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Top Doctors


Posted on November 20, 2007

Roy Wilcox

This past summer, Sacramento magazine asked more than 3,000 area physicians the question: “If you or a loved one needed to see a physician in the following specialties, whom would you choose?” • In this anonymous and confidential survey, physicians were asked to name doctors who they feel are outstanding (based on their professional skill, knowledge and patient relations) in 40 specialties ranging from allergy to vascular surgery. Only original surveys were counted—no faxes, no photocopies. • We’ve tallied the votes and now are pleased to reveal the list of doctors named “the best” in their fields by fellow physicians, along with the names of physicians who also garnered high numbers of votes in those fields. High-ranked physicians represent all four large hospital groups in the region: Kaiser Permanente, Mercy Healthcare, Sutter Health and University of California, Davis Medical Center. • Check out the list, along with interviews with nine of the top docs, tips on finding Dr. Right and ideas for making the most of your first visit with a new doctor.

Note: Information in listings is subject to change.
 

ALLERGY

Bradley E. Chipps, M.D.
Capital Allergy & Respiratory Disease Center
5609 J St., Suite C
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 453-8696

Other leading physicians:

M. Eric Gershwin, M.D.
Lawrence J. Ellison Ambulatory Care Center
UC Davis Medical Center
4860 Y St., Suite 0400
Sacramento, CA 95817
(916) 734-2737

Christopher Jakle, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Stephen M. Nagy Jr., M.D.
Midtown Allergy Clinic
4801 J St., Suite A
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 456-4782

Bruce T. Ryhal, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
1600 Eureka Road
Roseville, CA 95661
(916) 784-4000

Arif Seyal, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
10725 International Drive
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
(916) 631-3000

Mark J. Zlotlow, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
1600 Eureka Road
Roseville, CA 95661
(916) 784-4000



ANESTHESIOLOGY

Gail Pirie, M.D. (tie)
Sacramento Anesthesiology Medical Group
3939 J St., Suite 310
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 733-6990

Joel B. Weber, M.D. (tie)
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Other leading physicians:

Jeffrey Anderson, M.D.
Folsom Anesthesia Medical Group
1650 Creekside Drive
Folsom, CA 95630
(916) 983-7490

Diana Coleman, M.D.
CASE Medical Group
3315 Watt Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95821
(916) 481-2525

David L. Estep, M.D.
CASE Medical Group
3315 Watt Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95821
(916) 481-2525

Brian Jones, M.D.
CASE Medical Group
3315 Watt Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95821
(916) 481-2525

David J. Ruderman, M.D.
Sacramento Anesthesiology Medical Group
3939 J St., Suite 310
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 733-6990

David Wolf, M.D.
Mercy San Juan Medical Center
6501 Coyle Ave.
Carmichael, CA 95608
(916) 966-6544



BARIATRIC MEDICINE

Thomas W. Hopkins, M.D.
2025 P St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 446-4449

Other leading physicians:

Mohamed R. Ali, M.D.
Cypress Building
UC Davis Medical Center
2221 Stockton Blvd., Suite E
Sacramento, CA 95817
(916) 734-2680

Laura Machado, M.D.
Sacramento Bariatrics
5769 Greenback Lane, Suite 1
Sacramento, CA 95841
(916) 338-7200

Stephen C. Patching, M.D.
800 Howe Ave., Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 568-5564


CARDIOLOGY

Reginald I. Low, M.D.
Regional Cardiology Associates
3941 J St., Suite 260
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 736-2323
Other leading physicians:

Scott B. Baron, M.D.
Capitol Interventional Cardiology
6347 Coyle Ave.
Carmichael, CA 95608
(916) 967-4278

James Joye, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000

Harvey J. Matlof, M.D.
Northern California Cardiology Associates
5301 F St., Suite 117
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 733-1788

Steven D. Rose, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Ray Rozema, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Patricia A. Takeda, M.D.
Regional Cardiology Associates
3941 J St., Suite 260
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 736-2323



CARDIOTHORACIC SURGERY

Michael T. Ingram Sr., M.D.
Sacramento Cardiovascular Surgeons
5301 F St., Suite 111
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 452-8291

Other leading physicians:

Allen Morris, M.D.
Cardiac Surgery West Medical Corporation
3941 J St., Suite 270
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 733-6850

Frank Slachman, M.D.
Cardiac Surgery West Medical Corporation
3941 J St., Suite 270
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 733-6850

J. Nilas Young, M.D.
Cypress Building
UC Davis Medical Center
2221 Stockton Blvd., Suite 2112
Sacramento, CA 95817
(916) 734-2680



COLON/RECTAL SURGERY

John P. Roe, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Other leading physicians:

James O. Myers, M.D.
Sacramento Colon & Rectal Surgeons
6450 Coyle Ave., Suite 2
Carmichael, CA 95608
(916) 966-6121

J. Peter Zegarra, M.D.
Sacramento Colon & Rectal Surgery Medical Group
1020 29th St., Suite 350
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 231-1050



CRITICAL CARE

Gregory P. Marelich, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Other leading physicians:

Jeffry H. Jones, M.D.
500 University Ave., Suite 260
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 925-2096

Peter Murphy, M.D.
Pulmonary Medicine Associates
6660 Coyle Ave., Suite 350
Carmichael, CA 95608
(916) 482-7621

Michael S. Myette, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000

Richard R. Stack, M.D.
Pulmonary Medicine Associates
6660 Coyle Ave., Suite 350
Carmichael, CA 95608
(916) 482-7621

