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 2011

TAKE ACTION! Urge Congress to repeal the Medicare SGR formula!

On Jan. 1, physicians face a 30% Medicare payment cut because of the flawed SGR (sustainable growth rate) payment formula. Physicians need to contact Congress now to urge repeal of the SGR formula.


Time is short. Congress has appointed a Deficit Committee to develop $1.5 trillion in spending cuts or revenue increases by Thanksgiving--and Medicare is one of their main targets. The Deficit Committee may be the last chance to repeal the SGR once and for all.


Please write or call your representatives and senators today and urge them to repeal the SGR formula. In addition, ask them to co-sign a Dear Colleague letter from Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) to the Deficit Committee arguing for repeal of the SGR. Also ask them to stop further cuts in the Medi-Cal program.


The sample letter attached below can be sent via email to the following members of Congress, using the “contact” buttons on their websites--or you can simply call them. You can also send the sample letter via regular mail to their district office, using the address listed on their website.

·       Rep. Lynn Woolsey: or 707-542-7182

·       Rep. Mike Thompson: or 707-226-9898

·       Sen. Barbara Boxer: or 510-286-8537

·       Sen. Dianne Feinstein: or 415-393-0707


Sample letter urging repeal of SGR


When contacting your representatives, stress the key points listed below:

·       Repeal the Medicare SGR in the Deficit Committee legislation.

·       Stop further Medi-Cal physician payment cuts.

·       Cosign the Medicare SGR Dear Colleague letter from Rep. Schwartz.


Also ask your patients to contact Congress via the AMA Hotline at 888-434-6200. A Patient Poster is attached below, along with an Advocacy Kit with more details about repealing the SGR formula.


Patient Poster and Advocacy Kit


For further questions or comments, contact Elizabeth McNeil, CMA vice president for federal government relations, at

October 2011

Drs. Bernstein, Gonzalez-Mendez and Pappas to receive SCMA awards

Three prominent local physicians will receive Outstanding Contribution awards at the annual SCMA Awards Dinner in December. The awards will be presented to:


• Dr. Allan Bernstein, a Sebastopol neurologist, for Outstanding Contribution to the Community.


• Dr. Enrique Gonzalez-Mendez, a Santa Rosa family physician, for Outstanding Contribution to Sonoma County Medicine.


• Dr. Kirk Pappas, a Santa Rosa physiatrist, for Outstanding Contribution to SCMA.


In addition, Operation Access, which provides free outpatient surgeries to the uninsured, will receive a Recognition of Achievement award. The Article of the Year award will also be presented, but the winner has yet to be determined.


All local physicians are invited to the Awards Dinner, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1. The event will be held at the Vintner’s Inn, 4350 Barnes Rd., Santa Rosa.

Tickets are free for SCMA members; spouses, guests and nonmembers are $50 each.


The evening begins with a social hour at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards presentation. Dinner choices include “duet” (salmon and short ribs) or vegetable cannelloni. To RSVP, or to purchase tickets, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 or Mail orders can be sent to SCMA, 2901 Cleveland Ave. #202, Santa Rosa, CA 95403. Please indicate dinner choice.


For more details, click on the link below.


SCMA Awards Dinner flyer

Practice management workshop in Santa Rosa on Nov. 2

SCMA and the California Medical Association are cosponsoring “What Every Physician Needs To Know About Their Practice,” a two-hour workshop for physicians, administrators and office managers. The workshop--which runs from noon to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2, at the Fountaingrove Inn in Santa Rosa--will be conducted by Frank Navarro, associate director of the CMA Center for Economic Services. Topics include finding and keeping qualified staff, controlling costs, and understanding your revenue stream.


Cost is just $45 for SCMA members; nonmembers pay $95. To register, print the form attached below and fax to SCMA at 707-525-4328. You can also register by phone with a credit card by calling Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375. Registration deadline is Oct. 28.


Practice Management Workshop registration form

DocBookMD: Free smartphone app for SCMA members

DocBookMD--a smartphone application that offers on-demand messaging, multi-media collaboration and fast look-up of your colleagues--is absolutely free for SCMA members. The application, designed by physicians for physicians, will help you save time and prevent delays at point of care.


