRA dues on the conference registration form in order to get the member rate for the conference.

  • $45 Annual WRA dues
  • $45 conference registration fee for the entire weekend’s programming (including CME credit!)
  • $25 per ticket for guests

Hotel Accomodations

We have arranged for a discounted room block for meeting attendees at Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort. Please note you are responsible for booking and paying for your own accommodation. Visit this page for information about room rates, how to make reservations, and selecting your meal package. This year we are excited to announce the availability of more canine friendly rooms, so be sure to tell the resort if you plan on bringing your pooch!

We anticipate a sold out conference and look forward to having you join us this September!

For questions about the WRA and its programs, contact Jena Rehm, Executive Director, or (206)956-3621.


Office of Inspector General: MAOs & Pre Authorization Requests

April 2022: Some Medicare Advantage Organization Denials of Prior Authorization Requests Raise Concerns About Beneficiary Access to Medically Necessary Care

With there being the potential concern of MAOs having the ability to increase profits by denying payments and access to services to providers, the OIG conducted this review from a random sample of 250 denials of prior authorization requests and 250 payment denials issued by 15 of the largest MAOs during the month of June 2019.

Report in Brief 

2022 Annual Conference

Save the Date: WRA 15th Annual Conference

Dear Colleagues,

We are looking forward to gathering in person for the Washington Rheumatology Alliance Annual Meeting! Once again, we will be hosting the event at the charming Sleeping Lady Resort  in the beautiful Cascade Mountains. Please join us from Friday, September 16th- Sunday, September 18th, 2022.

Attendees and guest speakers are welcomed to stay on site at Sleeping Lady Resort. We request that industry representatives stay at the Icicle Village Resort (just a few miles away from the conference venue) in the Bavarian-themed village of Leavenworth. There will be a discounted room block available.

If you are interested in attending, presenting, or exhibiting at the annual event, please contact Jena Rehm at

We look forward to seeing you this summer! Thank you for your continued support of the WRA.

Jeff Peterson, MD

WRA President

Thank you for attending the WRA 14th Annual Conference

Thank you to everyone who attended the 2021 14th Annual Conference in Leavenworth! If you still need to complete the CME evaluation and/or claim credit, please contact Emily Jones at or 206-956-3621.

Please help us thank our generous sponsors

Bristol-Myers Squibb
Sanofi Genzyme

Thank you to our 2021 exhibitors

Gold Level Exhibitor
Lilly, USA

Silver Level Exhibitors
Horizon Therapeutics
Janssen Biotech

Bronze Level Exhibitors
Aurinia Pharmaceuticals
Boehringer Ingelheim
Scipher Medicine

We look forward to seeing everyone again in 2022!

Introducing Our Stories Rx

As an initial convening, Our Stories Rx is hosting a virtual roundtable conversation with Antonio Ciaccia, who served as the government affairs director for the Ohio Pharmacists Association in 2018, when a state audit revealed a PBM-led spread pricing scheme that overcharged the state Medicaid agency by over $200m.

Our Stories Rx invites you to a virtual roundtable with Antonio Ciaccia, President of 3 Axis Advisors and CEO of 46brooklyn Research, for a discussion on Pharmacy Benefit Managers and his experience unwinding the web of cost and access issues associated with PBM interactions between clinical providers, state Medicaid agencies, and patients across the US. The discussion will be moderated by Karen Ferguson, Practice Administrator at Arthritis Northwest, PLLC. This event will occur on Wednesday, 6/30, from 12p – 1p PST. Register by clicking here.

About Antonio Ciaccia:
Born and raised in pharmacy, Antonio has been involved with pharmacies his entire life.  After three years as a pharmacy technician and two years of pre-pharmacy curriculum, Antonio diverted course, graduating from The Ohio State University in 2007 with dual degrees in communications and political science before moving into the world of association management. Thinking that pharmacy would be in his rear-view mirror forever, he ended up making his way back to his pharmacy home, heading up government affairs for the Ohio Pharmacists Association.

After years of studying the pharmacy marketplace, Antonio became increasingly perplexed and concerned as he saw drug costs spiking while payouts to pharmacies were declining. Knowing something was being lost somewhere in the middle of an ever-growing transaction, Antonio has spent years working to crack the drug pricing code and pull the rug out from what he believes is one of the most dysfunctional marketplaces in the world.

About Karen Ferguson:
Karen Ferguson is the Practice Administrator at Arthritis Northwest, PLLC, the largest clinical rheumatology practice Northwest of Denver, and headquartered in Spokane, Washington. Karen founded Our Stories Rx, and is also the co-founder and CEO of Discus Analytics, Inc., a healthcare IT company addressing the unmet need for organized, discrete, and clinically actionable information supporting the physician and patient’s longitudinal journey together.

As Practice Administrator for Arthritis Northwest, Karen led her organization to earn the national recognition for quality care, “NCQA Patient-Centered Specialty Practice Recognition” which distinguishes practices that communicate, collaborate, and integrate care in ways that demonstrates constant improvement through communication, coordination, and providing access to care.

Ms. Ferguson is past President of the Washington State Medical Group Management Association and the Inland Empire Medical Group Managers Association. She currently serves as ARP/ACR Education Committee, NORM Payer Committee, and CSRO Payer Committee.  Ms. Ferguson received her Master of Science in Health Education/Promotion from Whitworth College, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education from San Diego State University.

About Our Stories Rx:
Our Stories Rx is a 501(c)4 organization focused on developing an interactive storytelling platform that will advocate for policy outcomes that improve the health and well-being of vulnerable patient populations and the community clinics that serve them. By documenting and publicizing the experiences of patients, clinical providers, and other purchasers of healthcare services, Our Stories Rx seeks to build qualitative and quantitative tools to advance a data-driven, community centered platform with a proactive vision for advocacy and policy reform.