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The SCMA and MLCMS keep you up to date on the latest news,
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April 2010


Medicare rate cuts still pending, despite passage of health reform


The clock keeps ticking on Medicare rate reductions. Lost in the discussions over passage of health reform legislation is the fact that physicians are scheduled to get a 21% Medicare rate reduction by mid-April if Congress fails to act. The rate reductions, mandated by the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, were originally scheduled to take effect March 1. Congress postponed that deadline to April 1, and now Medicare has effectively extended the deadline another two weeks by asking carriers not to process claims with April service dates for 10 business days.

The net effect of these delays is that Congress will have to act immediately upon its return from recess on April 12. While both the House and Senate are expected to postpone the SGR cuts once again, the big question is whether they will do away with the SGR formula for good. The House did vote to repeal the SGR formula last fall, but the Senate has so far failed to act.

CMA and AMA are calling on all physicians and patients to help repeal the SGR formula once and for all. Please contact Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Barbara Boxer and your local House Representative and deliver a simple message: It’s time to repeal the SGR formula. As noted by AMA President Dr. James Rohack, “Congress’ failure to act on permanent repeal of the broken Medicare physician payment formula has put access to health care for seniors and military families in jeopardy.”

When contacting your representatives, give your name, specialty and practice location. Then tell your representative to stop the 21% cut and repeal the SGR formula once and for all. Contact information for your representatives appears below.

·       Sen. Feinstein - Click Here or use the AMA’s grassroots hotline at 800-833-6354.

·       Sen. Boxer - Click Here or use the AMA’s grassroots hotline at 800-833-6354.

·       House Representative - Click Here or use AMA’s grassroots hotline at 800-833-6354.

Please direct any feedback or questions from your representative to SCMA’s executive director, Cynthia Melody, at cynthia@scma.org or 525-4375.

CMA has also prepared a flyer that you can use to get patients involved in the fight to protect Medicare. The flyer is available at scma.org/resources.

 

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Details about health care reform posted on SCMA website


Two detailed CMA documents about health care reform have been posted on the SCMA website at scma.org/resources. The first, “Pros and cons of health care reform,” provides an overview of the benefits and shortcomings of the recently signed legislation. The second, “What CMA did for physicians in health care reform,” describes CMA’s many successful efforts to advocate on behalf of physicians and patients.

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County HIV, STD and family planning clinics to close


Patients who receive HIV, STD and family planning services from county clinics will soon have to seek care elsewhere. On March 30, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved a Department of Health Services plan to eliminate those clinics, thereby saving about $1 million per year. The department’s revenues have declined by $27 million since 2007 and are expected to decline an additional $9.8 million during the 2010-11 fiscal year.

In a March 31 memo to local providers, Public Health Officer Dr. Mary Maddux-González noted that the clinics were originally established at a time when few providers were offering services for HIV and STD. With the subsequent growth of community health clinics, need for the county’s disease-focused clinics has diminished. As stated in Maddux’s memo, “Public Health will cease providing these clinical services given the increase in local primary care infrastructure where patients can be linked to a medical home with the full array of prevention-focused primary care services for their health care needs.”

The STD and family planning clinics, which serve about 60 patients per week, will close on April 2. The HIV clinic, which serves 550 patients, will close on June 30. Because of the complexities of county employment, projected layoffs amount to 20.17 full-time equivalents at most, including 1.3 FTE of physician time.

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New CMA leader to attend SCMA reception on May 20


Dustin Corcoran, the new chief executive of the California Medical Association, will be the featured guest at the SCMA wine & cheese reception on Thursday evening, May 20. This annual event, to be held this year at Landmark Vineyards in Kenwood, offers a unique opportunity to gather with your colleagues in an informal setting. A variety of fine wines, cheeses and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Corcoran, who has worked for CMA since 1998, became the association’s head lobbyist in 2004, serving as the main spokesperson for organized medicine in the state Legislature. He brings an outstanding track record for skilled advocacy to his new role as CEO. He will be available at the reception to answer members’ questions and discuss CMA activities.

The reception is free for SCMA members and their spouse or guest. The cost for nonmember physicians is $35. To RSVP, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 525-4375 or rachel@scma.org.

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Dr. Jeff Sugarman nominated as SCMA president-elect


Dr. Jeff Sugarman, a Santa Rosa dermatologist, has been nominated as president-elect of SCMA. He will be joined on the SCMA election ballot by two nominees for the board of directors, Drs. Jan Sonander and Peter Sybert, and five nominees for the CMA delegation: Drs. Dan Lightfoot, Don Van Giesen, Clinton Lane, Katherine McNally and Richard Powers.

SCMA members will vote on the nominees in May. For more information, contact Cynthia Melody at cynthia@scma.org or 525-4375.

 

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Sonoma Medicine is finalist for major award


Sonoma Medicine is a finalist for the annual Maggie awards presented by the Western Publishing Association, a nonprofit group devoted to publications in the western United States. The annual Maggie competition draws entries from throughout the West, including major magazines from Los Angeles and San Francisco. Sonoma Medicine is one of five finalists in the “quarterlies” category. The awards will be announced on May 7.

The Spring issue of Sonoma Medicine, to be mailed to all SCMA members in early April, focuses on breathing, with articles by local experts on nicotine addiction, asthma, sleep apnea, nasal congestion and breathing exercises. Other articles examine antibiotics, dental surgery, medical care in Afghanistan, legal excess, and the family medicine residency.

Each SCMA member receives one free subscription to Sonoma Medicine. Nonmembers can subscribe for just $19.80 per year by completing the subscription form at scma.org/magazine. Article proposals are welcome at any time and should be submitted to the editor, Steve Osborn, at sosborn@scma.org.

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RSVPs needed for April 27 Legislative Day in Sacramento


Local physicians interested in attending CMA’s free Legislative Leadership Conference in Sacramento on April 27 should RSVP by April 2. SCMA will be renting a van to travel to Sacramento, so reservations are requested.

The annual conference, which last year drew more than 400 physicians and CMA Alliance members, allows doctors to meet with legislators and express their views on pending health legislation. Appointments for SCMA members have been arranged with Assemblymembers Noreen Evans and Jared Huffman and with Sen. Mark Leno and an aide to Sen. Pat Wiggins.

The conference also includes a morning session featuring speakers from across the political spectrum. This year’s presenters include Assembly Speaker John Perez, Speaker Emeritus Robert Herzberg, CMA President Dr. J. Brennan Cassidy, and CMA’s new chief executive, Dustin Corcoran.

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

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State expands scope of practice for nonphysicians


Despite continued opposition from CMA, the California Office of Administrative Law has removed requirements that physicians be involved in critical health care activities in hospitals, such as patient admissions, medical examinations and patient transfers. Instead, new regulations will allow these activities to be performed by a “licensed health care provider acting within the scope of his or her licensure.”

The regulations also allow each facility to decide who can do what under a welter of competing advice from 30 licensing boards. CMA believes differing practices among facilities will cause confusion, thus endangering patients and inviting expensive and unnecessary lawsuits.

