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February 2014

MICRA talking points to use with your patients

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Sonoma County seeking new Health Officer

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

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


Housing needed for families attending motor-disability camp this summer

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

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

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


Sonoma Medicine wins first place in publications competition

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

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

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


Benefit change: Free SCMA legal services switching to CMA

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

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

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

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


Hillary Clinton headlines 2014 Health Care Leadership Academy

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

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

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


Legislative Leadership Conference set for April 22 in Sacramento

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

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

Top stories from CMA Alert

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

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

Top stories from CMA Alert

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PEOPLE

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


RESOURCES

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLASSIFIEDS

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

APPLICANTS

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

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

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

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

* = board certified; italics = special medical interest


ABOUT SCMA

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

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


January 2014

Pay your dues by Jan. 15 and receive 5% discount

Invoices for 2014 were recently mailed to all SCMA members. If you want to receive a 5% discount, simply pay by Jan. 15, 2014. The discount is already calculated on the invoice, and you can pay by check or credit card.

In addition to the standard dues, the invoice allows members to make additional donations to CMA’s political action committee (CALPAC) at a variety of levels. Donations can also be made to the MICRA Education Fund and the CMA Physician’s Issues Committee.

For questions on your invoice, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 or rachel@scma.org.


Benefit change: Free SCMA legal services switching to CMA

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

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

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

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


Surviving the first month of Covered California

California’s health benefit exchange, Covered California, began providing health coverage to more than 400,000 patients statewide on Jan. 1. To help with the surge of Covered California patients, CMA has prepared a 2-page tip sheet, available by clicking the link below.

Surviving the first month of Covered California

As explained in detail on the tip sheet, the key points are these:

  • Check your participation status with the various exchange plans through the Covered California provider directory at www.CoveredCA.com.
  • Contact the plan directly if you have questions or concerns about participation status. Phone numbers for plans in Sonoma County are listed below.
    •  Anthem Blue Cross: 855-238-0095
    • Blue Shield of California: 800-258-3091
    • Health Net of California: 800-641-7761
    • Western Health Advantage: 888-563-2250
  • Check the patient’s Covered CA ID card. All Covered CA ID cards will display the Covered CA logo in addition to the plan name.
  • If patients present without a Covered CA ID card, physicians can require them to pay at the time of service. The patient can be refunded whenever the ID card becomes available.
  • Use CMA’s comprehensive exchange toolkit, “CMA’s got you covered: A physician’s guide to Covered California,” available at www.cmanet.org/exchange.

CMA members with further questions about Covered California have free access to CMA’s reimbursement helpline at 888-401-5911 or economicservices@cmanet.org.


MICRA update

Dustin Corcoran
[Mr. Corcoran is CEO of the California Medical Association. The following is excerpted from an update he submitted to CMA on Jan. 3.]

The New Year is upon us. With an anti-MICRA initiative slated for the November ballot, this means that the time with which we can inform the voting public of MICRA’s immense value is extremely limited. Each day between now and Election Day should be viewed as an opportunity to defend MICRA.

Trial attorneys and their front group Consumer Watchdog are on track to have collected the necessary number of signatures by sometime in mid-January, according to reports on the street. Most assume that they will not submit signatures for a few months. In the meantime, conventional wisdom suggests that they will try once again to push the Legislature to unravel MICRA. Should this scenario ultimately arise, I can assure you that CMA and the campaign team are more than prepared to beat them back on all fronts.

Over the holidays, our opponents at Consumer Watchdog continued to demonstrate the poor taste and dirty tactics we’ve come to expect from them in the fight over MICRA. On Dec. 26, Consumer Watchdog circulated a fundraising appeal hoping to capitalize on the ongoing tragedy of Jahi McMath, a 13-year-old Oakland girl left brain-dead following complications stemming from a tonsillectomy performed earlier in the month. In their letter, Consumer Watchdog’s President Jamie Court callously alleged that MICRA’s cap on non-economic damages provides hospitals and doctors “an economic incentive to let children under their care who are victims of negligence die, rather than save them.” Major media outlets have picked up on the opportunistic nature of Court’s letter, with the San Francisco Chronicle labeling the tactics as “shameless fundraising.”

There have been reports of new Consumer Watchdog-sponsored billboards sprouting up in the Bay Area. The billboards, which depict three crumpled beer cans alongside the assertion that “2 in 10 doctors will be drug or alcohol impaired,” are apparently encouraging patients to report impaired physicians should they encounter them.

Consumer Watchdog is continuing to hammer upon the issue of physician impairment and drug testing simply because it polls well with potential voters. These new billboards, along with previous attacks against the medical profession, are an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of voters regarding Consumer Watchdog’s true intention--lifting MICRA’s cap and, as a result, dramatically inflating attorney fees.

As the New Year unfolds, we will undoubtedly continue to see these cheap shots from Consumer Watchdog. Rest assured that CMA will be working tirelessly to defeat the trial attorneys.


Physicians encouraged to refer patients to diabetes prevention programs

Local physicians are encouraged to refer patients at risk for diabetes to prevention programs at the Sonoma County YMCA and the Northern California Center for Well-Being. The YMCA program features 16 one-hour sessions with a lifestyle coach who works with prediabetic patients to improve nutrition, increase physical activity, overcome stress and stay motivated. The program goal is to reduce body weight by 7% and increase physical activity to 150 minutes per week. Complete details are available at www.scfymca.org.

