Keeping You Connected

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


August 2011

SCMA gets $10,000 grant for Sonoma Specialty Access

SCMA has received a $10,000 grant from the Pacific Foundation for Medical Care to fund Sonoma Specialty Access, a project that gives under- and uninsured patients access to specialty care. The PFMC grant will be used to create a centralized database and website for coordinating specialty referrals.


Over the past few years, several individuals and organizations have tried to improve specialty access for under- and uninsured patients in Sonoma County. One such effort is the dermatology clinic established at the Alliance Medical Center in Healdsburg by SCMA President Dr. Jeff Sugarman. A referral system for orthopedic surgeons has been implemented as well.


In 2008, SCMA and Redwood Community Health Coalition formed the Specialty Access Task Force to review access problems and devise solutions. More than a dozen SCMA physicians serve on the task force, which has recommended establishing a centralized database and website as a key step toward improving access. Both resources will be used to track participating specialists and gauge the services needed. Design and implementation of the database and website is expected to begin later this year.

Dr. Maddux-González named medical director for RCHC

Dr. Mary Maddux-González, the former Public Health Officer for Sonoma County, is the new medical director for the Redwood Community Health Coalition. The coalition includes 16 health centers in Sonoma, Marin, Napa and Yolo counties and serves nearly 200,000 patients, about 100,000 of whom live in Sonoma County. Almost 300 full- and part-time physicians work for the coalition, which offers medical services to under- and uninsured patients.


Maddux-González will oversee the coalition’s physicians and will lead efforts to expand services at its clinics. She will also work on recruiting and retaining primary care physicians, who are expected to be in short supply once health care reform expands coverage to almost all local residents.


A graduate of the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency, Maddux-González served as Public Health Officer for more than a decade. Earlier this year, she published a study on local primary care capacity in Sonoma Medicine. The main findings were that Sonoma County has a low percentage of primary care physicians and that one-fifth (20%) are planning on retiring in the next five years.

Contact info for Larry McLaughlin has changed

Larry McLaughlin, Esq., who provides free legal advice to SCMA members, has moved his office to Sebastopol and has new phone and fax numbers. The new phone is 707-823-2134, and the new fax is 707-823-8089. Please expunge his old numbers from your address book, as they no longer work. His new office address is 121 N. Main St., Sebastopol 95472. Only his email remains the same:


SCMA members are encouraged to contact McLaughlin for complimentary advice regarding medical records, patient rights, employment, health insurance contracting and other legal matters. Such advice is one of many benefits of SCMA membership.

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 nominate one of your colleagues, send the nominee’s name and a brief description of his or her accomplishments to Cynthia Melody at or via fax to 707-525-4328.

Town Hall meeting on health care reform set for Aug. 8

A press conference and town hall meeting on health care reform will be held at the Sonoma County Indian Health Project in Santa Rosa from 8 to 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 8. Featured speakers, including Drs. Jason Cunningham and Mary Maddux-González, will discuss the impact of health reform on patient-centered health care.


The meeting is free but limited to the first 250 guests. To register, contact Eliot Enriquez at or 707-792-7900, Ext. 206. Sponsors include the California Primary Care Association, the Latino Coalition for a Health California, Healthy Kids Sonoma County and the Redwood Community Health Coalition.

Latino Health Forum needs donations for student scholarships

The 19th annual Latino Health Forum, to be held at the Flamingo Hotel in Santa Rosa on Oct. 13, will focus on raising healthy children, from preconception to adolescence. The forum attracts hundreds of participants every year, from local physicians to high school students contemplating health careers.


Conference organizers are requesting tax-deductible scholarship donations for students who cannot afford the conference fees. Checks should be made payable to Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa and sent to Wanda Tapia, PO Box 722, Windsor, CA 95492. For more information, contact Wanda at or 707-953-8532.


Details of this year’s conference are still pending. For updates, visit

Physician volunteer needed for SCMA Scholarship Committee

SCMA is seeking a physician volunteer to fill a vacancy on the Health Careers Scholarship Committee, which reviews scholarship applications from students interested in pursuing health careers. The committee meets just once or twice a year; most of its work is done via email.


If you are interested in serving on the committee, contact Cynthia Melody at 707-525-4375 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.

SCMA Alliance sponsors bike ride, picnic

The SCMA Alliance is sponsoring an informal two-hour bike ride in Santa Rosa on Thursday evening, Aug. 4. The group will meet in the parking lot by the Howarth Park tennis courts at 6 p.m. and then head east. For more information, contact Nancy Sumida at 707-537-7728 or


Later this month, the Alliance is holding a family picnic at the Wikiup Swim and Tennis Club in Santa Rosa. The picnic, which runs from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 28, features games for children, swimming and plenty of food. Picnickers should bring their own drinks (no alcohol). Cost is just $11 per person. To RSVP, contact Meta Lightfoot at or 707-526-9748 by Aug. 14.


