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March 2013

• SCMA weighs in on fluoride debate

• Nominations needed for SCMA election

• Dr. Wayne Jonas to speak in Santa Rosa on April 3

• Report from the CMA board of trustees

• Save the date: Legislative Leadership Conference on April 16

• The iWALK Challenge is back!

• RSVP now for May 9 membership dinner

• Reminder: PFMC grant proposals due April 2

• Top stories from CMA Alert

• PEOPLE

• MEDICAL ORGANIZATIONS

• RESOURCES

• CLASSIFIEDS

• APPLICANTS

• ABOUT SCMA


SCMA weighs in on fluoride debate

SCMA is supporting a measure requiring fluoridation of the water supplied by the Sonoma County Water Agency and other local water systems. In a Feb. 20 letter to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors and members of several local city councils and water districts, SCMA President Dr. Walt Mills noted that, “This measure will have a significant impact on reducing health disparities and improving the oral health of our children and of Sonoma County residents of all ages.”

The letter was submitted prior to a contentious Board of Supervisors meeting on Feb. 26, during which both advocates and opponents of fluoridation spoke at length. Among the speakers was Health Officer Dr. Lynn Silver Chalfin, who noted that on a typical day about a dozen local children need general anesthesia for treatment of severe dental disease. She also described a CDC study finding that every dollar spent on fluoridation results in $38 in savings on dental care.

At the end of the meeting, the supervisors voted unanimously to authorize a financial analysis and engineering studies on the fluoridation measure. The process of making a final decision on fluoridation is expected to take about a year. During that time, SCMA members are encouraged to contact their county supervisor or city council members to discuss the fluoridation proposal. As Dr. Mills observed in a separate letter to local physicians, “Fluoridation in Sonoma County will not happen without the active support of the local health care community.”


Nominations needed for SCMA election

In preparation for the upcoming SCMA election, all members are urged to submit nominations for leadership positions by March 15. Nominees must be SCMA members in good standing. Nominations are requested for the following positions:

• SCMA executive team (3): president-elect, treasurer, and secretary

• SCMA board representatives from West County (1), and Santa Rosa (2)

• CMA delegates (3)

• CMA alternate delegates (5)

All positions require a three-year commitment, beginning July 1. Nominations can be emailed to cynthia@scma.org, faxed to 707-525-4328, 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 707-525-4375.


Dr. Wayne Jonas to speak in Santa Rosa on April 3

Wayne Jonas, MD, one of the nation’s leading family physicians, will speak at the Vista Family Health Center in Santa Rosa on Wednesday evening, April 3. Currently president and CEO of the Samueli Institute, a nonprofit research organization, Dr. Jonas previously headed the Office of Alternative Medicine at the National Institute of Health. He teaches at Georgetown University and the Uniformed Services University and is a widely published researcher.

For his Santa Rosa appearance, Jonas will discuss “Creating optimal healing environments in Sonoma County.” All local physicians are invited to attend this free event, which runs from 6 to 8 p.m. and is sponsored by the North Bay chapters of the California Academy of Family Physicians. Space is limited, however, so RSVPs are required. Light refreshments will be served.

To RSVP, contact Erika Goodwin by March 29 at erikagoodwin@sonic.net. For more details, visit www.northbayafp.org.


Report from the CMA board of trustees

Mark Davis, MD, and Peter Bretan, MD

Dr. Davis (Crescent City) and Dr. Bretan (Novato) are the District X trustees on the CMA board of trustees.

Your District X trustees attended the Jan. 24-25 meeting of the CMA board of trustees (BOT) in San Diego. Most of the meeting was conducted without much debate and included correspondence and business of the Institute for Medical Quality, the CALPAC board of directors, and the Medical Education Debt technical advisory committee. Informational reports were presented from the AMA delegation, the CMA Foundation, and the CMA Alliance. The BOT also heard reports from the Council on Legislation regarding proposed legislation for 2013. CMA’s president, executive committee and CEO reported on membership (we now represent more than 37,000 physicians in California), the California Health Benefit Exchange, CMA’s economic services, the Policy Center, federal issues, and on CMA’s strategic plan, budget and legal issues.

The biggest discussion was about supporting the Medicare geographic adjustment factor (GAF) for implementing the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid increase for primary care. The GAF will in part use the flawed calculations similar to the GPCI adjustments we are all so familiar with in District X. We realized that not to accept the Medicare GAF would be accepting much less increase for our primary care members, so we adopted this compromise. This action will ultimately bring a lot more reimbursement to CMA’s primary care members.

At a board retreat immediately following the BOT meeting, USC Economics Professor Dave Logan--co-author of “Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization”--led a discussion about how the CMA board can foster a culture of cooperation without forsaking individual consciences. Afterward, CMA Chief Executive Dustin Corcoran gave a presentation on “Activity Based Costing (ABC) System for CMA.” He explained that the ABC system will provide a high level of accuracy about the real costs of products and services. CMA will be moving to this system to get a better method for analyzing the real costs of each part of CMA. The system will allow CMA to best utilize its limited resources and plan better for the future of the organization.

Dr. Bretan learned a lot about the BOT in his first meeting as a District X delegate. He realized that the BOT is composed of incredibly talented physicians working together in a culture of teamwork and respect, with a commitment to recognizing the smallest voice. He is optimistic and looks forward to working with so many committed colleagues on the board. We both agree that together we can help bring CMA to a bright future.


