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February 2011


CMA pushing for improvements to Affordable Care Act


By CMA Vice President Elizabeth McNeil

 

Note: The following story is excerpted from Ms. McNeil’s Jan. 28 report to the CMA Board of Trustees.

 

On Jan. 19, the House of Representatives passed HR 2, legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but the measure is not expected to pass the Senate nor gain the support of the White House. CMA did not take a specific position on HR 2. In fact, none of the major national health care organizations took a position on HR 2.

 

CMA will be working vigorously to pursue improvements to the ACA, such as eliminating the IPAB (the non-elected board given broad new authority to govern Medicare), repeal of the Medicare SGR payment formula, increases in Medi-Cal reimbursement rates, augmenting graduate medical education, and improvements to quality reporting programs. CMA will continue to support provisions of the ACA that reform the abuses of the for-profit insurance industry, such as ending rescissions and coverage denials for pre-existing conditions, as well as forcing insurers to dedicate at least 80% of their revenue to direct patient care.

 

While a full repeal of the ACA is not expected to be successful, many predict that Congress will adopt some changes to the law on a bipartisan basis. For instance, both Democrats and Republicans have agreed to eliminate the Form 1099 new reporting requirement that requires businesses, including physician offices, to report certain payments.

 

AMA, CMA and the federation will be pushing legislation (The Medicare Patient Empowerment Act) to allow physicians to privately contract with Medicare patients. CMA was actively involved in crafting the bill, and several Republican leaders appear to be interested in introducing the legislation.

 

The AMA and many other state medical associations are pushing for federal medical liability reform that mirrors the successful laws in California and Texas. There will be several liability bills introduced and moved through the House, but passage of liability reform will be much more difficult in the Senate. CMA’s first priority will be to protect MICRA to ensure that federal law does not weaken California law.




Preteen Vaccine Week begins Feb. 13


This year’s Preteen Vaccine Week begins shortly before Valentine’s Day, a fitting reminder of the need for vaccinations amid an outbreak of kissing. The goal of this year’s campaign is to raise awareness of the new Tdap vaccine requirement for incoming students in grades 7-12, also known as “The New Rule: Shots Before School.” All students in those grades will need proof of a Tdap booster shot before starting public or private school in the fall.

 

In addition to Tdap, the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that 11- and 12-year-olds receive meningococcal, varicella, HPV and annual flu vaccines. Complete details about Preteen Vaccine Week, including brochures, posters and multilingual materials, can be found on the California Department of Public Health website at www.cdph.ca.gov.




Health Careers Scholarship deadline is Feb. 28


Do you know a high school, college or reentry student who’s interested in pursuing a medical career? If so, encourage them to apply for a Health Careers Scholarship sponsored by SCMA and the SCMA Alliance. The application deadline for the scholarships, which are administered by the Community Foundation of Sonoma County, is Feb. 28. Applications are available at www.sonomacf.org. Children of physicians are not eligible for the scholarships.

 

Applications are reviewed by the SCMA Health Careers Scholarship Committee, which is co-chaired by Virginia Merwin and Dr. Jackie Senter. Last year the committee awarded $24,000 in scholarships to a dozen students, and this year even more money will be awarded, thanks in part to a $10,000 grant from the Pacific Foundation for Medical Care.

 

For more details, visit the SCMA Alliance website at www.scmaa.org or contact Virginia Merwin at vmerwin@earthlink.net or 321-4558.




Marin County seeking new Public Health Officer


Marin County is seeking a new Public Health Officer to replace Dr. Fred Schwartz, who has retired. The filing deadline is Feb. 4, so time is of the essence. The Officer plans, organizes and directs public health programs, and enforces public health laws and regulations. Responsibilities include serving as county spokesperson on public health issues, advocating for disease prevention and health promotion, and developing public health policy. Salary range is $166,000 to $201,000 per year.

 

Application forms and instructions are available at www.co.marin.ca.us/jobs. Physicians with questions or suggestions should contact HHS Director Dr. Larry Meredith at lmeredith@co.marin.ca.us or 415-499-6924.




Even busy doctors can join the iWALK Challenge


Even if you’re a busy doctor, the iWALK Challenge could motivate you to step away from the computer and get some exercise. All you have to do to participate in this 90-day event is to commit to getting at least 150 minutes of exercise each week. That's just 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

 

The iWALK Challenge begins Feb. 7 and walks, runs, swims or hikes until May 7. It’s 90 days of making exercise a priority. Do what you enjoy. You can go it alone or recruit your colleagues to join the movement. To register, visit www.iwalksonoma.org and click on the iWALK Challenge button. There you can download the Personal Fitness Tracker to keep track of your minutes, and you'll also be entered in a weekly drawing to win cool iWALK stuff and Sonoma County Parks passes. SCMA is a community partner in the iWALK project.




PEOPLE


Family physician Dr. Doug Pile, a fixture in the Healdsburg medical community since 1974, has retired. The son of Santa Rosa family physician Dr. Duane Pile, he attended medical school at UC San Francisco and completed his family medicine residency at Community (now Sutter) Hospital in Santa Rosa. He was in a group practice for one year before going solo in 1975. Twenty years later, he cofounded Healdsburg Primary Care with Drs. Dave Anderson, Locke Wilson and Paul Marguglio. “Doug’s strange sense of humor endeared him to his patients,” recalled Marguglio, who gave Pile much of the credit for the continued survival of Healdsburg Primary Care. Pile, a diabetes expert, noted that his biggest accomplishment was “empowering my diabetic patients to learn about their illness, and to feel that they had control over their outcomes based on choices they could make regarding lifestyle, medication and working together with their health educator.” In retirement, he plans to continue his longstanding interests in woodworking, photography and playing the clarinet. His brother, Dr. Tim Pile, continues to practice family medicine at Kaiser Santa Rosa.

