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December 2011


SCMA Awards Dinner attracts full house


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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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






CalHIPSO can help with transition to electronic health records


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

 

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

 

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






Still time to update your Sonoma County Physician Directory listing


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

 

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


 




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


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


 




Wanted: Vintage Doctor’s Bags


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




What the demise of the Super Committee means to California physicians


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

 

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

 

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




CMA files lawsuit over Medi-Cal reimbursement cuts


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

 

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

 

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

 

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




CMA recoups almost $3 million for members in 2011


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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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




PEOPLE


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

 

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

 

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




MEDICAL FACILITIES


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




RESOURCES


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

 

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




APPLICANTS


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

 

* board certified




CLASSIFIEDS


Anesthesiologist needed for infertility clinic

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

 

Family practice physician wanted

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

 

Office space

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

 

Shred-It

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

 

SCMA members get free classified ads!

SCMA members can place free classified ads in News Briefs or Sonoma Medicine. Cost for nonmember physicians and the general public is $1 per word. To place a classified ad, contact Erika Goodwin at erika@scma.org or 707-548-6491.




ABOUT SCMA


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

 

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