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

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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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