Tuesday, October 21, 2014

San Francisco Medical Society Blog


Providing news to the San Francisco Medical Community.

California Issues Report Cards for HMOs, PPOs and Large Medical Groups

The California Office of the Patient Advocate released the 2014-2015 “California Health Care Quality Report Cards” that rate health plans and medical groups on a four-star scale.

The report cards allow consumers to compare the quality of care that more than 16 million commercially insured consumers receive from the state’s 10 largest HMOs, 6 largest PPOs, and more than 200 medical groups. The data for the report cards is drawn from claims data and patient surveys for 2013.

Although the report cards are usually published annually in January, officials have changed the release date so it would coincide with the fall open enrollment period for many Californians and their families, including those purchasing coverage through Covered California, the state's health benefit exchange. Covered California's next open enrollment period runs from November 15 to February 15. The report cards are part of a larger national push to bring greater transparency to the health care industry and help consumers choose services that best fit their needs.

Click here to access the California Health Care Quality Report Cards.

Click here to view the report card for large medical groups in San Francisco.

SFMS, Community and Education Leaders Highlight Negative Health Effects of Soda and Sugary Beverages

Health, education, and community leaders met at the Chinatown YMCA to discuss Proposition E, San Francisco’s proposed soda tax.

Supervisor Eric Mar, one of the lead sponsors for Proposition E, expressed his concern for the growing Type 2 diabetes epidemic, with soda and sugary beverages as a leading cause. “I want to help people have a better understanding of why Proposition E is on the ballot, and why this is specifically about soda and sugary beverages,” said Supervisor Mar. “These drinks are having a disproportionately negative impact on public health,” he continued. “Mexico’s soda tax is working. Consumption of soda and sugary beverages is down 10% and people are making healthier choices.

SFMS was one of the earliest endorsers of Proposition E and has continued to support Yes on E. San Francisco Medical Society President Lawrence Cheung, MD has testified in favor of Proposition E at numerous hearings and community meetings, explaining how our bodies process liquid sugar differently. “The liquid sugar in these sodas and sugary beverages isn’t processed the same way by our bodies as foods,” he explained. “For Asians Americans, the risk for Type 2 diabetes is higher than the general population. We need both education and incentives for people to make healthier choices.” He continued, “Type 2 diabetes impacts every system in the body, and is a major health public health problem.

San Francisco Board of Education Commissioner Rachel Norton expressed how the revenue from Proposition E would benefit children. “Proposition E will bring more physical education to our schools, and help expand the new school lunch program that is getting healthier foods— that kids will eat—onto their plates, and so much more.

A tax of $0.02/oz on the distribution of soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages in San Francisco is estimated to generate up to $54 million annually, which will be legally dedicated to fund active recreation and nutrition programs in schools, parks, and recreation centers; food access initiatives, drinking fountain and water bottle filling stations; and dental health services.

Researchers at UCSF have been at the epicenter of the research linking sugary beverages with the diabetes epidemic and other health ailments, as well as the role of tax policy in reducing consumption. In addition to SFMS, many local organizations have endorsed Yes on E including the North East Medical Services, San Francisco Community Clinic Consortium, California Dental Hygienists’ Association, San Francisco Dental Hygienist Society, San Francisco Dental Society, San Francisco Board of Education, San Francisco PTA, United Educators of San Francisco, San Francisco Food Bank, Parents for Public Schools, and many more.

Click here for more information on the research and supports the soda tax.

Ebola Guidelines & Recommendations for EMS and 911 Call Center

The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management-EMS Agency is working closely with the Department of Public Health to monitor the Ebola outbreak situation in Africa and to develop the local response within San Francisco. It is important to remember that while Ebola is a contagious disease, transmission can be completely prevented by strict adherence to personal protective measures. Current local response goals are focused on providing information about the situation as it evolves, communicating personal protection measures and ensuring early identification and containment of any potential cases.


The 2014 Ebola outbreak is one of the largest in history. This outbreak first appeared in West Africa affecting the countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone (Although small numbers of cases occurred in Nigeria and Senegal, these countries do not have active spread of Ebola at this time). The first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S. was confirmed by the CDC on September 30 and occurred in a traveler from Liberia to Dallas, Texas who died. Two nurses who cared for the patient are now hospitalized with Ebola. As of the date of this post, there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in San Francisco. 

Ebola is a viral disease that initially causes non-specific symptoms like fever, chills, headaches, muscle ache, loss of strength and fatigue. As the disease progresses patients develop high fever, diarrhea, vomiting, rash and abdominal pain, along with decreased liver and kidney function. As the illness progresses, affected people may experience both internal and external bleeding.


Ebola is only infectious when the patient is symptomatic. Risk for transmission is associated with direct contact with blood or body fluids (urine, fecal material, saliva, perspiration, or aerosolized secretions) of an individual who is SICK with the disease. Individuals without symptoms cannot transmit the disease.

Click on the links to below to view recommendations and screening guidelines for EMS and 911 dispatch about the Ebola virus from SFMS member and DEM-EMS Agency Medical Director John Brown, MD.

Ebola Resource Center for Physicians and the Public

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the first U.S. case of Ebola in September, and developments associated with the virus continue to unfold. The American Medical Association (AMA) has set up a resource center with resources developed by Ebola experts for patients and physicians.

Click here to visit the AMA Ebola Resource Center for information from the CDC and other public health groups. Resources cover:

  • Understanding the virus
  • Preparing your hospital or practice
  • Screening and diagnosing Ebola
  • Treating patients with the virus

The San Francisco Department of Public Health have also issued a health advisory on October 3. Click here to view the SF-specific advisory for clinicians.

Yes on E: Soda Tax Press Conference October 16


Press conference will highlight negative health effects of sugary beverages as well as the public education programs to be funded to address these negative health effects.

WHO: Supervisor Eric Mar; Dr. Lawrence Cheung, President of the San Francisco Medical Society; Board of Education Commissioner Rachel Norton; along with health advocates, education advocates, and parents.

WHAT: Yes on E; press conference to discuss negative health effects of sugary beverages in the Chinese community and how San Francisco’s public schools will benefit from the Soda Tax.

WHEN: Thursday, October 16th at 1:00PM

WHERE: Chinatown YMCA Courtyard; 855 Sacramento Street San Francisco, CA 94108

San Francisco's Proposition E is a $.02 per ounce tax on sugary beverages. The campaign is addressing the epidemic of Type II diabetes directly linked to the consumption of sugary beverages. 40% of America's children will develop Type II diabetes if nothing is done to curb consumption of sugary beverages. The tax is estimated to reduce consumption up to 31% while simultaneously raise up to $54 million to fund nutrition and active recreation programs. Up to $21 million will directly benefit San Francisco’s public schools.

Both the San Francisco Medical Society and the California Medical Association have endorsed Yes on E.

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