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



October 2009

Drs. Mills, Sugarman and Drexler to receive SCMA awards

Drs. Walt Mills, Jeff Sugarman and Brad Drexler will receiveOutstanding Contribution awards at the SCMA Awards Dinner on Dec. 2. Awardswill also be presented to the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency Consortiumand for the Sonoma Medicine Article of the Year.

Mills, a family physician at Kaiser Santa Rosa, will receivethe Outstanding Contribution to the Community award for his work with theresidency program, the Southwest Community Health Center and the NorthernCalifornia Center for Well-Being.

Sugarman, a dermatologist and pediatric dermatologist inprivate practice in Santa Rosa, will receive the Outstanding Contribution toSonoma County Medicine award for establishing the dermatology clinic atAlliance Medical Center and for his leadership activities on the SCMA SpecialtyAccess Task Force, which has expanded access to specialists throughout thecounty.

Drexler, a Healdsburg obstetrician and gynecologist and pastSCMA president, will receive the Outstanding Contribution to SCMA award for hisleadership at the medical association and his continuing commitment to publichealth and Medicare reform.

The residency consortium will receive a special Recognitionof Achievement award for their efforts to ensure a stable future for the familymedicine residency. The Article of the Year winner will be announced in lateOctober.

The awards dinner—scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. at the Vintner’sInn, 4350 Barnes Rd., Santa Rosa—is freefor SCMA members, but RSVPs are required. Tickets for spouses, guests andnonmembers are $50 each. To RSVP and/or to purchase tickets, contact RachelPandolfi at 525-4375 or


SCMA membership up 3% since 2008; invoices in the mail

Despite the recession and continuing turmoil in the healthcare system, membership in SCMA has increased 3% since 2008. The current totalis 641 active members and 144 retired, with several applicants waiting in thewings. Membership in CMA increased this year as well, rising about 1% from33,648 to 34,088, including retired members.

SCMA members are reminded to return their 2010 Sonoma CountyPhysician Directory verification forms, which were mailed in September alongwith dues invoices for next year. Members who pay their dues by Dec. 31 qualifyfor a 5% discount. Payments need to be at SCMA by Dec. 31; there is no grace period. Installment payments can be arranged.

If you need a copy of your invoice or have any questionsabout dues, contact Rachel Pandolfi at rachel@scma.orgor 525-4375. Nonmember physicians can complete a simple online application forSCMA and CMA at


Partnership Health Plan starts in Sonoma County

Partnership HealthPlan of California (PHC) beganimplementing its managed Medi-Cal program in Sonoma County on Oct. 1. More than80% of the 48,000 Medi-Cal enrollees managed by PHC have selected a primarycare provider; those that did not were assigned to open practices.

PHC will work with local physicians to maintain continuityof care and resolve any issues related to the transition to managed Medi-Cal.Training sessions for physician offices are available by contacting the PHCprovider relations department at 863-4100.

Important PHC phone numbers include:

·      Provider relations: 863-4100

·      Member services: 863-4120

·      Health services: 863-4133 (referral or TARinformation)

·      Pharmacy Services: 863-4414

·      Claims: 863-4130

·      Automated eligibility verification: 863-4140

Claims for services provided to PHC members on or afterOctober 1st should be sent to:

Partnership HealthPlan ofCalifornia
PO Box 1368
Suisun City, CA 94585-1368

Providers should use Quest Lab for all diagnostic proceduresfor PHC members. For the provider directory, formulary and additionalinformation, visit


Memorial Hospital rated No. 1 in nation for rapid heart attack response

Contrary to popular belief, the fastest “door-to-balloon”time for patients with ST segment myocardial infarction (STEMI) isn’t at somebig-city medical center—it’s at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. The most recentrankings of 949 U.S. hospitals by the American College of Cardiology found thatMemorial offered the quickest response for STEMI patients, averaging just 66minutes from presentation at the ER to restoration of blood flow. The nationalstandard of care is 90 minutes or less.

Memorial officials attributed the No. 1 ranking to recentinnovations at Coastal Valleys Emergency Medical Services and the hospital’sCardiac Catheterization Lab. “We wanted a 90-minute limit between detection ofSTEMIs by paramedics treating patients at their homes or in the community andany Cath Lab intervention,” said Coastal Valleys administrator Bryan Cleaver.“For us, it’s home-to-balloon time.”

Coastal Valleys paramedics using a 12-lead electrocardiogramcan now identify STEMI patients on scene and alert the hospital, which recentlymoved its Heart & Vascular Institute next to the ER. When paramedicsarrive, an already assembled team of cardiologists, emergency physicians andnurses moves STEMI patients quickly through the ER and into the Cath Lab fortreatment. Because of better coordination, pre-Cath Lab prep time was reducedto as little as 13 minutes in some cases.


