NCMA Announces Opening of the New Vein Center to Coincide with Launch of Website

NCMA Announces Opening of the New Vein Center to Coincide with Launch of Website

Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) opens the NCMA Vein Center and unveils a new website to provide patients with a full range of venous treatment options in Santa Rosa

NCMA Cardiologist and vein disease treatment specialist Dr. Vishal Patel along with Board Certified Cardiologist and Internal Medicine specialist Kimberly Brayton, MD are now offering state-of-the-art services for patients with venous disorders at The Vein Center. Located at 3536 Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa, this specialty clinic that is unique to Sonoma County provides advanced care for cardiovascular patients suffering from vein disorders such as varicose veins or venous reflux.

Along with a new clinic the Vein Center team has implemented a comprehensive website ( that offers a full spectrum of resources and information at their fingertips. “To make our services easily accessible to the people of Santa Rosa, we wanted to create a website that offers an overview of the team and features comprehensive information about causes and symptoms,” explains Dr. Vishal Patel. “Along with articles that describe how cardiovascular health is related to vein disorders, website visitors can also read about available treatments and technology.”

The NCMA Vein Center is part of the expert cardiac and vascular care team utilizing current medical technology including the latest minimally invasive techniques and treatments for a full range of venous disorders. “NCMA is already the top local medical group in cardiac care, so it made sense to extend our leading-edge technologies along with our cardiac and vascular specialists into a specialty service line treating venous disorders,” explains Ruth Skidmore, NCMA’s CEO. “We developed our clinic to provide comprehensive diagnostics and treatments for all types of vein disorders without the need for lengthy hospital stays or extensive surgeries.”

Understanding Venus Reflux

Venous reflux occurs when the valves that keep blood flowing out of the legs and back to the heart become damaged or diseased. This can cause blood to pool in the legs and leads to symptoms including edema, skin changes and leg ulcers. Venous reflux disease commonly produces varicose veins which are abnormally swollen and discolored superficial leg veins.

“Without proper treatment, venous reflux can become quite debilitating,” explains Dr. Patel. “With treatment and active monitoring by our team of specialists, many of our patients experience dramatic symptom relief which makes it possible for them to return to activities that they might not have had the opportunity to enjoy prior to treatment.”

About Dr. Patel

Dr. Vishal Patel’s background as Director of the Vein Clinic began with board certification in interventional cardiology, cardiovascular disease, endovascular medicine and specialty certification with the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography Physicians’ Vascular Interpretation.  Vein disease treatment is Dr. Patel’s professional specialty and patient outcomes are extraordinary. Dr. Patel offers an informative video titled Evaluation and Management of Chronic Venous Diseases on the NCMA YouTube Channel available for free to view at any time.

About Dr. Brayton

Dr. Brayton is board certified in both internal medicine and cardiovascular disease. She received her medical degree and completed her Internal Medicine residency at the University of California, San Francisco and completed her clinical cardiology fellowship at UT Southwestern in Dallas, Texas, before transferring to Stanford University to complete her cardiology fellowship as well as receiving post-doctoral training including a master’s degree in health services research. Dr. Brayton continued on to complete a second post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford’s Clinical Excellence Research Center.

The NCMA Vein Center is geared toward putting patients on the path to long-term recovery. To request more information about venous reflux and to learn about the Vein Center team of providers visit the website or call (707) 573-6166.

NCMA News: Physician Receives SCMA’s Outstanding Contribution Award

NCMA physician Lela Emad, M.D., Director of the NCMA Women’s OB/GYN Department, was honored for her outstanding contributions to the SCMA’s Medical Review Advisory Committee (MRAC). For over 25 years the Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group has offered a  ull range of premier obstetrics and gynecology services and expertise to women in the  North Bay Area. Their provider team of experts includes OB/ GYN physicians, certified  nurse midwives, family nurse practitioners, and medical assistants who provide  unmatched care to patients in our region.