Alan R. Yee, M.D.
Pulmonary Medicine Associates
77 Cadillac Drive, Suite 210
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 325-1040



DERMATOLOGY

Emil A. Tanghetti, M.D.
5601 J St.
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 454-5922

Other leading physicians:

Thomas A. Giustina, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Jan Okimoto, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
10725 International Drive
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
(916) 631-3000

Marc A. Silverstein, M.D.
1 Scripps Drive, Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 920-0871



EATING DISORDERS

Ann Gerhardt, M.D.
5025 J St., Suite 203
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 457-3466

Other leading physician:

Karen D. Camfield, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2155 Iron Point Road
Folsom, CA 95630
(916) 817-5000



EMERGENCY MEDICINE

Bruce Gordon, M.D.
Sutter Memorial Hospital
5151 F St.
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 454-3333

Other leading physicians:

David A. Berman, D.O.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 973-5000

Nathan Kupperman, M.D.
Patient Support Services Building
UC Davis Medical Center
4150 V St., Suite 2100
Sacramento, CA 95817
(916) 734-1535

Jerry Oliaro, M.D.
Emergency Physicians Medical Group
3300 Douglas Blvd., Suite 405
Roseville, CA 95661
(916) 782-5705

John (Jack) D. Wood, D.O.
Emergency Physicians Medical Group
3300 Douglas Blvd., Suite 405
Roseville, CA 95661
(916) 782-5705



FAMILY PRACTICE

Marion Leff, M.D.
Sutter Medical Group
1201 Alhambra Blvd., Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 451-4400

Other leading physicians:

Sabra P. Granovsky, M.D.
Sutter Medical Group
1201 Alhambra Blvd., Suite 230
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 739-1007

Christopher Price, M.D.
5030 J St., Suite 201
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 455-1155

Patricia Samuelson, M.D.
Mercy Clinic Norwood
3911 Norwood Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95838
(916) 929-8575

Ron Sockolov, M.D.
1 Scripps Drive, Suite 202
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 927-1114

Don Yokoyama, M.D.
3160 Folsom Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 733-3440



FERTILITY

Curt Klooster, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
1600 Eureka Road
Roseville, CA 95661
(916) 784-4000

Other leading physician:

John Gililland, M.D.
Northern California Fertility Medical Center
1130 Conroy Lane, Suite 100
Roseville, CA 95661
(916) 773-2229



GASTROENTEROLOGY

David Arenson, M.D.
Sacramento Gastroenterology Medical Group
3941 J St., Suite 450
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 454-0655

Other leading physicians:

Theodor Feinstat, M.D.
Capitol Gastroenterology Consultants
4 Medical Plaza Drive, Suite 205
Roseville, CA 95661
(916) 773-6200

Gautam N. Gandhi, M.D.
Sacramento Gastroenterology Medical Group
3941 J St., Suite 450
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 454-0655

Ralph E. Koldinger, M.D.
Sacramento Gastroenterology Medical Group
3941 J St., Suite 450
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 454-0655

Michael Lawson, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000

Mary Pat Pauly, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000



GENERAL SURGERY

Christian A. Swanson, M.D.
Mercy Medical Group
3160 Folsom Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 733-3314

Other leading physicians:

Michael Aguilar, M.D.
79 Scripps Drive, Suite 202
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 923-3100

Ryan Cox, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Jeffrey DuBois, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000

Gregory M. Graves, M.D.
Sutter Cancer Center
2800 L St., Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 454-6900

Scott Gylling, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000

Stephen C. Patching, M.D.
800 Howe Ave., Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 568-5564

Carlos Perez, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000



GENETICS

Art Grix Jr., M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000

Other leading physicians:

Douglas W. Hershey, M.D.
Prenatal Diagnosis of Northern California Medical Group
1111 Exposition Blvd., Bldg. 200
Sacramento, CA 95815
(916) 736-6888

Mark H. Lipson, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000



GYNECOLOGY

Susan Fritz-Zavacki, M.D.
5030 J St., Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 451-8001

Other leading physicians:

Barbara J. Hays, M.D.
5030 J St., Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 451-8001

Walter K. Kinney, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000

Alexander Locke, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Elizabeth M. McClure, M.D.
Sutter Medical Group
1201 Alhambra Blvd., Suite 320
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 455-2229

Nichole A. Zidenberg, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
1600 Eureka Road
Roseville, CA 95661
(916) 784-4000



HEMATOLOGY

Kent Jolly, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000

Other leading physicians:

Delphine W. Ong, M.D.
Sacramento Center for Hematology& Medical Oncology
2800 L St., Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 454-6700

Robert Quadro, M.D.
Mercy Medical Group
3160 Folsom Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 733-5300

Antoine Sayegh, M.D.
Sacramento Center for Hematology & Medical Oncology
2800 L St., Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 454-6700

Stephen Wang, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000



INFECTIOUS DISEASE

John Belko, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Other leading physicians:

Stuart H. Cohen, M.D.
Lawrence J. Ellison Ambulatory Care Center
UC Davis Medical Center
4860 Y St., Suite 0400
Sacramento, CA 95817
(916) 734-2737

Richard D. DeFelice, M.D.
Pulmonary Medicine Associates
77 Cadillac Drive, Suite 210
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 325-1040

David Herbert, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000

Richard R. Stack, M.D.
Pulmonary Medicine Associates
6660 Coyle Ave., Suite 350
Carmichael, CA 95608
(916) 482-7621