 

SCMA President Dr. Catherine Gutfreund, a family physician at Kaiser Santa Rosa, will chair a newly formed CMA committee that will investigate strategies for strengthening the alignment between CMA and county medical societies, including SCMA. About a dozen physicians from around the state will serve on the committee, along with SCMA Executive Director Cynthia Melody and four other county medical society directors. Marin Medical Society president Dr. Peter Bretan, who has a satellite office in Sebastopol, will also serve on the committee, which is expected to make recommendations on alignment strategies and performance standards before next fall’s meeting of the CMA House of Delegates.

 

Five more local physicians have joined the Annadel Medical Group, the physician network affiliated Santa Rosa Memorial and Petaluma Valley hospitals. Internists Drs. George Bisbee, Catherine Davis, and Robert Schaefer will have offices in the main Annadel building at 500 Doyle Park Drive in Santa Rosa. Family physicians Drs. David Sisler and Paul Umino will continue to work at 24 W. El Rose Drive in Petaluma. The fast-growing Annadel group now includes 27 primary care physicians and hospitalists.




MEDICAL FACILITIES


The American College of Radiology has accredited the Breast MRI and MRI Biopsy programs at Redwood Regional Medical Group. “We are very proud to tell the community that our Breast MRI and MRI Biopsy programs have achieved this designation,” said RRMG president and radiologist Dr. Mark Popovich. RRMG is the only facility in the North Bay to have achieved the designation, which involves a thorough review of physician and staff qualifications, quality control and assurance, MR safety policies, and image quality.




RESOURCES


A complete schedule of CMA webinars for 2011 is available at www.scma.org/resources. These popular bimonthly programs cover all aspects of medical practice and are FREE to SCMA members. The webinars usually run from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., but some feature evening sessions from 6 to 7 p.m. Upcoming topics include:

• Feb. 2: Embezzlement—Don’t be a victim

• Feb. 9: How to enroll in the EHR incentive programs

• March 2: E&M coding: Don’t leave money on the table

To register, visit www.cmanet.org/calendar or call 800-786-4262.

 

Palm Drive Hospital is presenting a CME on Fever of Unknown Origin from 8 to 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 9. The presenter is Sonoma County pulmonologist Dr. James Gude, and participants will receive 1 hour of Category 1 credit. The event will be held in the hospital’s Solomon Telemedicine Hub. For more details, contact Jeff Dunbar at 326-5855 or jeff.dunbar@OffSiteCare.com.

 

Physician leaders are encouraged to attend the IMQ/PACE Platinum Training Program for Physician Leaders, to be held March 10-12 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. The program covers the practical knowledge and skills needed to lead medical staffs and offers an interactive forum to empower physicians and reinforce learning. For more details, or to register, visit www.imq.org or call Leslie Anne Iacopi at 415-882-5167.

 

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

 

Physicians who enjoy flying planes are invited to attend an Electric Aircraft Symposium in Santa Rosa on April 29-30. The event, sponsored by the Santa Rosa-based Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency (CAFE) Foundation, features presentations by scientists from NASA and Lawrence Livermore Lab, among others. For more details, or to register, visit cafefoundation.org.




APPLICANTS


Ruchi Arora, MD, Family Medicine, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, 393-4443, Fax 393-4866, Ruchi.x.arora@kp.org, Gandhi Med Coll 1997

 

Raymond Conway III, MD, Vascular & Interventional Radiology, Diagnostic Radiology*, 121 Sotoyome St., Santa Rosa 95405, 546-4062, Fax 525-4097, rconway@rrmginc.com, Jefferson Med Coll 2003

 

Paul Doemeny, MD, Diagnostic Radiology*, 121 Sotoyome St., Santa Rosa 95405, 546-4062, Fax 525-4097, pdoemeny@rrmginc.com, Georgetown Univ 2003

 

Ernesto Morales, MD, Orthopaedic Surgery, 1144 Sonoma Ave. #109, Santa Rosa 95405, 544-7077, Fax 544-7309, ejmoralesmd@sbcglobal.net, Univ Nicaragua 1955

 

Raymond Severt, MD, Orthopaedic Surgery*, Surgery of the Hand*, 131B Stony Cir. #2000, Santa Rosa 95401, 546-1922, Fax 578-5578, UC Los Angeles 1986

 

Steven Smith, MD, Orthopaedic Surgery*, 121 Sotoyome St., Santa Rosa 95405, 525-6620, Fax 546-2309, ssmith@rrmginc.com, Washington Univ 1980

 

Thomas Warr, MD, Internal Medicine*, Medical Oncology*, Hematology*, 1312 Prentice Dr., Healdsburg 95448, 433-3383 Fax 433-7210, twarr@nscd.org, Vanderbilt Univ 1981

 

* board certified




CLASSIFIEDS


Physician wanted

Physician wanted for ethical medical weight control. Part time. Pleasant conditions. No billing, no on-call. Short shifts. Perfect for semi-retired or someone looking for a little extra work. Locations in Vallejo and San Francisco. Please call 415-447-4200 or email info@californiaweightclinic.com.

 

Office space

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

 

How to submit a classified ad

To submit a classified ad for SCMA News Briefs or Sonoma Medicine, contact Erika Goodwin at erika@scma.org or 707-548-6491. The cost is one dollar per word.




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