Marin Medical Society

MMS News Briefs


April 2011

RSVP now for MMS membership dinner on April 12

There’s still time to RSVP for the MMS spring membership dinner in Tiburon on Tuesday, April 12. The featured speaker is CMA President Dr. James Hinsdale, who directs trauma services at Marin General Hospital. He will discuss CMA’s leadership in health care reform and the challenges facing California physicians in 2011.


All local physicians and their spouse or guest are invited to the dinner, which costs just $45 per person. The event, to be held at the Servino Ristorante in Tiburon, begins with a social hour at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner and program at 7. Dinner choices include petrale sole, flank steak or vegetarian rigatoni.


To purchase tickets with a credit card over the phone, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 415-924-3891. You can also click the link below to print and fax an order form to Rachel at 415-924-2749. Please identify your dinner choice when ordering tickets.


April 12 MMS membership dinner

Partnership HealthPlan dinner draws full house; another scheduled for April 18

The March 17 Partnership HealthPlan dinner in Novato attracted a capacity audience, so doctors are advised to RSVP early for the next Partnership dinner, scheduled for Monday evening, April 18, at Jason’s Restaurant in Greenbrae. The dinner is free and runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m., but RSVPs are required. To RSVP, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 415-924-3891 or Please indicate your dinner choice: beef, chicken or vegetarian.


During the dinner, Partnership’s chief medical officer, Dr. Ron Chapman, and the medical director for Marin County, Dr. Marshall Kubota, will answer doctors’ questions about pending changes to Medi-Cal and the role of Partnership, which links Medi-Cal patients to primary care providers. About 15,000 Medi-Cal patients throughout Marin County are eligible for the Partnership plan.

CMS issues regulations for Accountable Care Organizations

On March 31, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued regulations implementing the Medicare Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Shared Savings Program. In conjunction with the regulations, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice issued guidance on antitrust policies related to ACOs.


CMA is currently reviewing the regulations. Public comments are due on June 6.


CMA will be working to ensure that ACOs are physician-led and patient-centered and consistent with the CMA Principles for Accountable Care Organizations. The medical association will continue to press upon CMS the need to provide start-up funding and resources to help those physicians who want to organize into ACO coordinated care models.


Fact sheets and other materials about ACOs are available on the Physician Resources page at In addition, a New England Journal of Medicine article on ACOs by Medicare Administrator Dr. Don Berwick is available at

Marin County DHS transfers OB services to Marin Community Clinics

Beginning April 1, the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services is transferring its obstetrics services to Marin Community Clinics. As detailed in a March 22 memo from DHS to the medical community, the county OB practice will close to new patients on April 1 and transfer existing patients to MCC by July 1. Meanwhile, the new MCC OB practice will open in San Rafael on April 1 and begin accepting all Medi-Cal eligible clients.


Delivery services for MCC patients will be available at Marin General Hospital via a hospitalist system managed by the Prima Medical Foundation. The system uses a 24/7 OB physician and midwife model. MCC patients will also be eligible for the Comprehensive Perinatal Services and Sweet Success programs.

Medicare coding courses offered during April

“Coding and Medicare Updates 2011,” a valuable three-hour course for physicians and office staff, will be offered at three North Bay locations during April. The course, developed by the Practice Management Institute, focuses on sweeping changes affecting your 2011 Medicare reimbursements. Participants will review major changes for 2011 coding, learn how to improve claim accuracy, and maximize reimbursement opportunities with Medicare incentive programs.


Course times and locations are listed below. Cost is $105 for MMS members and their staff and $165 for nonmembers. To purchase tickets, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 415-924-3891 or


• April 13, 1 to 4 p.m., Hilton Garden Inn, 2200 Gateway Blvd., Fairfield

• April 14, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Queen of the Valley, 1000 Trancas St., Napa

• April 15, 1 to 4 p.m., Fountaingrove Inn, 101 Fountaingrove Pkwy., Santa Rosa

Current MMS officers renominated for 2011-12 fiscal year

Two MMS officers have been renominated for the 2011-12 fiscal year: president-elect Dr. Irina deFischer and secretary-treasurer Dr. Georgianna Farren. Voting will take place next month. Past president Dr. Helen Biren is moving to Sacramento, so another past president, Dr. Lori Selleck, will take her place.


In addition, Drs. Farren and Selleck have been nominated for three-year terms on the board of directors.