Portions of the regulations that would have weakened medical staff self-governance and mandated that clinical psychologists be granted medical staff membership in private hospitals were removed because of opposition from CMA and the Psychiatric Association.

CMA remains concerned about the impact of these regulations on patient care and is exploring all appropriate avenues to seek relief. The regulations take effect on April 2.

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CMA offers free subscriptions to practice-management newsletter


CMA is offering free subscriptions to a new monthly publication, “CMA Practice Resources.” The first issue, to be published later this month, is filled with tips and tools to help physicians and their office staff improve practice efficiency and viability. Physicians, office managers, administrators and billing staff can subscribe by visiting www.cmanet.org/news/cpr

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LEGAL NOTES


By SCMA Legal Counsel Larry McLaughlin

A medical office manager called me recently to say that one of their patient’s attorneys had accused her of breaking the law.

The patient was the plaintiff in an injury lawsuit, and the office manager had received a subpoena for records from the defense attorney in Los Angeles, with the date for compliance prominently displayed. Reasoning that it would take a while for mail to reach L.A., the office manager mailed the records early.

The patient’s attorney subsequently called the office manager to say that he objected to the records being released and planned on going to court to oppose the release. It was too late, however, because the office manager had already mailed the records. That was when the unhappy attorney accused her of breaking the law.

Errors in complying with subpoenas are actually a fairly common occurrence. Subpoenas are often confusing, and I advise physicians and staff receiving them to call me for advice. In this case the subpoena had the standard warning under the compliance date: “Do not release the requested records prior to the date and time stated above.” This warning language is often missed.

Sometimes when the requesting attorney uses a copy service to receive the records, the service will call the physician's office to demand an early release. Physicians and staff, however, should be aware that the law prohibits early release of records unless specifically waived by the patient. In the case described above, the office manager should have called the defense attorney’s office to ascertain how they planned to receive the records.

There are many other rules pertaining to subpoenas. SCMA physicians and staff are encouraged to contact me whenever you receive a subpoena, so I can walk you through the process. I can be reached at 707-579-4523 or lwmclaughlin@juno.com.

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DOCTORS IN THE NEWS


SCMA President Dr. Richard Powers has received the “Sonoma Family Physician of the Year” award from the California Academy of Family Physicians.

“Birth Day: A Pediatrician Explores the Science, the History, and the Wonder of Childbirth,” a book published last year by Santa Rosa pediatrician Dr. Mark Sloan, is one of five finalists in the “creative nonfiction” category for the 2010 Northern California Book Awards. Other finalists in that category include books by well-known Bay Area authors Michael Chabon and Dave Eggers. The awards will be announced April 18 at the San Francisco Public Library.

St. Joseph Health System honored 17 SCMA physicians as “top docs,” based on post-discharge patient survey results from 2009. The honorees for Petaluma Valley Hospital were Drs. James Leoni, Jonathan Choe, Mark Northfield and Stephen Steady. For Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, the honorees were Drs. Kent Yinger, James Steele, Douglas Green, Thomas Degenhardt, Michael Grafe, Larry Marianella, Mark Schakel, Jon-Michael Castelli, Mark Homicz, Masis Babajanian, Douglas Jicha, Robert James and Patrick Coleman.

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HOSPITAL UPDATES


Palm Drive Hospital has hired Richard Robinson as its new CEO. A native of Modesto, Robinson was most recently CEO of Women’s & Children’s Hospital, an 84-bed facility in Louisiana. Although Robinson serves at the will of the Palm Drive Health Care District Board, he is actually an employee of Brim Healthcare, a nationwide management and consulting firm that has helped Palm Drive emerge from bankruptcy. The hospital is expected to be profitable this year.

Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital has renewed its Level II Trauma Center designation with Sonoma County. The renewal will last at least until 2018, with an option to extend the designation to 2022. Since receiving the designation in 2000, the trauma center has treated an average of 1,450 patients per year with serious or life-threatening injuries. “Memorial Hospital has consistently maintained the highest level of service,” said Sonoma County DHS Director Rita Scardacci. “This designation continues to make trauma care available to our community and the region.”

St. Joseph Health System has opened North County Hospice, a new hospice facility in Healdsburg. The medical director is Dr. Gary Johanson, a palliative medicine specialist in Sonoma County for the past three decades. The site is St. Joseph’s third hospice facility in the county, along with Memorial Hospice and Hospice of Petaluma.

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EVENTS


A free weekly support group for patients with chronic illness will begin at Palm Drive Hospital on April 6. The meetings, which run from 2 to 3:30 p.m., will be facilitated by David Murphy, PhD, a psychologist specializing in management of chronic conditions. No advance registration is necessary. For more details, contact Dr. Murphy at 566-7026.

The Institute for Medical Quality is offering a one-day training program for new medical staff leaders in Irvine on Tuesday, April 13. The program, which costs $405 for CMA members and $445 for nonmembers, features sessions on the role of medical staff leaders, how to run effective meetings, and tips for staying accredited and licensed. To register, visit www.imq.org or call Leslie Iacopi at 415-882-5167.

Dr. Allan Bernstein will present a free lecture, “New Research on Memory Disorders,” at 2 p.m. on April 23 at Primrose, 2080 Guerneville Rd., Santa Rosa. Bernstein, former chief of neurology at Kaiser Santa Rosa, is an internationally known researcher and educator. Reservations for his lecture are required because of limited space. To reserve a spot, call 578-8360.

The Garden Tour, an annual fund-raiser sponsored by the SCMA Alliance and Foundation, will be held in Windsor on May 14 and 15. Six local families will open their private gardens for self-guided tours. Two homes will also be open for viewing. Funds raised by the tour will be donated to the Santa Rosa Community Health Centers and the Windsor branch of the Alliance Medical Center. Tickets are $40, and lunches will be available for purchase at the Windsor Golf Course. Raffle tickets for local restaurants will be sold as well. To purchase tickets, visit www.scmaa.org or call Janet Shane at 578-4537.

Easter Seals Northern California is sponsoring an all-day Physician Symposium on Saturday, May 15, at the Petaluma Community Center. The topic is developmental and behavioral screening in primary care. Presenters include Dr. Barbara Bennett, a professor of pediatrics at UCSF, and Dr. Maria Pilar Bernal, chief of autism spectrum disorder services at Kaiser Permanente. The symposium offers 5.75 hours of CME. To register, visit noca.easterseals.com or contact Cindy Fasano at 415-382-7450 or cfasano@noca.easterseals.com.

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OBITUARIES


Dr. Gertrude Van Steyn, a pioneering woman physician who practiced in Santa Rosa from 1939 to 1981, died in March at the age of 95. Born in Holland, she grew up on a farm in Sebastopol and rode horseback to high school in Santa Rosa. She attended UC Berkeley and received her DO from the College of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons in Los Angeles.

After completing an internship at Los Angeles County Hospital, Van Steyn joined Dr. Caroline Weber in Santa Rosa, at a time when women physicians were quite rare. In an interview published in Sonoma Medicine in 1993, Van Steyn noted that some doctors at that time “had very strong feelings against both a woman and an osteopath.” As an example, she described an appendix case she had at the old General Hospital in Santa Rosa where she was not allowed to assist on her own patient.

