CHOC Children’s Community Partner, St. Joseph Heritage Medical Group

CHOC Children’s – and our pediatric subspecialists – are proud to partner with pediatricians throughout Southern California St. Joseph Heritage Group Photo (Final) 09-15-14to enhance the delivery of pediatric care.  Together, we’re committed to securing bright futures for children.  We’d like to take a moment to introduce you to one of our community partners, Saint Joseph Heritage Medical Group.  In today’s Q & A, we learn what this group considers their best practice, how they encourage teamwork, and more.

What is one of your group’s best practices?

One of our “best practices” is the responsible use of antibiotics.  While we appreciate how scary and frustrating it is for parents to have a sick child, we use antibiotics only when appropriate and educate parents about supportive care for viral infections.  We think that it is better to take the time to educate parents about their child’s disease than to expose a child to unnecessary medication.

How has technology enhanced your practice?

We were early adopters of an electronic medical record (EMR). As a multi-site group with a pediatric dedicated urgent care, we find an EMR an invaluable tool. Having a central location for patient information makes it easier for us to provide great care to our patients in any location. Technology has also allowed us to offer more comprehensive preventive care to our patients. We believe strongly that good preventive care makes for healthier communities.

How is team work encouraged in your practice?

We function as one cohesive department in a large multi-specialty medical group. We have formal meetings every other month to share best practices, to improve efficiency, and to improve clinical work flows. We keep in touch with each other by email when important information comes up between these meetings. We also participate in journal club quarterly in order to keep ourselves up to date with new clinical guidelines. We are a handy resource for each other and will often sit down together to talk through a complicated or unusual case.

Fictional physicians have graced the small screen for years.  Which TV MD gets your group’s vote for “top doc” and why?

Our vote for “top doc” is definitely Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins.  She is inquisitive, compassionate and creative. She makes doctor visits for preschool-aged kids fun and non-threatening.

With pediatric offices in Santa Ana, Orange and Tustin, Saint Joseph Heritage Medical Group is comprised of the following board-certified pediatricians: Dr. Sinda Althoen; Dr. Connie Bartlett; Dr. Reema Basu; Dr. Marc Bennett; Dr. Robert Frankel; Dr. Paul Genser; Dr. Lisa Hoang; Dr. James Kim; Dr. James Morley; Dr. Sarah O’Loughlin; Dr. Melissa Rosin; Dr. Taylor Tran; Dr. John Winkelman; and two urgent care pediatricians Dr. Paul Ziesmer and Dr. Naho Taguchi. In addition to providing comprehensive preventive care, the group also has physicians who specialize in various medical conditions such as asthma and allergy, behavioral health and adolescent care. 

Orange County Pediatricians Honor Dr. Nick Anas

Dr. Nick Anas The California Chapter 4 (Orange County) American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) honored CHOC Children’s Pediatrician-in-Chief Dr. Nick Anas with the “Pediatrician of the Year” award at the chapter’s annual gala held in Irvine on April 26. Dr. Anas was recognized by his peers for his efforts in growing and developing the local AAP chapter; his leadership in the community; and his passion for providing outstanding care for children throughout Orange County.

“Nick exemplifies all the attributes one would look for in selecting a ‘Pediatrician of the Year’: Outstanding Clinician, Educator, Advocate, Leader and Mentor. His enthusiasm and energy set the bar in all of these arenas,” said Dr. Paul Lubinsky, associate director, pediatric intensive care unit, CHOC Children’s and medical director, CHOC Children’s Specialists.

In addition to serving as pediatrician-in-chief – a position appointed to him in 2009, Dr. Anas leads CHOC’s critical care program as the medical director of the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit. The unit is the first in the nation to earn the Pediatric Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence. He leads his team with a steadfast commitment to the highest standards of patient care and safety. Dr. Anas is actively involved in clinical research, frequently contributing to medical journals and textbooks, and in education, training the next generation of leaders in the field of pediatric critical care medicine.