Gordon Wong, M.D.
3941 J St., Suite 354
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 733-6870



INTERNAL MEDICINE

Scott Wigginton, M.D.
500 University Ave., Suite 112
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 570-2850

Other leading physicians:

Bayard Chang, M.D.
500 University Ave., Suite 111
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 929-2526

Stanley Chew, M.D.
5025 J St., Suite 309
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 453-1946

Howard Homler, M.D.
6660 Coyle Ave., Suite 250
Carmichael, CA 95608
(916) 962-2035

Monice J. Kwok, M.D.
American River Internal Medicine
500 University Ave., Suite 220
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 679-3693

Lisa Liu, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
9201 Big Horn Blvd.
Elk Grove, CA 95758
(916) 478-5000

Anissa Slifer, M.D.
Sutter Memorial Hospital
5151 F St.
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 454-3333

Robert Tang, M.D.
Sutter Medical Group
1020 29th St., Suite 360
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 733-8797



NEONATAL MEDICINE

Robert A. Kahle, M.D.
Mercy San Juan Medical Center ICU
6501 Coyle Ave.
Carmichael, CA 95608
(916) 537-5135

Other leading physicians:

Andrew Wertz, M.D.
Sutter Memorial Hospital
5151 F St., #2 South
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 733-8441

Mark Ziegler, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000


NEPHROLOGY

Vijay Singh Rathore, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Other leading physicians:

John R. Ballenger, M.D.
Capital Nephrology Medical Group
77 Cadillac Drive, Suite 130
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 929-8564

Kai-Ting Hu, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Jane O’Green Koenig, M.D.
Capital Nephrology Medical Group
77 Cadillac Drive, Suite 130
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 929-8564

Matthew Mezger, M.D.
Capital Nephrology Medical Group
77 Cadillac Drive, Suite 130
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 929-8564

Ratnaji B. Nallamothu, M.D.
Capital Nephrology Medical Group
77 Cadillac Drive, Suite 130
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 929-8564

Stanley W. Ruggles, M.D.
Capital Nephrology Medical Group
77 Cadillac Drive, Suite 130
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 929-8564


NEUROLOGY

William J. Au, M.D.
Sutter Neuroscience Medical Group
2800 L St., Suite 500
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 454-6850 

Other leading physicians:

Paul T. Akins, M.D.
Neurological Consultants
500 University Ave., Suite 110
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 641-8205

John Bissell, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Richard Friederich, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000

Richard B. Riemer, D.O.
2801 K St., Suite 420
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 733-8877

John Schafer, M.D.
Mercy Medical Group
6555 Coyle Ave.
Carmichael, CA 95608
(916) 536-3670

Lydia M. Wytrzes, M.D.
3908 J St., Suite 4
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 455-0224


NEUROSURGERY

Cully Cobb, M.D.
2801 K St., Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 733-8998

Other leading physicians:

James Boggan, M.D.
Lawrence J. Ellison Ambulatory Care Center
UC Davis Medical Center
4860 Y St., Suite 0100
Sacramento, CA 95817
(916) 734-4300

Samuel F. Ciricillo, M.D.
Sutter Cancer Center
2800 L St, Suite 500
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 454-6850

Barry N. French, M.D.
2801 K St., Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 733-5028

Mark Hawk, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000

John K.H. Yen, M.D.
Northern California Neurological Surgeons
3939 J St., Suite 380
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 453-0911

Edie E. Zusman, M.D.
Sutter Cancer Center
2800 L St., Suite 500
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 454-6850


NUCLEAR MEDICINE

Andrew Klonecke, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000

Other leading physicians:

Erno J. Gyetvai, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000

Michael K. Haseman, M.D.
Radiological Associates
1500 Expo Parkway
Sacramento, CA 95815
(916) 646-8300

Herman Kensky, M.D.
Mercy San Juan Medical Center
6501 Coyle Ave.
Carmichael, CA 95608
(916) 537-5028



OBSTETRICS

Christine M. Jang, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
9201 Big Horn Blvd.
Elk Grove, CA 95758
(916) 478-5300

Other leading physicians:

Victor K. Chan, M.D.
5301 F St., Suite 318
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 733-1720 

Jose J. Cueto, M.D.
Sutter Medical Group
3 Medical Plaza Drive, Suite 260
Roseville, CA 95661
(916) 773-7977

Susan Fritz-Zavacki, M.D.
5030 J St., Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 451-8001

Barbara J. Hays, M.D.
5030 J St., Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 451-8001

 


Stephen G. Hiuga, M.D.
2277 Fair Oaks Blvd., Suite 355
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 927-3178

Elizabeth M. McClure, M.D.
Sutter Medical Group
1201 Alhambra Blvd., Suite 320
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 455-2229

Sherrie McElvy, M.D.
5301 F St., Suite 112
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 733-7111 


ONCOLOGY


Delphine W. Ong, M.D.
Sacramento Center for Hematology & Medical Oncology
2800 L St., Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 454-6700

Other leading physicians:

Kristie A. Bobolis, M.D.
2 Medical Plaza Drive, Suite 200
Roseville, CA 95661
(916) 782-5106

Vincent A. Kiley, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000

Gilbert L. Mandell, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Robert Miller, M.D.
Sacramento Center for Hematology & Medical Oncology
2800 L St., Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 454-6700

