Keeping You Connected

The SMLMA keeps you up to date on the latest news,
policy developments, and events


2024 Physician Wellness Leadership awards announced

Nominations and award recipients were announced at the Physician Wellness EXPO and Dinner on April 26, 2024, in Petaluma. Awards were presented to physicians in six categories of wellness leadership achievement. Click here or the icon below for the full dinner program, which includes photographs and statements from each of the nominees. Additional details and list of awardees may be viewed in May 2024 News Briefs.

2024 Physician Wellness Expo & Dinner



January 2015

Download PDF Here


Sonoma County GPCI fix

Since SCMA's Health Care Summit in 2001, this issue has been SCMA's primary focus. Through the years, a handful of Sonoma physicians have met with CMS at its field office in San Francisco and in Washington DC, maintained continued contact with our Representatives in Congress, handled media interviews, spoken at countless Assembly, Senate, Congressional, and House Ways & Means hearings, rallied local public campaigns to educate our communities, written letters, and more. SCMA thanks each of you who supported the various campaigns and stayed informed on the issue in what SCMA has referred to through the years as "The Continuing Saga."

In 2014, during one of the most dysfunctional Congresses in history, CMA won passage of California-only legislation that reformed the outdated California Medicare payment localities and brought substantial payment increases to physicians in 14 counties, including Sonoma County. CMA believes this will maintain and improve access to physicians.

> Over the next decade, more than $1 billion in additional payments will be made to California physicians through Medicare FFS, Medicare Advantage and private contracts tied to the Medicare Fee Schedule. Starting in 2017, the new law phases in the new payment rates moving the current county-based payment localities to a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) system: Medicare pays hospitals this way. Physicians will be paid according to their local costs to provide care, and the payments will be updated annually to reflect the rise in local practice costs.

> Depending on the economy, the new law will increase payments to Sonoma County physicians from 4.1 to 9.1% or more. Thirteen other counties receiving payment increases are included in this legislation (El Dorado, Marin, Monterey, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and Yolo).

> The legislation establishes a payment floor for rural California physicians set at current levels so when another recession hits, payments will not go down.

We think we've earned your membership

Have you renewed for 2015? Below are some of the reasons we think we've earned your membership. We want you to rejoin, or join, MMS!

> Prop. 46 was defeated (NO: 67% YES: 33%)! CMA-MMS spent $8 million of CMA reserves and raised $52 million to protect MICRA.

> The GPCI inequity for Marin County has been permanently solved. (See story above.)

> CMA held off a 10% Medi-Cal cut for three years, ensuring the cut would not have to be repaid.

> Among many other examples, legislative advocacy kept optometrists from practicing ophthalmology.

Click here to join MMS or to renew your 2015 membership online. Call Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 if you need a copy of your dues invoice. She can answer your questions, or handle payment over the phone. ::

Update your Sonoma County Physician Directory listing by Feb. 13

SCMA is accepting updates for the 2015 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 (mailed Jan. 15-20) to SCMA by Feb. 13. If you need a copy of the form, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 or

Sonoma Medicine winter issue online now

"The Brain" is the theme of the winter issue of Sonoma Medicine with four feature articles. The issue also includes a special report on Hearts of Sonoma County: A Countywide Hypertension Initiative; a "Mystery Case" presents details of a mysterious case and invites physicians to make the diagnosis; an international medicine article, "Bangon Tacloban" (Philippine relief mission), and more. Mailed in mid-January, it is now available online in PDF and text-only versions at

Win an iPad through SCMA's "Passport to Participation"

To encourage physician collegiality and the advancement of community health, PASSPORT TO PARTICIPATION acknowledges Sonoma County physicians' active engagement with SCMA, CMA and community activities by awarding points for participation. In addition to recognition for exemplary involvement, an iPad will be awarded to the winner at the end of the fiscal year. Click here to learn more.

Save the date: Legislative Advocacy Day April 14

SCMA members are invited to CMA's annual Legislative Advocacy Day on Tuesday, April 14, at the Sheraton Grand in Sacramento. Attended by several hundred physicians, this conference provides an opportunity to meet with local legislators regarding pressing health care issues after morning speeches by CMA's president, Dr. Luther Cobb, and Dustin Corcoran, CMA CEO. This year's keynote speaker is expected to be Governor Jerry Brown, followed by a political panel discussion and afternoon sessions with local legislators in their offices. For more information, visit or contact Cynthia Melody at 707-525-4375 or

PFMC grant proposals due April 2

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 707-525-4281 or For more information, visit

Donations to Holiday Greeting Card net record $15,000

Donations to the SCMA/SCMAA health careers scholarship fund's 2014 Holiday Greeting Card set a new record of $15,000 from 150 donors who were acknowledged in the card. This year's card featured the stunning artwork of Dr. Kate Black, a Santa Rosa anesthesiologist and pain medicine physician. The Holiday Greeting Card helps fund scholarships for deserving students who are Sonoma County residents currently enrolled or intending to enroll in a medically related field of study. The program has given scholarships to local students since the 1960s, and several former recipients are currently practicing medicine in Sonoma County. For more information about the scholarship fund and other SCMA Alliance activities, visit


Ryan Bradley, MD, Anesthesiology, 401 Bicentennial Way, UC San Francisco 2004

Stanley Cheng, 1st year Medical Student, Touro Univ


iDo26.2 seeking donations to sustain youth run/walk program

iDo26.2, a walking/running program designed to encourage and facilitate regular physical activity and fitness in our Sonoma County youth as part of a healthy family lifestyle, is seeking donations to support the school-based program. The program costs about $4 per student and over 5,000 students are expected to participate this academic school year. Please consider making a donation. For more information, click here to visit the website, or contact Dr. Joe Clendenin at

HIV/AIDS Review April 25

The 22nd Annual HIV/AIDS Review, an educational CME seminar and luncheon for physicians, mid-levels and pharmacists who provide care to people with HIV/AIDS will be held on Saturday, April 25, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Finley Community Center, Santa Rosa. This year's program will include: an HIV and HCV Update; HIV Prevention; Substance Use and Harm Reduction; Interdisciplinary Case Management; and Medication Errors in HIV Care. Speakers include: Kirsten Balano, PharmD; Drs. Marshall Kubota, Ele Lozares-Lewis, and Danny Toub; and Meghan Murphy, MSW. For more information, call The North Coast Area AIDS Education & Training Center at 707-303-8904.


