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



July 2011

Nonmembers receiving Sonoma Medicine for SCMA recruitment campaign

Nonmember physicians in Sonoma County will be receiving the next few issues of Sonoma Medicine, SCMA’s award-winning quarterly magazine, as part of a recruitment campaign for SCMA. Reading the magazine should help nonmember physicians see the value of SCMA membership and encourage them to join, which they can do at or by contacting Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 or and requesting an application form.


Most of the physicians in Sonoma County already enjoy the benefits of SCMA membership, which were recently expanded to include free classified ads for members in Sonoma Medicine and SCMA News Briefs. Members can also get a 15% discount when placing display ads in Sonoma Medicine. To download an ad rate sheet for the magazine, visit To place a classified ad, contact Erika Goodwin at 707-548-6491 or


The summer issue of Sonoma Medicine, which was mailed to all Sonoma County physicians on June 30, features an interview with new SCMA President Jeff Sugarman, MD, a Santa Rosa dermatologist. The focus of the issue is disaster planning, with articles by local physicians on earthquake scenarios, preparedness efforts and contingency plans. An online version has been posted at

Nominations needed for SCMA awards

SCMA is seeking nominations for its Outstanding Contribution and Recognition of Achievement awards, to be presented at the medical association’s annual dinner this fall. Nominations are needed by Sept. 15 for all four awards listed below:


Outstanding Contribution to the Community. Presented to an SCMA member whose work has benefited the community.


Outstanding Contribution to Local Medicine. Presented to an SCMA member who has improved local medical care.


Outstanding Contribution to SCMA. Presented to an SCMA member who has served the medical association beyond the call of duty.


Recognition of Achievement. Presented to a nonphysician who has helped advance local medicine.


To submit a nomination, contact Cynthia Melody at or 525-4375.

Register now for July 8 Coding and Medicare Update

There’s still time to register for the July 8 Coding and Medicare Update, to be held at the Fountaingrove Inn in Santa Rosa. Sponsored by SCMA, this three-hour class from the Practice Management Institute covers the Version 5010 standards, “meaningful use,” physician incentive payments, private payer policies, and much more. Even if your office doesn’t serve Medicare beneficiaries, many insurance carriers follow Medicare’s lead, and your reimbursement will be impacted by Medicare policies.


To register for the class, which runs from 1 to 4 p.m., contact Rachel Pandolfi at or 707-525-4375. Cost is $105 for SCMA members and their staff, $165 for nonmembers.

Health Information conference in Santa Rosa July 14-15

The fifth annual “Connecting California to Improve Patient Care” conference will be held at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel in Santa Rosa on July 14 and 15. The conference, which is organized by the nonprofit Redwood MedNet and cosponsored by SCMA, will focus on clinical informatics and electronic health information exchanges. Conference presenters include physicians and other experts in medical information technology.


The conference begins on the afternoon of July 14 with workshops on health information privacy and security. The cost of the workshops is $75. The Friday session begins with a keynote address by Dr. Carol Diamond, followed by a full day of presentations. Cost for the full day is $250. To register, and for more details, visit

Dr. Jeff Sugarman is new president of SCMA

Jeff Sugarman, MD, PhD, a Santa Rosa dermatologist and pediatric dermatologist, is the new president of SCMA. He will serve until June 2012. Sugarman, who is well known for his efforts to expand specialty access for the uninsured and underinsured, hopes to establish a specialty referral database during his presidency. He discusses his plan and many other topics in a wide-ranging interview in the current issue of Sonoma Medicine.


Joining Sugarman on the SCMA board of directors are several newly elected leaders and representatives, including Dr. Walt Mills (president-elect), Dr. Ed Chang (treasurer) Dr. Stephen Steady (secretary), Dr. Robert Neid (TPMG representative), and Drs. Brad Drexler and Jan Sonander (CMA delegates).


