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NWMS Coronavirus Updates

Dear valued patients,

NWMS is committed to the health and safety of our patients, staff and community. It is our top priority. As we continue to closely monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, we offer you reassurance that we are taking every precaution necessary to ensure your safety. We are following standard cleaning protocols and precautions as well as taking guidance from state and national entities around COVID-19.

-If you are on active treatment and are having symptoms, please call our office so that we can determine how to support your care and treatment needs.

-If you are having symptoms and have a scheduled appointment with us, please call our office prior to your appointment. Office phone number: 253-428-8700

-Please avoid bringing family or caregivers that have symptoms to the clinic. Out of precaution, any companion with symptoms will be asked to remain in the car.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 a respiratory disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. The virus primarily spreads person-to-person through respiratory droplets by means of coughing or sneezing.

According to Department Of Health, the risk of exposure is increasing for people who live in communities in Washington state with reported spread of COVID-19, though the risk is still relatively low. As you may know, the first case of COVID-19 in the United States was identified in Washington state on January 21, 2020, and the first death from COVID-19 in the United States also occurred in Washington state this past week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DOH are monitoring the situation very closely.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

According to the DOH, symptoms can appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Most patients experience mild symptoms. Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

Runny nose
Sore throat
Shortness of breath

How can I prevent the spread of COVID-19?

There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, and there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for the virus—in most cases, people with COVID-19 will recover on their own. Nonetheless, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The CDC recommends everyday preventative actions to help prevent exposure:

-Avoid close contact with people who are sick
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
-Stay home when you are sick
-Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
-Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
-Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
-Avoid travel to countries with travel health notices related to COVID-19. Information about travel to specific countries can be found on the CDC’s website.

To help prevent the spread of the virus to others, the CDC recommends that face masks should only be used by certain individuals, including people experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and health care workers. For more information, visit the CDC’s website.

What should I do if I’m experiencing symptoms?

Remember the guidance coming from the CDC and the DOH: If you’re sick with mild symptoms and don’t have an underlying chronic condition, stay home. If symptoms worsen or you have trouble breathing, call your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will work with the DOH and CDC to determine whether you need to be tested for COVID-19.

What should I do if I am in close contact to someone with COVID-19 but am not sick?

You should monitor your health for fever, cough and shortness of breath during the 14 days after the last day you were in close contact with the sick person with COVID-19. You should not go to work or school, and should avoid public places for 14 days.

What should I do if I am in close contact to someone with COVID-19 and get sick?

If you get sick with fever, cough or shortness of breath (even if your symptoms are very mild), you should stay at home and away from other people.

If you have any of the following conditions that may increase your risk for a serious infection —age 60 years or over, are pregnant, or have medical conditions—contact your physician’s office and tell them that you were exposed to someone with COVID-19. They may want to monitor your health more closely or test you for COVID-19.

If you do not have a high-risk condition but want medical advice, you can call your healthcare provider and tell them that you were exposed to someone with COVID-19. Your healthcare provider can help you decide if you need to be evaluated in person. There are currently no medications to treat COVID-19. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you may have been exposed to COVID-19.

If possible, put on a face mask before emergency medical services arrive or immediately after they arrive.



Washington State Department Of Health –


Viral Illness Prepardness at NWMS


Beginning March 2, 2020 you will begin to see some changes around our clinics to ensure that we are doing our best to prevent the spread of several viral illnesses that are in circulation. The health and safety of our patients, staff and community remain our highest priority.

We will be asking for your help as we begin to implement these changes. If you are having flu like symptoms when you come to our clinics, please visit our sanitation station located in our waiting rooms. At this station, we ask that you utilize hand sanitizer and grab a mask! Please wear your mask for your entire visit. 

Flu like symptoms include:

-fever* or feeling feverish/chills *It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever


-sore throat

-runny or stuffy nose

-muscle or body aches


-fatigue (tiredness)


For more information regarding the Coronavirus please visit:


For more information regarding Influenza please visit:

NWMS Earns the Cigna Care Designation!

NWMS is proud to announce that we have earned several quality recognition’s from Cigna! 

