Gasline Newsletter February 2009

Volume 10, No. 9

Update on Balance Billing

The law firm representing the CSA, CMA and other co-plaintiffs in our lawsuit seeking that the DMHC regulation defining balance billing as an “unfair billing pattern” be set aside has informed us that the decision of the Superior Court in Sacramento in this matter will not be appealed. The unanimous decision by the Supreme Court of California overturning the appellate court decision (which had upheld the legality of balance billing) in the Prospect case renders a successful appeal both unlikely, and perhaps moot. Having lost two judicial tests concerning the legitimacy of balance billing in the last four months despite solid legal arguments, CSA and CMA are now focusing their efforts on a legislative solution to achieve fair payment for emergency services to non-contracted HMO patients.

CSA Annual Meeting & Clinical Anesthesia Update

Monterey is calling! The 2009 Annual Meeting and Clinical Anesthesia Update May 15-17 will be in beautiful Monterey, home of the most stunning coastline in the state, the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, golf, shopping, and so much more. The meeting will be at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Resort & Spa on the Del Monte Golf Course.

The educational program features lectures on such timely topics as Acute Pain Management, Regional Anesthesia, Pediatric Anesthesiology, Neuroanesthesia, and more. Dr. Myer (Mike) Rosenthal from Stanford will deliver the annual Leffingwell lecture, and R. Lawrence Sullivan, Jr., M.D. will be awarded CSA's Distinguished Service Award. In addition to the three-day lecture program, there will be an optional Hands-On Ultrasound Workshop at the meeting.

CMA Legislative Day

The California Medical Association is holding its annual legislative day on Tuesday, April 14, at the Sacramento Convention Center. The CSA will cosponsor the event and have a table reserved for members. CSA members who wish to sit with the delegation (not your county medical society) will be reimbursed for air fare or mileage costs. Please contact Barbara Baldwin at if you plan to attend.

In order to receive the conference materials in advance, RSVP to

Director and Delegate Elections

An election for district director is currently underway in District 2, and contested elections for delegates are taking place in Districts 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13 and 14. I want to sincerely thank all the candidates who have offered to serve our society. I ask all members to please take the few seconds necessary to exercise your right to representative government of our society.

CSA Web Site “Members Only” Login

In an effort to make it easier to remember your password, the log-in requirements have been changed. Passwords are no longer “case sensitive.”

Call for Submission of Resolutions for House of Delegates

Any CSA member may submit a resolution to the House of Delegates (your elected representatives) on any issue that he or she deems important. A resolution is a proposal that the CSA undertake an activity related to a current issue of concern to anesthesiologists. For example, a resolution might recommend that the CSA develop a guide on issues that should be addressed when contracting with a billing service. For assistance in formulating a resolution, please contact Johnathan L. Pregler, M.D., Speaker of the House of Delegates. The deadline for submissions is March 15, 2009.

The House of Delegates will meet on Saturday, May 16, as part of the CSA Annual Meeting at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Resort & Spa, Monterey, California. For more information, contact the CSA office at 650-345-3020, 800-345-3691, or fax 650-345-3269.

12th Annual California Health Care Leadership Academy

The CMA's 12th Annual California Health Care Leadership Academy will be held the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim on April 24-26, 2009. The conference is a perennially outstanding opportunity to learn about a broad variety of health care issues in California. For details, please see the information below.


Please remember the critical importance of donations to GASPAC, CSA's political action committee for candidates for California office. With national healthcare reform on the way, we need our voice to be heard! GASPAC is an easy way for our members to become involved in the political process, and it deserves our support. Every person reading this can easily afford to contribute $200 to this fund. Speaking from personal experience, I know the exercise of opening one's wallet for political contributions can be painful the first time around. Like most California anesthesiologists, I thought that the general appeals for political contributions somehow just didn't apply to me. After becoming more involved with the CSA, I realized the true importance of these contributions. Like any exercise, opening the wallet becomes less painful with each repetition. Collectively, we can have a meaningful influence on our state and federal legislatures.

CMA Seeks Participation in Survey

The CSA is working with the California Medical Association to reach out to all physicians for critical input which will help them better serve all physicians, from legislative advocacy to reimbursement issues to education regarding the federal stimulus package. Please take a few minutes to complete the following online survey. You need not be a member of the CMA to respond to several of the questions that apply to members and non members.

The survey will be live through Sunday, March 1st and can be accessed at

New Survey on the CSA Home Page

A new survey has been posted on the CSA Home Page at in the right bottom corner. Please go to the survey and vote. Don’t forget to check the results!

Michael W. Champeau, M.D., President


California Medical Association, the CMA Foundation and
California Medical Group Management Association present the

12th Annual California Health Care Leadership Academy

Charting a New Era: Seizing the Opportunities
April 24-26, 2009
Disneyland Hotel
Anaheim, California

Information and tools you need to survive and thrive!

Health System Reform in a New Political Landscape
What the Economic Meltdown Means for Health Care
The Medical Home and New Models for Health Care Quality
Institutional EHR Initiatives: In Whose Interest?
Patients, the Internet and Physicians: A New Partnership
Health Disparities in America: Medical Apartheid?
Plus—expanded slate of workshops for physicians and practice managers including:

Surviving and Thriving: Business Financial Planning in a Turbulent Economy
Personal Financial Planning in a Turbulent Economy
Surviving Out of Network
Medicare Update: What's Happening, What's Next
Recruiting, Training and Evaluating Qualified Medical Office Staff
Physician Leadership Workshops
How to Manage Medicare
Labor Law and Medical Practice: How to Avoid Liability as an Employer
Physicians as Public Health Champions: Policy and Media Advocacy
Physicians and Physician Assistants: A Team Approach to Quality Care
Malpractice Risk: How Not to Get Sued—and What to Do If You Are
Integrative Medicine and Optimal Healing Environments
For more information and to register, log onto
or call 1-800-795-2262

CONTINUING MEDICAL EDUCATION: The California Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council on Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The California Medical Association designates this educational activity for a maximum of 17.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. This credit may also be applied to the CMA Certification in Continuing Medical Education.


The CSA Gasline, a monthly newsletter, is sent as a member service to CSA members who have e-mail addresses. If you wish to be removed from the mailing list, please send an e-mail to with the message “unsubscribe.”

The CSA Gasline, a monthly newsletter, is sent as a member service to CSA members who have e-mail addresses. If you wish to be removed from the mailing list, please send an e-mail to with the message “unsubscribe.”