Marin Medical Society

MMS News Briefs


February 2013

• CMA files appeal to stop Medi-Cal rate cuts

• Feb. 21 reception to honor Assemblymember Marc Levine

• Former MMS/CMA President Dr. Michael Sexton retires

• Save the date: Legislative Leadership Conference on April 16

• CMA president to speak at May 9 MMS membership dinner

• PFMC grant proposals due April 2

• Marin Medicine wins first place in publications competition

• New ad rep for MMS publications

• Top stories from CMA Alert







CMA files appeal to stop Medi-Cal rate cuts

The California Medical Association has filed a request for an “en banc” (full court) review by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to stop the State of California from implementing a 10% cut to Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rates. In December 2012, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled that the state could move forward with the rate cuts, passed by the Legislature in 2011, despite an earlier district court ruling that the cuts would irreparably harm the millions of patients who rely on Medi-Cal for health care. CMA and the other plaintiffs in the case are requesting a rehearing from the full court.

Following the three-judge panel’s ruling, Gov. Brown issued his 2013-14 budget proposal, which includes a 10% Medi-Cal reimbursement cut, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2013.

CMA and the other plaintiffs--including the California Hospital Association, California Dental Association and California Pharmacists Association--argue that reducing payments in the Medi-Cal system will force providers out of the program at a time when millions of new patients are entering the program. The plaintiffs also argue that the cuts will devastate access to care, not only for existing Medi-Cal patients, but also the 900,000 children moving from the Healthy Families program into Medi-Cal in 2013 and the millions of patients who will be newly eligible for Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act in 2014.

“Cutting payment to Medi-Cal providers by 10% will have a huge impact on patient access to care,” said CMA President Dr. Paul Phinney. “The state is in much better fiscal shape now than when these cuts were initially proposed in 2011. With millions of new Medi-Cal patients entering the program under the Affordable Care Act, we simply cannot continue to cut resources and expect successful implementation of health reform in California.”

Feb. 21 reception to honor Assemblymember Marc Levine

All local physicians are invited to a free reception on Thursday evening, Feb. 21, to honor new Marin/Sonoma Assemblymember Marc Levine. The reception--which is sponsored by Californians Allied for Patient Protection (CAPP), a coalition to protect MICRA--will run from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Country Villa, 81 Professional Center Parkway, San Rafael.

To RSVP for the reception, contact Marissa Schriver at or 916-448-7992 x4. If you’re unable to attend, you are encouraged to make a donation to Levine’s 2014 campaign, which has already begun. Checks should be made payable to Friends of Marc Levine for Assembly 2014 (ID #1353695) and mailed to CAPP, 1215 K St. #2015, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Levine won a spirited election for the Assembly last fall and is a strong supporter of MICRA, the landmark legislation that keeps California’s malpractice insurance rates among the lowest in the nation.

Former MMS/CMA President Dr. Michael Sexton retires

Dr. Michael Sexton, a former president of both MMS and CMA, retired at the end of January after working nearly 40 years as an emergency medicine physician at Kaiser San Rafael. He served as president of MMS from 1993 to 1994 and as president of CMA from 2005 to 2006. He also served on the CMA Board of Trustees, the AMA Council on Legislation, and many other entities related to organized medicine.

Reflecting on his career in organized medicine during a phone interview on Jan. 31, Sexton noted that, “Over time, with the help and hard work of others, we were able to create a culture inside CMA and its components where physicians--regardless of how their practice is structured--have come to recognize the imperative that they have to work together. They all have a common goal of advancing our profession.”

Sexton believes that CMA’s most outstanding accomplishment during his career was its successful prosecution of the RICO lawsuit. “We sued the largest for-profit health insurance companies in the nation,” he recalled, “and we won settlements that put an end to their abysmal behaviors. We were able to get proof of how they would intentionally downcode physician billings with no reason other than just to pay the doctors less. We ensured that physicians were paid fairly, on time, and according to the terms of their contracts.”

Sexton’s retirement plans include joining his daughter--a first-year medical student at Michigan State--on a medical mission to the Amazon this summer. “If we work hard and stick to our principles,” he reflected, “she will have a practice that is as fulfilling as mine has been. I want her to have a career where she feels fulfilled and she feels like she was able to affect the health and lives of her patients.”

Save the date: Legislative Leadership Conference on April 16

Want to make your voice heard in state government? If so, you’re invited to attend CMA’s free Legislative Leadership Conference in Sacramento on Tuesday, April 16--one day after income taxes are due. Hundreds of physicians from all over California attend this annual event.

The morning includes speeches from key legislative leaders. Speakers for 2013 haven’t been confirmed yet, but last year Gov. Brown addressed the conference. In the afternoon, attendees go to the Capitol to meet with their legislators on health care issues.

To RSVP for the conference, contact Cynthia Melody at or 415-924-3891. She will arrange for transportation to Sacramento.

CMA president to speak at May 9 MMS membership dinner

New CMA President Dr. Paul Phinney, a Sacramento pediatrician, is scheduled to speak at the MMS membership reception and dinner on Thursday, May 9. Details are still being confirmed, but the date has been set. Please mark your calendars.

