May 5-7, 2017 | San Diego, CA

2017 Featured Presenters

Paul Begala

Paul Begala is a commentator for CNN, where he is part of the political team that has won both an Emmy Award and a Peabody Award. In the 2012 campaign, he was a senior adviser for the pro-Obama Super PAC, making Begala one of the few people to play a critical role in electing two different presidents.

After helping engineer Bill Clinton's presidential campaign with his partner, James Carville, Begala served as counselor to the President, one of Clinton's closest aides. Begala is an affiliated professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University. He has also taught at the University of Texas and the University of Georgia. Along with James Carville and GOP strategist Karl Rove, he was recently inducted into the American Association of Political Consultants' Hall of Fame.


Lanhee J. Chen, Ph.D.

Lanhee J. Chen, Ph.D. is the David and Diane Steffy Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution; Director of Domestic Policy Studies and Lecturer in the Public Policy Program at Stanford University; and an affiliate of Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. He is also a Counsel at the law firm of Arent Fox LLP. A veteran of several high-profile political campaigns, Chen has worked in government, the private sector, and academia.

Most recently, Chen was an adviser to Senator Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign. In 2012, he was the policy director for the Romney-Ryan presidential campaign, as well as Governor Mitt Romney’s chief policy adviser; a senior strategist on the campaign; and the person responsible for developing the campaign’s domestic and foreign policy.


Ira Flatow

Award-winning science correspondent and TV journalist Ira Flatow is the host of "Science Friday," heard weekly on PRI and podcast on iTunes, iOS, Android, etc. He anchors the show each Friday, bringing radio and internet listeners worldwide a lively, informative discussion on science, technology, health, space and the environment.

Mixing his passion for science with a tendency toward being “a bit of a ham,” Flatow describes his work as the challenge “to make science and technology a topic for discussion around the dinner table.” He has shared that enthusiasm with public radio listeners for more than 35 years. His most recent book is Present At The Future: From Evolution to Nanotechnology, Candid and Controversial Conversations On Science and Nature.


Hugh Hewitt

Hugh Hewitt is the host of "The Hugh Hewitt Show" on the Salem Radio Network, heard nationally every weekday morning. Hewitt is also an NBC News analyst, a professor of law at Chapman University Fowler School of Law in Orange County, CA, and a partner with the Los Angeles law firm of Larson O’Brien LLP.

His broadcast career began in 1990 on Los Angeles radio and on television in 1992 as host of the public affairs program "Life & Times Tonight," for which he received three Emmy Awards. Hewitt is the author of a dozen books on politics, public policy, religion and happiness, and prior to joining NBC in the spring of 2016, was a regular on all networks’ Sunday shows, including "Meet the Press," "Face the Nation," "This Week" and "State of the Union." He was a panelist in all four of the 2015-2016 CNN-Salem GOP presidential debates from the Reagan Library and in Las Vegas, Houston and Miami. He is now a regular contributor on all NBC and MSNBC news programs.

Sherry Huang, M.D.

Sherry Huang, M.D., is the Associate Dean of Graduate Medical Education at UC San Diego School of Medicine. She joined the UCSD Pediatrics Department in the Division of Gastroenterology in 2000 with a primary focus on translational research in pediatric colon cancer genetics and its pathogenesis. She remains active in the research arena, having become an important voice in the area of early risk colon cancer. She attends as a faculty physician in Pediatric GI at UC San Diego, at Rady Children’s Hospital and at the Naval Medical Center San Diego. She is also passionate about teaching and serves as mentors to many students, residents, fellows and junior faculty. Previous to her current assignment as Associate Dean, Dr. Huang served as the UCSD Pediatric Residency Program Director. In 2013, Dr. Huang was the recipient of the Rady Children’s Hospital Award for Excellence in Teaching. She has been selected by the community as a San Diego Magazine Best Doctors Award for Pediatric Gastroenterology for the past three years.

Dave Jones

Dave Jones was first elected as California Insurance Commissioner in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014. Jones leads the California Department of Insurance and regulates the California insurance market. Insurers collect $259 billion a year in premiums in California, making it the nation's largest insurance market.