The remaining board members were elected or appointed in previous years. They include Drs. Rebecca Katz, Leonard Klay, Marshall Kubota, Anthony Lim, Francesca Manfredi, Mark Netherda, Greg Rosa, Phyllis Senter and Francisco Trilla.

SCMA/Alliance award $27,000 in medical scholarships to local students

A dozen local students have received a total of $27,000 in scholarships from SCMA and the SCMA Alliance to study medicine at colleges and universities throughout the United States. The recipients include five high school students and seven students who are already enrolled in undergraduate or graduate medical programs. The awards range from $1,000 each for the high school students to $5,000 for students enrolled in graduate programs.


SCMA is seeking one physician to fill a vacancy on the Health Careers Scholarship Committee, which selects students for the awards and meets just twice a year at lunchtime. If you are interested in serving on the committee, contact Cynthia Melody at 525-4375 or The committee has been in existence since 1971 and has awarded scholarships to more than 750 students, several of whom are now practicing medicine in Sonoma County.

Local resolution requiring “opt in” for prescribing data advances to CMA House

In response to the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing pharmaceutical wholesalers to sell physician prescribing data to drug companies, delegates at the June 24 CMA District 10 caucus approved a resolution that would require physicians to “opt in” to any program that sells their prescribing data. The resolution, by Healdsburg ob-gyn Dr. Brad Drexler, notes that use of the current “opt out” option has been negligible, and that drug companies are denying samples to physicians who do opt out.


The “opt in” resolution will advance to the CMA House this fall, along with several other resolutions approved by District 10. One resolution, by Santa Rosa pediatrician Dr. David Smith, would require that medical marijuana be dispensed in child-proof containers. Another, by Sebastopol urologist Dr. Peter Bretan, asks CMA to design a template for organizing physician volunteers to help with disaster preparedness and in delivering care to the indigent and uninsured.

Reminder: Adolescents need Tdap booster before school begins in fall

Physicians are reminded that a new state law requires all adolescents to have a Tdap booster for pertussis before school begins this fall. Pertussis is widespread in California, and more than 1 million of the state’s adolescents may not yet have received a Tdap booster. Doctors should keep track of which patients have or haven’t received Tdap and should send patient reminders now. All adolescents will need clear documentation of Tdap immunization to enroll in school this fall. For more information, visit

Study finds inequities in Medicare's geographic payment formula

The data that Medicare relies on to adjust for geographic variation in costs to pay physicians and hospitals is flawed and leads to inaccurate payments, according to a report recently released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The finding represents a huge victory for CMA and will go a long way toward ensuring that California physicians are reimbursed accurately for the differences in geographic practice costs.


CMA has for years been urging Congress to reform the flawed and outdated geographic payment regions. CMA testified before the IOM last fall, showing that the costs of running a physician's practice differ substantially across the country. Failing to take that variance into account in Medicare payments is a big mistake that harms senior citizens’ access to care, CMA said in its testimony.


Geographic adjustments to Medicare payments are intended to cover regional variations in wages, rents and other costs incurred by physicians and hospitals. The IOM study found, however, that almost 40% of hospitals have been granted exceptions to how their adjustments are calculated, strongly suggesting that the mechanisms underlying the adjustments are inadequate.


The IOM study concluded that the rationale for fine-tuning Medicare payments based on geographic variations in expenses is sound and should be continued. However, the report urges fundamental changes to the data sources and methods used to calculate the adjustments and increase the accuracy of the payments.


One such change recommended by the study would be to place physicians and hospitals into the same Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), which reflect regional costs more accurately than the outdated payment localities that are currently used to determine reimbursement. In California, for example, the physician payment localities haven't been updated in more than 12 years, leaving many recently urbanized counties, such as Sonoma, inappropriately grouped into payment localities with lower-cost rural counties.


