Marin Medical Society

MMS News Briefs


December 2011

DocBookMD smartphone app is newest MMS member benefit

MMS has just added another benefit for its members: DocBookMD, a smartphone application that offers on-demand messaging, multi-media collaboration and fast look-up of your colleagues. The application, designed by physicians for physicians, will help you save time and prevent delays at point of care.


DocBookMD is a secure, HIPAA-compliant app for your iPhone, iPad or Android device. It is being offered without charge to MMS members thanks to funding from MIEC. For details on downloading your free copy, visit


One of the key features of DocBookMD is the ability to send and receive high-resolution images, including X-rays, EKGs, or photos of wounds. All messaging is secure and fully HIPAA compliant.


Not an MMS member? Complete the online application form at or contact Rachel Pandolfi at 415-924-3891 or

CalHIPSO can help with transition to electronic health records

Free or low-cost assistance for primary care physicians who are transitioning to electronic health records is available from the nonprofit California Health Information Partnership and Services Organization (CalHIPSO). The organization can provide technical assistance, access to vendors, educational webinars, reduced pricing on software, and many other benefits.


Free CalHIPSO enrollment is available until Dec. 31 to primary care physicians in small private practices, community health centers, rural health clinics or certain hospital ambulatory care clinics. Primary care physicians in other types of practice settings can enroll in CalHIPSO for just $150.


Interested physicians should visit or contact Kent Waldsmith at or 510-285-5745. The free enrollment will only be offered until all slots are filled, so time is of the essence.

Still time to update your Marin County Physician Directory listing

MMS is still accepting updates for the 2012 Marin County Physician Directory. The directory features photographs and detailed listings for all MMS members, including their specialty(s), special medical interest and medical training. Basic information for nonmember physicians is included as well.


To update your listing, return the directory verification form to MMS by Jan. 15, 2012. If you need a copy of the form, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 415-924-3891 or


Pay your MMS dues by Jan. 15 and get a 5% discount

MMS members who pay their 2012 dues by Jan. 15 get a 5% discount. To qualify for the discount, dues must be received in the MMS office by Jan. 15, not just postmarked by that date. Dues invoices were mailed earlier this fall. If you need a copy, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 415-924-3891 or


Latest issue of Marin Medicine is in the mail

The Winter 2012 issue of Marin Medicine, which focuses on cancer, has been mailed to MMS members and many other physicians throughout the county. Topics for the cancer articles, all by local experts, include cancer screening in primary care, colonoscopies, lymphoma, the Marin Women’s Study and PSA test controversies. The issue also includes an illuminating article on “frequent flyers” in local emergency departments and a discussion of new physician-hospital alignments in Marin County.


To view an online version of the current issue and an archive of past issues, visit Article proposals are welcome at any time and should be addressed to the editor, Steve Osborn, at or 707-525-0101.

What the demise of the Super Committee means to California physicians

The Joint Congressional Committee on Deficit Reduction (the Super Committee) declared defeat on Nov. 21, producing no consensus on a package to increase revenues or reduce spending by $1.2 trillion--including an opportunity to reduce the deficit by repealing the flawed Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) payment formula. Addressing the SGR would have reduced government spending and protected access to health care for seniors.


As a result, the 27% Medicare SGR payment cut still looms on Jan. 1. The scope of the next SGR intervention will come into better focus when Congress returns from its Thanksgiving break. Legislators have a number of significant items of unfinished business that will require action before the Christmas holidays, which means there will be a legislative vehicle to address the SGR. Organized medicine will be urging Congress to stop the Medicare SGR cuts for as long a period as possible. However, given the rancorous environment, it is unlikely that it will stop the cuts for more than a year or two.


Physicians are urged to keep calling, writing and meeting with their senators and representatives to stop the 27% SGR cuts before Jan. 1. Use the AMA Grassroots Hotline at 800-833-6354. After you enter your zip code, you will be automatically connected to your representative or senator.

CMA files lawsuit over Medi-Cal reimbursement cuts

CMA and several other professional associations have filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Health Care Services and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in response to the recent approval of a 10% reimbursement rate cut for Medi-Cal providers.


“Medi-Cal patients are already having a tough time getting access to care,” said CMA President Dr. James Hay. “The approved cuts are irresponsible and will only put the health of California’s most vulnerable population further at risk. The federal government has made a terrible mistake in approving the cuts, especially in the face of health care reform. We simply cannot treat more patients with fewer resources.”


California’s Medi-Cal rates are already almost the lowest in the nation. Currently, half the doctors in the state cannot afford to participate in the program. An independent study recently commissioned by CMA found that 49% of Medi-Cal patients are unable to get health care when they need it.


