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



June 2009

Dr. Kirk Pappas nominated for Partnership HealthPlan board

SCMAPresident Dr. Kirk Pappas has been unanimously nominated by the SCMA board ofdirectors to serve on the board of Partnership HealthPlan, which will beginmanaging care for almost 50,000 Medi-Cal beneficiaries in Sonoma County thisfall.

Thenomination was the result of an open process in which SCMA solicitednominations from its entire membership through News Briefs and personalcontacts. Several applications were received, but Dr. Pappas emerged as thestrongest candidate because of his past service on a Partnership planning groupand his familiarity with the health plan. His nomination will be forwarded tothe Department of Health Services and then to the county board of supervisors.

Meanwhile,Partnership is looking for a part-time regional medical director for SonomaCounty. A job description has been posted at


SCMA launches Lunchtime Legal Seminars

Doyou have a legal question related to your practice? Do you have concerns aboutemployment issues and requests for medical records? What about the Red FlagRule?

Answersto these and other questions will be provided by SCMA attorney Larry McLaughlinat a series of free lunchtime seminars this summer. The monthly sessions will runfrom 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Participants need to bring their own lunch.

OnlySCMA members and their staff are eligible to attend. To RSVP and receive thelocation, contact Rachel Pandolfi at or 707-525-4375.

Thefollowing topics are scheduled:

June 25: CMA and SCMA legalservices. CMAlegal resources; SCMA legal services; most common legal questions members pose.

July 23: Employment issues. At-will employment andtermination; disability and leave laws.

August 27: Medical records. Patient access; transmittingrecords between physicians; access for divorced parents.

September 24: The Red FlagRule. Newidentity theft protection requirements that apply to many physicians.


Specialty task force increases access to local specialists

Accessto local specialists is slowly improving, thanks to the efforts of a specialtytask force formed last year by SCMA and the Redwood Community Health Coalition.To date, the task force has focused on orthopedics and endocrinology and hassecured commitments from a significant number of those specialists to providecare to the under- and uninsured.

Specialtyclinics have been established at the Southwest Community Health Center(orthopedics) and the Chanate Family Practice Center (endocrinology). Inaddition, Kaiser has agreed to perform one unfunded orthopedic surgery permonth.


Cast your vote in the annual SCMA election by June 30

Asa member of SCMA, you are entitled to vote for SCMA officers and boardrepresentatives, and for delegates and alternate delegates to the CMA House ofDelegates.

Forthe SCMA board of directors, you are allowed one vote in the district in whichyour primary office is located. (TPMG physicians constitute their owndistrict.)

Forthe CMA House of Delegates, vote for two delegates and two alternate delegates.

Tovote, print out the ballot below, then signand fax to 525-4328 by June 30.

SCMA President-Elect

CatherineGutfreund, MD, family medicine

___Yes         ___No

SCMA Board of Directors (three-year terms, July2009 to June 2012)

Healdsburg District

BradDrexler, MD, ob-gyn

___Yes         ___No

Santa Rosa District

LeonardKlay, MD, ob-gyn

___Yes         ___No

PhyllisSenter, MD, family medicine

___Yes         ___No

The Permanente Medical Group

JoseMorales, MD, pediatrics

___Yes         ___No

CMA Delegation (three-year terms, July2009 to June 2012)

LelaEmad, MD, ob-gyn

___Yes         ___No

CatherineGutfreund, MD, family medicine

___Yes         ___No

LeonardKlay, MD, ob-gyn

___Yes         ___No

PhyllisSenter, MD, family medicine

___Yes         ___No



Signature (required) book

Latino Health Forum seeks donations for student scholarships

TheLatino Health Forum, now in its 17th year, is seeking donations from localphysicians to help fund student scholarships for this year’s forum, scheduledfor October 8. The scholarships are given to local college and high schoolstudents interested in medical careers.

This year’s forum, organized by the Santa RosaFamily Medicine Residency and the Sonoma County Academic Foundation forExcellence in Medicine (SCAFEM), will focus on healthy communities andnon-medical determinants of health. More than 200 physicians and otherproviders are expected to attend.

Donations for studentscholarships should be mailed to Latino Health Forum, SCAFEM, 3324 Chanate Rd.,Santa Rosa 95404. For more information, contact Dr. Enrique Gonzalez-Mendez at576-4770 or book

iWalk strolls into view

iWalk, a community walking program organized byHealth Action, has taken its first steps by opening a website at and placing ads in local media.

The website offers detailed information about thebenefits of walking, along with a calendar of walking events and a list ofwalking groups. Maps, starter kits and walking tools are included as well.

Health Action has also prepared iWalk “prescriptionpads” that physicians can use to encourage their patients to walk. Plans areafoot to distribute the pads to SCMA members.


CMA proposes Medicare overhaul

As the health care reform battle heats up inCongress, CMA has proposed several changes to Medicare, including:

* Eliminating the SGR (sustainable growth rate)formula.

* Providing physicians with a 10% payment increaseto make up for the last seven years of inadequate updates.

* Establishing a new physician payment system thatallows physicians to select among six payment tracks based on their mode ofpractice.

* Updating the GPCI (geographic practice cost index)formula to accurately reflect practice costs.


Court of appeal upholds MICRA

In late May, a California court of appeal upheld thestate’s longstanding MICRA malpractice statutes in a case that pitted anational law firm against a California surgical group. The surgeons’ lawyers,supported by a CMA amicus brief, successfully argued that a malpractice awardagainst the group should be limited to $250,000, per the MICRA statutes.