As women caring for women, they understand their patients’ needs and expectations. NCMA is proud of their honored physicians receiving prestigious community awards for exceptional contributions to Sonoma County  Medicine. For 40 years, NCMA has responded to the healthcare needs of the community  by developing a multispecialty, integrated physician group to deliver the highest quality  medical care available. NCMA physicians serve community leadership roles in all areas of  medical and surgical delivery and are affiliated with hospitals in Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino Counties.

NCMA News: Cardiovascular Services Expands in Mendocino and Lake County

To meet the growing clinical needs in Mendocino County, two new cardiac specialists have joined Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA). Dr. Richard Rattin and Dr.  Christine Rattin practice in NCMA’s Ukiah and Willits offices. These local care centers offer general cardiology services as well as electrocardiograms, holter monitoring and  event recording, cardiac stress testing, adult echocardiography and stress  echocardiography, vascular and peripheral carotid imaging and nuclear cardiac imaging.

“The addition of two highly specialized cardiologists means that residents will have expanded access to state-of-the-art cardiac diagnostics – without having to leave the area,” explains NCMA CEO, Ruth Skidmore. “We’re proud to partner with these wonderful physicians.”

Christine Rattin, D.O.

Christine Rattin, D.O.

Christine Rattin, DO, is a board certified cardiologist. She graduated from the University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine at Kansas City, MO and completed her residency in internal medicine at Michigan State University. Dr. Rattin completed her cardiology fellowship at McLaren Macomb Medical Center in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. Dr. Rattin’s specialties focus on cardiac imaging in the realms of CCT, CMR, Echo, TEE,  cardiac catheterizations and nuclear cardiology. She worked as an invasive cardiologist at UPHS Marquette in Michigan and more recently at Weatherby Healthcare in Cary, North Carolina.

Richard Rattin, D.O.

Richard Rattin, DO, is board certified in cardiology and internal medicine and specializes in interventional and endovascular cardiology. He received his medical degree from  Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine. He worked as an interventional and endovascular cardiologist at Marquette General Health System in Marquette, Michigan and until recently held a position at Mercy Medical Center in Mason City, Iowa.

Dr. Rattin completed his cardiovascular disease fellowship in 2014 and completed an  interventional cardiology fellowship in 2015, both from Mercy Medical Center in Mason City Iowa.

The NCMA cardiovascular team provides comprehensive cardiac services in Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma Counties.

NCMA News: New Vein Center

This year, under the direction of cardiologist Dr. Vishal Patel, Northern California Medical associates opened the NCMA Vein Center for patients with venous disorders. The NCMA Vein Center, a local center of excellence,  was formed to address the needs of those suffering from venous reflux, which causes varicose veins and other severe venous diseases  such as leg ulcers.

“NCMA is the top local medical group in cardiac care, so it made sense to extend our leading-edge technologies along with our cardiac and vascular specialists into a specialty  service line treating venous disorders,” explains Ruth Skidmore, NCMA’s CEO. “We  developed our clinic to provide comprehensive diagnostics and treatments for all types of vein disorders without lengthy hospital stays or extensive surgeries.”

Causes and Symptoms

25 million people suffer from venous reflux. Our legs are made up of a network of veins. Healthy leg veins contain valves that open and close to assist the return of blood back to  the heart. Venous reflux develops when the valves that keep blood flowing out of the legs and back to the heart become damaged or diseased. This can cause blood to pool in your  legs and lead to symptoms such as pain, swelling, swollen limbs, leg heaviness and fatigue, skin changes and skin ulcers, and varicose veins.

The Prognosis

While venous reflux itself is not serious, its symptoms often increase the risks of a wide variety of other diseases. Many of these diseases, such as thrombophlebitis, can be serious. Without proper treatment, venous reflux can become debilitating. With diligent treatment  and monitoring, however, many patients experience dramatic symptom relief.