Physicians should contact CMA if you, your clinic or medical group can no longer afford to treat Medi-Cal patients, cannot find specialists who take Medi-Cal patients, or would otherwise be negatively impacted by the recent cuts that California made to the Medi-Cal program. Contact Michelle Rubalcava at 916-551-2543 or

CMA recoups almost $3 million for members in 2011

For the second year in a row, CMA’s Center for Economic Services has recouped more than $2.7 million from payors on behalf of CMA members. So far this year, the center has fielded almost 2,400 calls about billing and contracting issues from more than 1,200 different physician practices.


“Our goal is to empower practices by providing them self-help tools and teaching them how to be effective advocates for physicians and patients,” said Francisco Silva, CMA general counsel and vice president. “When the process fails, however, we’re always ready to intervene with the payor or regulator on the member’s behalf.”


Founded in 1999, the center provides members with one-on-one assistance for billing, contracting and payment problems that may arise. With more than 125 years of combined medical practice operations experience, staff helps members with issues ranging from underpayment or denials by payors to assisting with contract analysis during negotiations.


The center also provides members with access to CMA Practice Resources, a regular bulletin offering tips for improving practice efficiency and viability. To sign up for a free subscription, visit the CMA website at


To contact the center’s reimbursement helpline, call 888-401-5911 or write to For practical tools, newsletters and other online assistance, visit


Marin Community Clinics and the Coastal Health Alliance have each received $150,000 from Kaiser Permanente for quality improvement initiatives. Among other projects, the funds will help the organizations establish patient-centered medical homes, improve access to primary care, and increase colon cancer screenings for older patients.


Marin General Hospital has received a $1 million donation from Kentfield entrepreneur Bruce Braden to open an outpatient diabetes center. The center, named in Braden’s honor, will be directed by Dr. Linda Gaudiani, a Greenbrae endocrinologist. The hospital will also open a Bridge Clinic to help patients stabilize their diabetes after hospital discharge. “By establishing the Braden Outpatient Diabetes Center and the Bridge Clinic,” said Gaudiani, “we hope to significantly reduce complications and admissions, reduce the time burden for primary physicians and markedly improve patient compliance and satisfaction.”


A free community seminar titled “Global healthcare in the face of rising chronic disease” will be held at the Mill Valley Community Center from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 8. The seminar is sponsored by the Buck Institute, and speakers include Dr. Brian Kennedy, president and CEO, Dr. Joseph Antoun, adjunct professor of health and public policy. To register, call 415-209-2030 or write to


A CMA webinar, Medicare 2012: Final Rules, is scheduled for 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 7. Michele Kelly from CMA’s Center for Economic Services will cover the final 2012 Physician Fee Schedule changes and other changes that physicians and their staff should be aware of. The webinar, which offers 1 CEU credit, is free for CMA members and their staff;, which also includes an archive of past webinars. nonmembers pay $99. To register, visit


The Physicians’ and Dentists’ Confidential Assistance Line is a 24-hour confidential phone line service for physicians, dentists and their family members who request help with problems of alcoholism, drug dependence or mental illness within their families. The service is free and will not result in any form of disciplinary action or referral to any disciplinary body. The phone number is 650-756-7787. For more information, visit


Nidhi Johri, MD, Internal Medicine*, 3900 Lakeville Hwy., Petaluma 94954, 765-3814, Fax 765-3471,, Univ Delhi 2000


Zita Konik, MD, Emergency Medicine, 99 Montecillo Rd., San Rafael 94903, 444-2400, Fax 444-4242,, UC San Francisco 2008


Adam Nevitt, MD, Diagnostic Radiology*, PO Box 6102, Novato 94948, 884-3418, Fax 883-8082,, Rush Med Coll 1994


Shelley Palfy, MD, Pediatrics*, 750 Las Gallinas Ave. #210, San Rafael 94903, 479-7244, Fax 479-0917, Mt. Sinai Med Sch 2001


Sydney Sawyer, MD, Pediatrics*, 750 Las Gallinas Ave. #210, San Rafael 94903, 479-7244, Fax 479-0917,, UC San Francisco 2006


* board certified


Part-time medical director needed for Marin Services for Women
Marin Services for Women (MSW), a residential addiction treatment program for women, needs a medical director/psychiatrist (our clients have co-occurring psychiatric conditions) who will see insured MSW women clients during a one hour per day time slot twice a week (example Tuesdays and Thursdays 3 to 4 p.m.) We will drive our clients to the doctor’s office. The doctor would bill the health insurance companies directly and bill the client directly for any remaining fee cost--most insurance will pay the out-of-network rate. For more information, contact Debbie Tate at or 415-924-5995, ext. 114, or



On-site guaranteed service. Office console provided. Stay compliant. Free consultation. Contact Marie Anderson at 415-721-7278 or


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 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.


© 2011 MMS, PO Box 246, Corte Madera, CA 94976