Cigna Logo

Here are the recognition’s we have achieved through a rigorous quality evaluation done by Cigna.

Cigna Care Designation-

Cigna Care Designation (CCD) distinguishes network physicians who practice in one of the 21 specialties reviewed and who meet certain quality and cost-efficiency measures. 

Cigna Care Network Tier 1

Cigna offers a tiered benefit design option available to customers where they are afforded a lower copayment or coinsurance level for covered services provided by Tier 1 providers than if they select a participating non-Tier 1 provider. Tier 1 providers are listed on the directory with the “Cigna Care Network – Tier 1 Provider” designation.

Adherence to Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) Standards

Doctor is in approximately the top tier of practices within their geographic market for use of evidence based medicine. Measuring adherence to Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) standards can illustrate how well a doctor uses recommended medical guidelines for treating chronic diseases and providing preventive care.

Cigna evaluates the quality of doctor care using measurement rules developed by the National Quality Forum (NQF), Ambulatory Care Quality Alliance (AQA), Healthcare Effectiveness Data Information Set (HEDIS), or evidence based standards developed by independent physician organizations (such as the American College of Physicians, the American College of Cardiology, or the American Diabetes Association). These rules span 38 disease and preventive care conditions

National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Recognition

Awards or recognitions that come from experts in the medical industry and indicate the doctor provides excellent patient-centered care in one or more of the following areas: diabetes, heart and stroke, back pain, use of technology for improved patient care, or commitment to comprehensive treatment approaches that involve other doctors, specialists and the patient’s family.

NCQA Physician Practice Connections – Patient-Centered Medical Home™ (PCMH) – recognizes doctors that effectively manage their patient’s care by coordinating with other doctors, specialists and family members to deliver a holistic, or comprehensive, patient treatment.
NCQA Patient-Centered Specialty Practice (PCSP) – recognizes practices that have demonstrated commitment to patient-centered care and clinical quality through: streamlined referral processes and care coordination with referring clinicians, timely patient and caregiver-focused care management and continuous clinical quality improvement.

Northwest Medical Specialties and the American Cancer Society visit the capital!

Members of the NWMS team joined the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network this month to advocate on behalf of our patients and our community.


ACS CAN is the nation’s leading cancer advocacy organization that is working every day to make cancer issues a national priority.

Many of the most important decisions about cancer are made outside of your doctor’s office. Instead, they are made by your state legislature, in Congress and in the White House. ACS CAN empowers regular people to be part of the growing national movement that is fighting back against cancer.

If we are to succeed in our mission and fight against cancer, it won’t just happen in the doctor’s office or research lab. This movement must start at the statehouse and in Congress. And, it will be led by volunteers – regular people whose lives have been impacted by cancer – rallying together to demand change from their elected officials.


World Cancer Day 2020



World Cancer Day every 4 February is the global uniting initiative led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). By raising worldwide awareness, improving education and catalysing personal, collective and government action, we’re working together to re-imagine a world where millions of preventable cancer deaths are saved and access to life-saving cancer treatment and care is equal for all – no matter who you are or where you live. 

Created in 2000, World Cancer Day has grown into a positive movement for everyone, everywhere to unite under one voice to face one of our greatest challenges in history.

Each year, hundreds of activities and events take place around the world, gathering communities, organisations and individuals in schools, businesses, hospitals, marketplaces, parks, community halls, places of worship – in the streets and online – acting as a powerful reminder that we all have a role to play in reducing the global impact of cancer.

This year’s World Cancer Day’s theme, ‘I Am and I Will’, is all about you and your commitment to act. We believe that through our positive actions, together we can reach the target of reducing the number of premature deaths from cancer and noncommunicable diseases by one third by 2030.

Join us on 4 February and speak out and stand up for a cancer-free world.

Visit to learn more!


Together We Ride, Together We Fight!


On January 26, 2020 members of the NWMS care team attended the annual Cycle For Survival event in Seattle,WA! We couldn’t be more proud of our team’s dedication to our patients and the fight against cancer!

About Cycle for Survival

Cycle for Survival is the movement to beat rare cancers. Our high-energy indoor team cycling events provide a tangible way for you to fight back—100% of all money raised directly funds lifesaving rare cancer research.