Dr. Amy Shaw, who has practiced family medicine in Sonoma County for almost two decades, has been named medical director of the Primary Care Oncology and Survivorship Program at Redwood Regional Medical Group. The program provides long-term follow-up care for cancer patients. Shaw previously served as chief of staff at Sutter Medical Center and as medical director of the Sutter Women’s Health Resource Center. A graduate of the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency, she worked for many years at the Doyle Park Family Medicine group in Santa Rosa.


Drs. Rajesh and Rajina Ranadive, a married couple who are both internists in Petaluma, have joined the Annadel Medical Group, the physician organization affiliated with the St. Joseph Health System. Rajesh is chief of medicine at Petaluma Valley Hospital, and Rajina serves on the hospital’s Medical Executive and Physician Well-Being committees. Their signing brings the total number of physicians in the Annadel group to 32.


Dr. Laurel Warner and Dr. Tiffany Camarillo have joined the staff at Kaiser Santa Rosa. Warner, an infectious-disease specialist, was previously in private practice in Santa Rosa. Camarillo, a graduate of UC Davis, is a pathologist.


Dr. Steve Olson, a family physician, has been appointed assistant physician-in-chief for service at Kaiser Santa Rosa. Prior to joining Kaiser in 2006, Olson was in private practice in Santa Rosa for almost 20 years.


Patricia Hunstock, a past president of the SCMA Alliance, has been named president of the CMA Alliance. It is her second term as president of the statewide organization of medical society alliances. The SCMA Alliance and Foundation has also named new officers for 2011-12. Meta Lightfoot is president of the Alliance and John Gnam is president of the Foundation. Membership in the Alliance is open to all physicians and spouses. For more information, visit


Sutter Health has cleared yet another hurdle in its efforts to build a new hospital in Santa Rosa. In mid-June, Superior Court Judge René Chouteau denied several legal challenges to the new hospital filed by the healthcare districts representing Healdsburg and Palm Drive hospitals. Chouteau found that the healthcare districts did not have the legal standing to file the challenges. Meanwhile, construction continues on the new hospital, located next to the Wells Fargo Center.


Palm Drive Hospital is exploring an affiliation with Adventist Health to ensure its continued survival in a competitive marketplace. Talks between the two entities are ongoing.


The Healthcare Foundation of Northern Sonoma County has received a $3 million challenge grant from the Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation to renovate the imaging center at Healdsburg District Hospital. The hospital will use the funds to buy a 64-slice digital CT scanner and several other pieces of new imaging equipment.


Two one-hour CMA webinars are scheduled for July. “Collections--Get Paid Now,” begins at 12:15 p.m. on July 6, and “Writing Effective Appeals,” begins at 12:15 p.m. on July 20. The webinars are free for SCMA members; cost for nonmembers is $99. To register, visit



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


Office space

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


Medical volunteers needed

Local physicians are invited to join the “refill of the month club” by volunteering one day a month at the Jewish Community Free Clinic in Rohnert Park. You can refill your soul monthly by helping those that most need your services. Volunteers are needed for the family clinic on Monday and Thursday evenings from 5:30 to 8:30, and for the pediatrics clinic on Tuesday afternoons, 2:30 to 5. Specialist consults in your office for uninsured patients are also helpful. For questions, call Dr. Jerry Connell at 707-527-7754. To sign up for a shift, contact Deborah Roberts at or 707-664-2945.


Have you made decisions about multiple fetal gestations?

The National Perinatal Association is sponsoring research on multiple gestations. Dr. Anita Catlin, a perinatal ethics researcher, is conducting a study to investigate the lives and decision making of women who become pregnant with multiple fetuses as a result of reproductive interventions. Catlin is particularly interested in how women make decisions on whether to reduce high-level multiple gestations to potentially healthier numbers. She would like to hear the circumstances of reduction and advice from women to the healthcare providers who cared for them during this critical time. Interviews will be conducted in the following locations and dates. Additional locations can be added dependent upon responses.

• Sonoma County: July 25-26

• San Francisco: Aug. 7-8

To arrange for an interview, contact Dr. Catlin at


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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