February 17, 2017

Dr. Reid - MSSNY President
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
Dr. Malcolm Reid
February 17, 2017
Volume 17
Number 7

MLMIC Insurance

Dear Colleagues:

Several physician leaders of the Erie County Medical Society and MSSNY met with the Buffalo News editorial board this week to express concerns about the impact to patient care as a result of statements made by various prosecutorial agencies regarding their intention to prosecute more physicians for inappropriate prescribing of opioids. The participants included: MSSNY Vice President Dr. Thomas Madejski, Erie County Medical Society President Dr. Timothy Gabryel, former MSSNY House of Delegates Speaker (and former AMA President) Dr. Nancy Nielsen and Medical Society of Erie County Executive Director Christine Nadolny.

The physicians emphasized the extensive efforts of the medical community to respond to the opioid abuse crisis. They also recognized the appropriateness of criminal prosecution in certain instances where prescribers are intentionally writing prescriptions for diversion purposes.  However, they also emphasized that it is wrong to prosecute physicians for medical decision-making, as such efforts could intimidate physicians into greatly limiting their prescriptions for necessary medications, which in turn would greatly narrow treatment options for patients.

It is yet another reason for physicians to come to Albany for MSSNY’s Physician Advocacy Day on March 8 to make sure their legislators are aware of the possible narrowing of treatment options for patients due to potentially overly aggressive efforts to prosecute.

SAVE THE DATE!  Physician Advocacy Day in Albany March 8!

Please send your comments to comments@mssny.org



MSSNY Lobby Day Scheduled for March 8TH – Physicians Urged to Attend and Wear Your White Lab Coats
MSSNY’s “Physician Advocacy Day” will be held on Wednesday, March 8th in the Lewis Swyer Theatre in the Egg located at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, New York.

Physicians are urged to come to Albany to participate in MSSNY’s lobby day to give firsthand accounts on the current needs in health care, lobby for the positive provisions included in the proposed state budget and stop several proposals that could have an adverse impact on physician care delivery.

If you plan to attend, please register here.

The morning program will begin at 8 AM, after which physicians will have the opportunity to have meetings with their local Senators and Assemblymembers.   A full slate of legislators and key policymakers have been confirmed to participate in the morning program including:

  • NYS Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan;
  • Jason Helgerson, NYS Medicaid Director;
  • Legislative Panel: Senate Health Chair Kemp Hannon; Assembly Health Chair, Richard Gottfried; Senate Insurance Chair, James Seward; Assembly Insurance Chair Kevin Cahill.

In addition, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle and top health care staff at DFS have been invited.

A brief informal luncheon to which legislators are invited to speak with their constituents will follow the morning program.   In addition to registering here please contact your county medical societies, as they will be scheduling appointments for physicians to meet with their local Assemblymembers and Senators.
(DIVISION OF GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS)                                                      

MSSNY Testifies at Health Budget Hearing
Division of Governmental Affairs’ Senior Vice President / Chief Legislative Counsel Moe Auster testified at a joint public hearing on the health care budget this week.

MSSNY stressed the need for lawmakers to reduce burdensome prior authorization hassles and not increase already overwhelming overhead costs borne by physicians.  In this regard, the testimony included support for the continued funding for the Excess Medical Liability Insurance program while stressing our opposition to the proposed tax clearance obligation as a condition for Excess coverage which could serve as an impediment to timely issuance of the Excess policy.

MSSNY also expressed support for budget proposals that call for the regulation and taxation of E-cigarettes in the same manner as tobacco cigarettes, and the registration and regulation of Pharmaceutical Benefit Manager (PBMs).

MSSNY outlined concerns with a proposal that would allow pharmacists to enter into “comprehensive medication management protocols” with nurse practitioners to manage, adjust and change the medications of certain patients. While similar collaborative drug therapy programs exist in the hospital environment, only physicians are currently permitted to enter into these protocols.

Additionally, MSSNY expressed concerns regarding the Health Care Regulation Modernization team proposal that would be empowered to review and propose fundamental restructuring of statutes, policies and regulations including certificate of need rules and clinician scope of practice laws.  Of greatest concern, the proposal appears to allow various state agencies the ability to implement “demonstration programs” to test and evaluate procedures and processes for organizing, financing and delivering health care services that are not permissible under current statute or regulation.

