Marin Medical Society

MMS News Briefs


March 2012

District X Trustee Report

James Bronk, MD


Your two CMA District X trustees (Mark David, MD, and myself) attended the recent CMA board of directors meeting in Pasadena. As is typical for the first board meeting after a CMA House of Delegates, there were few reports from the actions of the House. We’ll see more activity on that front as the year progresses.


Of interest to all of us was the report from the board’s own Membership Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) established during the House for the “express purpose of examining the existential crisis which is threatening the vitality and relevance of organized medicine in California.” While an “existential crisis” may make one think of existentialism, in this case it is far more mundane and yet very relevant: the declining membership in CMA.


From what we were told, this TAC threw out any preconceived notions and discussed dozens of ideas for increasing membership in CMA. Fourteen of these the board adopted at the January meeting. Several have already been implemented in District X, which again finds itself leading by excellent example. Kudos to the county leadership and especially to our stellar medical executives.


The potential for large change is in the final recommendation, number 14. That recommendation establishes a Governance TAC to further examine CMA governance, including the role of the House. For those of us who have served for many years, this may seem like “deja vu all over again.” I hope this new Governance TAC will be more successful than “re-engineering” or other previous membership TACs in making reasonable, forward-thinking proposals for the House to debate.


What should CMA look like in 10 or 20 years, both in how it governs itself and what it does for its members and society? This is the principal existential question I think the Governance TAC should address. We shall see.


Nominations needed for MMS election

In preparation for the upcoming MMS election, all members are urged to submit nominations for leadership positions by March 14. Nominees must be MMS members in good standing. Nominations are requested for the following positions:

• MMS president-elect

• MMS board of directors (3)

• CMA delegate (1)

• CMA alternate delegate (1)


All positions require a three-year commitment, beginning July 1. Nominations can be emailed to, or faxed to 415-924-2749, or mailed to MMS, PO Box 246, Corte Madera 94976. Each nomination should include a brief statement about the nominee’s qualifications.


For more details, contact Cynthia Melody at or 415-924-3891.

Doctors invited to attend Legislative Day in Sacramento on April 17

California Attorney General Kamala Harris will be the keynote speaker for CMA’s annual Legislative Leadership Conference, to be held in Sacramento on April 17. Hundreds of physicians from around the state are expected to attend the free all-day conference. The morning session includes speeches from Harris and other key legislative leaders. In the afternoon, attendees will go to the Capitol to meet with legislators on health care issues.


Physicians interested in attending the conference should contact Cynthia Melody at or 415-924-3891.

Santa Rosa practice management seminar rescheduled to April 25

Next month’s practice management seminar in Santa Rosa has been rescheduled to April 25. The seminar, which runs from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. consists of two parts. “Know Your Rights” covers claim submission deadlines, time limits, appeal rights and related topics. “Medicare 2012 & Beyond” covers the new physician fee schedule, medical review audits and ICD-10.


Presented by the CMA Center for Economic Services, the seminar will be held at the Fountaingrove Inn in Santa Rosa. Lunch will be provided. Cost is $55 for SCMA members and $105 for nonmembers.


To register, fax the flyer below to the Sonoma County Medical Association at 707-525-4328 or contact Rachel Pandolfi at 707-525-4375 or


April 25 practice management seminar flyer

DocBookMD: Free smartphone app for MMS members

DocBookMD--a smartphone application that offers on-demand messaging, multi-media collaboration and fast look-up of your colleagues--is absolutely free for MMS members. 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. 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. All messaging is secure and fully HIPAA compliant. 

CMA endorses $1 a pack tax on cigarettes

CMA has endorsed Proposition 29, a ballot initiative that will tax cigarettes by $1 a pack. “The goals of Prop 29 are in lockstep with CMA’s core mission,” said CMA President Dr. James Hay. “This initiative will provide vital funding to make advances in prevention, detection and treatment of cancer, heart disease and other smoking-related illnesses--all goals California doctors fully support.”


Prop 29, an initiative on the June 5 primary ballot, will raise the cost of a pack of cigarettes and dedicate those new funds to cancer research and smoking cessation efforts. It was written by California affiliates of the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the American Lung Association.


CMA sponsors bill to ban sugary sports drinks in schools

CMA is sponsoring AB 1746, a bill that will close a loophole that allows sports drinks to be sold on middle and high school campuses. Sodas are already banned, but sports drinks, which contain replacement electrolytes as well as high-fructose corn syrup and other calorie-laden sweeteners, are not. All sugar-sweetened drinks are currently prohibited on elementary school campuses.


According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, sports drinks may be useful when large quantities of fluids are lost through sweating on a daily basis by those who perform continuous exercise for more than 60 minutes. However, the USDA concludes that there is no need to substitute sports drinks for water as a primary form of fluid replacement. The current school day does not include the kind of rigorous activity that warrants ready access to sports drinks.


Congress kicks SGR down the road

In mid-February, Congress struck a $20 billion deal on the sustainable growth rate (SGR) that protected physicians from the 27% Medicare rate cut that had been slated to go into effect this month.


Instead of using money available with the drawdown of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, funds for the deal will come from cuts to a prevention program established under the Affordable Care Act, combined with reducing funding for hospitals with bad debt, along with reduced Hurricane Katrina Medicaid funding.


CMA and other physician groups criticized the deal. “Congress had the opportunity to end the SGR and bring stability to Medicare. Instead they kicked the can down the road,” said CMA President Dr. James Hay.


In early February, Cardiovascular Associates of Marin, which includes 15 physicians, became the latest in a string of practice acquisitions by Marin General Hospital and the Marin Healthcare District. Under provision 1206(b) of the California Health and Safety Code, healthcare districts can acquire medical group assets and contract with physicians. Since Marin General returned to public control 18 months ago, the district has purchased six practices across the county, with a total of 29 physicians. “The high cost of operating independent practice groups and offices has become prohibitive for many physicians throughout the country,” said Jon Friedenberg, the district’s development officer. “By collaborating with them in managing their clinical operations, we can develop economies of scale in contracting for insurance and other services.”


The Institute for Medical Quality is sponsoring a training program for physician leaders on Coronado Island from March 8 to 10. Participants will explore solutions and creative approaches to resolving problems encountered in leading a medical staff. To register, visit or contact Leslie Iacopi at 415-882-5167 or


The 19th annual HIV/AIDS Review will be held at the Hilton Hotel in Santa Rosa on Saturday, March 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. State and local HIV/AIDS experts will cover current issues in HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, hepatitis C, and other topics. The conference, worth 5 hours of Category 1 credit, costs just $45. To register, call 707-527-6223.


CMA is hosting two webinars this month. Managing Difficult Employees and Reducing Conflict in the Practice, scheduled for 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. on March 7, teaches the secrets of how to lead, coach and manage difficult employees; set practice values; and reduce conflict in the practice. HIPAA Update 2012, scheduled for 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. on March 21, provides instruction on how to achieve compliance with new HIPAA rules and relevant California privacy laws. To register for either seminar, visit


CMA members who need reimbursement assistance can call CMA’s reimbursement helpline at 888-401-5911 or send an email to Practice management experts at CMA helped members recoup more than $2.7 million from insurance companies during 2010.


Primary care physicians who are transitioning to electronic health records can get assistance from CalHIPSO, a nonprofit organization that offers technical advice, access to vendors, educational webinars, reduced pricing on software, and many other benefits. Interested physicians should visit or contact Kent Waldsmith at or 510-285-5745.


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