Save the date: Legislative Leadership Conference on April 16

Want to make your voice heard in state government? If so, you’re invited to attend CMA’s free Legislative Leadership Conference in Sacramento on Tuesday, April 16--one day after income taxes are due. Hundreds of physicians from all over California attend this annual event.

The morning includes speeches from key legislative leaders. Speakers for 2013 haven’t been confirmed yet, but last year Gov. Brown addressed the conference. In the afternoon, attendees go to the Capitol to meet with their legislators on health care issues.

To RSVP for the conference, contact Cynthia Melody at cmelody@scma.org or 707-525-4375. She will arrange for transportation to Sacramento.


The iWALK Challenge is back!

Due to popular demand, the iWALK Challenge is back! This popular springtime activity is part of a broad-based effort to make Sonoma County the healthiest county in California.

The iWALK Challenge is simply a commitment to exercise. Over a 10-week period, individuals commit to get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week. That breaks down to just 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Any type of exercise counts, including swimming, biking, running, walking, hiking or dancing.

This year’s iWALK Challenge runs from March 4 to May 11, ending on the day of the Human Race. Participants can use the iWALK Challenge to train for that popular event. Registration for the iWALK Challenge is completely free and helps support the countywide movement to reduce obesity through exercise. To register, visit www.iWALKsonoma.org and click on the iWALK Challenge button. For more details, contact Becky Lunders at info@iwalksonoma.org or 707-793-0933.


All local physicians invited to May 9 wine-and-cheese reception

All local physicians and their spouses or guests are invited to SCMA’s annual wine-and-cheese reception, scheduled for Thursday evening, May 9. This popular event--which features collegial conversation and a sampling of fine wines and cheeses--is absolutely free for both SCMA members and nonmembers.

CMA President Dr. Paul Phinney, a Sacramento pediatrician, will give an informal “president’s message” touching on what CMA is doing for you, current issues, and opportunities to get involved in CMA, followed by a question-and-answer period.

The location is still to be determined, but the date has been confirmed. To RSVP, contact Rachel Pandolfi at rachel@scma.org or 707-525-4375.


Reminder: PFMC grant proposals due April 2

Nonprofit health organizations in Sonoma County are encouraged to apply for Community Grants from the Pacific Foundation for Medical Care. 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. The application deadline for the next round of grants is April 2. For application materials, contact Kathy Pass at 707-525-4281 or kpass@rhs.org. For more information, visit www.pfmc.org.


Leadership Academy heads to Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas

The annual California Health Care Leadership Academy will be held May 31 through June 2 at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. Presented by CMA, the California Medical Group Management Association and the CMA Foundation, “Increasing the Odds of Success” will cover a variety of issues to help physicians succeed in the rapidly changing health care landscape.

Hear from the experts and leaders of change and attend a comprehensive slate of practice management seminars and workshops to position your practice for success. For details, contact Roger Purdy at rpurdy@cmanet.org or 916-444-5532.


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.

Get your staff prepared for ICD-10 implementation: Three-part webinar begins March 7

Medicare reimbursement for physicians may be cut by 2%

DHCS vendor works to solve Medi-Cal EHR incentive program payment issues

CMA grows by 4% in 2012

Covered California launches consumer website


PEOPLE

Dr. David Lightfoot, a Santa Rosa ophthalmologist, is the lucky winner of a new iPad for completing the recent SCMA strategic planning survey. More than 180 local physicians participated in the survey, which included questions about SCMA’s role in enhancing community health. Survey results will be used by the SCMA board of directors to develop a strategic plan for 2013 and beyond.

Dr. Milton Antipa, who practiced urology in Santa Rosa for nearly 50 years, died in February at the age of 91. Born to Greek-American restaurateurs in San Francisco, he graduated from medical school at UC Berkeley and completed a urology residency at Stanford. He served on an army hospital ship during World War II and then opened a practice in San Francisco. He and his wife, Billie, moved to Santa Rosa in 1954. In addition to his thriving practice, Antipa managed his family’s 70-acre ranch on Wallace Road and was also a skilled sailor.


MEDICAL ORGANIZATIONS

Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital has opened an Outpatient Diagnostic Cardiology Clinic in partnership with eight local cardiologists, including Drs. John Hunter, John Reed, Patrick Devlin, Tomas Vasiliauskas, Emily Conway, Joel Erickson, Jose Ballesteros and William Bowden. The clinic offers echocardiograms, nuclear stress tests and stress echocardiograms. “We have sought to create a patient-centered environment,” said Dr. Hunter, “where those who are tested can benefit from the same sophisticated imaging they’d receive in the hospital, but with easier, quicker access and more affordable pricing.” The new clinic comes on the heels of the hospital’s majority purchase of the Advanced Surgery Institute, an ambulatory surgery center just east of downtown Santa Rosa. The hospital will co-own the facility with 19 physician investors and Regent Surgical Health, a surgery management company.

Sutter Health’s Breast Center, located for several years on Steele Lane in Santa Rosa, has moved north to the Sutter Health Plaza at 3883 Airway Drive. The new facility is adjacent to Sutter’s Advanced Imaging Center, which opened in January. The Breast Center features a state-of-the-art wide-bore MRI scanner and a stereotactic system that can be used for both standard mammography and prone stereotactic biopsies.

