Keeping You Connected

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


February 2013

• CMA files appeal to stop Medi-Cal rate cuts

• Feb. 21 reception to honor Assemblymember Marc Levine

• Save the date: Legislative Leadership Conference on April 16

• CMA president to speak at May 9 SCMA membership dinner

• PFMC grant proposals due April 2

• New ad rep for SCMA publications

• Top stories from CMA Alert






CMA files appeal to stop Medi-Cal rate cuts

The California Medical Association has filed a request for an “en banc” (full court) review by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to stop the State of California from implementing a 10% cut to Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rates. In December 2012, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled that the state could move forward with the rate cuts, passed by the Legislature in 2011, despite an earlier district court ruling that the cuts would irreparably harm the millions of patients who rely on Medi-Cal for health care. CMA and the other plaintiffs in the case are requesting a rehearing from the full court.

Following the three-judge panel’s ruling, Gov. Brown issued his 2013-14 budget proposal, which includes a 10% Medi-Cal reimbursement cut, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2013.

CMA and the other plaintiffs--including the California Hospital Association, California Dental Association and California Pharmacists Association--argue that reducing payments in the Medi-Cal system will force providers out of the program at a time when millions of new patients are entering the program. The plaintiffs also argue that the cuts will devastate access to care, not only for existing Medi-Cal patients, but also the 900,000 children moving from the Healthy Families program into Medi-Cal in 2013 and the millions of patients who will be newly eligible for Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act in 2014.

“Cutting payment to Medi-Cal providers by 10% will have a huge impact on patient access to care,” said CMA President Dr. Paul Phinney. “The state is in much better fiscal shape now than when these cuts were initially proposed in 2011. With millions of new Medi-Cal patients entering the program under the Affordable Care Act, we simply cannot continue to cut resources and expect successful implementation of health reform in California.”

Feb. 21 reception to honor Assemblymember Marc Levine

All local physicians are invited to a free reception on Thursday evening, Feb. 21, to honor new Sonoma/Marin Assemblymember Marc Levine. The reception--which is sponsored by Californians Allied for Patient Protection (CAPP), a coalition to protect MICRA--will run from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Country Villa, 81 Professional Center Parkway, San Rafael.

To RSVP for the reception, contact Marissa Schriver at or 916-448-7992 x4. If you’re unable to attend, you are encouraged to make a donation to Levine’s 2014 campaign, which has already begun. Checks should be made payable to Friends of Marc Levine for Assembly 2014 (ID #1353695) and mailed to CAPP, 1215 K St. #2015, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Levine won a spirited election for the Assembly last fall and is a strong supporter of MICRA, the landmark legislation that keeps California’s malpractice insurance rates among the lowest in the nation.

Save the date: Legislative Leadership Conference on April 16

Want to make your voice heard in state government? If so, you’re invited to attend CMA’s free Legislative Leadership Conference in Sacramento on Tuesday, April 16--one day after income taxes are due. Hundreds of physicians from all over California attend this annual event.

The morning includes speeches from key legislative leaders. Speakers for 2013 haven’t been confirmed yet, but last year Gov. Brown addressed the conference. In the afternoon, attendees go to the Capitol to meet with their legislators on health care issues.

To RSVP for the conference, contact Cynthia Melody at or 707-525-4375. She will arrange for transportation to Sacramento.

CMA president to speak at May 9 SCMA membership dinner

New CMA President Dr. Paul Phinney, a Sacramento pediatrician, is scheduled to speak at the SCMA membership reception and dinner on Thursday, May 9. Details are still being confirmed, but the date has been set. Please mark your calendars.

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

New ad rep for SCMA publications

Linda McLaughlin, the graphic designer for Sonoma Medicine magazine, has agreed to take on the additional responsibility of serving as ad representative for all publications produced by SCMA, including the magazine, SCMA News Briefs, the Sonoma County Physician Directory and the SCMA website.

McLaughlin (no relation to SCMA attorney Larry McLaughlin) replaces Erika Goodwin, who will continue to serve as associate director of the Napa and Solano medical societies and to sell ads for their publications. Because of McLaughlin’s background as a graphic designer, she can help advertisers design new ads or revise existing ones. Advertisers with signed contracts can receive one free hour of her time.

SCMA members can place free classified ads in Sonoma Medicine and SCMA News Briefs, and they get a 15% discount for display ads. Advertising rate sheets for all SCMA publications can be found at

To place an ad, or to get help with designing an ad, contact McLaughlin at or 707-525-4359.