In the 1940s, Van Steyn established her own practice, eventually building an office on Cherry Street in 1954. She practiced solo there until 1979, when she was joined by Dr. Gary Greensweig. She was famous around town for working long hours and not taking appointments. In the Sonoma Medicine interview, she noted, “When I’d get there in the morning, there would be a big line-up, and we’d take them in turn. Nobody griped or objected. They were taken in turn, whether they were poor or rich.”

After retiring in 1981, Van Steyn tended to her 14-acre property south of Santa Rosa. She raised sheep, horses and other livestock, and she fed many wild animals as well. She also traveled extensively. “I’m interested in the historical pioneer trails of the Western settlers,” she said in the interview. “I have followed many of them.”

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APPLICANTS


Veronica Jordan, MD, Family Medicine, 3320 Chanate Rd., Santa Rosa 95404, 547-2220, Fax 303-3318, UC San Francisco 2007

Gian Nhan, MD, Anesthesiology*, Pain Medicine, 1739 Fourth St., Santa Rosa 95404, 528-6331, Fax 538-2154, Loma Linda Univ 1994

Renee Theisen, MD, Emergency Medicine*, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, 393-4800, Fax 393-4741, Univ Michigan 2005

* board certified

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CLASSIFIEDS


Medical billing/reimbursement specialist
Out-source, save money. Coding, RAC review, EHR, credentialing services. www.revenuerecoverynetwork.com

Office space
Small suite available for reasonable rent. Three exam rooms, southeast Santa Rosa. Call Connie, 707-525-0211.

Office to share in Novato
165 Rowland Way #303. Medical office to share with urologist. 2100 sq ft. Three exam rooms. One small conference room. Rent completely negotiable dependent on level of service use and overhead. Contact Dr. Peter Bretan, 415-892-0904 or bretanp@msn.com.

How to submit a classified ad
To submit a classified ad for SCMA News Briefs or Sonoma Medicine, contact Nan Perrott at nperrott@rhscommunications.com or 707-525-4226. The cost is one dollar per word.

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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.

© SCMA 2010
3033 Cleveland Ave. #104
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

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TO UNSUBSCRIBE


You are receiving SCMA News Briefs because you are a physician or an affiliated medical professional in Sonoma County. If you wish to unsubscribe, contact Steve Osborn at sosborn@scma.org or 707-525-4325.

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March 2010


Famed medical educator Dr. John Saultz to speak in Santa Rosa on March 17


Dr. John Saultz, author of the Textbook of Family Medicine and editor of the journal Family Medicine, will be in Santa Rosa on St. Patrick’s Day to deliver a free lecture on the future of primary care in Sonoma County. His speech begins at 6 p.m. in the Sonoma Community Room at Redwood Credit Union, 3033 Cleveland Ave., Santa Rosa. A light dinner will be provided, but reservations are required. To RSVP, contact Rachel Pandolfi by March 12 at rachel@scma.org or 525-4375.

Dr. Saultz, chair of family medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, is the American Academy of Family Physicians visiting professor at the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency. His presentation is sponsored by the California Academy of Family Physicians, Family Medicine Leadership Institute, Kaiser Permanente, Redwood Community Health Coalition, Redwood Credit Union, Sonoma County Medical Association, St. Joseph Health System, and Sutter Health. 

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Nominations needed for SCMA election


In preparation for the upcoming SCMA election, all members are urged to submit nominations for leadership positions by March 19. Nominees must be SCMA members in good standing. Nominations are requested for the following positions:

·       SCMA president-elect

·       Individual SCMA board representatives from Santa Rosa (2) and West County (1)

·       Three CMA delegates

·       Three CMA alternate delegates

All positions require a three-year commitment, beginning July 1. Nominations can be e-mailed to cynthia@scma.org, faxed to 525-4328, or mailed to SCMA, 3033 Cleveland Ave. #104, Santa Rosa, CA 95403. Each nomination should include a brief statement about the nominee’s qualifications.

For more details, contact Cynthia Melody at cynthia@scma.org or 525-4359.

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Residency and family practice center moving to Fountaingrove


The Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency and the Chanate Family Practice Center will be moving to Fountaingrove later this year, pending renovation of a 42,500 square foot building recently purchased by Santa Rosa Community Health Centers. The building, located at 3569 Round Barn Circle, will become the seventh facility managed by Santa Rosa Health, which serves more than 25,000 patients annually at the Southwest Community Health Center and other locations. An additional 10,000 patients are expected to use the Fountaingrove facility during the next few years.

“The future health of our community is on much more solid ground with the purchase of this building,” said Naomi Fuchs, CEO of Santa Rosa Health. Major contributors to the $2.1 million capital campaign for the building include the County of Sonoma, Kaiser Permanente, St. Joseph Health, Sutter Medical Center, the Finley Foundation, and Frank and Kathleen Mayhew. Funds from the capital campaign will be used to leverage $13.3 million in financing from the state.

Purchase of the Fountaingrove building caps 14 years of rapid growth for Santa Rosa Health, which was founded by Drs. Julio Porro, Roberto Azcarraga and other family medicine residents in 1996. What began as the Southwest Community Health Center in southwest Santa Rosa has since grown to encompass six other clinics and health centers throughout the city. Eighteen physicians now work full- or part-time for Santa Rosa Health. The 36 resident physicians in the Family Medicine Residency also work at Santa Rosa Health facilities.

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Dr. Kubota named regional medical director for Partnership HealthPlan


Dr. Marshall Kubota, a Santa Rosa family physician well known for his work in public health, has been named regional medical director for Partnership HealthPlan in Sonoma County. In that part-time role, he will be responsible for the quality and appropriateness of medical care delivered by Partnership to the county’s approximately 50,000 Medi-Cal enrollees. He will continue to work at HIV clinics in Sonoma and Lake counties.

Dr. Kubota, a graduate of the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency, rose to prominence during the 1980s for his pioneering work in providing HIV/AIDS care at a public health clinic in Guerneville. He subsequently became director of the residency and then medical director for the county’s public health clinical services.

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Physicians urged to call Congress to support repealing Medicare SGR formula


Congress has been unable to resolve the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) issue during the two-month extension that prevented a 21% cut from taking effect on Jan. 1.  At press time, the Senate was expected to extend current SGR payment levels an additional 30 days to prevent scheduled cuts from going into effect on Monday, March 1. This extension will be part of a larger package that addresses other expiring provisions that are considered “must pass” items, such as unemployment insurance and COBRA coverage. The House is expected to consider the package soon.

CMA is calling on all physicians to help repeal the SGR once and for all. Please contact Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Barbara Boxer and your local House Representative and urge them to:

·       Stop the 21% Physician Cut before March 1.

·       Repeal the Medicare SGR once and for all.

·       Restore stability to the Medicare program.

·       Protect access to doctors for seniors.

When contacting your representatives, give your name, specialty and practice location. Contact information:

·       Sen. Feinstein - Click Here or use the AMA’s grassroots hotline at 800-833-6354.