Robert Quadro, M.D.
3160 Folsom Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 733-5918

Stephen Wang, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000


OPTHALMOLOGY

Richard A. Jones, M.D. (tie)
Eye Site Sacramento
4925 J St.
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 452-8105

Richard A. Lewis, M.D. (tie)
Grutzmacher & Lewis, A Medical Corporation
1515 River Park Drive, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95815
(916) 649-1515

James B. Ruben, M.D. (tie)
Kaiser Permanente
Point West Medical Office
1650 Response Road
Sacramento, CA 95815
(916) 973-5000

Other leading physicians:

Lewis Bliss, M.D.
Bliss Eye Associates
5773 Greenback Lane
Sacramento, CA 95841
(916) 863-3143

Richard D. Grutzmacher, M.D.
Grutzmacher & Lewis, A Medical Corporation
1515 River Park Drive, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95815
(916) 649-1515

Mark J. Mannis, M.D.
Lawrence J. Ellison Ambulatory Care Center
UC Davis Medical Center
4860 Y St., Suite 2400
Sacramento, CA 95817
(916) 734-6957

James B. Martel, M.D.
11216 Trinity River Drive, Suite H
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
(916) 635-6161

Robert Peabody Jr., M.D.
1700 Alhambra Blvd., Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 731-8040

Robert Peabody Sr., M.D.
1700 Alhambra Blvd., Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 731-8040

Christian Serdahl, M.D.
4925 J St.
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 452-8105


Craig Snider, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000



ORTHOPEDIC SURGERY

David W. Tai, M.D.
2801 K St., Suite 500
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 733-8710

Other leading physicians:

David B. Coward, M.D.
Sacramento Knee & Sports Medicine
2801 K St., Suite 310
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 454-6677

Stephen M. Howell, M.D.
8100 Timberlake Way, Suite F
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 689-7370

David J. Manske, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Timothy P. Mar, M.D.
Sacramento Orthopaedic Center
2801 K St., Suite 330
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 733-5049

David Schiffman, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000



OTOLARYNGOLOGY

Nancy H. Appelblatt, M.D.
Sacramento Ear, Nose & Throat Medical Group
1111 Exposition Blvd., Bldg. 700
Sacramento, CA 95815
(916) 736-3399

Other leading physicians:

David A. Evans, M.D.
Sacramento Ear, Nose & Throat Medical Group
1111 Exposition Blvd., Bldg. 700
Sacramento, CA 95815
(916) 736-3399

Richard Isaacs, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Michael J. Kearns, M.D.
Sacramento Ear, Nose & Throat Medical Group
6555 Coyle Ave., Suite 340
Carmichael, CA 95608
(916) 966-2700

Brian Rubinstein, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000


PATHOLOGY

Eva Hess, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Other leading physician:

John S. Abele, M.D.
3301 C St., Suite 103C
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 444-0889


PEDIATRICS


Don R. van Schenck, M.D.
2 Scripps Drive, Suite 310
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 924-8754

Other leading physicians:

Evan Bloom, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Robert E. Farrell, M.D.
Sutter Medical Group
5301 F St., Suite 220
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 455-8000

Zoey Goore, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
1600 Eureka Road
Roseville, CA 95661
(916) 784-4000

Richard Gould, M.D.
425 University Ave., Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 924-9337
David Nakano, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000


PHYSICAL MEDICINE

Alicia Abels, M.D. (tie)
1600 Creekside Drive, Suite 2400
Folsom, CA 95630
(916) 984-3430

Michael Felix, M.D. (tie)
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Other leading physicians:

Stephen I. Mann, M.D.
Sacramento Rehabilitation Medical Group
2801 K St., Suite 410
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 733-8266

Marian TeSelle, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000


PSYCHIATRY

Robert Ruxin, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Other leading physicians:

Dianne Collins, D.O.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000

Janak K. Mehtani, M.D.
Fair Oaks Psychiatric Associates
2951 Fulton Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95821
(916) 486-7555

Linda Schaffer, M.D.
1455 34th St.
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 452-1504

Lesley Schroeder, M.D.
1005 40th St.
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 454-1013


PULMONARY DISEASE

Norman Chow, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Other leading physicians:

Randy Arai, M.D.
3941 J St., Suite 354
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 733-6870

Jeffry H. Jones, M.D.
500 University Ave., Suite 260
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 925-2096

Albin Leong, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000

John Lutch, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000

Peter Murphy, M.D.
Pulmonary Medicine Associates
6660 Coyle Ave., Suite 350
Carmichael, CA 95608
(916) 482-7621


RADIOLOGY


Brian Gunter, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Other leading physicians:

Paul R. Brown, M.D.
Mercy Imaging Center
3291 Ramos Circle
Sacramento, CA 95827
(916) 363-4040

Lawrence G. Davis, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Miguel Nieves, M.D.
Mercy Imaging Center
3291 Ramos Circle
Sacramento, CA 95827
(916) 363-4040

Gerald Schwarz, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000

Patrick M. Vogel, M.D.
Radiological Associates
1500 Expo Parkway
Sacramento, CA 95815
(916) 646-8300


RHEUMATOLOGY


Kenneth B. Wiesner, M.D.
Sacramento Rheumatology
107 Scripps Drive, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 922-7021

Other leading physicians:

Lloyd Ito, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Steven Orkand, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000

Douglas Roberts, M.D.
500 University Ave., Suite 230
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 565-1989

