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February 2012


Influential family physician to speak in Santa Rosa on March 7


Dr. Ted Epperley, a nationally recognized advocate for family medicine, will speak at the 6th annual Excellence in Primary Care Conference in Santa Rosa on March 7. The conference, to be held at the Vista Family Health Center from 6 to 8 p.m., will include a complimentary light dinner and presentation of the Sonoma County Family Physician of the Year award. The address is 3569 Round Barn Circle. See the flyer below for more details.

 

Excellence in Primary Care Conference flyer

 

A strong advocate of healthcare reform, Epperley has met repeatedly with President Obama and has just published a new book, “Staring into the Soul of America: Why We Struggle with Healthcare for All.” He is CEO of the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, a clinical professor of family medicine at the University of Washington, and a past president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

 

The conference is open to all local physicians and is cosponsored by several local health organizations, including SCMA. To RSVP, contact Cecilia Awayan at the California Academy of Family Physicians at cafp@familydocs.org or 415-345-8667.

 




Nominations needed for SCMA election


In preparation for the upcoming SCMA election, all members are urged to submit nominations for leadership positions by March 14. Nominees must be SCMA members in good standing. Nominations are requested for the following positions:

• SCMA president-elect

• SCMA board representatives from North County (1), Petaluma/Rohnert Park (1), and Santa Rosa (2)

• CMA delegates (2)

• CMA alternate delegates (2)

 

All positions require a three-year commitment, beginning July 1. Nominations can be emailed to cynthia@scma.org, faxed to 525-4328, or mailed to SCMA, 2901 Cleveland Ave. #202, Santa Rosa, CA 95403. Each nomination should include a brief statement about the nominee’s qualifications.

 

For more details, contact Cynthia Melody at cynthia@scma.org or 525-4375.

 




Take the CMA survey about Medicare audits by Feb. 3


Physicians throughout California are urged to complete a brief survey from CMA about how repeated Medicare audit requests are affecting their practices. Palmetto, the Medicare administrator contractor for California, has been sending multiple requests for medical records to physician offices and is delaying payment to physicians for claims associated with the records.

 

If your office has received requests for medical records from Palmetto, please complete the survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/Medicare_Audits. The results will assist CMA in its negotiations with Medicare. The deadline is Feb. 3.

    




Enroll now for important Medicare seminar in Santa Rosa


Physicians and office staff are encouraged to attend “Medicare 2012 & Beyond: Know Your Rights,” a 6-hour seminar scheduled for April 18 at the Fountaingrove Inn in Santa Rosa. The seminar, which runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., is cosponsored by SCMA and CMA. Topics include the Medicare physician fee schedule, 2012 updates and reminders, medical review audits, and preparing for ICD-10. The presenter is Michele Kelly, associate director of the CMA Center for Economic Services. Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.

 

Cost is $55 for SCMA members and $105 for nonmembers. To register, fax the flyer below to SCMA at 707-525-4328 or contact Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 or rachel@scma.org.

 

April 18 Medicare Seminar flyer




Unspent military funds could be used to repeal the Medicare SGR formula


Now that Congress is back in session, one of the first orders of business is to address the looming 27% cuts in Medicare payments to physicians. The cuts have been delayed until March 1 in the hopes that some kind of compromise can be found. One such possibility is a plan recently floated by House Democrats to use unspent military funding from early troop withdrawals in Iraq and Afghanistan to repeal the Medicare SGR payment formula.

 

That idea and others will be considered by a House-Senate conference committee that includes two strong physician advocates from California: Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles). CMA, AMA and many other medical associations have united to push for the House Democrats’ plan, which could cover the $300 billion cost of eliminating the SGR formula. The AARP has joined in as well, launching a campaign with the message, “Medicare patients could lose access to the doctors they know and trust in just a few weeks.”

 

CMA continues to urge physicians to call Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and ask them to protect access to care in California by using unspent military funds to repeal the Medicare SGR. Let them know that the SGR cuts must be stopped before the March 1 deadline. Call the AMA Grassroots Hotline at 800-833-6354, plug in your zip code, and you will automatically be connected to your senator.




Physicians invited to meet legislative candidates


With the election year in full swing, SCMA is arranging for interviews with local candidates for the U.S. Congress and the California Assembly. Dates and locations have yet to be established, but if you are interested in attending, please contact SCMA Executive Director Cynthia Melody at cmelody@scma.org or 707-525-4375.




Blue Cross ordered to pay money owed to doctors, dating back to 2007


The California Department of Managed Health Care has ordered Anthem Blue Cross to pay physicians money owed to them, with interest, for services provided dating back to 2007. The action is a result of Anthem’s refusal to remediate physicians and other providers following a financial claims audit that identified errors in payment of medical claims.

 

CMA President Dr. James Hay applauded the DMHC order. “We provide necessary care to our patients based on the assumption that the health plans will promptly and accurately reimburse us for services rendered,” he said. “Anthem Blue Cross’s refusal to pay for a mistake on their end puts an undue burden on those of us who provide care.”

 

In 2008, DMHC launched claims audits of the seven largest health plans in California due to a growing pattern of complaints regarding late and inaccurate payments and inappropriate claim denials. These audits found claims payment violations above the threshold allowed under California law at all seven health plans.

 

In response to the audits, DMHC required the plans to pay providers the money they were owed and to demonstrate improvements to claims processes to prevent future errors. In addition, each plan entered into settlement agreements to pay administrative fines. To date, six of the seven plans have undertaken remediation efforts, but Anthem has refused to pay for claims violations uncovered in the audit. The company has to send DMHC a corrective action plan this month to identify the claims that were not correctly paid and pay the providers as prescribed by law.




Blue Shield begins recontracting with physicians across state


Blue Shield is in the process of recontracting with physicians across California and has begun mailing notices to physicians in selected counties, including several in the North Bay. The company explained that they have not recontracted with physicians in over a decade, and that they will be offering various tiered networks in anticipation of California’s health insurance exchange, a key feature of the federal health reform law.