The NCMA Vein Center offers several treatment options depending on severity. One popular treatment is radiofrequency ablation (also known as Venefit or VNUS Closure) which is a minimally invasive means of curing varicose veins and venous insufficiency. It involves the use of radiofrequency energy, delivered through a catheter in a vein, to close the vein from the inside. This treatment requires only a tiny incision in the leg to be performed. It is often done in the office using only local anesthesia, and does not require a hospital stay. Most patients find that the procedure is nearly painless, and the vast  majority of patients are back to their usual routine by the next day.

About Dr. Patel

Dr. Vishal Patel’s background as Director of the NCMA Vein Center began with board certification in interventional cardiology, cardiovascular disease, endovascular medicine and specialty certification with the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography  Physicians’ Vascular Interpretation. Vein disease treatment is Dr. Patel’s professional  specialty and patient outcomes are extraordinary. To request more information about  venous reflux today call (707) 573-6166. Read more

NCMA News: Doctors Make a Difference 2016

Dr. Harendra Punatar and the NBIAA

Northern California Medical Associates’ (NCMA) cardiologist Harendra Punatar, MD, FACC, gives back to the community through his volunteer work with the North Bay Indo- American Association (NBIAA). In the late 90s,   doctors began to notice a significantly higher propensity for heart disease and diabetes in Indian community members in the North Bay. Disease is almost twice as common than other groups. Due to the disturbingly high prevalence of these diseases, Dr. Punatar began  organizing free annual NBIAA Health Fairs 15 years ago to spread awareness about disease prevention and treatment.

“The data on diabetes and heart disease made for a startling discovery. Members of the  Indian community are on average more affluent than other groups in the area, and what  we realized was that with that affluence came an increase of poor eating and exercise habits—both of which can be major health risks,” says Dr. Punatar. “Originally, diabetes  and heart disease have been the main topics of focus at the health fairs, but over the last  five years we’ve really broadened the discussion to cover other prevalent health related  subjects. The fairs have been extremely successful. We’ve come to expect about 100-200  attendees every year!” NBIAA Health Fairs are run entirely by volunteers, with substantial  support from NCMA and Medtronic. Dr. Punatar obtained his medical doctorate at Miraj   Medical College in Miraj Indiaand completed his residency and fellowship training in cardiovascular disease from Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, NY. He has been  a valued member of NCMA’s team of expert cardiologists for over 23 years.

Dr. Adelina Stateva andGAP Community

Northern California Medical Associates’ (NCMA) podiatrist Adelina Stateva, DPM, demonstrates the spirit of volunteerism in her involvement with GAP Community, a  non-profit philanthropic organization with global outreach. Dr. Stateva first traveled with  GAP to Kayamandi, South Africa in 2007. The area is tragically known to be one of the  rape capitals of the world, and its communities are deeply affected by violence, poverty,  and HIV. Dr. Stateva taught leadership training classes and worked closely with fellow GAP  volunteers to fund a housing project renovation for HIV sufferers in  Kayamandi.

Dr. Stateva explains, “There really are few experiences in my life that have  been more inspiring than the work I have done in South Africa with GAP Community. The  active learning style we use is designed to give children the confidence and insight necessary to overcome limiting beliefs and difficult circumstances that prevent them from achieving their goals and dreams.

“For the South Africa trip in 2007 we collectively raised  a healthy surplus that we wanted to share with the local community in Kayamandi. We  found a home for people living with HIV that lacked ample space and facilities. The  occupants had to share tiny rooms, and the single bathroom was outdoors a ways away  from the main housing building. Using the restroom at night meant risking being attacked  or raped. “The residents are now living in a much safer environment while they recover  from illnesses, and the facility we built can accommodate many more people than it could  before.”