Management shuffle at Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa

Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa has a new chiefadministrative officer, but the old one is still close at hand. The new officeris Michael Purvis, who took over on Sept. 28. His predecessor, Mike Cohill, nowa senior vice president of Sutter Health, will continue to lead efforts tobuild a new Sutter hospital in Santa Rosa. He will also retain his post as CEOof Sutter Medical Foundation North Bay.

Purvis, a hospital consultant, was previously a regionaldirector for Saint Joseph Health System and a hospital and clinic administratorin Arizona. 


Feds take baby steps on medical liability reform

In his Sept. 9 speech to Congress on health care reform,President Obama ruled out caps on non-economic damage awards, such as the$250,000 cap in California’s landmark Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act(MICRA), in effect since 1975. Obama did, however, indicate that he supportspilot projects for reducing the financial impact of medical liability lawsuits.Accordingly, the Department of Health and Human Services in late Septemberunveiled a modest plan that would examine ways to discourage frivolous medicalmalpractice lawsuits. Under the plan, the federal government would provide $25million in grants to identify practices that reduce medical errors, lowermalpractice insurance premiums, and prevent frivolous lawsuits.

Meanwhile, concern is growing among physicians about theliability implications of “comparative effectiveness” research, which attemptsto objectively demonstrate the effectiveness of medical treatments. CMA andother advocacy groups are trying to ensure that physicians are protected ifthey deviate from any clinical guidelines produced through such research. CMAbelieves that physicians must be allowed to deviate from practice guidelineswhen in their clinical judgment it is in their patient's best interest, withoutbeing exposed to increased liability. CMA also believes that data gleaned fromsuch research must not be independently used to establish standards of care ordeny coverage, or be used as evidence in medical malpractice cases.

Even as these new challenges arise, CMA continues to defendMICRA, which has kept malpractice premiums in California low, compared to thosein other states without such laws. Once the highest in the nation, Californiamalpractice premiums fell 12% from 1986 (the year the constitutional challengesto MICRA were exhausted) to 2000, while rising 55% nationally. Today, theaverage California physician saves $58,000 a year in malpractice insurancepremiums when compared to colleagues in Florida, New York, and Michigan. 


Three CMA-sponsored bills await Schwarzenegger signature

Three CMA-sponsored bills have passed the Legislature and now await the governor’s signature:

Unlawful rescission. AB 2 (De La Torre) would prevent the practice of health plans and insurers wrongfully rescinding coverage for patients after they become seriously ill. The bill would require insurers to obtain approval from an independent review organization before rescinding a patient’s health insurance.

Peer review. AB 120 (Hayashi) bill would increase fairness and transparency in the peer review system, helping to ensure high quality care in California hospitals.

Osteopathic physicians. SB 606 (Ducheny) would make osteopathic physicians eligible for the Steven M. Thomson Loan Repayment Program. The program, currently open only to MDs, provides medical school loan repayment grants of up to $105,000 in exchange for a three-year service commitment in a medically underserved area of the state.

For more information on these and other bills, visit CMA’s Legislative Hot List at


Physicians urged to preregister for H1N1 vaccine

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is urgingphysicians to preregister for the H1N1 vaccine, which is expected to beavailable in mid to late October. Even if you are not ready to place an order,you must register now to inform CDPH of your interest in being a vaccinator.

Unlike seasonal flu vaccine, H1N1 vaccine will bedistributed by CDPH, rather than regular suppliers. California is expected toreceive 8 million doses by late October, with an additional 2 million doses perweek thereafter.

Physicians are being asked to register as vaccinators soCDPH can get a realistic assessment of physician capacity and interest invaccinating. When registering, be prepared to submit your National ProviderIdentification number, the projected number of doses of the vaccine your practiceexpects to use, and the number of patients your practice has that fit intohigh-risk groups. By registering, you are not making a commitment to administerthe same quantity of vaccine.

To register, visit



Interested inattending a seminar on risk management?

NORCAL Mutual Insurance has offered to provide free two-hourseminars on risk management to interested physicians. The seminars, which wouldinclude CME, would help physicians improve patient follow-up and tracking,understand informed consent, and apply risk-management documentation practices.

If you are interested in such a seminar, contact RachelPandolfi at or 525-4375.Seminars will be scheduled based on physician response.


Latino Health Forumin Santa Rosa on Oct. 8

An all-day forum on Latino health will be held at theFlamingo Hotel in Santa Rosa on Thursday, Oct. 8. The featured speaker is Dr.Anthony Iton, the public health officer of Alameda County, who will discuss howsocial concerns relate to health outcomes and inequities. Iton’s speech will befollowed by a series of workshops on social and economic factors that affecthealth access and quality of care.