·       Sen. Boxer - Click Here or use the AMA’s grassroots hotline at 800-833-6354.

·       House Representative - Click Here or use AMA’s grassroots hotline at 800-833-6354.

In November, the House passed HR 3961, which repealed the current SGR as a pathway to improved reimbursement. The Senate, however, has not passed a bill to repeal the SGR, so Medicare payment problems remain unresolved.

CMA has prepared a flyer that you can use to get patients involved in the fight to protect Medicare. The flyer is available at scma.org/resources

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Early-bird registration for CMA Leadership Academy closes March 9


Registration is now open for CMA's annual Health Care Leadership Academy, scheduled for April 9-11 in San Diego. This year's conference will assess the status and impact of federal health reform efforts, including provider payment incentives that may change the organizational forms of medical practice.

SCMA gets a group discount, so you can save $100 if you register with SCMA by March 9 rather than online. Early bird registration is $645 for members, $945 for nonmembers, and $295 for allied health professionals. Early-bird tuition for practice managers and other non-MD staff is $295 for CAMGMA members, $395 for nonmembers.

The 2010 Academy, approved for 18.25 hours of Category 1 CME credit, will feature three main breakout tracks: health information technology, leadership skills development, and practice management.

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

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RSVPs needed for April 27 Legislative Day in Sacramento


Local physicians interested in attending CMA’s free Legislative Leadership Conference in Sacramento on April 27 should RSVP by April 2. SCMA will be renting a van to travel to Sacramento, so reservations are requested.

The annual conference, which last year drew more than 400 physicians and CMA Alliance members, allows doctors to meet with legislators and express their views on pending health legislation. The conference also includes a morning session featuring speakers from across the political spectrum. This year’s presenters include Assembly Speaker John Perez, Speaker Emeritus Robert Herzberg, CMA President Dr. J. Brennan Cassidy, and CMA’s new CEO, Dustin Corcoran.

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

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CMA coalition receives $31 Million EHR grant; EHR webinar on March 2


CMA, the California Primary Care Association, and the California Association of Public Hospitals & Health Systems have been awarded $31 million in federal grant money to help primary care providers implement electronic health records (EHRs). The grant will help make support services available throughout most of California, including Sonoma County.

The grant is one of many awarded nationwide as a result of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of February 2009. The HITECH act establishes both Regional Extension Centers (RECs) and Local Extension Centers (LECs) to provide education, outreach, and technical assistance to help primary care providers select, implement and achieve “meaningful use” of certified EHR technology. SCMA will be collaborating with the LEC for Sonoma County.

“This is an exciting opportunity for California physicians and the patients they serve,” said CMA President Dr. Brennan Cassidy. “There are many challenges physicians face in implementing EHRs. The Cal-REC services will be invaluable in helping physicians address these challenges and implement and use EHR systems.”

The REC funding is in addition to incentive payments that providers can receive for demonstrating “meaningful use” of EHRs. For more information on the incentive payments, join CMA for a members-only webinar on March 2 from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. The webinar will walk physicians through the proposed rule and offer practical tips for receiving incentive payments in 2011. Registration is free, but space is limited. To reserve your spot, click here or visit cmanet.org/calendar.

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PECOS enrollment policy delayed; CMA publishes enrollment guide


With a nearly impossible April deadline looming, Medicare has delayed its PECOS enrollment policy until January 1, 2011.

Medicare physicians who have not updated their PECOS enrollment information in the past five years may need to fill out another application or risk facing payment problems for ordered or referred services. The new rules taking effect next January authorize Medicare to reject claims if an ordering or referring physician is not identified in Medicare’s PECOS enrollment system.

CMA and others in organized medicine pushed for a delay in implementing the new policy, which could negatively impact many physicians and other health care providers. If the rule were enforced today, thousands of otherwise acceptable Medicare claims could go unpaid merely because they were submitted by providers who enrolled in Medicare before the PECOS database was developed.

Because PECOS enrollment can be quite confusing, CMA has developed a step-by-step guide to walk physicians through the process, from determining if they are already in PECOS to accessing the Internet–based PECOS enrollment system. This guide is available in the members-only section of cmanet.org.

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Medicare participation status deadline is March 17


Physicians have until March 17 to change their Medicare participation status for 2010. Physicians who have not already changed their status can still do so, and those who have already made changes can still retract them. It is possible, however, that Medicare will extend the participation deadline if Congress acts to postpone the 21% physician pay cut scheduled to take effect on March 1.

The effective date of any decision will ultimately be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2010. Participation decisions are binding for one year, unless you choose to opt out of Medicare entirely. Once you opt out, you cannot opt back in for two years.

Be aware that because changes in participation status are retroactive to Jan. 1, physicians who switch from “nonparticipating” to “participating” will have to refund to patients any balance billing collected between Jan. 1 and their new decision date.

For more information on physicians’ Medicare participation options, see CMA On-Call document #0151, “Medicare Participation (and Nonparticipation) Options.” On-Call documents are free to members in the members-only of cmanet.org. Nonmembers can purchase On-Call documents for $2 per page at cmanet.org/bookstore.

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PFMC grant deadline is April 1


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 1. For application materials, contact Kathy Pass at 525-4281 or kpass@rhs.org. For more information, visit www.pfmc.org.

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Healdsburg Hospital opens diagnostic center for women


Healdsburg Hospital, in partnership with the Redwood Regional Medical Group, has opened a Women’s Diagnostic Center on the hospital campus. Services offered at the center include digital mammography and DXA scanning. 

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CMA announces 2010 webinar series


Access valuable educational resources without taking time off from work or paying travel expenses!

CMA’s webinars are live, interactive, online educational events designed to provide members and their staff with access to industry experts for guidance on timely topics such as best practices for your practice, health information technology, and reimbursement, legal, and regulatory issues. And, as an added benefit to CMA members, each webinar is archived online for viewing at your leisure with links to the PowerPoint presentations and additional topic-related documents.

March webinars include:

·       3/2: Meaningful Use for Your EHR

·       3/3: Documentation – Medi-Cal Fraud and Abuse Series

·       3/10: Medicare – New Year, Fresh Start

·       3/18: HIPAA – How to Be Compliant with Recent Changes

To view the full webinar calendar, visit cmanet.org/calendar

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APPLICANTS


Lucia Roncalli, MD, Family Medicine, 3320 Chanate Rd., Santa Rosa 95404, 547-2220, Fax 303-3318, American Univ Caribbean 2006

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CLASSIFIEDS


Family Practice Physician Wanted
Sonoma County Indian Health Project (SCIHP) in Santa Rosa is seeking a full-time BC/BE Family Practice Physician to join our team. SCIHP is a comprehensive community care clinic located in the Northern Californian wine country. Candidates must currently hold a California Physician/Surgeon license. Inpatient care at the hospital required. For the right candidate we offer a competitive salary, excellent benefits, and an opportunity for loan repayment. For more information, please contact Bob Orr at 707-521-4654; or Bob.Orr@crihb.net. www.scihp.org.