Dr. Stateva was born and raised in Bulgaria, and in 2002 she graduated from  Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine. Shortly thereafter she began residency at Palo Alto, VA where she also taught at Stanford University and continued residency  at    Hahnemann University Hospital in  Philadelphia. She joined NCMA in March

NCMA News: Women in Business: Ruth Skidmore, CEO

Ruth Skidmore, CEO of Northern California Medical Associates, Wins Women In Business Award Women in Business Ruth Skidmore was honored with the North Bay Business  Journal’s Women in Business Award. Ruth started her career path towards CEO of NCMA  as a surgical intensive care nurse at a top academic hospital. Although the experience in  the ICU gave her the ability to understand what doctors face on a political, emotional and professional basis, she eventually found the work repetitive.

It is Ruth’s love of strategy that has enabled NCMA to become the single largest  independent medical group in Sonoma County, an accomplishment due to a constant   focus on quality of care. Reflecting on her experience as a woman in an overwhelmingly male industry, Ruth believes that her partners see only her accomplishments and skills, not her gender. Respect, Ruth says, is the foundation of everything and she has earned their respect and trust.  Under her guidance, NCMA has grown from six physicians to 60, from $4M in revenue to $52M, from four offices to 26 and 35 support staff to 250.

NCMA News: Dr. Kimberly Brayton, M.D. – Advocate for Women’s Heart Health

Throughout her life, cardiologist Dr. Kimberly Brayton has always strived to make a significant impact in the field of health. She has been with NCMA for a year and is advocating for the awareness of women’s heart health.

During Dr. Brayton’s first week at NCMA, she was a guest speaker at a Women
and Heart Disease event for WHAM (Women’s Health at Memorial), a women’s
philanthropy group. “It’s going to be an important part of my practice,” she says.
“Community events like this are especially important for women’s groups, as well as
on-going provider education, and especially emergency room front line providers and
primary care physicians.”

Originally from Petaluma, Dr. Brayton began studying health policy in law school.
“It felt like health policy would have more of an impact than treating individual patients’s, a more global impact is what I had envisioned.” But while she found that good in theory, “I really didn’t find it so satisfying on the ground.”

Dr. Brayton discovered that what she really wanted was patient contact. “It turned out that on a day to day basis what’s more interesting for me is to feel like I’m making a difference in individual’s lives. I derive more joy from face to face interaction. It feels much
more meaningful.”

While in medical school, Dr. Brayton maintained an interest in public health in general. And because heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S., for men and for women, it made sense that to impact a greater number of patients, she would focus on cardiology.
“It would be interesting to me medically, but I would also be treating a population where
there was potential for a greater impact.”

Dr. Brayton finished her fellowship in 2013, and continued with a post-doctoral fellowship
in health services research at Stanford University, which she finished in 2014. For the next
two years she was intermittently practicing medicine while doing clinical research in cardiovascular drug development. But again, something was missing. “I found the research and drug development interesting and thought it would have an impact; but, I had the same problem I always had, there was not enough patient contact. For me,
it was pretty clear I needed to get back into the clinic. Here at NCMA, this is exactly what I want to be doing.”

Dr. Brayton’s husband is also a cardiologist with NCMA, Dr. Vishal Patel. They have a one-year old son, Aash and recently had a little girl, Laana. When Dr. Brayton is not pursuing one of her many interests, she is “chasing her son around.” The family also enjoys hiking adventures to see the countryside.

Daylight Savings Time and Other Reasons for Sleep Loss

NCMA’s (Northern California Medical Associates) Dr. James Marco Steele talks about common reasons for sleep loss and the importance of recognizing when it has become a problem.

March is the time of year when most of us are confronted with the loss of an hour of sleep as our clocks adjust to Daylight Savings Time, making this the perfect time to think about what it means to have healthy sleep patterns all year long. “It’s easy to see what kind of an impact even mild sleep disorders can have on a person’s life by observing how losing just one hour of sleep can cause us to be discombobulated for days,” says Dr. James Marco Steele NCMA pulmonologist and director of North Coast Sleep Centers.