Jahan C. Scalapino, M.D.
Sutter Medical Group
1020 29th St., Suite 270
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 455-3700

Robert F. Shapiro, M.D.
Sacramento Rheumatology
107 Scripps Drive, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 922-7021


UROLOGY


Brian N. Naftulin, M.D.
Capitol Urology Medical Group
1561 Creekside Drive, Suite 170
Folsom, CA 95630
(916) 983-5557


Other leading physicians:

Christopher P. Evans, M.D.
Lawrence J. Ellison Ambulatory Care Center
UC Davis Medical Center
4860 Y St., Suite 2200
Sacramento, CA 95817
(916) 734-2222

Abdo J. Faddoul, M.D.
2 Medical Plaza Drive, Suite 125
Roseville, CA 95661
(916) 786-3100

Suzanne Generao, M.D.
Sutter Medical Urology
2801 K St., Suite 205
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 733-5005

Kiumars R. Hekmat, M.D.
Capitol Urology Medical Group
500 University Ave., Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 921-1615

Andrew Huang, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
2025 Morse Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 973-5000

Martin Little, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000


VASCULAR SURGERY


Thomas C. Park, M.D.
500 University Ave., Suite 260
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 929-6705

Other leading physicians:

William C. Pevec, M.D.
Lawrence J. Ellison Ambulatory Care Center
UC Davis Medical Center
4860 Y St., Suite 2100
Sacramento, CA 95817
 (916) 734-3800

Victor Rodriguez, M.D.
Kaiser Permanente
6600 Bruceville Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 688-2000

Ali T. Tajlil, M.D.
3941 J St., Suite 370
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 733-6890                                         




TOP DOC PROFILES


* Ann Gerhardt, M.D.—Voted “Top Doc” in Eating Disorders

Specialty: Internal medicine and clinical nutrition, private practice

Medical school: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Why medicine? Why this specialty? Actually, I started out wanting to get a Ph.D. in biochemistry, and my research adviser suggested I get an M.D./Ph.D. because I’d have a better chance of getting a research grant. I didn’t get the Ph.D. because in the middle [of it], I had a baby. So I finished the M.D. and then thought, “What is it I want to do with my life?”  Metabolism and physiology were what really interested me, so I decided maybe that should be my specialty. Then during my residency, I worked with a surgeon who specialized in nutrition, and I decided maybe that would be my subspecialty. Later, I ended up being a transplant specialist.

What sparked your interest in eating disorders and the development of your nonprofit organization WINS (We Insist on Natural Shapes)? When I was on the UC Davis faculty back in the early ’80s, every once in a while an eating disorder patient would come to the clinic. At that time, these patients were just beginning to be identified, but eating disorders were fast becoming an epidemic. So I got a rash of education. I learned a lot from my patients. Pretty soon, I was being referred eating disorder patients from all over Northern California.

What’s important to understand about eating disorders? That they’re not about food. It’s a psychological disease that manifests as being related to food and weight and nutrition, but it’s not about food. People that focus on the food and the weight and prod people to “just eat” are totally missing the boat—and in some ways perpetuating the problem.

How would you describe your bedside manner? I’m not an “algorithm” kind of doctor. I believe people are different, with different metabolisms, different reactions to medications, different life circumstances, and what works for one person doesn’t often work for another person. So I believe treatment and approach should be individualized.

What can patients bring to the patient/doctor equation? Patients need to be up front and honest about what their expectations are and honest about whether they’re going to take the medicine their doctor prescribes. If something’s not working for them, they should be forthright and ask for what they want.

Most rewarding aspect of your work? Seeing people get better. Keeping people alive. Developing personalities that are able to manage their lives without having to resort to an eating disorder to be able to cope.


* Bradley E. Chipps, M.D.—Voted “Top Doc” in Allergy
 
Specialty: Allergy and pediatric pulmonology, Capital Allergy & Respiratory Disease Center

Medical school: University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Why medicine? Why this specialty? When I was about 11 years old, my father became very ill and was one of the first patients of Dr. Bobby Brown, who had played third base for the New York Yankees. Dr. Brown took quite a liking to me, so he became a major role model. After my pediatric residency, I worked in the Air Force and saw that respiratory disease in children was a widespread problem. So it made sense to m
e that if I wasn’t going to do general pediatrics, respiratory pediatrics was the place to be.


Can you explain the link between allergy and pulmonology? They’re almost inextricably linked because of the very high prevalence of allergic disease in childhood asthma.
So you treat a lot of asthma cases? It’s one of my primary specialty areas in both patient care and in research. My current major focus is on the better identification and treatment of moderate to persistent asthma and treatment of acute asthma attacks.


What are some common misconceptions about asthma? That it’s a psychological disease, that it’s “all in your head.” That everyone grows out of asthma. And that asthma in children does not need regular therapy.


Most rewarding aspect of your work? When patients get better. When quality of life improves and the burden of their illness diminishes.


What kinds of special challenges do you confront in working with kids? Half my practice is adults. But with kids, when you’re relying on the mother, father, grandparents or others to deliver an accurate detailed history of the child, it can be a bit trying. But it’s the nature of the beast, and we get used to it.


What makes a great doctor? One who doesn’t have a preconceived notion of a patient, which can be triggered by who they’re related to or what they look like. And keeping up with the literature. I read 14 different medical journals a month. You have to stay on top of things.