 

The initial mailing will go to physicians in Marin, Napa and Lake counties, with others to follow later. Physicians are under no obligation to participate in any of these products, and there are no fee schedule changes at this time, other than for Medicare lines of business. The cover letter asks that physicians review, sign and return the new agreement to Blue Shield by Feb. 17, but the company has assured CMA that failure to return the new agreement will not affect a physician’s participation status.

 

To assist physicians, CMA has completed an analysis of the new Blue Shield contract, available to members at www.cmanet.org/ces. Physicians are encouraged to review and understand the legal and practical implications of the contract. For additional information, see CMA’s contracting toolkit, “Taking Charge: Steps to Evaluating Relationships and Preparing for Negotiations,” also available at www.cmanet.org/ces.

 

Physicians with concerns about the new contract should contact Blue Shield Provider Services at 800-258-3091 or CMA’s reimbursement helpline at 888-401-5911 or economicservices@cmanet.org.




Still time to get free EHR assistance from CalHIPSO


Primary care physicians who are transitioning to electronic health records have until Feb. 29 to sign up for free assistance from CalHIPSO, a nonprofit organization that offers technical advice, access to vendors, educational webinars, reduced pricing on software, and many other benefits.

 

Free CalHIPSO enrollment is available to primary care physicians in small private practices, community health centers, rural health clinics or certain hospital ambulatory care clinics. Primary care physicians in other types of practice settings can enroll in CalHIPSO for just $150.

 

Interested physicians should visit www.CalHIPSO.org or contact Kent Waldsmith at kent@calhipso.org or 510-285-5745.




Physicians needed for statewide Clinical Laboratory Advisory Committee


CMA is soliciting nominations of physicians to serve on the Clinical Laboratory Technology Advisory Committee (CLTAC), which advises the California Department of Public Health on matters related to clinical laboratories. CMA is specifically seeking nominations for physicians who are engaged in office-based laboratory testing.

 

The CLTAC is a multidisciplinary committee comprised of 22 representatives from various interest groups related to clinical laboratories. Interested candidates are invited to submit a statement of interest and a current CV demonstrating their qualifications and background to Kimberly Henning by email to khenning@cmanet.org or by fax to 916-444-5689. The deadline is Feb. 17.




PEOPLE


Dr. Jorge Gonzalez, medical director of emergency services at Palm Drive Hospital, has been selected as the hospital’s chief of staff for 2012. Other new officers include radiologist Dr. Ingo Rencken, the chief of staff-elect, and pediatrician/internist Dr. Misty Zelk, the secretary-treasurer.

 

Dr. Peter Brett, a medical oncologist who specializes in treating melanoma, has joined the Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation and opened an office at 4702 Hoen Ave. in Santa Rosa. He previously worked for the Redwood Regional Medical Group.

 

Sebastopol urologist Dr. Peter Bretan recently participated in a medical mission to the Philippines organized by the Philippine Medical Society of Northern California. A team of 12 surgeons from several specialties completed 140 surgeries and saw 23,000 patients.




RESOURCES


CMA is hosting two webinars this month. Key Financial Ratios To Increase Profitability, scheduled for 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. on Feb. 1, teaches critical skills for analyzing profit/loss statements for overhead expense, accounts receivable and staffing ratios, and how to access specialty comparison norms for benchmarking. HIPAA Risk Analysis for Meaningful Use, scheduled for 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. on Feb. 15, provides detailed instruction on the steps needed to complete a HIPAA risk analysis, a key element in qualifying for electronic health record funding. To register for either seminar, visit www.cmanet.org/events.

 

The 19th annual HIV/AIDS Review will be held at the Hilton Hotel in Santa Rosa on Saturday, March 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. State and local HIV/AIDS experts will cover current issues in HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, hepatitis C, and other topics. The conference, worth 5 hours of Category 1 credit, costs just $45. To register, call 707-527-6223.

 

The Institute for Medical Quality is sponsoring a training program for physician leaders on Coronado Island from March 8 to 10. Participants will explore solutions and creative approaches to resolving problems encountered in leading a medical staff. To register, visit www.imq.org or contact Leslie Iacopi at 415-882-5167 or liacopi@imq.org.

 

The American Medical Association has made several new resources available to physicians. The Practice Management Center at www.ama-assn.org/go/pmconline educational tutorials available at www.ama-cmeonline.com can help physicians better implement health information technology. Finally, a Team Up To Stay Healthy brochure available at www.ama-assn.org/resources can help seniors receive preventive services covered by Medicare. offers easy access to tools and guidance for enhancing the operation of a medical practice. Three




APPLICANTS


Danny Arzanipour, MD, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation*, 500 Doyle Park Dr. #G04, Santa Rosa 95405, 303-8307, Fax 303-8362, danarz@gmail.com, UC Los Angeles 2004

 

Mounir Belcadi, MD, Psychiatry, 1335 N. Dutton Ave., Santa Rosa 95401, 579-8703, Fax 579-8755, Mounir.belcadi@stjoe.org, Mohammed Univ 1997

 

Benjamin Fritz, MD, Nephrology*, 2301 Circadian Way #A, Santa Rosa 95407, 526-2027, Fax 526-2096, 126 North Orchard Ave., Ukiah 95482, nephdocs@sonic.net, Stanford Univ 1997

 

Jon Jackson, MD, Psychiatry*, 1335 N. Dutton Ave., Santa Rosa 95401, 579-8703, Fax 579-8755, jon.jackson@stjoe.org, Loma Linda Univ 1980

 

Jessica Les, MD, Family Medicine, 3569 Round Barn Cir. #200, Santa Rosa 95403, 583-8806, Fax 583-8808, jessicatelela@gmail.com, Stanford Univ 2009

 

