From the Executive Director:

SMLMA summer overview

Residents Corner with Sutter Health

Historic Medi-Cal budget bill

Other highlights

Webinars and CME

Tips & Tools for practice management leaders

Community Bulletin Board



JULY 2023

Women in Medicine

Forest Bathing

Saturday, July 22 | 5:30 p.m.


Money Matters | SMLMA Summer Social

Thursday, Aug. 17

5:00–9:00 p.m.

SMLMA Board Meeting

Monday, Aug. 21 | 12:00 p.m.

Regional Physician Wellness Collaborative

Thursday, Aug. 24

6:00–8:00 p.m. | Windsor


SMLMA Cooking Connection

Thursday, Sept.14

5:30–7:30 p.m. | Windsor

From the desk of

Wendy Davies,

Executive Director

Happy Summer! We've got some exciting news that we hope will brighten up your summer. Save the dates for activities and opportunities to connect with your SMLMA colleagues. Check the TOC event list at the left and "News and Notes" section below for details.

All SMLMA summer events are designed to connect us with mother earth in health, wellness, and prosperity. Join us for exercise, meditation, cooking, community, and libations—something for everyone. If this is your first time attending a SMLMA event, don't worry. We will quickly make you feel like family. Just RSVP and come say hello!

On Aug. 17 we're taking over Christopher Creek Winery in Healdsburg for our summer social! Picture this: warm sunshine, cool breeze, and of course, delicious wine while watching the sun set on a spectacular Sonoma County day.

SMLMA Regional Physician Wellness Collaborative

Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023 | 6:00–8:00 p.m.

Windsor (call me at 707-620-0808 for address)

We had a great kickoff meeting for the Collaborative in May with representation for Sonoma, Mendocino, and Lake County regions and most of the medical groups. Our most significant takeaway was the desire to continue to discuss, collaborate and share challenges and best practices for physician wellness in our region. Through the Collaborative, SMLMA will gauge the need for SMLMA to rollout all or part of the Joy of Medicine program we initially proposed. Although it appears that similar programs are already in place internally in some organizations, we will continue discussions with the Collaborative and respond as needed. If you would like to be added to the collaborative group, please email me at, and I will send you an invitation and details for the August meeting.

As I have said many times in the past, if there is anything SMLMA can do to help you, your group, or your practice, please contact me at 707-620-0808 or email me at We can't wait to see you all this summer!


Protect your confidential and proprietary information

The CMA urges you to ask legislators for a NO vote on AB 616, which would allow confidential and proprietary financial information from physician groups to be released to the public, reversing an agreement made last year when establishing California’s Office of Health Care Affordability.

This bill could harm the ability of physician practices to recruit physicians, healthcare providers, and employees effectively. These financial documents provide little to no insight into the care delivery system and do not provide any additional transparency into how care is delivered.

Largest Medi-Cal rate increase in California history

In response to the passing of a historic bill to renew the state’s Managed Care Organization (MCO) Tax and invest in the Medi-Cal system, CMA President Dr. Donaldo Hernandez released the following statement.

The legislation will increase provider rates to at least 87.5% of Medicare for certain primary care, maternity care and non-specialty mental health services in 2024 and will provide $75 million annually for graduate medical education. Starting in 2025, the bill provides for an annual appropriation of $1.38 billion in primary care rate increases, $1.15 billion in specialty care rate increases, over $500 million for family planning and reproductive health care, and $600 million for behavioral health facilities including increasing inpatient psychiatric beds.


Forest bathing with EcoWisdom

Saturday, July 22, 2023 • 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Foothill Regional Park • 1351 Arata Lane, Windsor, CA

Relax with your medical colleagues during a guided forest bathing experience in beautiful Foothill Regional Park. Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese term that means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” Forest bathing uses mindfulness and meditation techniques to open all five senses and connect with nature as a healing tool. Participants are guided on how to slow down, disconnect from technology, and take a break from life’s stressors.

