Keeping You Connected

The SCMA and MLCMS keep you up to date on the latest news,
policy developments, and events

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November 2008


Still time to RSVP for 150th Anniversary Celebration


Tickets are still available for SCMA’s 150th AnniversaryCelebration on Tuesday evening, Nov. 11. The tickets are FREE to active andretired SCMA members, and $75 for spouses or guests. General admission is $95.

The event will be held at the Vintner’s Inn, 4350 BarnesRd., Santa Rosa, starting at 6 p.m. To RSVP or to purchase tickets, e-mailscma@scma.org or call 525-4359. Credit card payments can be accepted over thephone.

Major sponsors of this historic occasion include KaiserPermanente, NORCAL, Sutter Medical Foundation North Bay, and Sutter MedicalGroup of the Redwoods. Additional sponsorship is being provided by CMA, themedical societies of CMA District 10, Marsh, Pacific Foundation  for Medical Care, Redwood Regional MedicalGroup, Sonoma County Department of Health Services, St. Joseph Health System,and about a dozen other local health organizations and businesses.

On Oct. 23, the SCMA Alliance presented SCMA with an Allieaward for “Outstanding Contribution to the Community.” And on Nov. 4, theSonoma County Board of Supervisors will issue a proclamation recognizing SCMAfor its 150 years of service.

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SCMA endorses new Medicare payment option


In response to a Medicare study of various options forrevising its payment localities, SCMA has endorsed Option 3, which wouldseparate high-cost metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) from statewidelocalities.

In an Oct. 26 letter to Medicare, SCMA President Dr. KirkPappas and former president Dr. Brad Drexler noted that “none of the otheroptions adequately address payment inequities and will therefore not have anadequate effect on patient access to physicians.”

Medicare is accepting comments about the study, entitled “Reviewof Alternative GPCI Payment Locality Structures,” until Nov. 3. The study canbe downloaded at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/PhysicianFeeSched/downloads/ReviewOfAltGPCIs.pdf.Comments should be sent to MPFS@cms.hhs.gov.

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Dr. Ian Hoffman wins “Article of the Year” award


Dr. Ian Hoffman, a residentphysician in the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency, has won the Article ofthe Year award from SCMA for “The Devil’s in the Details,” which appeared inthe Spring 2008 issue of Sonoma Medicine.

Hoffman’s article provides aneye-opening look at the influence of drug-company detailers who regularly visitphysicians’ offices, offering free samples and other gifts. He concludes, “Thelong-ingrained and widely accepted practice of interacting with pharmaceuticalrepresentatives will be a hard habit to break. As physicians, the question wemust answer now is whether conditions are right for us to move away from the ‘freelunch’ on our own, or do we need regulatory laws to break us of the habit?”

The full text of Hoffman’sarticle appears on the SCMA website at http://www.scma.org/magazine/articles/?articleid=77.

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SCMA website continues to grow


SCMA continues to add newmaterial its newly revised website at http://www.scma.org. Launched in October,the site includes a full list of member benefits, current and past issues ofSonoma Medicine, and a variety of resources for physicians. Credit card paymentcapabilities and an online directory of SCMA physicians are also in the works.

Suggestions for improving thewebsite should be sent to Steve Osborn at sosborn@scma.org or 525-4325.

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Dr. Thomas McCarthy dies at 60


Dr. Thomas McCarthy, an ob/gynwho practiced in Santa Rosa for 26 years, died of brain cancer on Oct. 28. Hewas just 60 years old.

Dr. Cheryl Kellert, McCarthy’slongtime partner at Santa Rosa Ob/Gyn Medical Group, remembered him as anastute diagnostician and an excellent teacher. “As a partner,” she recalled,“he put his personal needs only after the group’s needs. He was a real teamplayer.”

McCarthy was well known in thecommunity for his dual role as doctor and as pastor at the Hope Chapel, achurch he founded in 1989. In a 1997 article for Sonoma County Physician (nowSonoma Medicine), he wrote, “The roles of pastor and physician work hand inhand. … While I do not actively evangelize patients in my practice, I do try tohelp them understand the non-physical roots of their problems and encouragethem to seek solutions other than antidepressants.”

Dr. Thomas Garrett, one ofMcCarthy’s former partners, remembered that, “The staff loved him. He wasalways up; he had a great sense of humor. He was respected by his colleagues inother specialties, and he saw the big picture.”

McCarthy’s death comes justweeks before his former practice is scheduled to close. “The heart of our groupdied when he got ill,” said Kellert. “He went into medicine because it’s aprofession and a calling, not because it’s a job.”

Services will be held in thePerson Theater in the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts at 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov.7.

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Supervisors approve residency consortium; one hurdle left


Nearing the end of a longprocess, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors has approved a deal transferringcontrol of the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency from Sutter Health to aconsortium of local health providers, including Sutter, Kaiser, Memorial, theSouthwest Health Center, the Dept. of Health Services and UCSF.

