Keeping You Connected

The LACMA keeps you up to date on the latest news,
policy developments, and events


Monday Rx: 149th Installation, Health Equity Council, Vaping Epidemic & More

Specify Alternate Text

A Tragic Fire, Resource and Help 

The Bobcat fire has grown to nearly 100,000 acres, making it one of the largest wildfires in Los Angeles County history. The blaze continued to threaten some desert communities as well as the Mt. Wilson Observatory in the San Gabriel Mountains on Sunday. 

The fire was no longer bearing down on foothill communities such as Arcadia and Monrovia to the south, but it continued to move into some remote areas in the Antelope Valley to the north, destroying homes and prompting numerous evacuations, officials said. 

Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency related to the extreme heat and wildfires across California that have destroyed structures, threatened homes and forced the evacuation of thousands of residents. As a result, health plans and insurers are taking action to ensure patients in the affected areas have continued access to care. 

Under law enacted in 2018, plans and insurers operating in counties affected by an official state of emergency must, within 48 hours of the emergency declaration, notify the California Department of Health Care Services about the actions the plan has taken or is in the process of taking to ensure that the health care needs of its enrollees are met. This may require payors to take actions, including but not limited to, the following: 

  • Relaxing time limits for prior authorization, precertification, or referrals. 

  • Extending filing deadlines for claims. 

  • Suspending prescription refill limitations and allow an impacted enrollee to refill his or her prescriptions at an out-of-network pharmacy. 

  • Authorizing the replacement of medical equipment or supplies. 

  • Allowing access to appropriate out-of-network provider if in-network providers are unavailable due to the state of emergency or if enrollees have been displaced by the emergency. 

  • Having a toll-free telephone number that affected enrollees can call for assistance. 

CMA has published a  guide to help patients navigate these services. This guide includes phone numbers to call if patients are having trouble refilling prescriptions, replacing medical supplies or obtaining access to care, as well as links with more information about other services each plan, or insurer is offering. If any members have been impacted by the fires, please reach out to me so we can help.   

Email Gustavo

A Historic President and Officers Installation 


The 149th President and Officers Virtual Installation will be this Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 6:15 pm.  This year’s event will be all virtual as Dr. Diana Shiba will be installed as president, Dr. Jeffrey Lee as president-elect, Dr. Omer Deen as treasurer and Dr. Jerry Abraham as secretary. 

Visit to join us for this unique event. 

Register Here

Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor!

Thank you to our Leading Sponsor!


New Health Equity Council Addresses Inequities in the Wake of COVID-19 


Black, Latino and Pacific Islander residents of Los Angeles County have twice the mortality rate from COVID-19 than do white residents, according to new data from the LA County Department of Public Health, a troubling sign of the role racism and inequity have played in the uneven spread of the novel coronavirus. For the first time since tracking has started, the age-adjusted death rate per 100,000 people among Latinos is now double that of Caucasians, according to data released Friday. 

The work of the new LACMA Health Equity Council will strive to promote the full health potential and well-being of every member of society, and advocating for equity and justice for all. The long-term plan for the council is to educate members and the broader community, and engage community organizations.  Members of the council include: Dr. Diana Shiba, Dr. Hector Flores, Dr. William King, Dr. C Freeman, Dr. Resa Caivano, Dr. Troy Elander, Dr. Jerry Abraham, Dr. Sion Roy and Dr. Valencia Walker.  As part of LACMA’s commitment to creating dialogue on critical topics, the “Race Against Time” zoom series will kick off in October as well.  If any member has ideas and/or suggestions on how LACMA can make a difference when it comes to health inequities or racial disparities, and other related topics, please reach out.

Email Gustavo

The Insidious Vaping Epidemic 

While the nation and the region grapple with COVID-19, hospitals are facing another challenge:  the number of cases involving vaping, particularly among young people.  Teenagers and young adults face a much higher risk of  COVID-19  than their peers who do not  vape, a new study has found.  Vaping  is linked to a substantially increased risk of  COVID-19  among teenagers and young adults, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.  This is why LACMA board member Robert Bitonte, MD, JD, has led an effort with Southwestern School of Law, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the Los Angeles County Bar Association to look at solutions that address the crisis from a legal and public health perspective.  Dr. Bitonte will also lead a webinar this fall on the subject.   



”Our legal externs here at LACMA ,Elizabeth Misirian and Erlinda Santiago RN, crafted some excellent resolutions to both organized medicine, and organized law to help address the vaping issue.The combined LACMA, LACBA, LA Department of Health webinar will be a first combining all 3 disciplines in a common health concern.”

-Dr. Robert Bitone 


Member Point of View 

Beginning this October, the Monday Rx will feature a “President's Corner” where our members can give unique perspective on issues facing the practice of medicine.  If you have any topics you would like to share, simply reach out to me.  We’d like to keep the column maximum to 500 words and provide links to our web site for expanded content as well.   


GME Webinar Series: Partners: A Two-Year Journey

Date: Thursday, September 24, 2020
Time: 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm

Register Here

Contracts 101 For Medical Practice Administrators

Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Time: 6:00 pm



"The speed of your success is limited only by your dedication and what you’re willing to sacrifice."

Gustavo Friederichsen
Chief Executive Officer
Los Angeles County Medical Association
“If it matters to our LACMA members, it matters to me.”