Mendy Maccabee, MD, Otolaryngology*, Allergy & Immunology*, 500 Doyle Park Dr. #106A, Santa Rosa 95405, 303-8357, Fax 303-8358, mendy.maccabee@stjoe.org, Univ Washington 1998

 

Elpidio Mariano, MD, Surgery*, 106 Lynch Creek Way #9B, Petaluma 94954, 763-1575, Fax 763-9172, elpidio.mariano@stjoe.org, Univ Santo Tomas 1971

 

Andrew Min, MD, Pediatrics, Pediatric Hospitalist, 500 Doyle Park Dr. #100, Santa Rosa 95405, 544-6090, Fax 544-2389, Columbia Univ 2006

 

Aimee Newman, MD, Pediatrics*, 5900 State Farm Dr., Rohnert Park 94928, 206-3044, Fax 206-3041, aimee.r.newman@kp.org, UC San Diego 2006

 

Ruth Ochoa, MD, Emergency Medicine*, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, 393-4800, Fax 393-4741, ruth.x.ochoa@kp.org, Stanford Univ 2005

 

Mahmoud Rashidi, MD, Neurological Surgery*, Adult & Pediatric Neurosurgery, 95 Montgomery Dr. #118, Santa Rosa 95404, 545-7175, Fax 545-7938, sirmahmoudrashidi@gmail.com, Kerman Univ 1991

 

David Russell, MD, Surgery*, Trauma Critical Care, 500 Doyle Park Dr. #G04, Santa Rosa 95405, 303-8360, Fax 303-8361, davejrussell@gmail.com, Albany Med Coll 2003

 

Melissa Strange, DO, Pediatrics, Pediatric Hospitalist, 500 Doyle Park Dr. #100, Santa Rosa 95405, 544-6090, Fax 544-2389, melissa.strange@stjoe.org

 

Nicholas Strange, DO, Family Medicine, 24 West El Rose Dr., Petaluma 94952, 763-9891, Fax 762-2311, nicholas.strange@stjoe.org

 

Suegee Tamar-Mattis, DO, Family Medicine, 144 Stony Point Rd., Santa Rosa 95401, 521-4500, Fax 544-4626, suegeetm@yahoo.com, Touro Univ 2006

 

Cesar Veluz, MD, Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, Vascular Surgery, 106 Lynch Creek Way #9B, Petaluma 94954, 763-1575, Fax 763-9172, cesar.veluz@stjoe.org, Univ Philippines 1971

 

Michael Yang, MD, Pain Medicine*, Anesthesiology*, 728 Mendocino Ave. , Santa Rosa 95401, 623-9803, Fax 843-3257, summitpainalliance@gmail.com, UC San Francisco 2004

 

* = board certified; italics = special medical interest




CLASSIFIEDS


Office space

Small suite for lease. Reception, 3 rooms, Summerfield Rd., Santa Rosa. Contact Connie, 707-525-0211.

 

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 Erika Goodwin at erika@scma.org or 707-548-6491.




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.

 

© 2012 SCMA, 2901 Cleveland Ave. #202, Santa Rosa, CA 95403




January 2012


Sonoma Medicine now available in on-line PDF format


Sonoma Medicine magazine, which is mailed to every physician in Sonoma County, is now available in a handy PDF format suitable for on-screen reading. The on-line PDF, which includes the cover and all the graphics from the printed edition, can be viewed on the SCMA home page at www.scma.org. A text-only HTML version is still posted in the magazine section of the website at www.scma.org/magazine.

 

The just-published Winter 2012 issue offers a variety of perspectives on the physician-hospital relationship, ranging from doctors in private practice who are considering hospital affiliation to those who already work full-time as hospitalists. Two other articles examine physician vs. hospital ownership of ambulatory surgery centers. Authors for this special issue include Drs. Rick Flinders, Sanjay Dhar, Allan Hill, Rachel Marek, Michael Lustberg and Michael Lazar.

 

The departments in the new issue explore topics as diverse as breast cancer centers, experimental aircraft and a medical mission to Nepal. Photos from the recent SCMA Awards Dinner are included as well.

 

SCMA members interested in contributing an article to the magazine should contact the editor, Steve Osborn, at sosborn@scma.org or 707-525-0101.


 




CalHIPSO extends free enrollment deadline to Feb. 29


The free enrollment deadline for CalHIPSO, which provides assistance for primary care physicians who are transitioning to electronic health records, has been extended to Feb. 29. The nonprofit organization offers technical assistance, access to vendors, educational webinars, reduced pricing on software, and many other benefits.

 

Free CalHIPSO enrollment is available to primary care physicians in small private practices, community health centers, rural health clinics or certain hospital ambulatory care clinics. Primary care physicians in other types of practice settings can enroll in CalHIPSO for just $150.

 

Interested physicians should visit www.CalHIPSO.org or contact Kent Waldsmith at kent@calhipso.org or 510-285-5745.

  




Pay your SCMA dues by Jan. 15 and get a 5% discount


SCMA members who pay their 2012 dues by Jan. 15 get a 5% discount. To qualify for the discount, dues must be received in the SCMA office by Jan. 15, not just postmarked by that date. Dues invoices were mailed last fall. If you need a copy, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 or rachel@scma.org.




New low-income health plan scheduled for Sonoma County


Path2Health, a new low-income health plan affiliated with the statewide County Medical Services Program (CMSP), is scheduled to begin in Sonoma County this month. The new plan provides no-cost coverage to adults who are at or below 100% of the federal poverty level, or about $10,890 annually for a single person.

 

CMSP is a longstanding program that serves about 60,000 low-income adults in 34 mostly rural California counties. About 30,000 more adults are expected to enroll in Path2Health by the end of next year. Path2Health coverage generally parallels the CMSP plan and includes primary care, hospital care, pharmacy services, and limited dental and vision care.

 

Path2Health will be administered by Anthem Blue Cross. Physicians interested in providing services to Path2Health patients need to join the Anthem Blue Cross network. Complete details are available at www.mypath2health.org.




