Marin Medical Society

MMS News Briefs


May 2009

MMS launches website

The new Marin Medical Society website is up and running at The site features detailed information about MMS, including an extensive list of member benefits and a simple online application form. The site also includes current and past issues of Marin Medicine and MMS News Briefs, as well as an online order form for the Marin County Physician Directory. Additional physician resources will be posted to the website as they become available.

The website improves services to MMS members by gathering all the society’s publications and member tools into one convenient location. It will be regularly updated. Suggestions for improvements or additional content should be addressed to the MMS publications director, Steve Osborn, at

Dr. Peter Bretan nominated as MMS president-elect

Peter Bretan, MD, a Novato urologist and past president ofMMS, has been nominated by his colleagues as MMS president-elect. Assuming heis approved by membership, his term as president will begin in July 2010. Theincoming president is Larkspur psychiatrist Helen Biren, MD, who will servefrom July 2009 to June 2010.

Dr. Irina deFischer, a family physician and geriatrician, hasbeen nominated as secretary-treasurer. Additional nominees for the board ofdirectors include Drs. Barbara Nylund and Larry Bedard. Nominees to the CMAdelegation include Drs. deFischer, Biren and Bedard.

MMS members will vote on the nominees in June. For more information,contact Cynthia Melody at 924-3891 or

MMS dinner draws big crowd

Almost 50 physicians and guests attended the MMS SpringMembership Dinner in Greenbrae on May 12. The dinner featured a lively socialhour, a panel discussion of local health care issues moderated by Dr. PeterBretan, and a spirited question-and-answer session.

Dr. Georgianna Farren, director of Marin Community Clinics,discussed the rapid growth of the MCC clinics and the population they serve.Joel Criste, CEO of the Marin IPA, gave an overview of their efforts to recruitphysicians and switch to electronic medical records. County Supervisor SteveKinsey offered a governmental perspective on health issues.

The final two speakers—Lee Domanico, CEO of the MarinHealthcare District and Dr. Larry Bedard, chair of the district’sboard—discussed Marin General Hospital’s transition to public control. “Thehospital needs to be a first-rate, apolitical hospital that can serve anyone,”said Domanico. “We need to rebuild community trust and collaborate with Kaiserand other health facilities.”

Summer issue of Marin Medicine focuses on pharmacy

The Summer issue of Marin Medicine, which was mailed to allmembers on May 8, includes several articles about pharmaceutical topics bylocal physicians, including weight-loss specialist Dr. Gail Altschuler andpharmacy manufacturer Dr. Francis Parnell.

Other topics covered in the issue range from teachingorthopedic surgery in Vietnam to an appraisal of Star Trek’s Dr. “Bones” McCoy.

Thanks to the new MMS website, the magazine can also beviewed online at

Buck Institute marks first decade in Novato

Novato’s Buck Institute for AgeResearch, founded in 1999, is marking its first decade with a black-tie ball onMay 16. The event, long since sold out, is expected to raise about $500,000 forthe institute, which has an annual budget of $34 million and more than 160employees.

About one-fifth of the institute’sfunding is supplied by the Buck Trust, with the remainder coming from grantsand contributions. 

Enforcement of Red Flag Rule delayed until August 1

The Federal Trade Commission haspostponed enforcement of its controversial Red Flag Rule until August 1, givingphysicians and other “creditors” an extra 90 days to implement identity theftdetection and prevention programs.

The new rule applies tophysicians who bill patients. For more details, MMS members can download a free26-page Red Flag Rules Toolkit from the CMA website at or by contacting MMS at 924-3891or

Two bills to expand nonphysicians’ scope of practice stopped by CMA

CMA recently eliminated twobills that would have significantly expanded the scope of practice ofpharmacists and physical therapists.

One bill (AB 977) would haveallowed pharmacists to independently initiate and provide immunizations tochildren and adults. Currently pharmacists can provide immunizations only undera physician protocol.

The other bill (AB 721) wouldhave allowed physical therapists to evaluate and treat patients without aprevious diagnosis or referral from a licensed physician.

For more information, visitCMA’s Legislative Hot List.

