The Southeast Permanente Medical Group

The Southeast Permanente Medical Group is an integral part of Kaiser Permanente. Our physicians can coordinate virtually every aspect of patient care - from referrals to laboratory tests to medications. With everything under one umbrella, our patients receive the highest continuity of care.

March 24, 2011

Three TSPMG Physicians Go on Medical Mission to Haiti

From left to right: Scott Pugel, MD, Jaime Pham, MD and
Jim Toth, MD, at the Whitney Clinic in Hinche, Haiti.

One of TSPMG's newest physicians has had a long commitment to serve the people of Haiti through medical mission trips to the besieged island nation. Jim Toth, MD, who serves at the Sugar Hill-Buford Medical Office as a primary care physician, has visited Haiti every year for the past 11 years. During his trips, Dr. Toth helped set up the Whitney Clinic, a year-round care facility in the heart of that country.

In a bit of irony, Dr. Toth's hiring happened because of his successful efforts to ask other physicians to join him in Haiti. “He recruited me to go with him a decade ago,” says Scott Pugel, MD, Managing Physician at the Gwinnett Medical Office. “I was able to recruit him to join TSPMG last year.”

At the end of February, Drs. Toth and Pugel visited Haiti one more time, this time joined by Jaime Pham, MD, a pediatrician at Gwinnett, along with other physicians and dentists. They returned to the Whitney Clinic in Hinche, a town 40 miles north of Port-au-Prince, and checked in on patients, providing free primary, pediatric and dental care for a week, eventually serving more than 1,300 Haitians.

For a unique look at this medical mission trip, below are extracts from e-mail updates written by Dr. Toth's wife, Catherine.

Monday, Feb. 21:

"There are several ‘good things’ this year: The roads were nice and smooth; they are starting to put in power-lines—which means lights are coming!  This will allow for travel at night at some point in the future.

"[This year, the clinic area has] new paint, new lights and  working fans, oh my!  VERY NICE!!  [It] will be much more comfortable!

"Scott Pugel and Jaime Pham saw an 8-day old brought in with jaundice and dehydration.  The first picture I got, it looked like a doll it was so tiny!  Then I got the whole story with an up close picture.  The baby has a cleft lip and palate... [causing] a nutrition/feeding issue."

Tuesday, Feb. 22:

"The little girl with the cleft palate came back today and is already looking better now that feeding is being done correctly.  I gave them the info on Operation Smile, so hopefully she can be put on their list for the next time they are in town."

Wednesday, Feb. 23:

"Today was a tough day all around.  They actually saw less patients by the numbers today (183 medical and 83 teeth pulled by dental), but they were MUCH sicker. This is a typical pattern for the middle of the week; tomorrow will probably be the same if not worse."

Thursday, Feb. 24:

"At first, Jim texted that they saw 209 patients on the medical side and 42 patients in dental with 54 extractions.  That seemed about right, when compared to the rest of the week.  Then I got a text telling me 'Ooops, I made a mistake! Medical saw 290, as in ten short of 300!'  (Now first of all, his mother always told him, NO ONE wants to hear their doctor say ‘Ooops!’), but this was a big difference!

"[Today, another member of the team] purchased 80 lbs. of rice and beans in the market and by 6 pm it was all gone.  Rice and beans??  Evidently they don’t just hand out medicine in the pharmacy, especially if it needs to be taken with food!  SO you get your prescription filled and a bag of rice and beans as well.

"We talked briefly about all the sad patient stories from yesterday as well as several from today.  There are more sad stories than most people realize.  The team will still interact with dignity in the face of death, the patients deserve that.  Too often they are told to go to Cange [another medical facility] and they can be made better or that an expensive treatment will cure them.  We have to tell the truth, there is nothing that can be done; we will work with you and your family so that you will be comfortable and your pain will be controlled."

Friday, Feb. 25:

"Some final numbers:  Medical saw a total for the week of 1,112 and Dental 225.  They purchased 1,300 lbs of beans and rice to hand out to over 144 people.  They averaged 7 lbs. of rice and 2.25 lbs. of pinto beans per person.  I asked when we started to give out food in the pharmacy and he told me a couple of years ago.  People would come in complaining of belly pain, but there was no medicine necessary.  It was hunger.  They don’t give food to everyone, only the very poor.

"That’s it for this year.  They get up at 5 am tomorrow, mass is at 6 am and they plan to be on the road to [Port au Prince] by 7:30 am.... Goodnight!"



April 12, 2011

TSPMG Clinicians Receive Golden Stethoscope Award

Tom Steimer, MD
Jessica Morse, MD
Mary Clauson, CNP

Three Southeast Permanente Medical Group (TSPMG) clinicians recently received the “Golden Stethoscope” Award in recognition of their hard work and care they provide for Kaiser Permanente of Georgia members.

The “Golden Stethoscope” award recognizes clinicians who have demonstrated leadership and gone above and beyond their daily responsibilities. Recipients are nominated by their peers and the awards are presented quarterly.

Mary Clauson, CNP, Jessica Morse, MD, and Tom Steimer, MD, were presented with the award at the recent TSPMG business meeting.

Tom Steimer, MD – Gwinnett Medical Office, Pediatrics: As a Lead-MD at the Gwinnett Medical Office, Dr. Steimer is always busy. But coworker Mark Moncino, MD says that never stops Dr. Steimer from helping others. “He has gone above and beyond too many times to count,” said Dr. Moncino. In addition to his regular task of providing superior care for KP members, Dr. Steimer opens up his schedule when the office is short-handed and travels to other KP offices when they are need – often giving up his admin time. Dr. Monicino says that despite his busy schedule, Dr. Steimer is always organized, completes his work and does it with a smile.

