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 mwiesbrock@arthritis.org 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, jena@wsma.org 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 admin@warheumatology.org

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 admin@warheumatology.org 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.

Online Registration Is Closed

Washington Rheumatology Alliance’s
14th Annual Conference

September 17-19, 2021
Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort
7375 Icicle Road
Leavenworth, WA 98826

Online registration is now closed. Onsite registration will be available; please contact Sleeping Lady directly regarding room availability.

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)
Click here to view the Physician Agenda. Topics include:

  • Immunosuppression: Is It All in Your Head?
  • Advances in Treatment for Patients With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or Lupus Nephritis
  • Improving Recognition and Management of EGPA: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Individualizing Treatment
  • Pulmonary Involvement in Rheumatic Diseases
  • We also look forward to our annual Advocacy Panel, which is open to all attendees.

Please note that the practice manager track has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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 Accommodations
We have arranged for discounted room block for meeting attendees at Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort. You are responsible for booking and paying for your own accommodation. Visit this page for room rates, how to make reservations, and selecting your meal package.  There are a limited number of dog-friendly rooms, so contact the resort as soon as possible to book one of those rooms if you plan to bring your pooch.

Click here for airport and ground transportation information.


For questions about the WRA and its programs, contact Emily Jones, WRA Executive Director, emily@wsma.org or 206-956-3621.

Help us thank our generous sponsors and exhibitors:


Bristol-Myers Squibb
Sanofi Genzyme


Gold Level 
Lilly, USA

Silver Level
Horizon Therapeutics
Janssen Biotech

Bronze Level
Aurinia Pharmaceuticals
Boehringer Ingelheim
Scipher Medicine

New Medicare Changes

We are providing information that hopefully will help our members understand the 2021 Final WRVU billing codes and reimbursements slated for Rheumatologists.

  1. The final WRVU code values for E & M coding: Please notice that at the end of 2020, the WRVU was set at a lower number, and increased to 34.89 early 2021. Because 34.89 represents the universal conversion factor, it needs to be budget neutral, so you will see other specialties actually have decreased over all. Because the E & M codes are newly defined, rheumatologists actually are increased by approximately 13%.
  2. A cheat sheet for rheumatologists to understand both the E & M coding requirements as well as the time based coding, which includes time spent face-to-face as well as activities that a physician does in review, reporting, dictation, or preparation to see the patient, on the date of service.
  3. Final Medicare Ruling: Add on codes G2211 on hold until 2024, however can still be assigned a PFS payment STATUS INDICATOR of B (bundled) until 2024.