The Annadel Medical Group has opened an after-hours primary care clinic at 52 Mission Circle, near the intersection of Mission Boulevard and Highway 12 in Santa Rosa. The clinic is open from 5 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Drs. Herb Brosbe, Marisha Lockwood-Chilcott and Jenny Sullivan will staff the clinic, which will offer same-day and walk-in appointments for non-emergency conditions. “Medicine needs to be more customer-oriented,” said Dr. Lockwood-Chilcott. “This type of expansion and shift in medicine is absolutely required if we are to more fully meet patients’ needs.”


RESOURCES

The following CMA webinars are scheduled for March. Webinars 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.

• Fraud and abuse: dangers and defenses (March 6)

• Essentials for ICD-10-CM: Part 1 (March 7)

• Utilizing the new SDI online system (March 13)

• Essentials for ICD-10-CM: Part 2 (March 14)

• EHR selection: Top 10 tips for success (March 20)

• Essentials for ICD-10-CM: Part 3 (March 21)

• Successful Medi-Cal provider enrollment (March 27)

The 20th annual HIV/AIDS Review will be held from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, at the Hilton Hotel in Santa Rosa. Speakers includes Drs. Marshall Kubota, Danny Toub and Andy Desruisseau. For information and reservations, call the North Coast AIDS Center at 707-303-8904.


CLASSIFIEDS

Family physicians needed

Family medicine positions available with Annadel Medical Group in Sonoma County. Contact James.DeVore@stjoe.org.

Physician wanted

Physicians: Retired w/license? Want to cut back to one or two days a week? Rewarding alternative care office in Marin County looking for California licensed MD for consultative work. Part time, excellent compensation. Contact James Gould at 760-703-3767 or james@greenleafcare.com.

Medical office space for lease, Santa Rosa

Newly remodeled medical office with exam rooms available for clinician to see patients. Located on N. Dutton Ave. near West College. Parking, reception area, utilities included. For details, visit www.facebook.com/SantaRosaSportsAndFamilyMedicine. Contact Len at 707-529-8081 or len@srsportsmed.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 Linda McLaughlin at Linda@scma.org or 707-525-4359.


APPLICANTS

Jose-Mario Fontanilla, MD, Internal Medicine*, Infectious Disease*, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, Univ Philippines 2001

Kristin Murray, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology*, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, Univ Minnesota 1998

* = 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.

© 2013 SCMA, 2901 Cleveland Ave. #202, Santa Ro

February 2013

• CMA files appeal to stop Medi-Cal rate cuts

• Feb. 21 reception to honor Assemblymember Marc Levine

• Save the date: Legislative Leadership Conference on April 16

• CMA president to speak at May 9 SCMA membership dinner

• PFMC grant proposals due April 2

• New ad rep for SCMA publications

• Top stories from CMA Alert

• MEDICAL ORGANIZATIONS

• RESOURCES

• CLASSIFIEDS

• APPLICANTS

• ABOUT SCMA


CMA files appeal to stop Medi-Cal rate cuts

The California Medical Association has filed a request for an “en banc” (full court) review by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to stop the State of California from implementing a 10% cut to Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rates. In December 2012, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled that the state could move forward with the rate cuts, passed by the Legislature in 2011, despite an earlier district court ruling that the cuts would irreparably harm the millions of patients who rely on Medi-Cal for health care. CMA and the other plaintiffs in the case are requesting a rehearing from the full court.

Following the three-judge panel’s ruling, Gov. Brown issued his 2013-14 budget proposal, which includes a 10% Medi-Cal reimbursement cut, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2013.

CMA and the other plaintiffs--including the California Hospital Association, California Dental Association and California Pharmacists Association--argue that reducing payments in the Medi-Cal system will force providers out of the program at a time when millions of new patients are entering the program. The plaintiffs also argue that the cuts will devastate access to care, not only for existing Medi-Cal patients, but also the 900,000 children moving from the Healthy Families program into Medi-Cal in 2013 and the millions of patients who will be newly eligible for Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act in 2014.

“Cutting payment to Medi-Cal providers by 10% will have a huge impact on patient access to care,” said CMA President Dr. Paul Phinney. “The state is in much better fiscal shape now than when these cuts were initially proposed in 2011. With millions of new Medi-Cal patients entering the program under the Affordable Care Act, we simply cannot continue to cut resources and expect successful implementation of health reform in California.”


Feb. 21 reception to honor Assemblymember Marc Levine

All local physicians are invited to a free reception on Thursday evening, Feb. 21, to honor new Sonoma/Marin Assemblymember Marc Levine. The reception--which is sponsored by Californians Allied for Patient Protection (CAPP), a coalition to protect MICRA--will run from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Country Villa, 81 Professional Center Parkway, San Rafael.

To RSVP for the reception, contact Marissa Schriver at mschriver@micra.org or 916-448-7992 x4. If you’re unable to attend, you are encouraged to make a donation to Levine’s 2014 campaign, which has already begun. Checks should be made payable to Friends of Marc Levine for Assembly 2014 (ID #1353695) and mailed to CAPP, 1215 K St. #2015, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Levine won a spirited election for the Assembly last fall and is a strong supporter of MICRA, the landmark legislation that keeps California’s malpractice insurance rates among the lowest in the nation.


Save the date: Legislative Leadership Conference on April 16

Want to make your voice heard in state government? If so, you’re invited to attend CMA’s free Legislative Leadership Conference in Sacramento on Tuesday, April 16--one day after income taxes are due. Hundreds of physicians from all over California attend this annual event.