Medical Billing/Reimbursement Specialist
Saving you time and money. Alleviating paperwork pain, aging A/R headaches. www.revenuerecoverynetwork.com

Medical Office Space
Small suite available for reasonable rent. Three exam rooms, southeast Santa Rosa. Call Connie, 707-525-0211.

How to submit a classified ad
To submit a classified ad for SCMA News Briefs or Sonoma Medicine, contact Nan Perrott at nperrott@rhscommunications.com or 707-525-4226. The cost is one dollar per word.

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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.

© SCMA 2010
3033 Cleveland Ave. #104
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

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TO UNSUBSCRIBE


You are receiving SCMA News Briefs because you are a physician or an affiliated medical professional in Sonoma County. If you wish to unsubscribe, contact Steve Osborn at sosborn@scma.org or 707-525-4325.

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February 2010


Physician directories set for delivery


The annual Sonoma County Physician Directory published by SCMA is at the printer and will be delivered to all members later this month. The publication, now in its 53rd edition, includes complete specialty, certification, training and contact information for all SCMA members, along with basic specialty and contact information for nonmembers. Of particular note is the growing list of special medical interests, which are self-designated areas of expertise that are not ABMS or AOA specialties or subspecialties. An index of physicians by foreign languages spoken has also proved quite helpful.

Each SCMA member receives one free copy of the directory. Additional copies cost $30 for SCMA members, $40 for nonmember physicians and health care facilities, and $55 for the general public. To order, visit www.scma.org or contact Rachel Pandolfi at rachel@scma.org or 525-4375.

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Sharing Our Hearts luncheon on Feb. 25


This year’s “Sharing Our Hearts” luncheon sponsored by the SCMA Alliance will be held at the Flamingo Hotel in Santa Rosa on Thursday, Feb. 25. The event benefits the Alliance’s efforts to improve health care access for residents of Sonoma County. The featured speaker is Karen Johnson, director of the Schulz Museum.

The theme of the luncheon is “A Step Back in Time,” and ticket prices have been rolled back accordingly, to a mere $40. To purchase tickets, visit www.scmaa.org or call Charlene Staples at 526-7877.

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CMA members split on stalled health care legislation


While CMA member physicians are unified in their support for health reform, they are evenly split (44% to 44%) on whether they favor or oppose the health reform legislation that is currently stalled in Congress. That split was one of the main findings of a survey CMA sent to members in late January. Of the 407 members who responded, 97% indicated that they favor either incremental or fundamental health care reform over no reform.

For the preferred system of health care financing, nearly two-thirds of the respondents (66%) favored a mix of government and private payers over single-payer (19%) or a free market system without public insurance (13%).

In addition to unified support for the concept of health reform, CMA members showed support across all demographics for specific provisions of health reform legislation, including:

·       Protecting MICRA, California’s law limiting noneconomic damages in medical liability cases (94% favor).

·       Prohibiting insurance companies from denying health coverage because of pre-existing conditions or changes in health status (89% favor).

·       Providing tax credits and subsidies to low-income families and small employers so they can purchase health insurance (88% favor).

·       Expanding health insurance coverage to 95% of the uninsured (82% favor).

·       Providing funding to develop best practices and quality measures for health care providers (76%).

Throughout the health reform debate, CMA has relied on policy developed by the democratically elected CMA House of Delegates to formulate its position and priorities for health care reform. The poll was undertaken at the request of the House of Delegates to ensure that CMA members had an opportunity to voice their opinions and have an impact on health care reform legislation.

While health reform has been sidetracked by recent events, congressional leaders continue to debate the issue. CMA will use the results of this poll to represent the interests of California physicians in that debate.

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Beginning April 5, Medicare may reject claims if physician is not in PECOS system


Medicare physicians who have not updated their enrollment information in the past five years may need to fill out another application or face payment problems for ordered or referred services. The new rules, which take effect April 5, authorize Medicare to reject claims if an ordering physician is not identified in Medicare’s PECOS enrollment system.

If you are not sure if you are already in the PECOS system, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has posted a list of all physicians enrolled in PECOS on cms.hhs.gov. Be aware that this is an enormous document, containing over 13,000 pages, and as such it will take time to download. To see if you are on the list, go to the search tool and enter your type 1 (individual) NPI number, or last name, and hit enter. If you do not appear on the list, you will need to revalidate your enrollment with Medicare.

If you determine that you need to submit a new enrollment form, you can do so online using the web-based PECOS system at pecos.cms.hhs.gov or by filling out the appropriate paper enrollment form(s) (CMS-855I and CMS-855R, if appropriate) and mailing the forms to Palmetto, which will enter your information into PECOS and process your enrollment application. If you enroll online, be sure to also mail to Palmetto the signed and dated Certification Statement within seven days.

SCMA member Dr. Peter Bretan serves on CMA’s Technical Advisory Committee for PECOS. For further information about PECOS from CMA, contact Michele Kelly at 213-226-0338 or mkelly@cmanet.org.

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Registration open for CMA Leadership Academy in San Diego


Registration is now open for CMA's annual Health CareLeadership Academy, scheduled for April 9-11 in San Diego. This year'sconference will assess the status and impact of federal health reform efforts,including provider payment incentives that may change the organizational formsof medical practice.

The 2010 Academy, approved for 18.25 hours of Category 1 CMEcredit, will feature three main breakout tracks: health information technology,leadership skills development, and practice management.

SCMA gets a group discount, so you can save $100 if you registerwith SCMA by March 9 rather than online. Early bird registration is $645 formembers, $945 for nonmembers, and $295 for allied health professionals.Early-bird tuition for practice managers and other non-MD staff is $295 forCAMGMA members, $395 for nonmembers.

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

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CMA files lawsuit against governor over scope-of-practice laws


CMA and the California Society of Anesthesiologists havefiled a lawsuit asking a court to overturn a decision by Gov. Schwarzenegger toopt out of the federal requirement for physician supervision of anesthesia carefor Medicare patients. The governor's decision would enable hospitals to allownurses to administer anesthesia on Medicare patients without physiciansupervision.

Schwarzenegger in June 2009 requested and received anexemption from the federal Medicare requirement that physicians supervise nurseanesthetists. The exemption was requested without input from any professionalmedical organization and with disregard for state law that requires physiciansupervision of nurse anesthetists.

“If the governor had followed the law, he would have seenthat reducing the standards for anesthetists could have a detrimental impact onpatient safety,” says CMA President Brennan Cassidy, MD. “As doctors, our No. 1priority is the health and safety of our patients and that’s why the governoris taking a step in the wrong direction.”

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Dustin Corcoran named chief executive of CMA


Dustin Corcoran, CMA's head lobbyist and senior vicepresident, has been named CEO of the association. He replaces Alfred Gilchrist,who resigned unexpectedly in January.

Corcoran joined CMA in 1998 as the membership coordinatorfor its political action committee. He soon began working as a lobbyist underthe late Steve Thompson, guiding bills related to access to care, emergencymedicine, hospitals, tobacco usage, public health and health care systemreform.