CDC seeking nominations for breast cancer advisory committee


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is seeking nominations for physicians interested in serving on its Advisory Committee for Breast Cancer in Young Women. The committee advises the CDC and other government agencies about developing, implementing and evaluating evidence-based activities designed to prevent breast cancer in young women and promote early detection.

 

The committee meets twice a year, usually in Atlanta, and each meeting last about 3 days. Interested physicians should email a statement of interest, a current resume and a 150-word biography to SCMA Executive Director Cynthia Melody by Monday, Jan. 9. Her email is cmelody@scma.org, and her phone is 707-525-4375.




Open House for new neurosurgeon on Jan. 30


Mahmoud Rashidi, MD, a neurosurgeon who is establishing an office in Santa Rosa, will be holding an open house at the California Institute of Neuroscience & Spine from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 30. The address is 95 Montgomery Dr., Suite 118.




Photos of SCMA Awards Dinner posted online


Photos of last month’s SCMA Awards Dinner have been posted on photographer Sara Wilbur’s website at sarawilburphotography.zenfolio.com/p234748443. The password (all lower case) is scma2011. The site includes almost 100 photos, both of award winners and other attendees. Prints in various sizes are available for a nominal charge.




PEOPLE


Four local physicians and three newcomers have joined the Annadel Medical Group, an organization affiliated with the St. Joseph Health System that now includes more than 40 physicians. The local recruits include two longtime surgeons at Petaluma Valley Hospital, Dr. Elipidio Mariano and Dr. Cesar Veluz, as well as two psychiatrists from North Bay Psychiatric Associates, Dr. Mounir Belcadi and Dr. Jon Jackson. The newcomers are Dr. Nicholas Strange, a family physician, Dr. Melissa Strange, a pediatric hospitalist, and Dr. David Russell, a trauma surgeon.




MEDICAL FACILITIES


After a months-long consideration of proposals from five corporate suitors, Palm Drive Hospital has agreed to affiliate with Marin General Hospital, which has already entered into an affiliation agreement with Sonoma Valley Hospital. The resulting three-hospital network is expected to lower individual facility costs by consolidating lab, pharmacy and radiology services, as well as accounting and other administrative departments. Affiliation will also bring the Prima Medical Foundation into Sebastopol, a move that is expected to help with physician recruitment and retention.

 

The Brookwood Health Center is the latest addition to a rapidly expanding network of community health facilities in Santa Rosa. The new center, located in the recently closed Brookwood Homeless Shelter at the corner of Brookwood and Sonoma avenues, will target both homeless residents and others who have struggled to get care, according to medical director Dr. Michael Kozart. The center will be funded by an annual grant of $650,000 from the federal government, as well as a $300,000 start-up grant from the county. More than 3,000 people are expected to receive services at the center each year.

 

OffSiteCare, a Sebastopol telemedicine company, has expanded its reach to seven Northern California hospitals by establishing a centralized hub in San Francisco. Physicians at the hub will serve as nighttime hospitalists for the facilities and will also offer 24/7 emergency room specialty consults. “We’ve created a cost-effective model that will give rural hospitals access to key medical services that used to be beyond their physical and economic reach,” said Dr. Jim Gude, a Sebastopol pulmonologist who founded OffSiteCare in 2007. Hospitals served by the San Francisco hub include Palm Drive, Healdsburg and five more in Mendocino, Lake and Humboldt counties.




RESOURCES


CMA is hosting a webinar on Medicare E&M audits from 12:15 to 2 p.m. on Jan. 25. The session will cover E&M documentation recommendations in light of electronic health records, forms and pre-printed sheets. Examples from recent Medicare audits will be presented, and attendees will learn how to select the proper level of E&M coding based on CPT guidelines and other considerations. The webinar, which includes 1 CEU credit, is free to CMA members; nonmembers pay $99. To register, visit www.cmanet.org/events or call 800-786-4262.

 

Another CMA webinar, Key Financial Ratios to Increase Profitability, will be held from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. on Feb. 1. The workshop will teach critical skills in analyzing the practice profit/loss statement for overhead expense, accounts receivable and staffing ratios, and how to access specialty comparison norms for benchmarking. The webinar, which includes 1 CEU credit, is free to CMA members; nonmembers pay $99. To register, visit www.cmanet.org/events or call 800-786-4262.

 

The 19th annual HIV/AIDS Review will be held at the Hilton Hotel from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 24. This educational seminar and luncheon is for physicians, midlevel practitioners and pharmacists who provide care to people with HIV/AIDS. For details, call 707-527-6223.

 

CMA Practice Resources is a free email bulletin for full of tips and tools to help CMA members and their office staff improve practice efficiency and viability. To subscribe, visit the Publications page at www.cmanet.org.




APPLICANTS


Michael Yang, MD, Anesthesiology*, Pain Medicine*, 728 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa 95401, 623-9803, Fax 843-3257, summitpainalliance@gmail.com, UC San Francisco 2004

 

* board certified




CLASSIFIEDS


Anesthesiologist needed for infertility clinic

Must be credentialed, carry malpractice insurance and meet accepted standards. Interested candidates must be available to meet our IVF schedule two weeks per month including some weekends (as established by the practice). The individual must be willing to block out all other obligations until 1 p.m. each day to staff the IVF procedures scheduled during those weeks. Procedure weeks are determined in October for the entire calendar year. Please contact info@afamd.com with inquiries and or to submit your CV for consideration.

 

Family practice physician wanted

The Sonoma County Indian Health Project (SCIHP) in Santa Rosa is seeking a full-time BC/BE family practice physician to join our team. Obstetrics required. M-F operation with rotating nights and weekend calls. SCIHP is a comprehensive community care facility. We offer a competitive salary, excellent benefits, and an opportunity for loan repayment. For more information, please contact Bob Orr at 707-521-4654 or bob.orr@scihp.org.