Jessica Morse, MD – Hospitalist, Piedmont Hospital: As a new member of TSPMG, Dr. Morse quickly discovered how important teamwork and planning is with in the medical group. It was that insight that earned Dr. Morse a Golden Stethoscope award. When the forecast called for a major ice and snowstorm, she had the insight to plan ahead. Knowing that she was scheduled to work but her child’s day care would be closed, Dr. Morse drove her child to South Carolina to stay with her parents. “She did not miss a single day of work,” said Martha Wilber, MD, who nominated Dr. Morse. “But she did miss her handsome 2-year-old for the whole week that he was gone.”

Mary Clauson, CNP – Glenlake Medical Center, Pain Management: Care and compassion is important part of the work within TSPMG.  When Mary went above beyond to care for Verna Drake, not only was she taking care of a Kaiser Permanente member, she was also looking after a colleague. After visiting with Mary in her office, Verna said that in addition to taking time to listen to her concerns she did something even more important – she exemplified respect. “I left that appointment feeling more hopeful about the symptoms and treatment of my condition,” said Verna.





March 25, 2011

Joseph Schifilliti, MD, named TSPMG Chief of Risk Management

Rob Schreiner, MD, TSPMG Executive Medical Director, announced today that Joseph Schifilliti, MD has been named Chief of Risk Management for The Southeast Permanente Medical Group. His new role will be effective on May 1. Dr. Schifilliti's appointment follows a ten-month apprenticeship program that provided him with an opportunity to gain hands-on training and experience while working with our current head of Risk Management, Robert Van Der Meer, MD, who will return to full-time clinical practice on July 1.

Dr. Schifilliti, a member of our Ob/Gyn team, joined TSPMG in 1998. He holds a bachelor's degree from Columbia University, received his medical degree from Harvard University, and completed his residency at Cornell University's New York Hospital. He worked with Group Health Medical Associates and Cigna Healthcare of Arizona prior to joining TSPMG.



April 19, 2011

TSPMG Staff Volunteer for the 2011 Corporate Green Day Challenge

Rob Schreiner, MD, TSPMG Executive Medical Director, joins Doc Broc at the 2011 Corporate Green Day Challenge.

TSPMG physicians and employees from across the Georgia Region honored Earth Day on Saturday, April 16 by participating in the Corporate Green Day Challenge.

Working in partnership with Trees Atlanta, staff helped clear old railroad tracks that now serve as a walking trail in the Reynoldstown neighborhood. The path is one of the system of trails along the Atlanta BeltLine.

“Last year, Kaiser Permanente marked our 25th year in Georgia with a legacy gift to help fund a two and a half mile trail along the Atlanta BeltLine,” explained Rob Schreiner, MD, TSPMG executive medical director, who spent the morning shoveling dirt and debris from around old railroad ties. “We wanted to continue our work with the BeltLine. So this year, our employees are working in partnership with Trees Atlanta to clean up and improve an existing walking trail on the BeltLine.”

Kaiser Permanente has partnered with EarthShare of Georgia in presenting Earth Day events since 2005, and KP employees and physicians have pledged their financial support and time to EarthShare since 2004.

Presented by Kaiser Permanente, the Corporate Green Day Challenge allows employers in both the public and private sector to show their true colors by volunteering in the community and help improve the environment.




May 10, 2011

TSPMG Announces New Specialty Department Physician Directors

The Southeast Permanente Medical Group is pleased to announce the appointment of new Physician Directors for Surgical Specialties, Procedural Specialties and Medical Specialties. These new roles are part of changes to the Specialty Care department that will better position us to take advantage of our continuing internalization and geographic expansion.


James Lucarini, MD, Chief of ENT, has been named Physician Director for Surgical Specialties. He joined TSPMG in 2000 after several years in academic and private practice and has served as Chief of ENT since 2008.  Under Dr. Lucarini’s leadership, the department of Otolaryngology expanded to offer hearing aids and embraced change, becoming our first adopters of open access and referral overhaul/chart review. He received his medical degree from Yale University and completed an internship in surgery at University of Pennsylvania Hospitals and his residency training in Otolaryngology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. In this new role, he will be responsible for the following departments:

  • Otolaryngology/Audiology
  • Pain Management
  • General Surgery/Podiatry
  • Urology
  • Future departments (Plastic Surgery, Vascular Surgery)

John Strickler, MD is our new Physician Director for Procedural Specialties. As the Chief of Dermatology, he has overseen an expansion of one of our highest volume specialty departments. Dr. Strickler completed his medical degree and internship at Tulane University School of Medicine and his residency at the Medical College of Virginia School of Medicine. He joined TSPMG in 2001 and was named Chief of Dermatology in 2005. Under Dr. Strickler’s leadership, the dermatology department has flourished as an innovative, high-functioning, high-quality department. As Physician Director for Procedural Specialties, he will be responsible for the following departments:

  • Cardiology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Women’s Services
  • Dermatology
  • Pulmonology


Stan Jagielski, MD has been named Physician Director for Medical Specialties. Dr. Jagielski has served as Managing Physician of our Crescent Medical Center since 1996. He received his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine and completed his Obstetrics & Gynecology internship and residency at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center. Dr. Jagielski is a strong advocate for Permanente medicine and has played a key role in advocating our medical group to the community and potential customers.  In this new role, he will be responsible for the following departments:

  • Neurology
  • Nephrology
  • Hematology/Oncology
  • Radiology
  • Rheumatology
  • Infectious Disease
  • Endocrinology


The changes we are making move more decision making to the front-line level, and we are certain that the strong leadership of Dr. Lucarini, Dr. Strickler and Dr. Jagielski will continue to improve patient care and department efficiency. Please join us in welcoming them to their new positions.