2015 new health care laws

The California Legislature had an active year, passing many new laws affecting health care. In particular, there was a strong focus on scope of practice for allied health professionals, prescription drug abuse, public health issues and health care coverage. The following article from Sonoma Medicine provides summaries of the most significant new health laws of interest to physicians: download PDF or link to online article. ::

Top Stories from CMA ALERT

CMA Alert is a biweekly newsletter for members of the California Medical Association. Read the current issue here. Articles include:

  • CMA files amicus brief to protect patient privacy in Oregon prescription drug database case
  • CMA files brief in Medicaid case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court • Insurance commissioner issues emergency regulation requiring health insurers to have sufficient networks
  • Insurance commissioner issues emergency regulation requiring health insurers to have sufficient networks
  • Governor's January budget proposal leaves state's woeful Medi-Cal reimbursement rates untouched
  • • Meet and interact with internationally lauded authors at the 2015 Leadership Academy
  • Disneyland measles outbreak continues to grow; physicians advised to look for signs of the disease in patients
  • How to request an IMQ physician surveyor for your hospital accreditation survey • 100,000 Covered California enrollees being transitioned into Medi-Cal managed care in January
  • U.S. Supreme Court to hear ACA subsidy case on March 4
  • Deadline approaching for physicians wishing to opt out of new United Healthcare Medi-Cal managed care network
  • CMA creates new resource summarizing Medicare incentive and penalty programs
  • CMS to hold Medicare claims for first two weeks of January
  • CCalifornia ACEP publishes safe prescribing handout for patients


CPR: CMA Practice Resources

CPR is a free monthly e-bulletin from CMA's practice management experts that focuses on critical payor and health care industry changes and how they directly impact the business of a physician practice. Each issue includes tips on reimbursement and contracting-related issues along with information on the latest practice management news. Read the current issue here. Titles include:

  • Be prepared for Covered California changes in 2015
  • Verifying your patients' eligibility and benefits in 2015 may save your practice thousands of dollars
  • Potential Medicare pay cuts coming in 2015; participation selections due Dec. 31
  • CMA creates new resource summarizing Medicare incentive and penalty programs
  • DHCS identifies glitch in UCR web app for CHDP primary care rate increase payments
  • Don't miss out on increased Medi-Cal payments! Deadline to attest is Dec. 31
  • Annual Medicare benefit changes • New Reassignment of Medicare Benefits (855R) enrollment form coming
  • DMHC audit finds Anthem, Blue Shield Covered California directories misleading and violate state law
  • Duals project sees additional setbacks
  • Medi-Cal provider training announced
  • Reminder: Anthem expanding its Medi-Cal managed care network
  • The Coding Corner: CPT 2015: Summary of additions and revisions

Sonoma County immunization clinics and clinical services
A complete listing of community clinics and clinical services in Sonoma County is produced by the Sonoma County Immunization Assistance Program. Download the brochure here, and visit the DHS website here. Immunization questions can be sent to

Wednesdays at Hospice House
Beginning in January and running through June, Hospice of Petaluma and Memorial Hospice will host a series of six programs on Wednesday evenings in Petaluma and Santa Rosa. Topics of interest to physicians and health care providers range from "Making Your Mind Magnificent" (neurological research with Steven Campbell) to "Death On Our Own Terms" (palliative and hospice care options with Dr. Gary Johanson).

The monthly presentations, lectures and performances are provided free of charge to the community by Hospice Services of St. Joseph Health. No reservations are required, and attendees will enjoy refreshments provided by local merchants. For a complete schedule and more information, visit or contact Denise Burke at

Dementia care conference coming in February 2015
The California Partnership to Improve Dementia Care is presenting a one-day conference, Dementia Care California: Sustaining Momentum and Success, in Sacramento on Feb. 23, and in Pasadena on Feb. 25. The program will look at where things are now and how to bridge the gap in transitional care for persons with dementia. Physicians, nurses, nursing home administrators and social workers are encouraged to attend. Continuing education credits will be available for nursing home administrators, nurses and social workers. The featured speaker will be G. Allen Power, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Rochester, and author of Dementia Beyond Drugs and Dementia Beyond Disease. For more information or to register for the event, click here.

Childhood Obesity Bay Area Annual Conference
This annual conference-to be held March 6 and 7 at UCSF Medical Center-brings together local stakeholders in childhood obesity prevention to promote innovation and provide insight into work being done on this critical issue. The program features keynote presentations, professional panels, breakout sessions, networking events and a garden tour, plus a locally-catered breakfast, lunch, and wine reception. To get your tickets visit:


Seeking sublet to rent
Seeking medical office for sublet in Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, or Petaluma.
Please contact or call 415-839-8399.

SCMA members get free classifieds!
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 Susan Gumucio at or 707-525-0102.


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. ©

2015 SCMA, 2901 Cleveland Ave. #202, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

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