 

Office space

Small suite for lease. Reception, 3 rooms, Summerfield Rd., Santa Rosa. Contact Connie, 707-525-0211.

 

Shred-It

On-site guaranteed service. Office console provided. Stay compliant. Free consultation. Contact Marie Anderson at 707-829-8668 or marie.anderson@shredit.com.

 

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 Erika Goodwin at erika@scma.org or 707-548-6491.




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.

 

© 2012 SCMA, 2901 Cleveland Ave. #202, Santa Rosa, CA 95403




December 2011


SCMA Awards Dinner attracts full house


More than 140 SCMA members, spouses and guests crowded into the Vintner’s Inn in Santa Rosa on Dec. 1 to honor several physicians and community organizations for their remarkable accomplishments. The evening began with a lively social hour that featured demonstrations of DocBookMD, a new SCMA member benefit that lets physicians send secure messages and images via their smartphones. Several other vendors were present as well, including NORCAL Mutual Insurance, which sponsored the event.

 

Before dinner, special recognition was given to Tricia Hunstock for her presidency of both the SCMA Alliance and the CMA Alliance. Dr. Jessica Les also received the Article of the Year award for “View from the Gurney,” which appeared in the fall issue of Sonoma Medicine.

 

The crowd then turned its attention to the food and to spirited conversations around each table. One of those conversations was referenced by Dr. Kirk Pappas in his after-dinner acceptance speech for the Outstanding Contribution to SCMA award. “During dinner,” he said, “SCMA President Dr. Jeff Sugarman and I got into an excellent and heated debate, but we agreed and disagreed with civility and respect, a testimony to how we work together in SCMA.”

 

Pappas contrasted this local cooperation with the lack of collaboration in Sacramento and Washington that he said is “paralyzing not just medicine and health care but our entire nation’s economy and future.” He noted the absence of physician voices in the ongoing debate on health care reform and urged those present to become more active leaders.

 

Awards were also presented to Drs. Allan Bernstein and Enrique González-Mendez, and to Operation Access. Bernstein, a Sebastopol neurologist, received the Outstanding Contribution to the Community award for his groundbreaking work in headache management and research, and for his efforts to improved specialty access for the uninsured. González-Mendez received the Outstanding Contribution to Sonoma County Medicine award for his contributions to the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency and his service to the local Latino community, including his leadership of the Latino Health Forum.

 

The evening concluded with special recognition of Operation Access, which helps low-income, uninsured patients receive surgical and specialty care. Volunteers Dr. Richard Auld, Dr. Henry Flores, Dr. David Quenelle and Marlene Russell, RN, were honored for their service to the program.

 

A photographic review of the dinner will be published in the Winter 2012 issue of Sonoma Medicine.






CalHIPSO can help with transition to electronic health records


Free or low-cost assistance for primary care physicians who are transitioning to electronic health records is available from the nonprofit California Health Information Partnership and Services Organization (CalHIPSO). The organization can provide technical assistance, access to vendors, educational webinars, reduced pricing on software, and many other benefits.

 

Free CalHIPSO enrollment is available until Dec. 31 to primary care physicians in small private practices, community health centers, rural health clinics or certain hospital ambulatory care clinics. Primary care physicians in other types of practice settings can enroll in CalHIPSO for just $150.

 

Interested physicians should visit www.CalHIPSO.org or contact Kent Waldsmith at kent@calhipso.org or 510-285-5745. The free enrollment will only be offered until all slots are filled, so time is of the essence.






Still time to update your Sonoma County Physician Directory listing


SCMA is still accepting updates for the 2012 Sonoma County Physician Directory. The directory features photographs and detailed listings for all SCMA members, including their specialty(s), special medical interest and medical training. Basic information for nonmember physicians is included as well.

 

To update your listing, return the directory verification form to SCMA by Dec. 31. If you need a copy of the form, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 or rachel@scma.org.


 




Pay your SCMA dues by Jan. 15 and get a 5% discount


SCMA members who pay their 2012 dues by Jan. 15 get a 5% discount. To qualify for the discount, dues must be received in the SCMA office by Jan. 15, not just postmarked by that date. Dues invoices were mailed earlier this fall. If you need a copy, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 or rachel@scma.org.


 




Wanted: Vintage Doctor’s Bags


SCMA is seeking vintage doctor’s bags to donate to local medical students. Physicians who have unneeded bags in good condition should contact Cynthia Melody at 707-525-4375 or cmelody@scma.org. If possible, please provide a brief history of your medical training, specialty(s), and when and where you practiced. SCMA will create a Doctor’s Bag Biography to keep with the bag and will make it available to medical students from Sonoma County.




What the demise of the Super Committee means to California physicians


The Joint Congressional Committee on Deficit Reduction (the Super Committee) declared defeat on Nov. 21, producing no consensus on a package to increase revenues or reduce spending by $1.2 trillion--including an opportunity to reduce the deficit by repealing the flawed Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) payment formula. Addressing the SGR would have reduced government spending and protected access to health care for seniors.

 

As a result, the 27% Medicare SGR payment cut still looms on Jan. 1. The scope of the next SGR intervention will come into better focus when Congress returns from its Thanksgiving break. Legislators have a number of significant items of unfinished business that will require action before the Christmas holidays, which means there will be a legislative vehicle to address the SGR. Organized medicine will be urging Congress to stop the Medicare SGR cuts for as long a period as possible. However, given the rancorous environment, it is unlikely that it will stop the cuts for more than a year or two.

 

Physicians are urged to keep calling, writing and meeting with their senators and representatives to stop the 27% SGR cuts before Jan. 1. Use the AMA Grassroots Hotline at 800-833-6354. After you enter your zip code, you will be automatically connected to your representative or senator.




CMA files lawsuit over Medi-Cal reimbursement cuts


CMA and several other professional associations have filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Health Care Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in response to the recent approval of a 10% reimbursement rate cut for Medi-Cal providers.