MSSNY also urged that outstanding Health Republic claims be paid in full.  DFS Superintendent Maria Vullo gave a presentation at the hearing regarding her extensive efforts to oversee the liquidation of HR including the possible initiation of litigation to collect “Risk Corridor” payments as other states have done.

To read MSSNY’s full testimony, please click here.                                           (DIVISION OF GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS STAFF) 

MSSNY OFFERS 3 Hour CME Program on Pain Management, Palliative Care and Addiction; NYS Requires Every Prescriber to Take 3 Hour Course By July 1, 2017
The Medical Society of the State of New York announces a series of three one-hour CME webinars on pain management, palliative care and addiction.  New York State statute requires all prescribers holding a DEA license to complete three hours of coursework no later than July 1st, 2017.   These webinars are being offered FREE OF CHARGE to MSSNY members with a discount code.  The discount code has been provided to MSSNY members.  Non-MSSNY members will be charged $150 for the series.

The Medical Society of the State of New York has worked with the New York State Office for Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services in the development of this program.   Following the webinars, the course will be offered on-line on the MSSNY CME site.   The program will be offered to MSSNY members free of charge and there is a non-member fee of $150 for the on-line series.

The three webinars cover all issues required in the New York State statute and participation is only by computer, or with the Webex app.

Webinars will be held on:

Thursday, March 9, 2017—7:30-8:30am

Understanding the Current Legal Landscape in New York State for Prescribing Controlled Substances

Faculty: Patricia Bruckenthal, PhD, APRN-BS, FAAN & Trishia Allen, Esq.

Educational Objectives:

Understand New York State and Federal Requirements for Prescribing Controlled Substances

Discuss Guidelines for Chronic Pain

Register for this webinar here 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017—7:30-8:30am

Rational Opioid Prescribing for Chronic Pain Conditions

Faculty: Charles Argoff, MD & Patricia Bruckenthal, PhD, APRN-BS, FAAN

Educational Objectives:

Discuss evidence based best practice recommendations for opioid therapy for chronic pain, patient risk assessments and documentation

Describe palliative medical care and end-of-life care

Register for this webinar here 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017—7:30-8:30am

Patients with Opioid Use Disorders: Identification, Treatment, and Management of Co-occurring Pain

Faculty: Jeffrey Selzer, MD, Charles Morgan, MD & Frank Dowling, MD

Educational Objectives:

Describe the Potential for Addiction, Patient Screening, Diagnosis and Subsequent Treatment or Referral.

Recommend Tools to Assist in the Identification of High-Risk Patients for Whom Opioids are Indicated and Prescribed.

Describe Strategies for Treating Pain in Patients with Substance Use Disorders.

Register for this webinar here 

The Medical Society of the State of New York is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Medical Society of the State of New York designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA/PRA Category 1 credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Additional information or assistance with registration may be obtained by contacting Pat Clancy at pclancy@mssny.org
(CLANCY)


Your membership yields results and will continue to do so. When your 2017 invoice arrives, please renew. KEEP MSSNY STRONG!


Physician Uproar Over Kinney Drugs’ New Strep and Flu Testing Program
This week MSSNY alerted state Department of Health and State Education Department officials to the concerns raised by several physicians regarding a new program from Kinney Drug Stores in 10 Onondaga County locations to conduct “rapid tests” of customers for strep and influenza and facilitate telemedicine treatment for these customers if these initial tests are positive.  These physicians’ concerns were extensively documented on a local Syracuse television station this week.

Several physicians have been in contact with Kinney officials directly questioning whether Kinney has legal authority to do this, as well as whether this could adversely impact patient health because of the possibility of “false positives” and “false negatives”.  These initial conversations have resulted in Kinney increasing from 13 to 18 the minimum age of customers who could be rapid tested for strep and flu.  Kinney representatives have noted that its actions are legal because these sites have been approved by New York State to perform rapid strep and flu tests under the supervision of a physician medical director as these are “CLIA waived tests”.

