Marin Medical Society

MMS News Briefs


August 2009

Huffman and Sutter spar over $90 million in transfers from MGH

The war of words between Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) and the Marin General Hospital board of directors continues to escalate. In the latest salvo, an Aug. 11 letter to the board, Huffman asked for an explanation of how nearly $90 million in transfers from MGH to other Sutter hospitals “complies with your obligations, as directors of the MGH board, to assure high quality medical care and fiscal integrity at MGH.” Huffman also requested copies of all documents relating to the board’s role in the transfers.

Board Chair Robert Heller is on vacation until Aug. 25 but indicated that he will respond to Huffman when he returns. In a July 27 letter to Huffman, Heller noted that Sutter’s Equity Cash Transfer Policy, under which hospital affiliates transfer revenue to the Sutter network, has been approved the California Attorney General and the IRS. “Sutter Health,” he wrote, “operates much like a family that supports each other in good times and bad. In good times, affiliates share a portion of their revenue in excess of expenses in order to help strengthen the network.”

The controversy began in July, after news reports that MGH had transferred $38.7 million to Sutter in 2007 and $48 million in 2008. The total amount transferred out of MGH since Sutter took over in 1995 is more than $120 million, according to Huffman, with only $5.3 million transferred in.

The dispute over transfers comes as Sutter prepares to hand control of MGH back to the Marin Healthcare District in June 2010. Several local commentators have speculated that Sutter plans to use the transferred funds to compete with MGH after the 2010 handover.

Huffman will be speaking at a lunchtime event for MMS members on Sept. 16 (see story below).

MMS members invited to informal lunch with Assemblymember Huffman

All MMS and Sonoma County Medical Association members areinvited to an informal lunch with Assemblymember Jared Huffman on Wednesday,Sept. 16, in Groverman Hall at Petaluma Valley Hospital. The lunch, scheduledfor 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., will allow MMS and SCMA members to speak with Huffmanregarding health care financing, the recent state budget, and pending healthlegislation (see link to CMA’s Legislative Hot List below).

Petaluma Valley Hospital is located at 400 N. McDowell Petaluma, near the Washington Blvd. exit from Highway 101. To RSVP, contactJessica Whittom at 924-3891 or

CMA’s Legislative Hot List at a summary and current status of CMA-sponsored bills in the CaliforniaLegislature, as well as the progress of other significant legislation followedby CMA’s Center for Government Relations. For more information on a specificbill, contact the lobbyist identified at the end of each bill summary.

Fall issue of Marin Medicine examines medicine and food

The Fall issue of Marin Medicine, which was recently mailedto all MMS members, features several articles on medicine and food. Authorsinclude Drs. Dean Ornish, Mark Wexman, William Elliott and Irina deFischer, aswell as Lida Buckley, RD. Their topics include motivating patients to makelifestyle changes; devising an antioxidant-rich diet; food-drug interactions;and recognizing eating disorders.

Departments include an overview of the coming flu season byMarin Public Health Officer Fred Schwartz, MD, along with articles on breastMRI, the Marin Medical-Legal Partnership, a review of Dr. David Kessler’s The End of Overeating, an update onKaiser San Rafael, and a profile of new MMS President Helen Biren, MD.

To read the magazine online, visit

MMS potluck dinner for women physicians on Sept. 15

Women physicians from all specialties are invited to apotluck dinner on Tuesday evening, Sept. 15. To RSVP and receive the location,contact Jessica Whittom at 924-3891 or

FTC delays Red Flag Rule to Nov. 1

The Federal Trade Commission will delay enforcement of theRed Flag Rule—which requires many physicians to develop and implement identitytheft prevention programs—until Nov. 1. The FTC will also release additionalguidance to help physicians understand their obligations under the newregulations.

For more information on the Red Flag rule, see CMA’s RedFlag Rule Toolkit and Webinar at resources are free to MMS members.

Extra CMA webinar on CPPI set for Aug. 19

In response to looming deadlines for the CaliforniaPhysician Performance Initiative, CMA has scheduled an extra webinar on CPPIfor Wednesday, Aug. 19, from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. To register, visit

CPPI is producing raw and relative performance scores forphysicians on 16 quality measures based on claims data from various healthinsurers. The scores may be used by payors for pay-for-performance, economicprofiling or tiered networks.

The deadline to request the patient data used to create CPPIscores is Aug. 28, and physicians must submit corrected data by Sept. 11.

In checking the data, physicians should verify whether CPPIcorrectly listed the patient name, physician name and specialty, and whetherthe physician performed the procedure. If you did not perform the procedure,make sure to indicate why the particular metric does not make sense as ameasurement of the quality of care you provided to your patient.

CMA offers free webinars on electronic health records

CMA has partnered with Maxwell IT to provide members withcomplimentary registration to webinars on electronic health records. Topicsinclude “How to Select an EHR” and “E-Prescribing Best Practices.” To register,visit the HIT Resource Center at

New Sutter facilities in Novato

Two new Sutter facilities have opened near Novato CommunityHospital. The first is a 10,000 square foot ambulatory surgery center at 100Rowland Way, and the other is a 9,600 square foot building at 101 Rowland Waywith offices for physicians from Sutter Health and the California PacificMedical Center, a Sutter affiliate.

Joe Dunn resigns as CEO of CMA

Joe Dunn, a former Orange County state senator who becameCEO of the California Medical Association in 2006, has announced that he willleave his post as soon as CMA selects a new CEO. Dunn, who continued to live inOrange County while working at CMA’s main office in Sacramento, said he wantedto spend more time with his family.

“Rest assured,” Dunn wrote in a general e-mail to CMA staff,“my decision does not in any way reflect disagreement or dissatisfaction withour organization, our physicians or our amazing management and staff.”

The CMA board of directors has begun looking for a new CEO,but no schedule has been released to date.


Tom Cheng, MD
Internal Medicine*
99 Montecillo Rd
San Rafael 94903
444-4976  Fax 444-2492
New York Med Coll 1999

Noah Weiss, MD
Orthopaedic Surgery*
100 Rowland Way #200
Novato 94945
878-0253  Fax 878-0259
New York Univ 1986

* board certified


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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 thecommunity. We are affiliated with the California Medical Association and theAmerican Medical Association.
© MMS 2009
PO Box 246
Corte Madera, CA 94976


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