 

“Medi-Cal patients are already having a tough time getting access to care,” said CMA President Dr. James Hay. “The approved cuts are irresponsible and will only put the health of California’s most vulnerable population further at risk. The federal government has made a terrible mistake in approving the cuts, especially in the face of health care reform. We simply cannot treat more patients with fewer resources.”

 

California’s Medi-Cal rates are already almost the lowest in the nation. Currently, half the doctors in the state cannot afford to participate in the program. An independent study recently commissioned by CMA found that 49% of Medi-Cal patients are unable to get health care when they need it.

 

Physicians should contact CMA if you, your clinic or medical group can no longer afford to treat Medi-Cal patients, cannot find specialists who take Medi-Cal patients, or would otherwise be negatively impacted by the recent cuts that California made to the Medi-Cal program. Contact Michelle Rubalcava at 916-551-2543 or mrubalcava@cmanet.org.




CMA recoups almost $3 million for members in 2011


For the second year in a row, CMA’s Center for Economic Services has recouped more than $2.7 million from payors on behalf of CMA members. So far this year, the center has fielded almost 2,400 calls about billing and contracting issues from more than 1,200 different physician practices.

 

“Our goal is to empower practices by providing them self-help tools and teaching them how to be effective advocates for physicians and patients,” said Francisco Silva, CMA general counsel and vice president. “When the process fails, however, we’re always ready to intervene with the payor or regulator on the member’s behalf.”

 

Founded in 1999, the center provides members with one-on-one assistance for billing, contracting and payment problems that may arise. With more than 125 years of combined medical practice operations experience, staff helps members with issues ranging from underpayment or denials by payors to assisting with contract analysis during negotiations.

 

The center also provides members with access to CMA Practice Resources, a regular bulletin offering tips for improving practice efficiency and viability. To sign up for a free subscription, visit the CMA website at www.cmanet.org/newsletters.

 

To contact the center’s reimbursement helpline, call 888-401-5911 or write to economicservices@cmanet.org. For practical tools, newsletters and other online assistance, visit www.cmanet.org/ces.




PEOPLE


Veteran family physician Dr. John Canova, who has practiced in Sebastopol since 1985, is one of two local residents appointed in November to the Palm Drive Hospital board of directors. The other appointment went to Mark Inman, former president of Taylor Maid Farms. The hospital has been much in the news of late, with significant board changes and a possible affiliation deal with Marin General Hospital.

 

Family physician Dr. Francesca Manfredi has joined the Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation. Her new office is located at 510 Doyle Park Drive in Santa Rosa. A graduate of the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency, she previously worked at the Sonoma County Indian Health Project.

 

Dr. Kevin Hamann and Dr. Aimee Newman, both pediatricians, have relocated from Kaiser Santa Rosa to Kaiser’s new pediatrics department in Rohnert Park. They will join several other departments in the facility at 5900 State Farm Dr., including family medicine, occupational medicine and physical therapy.




MEDICAL FACILITIES


The Petaluma Health Center has received a $150,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente to fund quality improvement initiatives, such as establishing patient-centered medical homes, improving access to primary care, and increasing colon cancer screening for older patients. In addition, the Redwood Community Health Coalition received a $300,000 grant from Kaiser to implement the Prevent Heart Attacks and Strokes Everyday (PHASE) program, an effort to reduce heart attacks and strokes among high-risk patients.




RESOURCES


A CMA webinar, Medicare 2012: Final Rules, is scheduled for 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 7. Michele Kelly from CMA’s Center for Economic Services will cover the final 2012 Physician Fee Schedule changes and other changes that physicians and their staff should be aware of. The webinar, which offers 1 CEU credit, is free for CMA members and their staff; nonmembers pay $99. To register, visit www.cmanet.org/events, which also includes an archive of past webinars.

 

The Physicians’ and Dentists’ Confidential Assistance Line is a 24-hour confidential phone line service for physicians, dentists and their family members who request help with problems of alcoholism, drug dependence or mental illness within their families. The service is free and will not result in any form of disciplinary action or referral to any disciplinary body. The phone number is 650-756-7787. For more information, visit hwww.cmanet.org/resources/confidential-assistance.




APPLICANTS


Ji Chae, MD, Internal Medicine*, Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism*, 3559 Round Barn Blvd., Santa Rosa 95403, 571-3933, Fax 571-4858, Jiy.chae@gmail.com, New York Univ 2004

 

* board certified




CLASSIFIEDS


Anesthesiologist needed for infertility clinic

Must be credentialed, carry malpractice insurance and meet accepted standards. Interested candidates must be available to meet our IVF schedule two weeks per month including some weekends (as established by the practice). The individual must be willing to block out all other obligations until 1 p.m. each day to staff the IVF procedures scheduled during those weeks. Procedure weeks are determined in October for the entire calendar year. Please contact info@afamd.com with inquiries and or to submit your CV for consideration.

 

Family practice physician wanted

The Sonoma County Indian Health Project (SCIHP) in Santa Rosa is seeking a full-time BC/BE family practice physician to join our team. Obstetrics required. M-F operation with rotating nights and weekend calls. SCIHP is a comprehensive community care facility. We offer a competitive salary, excellent benefits, and an opportunity for loan repayment. For more information, please contact Bob Orr at 707-521-4654 or bob.orr@scihp.org.

 

Office space

Small suite for lease. Reception, 3 rooms, Summerfield Rd., Santa Rosa. Contact Connie, 707-525-0211.

 

Shred-It

On-site guaranteed service. Office console provided. Stay compliant. Free consultation. Contact Marie Anderson at 707-829-8668 or marie.anderson@shredit.com.

 

SCMA members get free classified ads!

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 Erika Goodwin at erika@scma.org or 707-548-6491.




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.

