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June 2014

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RSVP now for June 10: the annual SCMA . . .

Despite repeated attempts to stop it, time continues to fly, and with it your chance to RSVP for the June 10 SCMA Wine & Cheese Reception. This popular event, to be held at the Christopher Creek Winery in Healdsburg, is absolutely free for SCMA members and their spouse or guest. Cost for nonmembers is $55 per person.

To RSVP, contact Rachel Pandolfi at rachel@scma.org or 707-525-4375. The event runs from 5 to 8 p.m. and is a great place to gather with your colleagues in a relaxed, convivial atmosphere. Please join us for informal conversation with Dominic Foppoli, owner, and sample fine wines with winemaker Mike Brunson. For more information, download the 2014 Wine & Cheese Reception Event Flier.


Dr. Mary Maddux-Gonzalez confirmed as SCMA president-elect

The results of the recent SCMA election have been tabulated, and Dr. Mary Maddux- Gonzalez, a family medicine physician and Redwood Community Health Coalition chief medical officer, has been confirmed SCMA president-elect by a vote of SCMA members. She will serve in that post from July, 2014 through June, 2015. The current president-elect, Dr. Rob Nied, a Santa Rosa family physician, will become president on July 1, succeeding Dr. Stephen Steady.

The election, which concluded May 31, also confirmed Drs. Regina Sullivan (treasurer), Peter Sybert (secretary), Jan Sonander, Clinton Lane, and Rob Nied for the SCMA board of directors. For a complete list of the board of directors, visit the Leadership page on our new website.

In addition, four physicians were elected to the CMA delegation including Drs. Brad Drexler, Jan Sonander, Anthony Lim, and Rob Nied. For more information, contact Cynthia Melody at cmelody@scma.org or 707-525-4375.



Get your 2014 Sonoma County Physician Directory!

One of the many benefits of SCMA membership is a free copy of the annual Sonoma County Physician Directory. Extra copies are a hot commodity, however, and right now is the best time to buy yours before they're gone.

The directory costs $30 for SCMA members or $40 for nonmember physicians, health care facilities and the general public. To order by phone with a credit card, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 or rachel@scma.org. You can also purchase online here, or download the order form to return by fax or mail.


Covered CA "Lunch & Learn" July 15

Physicians and Medical Office Managers are invited to a lunchtime presentation (from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.) about Covered CA, healthcare reform and newly-acquired practice management tips to address the influx of new information and questions. Content also includes regional data on enrollees and health plans, changes to the provider networks, grace periods, out-of-network deductibles, large patient cost-sharing for name-brand prescriptions, and other issues. This is a great opportunity for questions and answers for front office staff regarding eligibility, deductibles, etc. For the location and to RSVP, contact Rachel Pandolfi: rachel@scma.org or 707-525-4375.



Top stories from CMA Alert

Here are the top stories from the latest CMA Alert, the California Medical Association's biweekly e-mail newsletter. For a free subscription, visit www.cmanet.org/cma-alert.



MEDICAL ORGANIZATIONS

Healdsburg District Hospital, having undergone a thorough and rigorous on-site review by surveyors with stroke care expertise, has earned national accreditation as a Primary Stroke Center. Stroke certification recognizes HDH's ongoing commitment and success with its high standard of stroke care.

Aurora Santa Rosa Hospital officially opened its 19-bed adolescent unit in May, adding to its adult and senior units. Featuring a total of 95 beds, the facility is located at 1287 Fulton Rd, Santa Rosa.

Petaluma Health Center launched a fundraising campaign to expand services in Rohnert Park. The new primary care center will be located on the second floor of 5900 State Farm Drive and will also offer dental and mental health services.


RESOURCES

Psychiatry Across the Life Span for Primary Care on June 7 in Eureka at the Red Lion Hotel from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. is designed to manage psychiatric disorders, to identify the illness, and to be able to manage the patient appropriately in the primary care setting. 5 CME credits available. To register, download the registration form.

JUNE CMA WEBINARS begin at 12:15 p.m. and run until 1:15 p.m.or later. To register, visit www.cmanet.org. Seminars are free for CMA members and their staff; cost for nonmembers is $99 per person. Questions? Contact CMA Member Help Center: 800-786-4CMA (4262) or memberservice@cmanet.org.

June 12: CMS Physician Payment Reform Update
This webinar covers the overall CMS Value-Based Purchasing Strategy with an emphasis on the current status and future changes to the Physician Quality Reporting System, the Value Modifier, and the EHR incentive programs.
More info.

June 18: The Power of the Pen: The Physician's Responsibility in Prescribing and Referring for Medi-Cal Patients
Presented by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), this webinar will help you understand the importance of documentation, understand the physician's role in prescribing/ordering/referring, and increase awareness of fraud and abuse in prescribing and referring. Free for CMA members and nonmembers. More info.

