Marin Medical Society

MMS News Briefs


April 2015

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After a decade of battling, the U.S. Senate, on April 14 in a whopping vote of 92-8, passed HR 2, the monumental, bipartisan Medicare SGR Payment Reform and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization Act-both senators Feinstein and Boxer voted in the affirmative. Two weeks ago, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted the legislation in a landslide vote of 392-37.

A 21% cut to physicians' Medicare payments was set to take place on April 15. Instead, HR 2 provides positive annual payment updates of 0.5% starting July 1 and lasting through 2019. Claims that were held for the first half of April will be processed and paid at rates that were in place before the 21% cut was scheduled to take effect.

MMS and CMA extend a sincere thank you to all member physicians for the extraordinary campaign this last decade to end the SGR. Member physicians kept up the fight these last two years to hold Congress' feet to the fire to develop a comprehensive bill to reform Medicare physician payments. The unity within organized medicine finally put this over the finish line. Moreover, 52 out of 54 members of the California congressional delegation voted to support physicians-a direct result of long-term MMS and CMA advocacy.

Following is a brief summary of the major provisions of HR 2:

  • Repeals the SGR.
  • Provides 0.5% increases in Medicare each year for four years.
  • Offers physicians payment options. In 2019, physicians can choose to participate in one of two payment track options: (1) A Fee-for-Service Track that simplifies and consolidates the existing quality reporting programs, reinstates large bonuses up to 9%, and reduces current penalties; or (2) The Alternative Payment Model Track, which provides 5% bonus payments and allows physicians to develop the new models, such as primary care/specialty medical homes.
  • Involves physicians in defining quality.
  • Provides $125 million in funding to help small practice physicians transition to the alternative models or quality reporting programs.
  • Reinstates bundled payments for the 10- and 90-day global surgical services.
  • Provides total cost of care data to help physicians better manage their practices.
  • Mandates interoperability of EHR systems.

MMS-CMA physician member dues dollars made this happen. Combine this huge SGR win with the victories on Proposition 46, GPCI, arresting the Medi-Cal cuts for three years, stopping scope of practice expansions . . . and the message could not be any clearer: Non-member physicians have received significant value from member dues! If you are not already a member, please join your fellow physicians who have contributed to these victories by becoming an MMS-CMA member. Click here to join now.


Dr. Michael Kwok nominated MMS president-elect

MMS president, Dr. Jeff Stevenson and incoming president, Dr. Peter Bretan announced that Dr. Michael Kwok, an internal medicine physician in private practice, has been nominated as MMS president-elect for 2015-16. Others renominated to the MMS board of directors are Drs. Michael Kwok, Jeff Stevenson, and Paul Wasserstein. The nominees for the CMA delegation are Drs. Irina deFischer and Larry Bedard. MMS members will be asked to vote on the nominations in May.

ICD-10 training July 13 & 14

Learn to code for ICD-10-Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM) and prepare for the ICD-10 Proficiency Assessment. Conducted over two days, July 13 & 14 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., attendees will receive 16 hours of intensive general ICD-10 code set training along with hands-on coding exercises focused on ICD-10 format and structure, guidelines, and coding tips.

Pricing varies: $399 for MMS-CMA members (a $200 savings), $499 for CA-MGMA members, and $599 for non-members. To register, call CMA at 800-786-4262 or view info and register online (Sonoma, Marin, and Mendocino-Lake counties). Click here to download informational flier.

"Mastering the Art of Disclosing an Unexpected Outcome" July 22

MIEC (Medical Insurance Exchange of California) has created an interactive workshop for Marin and Sonoma physicians. The workshop examines the elements of providing a timely and effective disclosure when an unexpected outcome occurs. The workshop will be held on Wednesday evening, July 22 at the Hilltop 1892 in Novato. Scheduled from 5:30-9 p.m., the event includes dinner. Cost is free to MMS and SCMA members, and $45 for nonmembers. Save the date! Watch for registration information to follow.

Dr. Keefe receives Health Innovation Award

Brian Keeffe, MD, cardiologist at Cardiovascular Center of Marin, has been named a recipient of Microsoft Corp.'s 2015 Health Innovation Awards. The awards recognize the innovative use in the clinical setting of Microsoft devices and services that enhance the quality of patient care, improve clinician productivity and electronic medical record (EMR) optimization, and streamline clinical and business processes. Click here for the full story.