Jones served in the California State Assembly from 2004 through 2010, where he chaired the Assembly Health Committee, the Assembly Judiciary Committee and the Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services. Named "Consumer Champion" by the California Consumer Federation, Capitol Weekly named Jones one of California's "most effective legislators." The American Psychiatric Association awarded Jones its prestigious Jacob K. Javits Public Service Award in 2015 for his work on mental health parity.

Mitchell Katz, M.D.

Mitchell Katz, M.D., is the director of the Los Angeles County Health Agency, a newly created agency that combines the Departments of Health Services (DHS), Public Health and Mental Health into a single entity so as to provide more integrated care and programming within Los Angeles. The Agency has a budget of $7 billion, 28,000 employees and a large number of community partners. For the past five years Dr. Katz served as the director of Los Angeles County DHS, the second-largest public safety net system in the United States. During this time, he created the ambulatory care network and empaneled over 350,000 patients to a primary care home. He eliminated the deficit of DHS through increased revenues and decreased administrative expenses, and used new Affordable Care Act funding to pay for a modern electronic health system, which has now been implemented in 90 percent of DHS clinical sites.

Wendy Sue Swanson, M.D.

As the Chief of Digital Innovation at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Wendy Sue Swanson, M.D., leverages the wisdom of clinicians, patients, and researchers to transform health care delivery in the digital age. She points the way to the future of medicine — a world where health care providers and patients use new technology to collaborate more closely and build deeper relationships than ever before. Dr. Swanson is a practicing pediatrician, a weekly TV reporter, Huffington Post blogger and active thought leader online.

Dr. Swanson is currently piloting two innovative healthcare technologies at Seattle Children’s in addition to using social and traditional media in health care. Her online presence on her blog alone has touched the lives of 2 million people who would have been beyond her reach without social media and the Internet. She uses Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and various other platforms to educate and improve public health.

Abraham Verghese, M.D., MACP

Abraham Verghese, M.D., MACP, is Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor and Vice Chair for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at the School of Medicine at Stanford University. He is also a critically acclaimed, best-selling author and a physician with an international reputation for his focus on healing in an era where technology often overwhelms the human side of medicine.

Today, as a popular invited speaker, he has more forums than his writing to expound on his views on patient care. He talks nationally and internationally on the subject, in addition to talks and readings from his books. He has also led the effort at the Stanford School of Medicine to establish the Stanford 25, where residents and students are taught techniques and skills to recognize the basic phenotypic expressions of disease that manifest as abnormal physical signs. 

2017 Breakout Session Presenters

Nancy Babbitt, FACMPE

Nancy Babbitt began her career in health care in Texas, working in physician billing. She then moved to Atlanta, working first for an independent vascular surgery group, and then the Roswell Pediatric Center, where she spent the next 22 years. One particular area of Babbitt's expertise includes the successful implementation of electronic health records and other information technology initiatives. During her tenure, the Roswell Pediatric Center won the coveted 2003 Davies Award of Excellence from the Healthcare Information Management Society. In 2015, she joined forces with her long-time colleagues to found Vision to Value (V2V) practice management consultants.

Irv Barnett, MBA, CMPE

Irv Barnett’s 40-year career in health care spans a vast array of roles, in managerial positions in hospitals and medical groups. He has also managed practice mergers in orthopedics, urology and primary care, providing the initial plan and daily on-site support to ensure a smooth transition. Barnett also developed and administered the UC Davis academic specialty clinic network, in the newly acquired Sacramento medical center. He regularly applies his expertise helping both independent and hospital-based physicians to optimize their relationships with local health systems. In 2015, he joined forces with his long-time colleagues to found V2V practice management consultants.

Richard Barton, J.D.

A partner at Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP, Richard Barton has represented health care providers and health systems for more than 30 years. His consulting and litigation practice focuses on health systems, hospitals, health associations, physician groups and individual health care providers. He is experienced in assisting provider organizations with their quality oversight compliance obligations and governance. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law for the University of San Diego School of Law, teaching health law and policy.


Brian Clay, M.D.