In 2011, Dr. Anas was appointed to serve a two-year term on the Emergency Medical Care Committee for Orange County Emergency Medical Services (EMS). The committee advises the Orange County Board of Supervisors and EMS on all matters related to emergency medical care in the county. Currently, Dr. Anas serves as the president of the California Children’s Specialty Care Coalition, a statewide organization of pediatric specialists who advocate for children with special health care needs.

A graduate of West Virginia University, Dr. Anas completed his pediatric training at the Children’s Medical Center, Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and his fellowship training at the University of Rochester. He is board certified in pediatric critical care medicine and pediatric pulmonology.

“CHOC is very proud of Dr. Anas for his passionate dedication to the children and families in Orange County – and beyond. He’s an extraordinary leader, keeping his colleagues and CHOC on the forefront of critical care medicine. As an inspiring advocate, he’s tireless in his efforts to ensure all children have access to the finest facilities, equipment, treatment and care,” said Dr. Maria Minon, vice president, medical affairs and chief medical officer, CHOC Children’s.

Federal Government Delays ICD-10 Conversion

Clock & Stethoscope

On April 1, 2014, President Obama signed into law the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014,” which requires the delay of ICD-10 for at least one year. Specifically, the bill states that the Department of Health and Human Services cannot adopt the ICD-10 code set as the standard until at least October 1. 2015. (The health care industry had been preparing to make the switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10 on October 1, 2014.)

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), which is recognized as the leading source of health information management knowledge, is actively seeking clarification on a number of issues related to this new development, and is urging that implementation of ICD-10 be postponed no longer than October 1, 2015. Until more is known, AHIMA is encouraging health care organizations to continue with preparations for transitioning from ICD-9 to ICD-10.

CHOC’s ICD-10 team, comprised of representatives from many departments, is continuing to move forward with preparation activities. A comprehensive review of the program has been conducted and very few deliverables have been put on hold due to the momentum and volume of readiness-related activities. As a program deliverable for the month of April, an organization-wide scorecard (containing key performance indicators for each work stream) has been created and will be delivered monthly to all associates and physicians.

If you have any questions related to CHOC’s ICD-10 program, please contact Jason Fischer, director, business applications and revenue cycle, at 714-509-4728.


Dr. James Pierog discusses pediatric emergency medicine

A pediatric-dedicated emergency department is staffed with medical professionals who are specially trained to handle pediatric emergencies, Dr. James Pierog, medical director of emergency medical services at CHOC Children’s, tells “American Health Journal.”

Specially trained physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and pharmacists, as well as child life specialists, are on hand at the Julia and George Argyros Emergency Department at CHOC Children’s to ensure top care for children in need of medical attention, Dr. Pierog says.

Learn more about pediatric emergency services in “American Health Journal,” a television program that airs on PBS and other national network affiliates that reach more than 30 million households.

Each 30-minute episode features six segments with a diverse range of medical specialists discussing a full spectrum of health topics. For more information, visit

James Pierog, M.D., is an emergency medicine specialist, board certified in emergency medicine and pediatric emergency medicine. He attended medical school at UCLA. He completed an internship in internal medicine and his residency in emergency medicine at the USC, Los Angeles County Medical Center.

Get more information about referring patients to CHOC, including a referral information directory, services directory and referral guidelines.

Dr. Troy Reyna Discusses Lumps, Bumps in Children

Though commonly found in children, lumps and bumps are don’t always require surgery, Dr. Troy Reyna, a pediatric surgeon at CHOC Children’s, tells “American Health Journal.”

These conditions can occur anywhere under the skin, and are commonly found in the head and neck region, says Dr. Reyna.

Learn more about lumps and bumps in “American Health Journal,” a television program that airs on PBS and other national network affiliates that reach more than 30 million households.

Each 30-minute episode features six segments with a diverse range of medical specialists discussing a full spectrum of health topics. For more information, visit

Troy Reyna, M.D. is board certified in pediatric surgery and general surgery by the American Board of Surgery. Dr. Reyna is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he majored in chemistry. He received his medical degree from Georgetown University Medical School. He completed his surgical internship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and his surgical residency at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu. Dr. Reyna served his pediatric surgery fellowship at Columbus Children’s Hospital.

Get more information about referring patients to CHOC, including referral information directory, services directory and referral guidelines.