MSSNY staff has also been in touch with Kinney representatives, and will be facilitating dialogue between local county medical society physician leaders and Kinney representatives to discuss how best to assure patients’ health.
(AUSTER, CLANCY)

Details on Federal Health Care Changes Start to Emerge
House Republicans have released an outline of how they would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.  Their plan would include giving states the power to design their own plans, increasing the amount individuals can put in their Health Savings Accounts and allows individuals and families to spend money from their HSA on “over-the-counter” health care items.  Their plan also includes a monthly portable tax credit that can be used to buy a health insurance plan that would be based on age. Of greatest significance to New York State, it would phase out the Medicaid eligibility expansion contained in the ACA.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also issued a proposed rule this week that would make the following changes, with the goal of helping to stabilize the individual and small group market.

  • Expand Pre-Enrollment verification of eligibility
  • Allowing an issuer to collect premiums for prior unpaid coverage, before enrolling a patient in the next year’s plan with the same issuer.
  • Provide greater flexibility to insurers to offer varying coverage options.
  • Give states the authority to assess issuer network adequacy.
  • Shorten the upcoming annual open enrollment period for the individual market.
    (Belmont)

Aetna-Humana Calls off Its Merger and Cigna Sues to End Merger with Anthem
While Aetna and Humana announced that they were ending their proposed merger this week, a federal judge temporarily blocked Cigna from immediately terminating its proposed merger agreement with Anthem, after Cigna earlier this week sued Anthem seeking to end the agreement.  These actions follow recent rulings blocking these proposed mergers from moving forward.  These proposed mergers had been challenged by several patient advocacy and physician advocacy organizations including the American Medical Association and MSSNY because of the very significant market impact the mergers would have had in various regions across the country, and in New York.  Last fall, MSSNY President Dr. Malcolm Reid and AMA representatives testified at a New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) hearing to express strong concerns with the proposed merger of Anthem and Cigna.                        (AUSTER)

DOH Provides Information on New Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnostic Imaging
In July 2016, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation to help more women get breast cancer screening and diagnostic imaging. The legislation prohibits insurers in New York from requiring cost-sharing for women who get these services. A copy of the letter that the New York Department of Financial Services sent to insurers about the new requirements can be found here.

No cost-sharing means that women who have health insurance policies covered by this law do not have to pay any out-of-pocket costs for breast cancer screening and diagnostic imaging. This means that insurers cannot apply the services against annual deductibles and also cannot charge patients a co-payment or coinsurance.  Important note: no cost-sharing applies only when services are delivered by a provider in your health plan’s network. Services may not be covered at all if delivered by a provider outside of your health plan’s network. The law removes cost-sharing for mammograms, including:

a single, baseline mammogram for women 35 to 39 years old, yearly mammograms for women 40 years of age or older, and mammograms for women at any age who are at an increased risk of breast cancer because they have a prior history of breast cancer, or they have a first degree relative (e.g., parent, sibling, child) with breast cancer. The law also removes cost-sharing for women in need of imaging tests other than standard mammograms – such as diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasounds, and breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the detection of breast cancer.  Additional information can be found here.  (CLANCY)

Register Now for Upcoming Medical Matters 2017 CME Webinar Series
The Medical Society of the State of New York encourages you to register for its next Medical Matters webinar on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 7:30 a.m. with Exercise Response to Novel Influenza Strains.  Faculty for this program is Pat Anders, MS, MEP, Manager, Health Emergency Preparedness Exercises, New York State Department of Health, Office of Health Emergency Preparedness.  Registration is now open for this webinar here just click on “Upcoming”.

The educational objectives are: 1) Understand preparedness and response actions of public health and healthcare to a novel pandemic influenza, simulated in full-scale exercise.  2)  Describe two delineated strategies in which public health and office-based physicians would interact in a pandemic influenza.

Additional information or assistance with registration may be obtained by contacting Melissa Hoffman at mhoffman@mssny.org. 

Medical Matters is a series of CME webinars sponsored by MSSNY’s Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster/Terrorism Response. 

The Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

MSSNY designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.   Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  (CLANCY, HOFFMAN)

For more information relating to any of the above articles, please contact the appropriate contributing staff member at the following email addresses:

pschuh@mssny.org mauster@mssny.org         pclancy@mssny.org   jbelmont@mssny.org

enews large

MSSNYPAC – The Political Voice for New York’s Physicians
Supporting MSSNYPAC with a financial contribution is an important investment in the preservation of our noble profession.   You can help to strengthen the physician’s political voice to help direct the shape of healthcare policy.  Physicians face opposition on many fronts.  Therefore, we need to be prepared with a well-funded MSSNYPAC to support the candidates who truly understand the concerns of physicians trying to assure their patients receive the best possible care.  In light of what’s at stake, isn’t it time you lent your voice to our efforts?  Join or increase your support and participation today at www.mssnypac.org/contribute

MLMIC Shares Anticipated Timeline for Berkshire Hathaway Transaction

Dear MSSNY Member:

As you know, in July of 2016, your endorsed carrier MLMIC announced its intention to be acquired by Berkshire Hathaway. We’re pleased to advise you that the transaction is on track and progressing forward in accordance with the measures and actions required under New York Insurance Law Section 7307 (NYIL §7307), designed to protect “the interests of the policyholders and the public.” We are, however, disappointed that the process is taking slightly longer than anticipated.  As you know, we anticipated a culmination of the process in the third quarter of 2017. We are now hopeful that the process will be completed by year end 2017.  As such, policyholders can expect several major milestones to occur between now and the expected close of the transaction.  The estimated timeline for these milestones is currently as follows:

  1. In accordance with NYIL §7307, MLMIC is being examined by the NYS Department of Financial Services (DFS) to assess the financial condition of the Company. That examination is expected to be completed during the second quarter of 2017.
  2. In accordance with NYIL §7307, the DFS will also conduct an independent valuation of the Company to assess the fairness of the cash consideration to be paid by Berkshire to owners of eligible MLMIC policies from July 14, 2013 through July 14, 2016. This valuation is expected to be completed during the third quarter of 2017.
  3. In accordance with NYIL §7307, once the examination and independent valuation are done, MLMIC’s Board will request permission from the Superintendent to submit a Plan of Conversion for approval by DFS. MLMIC will then prepare and disseminate detailed information regarding the Plan of Conversion to all of those who are eligible to vote (i.e. those who were policyholders on July 14, 2016) on this transaction.  The Superintendent will then hold a public hearing regarding the Plan of Conversion.  Following this hearing, the Superintendent will review the Plan of Conversion, and if approved, will authorize MLMIC to conduct a vote.
  4. In accordance with NYIL §7307, we expect to hold a vote of those eligible to vote on this transaction during the fourth quarter of 2017. If two-thirds or more of those voting elect to proceed with the transaction, the transaction will close and Berkshire will authorize distribution of payments shortly thereafter.

As we progress forward and achieve these milestones, we will provide an update via MSSNY E-News, and on MLMIC’s blog and the “Frequently Asked Questions” webpage. If you have any questions about the transaction, please call 1-888-998-7871.

Thank you for your continued support as we complete this exciting transaction that will deliver a significant financial benefit to those who owned an eligible policy from July 14, 2013 through July 14, 2016 and will enable us to continue to serve our policyholders with high quality liability insurance for many years to come.

Robert A. Menotti, M.D.
President, MLMIC


SAVE THE DATE

Physician Lobby Day in Albany
Wednesday, March 8th, 2017
YOU NEED TO TAKE A DAY AWAY FROM YOUR PRACTICE
Call Your County Medical Society for Details



New York Investigating Three Cases of Leptospirosis in Bronx Neighborhood
The New York Times (2/14) reported that the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene “is investigating three recent cases” of the rare disease leptospirosis “that have occurred in the Grand Concourse neighborhood of the Bronx.” Leptospirosis “infections commonly occur through exposure to rat urine,” and the city has “taken ‘immediate measures’ to reduce the rat population in the area and” educate residents about the disease.


FOR YOUR PATIENTS: MY DRUG IS NOT COVERED. NOW WHAT?

With the rising cost of healthcare today, families are in need of assistance.  The New York Rx Card can help with those prescription costs and is a free program available to all New York residents.  No eligibility requirements or forms to fill out, simply take the card into the pharmacy to receive savings of up to 75% on prescription medications for the whole family.  New York Rx Card is a proud supporter of Children’s Miracle Network.  A donation will be made to your local CMN hospital each time a prescription is processed through the New York Rx Card.  Go to www.newyorkrxcard.com and print your free card today.