The morning includes speeches from key legislative leaders. Speakers for 2013 haven’t been confirmed yet, but last year Gov. Brown addressed the conference. In the afternoon, attendees go to the Capitol to meet with their legislators on health care issues.

To RSVP for the conference, contact Cynthia Melody at cmelody@scma.org or 707-525-4375. She will arrange for transportation to Sacramento.


CMA president to speak at May 9 SCMA membership dinner

New CMA President Dr. Paul Phinney, a Sacramento pediatrician, is scheduled to speak at the SCMA membership reception and dinner on Thursday, May 9. Details are still being confirmed, but the date has been set. Please mark your calendars.


PFMC grant proposals due April 2

Nonprofit health organizations in Sonoma County are encouraged to apply for Community Grants from the Pacific Foundation for Medical Care. 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. The application deadline for the next round of grants is April 2. For application materials, contact Kathy Pass at 707-525-4281 or kpass@rhs.org. For more information, visit www.pfmc.org.


New ad rep for SCMA publications

Linda McLaughlin, the graphic designer for Sonoma Medicine magazine, has agreed to take on the additional responsibility of serving as ad representative for all publications produced by SCMA, including the magazine, SCMA News Briefs, the Sonoma County Physician Directory and the SCMA website.

McLaughlin (no relation to SCMA attorney Larry McLaughlin) replaces Erika Goodwin, who will continue to serve as associate director of the Napa and Solano medical societies and to sell ads for their publications. Because of McLaughlin’s background as a graphic designer, she can help advertisers design new ads or revise existing ones. Advertisers with signed contracts can receive one free hour of her time.

SCMA members can place free classified ads in Sonoma Medicine and SCMA News Briefs, and they get a 15% discount for display ads. Advertising rate sheets for all SCMA publications can be found at www.scma.org/adrates.asp.

To place an ad, or to get help with designing an ad, contact McLaughlin at Linda@scma.org or 707-525-4359.


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.

HHS makes sweeping changes to HIPAA privacy and security rules

Some Medicare claims mistakenly rejected because of zip code error

Palmetto announces new audits

Obama says physicians can ask patients about guns without fear of breaking the law

AMA announces $10 million initiative to redesign medical education


MEDICAL ORGANIZATIONS

The Meritage Medical Network--which includes more than 500 physicians in Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties--has been granted Accountable Care Organization (ACO) status by Medicare. The new status will allow Meritage to benefit from cost savings achieved by coordinating care for Medicare beneficiaries with hospitals and other providers. Currently Meritage is partnering with Santa Rosa Memorial, Marin General and most other non-Kaiser and non-Sutter hospitals in the area. They are also affiliated with Western Health Advantage, a Sacramento-based HMO that just expanded to the North Bay.

The arms race is still in full swing in Sonoma County, although it has expanded to include hands, knees, feet and even entire bodies. Both Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation have recently installed high-power imaging systems with a wide range of capabilities. Memorial is offering a wide-bore MRI that is intended to improve patient comfort and improve image quality. Sutter has opened an Advanced Imaging Center in Santa Rosa that features a 128-slice CT scanner, another wide-bore MRI, digital mammography and digital x-rays.

Healdsburg District Hospital has appointed George Protos as interim CEO for the hospital until a replacement can be found for former CEO Evan Rayner. Protos, the human resources director for the North Sonoma County Healthcare District, will probably only serve until the end of February, when the hospital hopes to announce a new CEO.


RESOURCES

The following CMA webinars are scheduled for February. Webinars 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.

• Healthy Families: Important program changes (Feb. 5)

• HIPAA compliance: Final HITECH rule (Feb. 6)

• Impact of ICD-10 (Feb. 7)

• E/M services review 1: Documentation requirements (Feb. 12)

• E/M services review 2: History component (Feb. 13)

• E/M services review 3: Examination component (Feb. 19)

• E/M services review 4: Medical decision making (Feb. 20)

• Practice mergers (Feb. 27)

The second annual Childhood Obesity Bay Area Conference will be held on Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., in San Francisco. Acclaimed science writer Gary Taubes, author of “Why We Get Fat,” headlines a distinguished panel of speakers. This year’s conference will provide fresh insights into the various factors contributing to childhood obesity, and how leaders in the field are addressing those challenges. To register, visit www.sfcoba2013.eventbrite.com.

The 20th annual HIV/AIDS Review will be held from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, at the Hilton Hotel in Santa Rosa. Speakers includes Drs. Marshall Kubota, Danny Toub and Andy Desruisseau. For information and reservations, call the North Coast AIDS Center at 707-303-8904.


CLASSIFIEDS

Family physicians needed

Family medicine positions available with Annadel Medical Group in Sonoma County. Contact James.DeVore@stjoe.org.

Office space needed, Petaluma

Medical office space needed in Petaluma near Petaluma Valley Hospital for physician to see patients, no staff needed. Need one day a week, Monday or Thursday. Contact Tammy at 707-252-8407 or nvna@napanet.net.

Office space needed, Santa Rosa

Medical office space needed in Santa Rosa for physician to see women’s health patients. Need one day a week. Contact Kristyn at 415-827-9945.

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 707-525-4359 or linda@scma.org.


