Business / Economy

Panetta Meets with Local Physicians’ Group

Congressional candidate Jimmy Panetta meets with San Benito Medical Associates. The group's mission is to provide available, affordable, accessible healthcare to all county residents. SBMA serves Medi-Cal members in San Benito County.
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Congressional candidate Jimmy Panetta spoke at the annual meeting of San Benito Medical Associates (SBMA), stressing the importance of providing services back to the community and focusing on local needs. His speech focused on his commitment to service for San Benito County both in his past and in the future. He also noted his commitment to improvement in the ACA health care reform activities.

San Benito Medical Associates was founded to serve the medical needs of the local community and to support the local hospital, Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital. President Martin M. Bress, MD, reported on the successes of the medical group which has more than 80 participating physicians. These are independent physicians and not part of the hospital.

Bress noted that the group was now providing the only system of organized care for Medi-Cal members. More than 2,100 Medi-Cal enrollees have chosen SBMA as their provider and the goal for next year is to continue to increase awareness that the medical group is open for new members.

SBMA also brought in the CareMore Medicare Advantage plan into San Benito County. This is the first Medicare Advantage plan and enables local senior citizens to save hundreds of dollars every month by choosing that plan rather than a traditional senior medicare supplement. More than 250 people have signed up in the first six months of operation. Those beneficiaries who select the plan will be encouraged to use local physicians and hospitals.

San Benito Medical Association began implementation of a program to address both cost and quality issues among its PPO patients. In partnership with Anthem, the Enhanced Personal Care PPO encourages local members to take advantage of needed medical care opportunities. These include preventive health visits and encouraging the use of health care at the appropriate level rather than through emergency services.

SBMA also provided a sizable donation to the Hazel Hawkins Hospital Foundation to support the renovation of patients’ rooms at the hospital. In November 2016, SBMA will be honored as “Donor Organization of the Year.”

Following Panetta and Bress’ comments, election results were announced. Incumbent Board members, Martin M. Bress, MD, Daniel Y. Wang, MD and Ghulam Moheyuddin, MD were re-elected. Bress was elected president, M. Aslam Barra, MD, vice president, N. Parveen Sharma, MD, treasurer and Paul Percival, MD, secretary. Dr. N. Parveen Sharma, the author of this article, is an ophthalmologist and is the current vice-president of San Benito Medical Associates.

Dr. N.P. Sharma