Keeping You Connected

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


September 2010

Dr. Leonard Klay wins Plessner Award from CMA

Former SCMA President Leonard Klay, MD, has won the 2010 Frederick Plessner Memorial Award, a prestigious honor granted each year by the California Medical Association to a physician who best exemplifies the ethics and practice of a rural practitioner. Klay, who has delivered more than 7,000 babies in Sonoma County since he began practicing here in 1971, is well known throughout the county for his medical expertise, community work and political activism.

Klay will receive the Plessner Award on Oct. 2 at CMA’s annual House of Delegates, an event that he has attended for many years as a delegate from SCMA. In nominating his fellow former SCMA president for the award, Dr. Richard Powers noted, “SCMA is continually challenged to find adequate words to describe Dr. Klay’s popularity and the respect bestowed on him by his patients, friends, peers, SCMA and the community.”

The nomination and letters of support cited Klay’s contributions to local medicine, his treatment of all patients regardless of their ability to pay, his work at local family planning clinics, his teaching at the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency, his advocacy for smoking cessation programs, and his critical role in the RICO lawsuit against for-profit insurance companies. As Public Health Officer Dr. Mary Maddux-Gonzáles observed, “Dr. Klay is an extraordinary physician who has improved the health of countless individuals, families and our county as a whole through his many years of patient care, his remarkable work in physician training and with community and environmental approaches to health improvement.”


SCMA moves to new office; Open House on Oct. 27

SCMA has moved to a new office a half-block south of its old location. The new address is 2901 Cleveland Ave. #202, Santa Rosa 95403. Staff e-mail addresses remain the same, but some phone numbers have changed. Contact information is listed below.

·       Cynthia Melody, Executive Director, 525-4375,

·       Rachel Pandolfi, Executive Assistant, 525-4375,

·       Steve Osborn, Communications Director, 525-0101 (new),

·       Erika Goodwin, Regional Marketing Director, 548-6491,

·       Fax for all staff: 525-4328

To celebrate the move, SCMA will be holding an open house for members and their spouses or guests on Wednesday, Oct. 27. Invitations are forthcoming.


Blue Shield pulls out of Healthy Families in Sonoma and 14 other counties

Effective Oct. 1, Blue Shield of California will no longer provide coverage for 15,000 Healthy Families patients in Sonoma and 14 other counties across the state. Patients were notified of these changes in July and were given the opportunity to select a new plan. If they did not select a plan by the Aug. 31 deadline, they were automatically transferred to a default plan, which in Sonoma County is Anthem Blue Cross EPO. Patients have until Oct. 31 to switch to another plan if they are dissatisfied with the default plan. Details about those plans (Health Net HMO, Kaiser Permanente and Partnership HealthPlan) are available at

Physicians in Sonoma County are encouraged to verify their Healthy Families patients’ coverage status before submitting claims with dates of service on or after Oct. 1.

Under state “continuity of care” laws, Blue Shield must continue to provide coverage for patients if a change in coverage would interrupt an ongoing course of treatment. Patients who might qualify include, but are not limited to, women who are pregnant, children under age 3, and patients with cancer or other chronic disease who are undergoing a regimen of care. To request or inquire about a continuity of care plan, patients should call the member services number on the back of their ID card, or they can obtain a copy of Blue Shield’s Continuity of Care form in the “download forms” section at All other questions should be directed to Healthy Families at 866-848-9166.


Registration still open for Latino Health Forum on Oct. 7

All local physicians are encouraged to attend the 18th annual Latino Health Forum, to be held at the Flamingo Conference Resort in Santa Rosa on Thursday, Oct. 7. The forum, which runs from 7:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., will focus on reducing the risk of chronic disease, and will include presentations and workshops on Latino health by several local and state experts.

Registration is $75 before Sept. 17 and $100 thereafter. To register, contact Wanda Tapia at 953-8532 or Donations are also requested to fund registration for low-income high school and college students who are pursuing medical careers. The cost of sponsoring a student is just $50.


