Marin Medical Society

MMS News Briefs


January 2014

Pay your dues by Jan. 15 and receive 5% discount

Invoices for 2014 were recently mailed to all MMS members. If you want to receive a 5% discount, simply pay by Jan. 15, 2014. The discount is already calculated on the invoice, and you can pay by check or credit card.

In addition to the standard dues, the invoice allows members to make additional donations to CMA’s political action committee (CALPAC) at a variety of levels. Donations can also be made to the MICRA Education Fund and the CMA Physician’s Issues Committee.

For questions on your invoice, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 or

Surviving the first month of Covered California

Surviving the first month of Covered California
California’s health benefit exchange, Covered California, began providing health coverage to more than 400,000 patients statewide on Jan. 1. To help with the surge of Covered California patients, CMA has prepared a 2-page tip sheet, available by clicking the link below.

Surviving the first month of Covered California

As explained in detail on the tip sheet, the key points are these:

  • Check your participation status with the various exchange plans through the Covered California provider directory at
  • Contact the plan directly if you have questions or concerns about participation status. Phone numbers for plans in Sonoma County are listed below.
    • Anthem Blue Cross: 855-238-0095
    • Blue Shield of California: 800-258-3091
    • Health Net of California: 800-641-7761
    • Western Health Advantage: 888-563-2250
  • Check the patient’s Covered CA ID card. All Covered CA ID cards will display the Covered CA logo in addition to the plan name.
  • If patients present without a Covered CA ID card, physicians can require them to pay at the time of service. The patient can be refunded whenever the ID card becomes available.
  • Use CMA’s comprehensive exchange toolkit, “CMA’s got you covered: A physician’s guide to Covered California,” available at

CMA members with further questions about Covered California have free access to CMA’s reimbursement helpline at 888-401-5911 or

MICRA update

Dustin Corcoran
[Mr. Corcoran is CEO of the California Medical Association. The following is excerpted from an update he submitted to CMA on Jan. 3.]

The New Year is upon us. With an anti-MICRA initiative slated for the November ballot, this means that the time with which we can inform the voting public of MICRA’s immense value is extremely limited. Each day between now and Election Day should be viewed as an opportunity to defend MICRA.

Trial attorneys and their front group Consumer Watchdog are on track to have collected the necessary number of signatures by sometime in mid-January, according to reports on the street. Most assume that they will not submit signatures for a few months. In the meantime, conventional wisdom suggests that they will try once again to push the Legislature to unravel MICRA. Should this scenario ultimately arise, I can assure you that CMA and the campaign team are more than prepared to beat them back on all fronts.

Over the holidays, our opponents at Consumer Watchdog continued to demonstrate the poor taste and dirty tactics we’ve come to expect from them in the fight over MICRA. On Dec. 26, Consumer Watchdog circulated a fundraising appeal hoping to capitalize on the ongoing tragedy of Jahi McMath, a 13-year-old Oakland girl left brain-dead following complications stemming from a tonsillectomy performed earlier in the month. In their letter, Consumer Watchdog’s President Jamie Court callously alleged that MICRA’s cap on non-economic damages provides hospitals and doctors “an economic incentive to let children under their care who are victims of negligence die, rather than save them.” Major media outlets have picked up on the opportunistic nature of Court’s letter, with the San Francisco Chronicle labeling the tactics as “shameless fundraising.”

There have been reports of new Consumer Watchdog-sponsored billboards sprouting up in the Bay Area. The billboards, which depict three crumpled beer cans alongside the assertion that “2 in 10 doctors will be drug or alcohol impaired,” are apparently encouraging patients to report impaired physicians should they encounter them.

Consumer Watchdog is continuing to hammer upon the issue of physician impairment and drug testing simply because it polls well with potential voters. These new billboards, along with previous attacks against the medical profession, are an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of voters regarding Consumer Watchdog’s true intention--lifting MICRA’s cap and, as a result, dramatically inflating attorney fees.

As the New Year unfolds, we will undoubtedly continue to see these cheap shots from Consumer Watchdog. Rest assured that CMA will be working tirelessly to defeat the trial attorneys.

Gov. Brown's proposed budget eliminates retroactive Medi-Cal cuts


Legislative Leadership Conference set for April 22 in Sacramento

All SCMA members are invited to CMA’s 40th annual Legislative Leadership Conference on Tuesday, April 22, at the Sheraton Grand in Sacramento. This free event begins with morning speeches by political leaders, followed by afternoon sessions with local legislators. Several hundred physicians from around the state are expected to attend.

For more information, visit or contact Cynthia Melody at 707-525-4375 or

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

  •  CMA argues whistleblower case before California Supreme Court
  • Obama signs Medicare SGR Reform Act of 2013, stopping pay cut for 3 months
  •  Making sense of Medicare payment changes
  •  Medical board will collect CURES fees beginning April 1
  •  CMA fights to protect patient privacy in CURES prescription database


The third annual Childhood Obesity Conference will be held at the UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 22. The featured speaker is acclaimed pediatrician Dr. Robert Lustig, who will discuss his research on sugar consumption as the underlying cause of obesity. Five other speakers are scheduled as well, along with breakout sessions, breakfast and lunch, and a networking reception. Cost is $80. To register, visit

The 21st annual HIV/AIDS Review is set for Saturday, April 5, at the Finley Community Center in Santa Rosa. Intended for physicians, mid-levels and pharmacists who provide care to people with HIV/AIDS, the review features sessions on advances in HIV testing, hepatitis C treatment and new HIV medications. Cost is $45, which includes breakfast, lunch and 5 hours of CME. To register, click here or call 707-303-8904.

Nonprofit health organizations in Marin County are encouraged to apply for community grants from the Pacific Foundation for Medical Care. The application deadline is April 2. 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. For application materials, visit or contact Kathy Pass at 707-525-4281 or

The following CMA webinars are scheduled for January. Webinars, which are typically worth one CEU credit, 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.

  • Avoiding embezzlement: A physician's guide to protecting your practice (Jan. 15)
  • Medicare: 2014 New Rules (Jan. 16)
  • Update on Medicare Physician Incentives (Jan. 22)
  • HIPAA Update: Are You Compliant with the Final Omnibus Rule? (Jan. 29)


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MMS members get free classifieds!
MMS members can place free classified ads in News Briefs or Marin Medicine. Cost for nonmember physicians and the general public is $1 per word. To place a classified ad, contact Linda McLaughlin at Linda@scma.or  or 707-525-4359.


The Marin Medical Society, a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association, supports local physicians and their efforts to enhance the health of the community. We are affiliated with the California Medical Association and the American Medical Association.

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