Top stories from CMA Alert

Here are the top stories from the latest CMA Alert, the California Medical Association’s biweekly email newsletter. For a free subscription, visit

HHS makes sweeping changes to HIPAA privacy and security rules

Some Medicare claims mistakenly rejected because of zip code error

Palmetto announces new audits

Obama says physicians can ask patients about guns without fear of breaking the law

AMA announces $10 million initiative to redesign medical education


The Meritage Medical Network--which includes more than 500 physicians in Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties--has been granted Accountable Care Organization (ACO) status by Medicare. The new status will allow Meritage to benefit from cost savings achieved by coordinating care for Medicare beneficiaries with hospitals and other providers. Currently Meritage is partnering with Santa Rosa Memorial, Marin General and most other non-Kaiser and non-Sutter hospitals in the area. They are also affiliated with Western Health Advantage, a Sacramento-based HMO that just expanded to the North Bay.

The arms race is still in full swing in Sonoma County, although it has expanded to include hands, knees, feet and even entire bodies. Both Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation have recently installed high-power imaging systems with a wide range of capabilities. Memorial is offering a wide-bore MRI that is intended to improve patient comfort and improve image quality. Sutter has opened an Advanced Imaging Center in Santa Rosa that features a 128-slice CT scanner, another wide-bore MRI, digital mammography and digital x-rays.

Healdsburg District Hospital has appointed George Protos as interim CEO for the hospital until a replacement can be found for former CEO Evan Rayner. Protos, the human resources director for the North Sonoma County Healthcare District, will probably only serve until the end of February, when the hospital hopes to announce a new CEO.


The following CMA webinars are scheduled for February. Webinars begin at 12:15 p.m. and run until 1:15 or later. To register, visit Seminars are free for CMA members and their staff; cost for nonmembers is $99 per person.

• Healthy Families: Important program changes (Feb. 5)

• HIPAA compliance: Final HITECH rule (Feb. 6)

• Impact of ICD-10 (Feb. 7)

• E/M services review 1: Documentation requirements (Feb. 12)

• E/M services review 2: History component (Feb. 13)

• E/M services review 3: Examination component (Feb. 19)

• E/M services review 4: Medical decision making (Feb. 20)

• Practice mergers (Feb. 27)

The second annual Childhood Obesity Bay Area Conference will be held on Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., in San Francisco. Acclaimed science writer Gary Taubes, author of “Why We Get Fat,” headlines a distinguished panel of speakers. This year’s conference will provide fresh insights into the various factors contributing to childhood obesity, and how leaders in the field are addressing those challenges. To register, visit

The 20th annual HIV/AIDS Review will be held from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, at the Hilton Hotel in Santa Rosa. Speakers includes Drs. Marshall Kubota, Danny Toub and Andy Desruisseau. For information and reservations, call the North Coast AIDS Center at 707-303-8904.


Family physicians needed

Family medicine positions available with Annadel Medical Group in Sonoma County. Contact

Office space needed, Petaluma

Medical office space needed in Petaluma near Petaluma Valley Hospital for physician to see patients, no staff needed. Need one day a week, Monday or Thursday. Contact Tammy at 707-252-8407 or

Office space needed, Santa Rosa

Medical office space needed in Santa Rosa for physician to see women’s health patients. Need one day a week. Contact Kristyn at 415-827-9945.

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 Linda McLaughlin at 707-525-4359 or


Eric Dean, MD, Medical Oncology*, Internal Medicine*, Hematology, 3883 Airway Dr. #220, Santa Rosa 95403, Harvard Med Sch 2005

Charles Emond Jr., DO, Emergency Medicine, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, Kirksville Coll Osteo Med 2003

Bruce Heller, MD, Family Medicine*, 2220 Northpoint Pkwy., Santa Rosa 95407, Case Western Reserve Univ 2002

Julie Pearson, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology*, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, Univ Illinois 1996

Elizabeth Peralta, MD, Surgery, Surgical Oncology, 3883 Airway Dr., Santa Rosa 95403, UC Irvine 1992

Tara Scott, MD, Family Medicine*, 3569 Roundbarn Cir. #200, Santa Rosa 95405, Harvard Med Sch 2002

* = board certified; italics = special medical interest


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.

© 2013 SCMA, 2901 Cleveland Ave. #202, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

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