Brian Clay, M.D., coordinates and participates in numerous quality improvement projects, including projects related to medication reconciliation, hospital discharge processes, resident handoffs, clinical decision support and physician documentation in the electronic medical record. Dr. Clay was named the Chief Medical Information Officer for UC San Diego in 2012. He also currently serves as one of the associate program directors for the Internal Medicine Residency Training Program, and is a member of the IT Leadership and Education Committee for the Society of Hospital Medicine.

Thomas Coleman, M.D.

Dr. Tom Coleman has more than 25 years of diverse experience as a physician, public health officer, executive and epidemiologist. In his current position, he is responsible for the management and administration of public health programs that improve the health of mothers, children and adolescents, with oversight of more than 200 employees and a greater than $30 million budget. In conjunction with his role to provide overall direction for the Chronic Disease and Health Equity Unit, he serves as the Program Director of the State and Local Public Health Actions to Prevent Obesity, Diabetes, and Heart Disease and Stroke grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

Dustin Corcoran, MBA

Dustin Corcoran is Chief Executive Officer for the California Medical Association (CMA), a non-profit professional organization of over 43,000 physicians dedicated to protecting public health and promoting the science and art of medicine. As CEO, Corcoran has the responsibility for the overall supervision, direction and control of the business and staff of CMA. He has advocated tirelessly for California physicians and the patients that they serve since 1998, in roles including membership coordinator for the association's political action committee, staff lobbyist, Vice President of Government Relations and Senior Vice President, before becoming CEO in 2010.

Tom Curtis, Esq.

Tom Curtis is chair of Nossaman's Healthcare Practice Group. With more than 40 years of experience, Curtis represents clients in the health care sector on a wide range of issues including medical staff peer review proceedings, licensing proceedings, writ proceedings, state and federal court civil litigation, and related appellate proceedings. Curtis represents hospitals, health systems, health plans, medical staffs, medical groups and other health care providers on regulatory and compliance issues and the development of long-range plans.


Long Do, Esq.

As its Legal Counsel and Director of Litigation, Long Do manages CMA's activities in the courts and regulatory agencies at the state and federal levels. He works with outside counsel, physician members and other stakeholders to plan and litigate cases that impact physician interests. Do has served as the lead attorney for CMA in numerous legal matters, including CMA v. Department of Managed Health Care; CMA and California Society of Anesthesiologists v. Schwarzenegger; CMA v. Brown; and CMA and California Academy of Eye Physicians & Surgeons v. Board of Optometry.

Mark Drobny, J.D.

Mark Drobny is a California State Bar certified specialist in estate planning, trust and probate Law. He is a recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award in Estate Planning and is a member of the California State Bar, American Bar Association and Sacramento County Bar. Drobny has been a member of The Sacramento Estate Planning Council since 1982, was the founding editor of their monthly newsletter, a member of their Board of Directors for eight years, and President in 1992 and 1993. He has practiced law for over 35 years, and founded Drobny Law Offices, Inc., in 1989.

C. Freeman, M.D., MBA

As chief psychiatrist at OASIS Clinic, C. Freeman, M.D., MBA, provides mental health services including evaluation, treatment, and care coordination at this community-based clinical and research center that provides HIV care to underserved populations, primarily African-American and Latinos. Dedicated to her profession as a physician, Dr. Freeman acknowledges her role as an educator, her responsibility as a mentor, and her duty as a provider to administer culturally competent care. Her commitment is to creating healthier lives through delivering health care of the highest quality and providing mental health education to the community.

David Ginsberg

David Ginsberg has more than 30 years of experience in the health care industry, with emphasis in physician practice management and problem resolution, electronic health records, managed care, revenue cycles and more. Before joining QVHS, he co-founded and continues to serve as president of PrivaPlan Associates, Inc., a leading provider of HIPAA privacy, security and breach notification services, consulting and products for the health care and business associate industry. He also previously served as Executive Director of the Colorado Physician Network, a statewide group of 2,500 physicians that provided a physician-managed collaboration with a regional HMO, and as Vice President of Intellectron/Medcobill, a large regional physician practice management and billing company that provided services to over 1,000 California physicians.