“No matter what causes a person to become sleep-deprived, when we lose sleep hours for any reason it can create a very real negative impact on how a person feels and performs throughout the day,” he explains. “Sleep deprivation can become an issue very quickly. Inadequate rest is something that can compromise a person’s ability to be alert and it can impact common functions including reaction time while driving, and that can lead to accidents.”

Sleep researchers leave little doubt that sleep deprivation can be hazardous to health. Studies have revealed that sleep-deprived people who participate in trials using a driving simulator or who are asked to perform simple hand-eye coordination tests execute their tasks as badly as or worse than do their intoxicated peers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver fatigue is responsible for as many as 100,000 car accidents and at least 1,500 deaths annually.

When Too Little Sleep is Not Enough

The body’s internal clock or circadian rhythm can become confused due to factors such as daylight savings, for health reasons, working circumstances, by traveling or even by becoming a new parent; all of which can lead to interrupted sleep patterns, and loss of adequate sleep.

According sleep experts, if a person feels drowsy during the day, even while attending to otherwise dull activities, it’s a clear sign of inadequate sleep. And if a person routinely falls asleep in under five minutes of lying down, it’s probably in indication of severe sleep deprivation, and may be symptomatic of a sleep disorder.

The National Institute of Health says that more than 40 million Americans deal with chronic, long-term sleep disorders each year, while 20 million report experiencing only occasional sleeping problems. Sleep disorders and the resulting sleep deprivation have very real consequences on quality of life. Good sleep is necessary for optimal health and is known to affect hormone levels, mood and weight. More than 70 sleep disorders have been identified by doctors, most of which can be easily treated once diagnosed. The most common sleep disorders include;

  • Insomnia
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Restless Legs Syndrome
  • Narcolepsy

When to Get Help

Most experts agree that adults should sleep at least seven hours per night on a regular basis in order to maintain optimal health. While most adults can get by with eight hours of sleep some may need a longer sleep duration exceeding nine hours per night. People who require more sleep hours include young adults and people suffering from a chronic illness. For someone with persistent insomnia, going to a sleep center can help identify the problem and offer solutions for common sleep issues including;

  • Chronic Snoring
  • Insomnia
  • Narcolepsy
  • Pediatric sleep disorders (night terrors, sleep walking, etc.)
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Sleep apnea

“The best advice is to talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your sleep patterns, or if you feel constantly fatigued,” says Dr. Steele. “For an ongoing sleep problem, seeking out the help of an accredited sleep center can make a world of difference in a person’s quality of life.”

About Dr. Steele and NCMA’s Sleep Centers

NCMA Pulmonologist James Marco Steele, MD provides diagnostics, treatment and management of a full spectrum of pulmonary diseases. He is Board Certified in Sleep Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, Internal Medicine as well as Critical Care by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). For more information, visit the NCMA website or call (707) 525-3786.

Dr. Mark Homicz Receives 2017 Top Doctor Recognition

Mark Homicz, M.D. of NCMA’s Santa Rosa Head and Neck Surgery group has been selected by the San Francisco Magazine as among the top Otolaryngology doctors for 2017.

San Francisco Magazine recently queried area doctors to nominate their choice of best physicians in eight Bay Area counties for 2017. Almost 1,000 nominations were submitted and a little over 500 physicians were selected by the healthcare research company managing the award process. Results were announced the magazine’s most recent issue.

Under the category of Otolaryngology Northern California Medical Associate’s Otolaryngologist Dr. Mark Homicz has been selected for this honor by San Francisco Magazine for two years. This year’s award notes these specialties performed by Dr. Homicz:

  • head & neck cancer
  • salivary gland tumors & surgery
  • sinus tumors
  • skull-base tumors

About Dr. Homicz

Dr. Mark Homicz graduated from the prestigious Yale Medical School in 1998 and conducted his internship training in general surgery at Stanford University. He completed a residency in Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Homicz’s training included an intensive focus on head and neck cancer and thyroid/parathyroid surgery. He has received national awards from the American Academy of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery, American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery, and the Triologic Society for academic achievement and research during training.