* Susan Fritz-Zavacki, M.D.—Voted “Top Doc” in Gynecology

Specialty: Obstetrics and gynecology, private practice

Medical school: Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

Why medicine? Why this specialty? I think I chose medicine for the same reason I’m in it today: I love taking care of people. OB-GYN is an interesting specialty because you get to take care of entire generations of people, from birth to old age. I get to see a big variety of people every day, and it’s never boring.

Specialties within your specialty? Both my partner (Dr. Barbara Hays) and I have evolved into a practice that takes care of large numbers of perimenopausal and menopausal patients. There are so many options now in terms of treatment and a lot of controversy regarding those options. Perimenopausal treatment has ballooned into its own subspecialty. Considering the baby boom generation has all pretty much entered perimenopause and menopause, there are a lot of women out there needing and wanting information.

What’s the hardest disease to treat? Ovarian cancer is still the hardest, because it’s the hardest to diagnose. I look forward to the day when we’ll have better tools that will help us diagnose it earlier.

How would you describe your bedside manner? I think my bedside manner is fairly warm and pretty personal, and I think I’m a fairly empathetic person, easy to talk to. You can be as competent as all get out, but if your patients can’t talk to you, it does no good. That relationship is key.

Most rewarding aspect of your work? The incredible bond I develop with so many of my patients. I’ve had some of them for more than 25 years; I’m starting to deliver my children’s children. It’s kind of scary when I’m delivering my babies’ babies!

Biggest challenge? The hours. We’re up so late at night delivering babies that sleep deprivation is a huge part of my specialty. I think that’s why so many OB-GYNs ultimately drop the OB part and just become GYNs.

What do you do to relieve stress and leave work behind? I don’t leave work behind for long because my partner and I alternate being on call every other night and every other weekend. But the main thing is spending time with my family, and I’m a huge movie buff. I think movies are a great escape.

What can patients bring to the patient/doctor equation? What I want to see a patient bring into the relationship is her full participation. I need a patient to be fully immersed in the process. If she’s willing to review everything with me—not waiting for me to make the decisions for her, but making decisions with me—together we can get to the most successful outcome.


* Christian A. Swanson, M.D.—Voted “Top Doc” in General Surgery

Specialty: General surgery, Mercy Medical Group


Medical school: Saint Louis University School of Medicine

Why medicine? Why this specialty? When I started out, I was considering pediatrics or gynecology. Then I did a rotation out at UC Davis and was part of the trauma program, and that was my first real taste of surgery. Doing that for a month solid made me realize that’s what I love to do.

Specialties within your specialty? Advanced laparoscopic and breast cancer surgery. But in general surgery, you do a little bit of everything—that’s what’s so neat about it. My wife says I do everything but brains, bones and heart.

What kinds of surgeries do you perform most often? We do a lot of cancer surgery, a lot of laparoscopic. And then the rest of what I call bread and butter—a lot of hernias, gallbladders.


Any exciting developments in your field? We try to do everything we can with the scope, do whatever we can to make [surgery] more minimally invasive. Hernia surgery has really advanced with the meshes we use. I think the next big frontier will be using human tissue, and especially cultured tissue, in hernia repair.

What’s the trickiest surgery to perform? Every case is tricky because you just don’t know what you’re getting into until you get in there. You can have a straightforward case that ends up being a total nightmare, or one that seems complicated and ends up being a piece of cake. You’re humbled every day because you don’t know what you’re going to get.

Pre-surgery patients must be nervous patients. How do you deal with that? I think if you take the time to answer all their questions, it’s not so scary. It’s the unknown that makes people scared. So I like to take the extra time with patients, make sure they’re clear, and it’s not as bad.

What makes a great surgeon? I think some of it is just God-given, that your hands do what your mind tells them to do. And part of it is knowledge. The rest is just knowing to do the right thing at the right time. For surgery, it’s as important to know when not to operate as when to operate. You need to know when to say “no.”

Most rewarding aspect of your work? Just being lucky enough and fortunate enough to do what I do. I’m so fortunate to be given the hands that I have and the love of people. I get up every morning and can’t believe how lucky I am to do this.
 


* William J. Au, M.D.—Voted “Top Doc” in Neurology

Specialty: Neurology, Sutter Neuroscience Medical Group

Medical school: University of California, Irvine School of Medicine

Why medicine? Why this specialty? I took a class in neuroanatomy from Dr. Marian Diamond at UC Berkeley, and she gave these great lectures on the structure of the brain and the pathways.

How do you perceive pain? Where is memory stored? I thought the brain was really fascinating and decided that’s what I wanted to do.

Specialties within your specialty? Dementia and Alzheimer’s, which is becoming more and more a national problem, if not a world problem, with people living longer and longer. Multiple sclerosis is my other area of interest, so my patients range from the elderly with Alzheimer’s to the MS people, who are really at the prime of their lives.

Any misconceptions about your specialty? The old misconception about neurologists is that we just diagnose things but don’t treat anything. But there are many things we can do to improve the quality of life.

Any exciting advancements in your field? For Alzheimer’s, we have four new drugs approved by the FDA—not to cure it, but to help symptoms. In MS, we now have four or five drugs that not only treat symptoms but prevent relapses. And there are always new drugs in the pipeline.


RX for staying healthy? One of the major killers is stroke. And there’s so much you can do to lower your risk: Lead a healthy lifestyle, exercise, improve your diet, quit smoking. And know the symptoms. If you get to the ER within three hours, we have an agent that can help to dissolve clots and save your life.

