Marin Medical Society

MMS News Briefs


October 2012

You’re invited to meet Assembly candidates on Oct. 9

On Thursday evening, Oct. 9, physicians are invited to a meet-and-greet with Michael Allen and Marc Levin, the two candidates in the 10th Assembly District, which includes Marin County. The event will be held in a private home at 159 La Cuesta Dr. in Greenbrae. The evening begins with wine and hors d’oeuvres at 6:30 p.m., followed by candidate interviews with Allen (7 to 7:30) and Levine (7:30 to 8).

The event is free, but RSVPs are required. To RSVP, contact Rachel at 415-924-3891 or The event is cosponsored by MMS, the Sonoma County Medical Association, and the Marin and Sonoma chapters of the California Academy of Family Physicians. For more information, see the attached flyer.

Assembly flyer

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Heart & Brain Symposium in Santa Rosa on Oct. 13

Marin County physicians are invited to attend a free half-day symposium, “Regional Care Coordination: Treating the Heart & Brain,” on Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Vintners Inn in Santa Rosa. The keynote presenter is Dr. Frank Kim, who will discuss multi-disciplinary regional coordination of neurocritical care. Other presenters include Drs. John Reed, Thomas Dunlap, Tucker Bierbaum, Patrick Coleman, Emily Conway, Peter Chang-Sing, Ramzi Deeik, and Jay Hunter, as well as Christo Brockway, RN.
The symposium, which is worth 3.5 CME hours, begins with breakfast at 8 a.m., followed by speakers until 12:15 p.m., and then lunch. To RSVP, contact Janette Lablue at or 707-525-5300, ext. 3389. The Vintners Inn is located at 4350 Barnes Road in Santa Rosa.

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CMA vaccine bill signed by Gov. Brown

Gov. Brown has signed a CMA-sponsored bill requiring a parent or guardian seeking a personal belief exemption from school immunization requirements to first obtain a document signed by a licensed health care practitioner. In the document, the practitioner would attest that the parent or guardian has been informed of the benefits and risks of the immunization, as well as the health risks of the diseases that a child could contract.

“This is a huge step in the right direction for public health,” said CMA President Dr. James Hay. “AB 2109 preserves a parent’s option to exempt their child from immunizations, but ensures that such a decision is an informed one and that the parent is aware of the individual and public health risks of not immunizing their child.”

In California, parents could previously exempt their child from all immunizations by simply signing a 2-sentence standard exemption statement on the back of the California School Immunization Record or providing a separate written statement that proclaims they are exempting their child. No other information or explanation of reason was required. The new bill still allows those form to be signed, but only after a parent has gained full understanding of the risks and benefits of vaccination from a licensed health care professional.

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Palmetto GBA loses Medicare contract

Medicare announced in late September that Noridian Administrative Services has been named the new Medicare administrative contractor (MAC) for Medicare Parts A and B in Jurisdiction E, which includes California. Noridian is scheduled to replace the current MAC, Palmetto GBA, by mid-to-late 2014. It is unknown whether Palmetto will appeal the decision.

MACs process Part A and Part B claims and perform other critical Medicare operational functions, including enrolling, educating and auditing Medicare providers. Aside from California, Jurisdiction E includes Nevada, Hawaii, and several U.S. Pacific territories. The jurisdiction covers 3.5 million Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, 500 Medicare hospitals and 86,500 physicians.

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Marin County Physician Directory available for sale

Each MMS member received one free copy of the 2012-13 Marin County Physician Directory earlier this year. Additional copies of the directory, which lists every practicing physician in the county, are available to members for just $30 each. Nonmember physicians and health care facilities can purchase the directory for $40, or $35 each when purchasing five or more. Cost to the general public is $55 per copy. To order by phone with a credit card, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 415-924-3891. You can also order online at or by printing the order form below and faxing to 415-924-2749.

2012-13 Marin Directory order form

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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

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Dr. Deepak Lamba, an assistant professor at the Buck Institute in Novato, has received a $1.5 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to create a 3D model of the retina. Dr. Lamba, who wrote an article on stem cell therapeutics in the current issue of Marin Medicine, will use the model the conduct studies of retinitis pigmentosa.

Three candidates are vying for two seats on the Marin Healthcare District board in the upcoming November election. Incumbents Dr. Harris Simmonds, a retired ob/gyn, and Ann Sparkman, a lawyer for UCSF, are being challenged by Joe Salama, a San Rafael lawyer who handles medical malpractice cases. The key issue facing the board is finding a way to pay for a new hospital at Marin General.

A memorial service for longtime MMS member Dr. Charles Keyes will be held at St. Stephen’s in Belvedere at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 2, with a reception afterwards. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Charles Keyes Memorial Marin Hospice, PO Box 1708, Mill Valley 94942. Requests for medical records of Dr. Keyes’ patient should be sent to the same address.

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Western Health Advantage, an HMO based in Sacramento, plans to expand to Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties in January 2013. The network for the HMO will include the 600-physician Meritage Medical Network (formerly called the Marin-Sonoma IPA), all the district hospitals (Sonoma Valley, Palm Drive, Healdsburg and Marin General), and three hospitals affiliated with St. Joseph Health (Santa Rosa Memorial, Petaluma Valley and Queen of the Valley). The HMO will target small employers and individuals and hopes to receive a major boost from the California Health Benefits Exchange mandated by the Affordable Care Act. Western Health currently has 92,000 members in the Sacramento area.

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Medicare’s Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) enables eligible fee-for-service Part B providers to qualify for payment incentives. Providers who successfully submit PQRS data to Medicare may be eligible to receive an incentive of up to 0.5% of their Medicare fee-for-service billing. Providers who are otherwise eligible to report to PQRS but are not doing so starting January 1, 2013, will see a Medicare payment reduction of 1.5% in 2015, increasing to 2% in 2016. The Health Services Advisory Group is providing free technical assistance to providers to help them successfully report PQRS measures to Medicare. To learn more, contact Shanti Wilson at

The following CMA webinars are scheduled for October. Webinars 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.

  • Protect your practice from payor abuse (Oct. 3)
  • Impact of ICD-10 (Oct. 10)
  • Establishing expectations for high performance from medical staff (Oct. 17)
  • Managing your medical school debt (Oct. 24)

Need help improving practice efficiency and viability? Try a free subscription to CMA Practice Resources (CPR), a monthly bulletin full of tips and tools for physicians and their office staff. To subscribe, visit

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Family medicine positions available
Family medicine positions available with Annadel Medical Group in Sonoma County. Contact

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 Erika Goodwin at or 707-548-6491.

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Marek Bozdech, MD, Medical Oncology*, Hematology*, 101 Rowland Way #320, Novato 94949, 892-0150, Fax 897-0746,, Wayne State Univ 1972

Charles Elboim, MD, Surgery, Breast Diseases, 121 Sotoyome St., Santa Rosa 95404, 707-525-6180, Fax 707-521-3854,, Univ Vermont 1972

Laura Norton, MD, Surgery, Breast Diseases, 121 Sotoyome St., Santa Rosa 95404, 707-525-6180, Fax 707-521-3854,, Indiana Univ 2002

Jonathan Rutchik, MD, Neurology*, Occupational Medicine*, 20 Sunnyside Ave. #A-231, Mill Valley 94941, 381-3133, Fax 381-3131,, Hahnemann Univ 1990

* = board certified; italics = special medical interest

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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.

© 2012 MMS, PO Box 246, Corte Madera, CA 94976

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