Travel Ban Creates Uncertainty for Upcoming Match Day
The Chicago Tribune (2/11) reported that the “continuing uncertainty surrounding” President Trump’s travel ban “has international medical school graduates and teaching hospitals on edge.” According to the national Resident Matching Program, “about 14 percent of residents who matched through the main matching program – more than 3,700 people – were non-U.S. citizens who graduated from medical schools outside the U.S.” The article points out that the American Medical Association “has asked the Trump administration for guidance on Trump’s order to ensure it doesn’t keep out qualified med school grads or leave hospitals with unfilled training spots.”

AMA President Andrew W. Gurman said, “International medical graduates have been a resource to provide medical care to areas that don’t otherwise have access to physicians. With the current uncertainty about those physicians’ immigration status, we don’t know whether or not these areas are going to receive care.”

Over 65: Taking At Least Three Psychiatric Meds More Than Doubled in Nine Years
“The number of retirement-age Americans taking at least three psychiatric” medications “more than doubled between 2004 and 2013, even though almost half of them had no mental health diagnosis on record, researchers” found after analyzing “data from annual government surveys of office-based” physicians. In particular, investigators “focused on office visits by people 65 or older that resulted in the prescribing of at least three of a list of psychiatric, sleep and pain medications.” The findings were published online Feb. 13 in a research letter in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Two Upstate New York Medical Groups to Merge
The Schenectady Daily Gazette (2/9) reports that Community Care Physicians and CapitalCare Medical Group are planning to merge. When combined, the two “will offer urgent care, primary care and care in 30 specialties at more than 50 locations across the Capital Region.” The article reports that additional details will be released Friday “when Dr. Shirish Parikh, CEO of Community Care, and Joan Regan Hayner, CEO of Capital Care, make a formal announcement of the plans at a news conference.”

Pediatrics: Drunk Driving Contributes To More than One in Four Crashes among Young
Research suggests that drunk driving “contributes to more than one in four motor vehicle fatalities for children, teens and young adults [in the United States] – and nearly half of these deaths happen at night or on weekends.” Researchers “analyzed crashes that occurred from 2000 to 2013 and involved at least one driver with a blood alcohol level of at least 0.08 percent, the legal limit in most states.” People killed in motor vehicle crash fatalities involving alcohol were “predominantly male (73 percent) and most were at least 18 years old.” The findings were published in the journal Pediatrics.


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Modern/High End Office (Upper East Side)
Large and Modern office to share.  Located on the ground floor.  2+ treatment/exam rooms, large waiting room, private office, storage.  Price is negotiable for 1-3 day/week.  Call Dr. Austin 5189284819 or email ian@caneandaustin.com No broker fee.  Craig Austin, M.D. 120 East 64th Street, NYC 10065



Elegant Plastic Surgery Office (Upper East Side Manhattan)
Very large and classy office to share. Located in the ground floor of a 25′ x 100′ carriage house opposite the 66th Street Armory with large consult room, 2+ treatment/exam rooms, large waiting room, business office, storage. See video of office — you won’t believe it: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uli8Cck_eRA   $5000/month incl utilities. no brokers. Call Doctor Fischman at (212) 472–3300.Jeffrey R. Fischman, M.D.  110 E 66th Street.

Physician Opportunities


A Private Multidisciplinary Medical Group is seeking an Internal Medicine/Family Medicine Physician in Manhattan
A well-established Manhattan based private multidisciplinary medical group is seeking to hire an Internal Medicine/Family Medicine Physician. This is a great opportunity to start your own practice in a modern office in midtown Manhattan. Attractive base salary plus comprehensive benefits package offered (Malpractice, 3 weeks paid vacation, 1 week CME, CME allowance, paid health insurance, etc).If you are a solo practitioner in private practice looking to join a private group practice, we will work with you to make the transition seamless. Please email your CV to tsrgexpress@gmail.com. No recruiters please.

A Private Multidisciplinary Medical Group is seeking a Podiatrist in Manhattan
A well-established Manhattan based private multidisciplinary medical group is seeking to hire a Podiatrist. This is a great opportunity to start your own practice in a modern office in midtown Manhattan. Attractive base salary plus comprehensive benefits package offered (Malpractice, 3 weeks paid vacation, 1 week CME, CME allowance, paid health insurance, etc).If you are a solo practitioner in private practice looking to join a private group practice, we will work with you to make the transition seamless. Please email your CV to tsrgexpress@gmail.com. No recruiters please.