The annual Health Information Exchange (HIE) conference will be held at the Doubletree Hotel in Rohnert Park on Friday, July 25. Titled "Connecting California to Improve Patient Care in 2014," the conference will focus on practical solutions for securely sharing electronic clinical information between unaffiliated healthcare facilities, such as outpatient practices, hospitals, laboratories, imaging centers, long-term care, home health and public health. Conference attendees will learn best practices in clinical informatics, patient safety, and clinical data interoperability. Click here to register.

A conference on Integrating Mind-Body Medicine into Clinical Practice will be held in San Francisco Oct. 5-9. Sponsored by the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, the conference offers a maximum of 31 Category 1 credits. The focus is on medical techniques to address stress, anxiety, trauma, insomnia and chronic illness. To register, visit www.cmbm.org.

Stepping Up to Leadership Courses Available Online. Courses cover a variety of important skills for successfully running a medical staff, particularly issues of communication, problem solving, and improving outcomes for patients and staff. AMA PRA Category 1 Credit available for Successful Leadership: What It Really Takes; The Role of the Physician In Patient Safety: Using CME as an Organizational Improvement Tool; and 2014 Legal Update by Greg Abrams, Esq. covering hot medico-legal topics in California. To browse the full IMQ Online Education catalog, visit imq.inreachce.com.


CLASSIFIEDS

SCMA members get free classifieds!
SCMA members can place free classified ads in News Briefs or Sonoma Medicine. Cost for nonmember physicians and the general public is $1 per word. To place a classified ad, contact Susan Gumucio at susan@scma.org or 707-525-0102.


APPLICANTS

Shannon Vargas, MD, Anesthesiology, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, Ross Univ 2007


ABOUT SCMA

The Sonoma County Medical Association, a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association, supports local physicians and their efforts to enhance the health of the community. Founded in 1858, SCMA is affiliated with the California Medical Association and the American Medical Association.

Visit us at www.scma.org

© 2014 SCMA, 2901 Cleveland Ave. #202, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

May 2014

Dr. Mary Maddux-Gonzalez Nominated as SCMA President-Elect

Dr. Mary Maddux-Gonzalez, a family physician and Chief Medical Officer for Redwood Community Health Coalition, has been nominated as 2014-15 SCMA President-Elect following Dr. Rob Nied, family medicine, president. Dr. Maddux-Gonzales heads the list of nominees on this year's SCMA election ballot, which will be mailed to all members in mid-May and is due back by May 31.

Other physicians nominated to the SCMA board of directors include Drs. Regina Sullivan (treasurer), Peter Sybert (secretary), Clinton Lane (Sonoma Valley County district), Jeff Sugarman (Santa Rosa district), and Rob Nied (TPMG). For a complete list of the board of directors, visit SCMA/BoardofDirectors.aspx.

In addition, four physicians-Drs. Brad Drexler, Jan Sonander, Rob Nied, and Anthony Lim-have been nominated to the CMA delegation. For more information, contact Cynthia Melody at cmelody@scma.org or 707-525-4375.  


Garden Tour May 16 & 17 Features Charming Healdsburg Gardens


2014 Sonoma Physician Directory Available

One of the many benefits of SCMA membership is a free copy of the annual Sonoma County Physician Directory. Extra copies are a hot commodity, and right now is the best time to buy yours before they're gone.

The directory costs $30 for SCMA members or $40 for nonmember physicians, health care facilities and the general public. To order by phone with a credit card, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 or rachel@scma.org, or click here to download the order form from our website.


Covered California Learning Opportunity for Office Teams

Physicians and Medical Office Managers: Would you or members of your office staff like to attend a FREE Lunch and Learn workshop regarding Covered California? The CMA Foundation, through a grant from Covered California, is providing physicians and health care teams a variety of opportunities to learn more about Covered California, the new health care law and the impact on physician practices.

If you or your staff members would be able to attend a weekday luncheon with a CMA Physician Educator in June or July, please contact Rachel Pandolfi Rachel@scma.org or 707-525-4375 by May 23. If enough interest exists, [SCMA] will work with the CMA Foundation to schedule a North Bay event (date and location TBD).


SCMA Wine & Cheese Reception June 10 at Christopher Creek Winery

Mark your calendar for the annual SCMA Wine & Cheese Reception, to be held at Christopher Creek Winery in Healdsburg on Tuesday evening, June 10. This popular event - which features collegial conversation and a sampling of fine wines and cheeses - is absolutely free for SCMA members and their spouse or guest. Cost for nonmembers is $55 per person. The event is from 5 to 8 p.m.

To RSVP, contact Rachel Pandolfi at rachel@scma.org or 707-525-4375. For more information about the winery, visit christophercreek.com  

 2014 SCMA Wine & Cheese Reception flier



Spring Sonoma Medicine Is Online!