In its ruling, the court noted that MICRA benefitsthe state by keeping malpractice insurance rates low. The court furtherobserved that insurance rates uncontrolled by MICRA would pose “seriousproblems for the health care system in California, threatening to curtail theavailability of medical care in some parts of the state.”


New Medicare enrollment rules could have costly consequences

New Medicare enrollment rules that took effect inApril limit physicians’ ability to retroactively collect from Medicare. Therules shorten the time frame during which physicians can bill retroactively forMedicare services after enrolling or otherwise changing their enrollmentstatus. Under the new rules, enrollment will be retroactive to 30 days prior tothe receipt date of a complete application, or for new physicians joiningMedicare, the date the physician saw his first Medicare patient, whichever islatest.

This change could result in physicians not beingpaid for services to Medicare beneficiaries if they do not submit applicationsor other status changes in a timely fashion. For example, if Dr. Jones relocatesher practice on September 1, but does not submit an address change to Medicareuntil December 1, she could lose two months’ worth of Medicare payments.

The new rules also require physicians to alertMedicare of a change in practice location within 30 days, or risk expulsion fromMedicare for up to two years. Physicians are strongly urged to submit newapplications and reportable changes to Medicare accurately and immediately. Toavoid unnecessary delays, physicians should use Medicare’s web-based PECOSenrollment system. 


Dr. Elise Sullivan joins SCMA board

Elise Sullivan, MD, a resident in the Santa RosaFamily Medicine Residency, has been named to the SCMA board of directors torepresent the residency program. She replaces Ian Hoffman, MD, who isgraduating from the residency and moving to Oakland.


Drs. Severt and Mazur combine forces at new Hand Center in Santa Rosa

Dr. Raymond Severt, a Santa Rosa orthopaedic andhand surgeon, has joined the Santa Rosa Orthopaedics group, where he will workwith hand surgeon Dr. Kai Mazur in a new Hand Center scheduled to open on July1. Services at the center, located at 131B Stony Circle in Santa Rosa, willinclude treatment of fractures and injuries, congenital defects, arthritis,tendon disorders and repetitive stress.


Dr. Tom Crane’s daughter named top Berkeley grad

Emma Shaw Crane, the daughter of social worker SusanShaw and Kaiser family physician Dr. Tom Crane, has been named the top graduatein the UC Berkeley class of 2009, which includes 6,800 students. AnInterdisciplinary Studies major, she maintained a perfect 4.0 average at theuniversity while working on a variety of global and community projects. 


Three CMA webinars in June

CMA is sponsoring three one-hour webinars duringJune. The webinars are for CMA membersonly. To register, visit

June 4, 12:30p.m. Howthe stimulus bill impacts your HIPAA obligations.

June 17, 5:30p.m. Long-termplanning in a recessionary environment.

June 18, 12:30p.m.Medical staff challenges for the future: Are we helping or hurting ourselves?


June 9 AMA webinar on accessing HIT funding

The American Medical Association is sponsoring afree webinar on June 9 to help physicians understand the health informationtechnology provisions in the federal stimulus bill, which includes $19 billionin funds to help physicians purchase and use HIT. To register, visit


June 24 webinar on new asthma guidelines

A webinar on asthma diagnosis and screeningguidelines will be held from noon to 1 p.m. on June 24. Information on thewebinar, part of a new asthma education project in Sonoma County, will soon beposted on For details, contact Cerissa MacNichols at707-217-5160 or


Volunteers needed for Jewish Community Free Clinic

TheJewish Community Free Clinic in Rohnert Park needs physician, nurse and othervolunteers for its four-hour drop-in clinics on Mondays, Tuesdays or Thursdays.Typical commitment is four hours per month. To volunteer, contact the clinic at585-7780 or book

Volunteer for Neighbors in Health

Lastyear, more than 500 children participated in Neighbors in Health, a day-longevent that provides medical care, immunizations, well checks and dental examsto uninsured and underinsured youngsters. Organizers hope to serve even morechildren at this year’s event, scheduled for August 2. To volunteer, visit


GregoryAckroyd, MD
Sleep Medicine*
585 W. College Ave. #A
Santa Rosa 95401
525-9616 Fax 526-2358
Ross Univ 2000

* board certified


Regional medical director for Partnership HealthPlan

PartnershipHealthPlan of California (PHC), a regional health plan providing services toMedi-Cal enrollees in Napa, Solano and Yolo counties, is expanding to SonomaCounty in the fall of 2009 and seeks a part-time regional medical director (20hours per week). The position is responsible for the quality andappropriateness of medical care delivered by PHC to 47,000 Medi-Cal enrolleesin Sonoma County. A job description is posted at For questions, contactDr. Chris Cammisa at or 707-863-4261.


Medical transcription

DigitalMedical Records Management. Local medical transcription service. Latest technology,great service, reasonable rates. Medical language specialists with over 20years’ experience in all specialties. Easy phone-in system with toll-freenumber or digital recorder. Speech recognition editing, EMR/EHR interface. CallLisa at 707-889-2749 or Paula at 707-484-2070. Offices in Santa Rosa andWindsor.


Medical office space

Smallsuite available for reasonable rent. Three exam rooms, southeast Santa Rosa.Call Connie, 707-525-0211.


How to submit a classified ad

To submit a classified ad for News Briefs or Sonoma Medicine, contact Nan Perrott at or 707-525-4226. The cost is one dollar per word.



You are receiving SCMA News Briefs because you are a physician or an affiliated medical professional in Sonoma County. If you wish to unsubscribe, contact Steve Osborn at or 707-525-4325.

© SCMA 2009
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