Monday, March 19, 2018


St. Joseph Health Provides $1 Million to Address Hunger and Homelessness in Local Communities Across California

May 25, 2016, Irvine, CA –St. Joseph Health (SJH) today announced it will provide $1 million in grants to 33 non-profit organizations that help provide basic needs for the hungry and homeless in Orange County, the High Desert communities and Sonoma, Napa and Humboldt counties. 

Reaching out to the most vulnerable in the community is at the core of St. Joseph Health’s values, and this initiative puts those values into action. With every grant initiative, St. Joseph Health partners with non-profit organizations to offer solutions to pressing health concerns among low-income and underserved people. This work is made possible through the commitment of St. Joseph Health’s California hospitals, which each contribute 10 percent of their net income as part of their dedication to creating healthier communities and serving the common good. 

“This commitment to caring for our neighbors is one of the ways we translate our values into action,” said Annette M. Walker, MHA, interim president and CEO, St. Joseph Health. “We want to improve the overall health and quality of life of people in the communities we serve. This initiative is aimed at providing for their most immediate needs, the need for food and the need for shelter. Hunger and homelessness are huge obstacles to health and well-being. We know, for example, that food insecurity is connected with chronic health problems, poor performance in school and higher levels of anxiety.”

More families in California live in poverty or near-poverty than most people think: According to a recent report from the United Way of California, one in three households statewide do not have enough income to meet their basic costs of living. Those struggling families are particularly burdened by high costs for food. Even having two stable, full-time jobs does not guarantee that a family will be able to make ends meet if those jobs pay at or near the minimum wage. 

And hunger in California crosses city and county lines. “Hunger isn’t an issue confined to certain neighborhoods,” said Nicole Suydam, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank in Irvine, which will use the funds to provide fresh produce to 34,200 people through its Mobile Pantry, School Pantry and Senior Grocery programs. “Many of the people struggling with hunger are hard-working people forced to choose between paying rent and eating. We also see lots of seniors on fixed incomes who can’t afford meals. St. Joseph Health’s support helps us provide nutritious food to these individuals.” 

Other programs that received funding include: 
• Illumination Foundation in north Orange County, which will use the funds from St. Joseph Health to transition homeless families into long-term stability by providing emergency housing and case management/care coordination for 80 clients. 

• Friendship Shelter in south Orange County will use St. Joseph Health funds to provide emergency shelter to 320 people and rehabilitative shelter to 120 people. The organization also will be able to provide supportive housing to 60 people and care coordination for 500 clients. 

• Family Assistance Program in the High Desert, which provides shelter, food and care coordination services for victims of domestic violence. The program will use the funds to provide food and shelter for 250 women and children and case management for 150 women. 

Nineteen programs in Orange County and six in the High Desert received funds, as did eight in Northern California. 

About St. Joseph Health: 
St. Joseph Health (SJH) is a not-for-profit, integrated health care delivery system that includes 16 hospitals, physician organizations, home health agencies, hospice care, outpatient services and community outreach services. Founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, SJH remains rooted to the sisters' traditions of assessing a community's needs and adapting strategies to meet those needs. Today, SJH continues its work in the tradition of the sisters through its wide networks of outstanding services. In each region it serves, SJH reaches out to care for the poor and vulnerable, establishing and supporting many programs and services that benefit the community

Practice Management Tip of the Month - May 2016

Plan ahead to reduce scheduling disruptions and long patient wait times!
It’s rare that an appointment schedule in a medical office survives a day without any changes. No-shows, cancellations and last-minute emergencies will always crop up and cause shifts and changes. But these changes don’t have to disrupt the flow of the office. Effectively managing the appointment schedule can have a positive impact on both patient and practice satisfaction.

For more information on scheduling strategies visit

Through its robust webinar series, CMA gives you the opportunity to watch live presentations on important topics from the comfort of your home or office. Webinars are free to members and their staff and provide timely information to help you run a successful medical practice.
Check out the current webinar schedule at

CMA’s Center for Economic Services is staffed by a team of practice management experts with a combined experience of over 125 years in medical practice operations. Our goal is to empower physician practices by providing resources and guidance to improve the success of your practice.
Access to our reimbursement experts is a FREE, members-only benefit. 
Call (800) 786-4262 or email

Meet Mark Lane, CMA Physician Advocate
Mark is Associate Director in CMA’s Center for Economic Services. For more than a decade and a half before joining the CMA team in 2010, Mark began his career as a claims processor for plans such as Blue Shield and Health Net.