The spring 2014 issue of Sonoma Medicine is in the mail and has also been posted at http://www.nbcms.org/AboutUs/SonomaCountyMedicalAssociation.aspx.  Click below the cover to view the PDF version (text with images) or go to the Sonoma Medicine page at http://www.nbcms.org/AboutUs/SonomaCountyMedicalAssociation/Magazine.aspx to view the text-only version and the magazine's archives.


June 18 Dinner Features Philippine Relief Presentation & MICRA Campaign Update: The Attack on our Medical Profession

The Attack on our Medical Profession
All local physicians and their spouse or guest are invited to the Marin Medical Society's Membership Dinner on June 18. The dinner, to be held at Jason's Restaurant in Greenbrae, features two presentations. The first is a report by Dr. Peter Bretan on the recent relief mission to the Philippines. The second is an update on the campaign to preserve MICRA, California's landmark Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act.

The dinner is free for MMS members. Additional tickets are $45 per person. Dinner choices include baked salmon, ribeye steak, chicken with rice, or mushroom gnocchi. To RSVP and identify your dinner choice, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 415-924-3891 or rachel@scma.org. For more details, see the attached flier.

MMS Membership Dinner flier  



Center for Well Being Soliciting Nominations for Leaders in Health

The Center for Well-Being recognizes leaders in Sonoma County who have promoted healthy lifestyle and helped to create an environment that fosters healthy choices. Nominations are being solicited through May 16 in five categories including physician leader, community leader, healthcare professional (non-physician), business leader, and youth leader.

Click on the attached nomination form for more details.



Coalition To Defeat MICRA Lawsuit Initiative Grows

Last week, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California, representing 700,000 working people in all 58 California counties, announced its strong opposition to the trial lawyer-backed anti-MICRA ballot measure.

In a statement announcing their opposition, California SEIU State Council President Laphonza Butler noted that the initiative would "reduce access to health care and damage California's health care safety net, especially for the working poor and underserved communities" at a time when the state is still working to implement the largest expansion of care seen in generations.

Recently, the coalition to defeat the anti-MICRA measure also added as members the California Chamber of Commerce and the American Civil Liberties Union of California.

These recent announcements add to a diverse and growing coalition of trusted doctors, community health clinics, hospitals, family-planning organizations, local leaders, public safety officials, businesses and working men and women urging Californians to oppose the proposed MICRA ballot measure.

To see a complete list of the organizations opposing the MICRA lawsuit initiative, or to know more about the hidden costs, consequences and flaws present in the initiative, visit the "Stop Higher Health Care Costs/Protect Access to Care" website at www.StopHigherHealthCareCosts.com.


Top Stories From CMA Alert & CMA Practice Resources

For a free CMA Alert subscription, visit www.cmanet.org/cma-alert.

For a free CMA Practice Resources subscription, visit www.cmanet.org/news-and-events/publications/  


PEOPLE

Former SCMA President Jan Sonander, MD, a Santa Rosa family physician in private practice, was profiled in the April 20 issue of the Press Democrat. The article focused on fewer physicians interested in running a solo medical office. To view the entire article and video, click here. 

Catherine Gutfreund, MD, a family medicine physician at Santa Rosa Kaiser, has been elected president of the CMA Very Large Group Forum, which represents the special concerns of physicians who practice in professional medical corporations or partnerships with over 1,000 shareholders, partners, or and/or physician employees. CMA has more than 32,000 members in all modes of practice. CMA's "mode of practice forums" provide representation for physicians based on the type of practice they are in: academic practice; administrative medicine; government employed; hospital-based practice; solo/small group practice (1-4 physicians); medium-size group practice (5-149); large group practice (150-999); and very large group practice.

On Make A Difference Day last fall Gary Barth, MD, with a group of ophthalmologists and their staffs, saved the eyesight of 24 agricultural workers and day laborers and did another six cataract surgeries. During National Volunteer Week, Operation Access was recognized in Washington, DC, along with Santa Rosa-based Eye Care Associates and 4th Street Laser & Surgery Center, represented by Dr. Gary Barth. To view the USA Weekend article, click here.  


RESOURCES & EVENTS

Are You Overpaying for Workers' Comp Insurance? SCMA-CMA members can call a Mercer Client Advisor at 800-842-3761 for a free, no-obligation quote.

Annadel Medical Group is continuing the pediatric practice of recently retired Damian Marsden, MD, expanding pediatric care with offices in Petaluma, Santa Rosa, and now Healdsburg. Healdsburg Pediatrics can be reached at 433-8223.

The following CMA webinars are scheduled for May. The one-hour webinars are usually 12:15 -1:15 p.m., offer 1 CME credit, and are free for CMA members and their staff; cost for nonmembers is $99 per person To register, visit www.cmanet.org.