CALL FOR RATES & INFO. CHRISTINA SOUTHARD: 516-488-6100 ext. 355

February 10, 2017 – Victory! Aetna-Humana Merger Nixed!

Dr. Reid - MSSNY President
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
Dr. Malcolm Reid
February 10, 2017
Volume 17
Number 6

mssny_enews_dividend

Dear Colleagues:

As you may be aware, some of our physicians in the Central New York and Adirondack area have received letters from the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) of the NYS Attorney General’s Office.

These letters are the result of investigations conducted by MFCU concerning billing agents (and the providers that utilize their services). Our physicians are being asked to refund money based on MFCU’s decision of fraudulent billing stemming from contracts that are perceived to be allowing fee splitting.

MFCU points out that billing services that charge medical professionals a percentage of costs for claims submitted is in violations of Medicaid rules. MFCU also mentions that this form of billing is in violation of NYS Education Law. MSSNY is advising our member physicians to review their billing vendor service contracts. If your contract appears to allow this type of percentage billing, it is urged that you share these two documents with your billing service:

It is important that you seek to amend the fees you pay your biller for Medicaid claim submissions to either payment based on time or a flat fee for claims submitted.

Again, these letters are coming from MFCU and are not generated by NYSDOH, OMIG, NYS Education Department or OPMC. From our understanding, this recovery activity will impact fee for service and Medicaid fee for service and managed care.

If you have questions, please call Regina McNally at 488-6100 ext. 339.

Anthem Cigna Merger Blocked

Wednesday’s decision to block the mega-merger between insurance giants Anthem and Cigna is an important development for patients and their physicians. While many regions of New York State and across the country continue to be dominated by a few large insurers, this proposed merger would have made this problem even worse. Indeed, many patient and physician advocacy organizations raised concerns regarding the potential impact of this merger proposal on patient care, including MSSNY and the American Medical Association during a public hearing (where I testified) held by the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) last September. We thank New York DFS Superintendent Maria Vullo for publicly articulating the huge market impact of this proposed merger had it been permitted to go forward, and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for joining the US Department of Justice’s action to block the merger.

The ruling, by Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, came two weeks after another federal judge blocked a proposed $37 billion merger between Aetna and Humana on antitrust grounds.

As expected, the day after the decision, Anthem Inc. appealed the federal judge’s decision to block its acquisition of Cigna, but the future of the deal was unclear amid discord between the two partners.

Apparently, it’s not over yet.

As a personal endnote, my family and I would like to sincerely thank everyone for the outpouring of sympathy regarding the death of my mother last Sunday.

SAVE THE DATE!  Physician Advocacy Day in Albany March 8!

Please send your comments to comments@mssny.org




Your membership yields results and will continue to do so. When your 2017 invoice arrives, please renew. KEEP MSSNY STRONG!


Please Contact Your Legislators to Express Concerns with Several State Budget Proposals
Physicians are urged to continue to contact their elected officials regarding a number of State Budget proposals listed below.   While the proposed Executive Budget contains a number of positive provisions, it also includes several proposals that could have an adverse impact on physician care delivery.  Physicians are urged to contact their legislators to ask that these adverse provisions be removed from the Budget or, where appropriate, additional allocations be made.  For example:

  • We appreciate that funding for the Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance program is proposed to be continued at previous years’ funding levels.  However, physicians would be required to receive a “tax clearance” as a pre-condition, potentially a cumbersome requirement that could unnecessarily endanger coverage for some physicians.  To send a letter to your legislators, click here.
  • Pharmacists would be permitted to enter into “comprehensive medication management protocols” with physicians or nurse practitioners to manage, adjust and change the medications of patients with a chronic disease or diseases who have not met clinical goals of therapy, are or at risk for hospitalization.  While similar “collaborative drug therapy” programs exist within the hospital environment, only physicians are currently permitted to enter into such protocols.  To send a letter to the Legislature, click here.
  • “Prescriber prevails” protections that currently exist in Medicaid and Medicaid Managed Care would be eliminated, except for atypical antipsychotic and anti-depressant medications, forcing physicians to go through even more burdensome prior authorization requirements.  To send a letter to your legislators, click here.
  • The State Budget fails to include a specific allocation to address the likely shortcoming in payments due physicians arising from the financial collapse of liquidated insurer Health Republic. To send a letter to your legislators urging funding in the Budget to address this shortfall, click here.
  • The Budget would establish a 25 member “Healthcare Regulation Modernization Team” to look at developing numerous health care delivery change proposals including “modernizing” Certificate of Need laws, and changing scopes of practice for non-physicians. Of significant concern, the language would permit state agencies to implement demonstration programs without the need for legislative approval.
  • Giving overbroad discretion to state officials to drop physicians and other prescribers from the Medicaid program based upon the “inappropriate prescribing of opioids.

MSSNY will be testifying at a Joint Legislative Hearing this Thursday to examine concerns with the proposed Health Budget.
(DIVISION OF GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS)

Court Ruling Blocks Anthem-Cigna Merger from Moving Forward
A US Federal court issued a ruling this week blocking the proposed merger between health insurance giants Anthem and Cigna.  The proposed merger had been challenged by several patient advocacy and physician advocacy organizations including the American Medical Association and MSSNY because of the very significant market impact the merger would have had in various regions across the country, including in Long Island and New York City.  Last fall, MSSNY President Dr. Malcolm Reid testified at a New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) hearing to express strong concerns with the proposed merger.

The judge found that the merger would have substantially lessened competition for the sale of health insurance to national employers resulting in higher prices and diminished prospects for innovation. In a historic, stunning affirmation of the position urged by the AMA and consequently adopted by the government, Judge Jackson concluded that an enhanced ability to coerce physicians to accept lower reimbursement is not a merger efficiency defense.  She determined that it would not benefit consumers and “would erode the relationship between insurers and providers” and “reduce the collaboration” that is essential to innovation in payment and delivery.

In response to the court’s ruling, Dr. Reid gave the following statement.

Yesterday’s decision to block the mega-merger between insurance giants Anthem and Cigna is an important development for patients and their physicians.  While many regions of New York State and across the country continue to be dominated by a few large insurers, this proposed merger would have made this problem even worse.  Indeed, many patient and physician advocacy organizations raised concerns regarding the potential impact of this merger proposal on patient care, including the Medical Society of the State of NY (MSSNY) and the American Medical Association (AMA) during a public hearing held by the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) last September.

We thank New York DFS Superintendent Maria Vullo for publicly articulating the huge market impact of this proposed merger had it been permitted to go forward, and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for joining the US Department of Justice’s action to block the merger.

Anthem Has announced that it will appeal the decision.                              (AUSTER)

Several Health Insurance Reform Initiatives Advanced to Assembly Floor
Several bills supported by MSSNY to address inappropriate health insurer practices were favorably reported from various Assembly committees to the Assembly floor this week:

  • Legislation (A.2704, Lavine) to assure physicians are accorded a fair peer review appeals mechanism before their participation contract with a health insurance company is non-renewed, similar to protections provided when a physician is terminated from network participation;
  • Legislation (A.2539, Gottfried) to prohibit a health insurer from denying care unless it is reviewed by a physician in the same or similar specialty, and licensed in New York State.
  • Legislation (A.2389, Gottfried) to require health insurers to use uniform credentialing forms for reviewing applications to participate in a health insurer’s network; and
  • Legislation (A.2370, Gottfried) to prohibit health insurers from imposing certain requirements on their participating providers, including prohibiting referrals to out of network physicians, and “Most Favored nation” clauses                                                                         (AUSTER)

Physicians Action Needed  March 8th
MSSNY’s Annual Physician’s Advocacy Day – physician’s Urged to Attend and Wear Your White Lab Coats
Join MSSNY and your colleagues to lobby your elected leaders at this year’s annual “Physician’s Advocacy Day” on March 8th! Encourage your Senators and Assembly members to support legislation that is crucial to your practice and oppose the bills that place restrictions and add unreasonable burdens.  This year’s event will be held at the Lewis Swyer Theater at The Egg in Albany from 8am to 12noon, ending with a catered lunch and the opportunity to speak more directly with your legislators.  If you are interested in attending, please register here  or contact Carrie Harring at charring@mssny.org.