Dr. Homicz joined NCMA and the Santa Rosa Head & Neck Surgical Group in 2004. He is board certified in his field and practices all areas of ENT – Ear, Nose, Throat and Head & Neck Surgery. Particular areas of interest and expertise include thyroid/parathyroid surgery, head and neck cancer, facial plastic/reconstructive surgery, and nasal/sinus surgery. Dr. Homicz also serves as Director of the NCMA Thyroid Center.

About NCMA Santa Rosa Head & Neck Surgery

Santa Rosa Head and Neck Surgical Group (SRHN) offers expertise in the medical and surgical treatment of patients with a wide variety of disorders of the head and neck including; hearing and balance problems, nasal/sinus disease, snoring, voice disorders, and swallowing problems. All SRHN physicians are recognized for their expertise in the management of cancers of the nose, mouth, throat, neck, facial skin, and thyroid. They have also been extensively trained in cosmetic and reconstructive procedures of the face and neck. Listed below is more information on the services offered:

  • The Hearing Center at SRHN
  • Nose/Sinus
  • Throat/Voice/Swallowing/Snoring
  • Head & Neck Tumors
  • Thyroid/Parathyroid
  • Facial Plastic/Reconstructive
  • Skin Care
  • The Allergy Center at SRHN

NCMA Santa Rosa Health & Neck Surgery is located at 1701 Fourth St. Suite 120 in Santa Rosa, CA. For more information about Dr. Homicz and SRHN surgery visit our website. Call (707) 523-7025 to make an appointment.

NCMA’s Cardiovascular Surgeon Keith Korver M.D. Receives Top Doctor Recognition

San Francisco Magazine recently queried area doctors to nominate their choice of best physicians in eight Bay Area counties for 2017. Almost 1,000 nominations were submitted and a little over 500 physicians were selected by the healthcare research company managing the award process. Results were announced the magazine’s January 2017 issue.

Under the category of THORACIC & CARDIAC SURGERY Northern California Medical Associate’s cardiologist Dr. Keith Korver has been selected for this honor by San Francisco Magazine for two years running. This year’s award notes these specialties performed by Dr. Korver:

  • Coronary artery surgery
  • heart valve surgery
  • aneurysm–thoracic aortic
  • congenital heart disease

About Dr. Korver

Growing up in Northern California in Susanville, Dr. Korver’s father was also a doctor and served as inspiration for pursuing a medical career. He originally intended to become a family doctor but soon discovered a passion for surgery, and heart surgery in particular. “I absolutely love being a cardiac surgeon,” says Dr. Korver.

Dr. Korver attended medical school at the University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine and served his residency in general surgery at Georgetown University Hospital; Integrated Surgical Residency, University of Hawaii. He is also fellowship trained in Cardiothoracic Surgery, UCSF School of Medicine; Pediatric Cardiac Surgery and Cardiac Transplant Surgery from UCSF School of Medicine.

About NCMA Cardiovascular Surgery Services

NCMA is recognized as the leading center in the North Bay and one of the finest in the nation for thoracic and cardiovascular surgery for adult and pediatric patients. From routine coronary artery bypass and carotid surgeries to the most challenging cases, Dr. Korver applies years of training and expertise to provide compassionate care to his patients. Thoracic and cardiovascular surgery includes surgery on the heart, lung, airways, chest wall, mediastinum and esophagus.

Examples of procedures performed by Dr. Korver include:

  • Coronary Bypass Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery/Small Thoracotomy Arterial Revascularization (STAR
  • Heart Valve Surgery and Replacement
  • Ventricular Assist Devices.
  • Off-Pump Heart Surgery
  • Lung Reduction Surgery
  • Aortic Surgery

NCMA Cardiovascular Surgery is located at 3536 Mendocino Ave., Ste. 200 in Santa Rosa. For more information about Dr. Korver and cardiovascular surgery visit our website. Call (707) 569-7860 to make an appointment.