May 6 - Workers' Compensation Basics Part 1: Don't Be Afraid of Workers' Compensation

May 13 - Workers' Compensation Basics Part 2: Being Prepared Means Being Paid for Workers' Compensation Treatment  

May 14 - Merging Practices-Strategies to Remain Independent  

May 20 - Workers' Compensation Basics Part 3: Billing Strategies-Getting Paid for Treating Injured Workers  

May 21- Workplace Rights for Patients and Caregivers: Leaves of Absence and Accommodations   

 


APPLICANTS

Robin Knuttel, MD, Dermatology,* Hair/Nail Diseases
181 Andrieux St. #103, Sonoma 95476, Tufts Univ 1986

Karen Holbrook, MD, Infectious Disease,* Internal Medicine*
625 5th St., Santa Rosa 95403, Chicago Med Sch 1989

* Board Certified


CLASSIFIEDS

Medical office to share
S.F. Financial District medical office space to share/sublet. 1,200 sq. ft. with 2 exam rooms. Full-time or 2-3 days per week. E-mail: lewsuzy@comcast.net

MMS members get free classifieds!
MMS members can place free classified ads in News Briefs or Marin Medicine. Cost for nonmember physicians and the general public is $1 per word. To place a classified ad, contact Susan Gumucio at susan@scma.org or 707-525-0102.


ABOUT SCMA

The Marin Medical Society, a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association, supports local physicians and their efforts to enhance the health of the community. We are affiliated with the California Medical Association and the American Medical Association.

© 2014 MMS, 2901 Cleveland Ave. #202, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

March 2014


Call Congress on March 5 to urge SGR repeal

Physicians and patients are closer than ever before to reaching their long-sought goal of eliminating the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and establishing new payment systems that will support high-quality patient care. HR 4015, introduced by Rep. Mike Burgess, MD (R-TX) and S 2000, introduced by Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), represent the first bipartisan, bicameral legislation to replace the flawed Medicare physician payment update formula.

But Congress has very few days to establish a pathway and enact this legislation before the scheduled 2014 Medicare physician payment cut of 24% takes effect on April 1.

Physician voices must be strong, compelling and unified if medicine is to accomplish SGR repeal and avoid enduring a 17th short-term payment patch. All physicians are asked to demonstrate their support and impress Congress of the urgency to act by participating in a national Congressional call-in effort on Wednesday, March 5.

All are invited to use the AMA’s toll-free hotline to contact their members of Congress:

1-800-833-6354

The message points are simple and direct:

  • The sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula is widely acknowledged to be a policy failure. Congress has been forced to intervene 16 times since 2003 to prevent steep payment cuts and preserve seniors’ access to care.
  • Now a bipartisan, bicameral process involving three Congressional committees has produced agreement on a new policy framework. The framework repeals the SGR and creates a pathway to a higher-performing Medicare program.
  • Repealing the SGR is the fiscally responsible choice. More money has been spent on short-term payment patches that continue supporting this failed policy than it would cost to pass the legislation before Congress today.
  • It is time to establish new payment methods that will support the healthcare delivery systems that Medicare patients and American taxpayers deserve.
  • Congress must seize this opportunity and act before March 31, when the SGR calls for a 24% across-the-board cut in Medicare physician payments.
  • It is time to pass HR 4015 and S 2000.

Additional supporting material can be found on the AMA’s dedicated website: www.FixMedicareNow.org.

Please join your colleagues in maintaining pressure on Congress to act on this vitally important legislation before time runs out. Join the national call-to-action day on Wednesday, March 5.


Meet your state Senate and Assembly candidates March 17 and 27

Marin and Sonoma County physicians are invited to meet their 2014 state Senate and Assembly candidates on Monday evening, March 17, and Thursday evening, March 27. Both meet-and-greets will be held at the Hilltop Restaurant, 850 Lamont Ave., Novato. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served. There is no charge, but RSVPs are required.

The March 17 event features Mike McGuire, candidate for Senate District 2, which includes all of Marin County, along with Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Windsor, Healdsburg and Cloverdale. The evening begins with a physician pre-meeting from 6:30 to 7 p.m., followed by an interview with McGuire and a post-interview discussion.

The March 27 event features Erin Carlstrom and Marc Levine, both candidates for Assembly District 10, which includes all of Marin County, along with Petaluma, Sonoma, Cotati, Sebastopol and southern Santa Rosa. The evening begins with a physician pre-meeting from 6:30 to 7 p.m., followed by interviews with Carlstrom and Levine and a post-interview discussion.

To RSVP for one or both events, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 415-924-3891 (Marin), 707-525-4375 (Sonoma) or rachel@scma.org. For more information, see the attached flyer.

March 17 and 27 Candidate Meetings flyer


Hillary Clinton headlines 2014 Health Care Leadership Academy

Former Secretary of State and potential presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton will be the keynote speaker at the annual Western Health Care Leadership Academy in San Diego on April 11-13. Top thinkers from around the country will share strategies and resources for accelerating the shift to a more integrated, high performing, and sustainable health care system.