Before long, he had moved up to a position in provider relations, giving him a unique vantage point on the relationship between physicians and payors.

Kaiser Permanente Physician to Receive OCMA Physician of the Year Award

The Orange County Medical Association (OCMA) is proud to announce that Timothy A. Munzing, MD, will receive the organization’s “Physician of the Year” award at its general membership meeting on May 26th in Costa Mesa.  The award is presented annually to an Orange County physician who has shown extraordinary leadership, involvement, and commitment to healthcare in Orange County.

Dr. Munzing is a graduate of the UCLA School of Medicine and completed his residency in Family Medicine at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Los Angeles.  He has been practicing medicine with the Southern California Permanente Medical Group in Santa Ana since 1985, is Board Certified, and serves as the Kaiser Orange County Family Medicine Residency Program Director.   

In addition to three decades of clinical practice, Dr. Munzing serves in several leadership roles in accreditation with residency programs throughout the United States and was recently selected to help plan the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine in Pasadena scheduled to open in 2019.  He also is a Medical Expert Reviewer for the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Medical Board of California. 

“Every year when the Physician Recognition Committee reviews the large number of nominations it receives for the award, it is such a difficult task to pick just one physician to receive this honor,” stated Dr. Darla Holland, OCMA President-elect.  “So many of my colleagues are doing such incredible things within medicine, health care and service to our community, and certainly Dr. Munzing is a perfect example of such commitment and service.”

For more information about the OCMA General Membership Dinner, please visit


BPA and Its Effects

In recent years, more and more people have become more conscious about the foods they eat. Everyone expects their food to be healthy and safe for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, food packaging may be harboring hidden chemicals that many would like to avoid. One of the most well-known is the toxic chemical known as bisphenol A (BPA). This chemical is found almost everywhere, especially in common household products like water bottles and tin cans. A new report released by the Breast Cancer Fund found that 67% of nearly 200 food cans samples tested positive for BPA, a well-known hormone disruptor. Hormone disruptors are chemicals that, at certain doses, can interfere with the hormone system in mammals. These disruptions can cause certain tumors, birth defects and, other developmental disorders. 

Why is this an eye-opening discovery?  The Federal Drug Administration claims that low levels of BPA are safe, and well below what it takes to cause breast cancer in lab animals. However, its potential health effects were not found until recently, when researchers investigated the case of Canadian women who worked in factories that produced plastics for cars (See ref. below). When thoroughly researched, these women were found to have a five times higher chance of developing premenopausal breast cancer when compared to the control group. This risk is the equivalent of carrying a BRCA gene mutation, which is responsible for many cases of breast cancer. The Federal Drug Administration may argue that this study can’t apply to the general public because levels of exposure to factory workers are so much higher than people in the general environment. While that may be the case, this study clearly shows a correlation between BPA and risk of developing breast cancer. 

While the Canadian study showed a strong correlation between high levels of BPA and the development of breast cancer, it left one question unanswered: What effect would high BPA levels have the factory workers’ daughters? 

While there was no way to test this directly, there have been other promising studies done to see if BPA had effects on fetuses. Some of these studies looked closely at the potential risks of BPA by exposing pregnant lab animals to what the FDA would consider a “safe level” of BPA. These studies showed that even low levels of exposure during early fetal development correlate with cellular changes that predispose the fetus to an increased chance of breast cancer. 

Despite the results of these studies, we can’t know for sure if BPA exposure in predisposition to breast cancer. Even so, the concern is there, and many people are calling for a change in food and water packaging to reduce the risk of exposure. Several brands have already eliminated the use of BPA in their products, while others have yet to do so. Only through careful research and action can we take steps to eliminate BPA from our food and water.