In addition, YMCA program champion Dr. Jerome Minkoff, an endocrinologist at Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa, has volunteered to give informative talks about diabetes to physicians, other healthcare providers and any interested groups. His presentations cover diabetes prevention, education and treatment, among other topics. To schedule a talk by Dr. Minkoff, contact Nicole Martinovich at 707-545-9622, ext. 3412, or nmartinovich@scfymca.org.

The Center for Well-Being diabetes prevention class is similar to the YMCA class, but it has four 2-hour classes instead of 16 1-hour sessions. Complete details are available at www.norcalwellbeing.org.


Gov. Brown's proposed budget eliminates retroactive Medi-Cal cuts

Gov. Jerry Brown has announced that California will not be moving forward with retroactive collection of a 10% cut to the Medi-Cal program. The announcement came as part of the governor's 2014-2015 fiscal year budget proposal.

“The Governor’s budget demonstrates a clear understanding of the importance that Medi-Cal has for the state’s poorest and most vulnerable patients,” said CMA President Dr. Richard Thorp. “After voicing a commitment to expand Medi-Cal eligibility and ensure that the rollout of the Affordable Care Act in California be a success, restoration of the retroactive cut is a huge step in the right direction.”

The budget, however, does not stop the 10% cuts moving forward, which will give California the lowest Medicaid rates in the nation. CMA is part of a coalition working to stop the cuts. The coalition, called “We Care for California,” includes the largest statewide organizations representing physicians, dentists, hospitals and health care workers, as well as health plans, first responders, caregivers and other health providers.

“As the rest of the nation looks to California for an example of health reform success, we simply cannot move forward with a 10% prospective cut to Medi-Cal while simultaneously adding new patients to the program,” said Dr. Thorp. Under the Affordable Care Act, more than 3 million patients are expected to enter Medi-Cal over the course of the next two years.


Legislative Leadership Conference set for April 22 in Sacramento

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

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


PEOPLE

Dr. Richard Carvolth, an emergency physician at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for more than three decades, has been named chief medical officer for St. Joseph Health in Sonoma County. He replaces interim CMO Dr. John Morrison. In addition to his ER duties, Dr. Carvolth has served as a physician executive since 1997, including stints as CEO of the West Coast division of TeamHealth, and as a medical director for the Stanford University Healthcare Association.

Dr. Tara Scott and Dr. Jamie Weinstein have been named as deputy directors of the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency. They replace former deputy director Dr. Walt Mills, who recently left the program to join the family medicine residency at Natividad Medical Center in Salinas. Dr. Jeff Haney continues to direct the Santa Rosa residency.

Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa has appointed two new assistant physicians in chief. Dr. David Vidaurri, chief of the physical medicine & rehabilitation department, has been named APIC for finance. Dr. Matthew Carnahan, chief of the ophthalmology department, is the new APIC for operating rooms.

The Sutter Medical Network has presented Quality Care awards to two Sonoma County physicians for earning the highest overall pay-for-performance scores during 2013. The awards went to Dr. Ana Pacheco-Clark, a Santa Rosa family physician, and Dr. Ken Murachanian, a Santa Rosa internist.


RESOURCES

Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa is sponsoring a grant application webinar on Jan. 15 for health-related nonprofit organizations in its service area. The webinar describes how to apply for grants from Kaiser, particularly those focused on access to care, healthy eating and active living, mental health and oral health. For more information, contact Shan Magnuson or Jeannie Dulberg at 707-571-3846, shan.x.magnuson@kp.org or jeannie.f.dulberg@kp.org.

Two evening conferences on opioid prescribing will be held at the Redwood Food Bank in Santa Rosa on Jan. 22 and Feb. 12. The first conference focuses on evaluating and managing complex chronic pain patients, and the second on tapering opioid medications. Both conferences run from 6 to 8 p.m. and offer 1.5 hours of CME credit. The cost, which includes dinner and CME credits, is $50 for the series or $30 for one session. To register, visit www.eventbrite.com.

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

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

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

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

  • Avoiding embezzlement: A physician's guide to protecting your practice (Jan. 15)
  •  Medicare: 2014 New Rules (Jan. 16)
  •  Update on Medicare Physician Incentives (Jan. 22)
  •  HIPAA Update: Are You Compliant with the Final Omnibus Rule? (Jan. 29)

CLASSIFIEDS

Certified medical assistant seeking full-time position.
Excellent customer and communication skills, solid IT skills, professional attitude, current BLS, strong organizational skills, and the ability to multi-task. Please contact Christine Huebner-Beakes at 779-0125 or chrisbeakes@msn.com.

FOR SALE: SF Boutique-Style Family and On-Call Practice
Average revenue $407,000; very high profit margin. No third-party plans; all cash. Strong growth potential. The practice is approximately half urgent care and half primary care. Real estate also available. Practice Consultants, info@PracticeConsultants.com or 800-576-6935.