After Thompson’s death in 2004, Corcoran took over as CMA’shead lobbyist and went on to become senior vice president. Corcoran was namedthe "most effective lobbyist under 40" in 2005 by "Around theCapitol" and one of the most powerful political brokers in California in2009 by "Capitol Weekly."

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HOSPITAL UPDATES


Sutter Medical Centerof Santa Rosa has been rated among the top 10% of hospitals in the nationfor cardiac surgery, earning five stars in a study by the independent ratingorganization HealthGrades. The study examined nearly 40 million Medicarehospitalization records in 5,000 hospitals from 2006 to 2008. HealthGrades alsogave Sutter Santa Rosa a five-star rating for valve replacement surgery andtreatment of heart failure, meaning that its mortality and complication ratesare significantly below the national average. An average rating is three stars.For procedures in which mortality was studied, there was a 52% lower chance ofdying in a five-star hospital than the national average.

Santa Rosa MemorialHospital has been designated a “Blue Distinction Center” by Blue Shield forits knee and hip replacements, one of only 33 hospitals in California toreceive the designation. The honor is based on a review of more than 500 kneeand hip replacements performed at Memorial from May 2008 to April 2009. Thereview determined that readmission rates for hip and knee replacements were3.6% and 2.9% respectively, far below the target threshold of 10%.

In other news from Memorial, the National Labor Relations Board announced that an administrative lawjudge would hold a hearing on Feb. 22 to resolve a dispute between the hospitaland the National Union of Healthcare Workers regarding the recent unionelection at the hospital. The outcome of the election has not been certified,pending the results of the hearing.

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DOCTORS IN THE NEWS


Dr. Dave Schneider, afaculty physician at the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency, has begunhosting “To Your Health,” a live medical show on the Internet. The show airs at3 p.m. on Fridays at www.BlogTalkRadio.com/DrDaveS.Schneider has hosted medical shows on several Sonoma County radio stationssince 2003.

Dr. Stanley Jacobs,a facial cosmetic surgeon in Healdsburg, has begun manufacturing a skin careproduct called Visco-Elastic Transforming Serum. Jacobs got the idea for theproduct from an ancient Egyptian papyrus that alluded to skin treatmentsinvolving bitter almonds. The product includes mandelic acid, a key ingredientof bitter almonds, along with resveratrol and other agents.

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APPLICANTS


Sean Calandrella, MD,Family Medicine*, Sports Medicine*, 3900 Lakeville Hwy., Petaluma 94954,765-3960, Fax 765-3471, sean.o.calandrella@kp.org

Marlon DeCastro, MD,Internal Medicine*, 500 Doyle Park Dr. #303, Santa Rosa 95405, 303-8300, Fax303-8301, Univ Philippines 1997

Attila Mady, MD,Internal Medicine*, 1165 Montgomery Dr., Santa Rosa 95405, 543-2910, Fax544-5430, Columbia Univ 1992

James Riley, MD, FamilyMedicine*, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, 393-4320, Fax 393-4234, NewYork Univ 1996

Anthony Sajewicz, MD,Diagnostic Radiology*, 121 Sotoyome St., Santa Rosa 95405, 546-4062, Fax525-4097, asajewicz@rrmginc.com, SUNY Syracuse 2001

* board certified

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CLASSIFIEDS


Medical Office Space
Small suite available for reasonable rent. Three exam rooms, southeast Santa Rosa. Call Connie, 707-525-0211.

How to submit a classified ad
To submit a classified ad for SCMA News Briefs or Sonoma Medicine, contact Nan Perrott at nperrott@rhscommunications.com or 707-525-4226. The cost is one dollar per word.

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ABOUT SCMA


The Sonoma County Medical Association, a 501(c)(6) nonprofitassociation, supports local physicians and their efforts to enhance the healthof the community. Founded in 1858, SCMA is affiliated with the CaliforniaMedical Association and the American Medical Association.

© SCMA 2010
3033 Cleveland Ave. #104
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

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TO UNSUBSCRIBE


You are receiving SCMA News Briefs because you are aphysician or an affiliated medical professional in Sonoma County. If you wishto unsubscribe, contact Steve Osborn at sosborn@scma.orgor 707-525-4325.

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January 2010


URGENT: Physicians need to contact legislators to support Medicare GPCI fix


Congressional leaders are expected to merge the House and Senate health care reform bills into one final bill during the next three weeks. CMA has sent a delegation to Washington, DC, to lobby for improvements, but needs your help to preserve the House bill’s update of California’s Medicare payment localities, also known as the “GPCI fix.”

All physicians are urged to contact the senators and representatives listed below and tell them to update California’s Medicare Physician Payment Locality borders by supporting the California GPCI fix in the House bill. Please make all the calls or e-mails you can. If you have only a few minutes, the top priorities are Sen. Feinstein, Sen. Boxer, and Rep. Pelosi. Every call or e-mail counts!

When contacting senators or representatives, give your name, specialty, city and county, and urge the senator or representative to support the California GPCI fix in the House bill. The GPCI fix will improve access to care in 14 California counties, including Sonoma. (For a sample e-mail and more information on the GPCI fix, visit the “Resources” page at scma.org.) When contacting Speaker Pelosi, Rep. Stark and Rep. Waxman, please also thank them for fighting for California physicians on this issue.

·       Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Send an e-mail or use the AMA’s grassroots hotline at 800-833-6354.

·       Sen. Barbara Boxer. Send an e-mail or use the AMA’s grassroots hotline at 800-833-6354.

·       Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Send an e-mail or call 202-225-4965.

·       Rep. Henry Waxman. Send an e-mail or call 202-225-3976.

·       Rep Pete Stark. Send an e-mail or call 202-225-5065.

·       Rep. Mike Thompson. Send an e-mail or call 202-225-3311.

·       Rep. Lynn Woolsey. Send an e-mail or call 202-225-5161.

Final decisions are being made now. Please call today! Thank you!

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Health Action needs primary care practices for learning collaborative by Jan. 22


By Bo Greaves, MD

Health Action of Sonoma County is organizing a learningcollaborative of 8-12 diverse primary care practices from March throughDecember this year. Each practice will be working on transforming how theiroffice operates, and on becoming a patient-centered medical home. Each practiceneeds to commit to making improvements, and to sharing their experiences withall in the collaborative.

We anticipate that each of these practices, throughout 2010,will make substantial movement toward the goal of becoming a patient-centeredmedical home (PCMH), with significant improvements in patient access, patientsafety, care coordination, and proven clinical quality. We also anticipatespreading this transformative process to other primary care practices in SonomaCounty over the next 2-3 years.

If you are up to thischallenge and ready to commit to active participation in the activitiesdescribed here, PLEASE let us know immediately. We can only acceptapplications to participate until Jan. 22. The application is quick and easy tocomplete—but remember the commitment will involve hard work! For applicationmaterials or questions, contact Pamela Moore at pmoore@rchc.netor 792-7900, Ext. 202. You may also contact me at GREAVEL@sutterhealth.org or408-2696.