The conference qualifies for up to 6.25 hours of CME; costis $125. To register, visit www.scafem.orgor call 527-6223.


Wine tasting on Oct.10 to benefit student AMA/CMA chapter

A wine tasting to benefit the student AMA/CMA chapter atTouro University Medical School will be held in St. Helena on Saturdayafternoon, Oct. 10. Medical students, physicians, spouses and guests fromthroughout the North Bay are invited to enjoy fine wines and cheeses at theEhlers Estate Winery, 3222 Ehlers Lane, St. Helena. Cost is $40 per person ($20for students). To RSVP, contact Sarah Zitsman at or 415-894-5250.


Adolescent HealthConference in Santa Rosa on Oct. 13

An all-day conference on adolescent health will be held atthe DHS Conference Center (475 Aviation Blvd., Santa Rosa) on Tuesday, Oct. 13.Topics include an update on adolescent health in Sonoma County, use of the AHWGBehavioral Health Toolkit, and serving gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgenderyouth. Cost is $50. To register, contact Adrienne Davis at or 566-5278.



CEO of ColoradoMedical Society to take helm at CMA

Alfred Gilchrist, CEO of the Colorado Medical Society andformer director of government advocacy for the Texas Medical Association, willbecome chief executive of CMA in November. Gilchrist brings 30 years of experienceto CMA, including groundbreaking achievements in patient rights, medicalliability, and tobacco control measures.

“Alfred Gilchrist’s invaluable experience and demonstratedtalents at the state and federal level could not come at a more crucial time,as our nation discusses how to improve our health care system,” said CMAPresident Dr. Dev GnanaDev. “Alfred’s leadership and vision will greatlyenhance our efforts to expand access to quality health care, improve the publichealth, and maintain practice viability for the physicians of California.”


Drs. Baginsky, Millerand Richards retiring

Three longtime SCMA members have announced their retirementplans.

Dr. Peter Baginsky, who has been on medical leave from hisdiabetes specialty at Sutter Medical Group since January, will not be returningto practice. He can still be reached at

Dr. Mike Miller, a psychiatrist at Kaiser Santa Rosa, andDr. Alfonso Richards, a Petaluma urologist, will also be retiring this fall.



Anna Dematteis, MD
Family Medicine*
401 Bicentennial Way
Santa Rosa 95403
393-4104  Fax 393-4146
Univ Wisconsin 2006

Nathan Ehmer, DO
Orthopaedic Surgery
1405 Montgomery Dr.
Santa Rosa  95405
546-1922  Fax 528-1602
Arizona Coll Osteo Med 2003

Victor Iacovoni, MD
Internal Medicine*
Pulmonary Disease*
3325 Chanate Rd.
Santa Rosa 95404
Hahnemann Univ 1970

Jennifer Mankowski, MD
Obstetrics & Gynecology
401 Bicentennial Way
Santa Rosa 95403
393-4135  Fax 393-4337
Univ Michigan 2005

Cynthia Wu, MD
3925 Old Redwood Hwy.
Santa Rosa 95403
566-5250  Fax 566-5292
New York Univ 1998

* board certified



Collections Seminar
Cal Coast Credit is pleased to present a collections seminar, "ImproveYour Bottom Line."
Date: Thursday, October 22
Time: 2 to 4 p.m.
Location: 1150 State Farm Dr., Santa Rosa

Telephone Collections, Asset Searches and Locating Debtors will be the maintopics in this exciting and informative two-hour seminar. Learn relevantinformation and techniques to help you keep your edge. If you are a collectionspractitioner and want to collect more money faster, then this collectionseminar is for you.

Call today and reserve your seat. Only $49 for CCCS clients; $79 fornon-clients. Contact Teresa at 707-542-6495, Ext. 114, or

TEMPORARY Medical Biller Needed
* Billing/coding experience
* Intergy software
* 32 +/- hours per week
* Salary DOE
Contact Stacy at Dr. Roger Klein’s office: 707-576-0366 or

Medical Office For Rent
Suited for ophthalmology, optometry or other use of 1,560 square feet.Includes equipment. Prime location with great patient parking. Four exam rooms.Immediate occupancy. Call 538-4865.

Medical Office Space
Small suite available for reasonable rent. Three exam rooms, southeastSanta 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 NanPerrott at nperrott@rhscommunications.comor 707-525-4226. The cost is one dollar per word.



A story in our September issue misspelled the name of thecounty’s director of alcohol and drug services. The correct spelling is GinoGiannavola.



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 2009
3033 Cleveland Ave. #104
Santa Rosa, CA 95403



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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