Buck Institute study: Yellow dye extends lifespan in worms

Researchers at the Buck Institute in Novato have discovered that Basic Yellow 1 dye (ThT) can extend the lifespan of nematode worms by 50% and slow disease processes. In a study published in the March 30 online edition of Nature, lead researcher Dr. Gordon Lithgow found that ThT supports protein homeostasis, a major contributor to longevity. “We have been looking for compounds that slow aging for more than 10 years,” said Lithgow,” and ThT is the best we have seen so far.”


The Institute, which continues to grow rapidly, recently announced plans to launch a graduate degree program in biological sciences and build on-site housing for employees and students.


New MMS Physician Directories available for sale

The 2011 edition of the Marin County Physician Directory, which was distributed free to MMS members in March, is now available for sale to nonmember physicians and the general public. The directory offers alphabetical and specialty listings for all Marin County physicians, along with detailed entries for MMS members. Cost is $40 for nonmember physicians, or $35 each when ordering five or more copies. Members can purchase additional copies for just $30. To order over the phone with a credit card, contact Rachel Pandolfi at 415-924-3891. You can also click and print the link below to fax an order to Rachel at 415-924-2749.


MMS Directory order form



AMA offers free CPT app through iTunes store; sponsors app contest

A free app from the AMA that helps doctors find CPT codes is available at the iTunes store. The app, compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, helps doctors determine the correct E/M code for quick and accurate billing. In conjunction with the new app, the AMA has launched the 2011 App Challenge to find the next great medical app. Open to all U.S. physicians, residents and medical students, the Challenge runs until June 30. Participants can visit to submit their app idea and be eligible for up to $2,500 in cash and prizes.



April 5 webinar on radiation emergencies

The American Medical Association is hosting a free two-webinar on April 5 to help physicians learn more about medical and public health implications of radiation events. Topics will include different types of ionizing radiation, acute radiation syndrome, and preparing for radiation emergencies. To register for the webinar, which begins at 9 a.m. Pacific time, click the link below.


AMA radiation emergency webinar



April 12 and 19 lectures on dealing with difficult patients

Dr. Katrina Bramstedt, a Sausalito clinical ethicist, will present two lectures at Marin General Hospital on dealing with difficult patients. The first, scheduled for 7:30 a.m. on April 12, focuses on dealing with such patients in office settings, and the second, scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on April 19, focuses on hospital settings.



April 13 webinars on EHRs

CMA is offering two hour-long webinars on electronic health records at 12:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. on April 13. The webinar, which is free to CMA members, covers the basics of EHRs, the federal incentive programs, and meaningful use. It is intended for physicians and staff who are beginning to research EHRs. Cost for nonmembers is $100. To register, visit



May 7 conference focuses on independent physicians

MMS members are invited to attend a free conference in Oakland on May 7 titled “Strategies for Independent Physicians to Succeed in the Era of Health Reform.” The conference—to be held at the Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association (ACCMA), 6230 Claremont Ave.—will feature presentations by CMA staff attorneys on ACOs and other models designed to improve quality as part of health care reform. Topics include:

• Business considerations for physician practices

• Legal issues related to hospital affiliations

• How improving quality can increase reimbursement

The conference runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. To register, visit



May 10-13 hospital medicine conference in Dallas

The Society for Hospital Medicine is hosting a four-day conference in Dallas that offers up to 26.5 hours of CME. Education sessions cover a wide range of current topics. To register, visit



Information on CO-OP plans posted on MMS website

Background information on Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans has been posted at Like credit unions, CO-OPs allow physicians, hospitals and employers to provide health benefits to members. They are an alternative to government-run programs and for-profit insurance companies.


Physician wanted

Physician wanted for ethical medical weight control. Part time. Pleasant conditions. No billing, no on-call. Short shifts. Perfect for semi-retired or someone looking for a little extra work. Locations in Vallejo and San Francisco. Please call 415-447-4200 or email


Medical office space needed

Busy physician practice looking to lease or sublease 2,000 to 3,000 square feet beginning in the summer. Would prefer Greenbrae or San Rafael. Please call Carole at 415-461-2080.


Medical office space available

Largest available medical office space in Marin County, with spaces from 10,000 sf to 70,000 sf at 1 Thorndale in San Rafael. Contact Bayside Realty Partners, medical office specialists, at 650-949-0700 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