CMA opposes efforts to loosen ban on corporate practice of medicine

CMA is opposing several newbills that would erode the ban on the corporate practice of medicine inCalifornia by allowing certain hospitals to hire physicians. Under current law,hospitals are barred from hiring physicians as employees. The law is intendedto prevent corporations from unduly influencing physicians’ professionaljudgment and practice of medicine.

Proponents of the bills haveargued that allowing hospitals and health districts to hire doctors willincrease access in underserved areas. CMA believes that there are moreeffective ways to increase access, and that the interests of patient protectionserved by the corporate bar are too important to be pushed aside.

Three of the bills (AB 646, AB648, and SB 726) have been passed by policy committees. However, SB 726 wassignificantly scaled back through amendments that preserve nearly all thepatient protections of the corporate bar.

For more information, visitCMA’s Legislative Hot List.

CMA board adopts new policy for Medicare reform

With Medicare reform discussionsin Congress providing the backdrop, CMA’s board of trustees adopted new policyregarding Medicare at its April 23 meeting. The new policy is designed toreflect different modes of practice and to ensure that doctors who choose toparticipate in Medicare can receive fair compensation for their work.

For the new policy, CMA will:

* Continue to supporteliminating the SGR payment formula.

* Urge Congress to provide aMedicare payment update of at least 10% in 2010 as a catch-up for the lastseven years of inadequate updates.

* Support a new Medicarephysician payment system that allows physicians to voluntarily select a paymenttrack based on five options that reflect their mode of practice.

* Advocate for physicians to begranted antitrust relief to collectively negotiate contract terms with privatehealth plans.

A summary of the policy isavailable in the minutesfrom the April 23 meeting. 

Acclaimed author Dr. Leonard Shlain dies in Mill Valley

Dr. Leonard Shlain, who wrotethree highly influential books while working as a surgeon, died of brain canceron May 11 at his Mill Valley home. He was 71.

Until recently, Shlain chairedlaparoscopic surgery at California Pacific Medical Center and taught surgery atUC San Francisco. Equally adept at surgery and writing, he became famous afterhis first book, “Art and Physics,” was published in 1990. He subsequentlypublished “The Alphabet Versus the Goddess” (1998) and “Sex, Time and Power”(2003). A final book, “Leonardo’s Brain,” is scheduled for publication in 2010.

Free AMA webinar to help physicians access funding for electronic records

The American Medical Associationis sponsoring a series of free webinars to help physicians understand thehealth information technology (HIT) provisions in the recently passed economicstimulus bill. The three-part series will lay out what these provisions meanfor physicians and how they can take advantage of the $19 billion in fundsallocated for the purchase and use of HIT.

The first webinar, “Basics ofHIT,” is scheduled for 10 a.m. Pacific Time on May 21. The second is set forJune 9, and the third for July 14. To register for the webinars, visit

Urgent Care Medicine conference in San Diego Sept. 23-25

The American Academy of UrgentCare Medicine is sponsoring a Sept. 23-25 conference in San Diego. Topicsinclude point-of-care chemistry analysis, back pain and otitis media. Up to 13hours of CME are available. To register, visit

Jodi Grossfeld, MD
5000 Civic Center Dr.
San Rafael 94903
499-0100  Fax 499-0290
Univ Southern California 1991

John R. Bettinger, MD
Internal Medicine *
1350 S. Eliseo Dr. #130
Greenbrae 94904
925-6900  Fax 925-6919
UC San Francisco 1986

* board certified


Regional medical director for Partnership HealthPlan

Partnership HealthPlan ofCalifornia (PHC), a regional health plan providing services to Medi-Calenrollees in Napa, Solano and Yolo counties, is expanding to Sonoma County inthe fall of 2009 and seeks a part-time regional medical director (20 hours perweek). The position is responsible for the quality and appropriateness ofmedical care delivered by PHC to 47,000 Medi-Cal enrollees in Sonoma County.

A job description will soon be available at questions, contact Dr. Chris Cammisa at 707-863-4261 or

The Marin Medical Society, a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association, supports local physicians and their efforts to enhance the health of the community.
© MMS 2009
PO Box 246
Corte Madera, CA 94976


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