APPLICANTS

Eric Dean, MD, Medical Oncology*, Internal Medicine*, Hematology, 3883 Airway Dr. #220, Santa Rosa 95403, Harvard Med Sch 2005

Charles Emond Jr., DO, Emergency Medicine, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, Kirksville Coll Osteo Med 2003

Bruce Heller, MD, Family Medicine*, 2220 Northpoint Pkwy., Santa Rosa 95407, Case Western Reserve Univ 2002

Julie Pearson, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology*, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, Univ Illinois 1996

Elizabeth Peralta, MD, Surgery, Surgical Oncology, 3883 Airway Dr., Santa Rosa 95403, UC Irvine 1992

Tara Scott, MD, Family Medicine*, 3569 Roundbarn Cir. #200, Santa Rosa 95405, Harvard Med Sch 2002

* = 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.

© 2013 SCMA, 2901 Cleveland Ave. #202, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

January 2013

• Medicare to implement 26.5% rate cut because of Congressional inaction

• Urge Rep. McCarthy and Sen. Feinstein to pass Medicare Locality update

• All local doctors invited to take SCMA strategic planning survey

• Medi-Cal primary care rate hikes delayed

• SCMA Awards Dinner photos posted on Flickr

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

• PEOPLE

• MEDICAL ORGANIZATIONS

• RESOURCES

• CLASSIFIEDS

• APPLICANTS

• ABOUT SCMA


Medicare to implement 26.5% rate cut because of Congressional inaction

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) issued a statement on Dec. 19 that because of Congressional inaction the agency will be forced implement the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula cut of 26.5% beginning Jan. 1.

If Congress does adjourn without addressing the payment cut, CMS has said it will follow normal claims processing procedures. That is, claims will not be held and Medicare carriers will process payments for physician services provided after Dec. 31 under the normal 14-day cycle required by law. Payment for these claims would be based on the new, lower fee schedule conversion factor of $25.0008, as opposed to the current rate of $34.0376.

The California Medical Association (CMA) has spoken with California leadership in Congress to confirm that the “fiscal cliff” negotiations have broken down. There is also no agreement within Congress to pass a stand-alone SGR bill.

Both Republican and Democratic leaders understand that physicians cannot sustain a 26.5% Medicare payment cut, but it is now caught up in the politics of the fiscal cliff. It is critical that physicians keep contacting their members of Congress to demand action.

In addition to the SGR cut, physicians are facing a potential 2% “sequestration” cut. The sequestration cuts are part of the $1.2 trillion in cuts required by the budget deal worked out to end last year’s debt-ceiling crisis.

Ultimately, CMA does not think Congress will allow the cuts to go forward on any long-term basis. At this time, it is impossible to predict whether the 112th Congress will find a way to pass a stop-gap measure before adjourning, how long such a measure would last, or how long payment cuts will be in effect until legislation can be passed after the 113th Congress convenes in January.

Congress is once again putting Medicare patients and the practices of physicians who treat them at significant risk.

“The health care delivery system is going to see an influx of patients in the next 18 months,” said CMA President Dr. Paul Phinney. “We simply cannot continue to cut resources while adding more patients. The result will be millions of patients with insurance coverage, unable to see a physician. This is especially true in California, where we are also battling cuts to the state’s Medicaid program at the same time.”

The financial disruption this situation will cause for physicians and their practices is unacceptable. CMA will continue to fervently convey this message in the strongest possible terms to Congress and the Administration. Our grassroots network has been activated, and we are seeking your voices to tell Congress just how deeply its inaction will affect you.

Despite these efforts, CMA feels compelled to advise physicians to start making plans to mitigate this disruption and meet their own financial obligations in January. Given the potential impact on practice revenue in early January, physicians should be certain that adequate arrangements are in place to sustain their practices. For those physicians who are forced into the untenable position of limiting their involvement with the Medicare program because it threatens the viability of their practices, we urge that patients be notified promptly so that they, too, can explore other options for obtaining needed medical care.

Physicians should also be aware that they have until Dec. 31 to make changes to their Medicare participation status for 2013. For more information on your participation options, see the AMA Medicare toolkit at www.cmanet.org.

CMA will remain engaged throughout the holidays and keep you informed of any new developments. Meanwhile, contact your members of Congress and urge them to work together to stop the Medicare payment cuts before they take effect on Jan. 1. Use the AMA Grassroots Hotline at 800-833-6354. You will be asked to enter your zip code and select your Representative. Please select your Representative first, then call back to connect with Senators Boxer and Feinstein.

Though phone calls are most effective, you may also contact your members of Congress via email. Talking points and sample letters are available in CMA's grassroots action center.

 

Urge Rep. McCarthy and Sen. Feinstein to pass Medicare Locality update

Rep. Darrel Issa (R-San Diego) and Rep. Sam Farr (D-Monterey/Santa Cruz) are pushing a compromise Medicare Locality pilot program that would update California’s Medicare physician payment regions and payment rates and help to improve access to care. Because of the Medicare formula, physicians in California’s rural areas would experience a corresponding payment cut, so the proposal would hold rural physicians harmless from cuts.

A California administrative Medicaid funding source has been identified to pay for the “hold harmless,” so there is no cost to the federal government. Once the funding expires in 2017, the localities would revert back to the 2012 locality designations. While this is not the permanent solution that CMA has been seeking, it is a short-term compromise to help improve access to physicians in the 14 negatively impacted counties while protecting access to care in rural areas.