DocBookMD is a secure, HIPAA-compliant app for your iPhone, iPad or Android device. For details on downloading your free copy, visit


One of the key features of DocBookMD is the ability to send and receive high-resolution images, including X-rays, EKGs, or photos. All messaging is secure and fully HIPAA compliant.


Not a member? The SCMA website at has details on DocBookMD and other member benefits, as well as an online application form.

Directory verification forms are now due

Verification forms, which doctors can use to update or approve their 2012 Sonoma County Physician Directory listing, were mailed to all local physicians this summer and are now due back at SCMA. If you haven’t returned your form yet, please do so ASAP. If you need a copy of the form, contact Rachel Pandolfi at or 707-525-4375.


The 2012 directory, a standard reference guide used at medical offices throughout the county, will feature photographs and detailed listings for all SCMA members, including their specialty(s), special medical interest and medical training. Limited information for nonmember physicians will be included as well. If you’re a nonmember and want a more detailed listing, you can apply online for SCMA membership at

Welcome new members at SCMA and Alliance Oktoberfest

An Oktoberfest welcome party for new SCMA members will be held at the Wild Oak Saddle Club in Santa Rosa on Saturday evening, Oct. 22. The event, sponsored by the SCMA Alliance, features authentic German beer, food, music and dancing. Cost is just $55 per person. To purchase tickets, visit or contact Christine Beakes at or 707-799-0125.

Still time to register for Latino Health Forum

A few spots are still available for the annual Latino Health Forum, to be held at the Flamingo Hotel in Santa Rosa on Oct. 13. This year’s forum, titled “Raising Healthy Children,” features keynote speeches by the president of the California Primary Care Association and the director of the childhood weight assessment program at UCSF. Workshop topics include childhood mental health, cultural sensitivity, diabetes and oral health.


The registration fee is $100. To register, visit

Physicians invited to Smartphone Salon

Local physicians of any specialty interested in learning more about how to best use smartphones (iPhones, iPads, Androids) in clinical practice are invited to a Medical Smartphone Salon in Santa Rosa on Thursday evening, Oct. 27. The salon is an informal gathering in a physician’s home from 6 to 8:30 p.m., with light appetizers and wine served. Participants generally cluster into small groups around topics of interest, with demonstration of new apps and tips by Dr. Rachel Friedman and Dr. Danielle Oryn (medical director of HIT at Redwood Community Health Network). Just got your new device and need some help getting started? A “beginner’s corner” for doctors new to smartphones will also be available.


To RSVP and receive the location, contact Dr. Friedman at

Healthy employers can get iWORKwell certification

Medical offices of all sizes are encouraged to apply for iWORKwell certification, which recognizes employers who develop and implement employee wellness programs. Many larger local employers--including Kaiser Permanente, Santa Rosa Community Health Centers and the St. Joseph Health System--have already been certified, but small employers are eligible as well. Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park Oral Surgery, for example, has obtained certification.


Toni Bonelli, office manager for the oral surgery group, noted that small businesses have the most to gain from worksite wellness efforts. “Since making a conscious effort to raise the wellness awareness for our employees,” she said, “we have experienced nearly 0% absenteeism.”


To obtain iWORKwell certification, visit and complete the online application. Depending on the extent of their worksite wellness efforts, employers will receive bronze, silver or gold certification, along with certificates and a listing on the Worksite Wellness webpage.


Dr. Ben Brown, director of family medicine at the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency, received a Physician Leader award from the Northern California Center for Well-Being at its annual benefit in September.


Mike Cohill, CEO of the Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation, will become the regional president of Sutter Health West Bay on Jan. 1. He will succeed Dr. Martin Brotman, who will continue to lead Sutter’s education, research and philanthropy efforts. The West Bay region that Cohill will oversee extends from San Francisco to Lake County and includes CPMC, Novato Community Hospital, Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa, Sutter Lakeside Hospital, and several outpatient facilities. The region has about 8,000 employees and 1,700 affiliated physicians and ancillary providers.