For more information, visit Breastlink at

CalOptima Honors Orange County Pioneers Who Created Better Health Care System Two Decades Ago

For two decades, CalOptima has served Orange County’s low-income population with access to quality health care and on April 21, the agency honored 10 industry leaders at the center of CalOptima’s creation as a county organized health system. In a ceremony at Santa Ana’s Bowers Museum, honorees received Legacy Awards for their leadership and partnership in laying the foundation for CalOptima, which has been repeatedly recognized as the top Medi-Cal plan in California for quality care.

The Legacy Awards were developed specifically for CalOptima’s 20th anniversary and reflect the honorees’ contributions and the agency’s successful operation since October 1995.

CalOptima Legacy Award honorees include:

Mary Dewane, Founding Chief Executive Officer, now a resident of Phoenix

Kenneth E. Bell, M.D., Former Chief Medical Officer, a resident of Long Beach, California

Jean Forbath, Former Board member and Founder of Share Our Selves, a resident of Costa Mesa, California

Founding members of the CalOptima Board of Directors

John R. Cochran III, chairman of the Board and then a hospital CEO, from Portland, Oregon

Peter G. Anderson, M.D., emergency medicine specialist and physician leader, from Newport Beach, California

Art Birtcher, commercial real estate developer, from San Juan Capistrano, California

Richard Frankenstein, M.D., specialist and physician leader, from Valencia, California

Claire Heaney, then a nurse and health educator, from Tustin, California

Joyce Munsell, then a nurse and health care executive, from Santa Rosa, California

Harriett Wieder, former Orange County Supervisor (posthumous). The late Supervisor Wieder’s award was accepted by daughter Gayle Wieder-Tauber of La Jolla, California.

“Our Legacy Award recipients can be credited with helping to transform Orange County’s health care delivery system for Medi-Cal members,” said CalOptima Chief Executive Officer Michael Schrader. “Through innovation and collaboration, these leaders tackled a crisis in access to health care, overcrowded emergency rooms and unnecessary costs. They were essential in the broad community effort that launched CalOptima to fix those problems, and their legacy is alive in CalOptima’s ongoing impact of improved health for vulnerable children, adults, seniors and people with disabilities.”

Since inception, CalOptima has collaborated with myriad partners and providers to fulfill its mission of providing access to quality care. The Legacy Awards event also brought together more than 200 leaders from local health networks, hospitals, community-based organizations and government agencies to celebrate the success they share as partners in CalOptima programs.

To learn more about CalOptima, visit

Make Sure your Practice Isn't Penalized under the New Provider Directory Accuracy Law

The new law (SB 137) not only requires payors to maintain accurate and current directories, but it also requires physicians to do their part in keeping the information up-to-date. Failure of practices to comply with the new requirements may result in payment delays, removal from directories and even contract termination.

For more information, sign up for CMA’s April 27 webinar on SB 137, at Or you may call Mitzi Young, OCMA Physician Advocate, at (888) 236-0267.

The webinar will provide an overview of SB 137 and a pilot program, launched by America’s Health Insurance Plans, to ensure provider directories comply with the new law, while reducing the administrative burden for physician practices.

CMA-Western Health Care Leadership Academy - New Workshop Series

Continuing its mission of providing information and tools needed to succeed in today’s rapidly
changing health care environment, the Western Health Care Leadership Academy is pleased
to introduce a new series of workshops designed specifically for organizational leaders.
The academy’s “Organizational Leadership Principles” track will give you the skills you need
to be a successful leader in the workplace, whether that is a medical practice, medical
association, hospital medical staff or other organized health care group or business.

For more information on all sessions and to register, visit

The Road Ahead: Diagnosis and Treatment of Breast Cancer

Cancer. Just hearing the word can bring you down. For many women, a breast cancer diagnosis is a reality they have to face. The thought of receiving a diagnosis can cause much distress and anxiety in women on top of all the stresses they experience every day. Fortunately, there have been great strides in breast cancer research, treatment and diagnosis. Breast cancer is no longer a death sentence, and more women are living healthy and happy lives after their diagnosis. With death rates down 34% since 1990, breast cancer is no longer a death sentence, and more women are living healthy and happy lives after their diagnosis.