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

Ann Figurski, DO, Family Medicine, 717 Center St., Healdsburg 95448, Arizona Coll Osteo Med 2007

Maria Garcia, MD, Family Medicine*, Women’s Health, 401 Bicentennial Way #215, Santa Rosa 95403, UC San Francisco 1994

Mette Hansen, MD, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 3975 Old Redwood Hwy., Santa Rosa 95403, UC Los Angeles 1997

Michael Hubbard, MD, Internal Medicine, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, Kirksville Coll Osteo Med 2009

Michael Lazar, MD, Urology*, Prostate Cancer, 1140 Sonoma Ave. #1A, Santa Rosa 95405, Univ Arkansas 1978

Merle Miller, MD, Emergency Medicine*, Hospice & Palliative Medicine*, 500 Doyle Park Dr. #G04, Santa Rosa 95405, Univ North Carolina 1989

Jill Rushton-Miller, MD, Family Medicine, 4700 Hoen Ave., Santa Rosa 95405, Marshall Univ 2008

Lisa Ward, MD, Family Medicine*, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Public Health & General Preventive Medicine, 3569 Round Barn Cir., Santa Rosa 95403, UC San Francisco 2001

* = board certified; italics = special medical interest


ABOUT SCMA

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

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


December 2013

Stat: RSVP for Awards Dinner by Nov. 27

The Dec. 5 SCMA Awards Dinner is just around the corner, but the RSVP deadline is even closer: Wednesday, Nov. 27. Tickets are free for SCMA members; spouses, guests and nonmembers are $50 each. Seating is limited, so time is of the essence. To RSVP, or to purchase tickets, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 or rachel@scma.org. Please indicate dinner choice: “duet” (chicken and fish) or stuffed portobello mushroom.

The dinner, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 5, will be held at the Vintner’s Inn, 4350 Barnes Rd., Santa Rosa. Outstanding Contribution awards will be presented to Dr. Robert Mims, a retired endocrinologist, Dr. Peter Brett, a medical oncologist, and Dr. Walt Mills, a family physician and former SCMA president. The Article of the Year award will be given to Dr. Ted Hard for “Into the Valley of Wolves,” which appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of Sonoma Medicine, and a Lifetime Achievement award will be presented to Dr. James Lowy, a longtime family physician.
Finally, a special Recognition of Achievement will be bestowed upon the Northern California Center for Well-Being.

For more details, click on the link below. SCMA Awards Dinner flyer


Dr. Silver Chalfin to resign from Health Officer post

Dr. Lynn Silver Chalfin, who became the Health Officer for Sonoma County early last year, is resigning her post in the first week of December. She will be replaced temporarily by Dr. Karen Holbrook, the current Deputy Health Officer, pending a nationwide search for a new Health Officer.

In an email to the SCMA board of directors, Dr. Silver Chalfin wrote that she was leaving her post to “move on to new challenges,” but she didn’t give any specifics. She also thanked her colleagues for being such avid supporters of public health, writing, “The county is an extraordinary place, beyond its obvious physical beauty. The residents are engaged in trying to create a better community in a way I have not seen anywhere else I’ve lived. … SCMA is one example of that engagement. As a medical association, it places the well-being of the community on a par or higher than its many legitimate concerns for the well-being of the profession.”

Born and raised in New York City, Dr. Silver-Chalfin served as the city’s assistant commissioner of public health fornearly a decade before moving to Sonoma County in 2012. She was actively involved in several of New York’s widely publicized health initiatives, including a trans-fat ban, a calorie labeling law for restaurants, and a salt-reduction effort.

Dr. Silver Chalfin’s accomplishments in Sonoma County include mobilizing a $3.5 million community transformation grant for prevention, working to increase the healthfulness of the food supply, and launching a school-based dental sealant program. She also advanced “baby friendly” hospital policies to promote breastfeeding, launched a diabetes prevention program with the local YMCA, and required healthcare workers to get flu shots or wear a mask during flu season.


Update or verify your Physician Directory listing by Dec. 15

The one-page verification form for the 2014 Sonoma County Physician Directory has been mailed to all local physicians and should be returned to SCMA by Dec. 15. The form allows doctors to update or verify their listing in the Directory, a standard reference guide used at medical offices throughout the county.

Because the Directory is sold to the public and posted on the Internet, please do not list your personal phone number, home address or personal email address. SCMA strongly recommends that you list only your office phone, office address and office email.

The Physician Directory, entering its 57th edition, features photographs and detailed listings for all SCMA members, including their specialty(s), special medical interest and medical training. Specialty, city and phone for nonmember physicians are included as well. If you’re a nonmember and want a more detailed listing, contact Rachel Pandolfi at rachel@scma.org or 707-525-4375 about joining SCMA. You can also join online at www.scma.org/join.asp.


Pay your dues by Jan. 15 and receive 5% discount

Invoices for 2014 were recently mailed to all SCMA members. If you want to receive a 5% discount, simply pay by Jan. 15, 2014. The discount is already calculated on the invoice, and you can pay by check or credit card.

In addition to the standard dues, the invoice allows members to make additional donations to CMA’s political action committee (CALPAC) at a variety of levels. Donations can also be made to the MICRA Education Fund and the CMA Physician’s Issues Committee.

For questions on your invoice, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 or rachel@scma.org.