 

© 2011 SCMA, 2901 Cleveland Ave. #202, Santa Rosa, CA 95403




November 2011


Last chance to register for Nov. 2 practice management workshop


Time is running out to register for a Nov. 2 practice management workshop cosponsored by SCMA and the California Medical Association. The workshop, scheduled for noon to 2 p.m. at the Fountaingrove Inn in Santa Rosa, will be conducted by Frank Navarro, associate director of the CMA Center for Economic Services. Topics include finding and keeping qualified staff, controlling costs, and understanding your revenue stream.


Cost is just $45 for SCMA members; nonmembers pay $95. To register, print the form attached below and fax to SCMA at 707-525-4328. You can also register by phone with a credit card by calling Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375, or you can throw caution to the winds and register at the door.

 

Practice Management Workshop registration form






RSVP now for Dec. 1 Awards Dinner


Now is the time to RSVP for the annual SCMA Awards Dinner, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1. The event will be held at the Vintner’s Inn, 4350 Barnes Rd., Santa Rosa. Tickets are free for SCMA members; spouses, guests and nonmembers are $50 each.

 

To RSVP, or to purchase tickets, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 or rachel@scma.org. Mail orders can be sent to SCMA, 2901 Cleveland Ave. #202, Santa Rosa, CA 95403. Please indicate dinner choice: either “duet” (salmon and short ribs) or vegetable cannelloni.

 

The event begins with a social hour from 6 to 7 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards presentations. Outstanding Contribution awards will be presented to Drs. Allan Bernstein, Enrique González-Mendez and Kirk Pappas, and Dr. Jessica Les will receive the Article of the Year award for “View from the Gurney,” which appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of Sonoma Medicine. Tricia Hunstock will also be recognized for her work as president of the CMA Alliance.

 

Operation Access, which provides outpatient surgeries to uninsured patients, will not only receive an award from SCMA, but will also honor several local volunteers, including Drs. Richard Auld, David Quenelle and Henry Flores, along with Marlene Russell, RN.

 

For more details, see the flyer attached below.

 

SCMA Awards Dinner flyer





Members urged to donate to health careers scholarship fund


A dozen local students pursuing medical careers received more than $27,000 in scholarships from SCMA and the SCMA Alliance this year, thanks to the annual Holiday Greeting Card project and a matching grant from PFMC. “It is wonderful feeling to know that my community back home supports me and my pursuit of a medical career,” wrote Taylor Manton, currently attending medical school at USC. “The financial strains of medical school hang heavy on every student’s mind, but your scholarship helped ease that stress for me and allowed me to focus on my education.”

 

SCMA members will soon be receiving a letter from the SCMA Alliance asking for donations to next year’s scholarship fund. Donations received by Dec. 3 will be acknowledged in the Holiday Greeting Card and can be made by mail or by visiting the SCMA Alliance website at www.scmaa.org. The program has given scholarships to local students since the 1960s, and several former recipients are currently practicing medicine in Sonoma County.




DocBookMD offers improved communications for SCMA physicians


Communication between physicians can be inefficient at times, and patient care can be delayed, resulting in frustration for everyone. These frustrations, however, may be short-lived. Two physicians from Texas have created a tool to help solve these communication delays: DocBookMD--a smartphone app that is free for SCMA members.

 

“We wanted to change the way physicians communicate. We wanted to make it easier, more efficient, and more secure,” said orthopedic surgeon and DocBookMD cofounder Dr. Tim Gueramy. “We created a program that allows physicians to talk to one another with new technology.”

 

DocBookMD is a physicians-only iPhone and Android app that allows physicians to:

* Send HIPAA-compliant text messages and photos

* Assign an urgency setting to outgoing text messages

* Search a local pharmacy directory

* Search the SCMA directory and sort by specialty

 

“DocBookMD allows you to look up another doctor at the point of care,” Gueramy explained. “You can then either call the physician or send a text message with room numbers, medical record numbers, even pictures of wounds and x-rays. And all of this is sent securely and in a way that meets HIPAA requirements.”

 

SCMA members can download their free copy of DocBookMD by visiting docbookmd.com/med_socs/sonoma. Not a member? The SCMA website at www.scma.org has details on DocBookMD and other member benefits, as well as an online application form.




MedPAC: Repeal SGR but freeze or cut physician pay


The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), which advises Congress on Medicare payment policy, has recommended repealing Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, but to offset the cost of repeal by freezing or cutting physician rates for the next 10 years.

 

Under MedPAC’s plan, primary care physician payments from Medicare would be frozen at current levels for 10 years, and specialists would see their pay cut by 5.9% a year over the next three years, followed by a seven-year freeze. The plan would avert the 29% physician pay cut that the SGR formula mandates on Jan. 1.

 

CMA strongly opposes MedPAC’s plan, arguing that a long-term payment freeze in an era of 6% average annual practice cost increases essentially equates to a significant payment cut. The association will continue to work with the AMA and others in organized medicine on a permanent repeal of the SGR.

 

CMA is urging physicians to tell Congress that repealing the SGR not only ensures patients can see a doctor when they need one, but also makes economic sense. A package of Medicare SGR materials--including an advocacy kit, a patient poster and a sample letter to Congress--has been posted at www.scma.org/resources.




CMA urges legalization and regulation of medical cannabis


CMA has adopted official policy recommending legalization and regulation of medical cannabis (marijuana). The decision was based on a CMA white paper concluding that physicians should have access to better research, which is not possible under current drug policy. (To read the white paper, visit www.scma.org/resources.)

 

“CMA may be the first organization of its kind to take this position,” said CMA President Dr. James Hay, “but we won’t be the last. This was a carefully considered, deliberative decision made exclusively on medical and scientific grounds. As physicians, we need to have a better understanding about the benefits and risks of medicinal cannabis so that we can provide the best care possible to our patients.”

 

CMA’s Board of Trustees adopted the policy without objection at its Oct. 14 meeting in Anaheim.

 

The federal government currently lists cannabis as a Schedule I drug, which restricts research on the substance. Part of the policy adopted by CMA emphasizes that the drug should be rescheduled in addition to being legalized.