PFMC grant proposals due April 2

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

Marin Medicine wins first place in publications competition

Marin Medicine, the quarterly magazine of the Marin Medical Society, has won first place in the Touchstone publications competition sponsored by the Northern California chapters of the Society for Technical Communication, the world’s largest organization of technical writers, editors and designers. The competition drew entries from across the region, including Oracle, Corel and other high-tech giants.

“The entry [Marin Medicine] is clearly superior in all areas,” wrote the competition judges. “It applies the principles of technical communication in an outstanding way, particularly in the way it anticipates and fulfills the needs of its audience.”

Next up is the Society’s international competition, which Marin Medicine was able to enter because of its first-place finish in the regional event. Winners of the international showdown will be announced in May.

New ad rep for MMS publications

Linda McLaughlin, the graphic designer for Marin Medicine magazine, has agreed to take on the additional responsibility of serving as ad representative for all publications produced by MMS, including the magazine, MMS News Briefs, the Marin County Physician Directory and the MMS website.

McLaughlin replaces Erika Goodwin, who will continue to serve as associate director of the Napa and Solano medical societies and to sell ads for their publications. Because of McLaughlin’s background as a graphic designer, she can help advertisers design new ads or revise existing ones. Advertisers with signed contracts can receive one free hour of her time.

MMS members can place free classified ads in Marin Medicine and MMS News Briefs, and they get a 15% discount for display ads. Advertising rate sheets for all MMS publications can be found at

To place an ad, or to get help with designing an ad, contact McLaughlin at or 707-525-4359.

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

HHS makes sweeping changes to HIPAA privacy and security rules

Some Medicare claims mistakenly rejected because of zip code error

Palmetto announces new audits

Obama says physicians can ask patients about guns without fear of breaking the law

AMA announces $10 million initiative to redesign medical education


Dr. Francine Halberg, a radiation oncologist at the Marin Cancer Institute, has been named an ASTRO Fellow by the American Society for Radiation Oncology. One of just 12 physicians nationwide to receive the honor, Halberg was recognized for her involvement in cancer and radiation oncology studies, particularly in the area of breast cancer. She is on the steering committee of the Marin County Women’s Study, which is investigating unusually high rates of breast cancer among women in the county.

Dr. Joan Campagna, who opened a rheumatology practice in Marin County in 1984, passed away in late December. A native of East Chicago, Indiana, she graduated with the first class of women from nearby Notre Dame University and attended medical school at Loyola University in Chicago. She completed a residency in internal medicine at CPMC and a fellowship in rheumatology at Stanford. In addition to her Marin practice, she served as an associate clinical professor at UCSF. She is survived by her husband, Alan Markle, and their two children. Donations can be made on her behalf to the Arthritis Foundation or to Guide Dogs for the Blind.


The Meritage Medical Network--which includes more than 500 physicians in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties--has been granted Accountable Care Organization (ACO) status by Medicare. The new status will allow Meritage to benefit from cost savings achieved by coordinating care for Medicare beneficiaries with hospitals and other providers. Currently Meritage is partnering with Marin General, Santa Rosa Memorial, and most other non-Kaiser and non-Sutter hospitals in the area. They are also affiliated with Western Health Advantage, a Sacramento-based HMO that just expanded to the North Bay.

Marin General Hospital has opened the Braden Diabetes Center, an outpatient facility that offers training, treatment and guidance for patients with diabetes and their families. Located at 1100 S. Eliseo Dr. in Greenbrae, the center was partially funded by Bruce Braden, a local businessman who used diet and exercise to help treat his Type 1 diabetes successfully. Dr. Linda Gaudiani, a local endocrinologist, is medical director of the center. “Through the educational resources at the Braden Diabetes Center and collaboration with primary care physicians,” she said in a statement, “we can significantly reduce complications and readmissions, relieve some of the burden on our primary care physicians, and markedly improve patient outcomes and satisfaction.”


The following CMA webinars are scheduled for February. 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.

• Healthy Families: Important program changes (Feb. 5)

• HIPAA compliance: Final HITECH rule (Feb. 6)

• Impact of ICD-10 (Feb. 7)

• E/M services review 1: Documentation requirements (Feb. 12)

• E/M services review 2: History component (Feb. 13)

• E/M services review 3: Examination component (Feb. 19)

• E/M services review 4: Medical decision making (Feb. 20)

• Practice mergers (Feb. 27)

The second annual Childhood Obesity Bay Area Conference will be held on Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St., in San Francisco. Acclaimed science writer Gary Taubes, author of “Why We Get Fat,” headlines a distinguished panel of speakers. This year’s conference will provide fresh insights into the various factors contributing to childhood obesity, and how leaders in the field are addressing those challenges. To register, visit

The 20th annual HIV/AIDS Review will be held from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, at the Hilton Hotel in Santa Rosa. Speakers includes Drs. Marshall Kubota, Danny Toub and Andy Desruisseau. For information and reservations, call the North Coast AIDS Center at 707-303-8904.


Family physicians needed

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 Linda McLaughlin at or 707-525-4359.


Michael Chase, MD, Internal Medicine*, 2 Bon Air Rd. #150, Larkspur 94939, New York Med Coll 1972

Dennis Yun, MD, Anesthesiology*, Pain Medicine*, 21 Tamal Vista Blvd. #113, Corte Madera 94925, Eastern Virgina Med Sch 2002

* = board certified; italics = special medical interest


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.

© 2013 MMS, PO Box 246, Corte Madera, CA 94976