CMA is urging physicians to contact Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) and ask them to include the “California GPCI locality pilot” in the Medicare SGR/fiscal cliff legislation.

To contact Sen. Feinstein, call 202-224-3841 or visit www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-me.

To contact Rep. McCarthy, call 202-225-2915 or visit forms.house.gov/kevinmccarthy/webforms/issue_subscribe.html.

 

All local doctors invited to take SCMA strategic planning survey

The SCMA Board of Directors is launching an extensive strategic planning project and invites all local physicians to participate in an online survey about SCMA and healthcare issues. Survey results will help guide SCMA board members as they consider a strategic plan for 2013 and beyond. The goal of the plan is to ensure that SCMA fulfills its mission of supporting physicians and their efforts to enhance the health of the community.

The survey is confidential, but SCMA members who choose to identify themselves will be entered into a drawing for an iPad. Nonmembers who submit an SCMA application form and pay their 2013 dues will also be entered into the drawing.

The survey consists of 16 questions about community health and SCMA, with plenty of opportunities for additional comments. It should only take 5 minutes to complete.

To access the survey, visit www.surveymonkey.com/s/SCMA_Survey.

The deadline for completing the survey is Jan. 31.

 

Medi-Cal primary care rate hikes delayed

Medi-Cal primary care physicians will have to wait to receive the higher reimbursement rates that were set to go into effect on Jan. 1 under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The delay has been caused by a state health plan amendment that must receive federal approval. It is not yet known when the federal approval process will be completed, but the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has said the earliest it would be able to implement the increase is summer 2013. DHCS has been unable to provide any detailed information regarding the reason for the lengthy delay.

This 100% federally funded increase was intended to recruit more physicians to treat low-income patients who will be newly eligible for health coverage under the ACA. With the increase, primary care physicians should see their reimbursement rates raised to Medicare levels in 2013 and 2014. According to Medicare, states must also incorporate the increased payment rates into their contracts with managed care plans so that primary care physicians contracting with Medi-Cal managed care plans see the higher rates.

California is not alone in this delay; several other states are in the same boat as well. The final federal regulations governing the two-year primary care physician rate hike were released on Nov. 1, which did not give states much time to write and submit the necessary plan amendments.

DHCS has indicated that regardless of when it is implemented, the increase will be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2013. However, they have been unable to say when the rate increase will happen and exactly how retroactive payment will function, apart from indicating that physicians will not be required to resubmit claims.

 

SCMA Awards Dinner photos posted on Flickr

An overflow crowd of more than 100 physicians, spouses, significant others and guests attended the annual SCMA Awards Dinner on Dec. 6 at the Vintners Inn in Santa Rosa. The evening began with a lively social hour, followed by dinner and awards presentations to five local physicians and the Redwood Community Health Coalition. The presentations were made by longtime colleagues of the awardees, and the stories they told were by turns amusing and inspiring. Every awardee received a standing ovation.

Photos of the event by Will Bucquoy have been posted on Flickr at www.flickr.com/photos/91183744@N07/.

 

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

Members who pay their 2013 SCMA/CMA dues by Jan. 15 get a 5% discount. To qualify for the discount, dues must be received in CMA’s Sacramento 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.

 

PEOPLE

Longtime Sonoma County pulmonologist Dr. James Gude has received a Rural Health Champion award from the California State Rural Health Association. The award recognizes Dr. Gude for his achievements in bringing critical care to patients in rural hospitals via telemedicine. Dr. Gude, who is on staff at Healdsburg and Palm Drive hospitals, runs OffSiteCare, a telemedicine company that supports 10 rural hospitals in Northern California.

Former SCMA President Dr. Jan Sonander, a Santa Rosa family physician in private practice, was profiled in the Dec. 16 issue of the Press Democrat. The article focuses on Dr. Sonander’s work with the disabled population at group homes across Sonoma County. He is also in his second term as chief of staff at Memorial Hospital.

 

MEDICAL ORGANIZATIONS

Family and friends of the late Dr. Herbert Polesky, a well-known pathologist, have established the Polesky Memorial Fund to benefit Healdsburg District Hospital. The fund, to be administered by the Community Foundation of Sonoma County, will be used to facilitate access to care for underserved populations, support prevention and education services, and improve laboratory services.

United Healthcare and Sutter Health are teaming up to offer Signature Value Alliance, a new HMO product for Northern California. The plan, already available in Southern California, is targeted toward smaller employers. More than 1,600 physicians in the North Bay and San Francisco will be part of the HMO network.

The Palm Drive Medical Clinic, located across the street from Palm Drive Hospital in Sebastopol, will transition to the Prima Medical Foundation in February. The physicians who currently work in the clinic will join the Prima Medical Group.

Sonoma Valley Hospital has signed an agreement with Tacoma-based Sound Physicians for comprehensive hospitalist services at the 83-bed hospital. Sound Physicians, which recently acquired the Bay Area Inpatient Group, includes more than 500 hospitalists.

The Petaluma Health Center was recently honored by Partnership HealthPlan for achieving a range of goals established by the nonprofit plan, which offers managed Medi-Cal services to patients throughout the North Bay.

REACH Air Medical Services--established in 1987 by the late Dr. John McDonald, an emergency physician at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital--has been acquired by Air Medical Group Holdings, a nationwide company that operates more than 200 medical airplanes and helicopters in 27 states.