 

Physicians, who are currently only allowed to “recommend” medical cannabis, have been stuck in an uncomfortable position since California decriminalized the drug in 2006. “California has decriminalized marijuana, yet it’s still illegal on a federal level,” said Dr. Hay. “That puts physicians in an incredibly difficult legal position, since we’re the ones ultimately recommending the drug.”




CMA House targets hospital foundations, brand-name drugs and more


Physicians at the annual CMA House of Delegates meeting in October adopted a number of resolutions that will determine CMA policy during the coming year. The resolutions ask CMA to:

 

* Advocate for stronger regulatory enforcement of California’s ban on the corporate practice of medicine, such as hospital foundation ownership of medical groups.

 

* Oppose the profit-motivated removal of generic medications from the market in favor of more expensive brand-name products.

 

* Advocate for expanding the J-1 Visa program beyond 30 slots. Visa waivers should be granted for six years initially, and preference should be given to physicians serving in rural and underserved areas.

 

* Support allowing eligible uninsured patients to enroll in public health programs at the time they receive care.




Want more state and national news? Read CMA Alert


For more state and national news stories, physicians are encouraged to read CMA Alert, a biweekly electronic newsletter published by the California Medical Association. The newsletter is posted at www.cmanet.org/cma-alert. CMA members can receive a free email subscription by clicking the Subscribe link.




PEOPLE


Dr. Hilary Bartels has been appointed chief of emergency medicine at Kaiser Santa Rosa, where she has worked since 1990. She attended Case Western Reserve University medical school and completed her residency in emergency medicine at Harbors-UCLA Medical Center. An accomplished athlete, she has earned many awards for cycling, running and swimming.




MEDICAL FACILITIES


Palm Drive Hospital, the only local hospital without a larger helpmate, has received partnership proposals from Adventist Health, Marin General Hospital, St. Joseph Health System, Catholic Healthcare West and HealthTech. A hospital committee advised by Drs. Greg Rosa, Richard Powers and Michael Bollinger is evaluating the proposals and is expected to make a recommendation by December.

 

Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa and Sutter Medical Group of the Redwoods may soon be seeing more Medicare patients, thanks to a new Medicare Advantage plan targeted to about 80,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Sonoma County. The plan, a joint venture between UnitedHealthcare and Sutter Health, will offer patients access to both the hospital and the medical group, which includes more than 600 physicians. Enrollment opened on Oct. 15 and closes on Dec. 7.




RESOURCES


CMA webinars for November are listed below. The webinars are free for CMA members. Nonmembers pay $99. To register, visit www.cmanet.org/events.

* Electronic Health Records Update (12:15 p.m., Nov. 2). The latest news on the Medicare and Medi-Cal EHR programs.

* EHR Meaningful Use (12:15 and 6:15 p.m., Nov. 9). How to qualify for EHR incentive payments.

* Top 10 Ways To Save Your Practice Money (12:15 and 6:15 p.m., Nov. 16). How to curb expenses and improve revenue.

 

Marsh, the insurance broker endorsed by CMA, is offering a high deductible health plan/health savings account that offers lower rates than other types of health insurance. In 2012, for example, individuals can contribute at least $3,100 (or $6,250 for family coverage) to the tax-deductible account and access the funds without penalty for health-related expenses. For more details, contact Marsh at 800-842-3761 or visit www.MarshAffinity.com.




APPLICANTS


William Carroll, MD, Internal Medicine*, Geriatric Medicine*, 3536 Mendocino Ave. , Santa Rosa 95403, 546-2180, Fax 546-2188, carrollpb@comcast.net, Indiana Univ 1982

 

Hana Clark, DO, Family Medicine, 3569 Round Barn Cir., Santa Rosa 95403, 303-3600, Fax 303-3611, clarkhm@sutterhealth.org, Arizona Coll Osteo Med 2011

 

Steven Gelber, MD, Internal Medicine*, 5900 State Farm Dr., Rohnert Park 94928, 206-3044, Fax 206-3041, steven.i.gelber@kp.org, UC San Francisco 2008

 

Gilberto Palacios, MD, Internal Medicine, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, 393-4269, Fax 393-4556, gilbertopalacios@yahoo.com, UC San Francisco 2008

 

Rajesh Ranadive, MD, Internal Medicine*, 141 Lynch Creek Way #C, Petaluma 94954, 763-0802, Fax 763-0803, Ross Univ 1999

 

Rajina Ranadive, MD, Internal Medicine*, 141 Lynch Creek Way #C, Petaluma 94954, 763-0802, Fax 763-0803, Ross Univ 1999

 

Marco Zolezzi, MD, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation*, Acupuncture, 525 E. Cotati Ave. #230, Cotati 94931, 794-0316, Fax 794-0388, marcozolezzi@yahoo.com, Autonomous Univ 1982

 

* board certified




CLASSIFIEDS


Medical director/staff physician wanted

Sonoma Valley Community Health Center is seeking a family practice physician for the Medical Director/Staff Physician position. This position provides medical supervision and direction to the Health Center’s clinical services, as well as direct patient care. Must work collaboratively and be willing to support and back-up the mid-level clinicians, and provide call coverage through group call services for peds and family practice. We are looking for an innovator, a change manager and a demonstrated leader. Must have a current CA physician’s license. Call 707-939-6075 to learn more about the position. Website: www.svchc.org.

 

Office space

Small suite for lease. Reception, 3 rooms, Summerfield Rd., Santa Rosa. Contact Connie, 707-525-0211.

 

Shred-It

On-site guaranteed service. Office console provided. Stay compliant. Free consultation. Contact Marie Anderson at 707-829-8668 or marie.anderson@shredit.com.

 

SCMA members get free classified ads!

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 Erika Goodwin at erika@scma.org or 707-548-6491.




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.

© 2011 SCMA, 2901 Cleveland Ave. #202, Santa Rosa, CA 95403




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