The deal, in the works since2007, must still be approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate MedicalEducation, probably in early 2009. Once that happens, the consortium will takeover the program, and resident physicians will receive training not only atSutter, but also at Kaiser, Memorial and Southwest.

“The consortium structure willnot only provide a broader base of financial support, but will also offer aricher, more diverse learning experience for physicians,” said Sutter CEO MikeCohill. Sutter will contribute more than $4 million annually to the consortium,with Kaiser providing an additional $2.7 million per year.

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Physicians can still get paper EOMBs from Medicare


Medicare payment problems continue to plague doctors’offices across California. In the most recent glitch, some physicians beganreceiving Medicare checks without an attached Explanation of Medicare Benefits(EOMB) because Medicare mistakenly switched those physicians to “electronicremittance advice (ERA) only” status.

Physicians who want to keepreceiving EOMBs should submit a letter to Medicare via CMA. Simply download thesample letter on the SCMA website at http://www.scma.org/i/userimages/Medicare_EOMB_request.pdf.Complete the letter with your specific information, then fax to Frank Navarroat 916-551-2046. The letter can also be used to request copies of EOMBs notincluded with previous payments.

Physicians can expect to beginreceiving paper EOMBs within three days from the date CMA receives their faxedrequest. For further details, contact Frank Navarro at fnavarro@cmanet.org or916-551-2046.

For other Medicare paymentproblems, call CMA toll-free at 800-786-4262 or visit the “Resources” sectionof the SCMA website at http://www.scma.org.

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Balance billing regs apply to care provided on or after 10/15


Despite the vigorous efforts oforganized medicine, the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) regulationthat prohibits “balance billing” of HMO patients for out-of-network emergencyservices took effect on Oct. 15.

DMHC has indicated that theprohibition applies only to services provided on or after the regulation’seffective date. Bills sent after Oct. 15 for services provided before Oct. 15are not affected.

For more information, see CMA’sBalance Billing Advocacy Toolkit available to members only athttp://www.cmanet.org/member. CMA published the toolkit to help physicians dealwith the uncertainty caused by this regulation and to answer any questions theyhave about their rights and responsibilities.

CMA and a coalition of providergroups have filed a lawsuit against DMHC arguing that the regulation isunlawful and unenforceable because DMHC lacks the authority to regulatedoctors. The lawsuit also alleges that the regulation violates the intent ofthe Knox Keene Act, which is to ensure that HMOs provide adequate physiciannetworks to provide care for their enrollees.

For more detail, contactSamantha Pellon at 916-551-2872 or spellon@cmanet.org.

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CMA House adopts resolution to ban smoking in casinos


The CMA House of Delegates hasadopted a resolution to support legislation mandating smoke-free gaming venuesas a prerequisite for issuing or renewing gaming licenses. The resolution byformer SCMA president Dr. Brad Drexler was one of many approved by the House atits annual meeting in Sacramento in early October. Other resolutions addressedprescription data mining, tax deductions for uncompensated care, and physicianstaffing of retail health clinics.

For a complete list ofresolutions, visit http://cmanet.org/member.

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Free diabetes podcasts available from CDC


A series of 10 podcasts titled“Clinical Diabetes Management” is now available for free download from the CDCwebsite. The podcasts feature interviews with pharmacists, podiatrists, optometristsand dentists on preventing diabetes complications and working as part of thediabetes care team. The podcasts promote a team approach to comprehensivediabetes care and provide simple care recommendations to clinicians aboutmaking cross-disciplinary referrals.

The podcasts cover periodontaldisease, preventing vision loss, living with vision loss, preventingamputation, and the pharmacist's role in diabetes, among other topics. Toaccess the podcasts, visit http://www.cdc.gov/podcasts and search for “ClinicalDiabetes Management.”

For more free resources ondiabetes prevention and control, visit http://www.ndep.nih.gov.

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NORCAL applications available in writable PDF format


All applications andquestionnaires on the NORCAL website have been converted to writable PDFformat. Applicants can download the forms to their computers and complete themonline. There is no need to fill them out by hand, which was previously theonly option.

To download an application,visit http://www.norcalmutual.com/resources/applications.php.

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Health care conference in Santa Rosa on Nov. 12


A health care conferencesponsored by the North Bay Business Journal will be held on Wednesday morning,Nov. 12, at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel in Santa Rosa. The featured speakeris Dr. David Greenberg, a vice president at the Buck Institute, who willdiscuss regenerative medicine, diseases in aging, and the latest stem-cellresearch. His speech will be followed by panel discussions on health caredelivery and health insurance.

Tickets are $45 per person. Toregister, contact Linda Perkins by Nov. 7 at 521-5265 or events@busjrnl.com.