Most rewarding aspect of your work? Many times, patients are frustrated in seeking a diagnosis, being told different things. I enjoy being able to put things together, give them a diagnosis and come up with a long-term plan. They tell me, “Dr. Au, I’m so relieved.”

How would you describe your bedside manner? I’m kind of a soft-spoken fella. I have kind of a comforting voice. I talk to my patients with respect, like a friend, and listen to them, have compassion for them.

What do you do to relieve stress and leave work behind? Music is my outlet; I’m a trombonist. When I have a chance, I try to play with my friends, and my kids are musicians, so we play music together. I used to play in the Kiwanis Big Band. But they kicked me out because I couldn’t make rehearsals. (laughs)


* Andrew Klonecke, M.D.—Voted “Top Doc” in Nuclear Medicine

Specialty: Nuclear medicine, Kaiser Permanente

Medical school: Creighton University School of Medicine

Why medicine? Why this specialty? I had a lot of problems with tonsils when I was a kid, so maybe I hung around doctors too much. As for my specialty, I spent 15 years in family medicine, which is very broad, before moving into nuclear medicine, which is very narrow and deep.

Nuclear medicine sounds so “Star Trek”-esque. Can you explain it in simple terms? It’s called nuclear because the source of the radioactivity is the nucleus of the atom. Most of radiology is about anatomy, but nuclear medicine is about physiology—not how the organ looks, but how it functions. That we can use this invisible substance to diagnose or treat disease is just amazing to me.

Can you give me an example? Our largest group of customers are patients coming for a heart study. If someone is having chest pain and standard tests aren’t giving clear answers, for example, we might inject radioactive material that takes pictures of the heart.

What kinds of things do you treat? Many of my patients have thyroid diseases, which can be treated with radioactive iodine. It’s rewarding to be able to restore them back to good health.


RX for staying healthy? Laugh a lot and get exercise. I think a lot of poor health has to do with stress and lifestyle, so I tell patients to try and walk 40 minutes five days a week and laugh at least once a week.

What can patients bring to the patient/doctor equation? Just their ears—and participation, listening to what the options are. A lot of times patients say, “Can’t you just tell me what to do?” But where there are options, they are the final arbiters of which option to choose.


What do people need to understand about medicine? That it’s not as black and white as people think; there are a lot of gray areas in medicine. You talk about the art of medicine, and that’s what it is: putting all of the information together, putting together a diagnosis.

Is there anything that makes you want to quit tomorrow? There’s really not. I guess I’m a very lucky person because I truly love my work.




* Delphine W. Ong, M.D.—Voted “Top Doc” in Oncology

Specialty: Oncology, Sacramento Center for Hematology & Medical Oncology

Medical school: University of the Philippines

Why medicine? Why this specialty? I think when I was younger I was a little naïve. When I was asked why I was applying to medical school, I said “just to know all of this” was my goal. I developed an interest in oncology during my residency. But it’s n
ow become very personal because I have a family member who has had breast cancer.
specialties within your specialty? I’m qualified to treat other kinds of cancer. But I’ve taken the time to study breast oncology more than the other subspecialties.

Anything improving for breast cancer patients? What’s encouraging is that the incidence of breast cancer is dropping—largely, it’s thought, because of the marked reduction of the use of hormone replacement therapy. But there is also a real improvement in mortality rates. Breast cancer has seen quite a bit of progress.

But you still deal with terminal illness regularly. How do you cope? It is difficult because we do lose a large portion of our patients. But while we may not be able to change life expectancy or lengthen it, we can ensure their quality of life is improved as much as possible by making the patient’s remaining time more comfortable. It doesn’t get any easier, though—you still have your favorite patients.

Any misconceptions you’d like to clear up? The idea that more treatment is better. Some of the garbage people read on the Internet raises false hopes. Patients who want to try far-out treatments, thinking, “What harm can it be when Western medicine doesn’t work? What is there to lose?” I can see where they’re coming from, but I think we have to understand there is a limit to what we can do.

What do people say about you? I’m always running late. I spend a lot of time with my patients, so my challenge is always whether I can be as efficient and as compassionate with less time.


Do you have a motto or philosophy? That we don’t compare miseries, nor can we compare successes. I say this because I take all my patients’ concerns very seriously, and I think we can’t compare one against the other.

Most rewarding aspect of your work? No matter what the prognosis, I’d like to think we helped them get through it.



* Gregory P. Marelich, M.D.—Voted “Top Doc” in Critical Care

Specialty: Critical care and pulmonology, Kaiser Permanente

Medical school: Saint Louis University School of Medicine

Why medicine? Why this specialty? I was attracted to medicine because I enjoy physiology—the way the body works. And I enjoy working with new technology, new medications and the team care aspect; I enjoy being part of the team. I started out knowing I wanted to work in internal medicine and very soon after starting my medical residency, I decided I wanted to go into pulmonary.

So you’re in ICU for critical care cases and in the office for pulmonary? Right. In critical care, I see patients with things like organ dysfunction, respiratory failure, cardiac failure, renal failure. As a pulmonologist, I’m dealing with things like asthma, emphysema, lung disease. That’s my break away from ICU.

What would you most want people to know about what you do? That the work requires a lot of effort, commitment and organization of a big team of people. There’s a doctor there, but there are also a whole bunch of caregivers in the intensive care unit. And the care isn’t just for the patient, but for the whole family.

