Marin Medical Society

MMS News Briefs


March 2014

Call Congress on March 5 to urge SGR repeal

Physicians and patients are closer than ever before to reaching their long-sought goal of eliminating the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and establishing new payment systems that will support high-quality patient care. HR 4015, introduced by Rep. Mike Burgess, MD (R-TX) and S 2000, introduced by Senators Max Baucus (DMT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), represent the first bipartisan, bicameral legislation to replace the flawed Medicare physician payment update formula.

But Congress has very few days to establish a pathway and enact this legislation before the scheduled 2014 Medicare physician payment cut of 24% takes effect on April 1.

Physician voices must be strong, compelling and unified if medicine is to accomplish SGR repeal and avoid enduring a 17th short-term payment patch. All physicians are asked to demonstrate their support and impress Congress of the urgency to act by participating in a national Congressional call-in effort on Wednesday, March 5.

All are invited to use the AMA’s toll-free hotline to contact their members of Congress:
The message points are simple and direct:

  • The sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula is widely acknowledged to be a policy failure. Congress has been forced to intervene 16 times since 2003 to prevent steep payment cuts and preserve seniors’ access to care.
  • Now a bipartisan, bicameral process involving three Congressional committees has produced agreement on a new policy framework. The framework repeals the SGR and creates a pathway to a higher-performing Medicare program.
  • Repealing the SGR is the fiscally responsible choice. More money has been spent on short-term payment patches that continue supporting this failed policy than it would cost to pass the legislation before Congress today.
  • It is time to establish new payment methods that will support the healthcare delivery systems that Medicare patients and American taxpayers deserve.
  • Congress must seize this opportunity and act before March 31, when the SGR calls for a 24% across-the-board cut in Medicare physician payments.

It is time to pass HR 4015 and S 2000.

Additional supporting material can be found on the AMA’s dedicated website:

Please join your colleagues in maintaining pressure on Congress to act on this vitally important legislation before time runs out. Join the national call-to-action day on Wednesday, March 5.

Meet your state Senate and Assembly candidates March 17 and 27

Marin and Sonoma County physicians are invited to meet their 2014 state Senate and Assembly candidates on Monday evening, March 17, and Thursday evening, March 27. Both meet-and-greets will be held at the Hilltop Restaurant, 850 Lamont Ave., Novato. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served. There is no charge, but RSVPs are

The March 17 event features Mike McGuire, candidate for Senate District 2, which includes all of Marin County, along with Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Windsor, Healdsburg and Cloverdale. The evening begins with a physician pre-meeting from 6:30 to 7 p.m., followed by an interview with McGuire and a post-interview discussion.

The March 27 event features Erin Carlstrom and Marc Levine, both candidates for Assembly District 10, which includes all of Marin County, along with Petaluma, Sonoma, Cotati, Sebastopol and southern Santa Rosa. The evening begins with a physician pre-meeting from 6:30 to 7 p.m., followed by interviews with Carlstrom and Levine and a post-interview discussion.

To RSVP for one or both events, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 415-924-3891 (Marin), 707-525-4375 (Sonoma) or For more information, see the attached flyer.

March 17 and 27 Candidate Meetings flyer

RSVP now for June 18 MMS dinner

All local physicians and their spouse or guest are invited to the Marin Medical Society’s Spring Membership Dinner on June 18. The dinner, to be held at Jason’s Restaurant in Greenbrae, features two presentations. The first is a report by Dr. Peter Bretan on the recent relief mission to the Philippines. The second is an update by Dr. Bretan and Dr. James Cotter on the campaign to preserve MICRA, California’s landmark Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act.

The dinner is free for MMS members. Additional tickets are $45 per person. Dinner choices include baked salmon, ribeye steak, chicken with rice, or mushroom gnocchi. To RSVP and identify your dinner choice, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 415-924-3891 or For more details, see the attached flyer.

June 18 MMS Dinner flyer

Hillary Clinton headlines 2014 Health Care Leadership Academy

Former Secretary of State and potential presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton will be the keynote speaker at the annual Western Health Care Leadership Academy in San Diego on April 11-13. Top thinkers from around the country will share strategies and resources for accelerating the shift to a more integrated, high performing, and sustainable health care system.

The conference will examine the most significant challenges facing health care today and present proven models and innovative approaches to transform your organization’s care delivery and business practices. Topics will include leadership development, ACA implementation, practice management and the ICD-10 transition.

To register, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 415-924-3891 or

Legislative Leadership Conference set for April 22 in Sacramento

All MMS members are invited to CMA’s 40th annual Legislative Leadership Conference on Tuesday, April 22, at the Sheraton Grand in Sacramento. This free event begins with morning speeches by political leaders, followed by afternoon sessions with local legislators. Several hundred physicians from around the state are expected to attend.

For more information, visit contact Cynthia Melody at 415-924-3891 or

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


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

The 21st annual HIV/AIDS Review is set for Saturday, April 5, at the Finley Community Center in Santa Rosa. Intended for physicians, mid-levels and pharmacists who provide care to people with HIV/AIDS, the review features sessions on advances in HIV testing, hepatitis C treatment and new HIV medications. Cost is $45, which includes breakfast, lunch and 5 hours of CME. To register, click here or call 707-303-8904.

The following CMA webinars are scheduled for March. Webinars, which are typically worth one CEU credit, 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.


Flora Stepansky, MD, Diagnostic Radiology*, 4144 Redwood Hwy. #B, San Rafael 94903, New York Med Coll 2003

* = board certified


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.