The PCMH Collaborative will kick off on March 18-19 with aone-and-a-half-day learning session, with teams (clinician, office manager,back office staff) from each practice attending. At this session, all aspectsof the PCMH will be explored, as will relationship-centered care and thechronic-care model. In addition, some basic tools for rapid office improvementwill be taught. There will then be three half-day learning sessions, held everyother month, focusing on specific aspects of how to make this fundamentalchange in our practices. We will end in December with an all-day meeting toreview the progress of each practice and set the stage for continuing changeand for expansion to other practices.

In between each session, the teams from each practice willbe expected to carry out ongoing and continuous improvement projects, each oneaimed at moving them closer to the goal of becoming a patient-centered medicalhome.

Again, for application materials or questions, contactPamela Moore at pmoore@rchc.net or792-7900, Ext. 202, or Dr. Bo Greaves at GREAVEL@sutterhealth.org or408-2696.

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SCMA membership continues to increase; Directory to publish in February


Despite all the turmoil in medicine locally and nationally,membership in SCMA continues to increase at a steady pace, growing 2% in thelast year. To help keep track of all those new physicians, SCMA will bepublishing the 2010 edition of its Sonoma County Physician Directory inFebruary. The directory, a standard reference book for local medical offices,includes photos and complete specialty, address and training information forSCMA members, along with an alphabetical listing of almost all localphysicians, various specialty indexes, and a guide to medical resources.

Each SCMA member receives one free copy of the directory.Additional copies cost $30 for members, $40 for nonmembers and health carefacilities, and $55 for all others. To order, visit scma.org/directory or contact RachelPandolfi at rachel@scma.org or 525-4375.

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Latest issue of Sonoma Medicine examines The Aging Brain


The Winter 2010 of Sonoma Medicine, mailed to members last week, focuses on “The Aging Brain,” with articles by local physicians on new treatments for Parkinson’s, risk factors for dementia, biomarkers for Alzheimer’s, and a Santa Rosa “brain gym.” Departments include a travelogue from the Galapagos and an article about restoring a classic car, as well as poetry and book reviews.

Each SCMA member receives one free copy of the magazine. Additional copies can be purchased at Sawyer’s News or Copperfield’s Books in Santa Rosa  or Readers’ Books in Sonoma.

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Public Health offers free H1N1 vaccinations in Santa Rosa on Jan. 23


The Public Health department will be holding a free H1N1vaccination clinic at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds from 2 to 7 p.m. onSaturday, Jan. 23. “H1N1 vaccine is widely available throughout the county, andvirtually everyone over the age of 6 months should get vaccinated,” said DeputyHealth Officer Dr. Mark Netherda. He recommended that patients should firstseek the vaccine from their medical providers or local pharmacies. Those whocan’t access the vaccines in these ways should attend the free vaccination clinic.

For up-to-date information on H1N1, visit sonoma-county.org/PublicHealthor call the Public Health Information Line at 565-4477.

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Center for Well-Being presents healthy eating classes at G&G Supermarket


The Northern California Center for Well-Being will bepresenting a series of healthy eating classes at the G&G Supermarket inSanta Rosa during January. Topics includes “Cooking for Your Weight” (Jan. 13),“Lower Your Cholesterol” (Jan. 20), “Cooking for Diabetes” (Jan. 27) and “BabyFood by Hand” (Jan. 29). Local physicians are encouraged to tell their patientsabout these classes, which are offered for a nominal fee. Patients can registerby visiting gandgmarket.comor calling the Center for Well-Being at 575-6043. 

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Office of Education seeks judges for Science Fair


The Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) is seekingvolunteers to serve as judges for their annual Science Fair, scheduled forWednesday, Feb. 24, at the SCOE office on Skylane Blvd. in Santa Rosa. Eachyear, about 100 students in grades 6-12 exhibit scientific research projects atthe fair, where their work is evaluated by qualified judges.

Physicians interested in serving as judges should contactMike Roa at mroa@scoe.org or 522-3253, orJill Mcintyre at jmcintyre@scoe.org or524-2816. You can also download and submit a volunteer form by searching for“Science Fair” at scoe.org.Volunteering requires about a half day and includes an orientation session,breakfast and lunch. 

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Hospital updates


·      SantaRosa Memorial Hospital marks its 60th anniversary this year. The hospitalopened Jan. 1, 1950, as a 90-bed facility with 93 employees and 70 doctors withprivileges. Twelve patients were admitted on opening day. The number of bedshas since increased to 278, the employees to 1,832, and the doctors withprivileges to 470. During 2009, the hospital logged more than 12,000 inpatientvisits and 170,000 outpatient visits. Its parent company, the St. Joseph HealthSystem, is the county’s largest private, nonprofit employer, with almost 2,400employees altogether.

·      SignatureHealth Care announced plans to open a 90-bed psychiatric hospital in SantaRosa by 2011. The hospital, which will be located in a Fulton Road facilitythat Memorial Hospital closed during 2008, is expected to serve the inpatientpsychiatric needs for several North Bay counties.

·      The PetalumaHealth Center will receive more than $9 million in federal funding toexpand its facilities. The expansion will allow the center to double itspatient capacity, from 14,000 to as many as 30,000.

·      HealdsburgDistrict Hospital will sponsor student rotations for Sonoma State’s newDirect Entry Masters of Science in Nursing (DEMSN) program. The new program isdesigned for students with a BA or higher degree in a field other than nursing.Graduates will receive an MSN degree.

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Congress at the brink of health reform


After more than a year of debate, Congress is at the brinkof passing historic legislation to expand health care coverage to millions ofAmericans. The final legislation will contain a number of provisions that CMAhas been fighting to achieve for years, such as insurance industry reforms toprotect patients, measures to make coverage more affordable for low-incomefamilies, as much as $350 billion in physician payment fixes in Medicare andMedicaid, and increased funding for primary care, physician training, andwellness and prevention. Unfortunately, the legislation will also contain someprovisions that CMA opposes.

House and Senate leaders are meeting over the next few weeksto reconcile the remaining differences between the House and Senate reformbills. Despite these differences, CMA fully expects that the House-SenateConference Committee will have the votes to produce legislation that will passboth houses of Congress and be signed by the President as soon as the end ofJanuary.

Outstanding issues still remain that CMA believes must beaddressed if the legislation is to deliver on its promise of increased accessto care. Now is the last chance to improve the legislation on six criticalissues:

Repealing theMedicare Sustainable Growth Rate. The current formula would cut funding by40% in future years if left in place and would hurt senior citizens’ ability tofind a doctor to treat them. The viability of Medicare is crucial as millionsof baby boomers retire and enter the program.

Eliminating ormodifying the proposed Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), whichcould slash spending and coverage options for senior citizens with little inputfrom others.

Increasing Medicaid’slow reimbursement rates. As it is, patients covered by Medi-Cal oftenstruggle to find a doctor because rates are so low that only about one-third ofthe state’s physicians participate in the program. Both bills dramaticallyexpand eligibility, meaning up to 2 million more patients could enter Medi-Cal,further complicating access.

Updating the Medicarelocality system to reflect changes in practice costs.