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Dr. Stacey Kerr publishes book on hospital homebirths


Santa Rosa family physician andPress Democrat columnist Dr. Stacey Kerr has just published “Homebirth in theHospital” a 224-page book on integrative childbirth. The book features storiesof 15 women who had integrative childbirths in a hospital setting. Published bySentient Publications, the book is available at local bookstores or at http://www.homebirthinthehospital.com.

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Dr. Allan Bernstein writes headache booklet for Krames


Dr. Allan Bernstein, a SantaRosa neurologist and headache specialist, did all the science writing for a newpatient guide to headaches from Krames, a leading publisher of patienteducation materials. The 16-page booklet, now in its third edition, will beused in doctors’ offices throughout the country.

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Stephen Banks, MD
Radiation Oncology*
3555 Round Barn Cir.
Santa Rosa 95403
522-6875 Fax 576-0445
sbanks@rrmginc.com
Stanford Univ 1993

John Chan, MD
Obstetrics & Gynecology*
Gynecologic Oncology*
100 Brookwood Ave.
Santa Rosa 95404
576-7557 Fax 576-7786
chanjohn@obgyn.ucsf.edu
UC Los Angeles 1995

Lee-may Chen, MD
Obstetrics & Gynecology*
Gynecologic Oncology*
100 Brookwood Ave.
Santa Rosa 95404
576-7557 Fax 576-7786
Lee-may.chen@ucsfmedctr.org
Univ Michigan 1992

Thomas Duckett, MD
Urology*
500 Doyle Park Dr. #303
Santa Rosa 95405
575-1833 Fax 575-1892
duckett@sutterhealth.org
Loyola Univ 1995

Alvaris Duffis Jr., MD
Diagnostic Radiology
401 Bicentennial Way
Santa Rosa 95403
393-3452 Fax 553-3589
alvaris.w.duffis@kp.org
Univ Pennsylvania 1984

Gabriel Flaxman, MD
Family Medicine
3320 Chanate Rd.
Santa Rosa 95404
547-2220 Fax 303-3187
flaxmeg@sutterhealth.org
Drexler Univ 2008

Henry Flores, MD
Surgery*
451 March Ave. #B
Healdsburg 95448
433-8844 Fax 433-8836
floreshc@sutterhealth.org
Univ Minnesota 1994

Stephen Fuette, MD
Emergency Medicine*
401 Bicentennial Way
Santa Rosa 95403
393-4000 Fax 393-4741
stephandreb@aol.com
Univ Southern California 1999

Catherine Hurley, MD
Family Medicine
3320 Chanate Rd.
Santa Rosa 95404
547-2220 Fax 303-3187
hurleyc@sutterhealth.org
Jefferson Med Coll 2008

Bonnie Kneibler, MD
Family Medicine*
8465 Old Redwood Hwy. #320
Windsor 95492
838-6685 Fax 838-6686
kneiblb@sutterhealth.org
Rush Med Coll 1982

Lisa Kremer, MD
Rheumatology*
Internal Medicine*
4725A Hoen Ave.
Santa Rosa 95405
576-3322 Fax 576-3323
kremerl@sutterhealth.org
Univ Minnesota 1989

Elizabeth Martinez-Augustin, DO
Internal Medicine*
Geriatric Medicine*
401 Bicentennial Way, MOB West #110
Santa Rosa 95403
393-3062 Fax 393-4389
lizmartinezdo@yahoo.com
Western Univ Health Sciences 1999

Anabel Ruiz, MD
Family Medicine
3320 Chanate Rd.
Santa Rosa 95404
547-2220 Fax 303-3187
ruiza4@sutterhealth.org
Johns Hopkins Univ 2008

Libby Schaefer, MD
Family Medicine
3320 Chanate Rd.
Santa Rosa 95404
547-2220 Fax 303-3187
schaefe@sutterhealth.org
Harvard Med Sch 2008

Adrienne Silver, MD
Pediatrics*
3975 Old Redwood Hwy.
Santa Rosa 95403
566-5271 Fax 566-5292
adrienne.m.silver@kp.org
Univ Colorado 1996

David Suchard, MD
Occupational Medicine*
Medical Toxicology
Environmental Medicine
1260 N. Dutton Ave. #244
Santa Rosa 95401
546-2880 Fax 546-2828
dsuchard@sonic.net
UC San Francisco 1992

Barbara Turner, MD
Family Medicine*
8465 Old Redwood Hwy. #320
Windsor 95492
838-6685 Fax 838-6686
turnerb2@sutterhealth.org
UC Irvine 1987

* board certified

 

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MEDICAL OFFICE SPACE
Suite available: Perkins Medical Center, Sonoma. 1800+/- sq ft. $2890/mo.707-996-4519.

HOW TO SUBMIT A CLASSIFIED AD
To submit a classified ad for News Briefs or Sonoma Medicine, contact NanPerrott at nperrott@rhscommunications.com or 707-525-4226. The cost is onedollar per word.

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