Signature Healthcare Services plans to open an acute psychiatric care hospital in Santa Rosa in early 2012. The company, which operates psychiatric centers nationwide, purchased the Fulton Road facility from St. Joseph Health System in 2009 and is expanding the capacity to 95 beds. The yet-to-be-named hospital will be the only inpatient psychiatric facility in Sonoma County and is expected to employ about 300 people.


The Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency has received a $154,000 grant as part of a $2.6 million statewide effort to increase the number of primary care physicians in California. The grant, from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, is intended to counteract a projected shortage of primary care physicians in the next few years.


A proposed settlement to a festering lawsuit over Sutter’s new Santa Rosa hospital has been rejected by both Sutter Health and the county of Sonoma. The settlement, proposed by healthcare districts representing Healdsburg and Palm Drive hospitals, would have created a payment mechanism for uncompensated care and addressed several other issues related to the new hospital. In the absence of a settlement, the lawsuit will proceed to a district court in San Francisco later this fall.


Petaluma Valley Hospital was the only local facility to earn a spot on the Joint Commission’s annual list of top-performing hospitals. The list, which included more than 400 hospitals nationwide, recognized Petaluma Valley for its use of evidence-based clinical processes to improve care for heart attacks, pneumonia and other patient conditions.


The St. Joseph Mobile Health Clinic, which delivers primary care services to uninsured and underinsured patients throughout Sonoma County, celebrated its 20th anniversary in September. During the past two decades, the clinic has provided care to more than 30,000 patients.


CMA is sponsoring several webinars during October. The webinars are free for CMA members; nonmembers pay $99 each. Topics and dates for October include:

• “Providing extraordinary customer service,” Oct. 5, 12:15 p.m.

• “ICD-10,” Oct. 12, 12:15 and 6:15 p.m.

• “HIPAA 5010 transactions,” Oct. 18, 12:15 p.m.

• “EOB analysis: successful claims appeal,” Oct. 19, 12:15 p.m.

• “Increasing practice profitability,” Oct. 26, 12:15 and 6:15 p.m.

To register, visit


UCSF is sponsoring a Biomedicine Roundtable at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco on Oct. 10. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and includes a free lunch. Speakers will discuss new biologic and biosimilar therapies. To RSVP, contact Jenny Dudikoff at or 916-329-7403.


A free cardiovascular health symposium will be held at the Vintners Inn in Santa Rosa on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 22. The event begins at 1 p.m. with four hours of presentations (and CME credits) on cardiovascular issues, followed by a complimentary dinner from 5:30 to 7 p.m. RSVP by Oct. 14 to Kathy Ficco at or 707-547-4652.


Luz Aguilera, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, 393-4135, Fax 393-4337,, UC Los Angeles 2007


Eric Bava, MD, Orthopaedic Surgery, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, 393-4822, Fax 393-4559,, Univ Southern California 2004


Vincent Chow, MD, Orthopaedic Surgery*, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, 393-4822, Fax 393-4559,, Univ Miami 2006


Marcia Luisi, MD, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation*, 990 Sonoma Ave. #3, Santa Rosa 95404, 546-5487, Fax 546-5488,, Med Coll Wisconsin 1983


David Maccabee, MD, Surgery, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, 393-4160, Fax 393-4557,, UC Davis 1996


Mary Puttmann-Kostecka, MD, Family Medicine, 3569 Round Barn Cir., Santa Rosa 95403, 303-3600, Fax 303-3611,, Georgetown Univ 2010


Barbara Sinclair, MD, Family Medicine*, 15000 Arnold Dr., Eldridge 95431, 938-6000, Fax 938-6940,, Univ Texas 1991,


* board certified


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 with inquiries and or to submit your CV for consideration.


Medical director/staff physician wanted

Sonoma Valley Community Health Center is seeking a family practice physician for the Medical Director/Staff Physician position. This position provides medical supervision and direction to the Health Center’s clinical services, as well as direct patient care. Must work collaboratively and be willing to support and back-up the mid-level clinicians, and provide call coverage through group call services for peds and family practice. We are looking for an innovator, a change manager and a demonstrated leader. Must have a current CA physician’s license. Call 707-939-6075 to learn more about the position. Website:


Office space

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



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


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 or 707-548-6491.


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

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