This SMLMA-sponsored gathering will be led by Jenny Harrow-Keeler, a certified nature therapy guide and mindfulness teacher with EcoWisdom Wellness. Her intention is to help participants open the gift of their lives through the healing power of nature. Click here to learn more about forest bathing — how it works, what to bring/wear, and what to expect.

Space is limited to 15. Reserve your place now.

No cost to SMLMA members.

RSVP to Rachel at or 707-525-4375.

Event details will be shared when you register.

Money Matters Sunset on the Patio social

Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023 • 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. • No cost, be our guest!

Christopher Creek Winery • 641 Limerick Lane, Healdsburg

RSVP to Rachel at or 707-525-4375

You are invited to join your regional physician colleagues and the Sonoma-Mendocino-Lake Medical Association for an informative and casual summer social at the exclusive Christopher Creek estate house and patio. Relax, chat, and enjoy a stunning view of the sun setting over acres of rolling hills and vineyards. Two sessions are planned, with something for everyone.

Money Matters with First Citizens Bank

5:00 – 5:30 p.m. Attendees interested in presentation arrive

6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Short presentation and conversation with the team from First Citizens Bank

Money Matters include banking, personal and professional real estate investments, medical equipment leasing, practice buy-ins, buyouts and acquisitions, etc. The team from First Citizens Bank can answer many of your money matters questions. Hear a brief presentation by the FCB medical practice team followed by a lively discussion and time for questions and answers. See flier for details. Come to the presentation, stay for the social!

Sunset on the Patio social

6:30 – 7:00 p.m. Attendees arrive

6:30 – 9:00 p.m. Sunset on the patio

Mix and mingle with physician colleagues and SMLMA Business Partners, enjoying wine, hors d’oeuvres, and custom fire-roasted pizzas on a lovely patio overlooking an amazing view of vast vineyards and a stunning sunset.

Tell your colleagues and bring your spouse or guest to share a lovely evening on the patio with SMLMA and friends.

SMLMA Business Partner Services

Banking • Financial Planning • Investing • Home Ownership • Practice Management and Ownership Insurance • Risk Management • Retirement Planning Services

• Medical Malpractice Coverage


Residents Corner with Sutter Health

SMLMA is pleased to present the third edition of RESIDENTS CORNER, a newsletter section that shares articles written by Residents in local Family Medicine Residency programs. We're rotating the space every other month among Adventist Health, Kaiser Permanente, and Sutter Health — featuring articles* written by each program’s Residents. Our goal is to provide a forum for Residents to share their work, ideas, and research with others in the medical community. 

Sutter Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency

Founded in 1969, the Residency Program is guided by equity and empathy and grounded in relationship and community. Our program trains full-spectrum family physicians who provide exceptional patient care and advocate for social justice. For more information, visit the SRFMR website.

Click on the titles to read or download the articles.

Racist History of Abortion Restrictions – Anita Vasudevan, MD, MPH, PGY-3, examines the historical roots of abortion laws.

Healing from Diet Culture Through Divergence Toward Health and Wellness – Stephanie Bamidele, MD, Integrative Medicine Fellow, discusses helping patients shift to a behavior-based, health-first mindset.

Hospital Care of Patients with Substance Use Disorders: A Conflict of Loyalties – Leah Heindel, MD, PGY-1, and Andrew Pastor, MD, PGY-1, reflect on the conflicts they face when treating patients with SUDs.

*Articles have been reviewed by Sutter program faculty and are intended as informational only. Publication of an article does not represent endorsement or approval by the Sonoma-Mendocino-Lake Medical Association.

Tips & tools for practice management leaders

SMLMA Practice Leadership Forum is pleased to present TIPS & TOOLS—a bimonthly feature offering information, insights and solutions for improving practice workflow and administrative efficiencies. Our July article, shared by SMLMA Supporting Partner Principled Medical Management, addresses the importance of setting clear, measurable goals.

