Marin Medical Society

MMS News Briefs


June 2009

Join your colleagues for “Burgers and Beer” dinner on July 14

MMS members and their guests are invited to attend theassociation’s first annual “Burgers and Beer” dinner on Tuesday evening, July14. Incoming MMS president Dr. Helen Biren, a Larkspur psychiatrist in privatepractice, will be the guest of honor.

The informal dinner, to be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at Moylan’sBrewery in Novato, is utterly FREE for members. Members can also bring oneguest for free; additional guests cost $35 per person.

To RSVP, contact Jessica Whittom by July 10 or 924-3891. See you there!

Free seminar on new opportunities for generating practice revenue

A free lunchtime seminar on new opportunities for generatingpractice revenue will be held on July 1 at the Fairfield Inn in AmericanCanyon, just north of Vallejo. The seminar, cosponsored by the Napa and Solanomedical societies, will be conducted by Bay Area Preferred Physicians (BAPP)and Integrations Solutions LLC.

Topics include potential new sources of revenue fromPrimaryRx, point-of-care medication dispensing, and the E-Cast Clinical TrialsProgram. Physicians, administrators and office managers are encouraged toattend. A box lunch is included.

Seating is limited, so registration is required. Toregister, contact Jessica Whittom at 924-3891 or

RotaCare Free Clinic gets $5,000 grant from PFMC

The RotaCare Free Clinic, whichprovides free medical care to uninsured patients in San Rafael, has received a$5,000 grant from the Pacific Foundation for Medical Care. The clinic was oneof only two organizations to receive grants from PFMC during its spring grantcycle; the other was Operation Access, East Bay. The foundation hopes to awardmore grants during its fall cycle, pending the status of its investments.

“We’ve seen a tremendousincrease in the number of patients,” said Marcia Amada, who coordinates theRotaCare clinic. She appealed for local doctors to volunteer their serviceswhen they have time. “The more doctors we have on staff,” she noted, “the fewerpeople we have to turn away.”

The clinic, located at 1033Third St. in San Rafael, is open from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday and Thursdayevenings. To volunteer, call Amada at 479-8889.

Kaiser offers medical record summaries on flash drives

Patients at Kaiser facilities inMarin County can now get a summary of their medical records on a thumb-sizedflash drive for just $5. “It’s not intended to be a complete medical record,but rather a summary that they can use for specific purposes,” noted Dr. MikeMatsumoto, technology chief at Kaiser San Rafael.

Matsumoto said the most likelypurposes are travel and home record-keeping. Patients who need medical carewhile on vacation, for example, can give doctors the flash drive, which listsactive medical problems, allergies, immunizations, lab results, prescriptions,diagnoses and procedures, among other records. The password-protected drive canalso contain recent EKGs and chest X-rays, along with standard demographicinformation.

The drive is not intended toreplace the complete medical records stored at Kaiser. Patients can get freeupdates to the drive from Kaiser whenever they want.

Obama touts health reform at AMA convention

President Obama took his healthreform campaign to the AMA’s annual convention in Chicago on June 15, pledgingto reduce health care costs, emphasize primary care, support medical liabilityreform and encourage a public health insurance option. “The public option isnot your enemy,” he said, referring to the AMA’s qualified opposition to such aplan. He added that his plan would “keep the insurance companies honest.”

Obama received a standingovation when he observed, “You did not enter this profession to bebean-counters and paper-pushers. You entered this profession to be healers—andthat’s what our health care system should let you be.”

Leaders of organized medicinepraised the speech. “We are very pleased that President Obama has expressed anopenness to medical liability reform as part of comprehensive health reform,”said Dr. Nancy Nielsen, AMA president. “Liability reform is clearly needed tohelp doctors implement best practices in patient care and reduce unnecessaryhealth costs.”

CMA president Dr. Dev GnanaDevnoted that, “One primary objective must be removing the current barriers tocare in Medi-Cal and Medicare and ensuring any ‘public option’ that is part ofthe reform plan gives patients true access to doctors, not a false promise ofcoverage.”

Farr and Feinstein introduce Medicare reform legislation

Two California legislators, Rep.Sam Farr and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, have introduced CMA-sponsored legislationto correct the long-standing Medicare geographic payment inequities for severalof the state’s counties. Low rates in affected counties have forced manydoctors to opt out of Medicare or limit the number of Medicare patients theytreat. The net result is that Medicare recipients in these counties have adifficult time finding a doctor.

The legislation would placeCalifornia localities into Metropolitan Statistical Areas, which moreaccurately reflect regional costs, and hold harmless all counties that mightexperience a payment reduction by such a change. By doing this, many areas,including Marin County, qualify for higher rates.

Congressional health reform proposal would eliminate Medicare SGR

A health reform proposal workingits way through Congress would eliminate Medicare’s sustainable growth rate(SGR) payment formula, a longtime hurdle in the struggle to raise Medicarephysician payment rates.

Other proposals underconsideration would:

* Increase reimbursement forprimary care E&M services by up to 15%.

* Allow physicians to organizeinto virtual or real groups to coordinate care and receive bonus payments forreducing unnecessary hospitalizations.

* Expand the Medicaid program tocover more low-income families.

* Increase Medicaid rates toMedicare levels for primary care services.

* Require everyone to havehealth coverage.

* Create a national healthinsurance exchange.

The exchange would allow theuninsured to purchase health insurance and would include both private plans anda new public plan. Although full details have not been provided, the proposalmay require all participating Medicare physicians to participate in the newpublic plan. CMA is opposed to mandatory participation in any health insuranceplan and also believes that any government plan must be adequately financed toensure appropriate access to care.

Marsh offers long-term planning webinar on June 17

Marsh, the insurance agentendorsed by MMS, is offering “Long-Term Planning in a RecessionaryEnvironment,” a webinar for members on June 17 at 5:30 pm. Topics includeplanning for the cost of long-term care. To register, visit

Physician coding conference in Hawaii Sept. 10-12

The American Academy ofProfessional Coders is sponsoring a three-day conference for physicians inOahu, Hawaii, from Sept. 10 to 12. Topics include capturing all billablecharges, limiting audit risk and recovering lost revenue. The conferencequalifies for 10 hours of CME. To register, visit

CMA medical staff webinar on June 18

A one-hour CMA webinar on futuremedical staff challenges begins at 12:30 p.m. on June 18. The presentation willexplore recent court cases and legislative efforts governing peer review andEMTALA, developments concerning Patient Safety Organizations, and strategies topromote medical staff self-governance. To register, visit

Free “Best Practices” toolkit available on CMA website

Physicians who work in well-runpractices can spend less time dealing with administrative hassles or worryingabout making ends meet, giving them more time for patient care. CMA, withgenerous support from the Physicians’ Foundation, has published a 140-pagetoolkit to help physicians improve the quality and efficiency of theirpractices.

Among other topics, the toolkitcovers:

* What every physician needs toknow about running a practice

* How to find and keep qualifiedstaff

* Why your receptionist can makeor break your business

* How to make sense of your revenuestream

* When it makes sense to cancela payor contract

The toolkit, available free toall physicians, is organized into nine chapters that can be read sequentiallyor on an as-needed basis. To download, visit

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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.
© MMS 2009
PO Box 246
Corte Madera, CA 94976


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