Marin Medical Society

MMS News Briefs


December 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.

Reminder: Dues payment discount expires Dec. 31

MMS members are reminded to return their dues invoices,which were mailed in September along with the directory verification forms.Members who pay their dues by Dec. 31 qualify for a 5% discount. Payments needto be at MMS by Dec. 31; there is nograce period.

If you need a copy of your invoice or have any questionsabout dues, contact Jessica Whittom at jessica@marinmedicalsociety.orgor 924-3891. Nonmember physicians can complete a simple online application forMMS and CMA at

MMS leadership meets with Huffman re faulty CPPI data

The MMS leadership team, including Drs. Lori Selleck, HelenBiren and Dan Chaffin, met with Assemblymember Jared Huffman on Nov. 18 andDec. 2 to express their concerns about faulty data from the CaliforniaPhysician Performance Initiative (CPPI). Blue Shield plans to publish physicianrankings based on the CPPI data, and Anthem Blue Cross and United Healthcaremay follow suit. Over the past two years, CPPI has used claims data from allthree insurers to measure physicians on a set of quality measures.

The MMS leaders , CMA and other organizations expressedtheir concerns with the validity and accuracy of the data that has beencollected, and they urged Huffman to take legislative action. Results of CPPI’sown reconsideration process in 2009 found significant inaccuracies, with 33% ofphysician scores being overturned.

Because the CPPI program relies solely on claims data, itfails to comprehensively document the care a patient receives or the reasonswhy a patient may not receive care. Blue Shield, which originally planned togive digital “blue ribbons” in December to physicians who scored in the top50th percentile, has postponed action until CPPI meets with CMA and otherstakeholders after the holidays.

Coastal Health Alliance gets grant from PFMC

The Coastal Health Alliance in Pt. Reyes Station hasreceived a grant from the Pacific Foundation for Medical Care to address riskybehaviors among West County youth. The total amount granted to the CoastalHealth Alliance and three other projects in Sonoma County was $25,000.

PFMC grants are given twice a year to support projects thatenhance the availability or quality of health services in counties served bythe foundation, including Marin. The next deadline for PFMC grant applicationsis April 2, 2010. Instructions on how to apply for the grants are posted on PFMC, a nonprofit organizationdedicated to improving patient access to physicians, includes many MMSphysicians in its provider network.

CMA opposes current version of Senate health reform bill

CMA, which supports health reform legislation passed lastmonth by the House of Representatives, opposes the Senate health reform bill ascurrently written. To reinforce that point, CMA leaders will be visitingWashington, DC, this month to lobby senators.

“There is no way health care reform can work if patientscan’t get access to a doctor,” said CMA President Dr. Brennan Cassidy. “TheSenate bill fails to fix major problems in Medicare and Medicaid, whichcurrently suffer from chronic underfunding that undermines access.”

Cassidy called for major improvements to both programs,including better funding. CMA is working with senators to draft amendedlegislation that meets these goals.

“California’s physicians appreciate the support of senatorsand their sensitivity to critical issues affecting the well-being of patientsand the doctors serving them,” Cassidy said. “It’s essential that the Senate’sleadership adopt changes to help California and protect patients.”

House passes Medicare reform bill; Senate action pending

Last month, the House of Representatives passed the MedicarePhysician Payment Reform Act, which eliminates the Sustainable Growth Rate(SGR) formula that would have cut payments to physicians by 21% in 2010. Actionin the Senate is still pending.

After the House vote, AMA President Dr. James Rohack issueda statement saying, “The AMA urges the Senate to act quickly before the cutbegins on January 1. Fixing the Medicare physician payment formula once and forall is an essential element of comprehensive health reform. Congress needs tofulfill its current commitments as it considers expanding its obligations.Physicians must be assured of stable payments so they can continue to care forseniors, baby boomers and military families.”

AMA adopts several California resolutions at November meeting

Delegates at the interim AMA meeting in November, attendedby MMS President-Elect Dr. Peter Bretan, adopted several Californiaresolutions. Among the highlights:

·      E-prescribingof scheduled medications. Supports action requiring that the DrugEnforcement Administration move expeditiously to establish reasonablerequirements enabling the use of e-prescribing for controlled substances.

·      Federalpayment for emergency services for undocumented immigrants. Supportsfederal legislation to extend Section 1011 of the Medicare Modernization Act,which provides for federal funding to the states for emergency servicesprovided to undocumented immigrants.

·      Physiciansupervision over certified registered nurse anesthetists. Urges the federalgovernment to repeal the opt-out provision of the Medicare Conditions ofParticipation that eliminated the long-standing requirement that certifiedregistered nurse anesthetists practice under direct physician supervision. 

Red Flag Rule delayed to June 2010; bill introduced to exempt physicians

For the third time, the Federal Trade Commission has delayedenforcement of the Red Flag Rule, which requires some physician practices todevelop and implement identity-theft detection and prevention programs. Therule is now scheduled to take effect in June 2010.

Several factors appear to be causing the delays, includingobjections from organized medicine, accountants and attorneys. The American BarAssociation recently won a lawsuit in federal court holding that the rule couldnot be applied to attorneys, a decision that may impact enforcement of the rulewith physicians.

A bill (HR 3763) recently introduced in Congress wouldcreate an exemption from the rule for health organizations, including physicianpractices, with 20 or fewer employees.

State rejects expanding scope of practice for nonphysicians

The California Office of Administrative Law has rejectedregulations proposed by the state Department of Public Health that would haveexpanded the scope of practice of psychologists and potentially all otherhealth care practitioners working in licensed health care facilities.

CMA strongly opposed the regulations, which would haveweakened medical staff self-governance rights and could have been interpretedto allow unqualified health care professionals to carry out the duties of aphysician or surgeon.

The regulations would have allowed nonphysicianpractitioners to admit patients, perform medical examinations, place patientsin restraints, complete medical records, coordinate care, and order transfers.The regulations would also have circumvented the self-governance rights ofmedical staffs to establish and enforce the rules, regulations, criteria andstandards for medical staff membership and privileges.


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How to submit a classified ad
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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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