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Outgoing President's Message from Mark M. Bai, M.D.


Dear Fellow SBCMS Members,

It is hard to believe how quickly a year has gone by. I have been honored to serve as the 127th President of the San Bernardino County Medical Society. So much has happened during this time, especially in the past four months, and I’m so proud of the accomplishments we have made together at SBCMS. Our membership is truly engaged – together, we have been able to realize notable progress in operational and policy objectives for the patients and physicians in our great county and for organized medicine on a broader scale.

Two nights ago, our SBCMS board and District II sub-delegation participated in the virtual swearing in of our 2020-21 President, Dr. Christopher Tsai, and our incoming Executive Committee officers. We were privileged to welcome Dr. Lee Snook, Jr., President-Elect of the California Medical Association, to conduct the ceremony, along with our board, special guests and our sponsors NORCAL and Mercer. It was the perfect cap to an interesting and memorable year where we accomplished much for the viability of physician practices as well as access to care for our patients in San Bernardino County.

The unexpected entry of the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how unified we are - and need to be - as a professional association. It also proved to me again how valuable and vital the work of the medical society is. Many of us as physicians faced immediate and unexpected challenges, and SBCMS pivoted rapidly to help provide the following: relief in telehealth guidance and establishment of reimbursement waivers and rate parity, guidance on obtaining loans and financial assistance, expert assistance on how to restructure staff and retain employees, COVID-19 testing protocols and schedules, tips on how to reopen a medical practice, support at the federal and state levels such as the CARES Act, Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and - one of the greatest needs – the acquisition and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) for our solo and small physician practices in partnership with IEHP and NORCAL, an effort which continues to this day. 

Our membership responded in remarkable fashion in kind. Several of our physicians participated in high-profile regional town halls and other online forums, as well as statewide and local webinars to offer expert guidance on these topics and COVID-19 for our citizens and government leaders.

We continued to work in partnership and strength with our San Bernardino County Department of Public Health to help catalyze our county disaster preparedness efforts for COVID-19. In particular, SBCMS partnered with Riverside County Medical Association (RCMA) and California Medical Association (CMA) to help advance the education and importance of face covering and masking to our California Governor’s Office.  We continue to work diligently in tandem with state and local officials on advocating social practices that protect our public health. 

Despite the cancellation in April of our annual Legislative Day in Sacramento, we were successful in holding numerous virtual meetings with our elected officials and their staffs which led to significant policy progress for the physician community.  Namely, our physicians rallied in a big way with state level legislators to push for protection of Prop. 56 funding and the “CalHealthCares” loan repayment program.  As a result, the state budget that passed the legislature on June 15 did not include what originally would have been devastating cuts to Medi-Cal treatment for many of us as practitioners and would have been harmful to some of our most vulnerable patient populations who need this care.  

We also continue to be heavily involved in our ancillary programs, including our two non-profit organizations which support student and resident programs and the Southern California Medical Museum. In addition, we raised significant funds at our annual SBCMS Golf tournament for these causes and are planning our 4th annual event for November 23. We maintain active involvement with the Inland Empire Opioid Crisis Coalition (IEOCC), the county School Nurse Collaborative and the Inland Empire Coverage and Health Initiative (IE-CHI) which SBCMS also chairs. We also are represented on the board of the Inland Empire Health Information Organization (IEHIO), which is the regional health information exchange that allows physician practices to participate in data sharing for improved patient care.
Our last official in-person gathering was in February in Hesperia during our annual SBCMS High Desert meeting. We were honored to dialogue with our CMA President, Dr. Peter Bretan, during that time, as well as connect with so many of you and members of your groups and hospitals.  Since then, our SBCMS Executive Committee and Board meetings have been virtual as we leverage the power of technology during these unprecedented times.

On a related note, we recently developed our first mobile “app” for SBCMS, which also appears to be the first for any component medical society statewide!  This is part of our active efforts to facilitate communication and conversations with you, our SBCMS members.  The “app” will soon be available as a free download on the Google and Apple stores, so please make sure you check this out – we want to hear from you!

We thank and embrace our relationships with our SBCMS Business Partners from the aforementioned NORCAL and Mercer, along with Citizens Business Bank, Cooperative of American Physicians (CAP), Outpatient Call Solutions (OCS), Patient Pop, Thakur Law Firm, Net Serve and Aloma Medical Practice Management. We appreciate them again for their partnership and support!

As you can observe, our SBCMS membership and activity are stronger than ever during these critical and challenging times in our society. As physician offices, emergency rooms, hospitals, and clinics continue to navigate how to best reopen services throughout the county, the medical society will continue to serve as your lifeline and advocate to support you. Please take advantage of the assistance and benefits that SBCMS and CMA can provide, and know that we are here for you.

I thank you all again for an unforgettable and rewarding year as your President.  I am honored to pass the baton over now to Dr. Christopher Tsai who I know will be an exemplary and visionary leader for SBCMS. I have full confidence that he will continue the work to collaborate, build relationships and advocate for us all!

I look forward to continuing my work with our medical society as I will remain on the SBCMS board of directors and be a District II delegate to the CMA. I appreciate again your support and engagement these past 12 months, and I wish you all a healthy and blessed year ahead!


Mark M. Bai, MD, Immediate Past President, 2020-21
San Bernardino County Medical Society

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