The road to recovery begins with diagnosis. So, how do we do so with confidence and accuracy? Physicians employ a variety of breast imaging services including mammography, ultrasound and MRI to detect breast cancer, depending on various patient factors. However, breast cancer screening guidelines have become somewhat confusing in recent years, with multiple organizations offering different recommendations. The most common advice from radiologists and breast surgeons is for an annual mammogram starting at the age of 40. For women with denser breast tissue, tomosynthesis (3D) mammography may be beneficial and/or consideration of screening breast ultrasound. Those women whose lifetime risk of breast cancer exceeds 20% would also be screened with annual MRI. Still, I find it helpful for women to have a general sense of what is normal for them. For instance, if a new breast lump is identified by a patient that does not go away within one menstrual cycle, it is worth exploring with at least an ultrasound.  In a postmenopausal woman, a new lump warrants diagnostic breast imaging including ultrasound.

Once breast cancer is detected, the next step to recovery is treatment. There are three main forms available: medications, radiation therapy and surgery. Which one or ones are right for you is dependent on the type and severity of the cancer. Medications used for breast cancer include chemotherapy agents, hormone blocking drugs like tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors, and immunotherapy. The biology and behavior of the cancer tend to influence which drugs, if any, would work best for a particular cancer. With radiation therapy, doctors take into account a patient’s age, surgery performed, and pathology characteristics to assess whether radiation is indicated, and if so, what course might be best suited for the patient. Breast surgery procedures range from lumpectomy, which conserves breast tissue, to mastectomy, which removes the majority but not all of the breast tissue. In determining which surgery is best for an individual, several factors are taken into consideration, including the size and location of the cancer, personal and family history, and the patient’s personal preferences. More and more women are benefiting from the use of oncoplastic surgery, where oncologic principles of taking out cancer with, ideally, widely clear margins, are combined with plastic surgery closure techniques. Oncoplastic breast conserving procedures and mastectomy reconstruction options have really revolutionized breast surgery, allowing women to boost their self-confidence and feel more like their usual selves. 

Reconstruction is an option for the vast majority of patients undergoing mastectomy and allows women to retain a natural, feminine appearance after surgery. Two main forms of reconstruction are available: reconstruction with implants and reconstruction with tissue. Reconstruction with implants is the most common technique used in breast reconstruction. It often involves the initial placement of a tissue expander to maximize the ability of the skin to heal, while allowing flexibility in the size of the reconstructed breast, followed by later removal and replacement with a formal implant. Some women may prefer to use their own tissue for reconstruction. In this case, tissue is taken from another part of the body, most commonly the abdomen or the back, and transferred to the mastectomy site, creating a natural texture to the reconstructed breast. 
The thought of being diagnosed with breast cancer can be frightening. Fortunately, great strides have been made in breast cancer research, and new technologies help women get back to their normal lives more quickly. 

For more information on breast cancer imaging, treatment and diagnosis, visit 

Webinar: Coordinated Care Initiative: Key Information for O.C. Physicians

The Coordinated Care Initiative:  Key Information for Orange County Physicians occurs several times:

Wednesday, April 27, 2016, 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016, 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016, 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m.

Please register for the date and time that works best for you:

Program Description:  This webinar is designed for physicians and will cover the Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI) and the programs within the initiative including Cal MediConnect, known as OneCare Connect in Orange County.

The CCI is a new program designed to help provide extra support for low-income seniors and people with disabilities in California, including those who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medi-Cal.

Webinar topics include:  

1.  Overview:  How the CCI is changing health care for dual eligible patients;

2. Continuity of Care:  How to keep seeing your patients if they join OneCare Connect;

3. Care Coordination:  How OneCare Connect can help support physicians in coordinating care for patients, including in-home and community based services;

4. Billing Processes: How billing works under the CCI for patients who join OneCare Connect and for those who remain in  fee-for-service Medicare and join the CCI for Medi-Cal services.

Speakers:  Rita Cruz Gallegos & Joe Garbanzos, Provider Outreach Specialists, Harbage Consulting; and Laura Grigoruk, Director of Direct Networks - CalOptima.


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