Keeping You Connected

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


November 2011

Last chance to register for Nov. 2 practice management workshop

Time is running out to register for a Nov. 2 practice management workshop cosponsored by SCMA and the California Medical Association. The workshop, scheduled for noon to 2 p.m. 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, or you can throw caution to the winds and register at the door.


Practice Management Workshop registration form

RSVP now for Dec. 1 Awards Dinner

Now is the time to RSVP for the annual SCMA 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.


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: either “duet” (salmon and short ribs) or vegetable cannelloni.


The event begins with a social hour from 6 to 7 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards presentations. Outstanding Contribution awards will be presented to Drs. Allan Bernstein, Enrique González-Mendez and Kirk Pappas, and Dr. Jessica Les will receive the Article of the Year award for “View from the Gurney,” which appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of Sonoma Medicine. Tricia Hunstock will also be recognized for her work as president of the CMA Alliance.


Operation Access, which provides outpatient surgeries to uninsured patients, will not only receive an award from SCMA, but will also honor several local volunteers, including Drs. Richard Auld, David Quenelle and Henry Flores, along with Marlene Russell, RN.


For more details, see the flyer attached below.


SCMA Awards Dinner flyer

Members urged to donate to health careers scholarship fund

A dozen local students pursuing medical careers received more than $27,000 in scholarships from SCMA and the SCMA Alliance this year, thanks to the annual Holiday Greeting Card project and a matching grant from PFMC. “It is wonderful feeling to know that my community back home supports me and my pursuit of a medical career,” wrote Taylor Manton, currently attending medical school at USC. “The financial strains of medical school hang heavy on every student’s mind, but your scholarship helped ease that stress for me and allowed me to focus on my education.”


SCMA members will soon be receiving a letter from the SCMA Alliance asking for donations to next year’s scholarship fund. Donations received by Dec. 3 will be acknowledged in the Holiday Greeting Card and can be made by mail or by visiting the SCMA Alliance website at The program has given scholarships to local students since the 1960s, and several former recipients are currently practicing medicine in Sonoma County.

DocBookMD offers improved communications for SCMA physicians

Communication between physicians can be inefficient at times, and patient care can be delayed, resulting in frustration for everyone. These frustrations, however, may be short-lived. Two physicians from Texas have created a tool to help solve these communication delays: DocBookMD--a smartphone app that is free for SCMA members.


“We wanted to change the way physicians communicate. We wanted to make it easier, more efficient, and more secure,” said orthopedic surgeon and DocBookMD cofounder Dr. Tim Gueramy. “We created a program that allows physicians to talk to one another with new technology.”


DocBookMD is a physicians-only iPhone and Android app that allows physicians to:

* Send HIPAA-compliant text messages and photos

* Assign an urgency setting to outgoing text messages

* Search a local pharmacy directory

* Search the SCMA directory and sort by specialty


“DocBookMD allows you to look up another doctor at the point of care,” Gueramy explained. “You can then either call the physician or send a text message with room numbers, medical record numbers, even pictures of wounds and x-rays. And all of this is sent securely and in a way that meets HIPAA requirements.”


SCMA members can download their free copy of DocBookMD by visiting Not a member? The SCMA website at has details on DocBookMD and other member benefits, as well as an online application form.

MedPAC: Repeal SGR but freeze or cut physician pay

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), which advises Congress on Medicare payment policy, has recommended repealing Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, but to offset the cost of repeal by freezing or cutting physician rates for the next 10 years.


Under MedPAC’s plan, primary care physician payments from Medicare would be frozen at current levels for 10 years, and specialists would see their pay cut by 5.9% a year over the next three years, followed by a seven-year freeze. The plan would avert the 29% physician pay cut that the SGR formula mandates on Jan. 1.


CMA strongly opposes MedPAC’s plan, arguing that a long-term payment freeze in an era of 6% average annual practice cost increases essentially equates to a significant payment cut. The association will continue to work with the AMA and others in organized medicine on a permanent repeal of the SGR.


CMA is urging physicians to tell Congress that repealing the SGR not only ensures patients can see a doctor when they need one, but also makes economic sense. A package of Medicare SGR materials--including an advocacy kit, a patient poster and a sample letter to Congress--has been posted at

CMA urges legalization and regulation of medical cannabis

CMA has adopted official policy recommending legalization and regulation of medical cannabis (marijuana). The decision was based on a CMA white paper concluding that physicians should have access to better research, which is not possible under current drug policy. (To read the white paper, visit


“CMA may be the first organization of its kind to take this position,” said CMA President Dr. James Hay, “but we won’t be the last. This was a carefully considered, deliberative decision made exclusively on medical and scientific grounds. As physicians, we need to have a better understanding about the benefits and risks of medicinal cannabis so that we can provide the best care possible to our patients.”