This Is Why Physicians Need Goals, By James Keil, MBA, FACHE, FACMPE

Goal setting in physician practice management is often overlooked or forgotten when day-to-day challenges and general inertia takes precedence. It takes discipline to run your practice with a constant eye on the goals that will actually improve your bottom line, instead of attending only to the details in front of you. In fact, many of the top headaches of physician practices can be caused by the lack of concrete, measurable goals. Continue reading

TIPS & TOOLS is sponsored by SMLMA Practice Leadership Forum. For questions or to submit an article for publication, contact Rachel Pandolfi at or


Principled Medical Management provides financial management, operations management, organizational governance, business development and marketing, human resource management, risk and compliance oversight, and strategic planning for solo and small group practices. Visit



Blood donors are critically needed in July to help patients during "trauma season." Non-profit blood services provider Vitalant is urging all eligible donors to schedule a blood donation for July. Blood donations the week surrounding the Fourth of July are typically among the lowest of the summer season. However, the blood supply must continually be replenished as emergency surgeries, treatments for blood disorders and cancer therapies that use blood can’t take a break for holidays. See press release and list of July locations for community blood drives in Sonoma County.


Medical office for rent in Petaluma. 1,400 square feet, four exam rooms, x-ray room, doctor’s office, large front office area, ample waiting room, abundant parking. In medical complex on Lynch Creek Way, one block from Petaluma Valley Hospital. Sweet office, available immediately. For more information, call Lance Barlas, MD, 707-696-2270.


The Jewish Community Free Clinic provides free healthcare to those in need, regardless of religious affiliation, immigration status, or ability to pay. Our team is made up of almost 100 volunteers—medical providers, nurses, translators, front desk personnel, and more. If you are looking to share your kindness, have time for one shift per month, are just starting your career, now retired or close to retirement, please consider being part of our volunteer team. Visit our website to find out more information about JCFC services, submit a volunteer application, or email us at to set up an appointment.


California Medical Association

Virtual Grand Rounds: Fentanyl and "Tranq" (Xylazine): Emerging Threats in

Illicit Drug Use

Tuesday, July 11, 2023 • 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. | REGISTER HERE

Demystifying the Medical Staff

Tuesday, July 18, 2023 • 12:15 - 1:15 p.m. | REGISTER HERE

Sutter Health

The Sutter Health Virtual Grand Rounds is a Continuing Education (CE) webinar series hosted by Sutter Health Network providers for all medical professionals across Northern California. Interactive Q&A session takes place with each live event. Learn about the series here.

Too Much Noise: How to Reduce Hearing Damage

Wednesday, July 12, 2023 • 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. | REGISTER HERE

Diabetes Device Cybersecurity

Wednesday, July 19, 2023 • 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. | REGISTER HERE

Continuous Glucose Monitors to Improve Metabolism and Reduce Insulin Resistance

Wednesday, July 26, 2023 • 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. | REGISTER HERE


Celebrating SMLMA membership!

Please join us in thanking these exceptional physicians for their service and dedication to the practice of medicine, their colleagues, and our community. A round of applause for all!


Masis Babajanian, MD

Cardiovascular Disease

Krisztina Balazs, MD


Anthony Boyce, DO

Family Medicine

William Chernoff, MD

Cosmetic Surgery

Henry Flores, MD


Sheryl Garrett, MD

Cardiovascular Disease

Kendal Hamann, MD

Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism

Sharon Henderson, MD


Jet Ho, MD


Jennifer Lawrence, MD

Family Medicine

Margaret Marquez, MD

Internal Medicine

Andrew Milklos, MD


Jennifer Ratcliffe, MD

Reproductive Endocrinology/Infertility


Optimizing private practice success

Published by the Cooperative of American Physicians (CAP), the new issue of Physician Today spotlights the critical role independent medical practices play in healthcare. This edition shares valuable resources addressing important practice management issues, the latest healthcare and employment laws, lessons in risk management, and much more.


To learn more about becoming a CAP member, please contact Dorine Leong at 650-543-2183 or Request an Instant Quote today to see how much you can save on medical malpractice coverage as a member of CAP.