Former Surgeon General to speak on Oct. 28

Physicians in Sonoma County are invited to attend the Oct. 28 Marin Medical Society membership dinner, which will include an address by former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona. Dr. Carmona, a UCSF graduate, trauma surgeon and public health expert, is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Arizona with appointments in public health, surgery and pharmacy practice. He will speak about the role of state and local medical societies in disaster preparedness from his experience as Surgeon General.

The event, to be held at the San Francisco Yacht Club in Belvedere, begins with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7. Dinner choices include pork loin, sea bass or a vegetarian entree. Tickets are $45 per person. To RSVP and identify your dinner choice, contact Jessica Whittom at or 924-3891.


What you need to know about ACOs and Medical Foundations

Many physicians across the state are being approached by hospital systems about joining new hospital-physician organizations. These new entities contemplate being organized either through state law as 1206(l) Medical Foundations, or through Medicare as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), which were recently authorized by Congress in the federal health care reform legislation. Some physicians are concerned that hospitals are forming these organizations to exert more control over physician practices and to better position themselves financially in an environment of scarce resources. Other physicians would like to join these organizations, but need to understand their rights. And some physicians are seeking to form their own ACOs.

CMA is working to help physicians navigate these negotiations with their colleagues and possibly their local hospitals, and to plan a future where physicians have financial and clinical autonomy in the Medicare program and the private marketplace. To help physicians understand their rights and options, CMA is developing educational programs and materials, including legal and financial models to help them understand how to form these organizations, practical tips to assist physicians teaming up with hospitals, and policy to guide regulatory implementation advocacy.

CMA's overarching goal is to provide the best possible information to help physicians make decisions about the best practice arrangement for their specific professional situation. Below are some of the resources currently available:

Webinars. CMA has launched a series of webinars on ACOs, other payment models and the health care reform law in general to help familiarize physicians with the new law and the impact it will have on their practices. Upcoming webinars are posted on If you missed any recent webinars, they are available online for on-demand viewing.

ACO/Payment Model Issue Briefs. CMA issue briefs on ACOs, medical homes and other topics can be found at

Medical-Legal Documents. A new document explaining the 1206(l) Foundation Model has been added to CMA's online medical-legal library at “Legal and Practical Considerations Concerning Medical Foundations” explains the legal requirements for these foundations, and practical considerations involved in the decision of whether to join one.

Physician-Hospital Alignment Committee. CMA has formed a Physician-Hospital Alignment Technical Advisory Committee to advise the Board of Trustees on the development of future physician empowerment strategies, to guide CMA advocacy, and to oversee the development of documents, tools and models provided to CMA physician members.

For more information, contact Samantha Pellon at 916-551-2872 or


CMA offers free subscriptions to Practice Resources newsletter

CMA Practice Resources, a monthly e-mail bulletin prepared by CMA’s Center for Economic Services, is full of tips and tools to help physicians and their office staff improve practice efficiency and viability. To sign up for a free subscription, visit The current issue includes articles on unfair payment practices, upcoming Blue Cross policy changes, and claiming your share of the $350 million UnitedHealth settlement.

If you have questions about medical economics, contact the Center for Economic Services at 888-401-5911 or



Four veteran Sonoma County physicians have joined or will soon join the Annadel Medical Group, along with three relative newcomers. The veterans include family physicians Drs. Gary Greensweig, Herbert Brosbe, Gary Johanson and Cynthia Morris, all of whom have practiced in Santa Rosa since at least the 1980s. The newcomers are Dr. Eki Abrams, an internist from New York City, Dr. Heather Iezza, a pediatrician from Palo Alto, and Dr. Jenny Marie Sullivan, a family physician at Kaiser Santa Rosa since 2007. The fast-growing Annadel Group, which is affiliated with St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare, now includes more than 20 local providers.

Former SCMA President Heather Furnas, MD, has edited a new anthology, “The Business of Plastic Surgery,” with Dr. Joshua Korman, a professor of plastic surgery at Stanford University. The book, published by World Scientific, includes 24 articles on business aspects of plastic surgery by national experts, including physicians, lawyers and MBAs.