CMA’s Board of Trustees adopted the policy without objection at its Oct. 14 meeting in Anaheim.


The federal government currently lists cannabis as a Schedule I drug, which restricts research on the substance. Part of the policy adopted by CMA emphasizes that the drug should be rescheduled in addition to being legalized.


Physicians, who are currently only allowed to “recommend” medical cannabis, have been stuck in an uncomfortable position since California decriminalized the drug in 2006. “California has decriminalized marijuana, yet it’s still illegal on a federal level,” said Dr. Hay. “That puts physicians in an incredibly difficult legal position, since we’re the ones ultimately recommending the drug.”

CMA House targets hospital foundations, brand-name drugs and more

Physicians at the annual CMA House of Delegates meeting in October adopted a number of resolutions that will determine CMA policy during the coming year. The resolutions ask CMA to:


* Advocate for stronger regulatory enforcement of California’s ban on the corporate practice of medicine, such as hospital foundation ownership of medical groups.


* Oppose the profit-motivated removal of generic medications from the market in favor of more expensive brand-name products.


* Advocate for expanding the J-1 Visa program beyond 30 slots. Visa waivers should be granted for six years initially, and preference should be given to physicians serving in rural and underserved areas.


* Support allowing eligible uninsured patients to enroll in public health programs at the time they receive care.

Want more state and national news? Read CMA Alert

For more state and national news stories, physicians are encouraged to read CMA Alert, a biweekly electronic newsletter published by the California Medical Association. The newsletter is posted at CMA members can receive a free email subscription by clicking the Subscribe link.


Dr. Hilary Bartels has been appointed chief of emergency medicine at Kaiser Santa Rosa, where she has worked since 1990. She attended Case Western Reserve University medical school and completed her residency in emergency medicine at Harbors-UCLA Medical Center. An accomplished athlete, she has earned many awards for cycling, running and swimming.


Palm Drive Hospital, the only local hospital without a larger helpmate, has received partnership proposals from Adventist Health, Marin General Hospital, St. Joseph Health System, Catholic Healthcare West and HealthTech. A hospital committee advised by Drs. Greg Rosa, Richard Powers and Michael Bollinger is evaluating the proposals and is expected to make a recommendation by December.


Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa and Sutter Medical Group of the Redwoods may soon be seeing more Medicare patients, thanks to a new Medicare Advantage plan targeted to about 80,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Sonoma County. The plan, a joint venture between UnitedHealthcare and Sutter Health, will offer patients access to both the hospital and the medical group, which includes more than 600 physicians. Enrollment opened on Oct. 15 and closes on Dec. 7.


CMA webinars for November are listed below. The webinars are free for CMA members. Nonmembers pay $99. To register, visit

* Electronic Health Records Update (12:15 p.m., Nov. 2). The latest news on the Medicare and Medi-Cal EHR programs.

* EHR Meaningful Use (12:15 and 6:15 p.m., Nov. 9). How to qualify for EHR incentive payments.

* Top 10 Ways To Save Your Practice Money (12:15 and 6:15 p.m., Nov. 16). How to curb expenses and improve revenue.


Marsh, the insurance broker endorsed by CMA, is offering a high deductible health plan/health savings account that offers lower rates than other types of health insurance. In 2012, for example, individuals can contribute at least $3,100 (or $6,250 for family coverage) to the tax-deductible account and access the funds without penalty for health-related expenses. For more details, contact Marsh at 800-842-3761 or visit


William Carroll, MD, Internal Medicine*, Geriatric Medicine*, 3536 Mendocino Ave. , Santa Rosa 95403, 546-2180, Fax 546-2188,, Indiana Univ 1982


Hana Clark, DO, Family Medicine, 3569 Round Barn Cir., Santa Rosa 95403, 303-3600, Fax 303-3611,, Arizona Coll Osteo Med 2011


Steven Gelber, MD, Internal Medicine*, 5900 State Farm Dr., Rohnert Park 94928, 206-3044, Fax 206-3041,, UC San Francisco 2008


Gilberto Palacios, MD, Internal Medicine, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, 393-4269, Fax 393-4556,, UC San Francisco 2008


Rajesh Ranadive, MD, Internal Medicine*, 141 Lynch Creek Way #C, Petaluma 94954, 763-0802, Fax 763-0803, Ross Univ 1999


Rajina Ranadive, MD, Internal Medicine*, 141 Lynch Creek Way #C, Petaluma 94954, 763-0802, Fax 763-0803, Ross Univ 1999


Marco Zolezzi, MD, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation*, Acupuncture, 525 E. Cotati Ave. #230, Cotati 94931, 794-0316, Fax 794-0388,, Autonomous Univ 1982


* board certified


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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