Why we ride-to beat rare cancers!

Rare cancer patients make up about half of all people fighting cancer, but they often have limited or no treatment options because rare cancer research is drastically underfunded.

Cycle for Survival raised $42 million in 2019—more than $236 million in over a decade. Every single dollar is directly allocated to rare cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center within six months of the close of fundraising.


Bingo Night Display

Please join Cancer Support Community for a night of Bingo. Come enjoy dinner, bingo, and prizes.
When: Friday 1/31/2020 5:30-7:00pm
Where: Puyallup Methodist Church 1919 W
               Pioneer Ave Puyallup, WA 98371
*This is a free event for whole family, but registration is required.*
Please Register with Abra Kelson at 253-200-3164 or email at

NWMS Voluntarily Elects 2-Sided Risk In The Oncology Care Model


In 2016, Northwest Medical Specialties (NWMS), PLLC was one out of 196 original practices selected to participate in the Oncology Care Model (OCM), a voluntary program that aims to provide high-quality and cost-efficient cancer care through the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). This 5-year model provides care coordination, navigation, and national treatment guidelines for Medicare beneficiaries. Northwest Medical Specialties is dedicated to bringing quality care to patients in the South Puget Sound of Washington, not only through the OCM but through various national and local quality initiatives.

As of performance period 4, any OCM group that has not achieved some level of savings will have no choice but to accept a downside risk track, or else exit the program.  NWMS has achieved cost target savings in all 4 performance periods of the OCM according to data compiled by Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). Due to this success and with much deliberation, NWMS has decided to elect “two-sided risk.” The two-sided risk model will hold practices more accountable as they share some of the cost risk for their OCM patients.

Amy Ellis, Director of Quality and Value Based Care at NWMS, added, “Our practice has always been determined to improve care for patients, its truly a mission for NWMS. Voluntarily going at risk in OCM is no different, we understand and support the changes needed in cancer care which include reducing costs to the healthcare system overall and providing the most efficient and high value care to our patients.”

Sibel Blau, MD, Medical Director at NWMS and President/CEO at Quality Cancer Care Alliance Network (QCCA), added, “CMMI has taken a very brave and tedious move to improve the healthcare system. As the program evolves, two-sided risk model will be mandated.  NWMS is not only confident that it can embrace this move, but feels it is extremely important to take an action and keep being motivated to be a part of this critically important model”

NWMS provides innovative medical services for patients diagnosed with cancer, blood diseases and infectious diseases. NWMS is dedicated to providing excellence in patient care and understanding individual needs. As an independent community cancer center with 5 locations, NWMS strives to bring state of the art, high quality care to patients in their own communities. NWMS is a participating practice in the QCCA and participates in several quality cancer-care initiatives, such as the CMMI’s OCM, American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Quality Oncology Practice Initiative, and the National Committee for Quality Assurance. With these quality initiatives in place, NWMs has been able to significantly reduce costs and improve the patient experience.

NWMS continues to improve care for patients by cultivating community physician and payor relationships that can bring valuable resources to patients which help drive quality care and a improve the patient’s overall quality of life. With new relationships forged, NWMS has been able to provide a patient resource center, a comprehensive oncology specified rehabilitation program, case managers, patient navigators, care coordination and more!

Do you have Medicare?


Don’t forget to bring your updated Medicare cards with you on your next visit to NWMS! Its important that we update your information as soon as possible to prevent any errors in billing.

Medicare mailed new cards between April 2018-April 2019.  To help protect your identity, your new card has a unique Medicare Number instead of your Social Security Number.  The new card won’t change your coverage or benefits.  Beginning January 1, 2020 Medicare requires that doctors, pharmacists, and other health care providers use your new unique Medicare Number for billing and processing claims on your behalf.


Here’s what you need to know:

• You can look up your Medicare Number or print a card on

• Destroy your old card (shred) once you get your new card.

• Call 1-800-MEDICARE if you didn’t get your card.

• There may be something that needs to be corrected, like updating your mailing address.

• Medicare will never call you uninvited and ask for your personal information.  Beware of anyone who contacts you about your new Medicare card.



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