The conference will examine the most significant challenges facing health care today and present proven models and innovative approaches to transform your organization’s care delivery and business practices. Topics will include leadership development, ACA implementation, practice management and the ICD-10 transition.

To register, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 or rachel@scma.org.


Legislative Leadership Conference set for April 22 in Sacramento

All SCMA members are invited to CMA’s 40th annual Legislative Leadership Conference on Tuesday, April 22, at the Sheraton Grand in Sacramento. This free event begins with morning speeches by political leaders, followed by afternoon sessions with local legislators. Several hundred physicians from around the state are expected to attend.

For more information, visit www.cmanet.org/events or contact Cynthia Melody at 707-525-4375 or cmelody@scma.org.


Top stories from CMA Alert

Here are the top stories from the latest CMA Alert, the California Medical Association’s biweekly email newsletter. For a free subscription, visit www.cmanet.org/cma-alert.


PEOPLE

Five veteran local physicians have joined the Annadel Medical Group. Dr. Ralph DiLiso, a Santa Rosa pulmonologist, is medical director of critical care medicine and respiratory care at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and Petaluma Valley Hospital. Dr. Eugene Belogorsky, also a pulmonologist, has been in private practice in Santa Rosa for more than 25 years. Dr. Greg Ackroyd, a neurologist and sleep medicine specialist, is medical director of the North Bay Sleep Medicine Institute. Longtime practice partners Dr. James Palleschi and Dr. Robert James, both urologists, have shifted from Sutter Medical Group of the Redwoods to Annadel. Combined, they have practiced in Santa Rosa for more than 60 years. Their new office is located at 121 Sotoyome St. in Santa Rosa.


RESOURCES & EVENTS

Santa Rosa Community Health Centers is sponsoring a fundraising breakfast from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 18, at the Vintners Inn, 4350 Barnes Rd., Santa Rosa. The theme of the event is “Transforming care, improving lives.” The event is free, but reservations are required. To RSVP, contact Laurie Lynn Hogan at 707-303-3617 or laurieh@srhealthcenters.org.

The Colon Cancer Alliance is offering a fun twist to an otherwise grim topic by sponsoring the inaugural Sonoma County Undy 5000 run/walk on Saturday morning, April 12. Instead of the usual race-day tee shirt, participants will get a pair of Undy 5000 boxer shorts to highlight the nether regions affected by colon cancer. The event also features a giant inflatable walk-through colon to educate the public about colon cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. For more information, or to register, visit www.undy5000.org and click on Sonoma County.

Nonprofit health organizations in Sonoma County are encouraged to apply for community grants from the Pacific Foundation for Medical Care. The application deadline is April 2. The grants, generally in the $10,000 range, are awarded twice a year by the nonprofit foundation to support local projects that enhance health services. For application materials, visit www.pfmc.org or contact Kathy Pass at 707-525-4281 or kpass@rhs.org.

The 21st annual HIV/AIDS Review is set for Saturday, April 5, at the Finley Community Center in Santa Rosa. Intended for physicians, mid-levels and pharmacists who provide care to people with HIV/AIDS, the review features sessions on advances in HIV testing, hepatitis C treatment and new HIV medications. Cost is $45, which includes breakfast, lunch and 5 hours of CME. To register, click here or call 707-303-8904.

The following CMA webinars are scheduled for March. Webinars, which are typically worth one CEU credit, begin at 12:15 p.m. and run until 1:15 or later. To register, visit www.cmanet.org. Seminars are free for CMA members and their staff; cost for nonmembers is $99 per person.

SCMA Annual Wine & Cheese Reception June 10: Download flyer: SCMA_Wine_Cheese_2014.pdf


CLASSIFIEDS

Part-time hospice physician needed for Hospice By The Bay
Seeking an experienced physician to work 2-3 days per week in our Larkspur office and throughout Sonoma County (25%). Primary duties include developing Plans of Care for patients and families, consulting with team members on medical issues, and serving as a medical liaison with community physicians. Hospice and palliative care experience is paramount. For additional information, contact Hospice By The Bay at 415-444-9802.

SCMA members get free classifieds!
SCMA members can place free classified ads in News Briefs or Sonoma Medicine. Cost for nonmember physicians and the general public is $1 per word. To place a classified ad, contact Linda McLaughlin at Linda@scma.org or 707-525-4359.


APPLICANTS

Jeannette Currie, MD, Family Medicine, 1275 4th St. #151, Santa Rosa 95404, Albert Ludwigs Univ 1998

Karen Kai Gelphman, MD, Family Medicine*, Women’s Health, 3883 Airway Dr #202, Santa Rosa 95403, Univ Washington 1992

Leo Smith, MD, Family Medicine*, 500 Doyle Park Dr. #GO4, Santa Rosa 95405, Oregon Health Sciences Univ 2006

Elise Sullivan, MD, Family Medicine, 6800 Palm Ave. #C2, Sebastopol 95472, Univ Colorado 2007

* = board certified; italics = special medical interest


ABOUT SCMA

The Sonoma County Medical Association, a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association, supports local physicians and their efforts to enhance the health of the community. Founded in 1858, SCMA is affiliated with the California Medical Association and the American Medical Association.