Philippine Medical Society needs donations for typhoon victims

The Philippine Medical Society of Northern California is already providing medical care for victims of Typhoon Haiyan and is seeking donations for a medical mission to the Philippines in January. In addition to financial donations, the medical society is accepting sealed, unexpired pharmaceuticals. The society, a 501(c) charity (EIN #94-2922490) has coordinated annual medical missions to the Philippines for almost 30 years.

To make a financial donation, write a check to the Philippine Medical Society of Northern California and put “Typhoon Haiyan Victims” on the memo line. Checks should be mailed to Dr. Peter Bretan, PMSNC President-Elect, 165 Rowland Way #303, Novato, CA 94945. Contributions will only be used for food, clothing, and medical and pharmaceutical supplies.

Before donating pharmaceuticals, contact Dr. Bretan’s office at 415-892-0904 to see which drugs are needed.


SCMA Alliance Holiday Cocktail Party set for Dec. 7

It’s beginning to look a lot like … the SCMA Alliance & Foundation Holiday Cocktail Party!

Please join us at the home of Dr. Patrick and Karen Caskey in Santa Rosa on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 6 to 9 p.m. We’ll be serving “heavy hors d’oeuvres” prepared by culinary students from Healdsburg High School, along with a full bar and other beverages.

Please RSVP by Monday, Dec. 2 to Sally Ebrahim at 318-458-0955 or events@scmaa.org. You will receive the address after you RSVP.


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.

  • CMA calls for improvements to the new Medicare SGR reform proposal
  •  New MICRA brochure available for patients
  •  Covered California leads the nation in exchange enrollment
  • CMA files amicus brief to protect patient privacy in CURES prescription data
  •  CMA Medi-Cal Survival Guide helps physicians understand numerous program changes

PEOPLE

Dr. Chuck Meltzer, an otolaryngologist, has been appointed assistant physician-in-chief for outside services at Kaiser Santa Rosa. Dr. Meltzer, who joined Kaiser San Francisco in 1990 and transferred to Santa Rosa in 2004, has held several leadership positions, including chief of head-and-neck surgery, chief of health information management and Medicare lead for specialty services.

Dr. Jaime Molden, a cardiologist and electrophysiologist, has joined Fountaingrove Cardiology in Santa Rosa. He was previously medical director of electrophysiology at the Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George, Utah.

Operation Access, which arranges medical care for uninsured patients, has given its annual Spirit Award to Dr. James Harwood, a Santa Rosa surgeon, and its Champion Award to Dr. Gary Barth, a Santa Rosa ophthalmologist.


MEDICAL ORGANIZATIONS

The Redwood Community Care Organization has received permission from Medicare to form an accountable care organization (ACO) to serve about 7,000 Medicare patients at federally qualified health centers in Sonoma, Marin, Napa and Yolo counties. The ACO will enable the health centers, all of which belong to the Redwood Community Health Coalition, to receive financial rewards from Medicare’s “shared savings” program, which encourages providers to improve quality of care and patient experience while reducing costs. The new ACO is the second to be formed locally; the first was established earlier this year by the Meritage Medical Network.

Three local hospitals--Kaiser Santa Rosa, Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa and Sonoma Valley Hospital--have been recognized as Top Performers on key quality measures by the Joint Commission. All three received top marks for pneumonia and surgical care. Kaiser and Sutter garnered additional accolades for treating heart attacks and heart failures.

Healdsburg District Hospital plans to lay off 30 employees in both direct-care and support staff positions. The layoffs will reduce the hospital’s 360-person workforce by 8%. In a statement, hospital CEO Nancy Schmid wrote, “These changes are being made to ensure the long-term strength of our hospital and our ability to serve this community.”


RESOURCES

Physicians needing help with substance abuse, stress, depression and other mental health issues are urged to contact the Physicians’ and Dentists’ Confidential Line. This longstanding service, sponsored by CMA and the California Dental Association, connects callers to a physician or dentist with extensive experience in helping health professionals cope with these pressing issues. Callers receive the support and referrals needed to better manage their situation. All calls are completely confidential. The number is 650-756-7787.

A free oncology workshop for both doctors and nurses is being offered at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco on Saturday, Dec. 14. The topic is “contemporary strategies for management of solid tumors.” For more details, or to register, visit www.med-iq.com. The workshop has been approved for Category 1 credit.

CMA has added two website resources at www.cmanet.org. The Exchange Resources page provides a wealth of information for physicians about Covered California, the state’s new health insurance exchange. The MICRA page tracks the latest developments in CMA’s campaign to defend California’s landmark Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act. Other resource pages on the website cover the Affordable Care Act, health information technology and accountable care organizations.

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

  •  ICD-10 Documentation for Physicians: Part 1 (Dec. 5)
  •  Updates on Key Developments Within California's Health Benefit Exchange (Dec. 10)
  • ACA and the Insurance Impact on You as a Small Business Owner (Dec. 11)
  • ICD-10 Documentation for Physicians: Part 2 (Dec. 12)
  • ICD-10 Documentation for Physicians: Part 3 (Dec. 19)

CLASSIFIEDS

Primary care/immediate care physicians needed
Physicians and MD medical director needed for new primary care/immediate care facilities located in Pittsburg/Antioch and San Rafael. Ideal for semi-retired MDs or if part time work desired. 6 hr shifts--7 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1-7 p.m. Prior supervision of NP/PAs and Medi-Cal existing provider credentialing a plus. Send CV and inquires to MD@practiceconsultants.net.

