Marin Medical Society

MMS News Briefs


November 2009

MMS membership reception and toy drive in San Rafael on Dec. 8

All MMS members are invited to attend a membership receptionat the Marin Community Clinic in San Rafael from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday,Dec. 8. In addition to food, drink and collegiality, the reception will includea toy drive for the clinic’s pediatric patients and a tour of the facility.Members are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys of all types for collectionat the door.

The reception is FREE for MMS members and their spouses orone guest. Tickets for additional guests are $45 each. To RSVP, contact JessicaWhittom at jessica@marinmedicalsociety.orgor 924-3891. The MCC clinic is located at 3110 Kerner Blvd. in San Rafael.

Marin County physician named CMA president-elect

Dr. James Hinsdale, MMS member and director of trauma atMarin General Hospital, is the new president-elect of CMA. He will becomepresident in October 2010, after the current president, Dr. Brennan Cassidy,completes his one-year term.

In addition to his post at Marin General, Hinsdale alsoserves as executive director of trauma at Regional Medical Center in San Jose.He has chaired the CMA board of trustees for the past year and is a pastpresident of the Santa Clara County Medical Association.

More physician volunteers needed for H1N1 Alternate Care Site

Almost 20 local physicians have volunteered to staff an H1N1Alternate Care Site (ACS), but more are needed, particularly Kaiser physicians.The ACS will only be activated if all local hospitals are filled beyondfunctional surge capacity by the H1N1 pandemic. If this scenario occurs,physician volunteers will be needed for 8-hour shifts at the ACS, which willfunction around the clock.

To volunteer for the ACS, contact Dr. Peter Bretan by e-mailat In your e-mail, list your specialty,your cell phone number and your e-mail address. You can also reach Dr. Bretanby phone at 382-0339 (voicemail) or 892-0904 (office).

Physicians from all specialties are encouraged to volunteerfor the ACS, a key component of the H1N1 pandemic disaster response plandeveloped by Public Health and MMS earlier this year. Physician staffing at theACS will be provided by the MMS Disaster Preparedness Physician VolunteerGroup, which Dr. Bretan is organizing. Even if the group is not needed for H1N1response, it may be required for future disasters.

Reminder: Directory Verification forms due Dec. 1

All local physicians are reminded to return their 2010 MarinCounty Physician Directory verification forms by Dec. 1. The forms were mailedearlier this fall. If you need a copy, contact Jessica Whittom at jessica@marinmedicalsociety.orgor 924-3891.

Along with their verification forms, MMS members receiveddues invoices for next year. Members who pay their dues by Dec. 31 qualify fora 5% discount. Payments need to be at MMS by Dec. 31; there is no grace period. Installment payments can be arranged.

Nonmember physicians can complete a simple onlineapplication for MMS and CMA at

CMA working with Congress to shape health reform bills

House Democratic leaders have unveiled their latest versionof health reform in HR 3962, “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009,”and HR 3961, “Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009.” A summary andtimeline for HR 3962, along with an update by CMA Vice President ElizabethMcNeil, have been posted at

In her update, McNeil states: “CMA is still reviewing thebills, but will likely continue to support some provisions and oppose others.CMA is continuously working to improve the bill and indeed, severalimprovements were made to HR 3962. However, there are two enormously importantreforms that are vital to physicians and their patients. Those reforms include1) the SGR repeal and the $400 billion in Medicare and Medicaid physicianpayment fixes; and 2) the insurance industry reforms and a repeal of healthplan anti-trust exemptions.”

“The CMA will continue to fight,” writes McNeil. “Mostpredictions are that health reform will happen this year. Therefore, physiciansmust work now to improve the bills. We must let Members of Congress and thepublic know that the coverage expansions are an empty promise unless patientscan find a doctor.”

CMA survey: Do you need HIT assistance?

CMA has developed a statewide coalition seeking federalfunds to create a Regional Extension Center (REC) to provide technicalassistance to physicians and other providers in their transition to electronichealth records (EHR).

The California REC will offer technical assistance andservices to help the state’s physicians overcome the challenges of selecting,implementing, and becoming “meaningful users” of health information technology(HIT).

To assist CMA in its federal grant application, visit download the CMA HIT survey, which takes just a minute to complete. Thenfax the survey to CMA at 916-551-2036. Questions should be directed to800-786-4262 or

Health Forum at Marin County Civic Center on Nov. 12

A forum titled “Successful Healthcare Models in the BayArea” will be held at the Marin County Civic Center from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. onNov. 12. Speakers include Dr. Mitch Katz, director of the San Francisco Dept.of Public Health; Dr. Kevin Grumbach, chief of family medicine at UCSF; StateSen. Mark Leno; and Jack Horn, CEO of Partnership HealthPlan. The forum will behosted by Susan Adams, Marin County District 1 supervisor, and Larry Meredith,director of the county’s Health & Human Services department.

The forum is open to the public and will be held in Room 329at the Civic Center, located at 3501 Civic Center Dr. in San Rafael.