How would you describe your bedside manner? I put an emphasis on being informative because there’s a lot going on—a lot of stress for the family, for the patient if they’re awake and alert. I usually keep the tone pretty serious so it impresses upon everyone that there’s some information I need to get out. Once I get to know the family and the patients, I can lighten up the tone a little bit. Mostly, it’s all about trying to relay information in a way they understand.

Most rewarding aspect of your work? Making really ill people better. That’s really it.


Most difficult aspect? Young people dying despite doing everything you can to save them. I’m not unaccustomed to patients dying, but it’s really hard when they’re young or when you know the family. A lot of times in critical care, we’re protected from that because we never get to know them.

Do you have a motto or philosophy? In work, it’s “right care, right now” for critical care medicine. Life in general? “Work hard, play hard.”

How do you relieve stress and leave work behind? Soccer and barbecuing. If it doesn’t fall through the grate, I’ll grill it.



* Vijay Singh Rathore, M.D.—Voted “Top Doc” in Nephrology

Specialty: Nephrology, Kaiser Permanente

Medical school: University of Rajasthan School of Medicine, Jaipur, India

Why medicine? Why this specialty? In India, you have to pick your career really early. I was probably 16 when I decided on medicine. During my residency at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, I worked with Dr. Mahurkar, a kidney doctor who invented the hemodialysis catheter. Learning how he invented on his own kitchen table this simple device that could change patients’ lives really influenced me.

Any misconceptions about your specialty? Patients always think nephrology is all about dialysis. But in the majority of cases, it’s about preventing patients from having to get on dialysis. That’s our job.

RX for avoiding kidney problems? The No. 1 cause is diabetes, as more than half the people who end up in kidney failure are diabetic. If diabetes runs in the family, there’s more of a chance of developing it. But it is also associated with obesity and lifestyle, so you can help yourself by changing your lifestyle and watching what you eat. If you look at the American Indian population 100 years ago, they did not have diabetes or kidney failure. They were living off the land, and their bodies were sustained on very few calories. But modernization changed everything, and now we’re eating three to four times more calories than we need.

Any exciting advancements in your field? In the past, when people had kidney failure, they were basically told they were going to go home to die. But now with early detection and treatment, you can prevent kidney failure.

Most rewarding aspect of your work? The most enjoyable part is developing a relationship with patients, because most of the patients I see are in for the long term. It’s more than just treating a disease but knowing them as a person, because each brings a different perspective and you have to treat them differently. If you see a patient from South America, their eating habits are very different than someone who was raised here.

Most frustrating? When you’re taking care of a patient for years and suddenly you can’t see them anymore because their insurance changes. That’s one of the things that’s kind of missing from medicine. Those things are not under our control.

How would you describe your bedside manner? I always let the patients speak their minds. They’re the ones who are dealing with a critical condition, and each person has their own way of dealing with things, so you have to learn how to work with each patient. Once you have the complete story, you’re in a better position to treat the patient. Listening is the most important part.

What makes a great doctor? You have to look at your patients and understand them. Also important is the physician’s ability to understand what the patient is saying and to put things in simple terms for the patients to understand. Dialysis is very technical—how do we explain it to our patients? We also need to remember that whatever recommendation we have, it’s up to the patient whether they want to do it or not. As the old saying goes: “The teacher opens the door, but the student must choose to walk through it.”





CHOOSING A DOCTOR: QUESTIONS TO ASK

When choosing a new doctor, there’s more to consider than convenient appointment times and a pleasant bedside manner. Here are some additional questions you may want to ask, courtesy of the California Medical Board’s website, mbc.ca.gov.

• What special training, if any, does the doctor have in managing any medical conditions you have?

• Who covers the doctor’s patients when he or she is not available?

• Will other physicians or health care providers, such as nurse practitioners or physician assistants, participate in your care? Is this optional?

• Will the doctor provide care for others in your family?

• To which hospitals can he or she admit patients?

• Are there any restrictions on the doctor’s hospital privileges?

Once these questions have been answered to your satisfaction and you’ve had that first appointment, ask yourself: “Is this someone I truly feel confident in and comfortable with?” If not, keep trying until you find a physician you would trust with your life—because that, in fact, is exactly what you’re doing. —Cathy Cassinos-Carr





FINDING DR. RIGHT

Searching for a new doctor? The top docs listed in this article may be an excellent place to start. But if your insurance won’t cover your physician of choice or the doctor is not accepting new patients, try these tips from the California Medical Board and Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society.

Ask a trusted friend or colleague. Though it’s hardly an original approach, a word-of-mouth recommendation is still worth its weight in gold.

Ask a physician for the name of his or her physician. Good doctors are likely to know other good doctors.

Review the doctor’s website, if available. In addition to educational background, professional credentials and hospital affiliations, many physicians post information regarding their special interests or approaches to medicine that may help you decide whether they’re right for you.

Does the physician hold a current California license? Has any disciplinary action been taken against him or her? Check by calling the California Medical Board at (916) 263-2382 or by visiting mbc.ca.gov, where you also can find out where and when the doctor graduated from medical school.

Is the doctor a member of the local medical society (typically a sign of good standing)? Find out at ssvms.org, the website of the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society. (Click on the “online membership directory” button.)

Final word to the wise: Don’t give up. In a recent quest to sign up with a new gynecologist, I was initially told she wasn’t accepting new patients. But I e-mailed her anyway, figuring it couldn’t hurt—and she surprised me by accepting me into her practice. Sometimes, persistence pays. —Cathy Cassinos-Carr

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