Ensuring that any physicianquality reporting program is accurate, fair, and offers physicians anopportunity to correct mistakes in the data or process.

Ensuring patientshave the right to privately contract with Medicare physicians.

You can get more information and details in CMA’s letterto the House-Senate Conference Committee, which is available on CMA’s health reform webpage.

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Medicare switches from consultation codes to E&M codes; CMA offers billing guide


Despite strenuous objections from CMA and others inorganized medicine, Medicare is no longer recognizing inpatient and outpatientconsultation codes. Effective Jan. 1, physicians must instead bill usingE&M codes from the Office and Other Outpatient Services, Initial HospitalCare, and Initial Nursing Facility sections of the 2010 CPT. While CMS hasincreased the work RVUs for new and established office visits, as well asinitial hospital and nursing facility visits, these changes may result insignificant losses for some practices.

The new policy—and the short notice—have already caused agreat deal of confusion as physicians and billing managers try to make sense ofthe new rules.

To help you understand what the switch means, CMA haspublished a 4-page billingguide that includes an overview of the issue, a code crosswalk, and linksto additional resources. The guide is available to CMA members only at cmanet.org. (You may also request a copy bycalling the CMA member help center at 800-786-4262.)

CMA members can get additional information and guidance onthis issue through a members-onlywebinar with Palmetto Medical Director Arthur Lurvey, MD. Dr. Lurvey willanswer physician questions and explain how to bill for these services in 2010and beyond. This one-hour webinar begins Wednesday, Jan. 20, at 12:15 pm.Registration is free, but space is limited, so reserve your space today.If you are unable to participate in the live webinar, it will be available foron-demand viewing beginning the following day.

Physicians who use a third-party billing service are urgedto call their vendors to make sure they are aware and prepared for the rulechange. Feel free to provide them with a copy of the CMA consult code crosswalkand billingguide.

CMA is also surveying major payors in California to find outwhich of them plan to follow Medicare’s lead and eliminate consults. Once wehave gathered this data, we will make it available to members.

For additional questions about the new rules, call the CMAmember help center at 800-786-4262 and ask to speak with a reimbursementspecialist.

 

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Yosemite Institute for primary care physicians March 26-28


The 59th annual Postgraduate Institute for primary carephysicians will be held at the Yosemite Lodge in Yosemite National Park fromMarch 26 to 28. Tuition is $375 for physicians, $300 for allied healthprofessionals, and $100 for medical students, interns or residents. The eventqualifies for up to 16 hours of Category 1 credit. To register, visit fmms.org or call 559-224-4224.

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Dr. George McClary dies


Dr. George McClary, a Santa Rosa family doctor with apassion for photographing fires, died in December at the age of 82. Originallyfrom Chicago, McClary opened a private practice in Santa Rosa in 1958 and soondistinguished himself among local firefighters by being among the first respondersto fire scenes. His photos were used for training by the Santa Rosa FireDepartment, which made him an honorary fire chief in 1971. During his longcareer, McClary was a staunch advocate for mental health, helping to found theSonoma County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He retired in1983.

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APPLICANTS


Ronald Botelho, MD, Anesthesiology*, Pain Medicine, CardiacAnesthesiology, 3536 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa 95403, 523-0616, Fax 523-0616, bluedr.ron@gmail.com,UC San Diego 1982

M. Kathryn Brown, MD, Pediatrics*, 3925 Old Redwood Hwy., SantaRosa 95403, 566-5273, Fax 566-5292, Kathryn.M.Brown@kp.org, Univ Virginia 1993

Alicia Duenas, MD, Psychiatry*, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa95403, 571-3778, Fax 571-3799, Alicia.I.Duenas@kp.org, Univ Rochester 2004

Christopher Gaut, MD, Emergency Medicine, 401 Bicentennial Way,Santa Rosa 95403, 393-4800, Fax 393-4747, christoper.gaut@kp.org, UC Davis 1994

Anna Kogan, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology, 500 Doyle Park Dr.#103, Santa Rosa 95405, 579-1102, Fax 579-1386, Rosalind Franklin Univ 2005

Kenneth Kurtz, MD, Allergy & Immunology*, Internal Medicine,401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, 393-4133, Fax 393-4560,Kenneth.M.Kurtz@kp.org, UC San Diego 1991

Daniel Loube, MD, Pulmonary Disease*, Critical Care Medicine*,Sleep Medicine*, 1165 Montgomery Dr., Santa Rosa 95404, 543-2910, Fax 544-2389,daniel.loube@stjoe.org, George Washington Univ 1987

Katie Noyes, MD, Family Medicine, 3320 Chanate Rd., Santa Rosa95404, 547-2220, Fax 303-3318, Dartmouth Med Sch 2009

Daniel Santiago, MD, Family Medicine*, 144 Stony Point Rd., SantaRosa 95401, 521-4500, Fax 544-4626, daniel.santiago@crihb.net

Thomas Shragg, MD, Pulmonary Disease*, Critical Care Medicine*, 401Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, 393-4610, Fax 393-4775, tshragg@pol.net, UCDavis 1975

Rami Turk, MD, Cardiovascular Disease, 3536 Mendocino Ave. #200,Santa Rosa 95403, 573-6166, Fax 573-6165, doctorturk@gmail.com, Emory Univ 2003

Jitesh Vasadia, MD, Cardiovascular Disease*, 401 Bicentennial Way,Santa Rosa 95403, 393-4006, Fax 393-4188, jitesh.v.vasadia@kp.org, Osmania MedColl 1997

Laura Westerling, MD, Dermatopathology*, 401 Bicentennial Way,Santa Rosa 95403, 393-4112, Fax 393-4871, laura.n.westerling@kp.org, UnivSouthern California 2003

Eric Williams, MD, Dermatology*, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa95403, 393-4112, Fax 393-4871, eric.a.williams@kp.org, Univ Southern California2003

Jill Young, MD, Pediatrics*, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa,393-2091, Fax 393-4556, jill.young@kp.org, Mayo Med Sch 1988

* board certified

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CLASSIFIEDS


Medical Office Space
Small suite available for reasonable rent. Three exam rooms, southeastSanta Rosa. Call Connie, 707-525-0211.

Medical Office Space
Suite available. Perkins Medical Center, Sonoma. 1800+/- square ft.$2890/mo. 707-996-4519.

How to submit a classified ad
To submit a classified ad for SCMA News Briefs or Sonoma Medicine, contact NanPerrott at nperrott@rhscommunications.comor 707-525-4226. The cost is one dollar per word.

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ABOUT SCMA


The Sonoma County Medical Association, a 501(c)(6) nonprofitassociation, supports local physicians and their efforts to enhance the healthof the community. Founded in 1858, SCMA is affiliated with the CaliforniaMedical Association and the American Medical Association.

© SCMA 2010
3033 Cleveland Ave. #104
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

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TO UNSUBSCRIBE


You are receiving SCMA News Briefs because you are aphysician or an affiliated medical professional in Sonoma County. If you wishto unsubscribe, contact Steve Osborn at sosborn@scma.orgor 707-525-4325.

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Your Ad Here! Call (707) 525-0102