© 2014 SCMA, 2901 Cleveland Ave. #202, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

February 2014

MICRA talking points to use with your patients

Richard Thorp, MD
[Dr. Thorp, a Paradise internist, is president of the California Medical Association. The following article is adapted from a letter he recently sent to California physicians.]

By now, you and your fellow California physicians likely understand the full measure of what’s at stake in the fight to protect the state’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). We now know that the trial attorneys’ proposed ballot language has received approval from the Secretary of State’s Office, and that MICRA opponents have begun collecting signatures in an attempt to place that language on the November 2014 ballot. We also know that these well-funded opponents have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaign to undo MICRA.

In other words, the threat against MICRA is more serious now than it has ever been.

There’s no doubt that you and your colleagues understand the potentially catastrophic results that would come from MICRA’S cap being lifted to roughly fourfold; yet unfortunately physicians’ understanding of the issue will not be enough to stop this initiative.

To win this fight, voters--our patients, those we interact with every day in our practices--must understand that protecting MICRA goes hand-in-hand with protecting access to quality health care in California.

To that end, a set of talking points appears below, to ensure that any conversation regarding MICRA, no matter how brief, will ultimately be of value to both the physician and the patient.

Introduce the talking points with, “Right now, there’s a good deal of misinformation being used to support an initiative that will potentially close doctors’ office and make health care more expensive for all Californians. California trial lawyers are pushing an initiative that would allow lawyers to collect more money from medical malpractice suits, but they’re running it alongside a host of other provisions that makes it look like the initiative’s focus is patient safety. The physician community is always looking for ways to improve patient safety and reduce the number of medical errors--but that isn’t what this ballot measure is about. This measure is about making more money for trial lawyers.”

  • This measure will raise costs for millions of health consumers and taxpayers. More lawsuits mean higher health care costs for patients and providers--everyone will pay more.
  • This measure is about making more money for trial lawyers. This measure is being funded by trial lawyers and their allies so they can make more money suing health care professionals--period.
  • This measure will reduce access to health care services. This measure will lead to reduced access to our health care professionals--and fewer options for affordable, quality health care--especially in rural and underserved communities.
  • Californians do not want to weaken MICRA. The public supports MICRA. According to a recent poll conducted by Patients Allied for Patient Protection, nearly two-thirds of voters support the law.

Again, I cannot stress enough how important the next few months will be to the future of our profession. We will win this fight, but we cannot do so alone. Thank you in advance for standing with me in defense of MICRA.

[For the latest MICRA news, visit www.cmanet.org/micra]


CMA develops simple tool to ID physician participation status in exchange plans

On Jan. 1, Covered California began providing health coverage to more than 500,000 patients statewide. With that figure expected to grow by the end of the 2014 open enrollment period, it is critical that physicians and their staff have a clear understanding of their exchange plan participation status so they can communicate this information to patients before scheduling. It’s equally as important that practices understand the reimbursement rates and other terms associated with the plans with which they are contracted.

Even if you did not intentionally contract with any exchange plans, the California Medical Association (CMA) urges you to check your participation status. It’s very possible that you may have been unknowingly opted into an exchange plan network due to the way that major insurance plans have structured their provider agreements.

If you've attempted to look up your exchange plan participation status on the Covered California website, you know that it's not a straightforward process. Because it is critical that physicians know what plans they are contracted with, CMA has created a quick and easy tool to look up your exchange plan participation status in just a few clicks.

The tool, available to members only, requires simply your first and last name and middle initial. Then it will tell you which plans list you as a contracting physician (as of September 2013, the most recent data released by Covered California). To access the tool, visit www.cmanet.org/exchange-lookup.

Please note: You will be required to login with a member account. If you have not already activated your web account, visit www.cmanet.org/activate. If you need assistance activating your account, contact CMA's member service center at (800) 786-4262 or memberservice@cmanet.org.

For more information on Covered California, visit CMA’s exchange resource center at www.cmanet.org/exchange. Physician members and their staff also have free access to CMA’s practice management experts at 888-401-5911 or economicservices@cmanet.org .


AAssembly candidate Dr. Jim Wood to speak at SCMA on Feb. 25

Physicians in the 2nd Assembly District are invited to a meet-and-greet with Assembly candidate Dr. Jim Wood from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 25. The event will be held at SCMA, 2901 Cleveland Ave., Suite 202, Santa Rosa. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Dr. Wood, a family dentist, is mayor of Healdsburg. He has served on the Healdsburg City Council since 2006 and also chairs the board of directors of the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency.

The 2nd Assembly District includes the northern half of Santa Rosa and northern and western Sonoma County, except for Sebastopol. It also encompasses Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties. The district is currently represented by Wes Chesbro, an Arcata Democrat.