RotaCare Clinic receives $25,000 grant; needs volunteers

The RotaCare Clinic of San Rafael, which offers free primarymedical care to uninsured and underinsured residents of Marin County, hasreceived a $25,000 grant from Marin General Hospital.

“Last year, the RotaCare clinic served over 2,000 patients,”said Dr. Michael Osborne, chair of the clinic’s advisory board. “We are seeingmore unemployed persons who no longer have health insurance as well as workerswho receive no health coverage from their employer. Without the clinic many ofthese patients would be utilizing the hospitals’ emergency rooms as their onlytreatment option.”

The clinic operates with more than 200 volunteer physiciansand other medical personnel. Specialized clinics in dermatology, podiatry,psychiatry and neurology are offered once a month. “We are always looking forhealth care professionals who are willing to volunteer their time for thisimportant service,” noted Osborne. To volunteer, contact Marcia Amada at479-8889 or

Four District 10 resolutions adopted at CMA House

Four resolutions from District 10, which includes MarinCounty, were adopted at the CMA House of Delegates in October. The resolutionswill be used to set CMA policy and priorities for 2010. Summaries and authorsof the resolutions appear below.

·      Healthpolicy and practice management (Goodwin and Bretan) would encourage theinclusion of health policy and practice management courses in the standardmedical school curriculum.

·      Criminalizationof marijuana (Bedard) asks CMA to regard the criminalization of marijuanaas a failed public health policy and encourages CMA to participate in thedebate about changing current policy.

·      End-of-lifecare (Bedard) asks CMA to petition Congress to hold public hearings onend-of-life care.

·      Cigarettefilters (Klay and Goodwin) would impose a fee on each cigarette filter tomitigate the environmental and public health risks from discarded filters.

All SCMA members are invited to submit resolutions forconsideration at next year’s House of Delegates. For details, contact CynthiaMelody at cynthia@marinmedicalsociety.orgor 924-3891.

CMA sues state to end medical board furloughs

CMA filed a lawsuit last month seeking to end furloughs forthe staff of the Medical Board of California, which is backlogged withphysician license applications and other important administrative workaffecting the quality and accessibility of medical care.

Because the governor has furloughed state employees threedays per month, the medical board can no longer maintain adequate staffing,resulting in an unprecedented buildup of license applications and disciplinaryinvestigations and enforcements. Qualified physicians who are unlicensed butready and able to practice medicine must sit idle.

“There is already a physician shortage in California,” saidDr. Dev GnanaDev, past president of CMA. “Because the medical board cannot keepup with current licensing demand, communities lacking access to health carewill have to wait even longer to attract new physicians.”

The lawsuit says the furlough order is illegal because themedical board is funded by physician fees. CMA is also objecting to the redirectionof $6 million of medical board contingency funds into the state’s general fund. 

Possible data breach for Anthem and Blue Shield physicians

More than 10,000 California doctors contracted with AnthemBlue Cross and Blue Shield of California are being notified that their personalinformation, including Social Security, taxpayer ID, and NPI numbers, may havebeen compromised when a laptop containing sensitive data was stolen. Whilethere have been no reported misuses of this information, physicians are urgedto take steps to protect themselves from identity theft.

The theft occurred in late August in the Chicago area when aBlue Cross-Blue Shield Association employee’s laptop was stolen from a car. Thebreach involved a data set containing information on as many as 800,000physicians, including names, addresses, tax ID numbers, and NPI numbers.Physicians who use their Social Security numbers as their taxpayer ID numbersshould have received a letter notifying them of the data breach, urging them totake advantage of the free credit monitoring services being offered to affectedphysicians by the insurers.

Questions about the data breach should be directed to BlueShield at 800-258-3091 or Anthem at 800-933-6633.

Webinar on Medicare RAC audits on Nov. 19

The Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association (ACCMA) issponsoring a webinar on Medicare RAC audits from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. on Nov. 19.The 2009 audits are underway, and Medicare expects to recover $18 billion inpayments from physicians and other Medicare providers. The webinar willhighlight the items RAC auditors are looking for and the compliance stepsphysicians can take to minimize the amounts recovered. Cost is $20 for CMAmembers or $75 for nonmembers. To register, visit download the Medicare RAC Audit Webinar registration form. Then completeand fax the form to ACCMA at 510-654-8959. You will be sent furtherregistration instruction by fax or e-mail.

Nov. 22 run on Mare Island to benefit local nonprofits

Touro University Medical School and several otherorganizations are cosponsoring a 5K charity run on Mare Island on Nov. 22 tobenefit local nonprofits. Registration is $30 for adults and $15 for students.To register, visit


Christine Chao, MD, InterventionalRadiology*, Radiology*, 99 Montecillo Rd. , San Rafael 94903, 444-2380, Fax444-4925,,Univ Missouri 2002

Steven Pyke, MD, FamilyMedicine*, 3900 Lakeville Hwy., Petaluma 94954, 707-765-3697,, Univ Pittsburgh1992

* board certified


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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 thecommunity. We are affiliated with the California Medical Association and theAmerican Medical Association.

© MMS 2009
PO Box 246
Corte Madera, CA 94976


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