Francisco Trilla, MD, an internist and emergency physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, has been named chief medical officer of Santa Rosa Community Health Centers.

David Schneider, MD, a faculty member at the Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency, is giving four presentations at the upcoming Scientific Assembly of the American Academy of Family Physicians. His topics include a review of the thyroid, basics of heart failure, and acute coronary syndrome.

Allan Bernstein, MD, a Sebastopol neurologist well known for his development of stroke care programs at local hospitals, has achieved yet more fame by stomping apples. His 14th annual Great Apple Stomp, promoted as an alternative to the Gravenstein Apple Fair, drew guests from far and wide to help Bernstein transform apples from about 40 trees on his rural property into apple juice. Bernstein noted that the juice was organic but not necessarily vegetarian because of occasional worms.

Correction: An item about Jill Zechowy, MD, MS, in the August News Briefs listed an incorrect phone number. The correct number for her private practice specializing in women’s mental health is 515-6673.



Kaiser Santa Rosa has received a Gold Plus Achievement Award from the American Heart Association for meeting or exceeding evidence-based performance standards for stroke prevention. The award was reported in the recent “Best Hospitals” issue of US News & World Report.

St. Joseph Health System plans to open an Urgent Care clinic in Windsor during November. The 4,500 square foot clinic will be open seven days a week and will offer walk-in care for urgent medical problems. Staff will include family physicians, physician assistants and nurses. St. Joseph already operates similar facilities in Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park.

Sutter Health has received final approval from the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to erect a $284 million hospital next to the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa. The first phase of construction, which includes 80,000 square feet of medical office buildings, is scheduled to begin Oct. 1.



Nicole Faro, MD, Pediatrics*, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, 566-5217, Fax 566-5292,, UC Davis 2002

Derek Gong, MD, Internal Medicine*, Pediatrics*, 5900 State Farm Dr., Rohnert Park 94928,, Chicago Med Sch 1997

Sarah Gong, MD, Neurology, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, 571-4255, Fax 571-3941, Chicago Med Sch 2006

Nandini Lee, MD, Psychiatry, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, 571-3778, Fax 571-3799, Psychiatry, St. George’s Univ 2006

James McKeith, MD, Emergency Medicine*, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, 393-4880,, Jefferson Med Coll 1992

Laurie Salameh, MD, Pediatrics*, 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, Touro Univ 2006

* board certified



Two nurse consultants wanted full time
One in Ukiah and one in Eureka, to provide clinical support for individuals with developmental disabilities. The successful candidates will have proven experience in clinical, wellness, advocacy and administrative responsibilities pertaining to health/well-being and will have demonstrated use of a person-centered/whole-person approach to their work. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to: provide clinical consultation, support and education to agency staff, consumers, their families and community agencies/organizations; participate on interdisciplinary program planning teams; provide record/file review and interpretation of medical records; visit consumers to ensure that special health care needs are being met; help facilitate consumer access to health care services; help develop clinical policies and protocols; identify the need for specific clinical services/resources; and liaison with community agencies and organizations. The successful candidates will have knowledge of best practices in nursing, a Master’s Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing plus one year post-graduate experience, a current RN license and a Public Health Nursing Certificate. For more information see Please send letter of interest and CV to Human Resources, RCRC, 1116 Airport Park Blvd, Ukiah, CA 95482.

Volunteers needed for free clinic
Many patients have lost their medical insurance. The Jewish Community Free Clinic, free to all faiths, could use a little help. One volunteer shift every other month is not too little. 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. For questions, call Dr. Jerry Connell at 527-7754. To sign up for a shift, contact Deborah Roberts at or 664-2945.

Reimbursement specialist
For faster payments and low claim rejections call Kathy for a FREE practice analysis. Revenue RN. 1-888-776-1578.

How to submit a classified ad
To submit a classified ad for MMS News Briefs or Marin Medicine, contact Erika Goodwin at or 707-548-6491. The cost is one dollar per word.



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.

© SCMA 2010
2901 Cleveland Ave. #202
Santa Rosa, CA 95403


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