An interview with SCMA President Dr. Jeff Sugarman, a Santa Rosa dermatologist, appears in the July 25 issue of the North Bay Business Journal. The interview highlights Sugarman’s efforts to expand access to specialists for under- and uninsured patients, as well as the challenges faced by physicians in private practice.


High-tech behemoth Google has agreed to sponsor the Green Flight Challenge, a $1.65 million competition funded by NASA and organized by the CAFE Foundation, whose president is Santa Rosa ophthalmologist Dr. Brien Seeley. During the competition, to be held at the Sonoma County Airport from Sept. 25 to Oct. 2, experimental aircraft need to fly at least 100 miles per hour while getting at least 200 passenger miles per gallon on a 200-mile flight. For more details, visit


Dr. Bradley Restel, a diagnostic radiologist with a subspecialty in musculoskeletal radiology, has joined Redwood Regional Medical Group. His particular interest is in diagnosing sports injuries, and he is conducting research on whether MRI of the lumbar spine in upright position improves diagnosis compared to the conventional supine position. A graduate of the University of Texas, he completed his residency and fellowship at Duke University.


The Breast Care Center at Kaiser Santa Rosa has been accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. After measuring how well the local center met standards in leadership, clinical management, research, community outreach, professional education and quality improvement, the NAPBC awarded the facility a full 3-year accreditation. Dr. Loie Sauer, a breast cancer surgeon who works at the center, noted that its offerings include early detection and screening, comprehensive cancer services, data collection, clinical research and survivorship services.


Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital has received approval from the St. Joseph Health System to resume a $15 million renovation of its emergency department. The project, which was postponed at the beginning of the 2008 recession, will start up again in early 2012. The plan will increase the department’s square footage by almost 50% and will add 26 private rooms. “We’ll be able to get patients into beds more quickly,” said Dr. Ed West, the hospital’s director of emergency medicine. Every day, about 100 patients receive treatment at the facility, which is one of only 21 Level II trauma centers in California.


For the third year in a row, Healdsburg District Hospital has received an Exceeding Patient Expectations award from Avatar International. The award was based on surveys finding that more than 90% of the hospital’s would return for future care and would recommend the hospital to others. “We encourage residents of northern Sonoma County to continue to think locally for quality, accessible healthcare,” said Evan Rayner, the hospital’s CEO.


A short course on elder mediation will be held at Sonoma State University on Sept. 10 and 17. The course, which offers 14 hours of CEU credit, trains physicians, lawyers and other professionals to mediate decision making and resolve conflicts with elders and their families. The class is taught by Jane Iddings, a Petaluma lawyer and elder mediator. Cost is $154. To register, call SSU Extended Education at 707-664-2394 or visit


An hour-long CMA webinar on developing and adopting medical policies for Medicare will be held at 12:15 and 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 10. Dr. Arthur Lurvey of Palmetto GBA will discuss how to understand and use coverage decisions; how to respond to requests for records; how and where to appeal claim denials; and the difference between denials and rejections. The webinar is free for SCMA members; nonmembers pay $99. To register, visit


The Coastal Dermatology Symposium will be held at the Silverado Resort in Napa from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1. The event offers up to 12.25 hours of Category 1 credit. Presenters from across the country will provide updates on the diagnosis and treatment of various skin diseases. Cost is $350. To register, visit or call 502-569-1356.


Physicians switching to electronic health records are encouraged to visit the CalHIPSO website at CalHIPSO is a nonprofit that helps clinical providers navigate through the complex world of EHR implementation. The organization can help physicians qualify for Meaningful Use incentives and select an EHR system appropriate for their practice. CalHIPSO also sponsors webinars on privacy and security, vendor selection and other topics.


SCMA members can activate their CMA web account by visiting and clicking on “Activate Web Account” at the top of the page. Once the account is established, members can get free access to a wealth of materials on the newly redesigned website, including an extensive medical-legal library and scores of other publications. One particularly useful newsletter is Practice Resources, a monthly bulletin full of tips and tools to help physicians and their office staff improve practice efficiency and viability.


Timothy Brennan, MD, Family Medicine*, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, 393-4300, Fax 393-4558, Univ Cincinnati 1992


James Driscoll, MD, Pulmonary Disease*, Critical Care Medicine*, Sleep Medicine*, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, 393-2960, Fax 393-2046,, Univ Texas 2000


Maya Land, MD, Internal Medicine, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, 393-4000, Fax 393-4144,, Dartmouth Med Sch 2000


Scott Siegner, MD, Ophthalmology*, Retinal Surgery, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, 566-5913, Fax 566-5229,, Wayne State Univ 1992


* = board certified; italics = special medical interest



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.


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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