 

RESOURCES

The following CMA webinars are scheduled for January. Webinars 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.

• HIPAA and Meaningful Use (Jan. 9)

• Medi-Cal application forms training (Jan. 16)

• Understanding ARC and CARD revenue codes (Jan. 23)

• The aging physician (Jan. 24)

• Physician’s guide to protecting your practice (Jan. 29)

• Keys to successful contracting (Jan. 30)

Physicians who meet one of the Medicare electronic prescribing hardship exemptions but did not file by the June 30 deadline have another opportunity to apply before Jan. 31. To assist physicians with questions regarding the electronic prescribing rules and applying for an exemption, CMA has posted the Medicare Electronic Prescribing Overview in the Resource Library at www.cmanet.org.

The 20th annual HIV/AIDS Review will be held from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, at the Hilton Hotel in Santa Rosa. Speakers includes Drs. Marshall Kubota, Danny Toub and Andy Desruisseau. For information and reservations, call the North Coast AIDS Center at 707-303-8904.

 

CLASSIFIEDS

Family physicians needed

Family medicine positions available with Annadel Medical Group in Sonoma County. Contact James.DeVore@stjoe.org.

Office space for lease, Santa Rosa

Small suite for lease. 800 sf. Reception, business office, 3 rooms, Summerfield Rd. on Sutter/Warrack campus. Contact Connie, 707-525-0211.

Office space needed, Petaluma

Medical office space needed in Petaluma near Petaluma Valley Hospital for physician to see patients, no staff needed. Need one day a week, Monday or Thursday. Contact Tammy at 707-252-8407 or nvna@napanet.net.

Office space needed, Santa Rosa

Medical office space needed in Santa Rosa for physician to see women’s health patients. Need one day a week. Contact Kristyn at 415-827-9945.

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.

 

APPLICANTS

Mark Alan Friedman, MD, Orthopaedic Surgery*, 555 Petaluma Ave #B, Sebastopol 95472, Univ Chicago 2001

Madhavi Vetsa, MD, Internal Medicine*, Gastroenterology*, 401 Bicentennial Way MOB W 240, Santa Rosa 95403, Osmania Med Coll 2002

* = 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.

© 2013 SCMA, 2901 Cleveland Ave. #202, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

December 2012

• Still time to RSVP for Dec. 6 SCMA Awards Dinner

• Sonoma docs invited to FREE Operation Access celebration on Dec. 11

• Upcoming SCMA online survey offers chance to win an iPad

• Update your Sonoma County Physician Directory listing

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

• Donate to SCMA health careers scholarship fund

• Top stories from CMA Alert

• PEOPLE

• MEDICAL FACILITIES

• RESOURCES

• CLASSIFIEDS

• APPLICANTS

• ABOUT SCMA

 

Still time to RSVP for Dec. 6 SCMA Awards Dinner

The hour is late, but reservations are still being accepted for the annual SCMA Awards Dinner on Dec. 6. The dinner is 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” (prawns and steak) or vegetable lasagna.

The dinner runs from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6, at the Vintner’s Inn, 4350 Barnes Rd., Santa Rosa. The festivities begin with a social hour at 6, followed by dinner and the awards presentations. Award winners include Drs. John Dervin, Sanjay Dhar, Catherine Gutfreund, Jeff Haney and Mark Netherda, along with the Redwood Community Health Coalition.

For a flyer about the dinner, click on the link below.

SCMA Awards Dinner flyer

Sonoma docs invited to FREE Operation Access celebration on Dec. 11

Operation Access, which coordinates donated surgical and specialty care for uninsured and underserved patients, will co-host a Celebration of Medical Volunteerism with SCMA and the Marin Medical Society on Tuesday, Dec. 11, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. This informal free event will be held at the Lagunitas Brewery, 1280 N. McDowelll Blvd., Petaluma.

All local doctors and their spouses or significant others are invited to attend and are asked to bring an unwrapped holiday gift for a foster child. Beer, wine, hors d’oeuvres and wood-fired oven pizza will be offered, along with live music from Under the Radar (folk, blues, bluegrass) and the Petaluma High School Jazz Combo. The evening also includes a brief program honoring community volunteers, with special recognition for Dr. Julie Clark, Dr. Anne Delaney, Dr. David Galland, and Gale O’Connor, CRNA.

To RSVP, contact Daniel Rabkin at rsvp@operationaccess.org or 415-733-0004. The event is cosponsored by the Meritage Medical Network, Kaiser Permanente, Marin General Hospital, Sutter Health and St. Joseph Health. For more details, click on the link below.

Operation Access Dec. 11 Celebration flyer

Upcoming SCMA online survey offers chance to win an iPad

Later this month, SCMA will be sending an online survey to all local physicians asking for their thoughts and insights about the medical association and healthcare-related issues. Survey results will help guide SCMA board members as they consider a strategic plan for 2013 and beyond. The goal of the plan is to ensure that SCMA fulfills its mission of supporting physicians and their efforts to enhance the health of the community.

SCMA members who choose to identify themselves will be entered into a drawing with a chance to win an iPad. Nonmembers who submit an application form and pay their 2013 dues will also be entered into the drawing.

 

Update your Sonoma County Physician Directory listing

SCMA is still accepting updates for the 2013 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/CMA dues by Jan. 15 and get a 5% discount

Members who pay their 2013 SCMA/CMA dues by Jan. 15 get a 5% discount. To qualify for the discount, dues must be received in CMA’s Sacramento 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.