FOR SALE: SF Boutique-Style Family and On-Call/Urgent Care Practice
Average revenue $407,000; very high profit margin. No third-party plans; all cash. Strong growth potential. The practice is approximately half urgent care and half primary care. Real estate also available. Practice Consultants, info@PracticeConsultants.com or 800-576-6935.

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

Omar Ferrari, DO, Emergency Medicine, 1165 Montgomery Dr., Santa Rosa 95405, Touro Univ 2013

Jeffrey Kuhn, MD, Anesthesiology*, 837 Fifth St., Santa Rosa 95405, Univ Chicago 1985

Emily Wilkinson, MD, Family Medicine, 3569 Round Barn Cir., Santa Rosa 95403, Univ Arizona 2013
* = 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


November 2013

• RSVP now for SCMA Awards Dinner on Dec. 5

• The Big 3: Medicare, Obamacare, MICRA

• Partnership HealthPlan to absorb Medi-Cal rate cuts to local physicians

• Time to update or verify your Physician Directory listing

• Donations needed for health careers scholarships

• SCMA Alliance seeking gardens in Healdsburg and Windsor for annual tour

• CMA delegates meet to discuss critical health care issues, set policy

• Message from CMA President Dr. Richard Thorp

• PEOPLE

• MEDICAL ORGANIZATIONS

• RESOURCES AND EVENTS

• CLASSIFIEDS

• APPLICANTS

• ABOUT SCMA


 

RSVP now for SCMA Awards Dinner on Dec. 5

 

All local physicians are encouraged to RSVP for the annual SCMA Awards Dinner, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5. 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.

Outstanding Contribution awards will be presented to Dr. Robert Mims, a retired endocrinologist, Dr. Peter Brett, a medical oncologist, and Dr. Walt Mills, a family physician and former SCMA president. The Article of the Year award will be given to Dr. Ted Hard for “Into the Valley of Wolves,” which appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of Sonoma Medicine. Finally, a special Recognition of Achievement will be bestowed upon the Northern California Center for Well-Being.

The evening begins with a social hour at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards presentation. Dinner choices include “duet” (chicken and fish) or stuffed portobello mushroom. 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.

For more details, click on the link below.

SCMA Awards Dinner flyer


 

The Big 3: Medicare, Obamacare, MICRA

 

The current federal and state landscape for healthcare has three dominant features, according to chief CMA lobbyist Elizabeth McNeil: Medicare payment reform, implementation of Obamacare, and a nascent attempt to gut California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). Speaking to about 80 physicians, spouses and guests at the Fountaingrove Inn in Santa Rosa on Oct. 23, McNeil offered a whirlwind tour of all three features, pausing at times to describe some of their intricate details.

The meeting was emceed by SCMA President Dr. Stephen Steady, and McNeil was formally introduced to the crowd by local CMA Trustee Dr. Peter Bretan, a urologist with offices in both Sebastopol and Novato. Encouraging his colleagues to be more politically active, Dr. Bretan observed that modern life is no longer “survival of the fittest,” but rather “survival of the most politically allied.”

McNeil began with a recap of the recent government shutdown, expressing the view that Congress is even worse than it looks, and that it’s not fixing anyone’s problems. The challenge, she said, is getting Congress to do something productive, particularly in the face of determined Tea Party activists who are trying to dismantle the government. She praised local congressmen Jared Huffman and Mike Thompson, noting that Thompson serves on the powerful Ways & Means Committee and is a Medicare expert.

The House Energy & Commerce Committee did unanimously pass a Medicare SGR (sustainable growth rate) overhaul in July, explained McNeil, but the legislation has been languishing, with several obstacles to clear before it can come to a vote in the full House and Senate. McNeil emphasized that without the overhaul, physicians may face up to a 30% pay cut from Medicare. The bill also includes the long-awaited “GPCI fix” that would raise Medicare reimbursement rates in Sonoma County by at least 3%, and in Marin County by at least 5%.

Turning to the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, McNeil noted that the Covered California website is faring significantly better than its much-maligned federal cousin, www.healthcare.gov. Nonetheless, the initial physician directory on Covered California was rife with errors and has been taken down until mid-November. She offered the example of one doctor who was incorrectly listed as speaking Arabic, Turkish, Spanish, Russian and Farsi, and she urged physicians to check their listings once the directory goes back up.

McNeil’s tour concluded with a MICRA update. Trial lawyers have begun collecting signatures to put their anti-MICRA initiative on the November 2014 ballot. Besides raising the current $250,000 cap on non-economic damages to more than $1.1 million, the measure would mandate physician drug testing. The anti-MICRA campaign has already turned vicious, said McNeil, describing how one group recently circulated a flyer accusing recent CMA President Dr. Paul Phinney, a Sacramento pediatrician, of being a drug addict.

Both McNeil and Dr. Bretan urged physicians to donate to the pro-MICRA campaign. Dr. Bretan explained that if donations are made via medical staff organizations, hospitals will match them two for one. Donations can also be made to the Californians Allied for Patient Protection website at www.micra.org.

