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.