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Monday RX | July 8, 2019 | A Tribute to Dr. Frank Meza

Monday RX | July 8, 2019 | A Tribute to Dr. Frank Meza

Tribute to Dr. Frank Meza

We send our condolences, thoughts, and prayers for a beloved physician, mentor, and innovator, Dr. Frank Meza who passed away last week. He touched many lives, inspired countless residents, students, current physicians, and families, and has left an indelible mark on medicine.  Dr. Meza will be missed.

To the Meza family and Kaiser, AltaMed, underserved communities, and the thousands of health professionals he mentored, we share your sorrow.


A Win for Big Gulps

Research published in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation, concluded that sugary beverages cause the deaths of 25,000 Americans each year through their contributions to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Globally, sugary drinks contribute to 180,000 deaths each year, with the highest death rate in Mexico. The U.S. ranked second. CMA, along with the California Dental Association is working on a possible measure for the 2020 statewide ballot that would tax soda to pay for programs to reduce obesity, diabetes and tooth decay caused by sugary products. You may recall that California took on the tobacco industry, challenged the NRA on firearms restrictions, and passed other legislation framed as breakthroughs in safeguarding public health.

But over the last two years, California health advocates have been unable to overcome the beverage industry’s clout as they pushed legislation to regulate sugary drinks and sodas.

Last Tuesday, a bill to place warning labels on sugary drinks was shelved, meaning that state lawmakers have rejected or shelved all five bills introduced this year to reduce consumption of sugary drinks. Beverage industry representatives reject claims their clout ruled the day in Sacramento. Instead, they say, lawmakers heard their arguments that the proposed legislation, including higher taxes, was an overreach and not supported by the public.

This year’s soda bills, which also would have banned the sale of “Big Gulp”-style drinks, were quashed by a campaign led by the American Beverage Assn., a group that includes Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Red Bull, and Dr. Pepper. The association spent $914,000 on lobbying during the last year, up from $380,000 the year before. Pepsi and Coke directly spent $283,000 on lobbying in the previous 12 months. The industry has also provided legislators with political contributions, expensive dinners, and tickets to movies and professional sporting events while targeting lawmakers in critical positions to affect soda bills.

All but one of the 15 members of the Assembly Health Committee accepted campaign contributions from the soda industry during the last two years. The industry provided $51,000 to committee members. The beverage association was joined in opposing the bills by the California Restaurant Assn., the California Grocers Assn., and the California Chamber of Commerce. More than half of adults in California are either pre-diabetic or diabetic and consuming one sugary drink every day doubles a child’s chance of cavities. But soda industry representatives said they have been selling more low- and no-sugar beverages, making up about half of all drinks consumed. They questioned singling out one product when many other kinds of food, including candy and pastries, also have sugar.


Help for Student Loan Debt

Physicians for a Healthy California (PHC) announced a commitment to pay off $58.6 million in student loans for 247 physicians under a new program created to expand access to care for Medi-Cal patients.

Nearly 1,300 health care providers applied to the CalHealthCares loan repayment program, which pays up to $300,000 in debt relief in exchange for meeting specific criteria such as maintaining a patient caseload of at least 30% Medi-Cal patients, being in good standing with state licensing boards and other service time obligations. The awards are intended to improve access to care for low-income patients by creating economic incentives for physicians and dentists to provide care to Medi-Cal beneficiaries. Awards for dental applicants will be announced later this summer.

“The overwhelming response we received shows that providers are eager to serve communities that need more access to care,” said PHC CEO Lupe Alonzo-Diaz. “We want to thank all of the awardees for their commitment to bring quality health care to medically underserved communities.”

The awardees will be providing services to Medi-Cal patients in 39 counties throughout California. They represent 40 specialty areas of medicine, including pediatrics, psychiatry, and OB/GYN. Additionally, the awardees vary in different practice settings, including academic, community clinic, or Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), government, group practice, hospital, and private practice. A total of $340 million has been allocated to the CalHealthCares program from Proposition 56 revenue. The recent announcement of awardees is the first of at least five rounds of funding.

In 2018, SB 849 established the Proposition 56 Medi-Cal Physicians and Dentists Loan Repayment Act Program and appropriated $220 million for the loan assistance program for recently graduated physicians and dentists. An additional $120 million was added to the program in Governor Newsom’s revised 2019-20 budget. The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) administers the CalHealthCares program, with PHC contracted to manage daily activities.

CalHealthCares will accept applications for its next round of awards in January 2020.

Learn how to qualify below:


Women Are the Future of Healthcare

With the historic World Cup victory by the women’s soccer team, it's fitting to shine a light on the huge impact women have on healthcare and LACMA. 2018 was the year LACMA had our first female African American president, Dr. C Freeman. Next year we will have our first Asian American female president in Dr. Diana Shiba.

Across the US, women are leading the industry. Boston-based Partners HealthCare named its first female CEO, Dr. Anne Klibanski, to lead a system that includes world-renowned Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The American Medical Association continues to place women in its office of the president, including Dr. Barbara McAneny, immediate past president, and Dr. Patrice Harris, the current president.


WestPac’s Financial Representative, Jonathan M. Barrera, will be hosting an informative and value-packed webinar on July 25th at 2 PM. Participants will receive insightful industry tips that will help you save in taxes for 2019 before it's too late.

You won't want to miss this! Register here:


District 10/District 14 Networking Mixer

We want to invite you to this powerhouse mixer! Join us and build engaging relationships with new and current members while enjoying a delectable dinner. Don't forget to bring your business cards!

July 25th | 6:30pm - 8:30pm | DoubleTree by Hilton

7320 Greenleaf Ave.

Whittier, CA 90602

RSVP via email:


Resident Fair Schedule

We would like to show appreciation and thank all the residents and fellows that stopped by our table at the recent resident fairs. Our last Resident Fair will be held at Cedars Sinai on August 1st. We hope to see you there! August 1st | 12:00pm - 1:30pm | Cedars Sinai 8700 Beverly Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90048




"Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results." – Andrew Carnegie   Gustavo Friederichsen Chief Executive Officer Los Angeles County Medical Association “If it matters to our LACMA members, it matters to me.”