Catherine Hanson, J.D.

Considered one of the nation’s premier experts in health care law, Catherine Hanson, J.D., has provided advice and counsel to physicians, medical associations and other health care-related organizations throughout her 30-year career. Prior to joining QVHS, Hanson spent 21 years as CMA Vice President of Legal Affairs, where she launched the annual California Physician's Legal Handbook, the state's premier health law publication. After her tenure at CMA, she served as vice president of the American Medical Association’s (AMA) state and private sector advocacy unit. Hanson is a past president of the California Society for Health Care Attorneys, a past president of the American Society of Medical Association Counsel, and a member of the American Health Lawyers Association, the American Bar Association Health Law Section and the American Association of Medical Society Executives.

James T. Hay, M.D.

James T. Hay, M.D., is a family physician practicing full time in Encinitas, where he founded North Coast Family Medical Group in 1978. He was Chief of Staff at Scripps Hospital, Encinitas in 1985 and 1986, as well as the President of the San Diego County Medical Society in 2001. He was on the CMA Board of Trustees for many years and was elected Vice Speaker of the House of Delegates in 2002, Speaker in 2006 and President in 2011. He is also a past president of the San Diego County Medical Society Foundation and the “Champion” of its Project Access, a program to connect volunteer physicians to patients who need their care.

Paul Hegyi, MBA

Paul Hegyi, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego County Medical Society (SDCMS), the professional association for physicians in San Diego County. Founded in 1870, SDCMS currently counts approximately 5,455 physicians and medical students within the county as members. He joined SDCMS after five and a half years with CMA, where he served in the roles of lobbyist, vice president of political and external affairs, and vice president of membership, marketing and communications. During his tenure, CMA reversed a 20-year trend of declining membership, posting a 15 percent membership growth and the largest total membership in the history of the association.

Robert Hertzka, M.D.

Robert Hertzka, M.D., started the first course in the country on medicine and politics at UC San Diego 28 years ago. Over the years, Dr. Hertzka's passion for political education evolved into several leadership roles within organized medicine – having served as CMA president, president of the San Diego County Medical Society (SDCMS) and chair of AMA’s political action committee. Those leadership roles gave him more insight and expertise about the political process, and in turn, the students benefit from his personal experience at the local, state and national levels. Helping the next generation of physicians understand the importance of protecting the future of their profession through political and grassroots advocacy is something he takes very seriously.

Jerry Hizon, M.D.

Jerry Hizon, M.D., is a primary care sports doctor who is board certified in Family Practice with a subspecialty in Sports Medicine through the American Board of Family Practice. Though his new state-of-the-art iPad-navigated medical office, he strives to deliver the finest medical services. For the last 14 years he has been one of the team physicians for the San Diego Chargers of the NFL®. Currently he is on the Board of Governors for Temecula Valley Hospital. Dr. Hizon has also been involved with the new University of Riverside School of Medicine.


Jason Kinney

Jason Kinney provides California Strategies' clients with issues management, crisis communications, messaging and media relations expertise, designing campaigns that have earned him the distinction as one of California's premier problem-solvers. His clients have included elected leaders, political coalitions, business associations and non-profits such as the California Medical Association, Dignity Health, the Auto Club Speedway, the Think Long Committee of California and AT&T. In his more than two decades of politics, Kinney has developed core expertise in issues management, helping to win more than 30 political and public affairs campaigns. He most recently served as lead strategist for the Gavin Newsom for Lieutenant Governor campaign.

Lance R. Lewis, MBA

As CMA's Chief Operating Officer, Lance R. Lewis, MBA, has direct responsibility for CMA’s administrative and operational support centers. With more than 20 years of experience, Lewis has distinguished himself as a chief executive with expertise in strategy execution and cultivator of talent, systems, and processes that support a high performance culture. During his tenure as Chief Operating Officer, Lewis has transformed the budgeting process from a traditional method to an activity-based costing model, orchestrated the sale of a subsidiary creating a perpetual endowment for CMA, restructured/eliminated long-term debt, and executed a new interoperable Association Management System.