Il-Ran Hwang, MD, Internal Medicine*, 3900 Lakeville Hwy, Petaluma 94954, Yansei Med Sch 1989

Hong Ren, MD, Internal Medicine*, 3900 Lakeville Hwy, Petaluma 94954, Taishan Med Coll 1991

* = board certified


Marin General receives Achievement Award

The Marin Cancer Institute at Marin General Hospital earned its third consecutive Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer. The Marin Cancer Institute is one of only four cancer programs in California, and the only one in Northern California to earn the award. In addition to exceeding the seven standards of care required for an Accreditation with Commendation, the Marin Cancer Institute fulfilled all 27 additional standards required for a Comprehensive Community Cancer Program. Click here for the full story.


CMA Alert is a biweekly newsletter for members of the California Medical Association.

TOP STORY: CMA joins vaccine advocates to launch "I Heart Immunity" campaign in support of SB 277. The California Medical Association (CMA), American Academy of Pediatrics, California, California Immunization Coalition, Vaccinate California and Health Officers Association of California have joined forces to launch the "I Heart Immunity" campaign in an ongoing effort to promote the importance of vaccines and Senate Bill 277 (Pan/Allen). (Read more)

Also in this issue:


ICD-10 transition

Is your office working on ICD-10 compliance? Click here to see a number of members-only resources, including CMA's ICD-10 Transition Guide for Physicians. Download flier for info about ICD-10 training July 13 & 14.

2015 PQRS and Value-Based Modifier Getting Started Guide

The Medicare Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) is a reporting program that has used a combination of incentive payments and payment reductions to promote reporting of quality information by eligible professionals. How does this impact you? PQRS is mandated by federal legislation. The program, which started in 2009, provided an incentive payment up through 2014 to practices with eligible professionals (EPs) who satisfactorily reported data on quality measures for covered Physician Schedule (PFS) services furnished to Medicare Part B fee-for-service (FFS) beneficiaries.

The guide is free to CMA members at  in the Resource Library and Store in the Professional Resources pull-down menu.

 CPR: CMA Practice Resources

CPR is a free monthly e-bulletin from CMA's practice management experts that focuses on critical payor and health care industry changes and how they directly impact the business of a physician practice. Each issue includes tips on reimbursement and contracting-related issues along with information on the latest practice management news. Read the current issue here. Titles include:

Read the current issue of Marin Medicine online!

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CME April 25: HIV/AIDS Review

The 22nd Annual HIV/AIDS Review, an educational CME seminar and luncheon for physicians, mid-levels and pharmacists who provide care to people with HIV/AIDS will be held on Saturday, April 25, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Finley Community Center, Santa Rosa. This year's program will include: an HIV and HCV Update; HIV Prevention; Substance Use and Harm Reduction; Interdisciplinary Case Management; and Medication Errors in HIV Care. Speakers include: Kirsten Balano, PharmD; Drs. Marshall Kubota, Ele Lozares-Lewis and Danny Toub; and Meghan Murphy, MSW. For more information, call The North Coast Area AIDS Education & Training Center at 707-303-8904.

 CME May 1: Innovation 2015, San Mateo

"The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine's Computer Age" and "The Future of Health & Medicine: Where Can Technology Take Us?" will be featured at the Innovation Symposium 2015 on May 1 in San Mateo. Physicians, CFOs, COOs, nurses, HR executives, and pharmacists are invited. CMEs will be available. Download flier or register online today.


Pediatric physicians
The Permanente Medical Group, Inc. is currently seeking BC/BE Outpatient Pediatric Physicians to join our team in San Rafael, CA. This is an excellent opportunity to practice with one of the nation's top health care organizations where you can develop a rewarding and lasting career. To learn more about these opportunities, please contact Judy Padilla at 800-777-4912 or  We are an EOE/AA/M/F/D/V Employer and VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

Medical condo for sale
Located on South Eliseo Drive in Greenbrae. 415-435-8589.

Shared medical suite available
Lovely reception area, patient rooms and furnished office. Beautiful Novato location, plenty of parking, utilities included. Please inquire at 415-897-9800.

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 Susan Gumucio at  or 707-525-0102.


The Marin Medical Society, a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association, supports local physicians and their efforts to enhance the health of the community. Founded in 1898, MMS is affiliated with the California Medical Association and the American Medical Association. Visit us at  ©

2015 MMS, 2901 Cleveland Ave. #202, Santa Rosa, CA 95403