Marin Medical Society

MMS News Briefs


July 2009

Return staff wage survey by July 30

To help members manage their practices, MMS and several other Bay Area medical societies are conducting a fax-back survey of medical office staff wages and benefits. Members can complete the one-page survey by printing the attached PDF, filling in the requested information, and signing at the bottom.

Fax the completed survey to MMS at 924-2749 by July 30. The survey has also been posted on the Physician Resources page at

The survey data will be aggregated and analyzed on a county-by-county basis, and final results will be sent confidentially to survey respondents. The survey is for MMS members only.

For further details, contact Cynthia Melody at or 924-3891.

MMS “Burgers and Beer” dinner draws a crowd

About 30 MMS members and spouses joined new MMS president Helen Biren, MD, for the association’s first-ever “Burgers and Beer” dinner on July 14. The informal event, which had no agenda other than socializing, was held at Moylan’s Brewery in Novato.

“Everyone raved about it,” said MMS executive director Cynthia Melody. “It was just a purely social event to promote physician collegiality.” Given its success, the get-together may become an annual occurrence.

Cast your vote in the annual MMS election by July 31

As a member of MMS, you are entitled to vote for MMS officers and board representatives, and for members of the CMA delegation.

To vote, print the ballot below, cast your vote, then sign and fax to 924-2749 by July 31.

MMS President-Elect

Peter Bretan, MD, urology

___ Yes         ___ No

MMS Secretary/Treasurer

Irina deFischer, MD, family medicine

___ Yes         ___ No

MMS Board of Directors (vote for two)

Barbara Nylund, MD, gastroenterology

___ Yes         ___ No

Larry Bedard, MD, emergency medicine

___ Yes         ___ No

CMA Delegation (vote for three)

Irina deFischer, MD, family medicine

___ Yes         ___ No

Helen Biren, MD, psychiatry

___ Yes         ___ No

Larry Bedard, MD, emergency medicine

___ Yes         ___ No



Signature (required)

District 10 Caucus approves two resolutions for CMA House

The CMA District 10 Caucus—which includes representatives from medical societies in Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Mendocino, Lake, Humboldt and Del Norte counties—has approved two resolutions for submittal to the CMA House of Delegates in October.

The first resolution, written by Santa Rosa ob/gyn Dr. Leonard Klay, asks CMA to support legislation that would impose a tax on each pack of filter cigarettes. The revenue would help pay for cleanup and recycling of cigarette butts and filters, the largest source of non-biodegradable litter in California.

The second resolution, by Eureka pediatrician Dr. Emily Dalton, would recommend that sports physicals required by school athletic programs be performed by the athlete’s primary care provider.

Each year the House of Delegates considers resolutions from physicians throughout California. If approved by the House, many resolutions are subsequently introduced to the state Legislature and enacted into law.

Buck Institute receives $1.6 million for new approach to Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease, long thought to be caused by sticky amyloid plaques, may instead be a nerve signaling disorder, according to preliminary research conducted at the Buck Institute in Novato.

Lead researcher Dale Bredesen, MD, has received a $1.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue the Buck studies into the causes of Alzheimer’s, which affects more than 5 million Americans.

“We are very excited to receive this award” said Bredesen. “It points us in a new direction in Alzheimer’s research, which is essential if we are to find an effective treatment for this devastating disease.”

Bredesen’s research has focused on netrin-1, a protein that enhances neural connections. In mice with an Alzheimer’s gene who received netrin-1, amyloid plaque levels were reduced, and symptoms were reversed.

The NIH grant will fund further research into netrin-1. “Since there is still no truly effective therapy for Alzheimer's, it is critical that alternative models such as this be explored, and their tenets and implications confirmed or refuted,” said Bredesen.

Another Buck researcher, KunLin Jin, MD, just received a separate $970,000 NIH grant to fund research into the function of newborn neurons in aged brains following stroke. The grant is part of the federal stimulus package that includes more than $10 billion in NIH funding for scientific research. To date, the Buck Institute has applied for $43 million in stimulus funds.

Physicians to recover Medi-Cal payments lowered by 2008 cuts

A federal appeals court has upheld the merits of a preliminary injunction issued last year that forced the State of California to reverse the 10% Medi-Cal reimbursement cut that took effect on July 1, 2008. The court further ruled that physicians be retroactively paid in full for claims that were paid at 90% during the six weeks the rate cut was in effect.

The ruling is a significant victory for physicians, but the state will probably appeal it to the Supreme Court. CMA attorneys are already preparing for any challenge that could be mounted by the state. Once the ruling is finalized, CMA will provide details on what physicians need to do (if anything) to recoup the money owed to them.

Physicians need to verify accuracy of their CPPI quality data by Sept. 11

Approximately 25,000 California physicians who treat patients insured by Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, or United Healthcare will receive their latest quality performance results from the California Physician Performance Initiative in late July.