Emily Mannix

Emily Mannix is a first-year medical student at UC San Diego School of Medicine and an active participant in CMA’s Medical Student Section, where she serves as the delegate for the UC San Diego School of Medicine, as well as a delegate to AMA’s Medical Student Section. She is passionate about the opportunities and support that CMA provides, including lobbying trips to Sacramento and Washington, D.C., and chances to collaborate with other medical students and physicians who share her interest in health policy.


Nuriel Moghavem

Nuriel Moghavem is a graduating medical student at Stanford School of Medicine. He will begin a residency program in neurology at Stanford after finishing his medicine internship at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose. Nuriel currently serves on the CMA Board of Trustees and is the author of the California health policy newsletter "Informed Consent." From 2015-2016, he worked as a legislative assistant to Assemblymember Richard S. Gordon, representing parts of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. He has published research on health quality in The Journal of Neurosurgery and Medical Care, bioethics writing in The American Journal of Bioethics, and opinion columns in California news outlets.

Donald Moulds, Ph.D.

Donald Moulds, Ph.D., is executive vice president for programs at The Commonwealth Fund. Prior to joining the Fund, Moulds was Acting Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where he served as principal policy advisor to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. In that capacity, he oversaw an office responsible for policy development and coordination, strategic planning, research, evaluation, and economic analysis. Moulds also led the development of the National Strategy to End Alzheimer’s Disease. Prior to becoming Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, he served as vice president for CMA's Center for Medical and Regulatory Policy.

Meghana Pagadala

Meghana Pagadala is a first-year medical student at UC San Diego School of Medicine and serves as a delegate for both the CMA and AMA medical student sections. She additionally serves on the SDCMS Board of Directors as the Medical Student Delegate. She is passionate about working with other students and physicians through lobbying trips to Sacramento; organizing health policy lectures; and inspiring more student involvement in CMA, AMA and SDCMS.


Rakesh Patel, M.D.

Rakesh Patel, M.D., is a family physician and serves as the Medical Director of Operations at Neighborhood Healthcare, a Federally Qualified Community Health Center serving about 70,000 of the underserved and medically needy. He also currently works for Sharp Health Plan as a physician reviewer. He serves as a CMA delegate representing the Medium Size Group Practice Forum, while also being a Volunteer Clinical Instructor for the UCSD Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. Dr. Patel completed his family practice residency at Scripps Chula Vista and is currently completing his MBA at the Isenberg School of Management.

Debra Phairas

Debra Phairas is president of Practice & Liability Consultants, LLC, a nationally recognized firm specializing in practice management and malpractice prevention. Her background includes medical clinic administration and loss prevention management for NORCAL Mutual, a physician malpractice insurance carrier in Northern California. Her consulting experience includes over 1,800 practices of all sizes and specialties. Typical engagements include: practice start-ups, practice assessments, mergers, financial analysis, revenue enhancement, overhead reduction, personnel management, over 400 practice valuations, expert witness, partnership issues and recruitment support for hospitals and physician groups.

Laura Braden Quigley

Laura Braden Quigley serves as CMA’s vice president of communications. Prior, she was senior director of communications for the Sacramento Kings NBA team, where she managed public relations/strategic communications for business operations, including Golden 1 Center and Downtown Commons. From 2011-14, she owned Braden Strategies, LLC, a public relations, social media and public affairs firm representing technology, economic development, infrastructure, political and startup clients. Before that, she served in strategic communications roles for Mercury Public Affairs, then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Senator John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign and the Washington, D.C.-based public affairs firm DCI Group.

Michael Rakotz, M.D.

Michael Rakotz, M.D., currently serves as AMA Vice President of Chronic Disease Prevention, where he oversees efforts to develop and implement national quality improvement initiatives aimed at improving blood pressure control and preventing type 2 diabetes. He is also AMA’s clinical lead of Target: BP® – a nationwide, multi-year collaboration with the American Heart Association to reduce the number of American adults living with uncontrolled hypertension. A practicing family physician for more than 20 years, Dr. Rakotz recently served as the Director of Population Health and Virtual Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group in Chicago.

Susan Reynolds, M.D., Ph.D.