There is no charge for the event, but RSVPs are required. To RSVP, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 or rachel@scma.org. For more details, see the attached flyer.


Sonoma County seeking new Health Officer

Sonoma County has begun accepting applications for a new Health Officer to replace Dr. Lynn Silver-Chalfin, who resigned in December to work for the Public Health Institute in Oakland. Dr. Karen Holbrook is currently serving as Interim Health Officer.

The position pays $13,888 to $16,879 per month. A complete job description and application procedures can be found in the Classifieds section at the end of this newsletter. Applications are due on Feb. 28.


Housing needed for families attending motor-disability camp this summer

Boost Camp, which provides conductive education for children with motor disabilities, needs housing for out-of-town parents and children attending the camp from June 28 to August 2. The camp, sponsored by United Cerebral Palsy of the North Bay, teaches children motor skills and trains parents and their families to work hands-on with the children. The results of the camp are as individual as the children participating: taking several steps without a walker, using canes instead of a wheelchair, being able to catch a ball for the first time.

Ideal accommodations would be guest houses or vacation homes at ground level. They should include a queen or double-size bed, full bathroom, kitchen with refrigerator and stove, and washer and dryer. Other types of housing could work as well.

To offer housing, contact Katie Lightfoot, Boost Camp director, at klightfoot@ucpnb.org  or 707-569-4412. For more information, see the attached flyer.


Sonoma Medicine wins first place in publications competition

Sonoma Medicine magazine took top honors in a recent publications competition sponsored by the Northern California chapters of the Society for Technical Communication (STC), the world’s largest organization of technical writers and designers. The first-place win qualifies Sonoma Medicine for the international competition, to be held later this spring.

Competition judges wrote, “This is a very professional publication, with high quality materials and articles. Covers are engaging and set the tone for the theme of the issue. … The layout is consistent, attractive and effective. … The writing is easy to understand--a pleasing and educational read for any audience.”

Physicians interested in submitting article proposals for the magazine should contact the editor, Steve Osborn, at sosborn@scma.org or 707-525-0101. All article proposals are reviewed by the SCMA Editorial Board.


Benefit change: Free SCMA legal services switching to CMA

SCMA will be switching its free legal services from local attorney Larry McLaughlin to the CMA Center for Legal Affairs effective March 1. Mr. McLaughlin will continue to offer legal referrals to physicians and office staff until Sept. 1. He can be reached at his current number: 707-823-2134. The forwarding on his old number (579-4523) expires on Feb.1.

The CMA Center for Legal Affairs provides members with information and resources about laws and regulations that impact the practice of medicine. While CMA staff cannot provide physicians with individual legal advice, their health law information specialists, with the support of CMA legal counsel, will help you find legal information and resources on a multitude of health-law related issues, ranging from OSHA requirements to the retention of medical records. This service is free to CMA members (not available to nonmembers). For assistance, contact CMA’s member help center at 800-786-4262 or legalinfo@cmanet.org.

CMA’s health law library is the most comprehensive health law and medical practice resource for California physicians. The library contains over 4,500 pages of up-to-date information on a variety of subjects of everyday importance to practicing physicians. The library includes the California Physician's Legal Handbook, as well as more specialized information on peer review, payor contracting and other topics.

ON-CALL documents from the health law library are free to CMA members ($2 per page for nonmembers) and are available online in the resource library or by calling CMA’s member help center at 800-786-4262.


Hillary Clinton headlines 2014 Health Care Leadership Academy

Former Secretary of State and potential presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton will be the keynote speaker at the annual Western Health Care Leadership Academy in San Diego on April 11-13. Top thinkers from around the country will share strategies and resources for accelerating the shift to a more integrated, high performing, and sustainable health care system.

The conference will examine the most significant challenges facing health care today and present proven models and innovative approaches to transform your organization’s care delivery and business practices. Topics will include leadership development, ACA implementation, practice management and the ICD-10 transition.

To register, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 or rachel@scma.org.


Legislative Leadership Conference set for April 22 in Sacramento

All SCMA members are invited to CMA’s 40th annual Legislative Leadership Conference on Tuesday, April 22, at the Sheraton Grand in Sacramento. This free event begins with morning speeches by political leaders, followed by afternoon sessions with local legislators. Several hundred physicians from around the state are expected to attend.

For more information, visit www.cmanet.org/events  or contact Cynthia Melody at 707-525-4375 orcmelody@scma.org.

Top stories from CMA Alert

Here are the top stories from the latest CMA Alert, the California Medical Association’s biweekly email newsletter. For a free subscription, visit www.cmanet.org/cma-alert.