McNeil’s speech was followed by a lively question-and-answer session, with topics ranging from the role of specialty societies to implementation of a single-payer system.


 

Partnership HealthPlan to absorb Medi-Cal rate cuts to local physicians

 

Partnership HealthPlan, which operates the managed Medi-Cal program throughout the North Bay, will absorb the mandated Medi-Cal rate cuts to physicians during the next year. “The state’s fiscal crunch has always been a challenge to us,” said Partnership CEO Jack Horn, “but we’re very happy that we can keep these cuts away from our doctors for the time being.”

Legislation mandating the cuts was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2011, but they are only now being implemented. Because Partnership is a county-organized health system, it can use its resources to absorb some of the cuts. The state has also exempted certain specialties from the cuts. “Moving forward,” said Horn, “we’re confident that our managed care initiatives will bring even more savings which we can use to help our providers.”


 

Time to update or verify your Physician Directory listing

 

The one-page verification form for the 2014 Sonoma County Physician Directory will soon be mailed to all local physicians and should be returned to SCMA as soon as possible. The form allows doctors to update or verify their listing in the Directory, a standard reference guide used at medical offices throughout the county.

Because the Directory is sold to the public and posted on the Internet, please do not list your personal phone number, home address or personal email address. SCMA strongly recommends that you list only your office phone, office address and office email.

The Physician Directory, entering its 57th edition, features photographs and detailed listings for all SCMA members, including their specialty(s), special medical interest and medical training. Specialty, city and phone for nonmember physicians are included as well. If you’re a nonmember and want a more detailed listing, contact Rachel Pandolfi at rachel@scma.org or 707-525-4375 about joining SCMA. You can also join online at www.scma.org/join.asp.


 

Donations needed for health careers scholarships

 

Local physicians can support students pursuing health careers by donating to the annual Holiday Greeting Card project sponsored by the SCMA Alliance & Foundation. Physicians and others who contribute to the project have their names listed on the greeting card, which is sent to the entire medical community.

Project chair Barbara Ramsey said, “The Alliance is proud to create opportunities for donors to effect real change in the life of a student who has the ambition and vision of becoming a healthcare professional.” Earlier this year, the Alliance awarded $28,000 to 10 local students, using money raised from the greeting card and other projects. They hope to surpass that total for the next round of grants.

A mailing about the scholarship fund will be arriving in local offices shortly. Physicians can donate by returning the enclosed pledge card or by visiting the Alliance website at www.scmaa.org.


 

SCMA Alliance seeking gardens in Healdsburg and Windsor for annual tour

 

Next year’s SCMA Alliance Garden Tour, an annual fundraiser, will be held in Healdsburg and Windsor, and the Alliance is seeking gardens of any size to include on the tour. If you have a garden that you would like to display, or know someone who does, please contact Meta Lightfoot at alliance@scmaa.org. The tour usually takes place in May.


 

CMA delegates meet to discuss critical health care issues, set policy

 

More than 500 California physicians convened in the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim on Oct. 11-13 for the 2013 House of Delegates, the annual meeting of the California Medical Association. Each year, physicians from all 53 California counties, representing all modes of practice, meet to debate resolutions related to healthcare policy and to elect CMA officers. Delegates at this year’s meeting:

• Approved a resolution that encourages increased reporting of patient immunizations to the California Department of Public Health for purposes of vaccination, disease control and prevention.

• Voted to support revision of HIV consent requirements to allow all health care providers to order a test for HIV when appropriate and to encourage routine HIV testing for all patients who are evaluated for other sexually transmitted diseases.

• Called on CMA to support the use of graphic image labeling on cigarette and other tobacco packaging that warns of the health impact of smoking.

• Endorsed the National Transportation Safety Board’s 2013 recommendation that the legal blood alcohol limit for operating a motor vehicle be decreased from .08 percent to .05 percent or lower.

• Directed CMA to promote that providers need to identify children and adults who are food insecure to avoid detrimental development and comorbidities and refer them to appropriate programs and services.

• Directed CMA to request that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services eliminate its “outpatient patient observation” status, which is placed upon patients whose anticipated hospital stay is 48 hours or less. Delegates noted that this practice places undue financial burden on patients and creates administrative hassles for physicians.

• Called on CMA to support efforts to develop benefit designs in the health benefit exchange that appeal to the young and healthy to boost the risk pool; and to support legislation allowing federal and state income tax deductibility of all out-of-pocket health care expenses.

• Asked that CMA support legislation requiring health insurance companies to pay physicians for telephone or other electronic patient management services.

• Called on CMA to support the development of a secure, interoperable, nationwide health information exchange network.

The full actions of the House of Delegates are available to members on the Documents tab at www.cmanet.org/hod.


 

Message from CMA President Dr. Richard Thorp

 

[Dr. Thorp, a Paradise internist, was installed as CMA president during the recent House of Delegates meeting in Anaheim.]

In October, I was honored and humbled to stand before more than 400 delegate physicians from across geographies, specialties and modes of practice at the California Medical Association (CMA) Annual House of Delegates meeting in Anaheim. I want to share with you the messages I shared with our colleagues, as I believe it is important to be unified as one voice moving forward in this tumultuous time of change in healthcare.