 

Donate to SCMA health careers scholarship fund

There’s still time to donate to the Holiday Greeting Card project, which helps fund scholarships for deserving students who are Sonoma County residents and are currently enrolled or intending to enroll in a medically related field of study. Last year’s effort helped raise $31,000 in scholarship money--a record amount--for a dozen students in medical, nursing and allied health programs.

Donors who contribute by Dec. 6 will be acknowledged in a holiday greeting card sent to physicians throughout the county. The card features a photograph by Santa Rosa pediatrician Dr. Leland Davis.

Donations 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.

 

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.

* Physicians who wish to opt out of new Blue Cross network must act soon

* California one of five states with lowest antibiotic use in nation

* 2013 Medicare fee schedules posted

* Palmetto protests Medicare contract award

* DHCS ready for 5010 upgrade

PEOPLE

Dr. Dale Westrom, a dermatologist with offices in Santa Rosa and Healdsburg, has received a Member Making a Difference award from the American Academy of Dermatology. The award is in recognition of Dr. Westrom’s volunteer work with the Brighter Days Program and his establishment of a walk-in dermatology clinic. He will be honored at the Academy’s upcoming annual meeting.

The rapidly expanding Petaluma Health Center has hired two more physicians. Dr. Jose Chibras is an internist from the South Bay, where he served as chief medical officer and interim CEO for Salud Para La Gente. Dr. Carlin Chi, who attended Harvard Medical School and UCSF, is a family physician from San Mateo County. In addition to these new physicians, the Health Center has also hired a geropsychologist and two physician assistants.

Annadel Medical Group has added three more physicians. Dr. Rebecca Wolk, a pediatric hospitalist, and Dr. Meghana Gaiki, an internal medicine hospitalist, are both at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. Dr. Kenny Mai is an internal medicine hospitalist at Petaluma Valley Hospital.

Dr. Donald Dean, a longtime SCMA member and former medical director of the old Sonoma State Hospital (now called the Sonoma Developmental Center), died in November at the age of 85. Born in Ohio in 1927, he served in the Army as a photo lithographer and bugler during World War II. He received his MD from Ohio State University and then completed a psychiatry residency in San Francisco. After working in Buffalo for several years, he was lured back to California with a job offer from Sonoma State Hospital, where he worked from 1968 to 1983. He subsequently worked at several other institutions before retiring to Sonoma County, where he continued to work as a locum tenens psychiatrist. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Mary Jane Dean, as well as three children and five grandchildren.

 

MEDICAL FACILITIES

Three Sonoma County hospitals received an “A” grade in updated hospital safety scores from the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit founded by large purchasers of health benefits. Kaiser Santa Rosa, Petaluma Valley Hospital and the soon-to-be-closed Sutter Warrack Hospital all received top marks for minimizing infections, patient injuries, and medical or medication errors. Three other hospitals earned B’s or C’s, and two were not rated. No one received a D or an F, the lowest grade. For complete listings of all 2,600 hospitals participating in the ratings, visit www.hospitalsafetyscore.org.

 

RESOURCES

The following CMA webinars are scheduled for December. Webinars 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.

* Impact of ICD-10 (Dec. 5)

* California's new Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI) for dual eligibles

Medical volunteers of all types are needed for a Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps clinic to be held in the Coachella Valley in Southern California during April 2013. The clinic will provide free medical, dental and vision care to patients with limited access to care. For more information, or to volunteer, visit www.ram-ca.org.

 

CLASSIFIEDS

Family medicine positions available

Family medicine positions available with Annadel Medical Group in Sonoma County. Contact James.DeVore@stjoe.org.

Office space, Santa Rosa

Small suite for lease. 800 sf. Reception, business office, 3 rooms, Summerfield Rd. on Sutter/Warrack campus. Contact Connie, 707-525-0211.

Office space needed, Petaluma

Medical office space needed in Petaluma near Petaluma Valley Hospital for physician to see patients, no staff needed. Need one day a week, Monday or Thursday. Contact Tammy at 707-252-8407 or nvna@napanet.net.

Office space needed, Santa Rosa

Medical office space needed in Santa Rosa for physician to see women’s health patients. Need one day a week. Contact Kristyn at 415-827-9945.

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.

 

APPLICANTS

Ali Sina Bari, MD, Plastic Surgery, 145 Foss Creek Cir., Healdsburg 95448, Stanford Univ 2006

Jose Chibras, MD, Internal Medicine, 1179 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma 94954, Michigan State Univ 1990

Rafael Fletes, MD, Nephrology, 2301 Circadian Way #A, Santa Rosa 95407, Univ Chicago 1991

Helena Longin, MD, Dermatology, 3883 Airway Dr. #130., Santa Rosa 95403, Pennsylvania State Univ

Erin Lunde, MD, Family Medicine, 3569 Round Barn Cir., Santa Rosa 95403, Harvard Med Sch 2005

Jalet Ontanillas, MD, Internal Medicine, 3925 Old Redwood Hwy., Santa Rosa 95403, West Visayas State Univ 2000

Majonel Ontanillas, MD, Internal Medicine*, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, Celon Institute Med 1992

Jean Talleyrand, MD, Family Medicine, 5202 Old Redwood Hwy., Santa Rosa 95403, Boston Univ 1995

* board certified

 

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

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