  •  Senate pro tem considering MICRA legislation
  • Federal budget spares most health programs
  • Budget instructs CMS to reform RAC audits that have been troubling physicians
  • HHS to release Medicare physician payment data
  • CMS to conduct ICD-10 testing in March

Top stories from CMA Alert

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PEOPLE

The January 2014 issue of Family Medicine, a national journal, includes a highly favorable review of “The Santa Rosa Reader,” a book by Dr. Rick Flinders published by SCMA in 2012. The reviewer, Baltimore physician Dr. Alida Gertz, writes, “Reading this book, I was inspired to be a better doctor. Clearly an excellent teacher who can simplify complex concepts and ideas, Dr Flinders espouses the importance of lifelong learning and dedicates several chapters to detailing his own enduring pursuit of knowledge, including one on returning to medical school.” All proceeds from the book benefit the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency. To order, visit www.scma.org or any online bookseller.


RESOURCES

An evening conference on opioid prescribing will be held at the Redwood Food Bank in Santa Rosa on Feb. 12. The conference, which focuses on tapering opioid medications, runs from 6 to 8 p.m. and offer 1.5 hours of CME credit. The cost, including dinner and CME credits, is $30. To register, visit www.eventbrite.com.

The third annual Childhood Obesity Conference will be held at the UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 22. The featured speaker is acclaimed pediatrician Dr. Robert Lustig, who will discuss his research on sugar consumption as the underlying cause of obesity. Five other speakers are scheduled as well, along with breakout sessions, breakfast and lunch, and a networking reception. Cost is $80. To register, visit www.slowfoodsanfrancisco.com.

The 21st annual HIV/AIDS Review is set for Saturday, April 5, at the Finley Community Center in Santa Rosa. Intended for physicians, mid-levels and pharmacists who provide care to people with HIV/AIDS, the review features sessions on advances in HIV testing, hepatitis C treatment and new HIV medications. Cost is $45, which includes breakfast, lunch and 5 hours of CME. For the conference flyer, click here. To register, click here or call 707-303-8904.

Nonprofit health organizations in Sonoma County are encouraged to apply for community grants from the Pacific Foundation for Medical Care. The application deadline is April 2. The grants, generally in the $10,000 range, are awarded twice a year by the nonprofit foundation to support local projects that enhance health services. For application materials, visit www.pfmc.org or contact Kathy Pass at 707-525-4281 or kpass@rhs.org.

The following CMA webinars are scheduled for February. Webinars, which are typically worth one CEU credit, begin at 12:15 p.m. and run until 1:15 or later. To register, visit www.cmanet.org. Seminars are free for CMA members and their staff; cost for nonmembers is $99 per person.

  •  Managing Medicare in 2014: New Rules and Tools (Feb. 5)
  • Retiring, Selling or Buying a Practice (Feb. 19)
  • Personal Belief Exemptions to Required Immunizations (Feb. 24)
  • Fraud and Abuse: Dangers and Defenses (Feb. 26)

CLASSIFIEDS

  • Salary info: $13,888 to $16,879/month
  • Description: Sonoma County is seeking a skilled and dynamic physician who is passionate about community health improvement as its next Health Officer. Recognized for its commitment to innovation and collaboration, the County of Sonoma strives to be the healthiest county in California. The Health Officer plays a key leadership role in bringing this vision to reality. The Health Officer is a County Officer appointed by the Board of Supervisors and reports to the Director of Health Services for administrative direction.
  • Qualifications: Education & Experience: Graduation from an accredited medical school with a Doctor of Medicine degree and a minimum of three years of responsible work in a public health service that included both clinical and managerial experience. Training in Family Practice, Pediatrics or Internal Medicine is desirable. Additionally, possession of a Master’s Degree in Public Health from an accredited school must be achieved within three years of appointment. License/Certification: Possession of a valid Physician’s and Surgeon’s Certificate issued by the State of California.
  •  How to apply: Visit www.yourpath2sonomacounty.org to view the complete position details and to apply online, or call Human Resources at 707-565-2331. EOE.
  • Final filing date: Friday, Feb. 28, 2014.

APPLICANTS

SCMA members can place free classified ads in News Briefs or Sonoma Medicine. Cost for nonmember physicians and the general public is $1 per word. To place a classified ad, contact Linda McLaughlin at Linda@scma.org or 707-525-4359.

APPLICANTS
Daniel Ahn, DO, Ophthalmology*, 181 Andrieux St., Sonoma 95476, New York Med Coll 2008

William McClure, MD, Plastic Surgery*, 596 First St. East, Sonoma 95476, UC San Diego 1978

Julie Philp, MD, Dermatology*, Pediatrics*, 990 Sonoma Ave. #2, Sonoma 95476, Stanford Univ 2005

* = board certified; italics = special medical interest


ABOUT SCMA

The Sonoma County Medical Association, a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association, supports local physicians and their efforts to enhance the health of the community. Founded in 1858, SCMA is affiliated with the California Medical Association and the American Medical Association.

© 2014 SCMA, 2901 Cleveland Ave. #202, Santa Rosa, CA 95403


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