First and foremost, we can agree that this is an incredible time to be part of our profession. We are living history as new models of integrated care and innovative technologies become a thing of the present, rather than a dream of the future. Patients will have access to treatment and medicine that they have never been exposed to, and with our work and research, we can offer our patients additional years, if not decades, with their loved ones.

Although we are at the pinnacle of discovery in the treatment of disease, this profession is also under serious attack, and so we must work more diligently than ever before. We cannot make the mistake of tempting our adversaries with complacency.

I practice in Paradise, a small town in Northern California, just a few hours outside of Sacramento. I can tell you first hand, as the medical director of a rural health clinic and as president/CEO of a private multispecialty primary care group (internal medicine, family medicine, hospitalist medicine and pediatrics), that communities like mine are feeling the changes ahead of us the most.

Between cuts to California’s Medicaid program (Medi-Cal) and the Congressional stalemate that continually threatens the future of Medicare, running a practice is a constant challenge. As attacks on California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) continue and unknown curveballs are thrown our way, we must stand together with one voice--that is the only way that we will prevail.

My hope for us in this next year is that physicians of California remember and are inspired by how far the profession has come as we face the new challenges of the future. We live in the golden age of medicine: a time when the future of medical treatments is bright and getting brighter every day, and when we speak in unison, we have a powerful voice!

Offering safe, quality, accessible and affordable health care to our patients is why we joined this noble profession. Whatever fight may  come before us this next year, let us stand and live by CMA's mission statement: Promoting the science and art of medicine, the care and well-being of patients, the protection of the public health and the betterment of the medical profession.


 

PEOPLE

 

Drs. Brad Drexler, Dan Lightfoot, Francesca Manfredi, Anthony Lim, Richard Powers and Stephen Steady represented SCMA at the recent CMA House of Delegates meeting in Anaheim (see accompanying story). During the meeting, delegates approved the following local appointments to CMA committees: Dr. Peter Bretan, a Sebastopol urologist and CMA trustee, to the Council on Ethical Affairs, the Committee on Medical Services and the Committee on Nominations; Dr. Catherine Gutfreund, a Santa Rosa family physician, to the Bylaws Committee; and Dr. Madeline Huber, a Santa Rosa ob/gyn, to the Committee on Professional Liability.

Three Santa Rosa ophthalmologists--Drs. Robert Anderson, Gary Barth and Daniel Rich--and two anesthesiologists--Drs. Kate Black and Jeffrey Kuhn--donated their services on Oct. 26 to repair the eyesight of two dozen local day laborers and agricultural workers. The patients all suffered from pterygium growths caused by overexposure to wind, dirt and sun. “Many agricultural workers suffer from pterygium growths without a convenient way to have the safe and essentially curative 30-minute surgical procedure,” said Dr. Barth. The Oct. 26 event, dubbed “Make a Difference Day,” was organized by Operation Access, which arranges medical care for uninsured patients. Dutton-Goldfield Winery is supporting the endeavor by donating 5% of the proceeds of its wine sales from Oct. 26 to Nov. 3 to Operation Access.

Thirteen physicians have joined the Annadel Medical Group, bringing the total number of doctors in the St. Joseph-affiliated group to 60. The new members include vascular surgeons Dr. Douglas Green and Dr. Douglas Jicha, internists Dr. Eran Matalon and Dr. Scott Peterson, family physicians Dr. Trienek Kylstra and Dr. Elisa Washburn, pediatricians Dr. Armanda de Pala and Dr. Laurie Doolittle, podiatrists Dr. Don Griffith and Dr. Michael Johnson, physiatrist Dr. Christie Campbell, palliative care specialist Dr. Merle Miller, and general surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Borut. About a dozen more physicians are scheduled to join the group in the next few months.

Internist Dr. Patricia Dahl, who has practiced throughout the Bay Area, has joined Healdsburg Primary Care and Healdsburg District Hospital.

Dr. Danielle Oryn, medical director of the Petaluma Health Center, is one of 32 clinicians chosen statewide to participate in the California Healthcare Foundation’s Healthcare Leadership Program. The part-time fellowship, conducted by faculty from UCLA and UCSF, helps physicians develop skills in decision making, strategic planning and administration.

At their annual Allie Awards luncheon on Oct. 23, the SCMA Alliance presented awards to Lisa Sugarman, for outstanding contribution to the Alliance, and to Gina Merwin, for outstanding contribution to the community.



 

MEDICAL ORGANIZATIONS

 

Construction has begun on an 80,000 square foot medical office center adjacent to the new Sutter Medical Center in Santa Rosa. Several tenants--including Santa Rosa Surgery Center, Santa Rosa Orthopaedics and Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation--have already signed leases for the office building, which is scheduled to open next fall, along with the new hospital.

Sonoma Valley Hospital has received a $1 million gift from the Weill Family Foundation to support the hospital’s new emergency wing, scheduled to open in December. Sandy Weill, the former Citigroup CEO who lives in Sonoma, said in a statement, “We believe having a good local hospital is essential and we want to help Sonoma create a modern emergency center that will be an asset for the entire Sonoma Valley.”

