Senator Randi Becker has been named 2020 Legislator of the Year by the Washington State Medical Association for her longstanding partnership with the physician community and her efforts to expand access to care through telemedicine services. The state senator was honored during a reception held by the association’s political action committee, WAMPAC, on Tuesday, Oct. 6.
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Each year the WSMA, the largest professional physician organization in the state, honors a legislator whose knowledge and influence help to make Washington one of the best states in the nation to practice medicine and receive care.
Senator Becker’s leadership in the Legislature has helped make our state a leader in the proliferation of safe, effective, virtual care,” said WAMPAC Chair and WSMA Past President Nick Rajacich, MD.
Highlights of Becker’s accomplishments during recent legislative sessions include sponsoring bills that:
- Established telemedicine payment parity (requiring a health care service provided through telemedicine to be reimbursed at the same rate as the equivalent in-person service). As the state implemented a stay-at-home order to help flatten the pandemic’s curve, this 2020 bill provided a lifeline for vulnerable patients and physician practices.
- Established a telemedicine training requirement for non-physician practitioners.
- Clarified where a patient may be to receive “in-home” telemedicine services.
- Established the Telemedicine Collaborative to provide recommendations to the Legislature on issues of quality, practice, and payment for services.
- Allowed for physicians using telemedicine to be reimbursed (prior to this 2015 bill, state law did not require insurers to reimburse for these services).
Senator Becker’s staunch advocacy has left physicians and patients much better prepared for the rapid shift to telemedicine services as a result of the pandemic,” said John Scott, MD, medical director for digital health at UW Medicine and WSMA member.
With a background in the medical field, Becker has been especially mindful of the physician perspective and has helped shepherd these and other health policy bills of relevance to the WSMA during her time in the Legislature. Sen. Becker has announced she will retire after finishing out her current term.
Senator Becker’s advocacy for the physician community is unparalleled and her ingenuity and keen insights will be deeply missed at the state Capitol,” said Dr. Rajacich. “With this award, we celebrate not only her important work over the past year, but her career in the Washington State Senate.”
This news release was provided by the Washington State Medical Association
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