CPPI will send each physician their individual quality measure scores based on patient care provided from September 2007 to September 2008. Physicians will be provided with a percentile rank compared to their peers; performance scores by measure; and performance scores for each patient group.

Beginning July 24, physicians can verify the accuracy of the data used to calculate their scores by requesting their patient lists at Doctors who believe their scores to be in error have until Sept. 11 to submit correction requests (with supporting data).

CMA is working with CPPI to identify individual members impacted by this report. CMA will also publish step-by-step instructions for physicians to help them with the data reconsideration process. Stay tuned for more information.

Healthy Families enrollment freeze takes effect on July 17

Healthy Families, which provides affordable health insurance for almost a million California children, is closing its doors to new enrollees on July 17. Faced with a projected $90 million shortfall, the board that oversees Healthy Families has voted to indefinitely wait-list all children who apply for coverage.

Gov. Schwarzenegger has proposed eliminating the program altogether as part of his plan to close California’s $26 billion budget deficit. With health care costs continuing to climb and more working families facing economic hardship, enrollment in Healthy Families is at an all-time high, with more than 29,000 new enrollees every month.

Children already covered under Healthy Families will continue to receive services after the freeze takes effect. CMA has joined with a coalition of provider and patient groups to support Healthy Families and prevent further cuts.

Red Flag Rule begins on Aug. 1

The Federal Trade Commission’s controversial Red Flag Rule, which requires many physicians to implement identity theft detection and prevention programs, takes effect on Aug. 1.

A Red Flag Rule toolkit is available to CMA members only at The toolkit provides detailed guidance on designing identity theft detection and prevention programs for physician practices. The toolkit also explains how the Red Flag Rule interacts or overlaps with other legal requirements governing the safeguarding of patient information, particularly HIPAA.

Members can also view CMA's Red Flag Rules webinar on demand at


Sign up for July 23 CMA webinar on health care policy

CMA members and their staff are invited to participate in “Health Care Policy 101,” a one-hour webinar scheduled for noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 23. Participants will learn about the basics of policy, health care reform, and other topics affecting the practice of medicine.

Registration is free for members and their staff, but space is limited, so register soon. To register, visit Registration is also open for July 22 and 29 webinars on electronic health records. Most webinars are available for on-demand playback shortly following the live presentations.


Diane Barnes, MD
Diagnostic Radiology*
99 Montecillo Rd.
San Rafael 94901
444-4877 Fax 444-4960
Yale Univ 1977

Anjali Ganatra, MD
99 Montecillo Rd.
San Rafael 94901
444-2919 Fax 444-2328
UC San Francisco 2002

Ruben Kalra, MD
Pain Management
100 Rowland Way #200
Novato 94945
Univ Southern California 2002

Patricia Stamm, MD
2 Narragansett Cove
San Rafael 94901
454-3048 Fax 454-0163
Columbia Univ 1977

Smriti Wagle, DO
1350 S. Eliseo Dr. #200
Greenbrae 94904
464-0411 Fax 464-0422
Des Moines Univ 1998

* board certified


Medical Director/Family Physician
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Experienced medical director toperform 50/50 administration and family practice. Administrator for 20-roomoutpatient clinic. Great working environment, congenial staff, well-establishednonprofit agency. Group’s physicians share on-call duties.

Candidates must have an MD or DOdegree, valid California license, and be board certified. SCIHP offers anoutstanding work environment, competitive compensation plan/benefits packageincluding paid time off, CME allowance with paid time off, holidays and paidmalpractice insurance.

In accordance with PL 93-638,American Indian Preference shall be given.

For consideration, pleaseforward CV to:
Sonoma County Indian Health Project
144 Stony Point Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Fax: 707-526-1016


Shared Medical Office Space (Novato)
Shared medical office space to rent. Fully equipped with two exam rooms,waiting room, reception area, kitchen, and shared office. Available all dayMondays and Saturdays, and after 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays for lateappointments. Lots of parking available. Located on first floor. Local phoneand PGE included.
Professional Center Dr. at Hill Rd.
415-897-9800 or


Personal Assistant and Concierge
Helping you remain calm and energized to focus on the activities thatenliven you as I handle tasks, projects and errands A-Z at your home or office.Excellent local references. 415-887-9068.


How to submit a classified ad
To submit a classified ad for News Briefs or Marin Medicine, contact NanPerrott at nperrott@rhscommunications.comor 707-525-4226. The cost is one dollar per word.



The Marin Medical Society, a 501(c)(6)nonprofit association, supports local physicians and their efforts to enhancethe health of the community. We are affiliated with the California MedicalAssociation and the American Medical Association.
© MMS 2009
PO Box 246
Corte Madera, CA 94976


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