Susan Reynolds, M.D., Ph.D. is president and CEO of The Institute for Medical Leadership, which for over 15 years has been conducting organizational assessments, physician leadership development programs, executive and physician coaching, and strategic transformation retreats for numerous hospitals and health care systems, academic medical centers, medical groups, and medical associations throughout the United States. A former emergency physician, emergency medical center CEO, White House health care advisor and chief medical officer, Dr. Reynolds is the author of Prescription for Lasting Success: Leadership Strategies to Diagnose Problems and Transform Your Organization.

Michael Sexton, M.D.

Michael Sexton, M.D., brings his 40 years of experience as a physician practicing accountable care and leadership at the state and national levels to lead QVH Systems. His experience working as an emergency physician in the Kaiser Permanente health care system provided him with a deep understanding of what it takes to successfully practice medicine in the accountable care environment, including the skills and behaviors that lead to successful cross-specialty coordinated care. His long service on CMA’s Executive Committee, culminating in his presidency, and on AMA’s Council on Legislation, culminating in his service as chair, have positioned Dr. Sexton as one of the leading experts in health care delivery and regulation, and evolving trends affecting medicine in the United States.

Tracy Spears

Tracy Spears has coached thousands of professionals through conferences, webinars, broadcasts and videos. Her energetic and interactive approach has helped leaders and aspiring leaders all over the world to improve their leadership skills, their communication and their understanding of how people and organizations succeed. She is the coauthor of What Exceptional Leaders Know, the best-selling book for progressive leaders everywhere, and co-founder of the Exceptional Leaders Lab, a worldwide community of progressive business leaders focused on making a positive difference in their organizations.

Tanya Spirtos, M.D.

Tanya Spirtos, M.D., Vice-Speaker of the California Medical Association’s (CMA) House of Delegates, is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist practicing in Redwood City. Her medium-sized group of physicians recently affiliated with Stanford Healthcare and she continues to practice gynecology only at both Sequoia Hospital and El Camino Hospital. She was a member of the Board of Trustees of Sequoia Hospital Systems from 2003-07 and served on the Community Board of Directors of Sequoia Hospital from 2007-15. She has also been an adjunct clinical faculty of Stanford University Medical School since 1995, with an academic appointment as adjunct clinical assistant professor from 2006-14. Since 2010 she has served at the Arbor Free Clinic and has been recognized for exemplary contributions in teaching.

Michelle Wier, MBA, CMPE

Michelle Wier, MBA, CMPE, has spent her entire career in the health care industry, holding executive leadership roles spanning primary and multi-specialty practices. She also has experience working in ambulatory surgery centers, dialysis, home health and clinical research facilities, as well as implementing successful turn-around strategies for hospital-owned physician networks. Wier is a seasoned health care management advisor, first discovering her passion for consulting in 2004. She founded Wier Management Solutions in 2013, and transformed the organization into V2V Management Consultants in 2015 by collaborating with the three other founding partners.

Debra Wiggs, FACMPE

When Debra Wiggs, FACMPE, began her health care career in the late '70s, she served as a medical assistant for a small family practice. Later, she transitioned to practice administration, helped establish a 45-plus physician independent family practice, then moved into administering a public hospital district. Throughout her career, Wiggs has played to her strengths as an agent of change, working in primary care as well as specialty clinics, hospital-owned practice networks and independent practices. In 2015, she joined forces with long-time colleagues to found V2V practice management consultants.

Mitzi Young

Mitzi Young is a physician advocate, serving in CMA's Center for Economic Services and for the Riverside County Medical Association and the San Bernardino County Medical Society. Young has 25 years of experience and expertise in the health care industry, including working with a third-party administrator as a claim and eligibility processor for San Bernardino county hospital’s medically indigent adult program. She went on to further her education and worked as operations and business manager for a specialty practices and for an ambulatory surgery center. Young has a vast knowledge of medical billing and collections, contracting, accreditation, and personnel and business management. She understands the needs of physicians and their staff, the challenges that face medical practices, and is very passionate about advocating on behalf of providers on succeeding in the ever-changing challenges of the healthcare landscape.