Southwest Santa Rosa may soon be home to a Kaiser Permanente medical office building, pending corporate approval. In a statement, Kaiser spokesman David Ebright confirmed that “Kaiser Permanente is currently performing due diligence as it explores the possibility of purchasing land in Santa Rosa on which to build a medical office building to serve its current and future members.” City officials indicated that the property is a 10-acre parcel near Stony Point Road.


 

RESOURCES AND EVENTS

 

The SCMA Alliance is sponsoring a holiday concert by the Santa Rosa Children’s Chorus on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 24, at the Fountaingrove Golf Club in Santa Rosa. The event, which runs from 4 to 6 p.m., includes a light buffet and beverages, along with a cash wine bar. Tickets are just $18 for adults and $10 for children. To purchase tickets, send a check by Nov. 19 to the SCMA Alliance, PO Box 1388, Santa Rosa 95402. For more details, contact Sally Ebrahim at 318-458-0955.

The Northern California Center for Well-Being has published its Fall Wellness Class Schedule to help patients improve their health. Classes cover a range of topics--from chronic conditions to healthy weight and tobacco cessation--and are held at several locations in Santa Rosa and Petaluma. Insurance plans cover most classes, and financial assistance is available. Patients can register by visiting www.norcalwellbeing.org or calling 707-575-6043.

CMA’s Institute for Medical Quality and the PACE program at UC San Diego are cosponsoring a Stepping Up to Leadership conference in San Antonio, Texas, on Nov. 7-9. The conference trains medical staff leaders in issues of communication, problem solving, and improving outcomes for patients and staff. Because of a grant from the Physicians Foundation, cost is as low as $595 for all three days. To register, visit www.physician-leadership.org.

SCMA members can get registration discounts for the Napa Primary Care Conference: Caring for the Active and Athletic Patient, to be held at the Napa Valley Marriott from Nov. 6 to 10. The conference is designed for physicians and medical professionals who care for active and athletic patients or who themselves lead such a lifestyle. Topics include common medical and musculoskeletal problems, healthy lifestyles and personal wellness. The conference offers up to 16 hours of CME. To register, visit the conference website.

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

Managing Difficult Employees and Reducing Conflict (Nov. 13)

ICD-10 Documentation for Physicians: Part 1 (Dec. 5)

ICD-10 Documentation for Physicians: Part 2 (Dec. 12)

ICD-10 Documentation for Physicians: Part 3 (Dec. 19)


 

CLASSIFIEDS

 

Primary care/immediate care physicians needed

Physicians and MD medical director needed for new primary care/immediate care facilities located in Pittsburg/Antioch and San Rafael. Ideal for semi-retired MDs or if part time work desired. 6 hr shifts--7 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1-7 p.m. Prior supervision of NP/PAs and Medi-Cal existing provider credentialing a plus. Send CV and inquires to MD@practiceconsultants.net.

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

 

Jeffrey Borut, DO, Surgery*, 106 Lynch Creek Way #9B, Petaluma 94954

Laurie Doolittle, MD, Pediatrics*, 1550A Professional Dr. #200, Petaluma 94954, Tulane Univ 1995

Wendy Dryden, MD, Family Medicine, 3569 Round Barn Cir., Santa Rosa 95403, Virginia Univ 2013

Valerie Ebel, MD, Family Medicine, 3569 Round Barn Cir., Santa Rosa 95403, Rush Univ 2013

Kareen Espino, MD, Family Medicine, 3569 Round Barn Cir., Santa Rosa 95403, UC Irvine 2013

Olivia Gamboa, MD, Family Medicine, 3569 Round Barn Cir., Santa Rosa 95403, Univ North Carolina 2013

Jerald Gerst, MD, Occupational Medicine, Emergency Medicine*, Internal Medicine*, 5900 State Farm Dr., Rohnert Park 94928, UC Davis 1973

Sara Keck, MD, Medical Oncology, 101 Rowland Way #320, Novato 94949, New York Med Coll 2006

Gabriel Klapman, MD, Family Medicine, 3569 Round Barn Cir., Santa Rosa 95403, UC Los Angeles 2013

Trieneke Kylstra, MD, Family Medicine*, 4750 Hoen Ave., Santa Rosa 95405, Univ Cincinnati 1996

Toni Marie Ramirez, MD, Family Medicine, 3569 Round Barn Cir., Santa Rosa 95403, Virginia Univ 2013

Georgina Ramirez-Azcarraga, MD, Family Medicine*, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, UC Irvine 1991

Carlos Sandoval, MD, Orthopaedic Surgery*, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, UC Los Angeles 2003

Alexandra Takayesu, MD, Family Medicine, 3569 Round Barn Cir., Santa Rosa 95403, Univ Hawaii 2013

Morgan Theis, MD, Family Medicine, 3569 Round Barn Cir., Santa Rosa 95403, Stanford Univ 2013

Bentley Thomason, MD, Family Medicine, 3569 Round Barn Cir., Santa Rosa 95403, UC Irvine 2013

Ashmi Ullal, MD, Family Medicine, 3569 Round Barn Cir., Santa Rosa 95403, UC Davis 2013

Elisa Washburn, DO, Family Medicine*, 500 Doyle Park Dr. #G04, Santa Rosa 95405

Tracy White, MD, Family Medicine, 3569 Round Barn Cir., Santa Rosa 95403, UC San Francisco 2013

* = 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

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