The morning program will begin at 8 AM, after which physicians will have the opportunity to have meetings with their local Senators and Assemblymembers.   A full slate of legislators and key policymakers have been confirmed to participate in the morning program including: NYS Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan;Jason Helgerson, NYS Medicaid Director;Legislative Panel: Senate Health Chair Kemp Hannon; Assembly Health Chair, Richard Gottfried; Senate Insurance Chair, James Seward; Assembly Insurance Chair Kevin Cahill.In addition, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle and top health care staff at DFS have been invited. A brief informal luncheon to which legislators are invited to speak with their constituents will follow the morning program.

County medical societies will be scheduling appointments for physicians to meet with their elected representatives. Come meet with your legislators to urge that they:

  • Reject burdensome new impediments to obtaining Excess Medical liability insurance coverage contained in the proposed State Budget;
  • Reject inappropriate scope of practice expansions such as the proposal contained in the proposed State Budget that would permit pharmacists to enter into “medication management protocols” with nurse practitioners;
  • Reject changes to increase physician prior authorization requirements contained in the proposed State Budget;
  • Support legislation to reduce prior authorization hassles including legislation to permit physicians to collectively negotiate contract terms with health insurers;
  • Support legislation to reduce the extraordinary cost of medical liability insurance in New York and reject legislation that would drive up these costs; and
  • Reject legislation that would impose costly and time consuming mandates on physician practices.

Do not leave it to the “other guy”.  Please plan to come to Albany to advocate on behalf of your profession, your community and your patients!
(DIVISION OF GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS)

Dr. Tom Price Confirmed as HHS Secretary
By a 52-47 vote, the US Senate this week confirmed Dr. Tom Price to become the next Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  Dr. Price, an orthopedic surgeon from Georgia, was a Congressman and a Georgia delegate to the AMA House of Delegates.

Dr. Price was the long time sponsor of the Medicare Patient Empowerment Act, legislation supported by many organizations that would enable seniors to have partial coverage to receive care from a physician who does not participate in Medicare program.  He has also opposed various Medicare bundled payment demonstration programs, such as for joint replacement and cardiac surgery, that have been implemented by CMS in several regions across the country. (AUSTER)                                                                                                                                      

Assembly Health Committee Advances Retail Clinic Legislation to Codes Committee
Assembly Bill 958, sponsored by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, passed out of the Assembly Health Committee to the Codes Committee.   This legislation would authorize the establishment of clinics in corporate-owned retail stores.   MSSNY believes that by permitting this practice, NYS will infringe upon the independence of medical decision-making and the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship.

Furthermore, many are concerned that corporately owned and operated retail clinics will open the floodgates to conflicts of interest  as retail clinics could directly profit from the very prescriptions that are written there , and treatments they recommend—all under the very same roof.   Voting against this measure was: Assembly members Kevin Cahill, Aileen Gunther, Ellen Jaffe, Thomas Abinanti and Edward Ra. The measure now goes to the Assembly Codes Committee for its consideration. To send a letter in opposition, click here.
(CLANCY)

Register Now for Upcoming Medical Matters 2017 CME Webinar Series
The Medical Society of the State of New York encourages you to register for its next Medical Matters webinar on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 7:30 a.m. with The Mental Health Impact of Active Shooter/Bombing on the Healthcare Team.  Faculty for this program is Craig Katz, MD, member of MSSNY’s Emergency Preparedness and Disaster/Terrorism Response Committee.  Registration is now open for this webinar here just click on “Upcoming”.

The educational Objectives are: 1) Describe the psychological problems and stress symptoms that can result from an active shooter/bombing event in the healthcare setting.  2) Identify means by which members of the healthcare team can address  stress before,  during and after an active shooter/bombing event.  3) Review resources and methodologies available to address the mental health impact of an active shooter/bombing on the healthcare team.

The Medical Matters program for March 15, 2017 at 7:30 a.m. is Exercise Response to Novel Influenza Strains.  Faculty for this program is Pat Anders, MS, MEP, Manager, Health Emergency Preparedness Exercises, New York State Department of Health, Office of Health Emergency Preparedness.

A copy of the flyer can be accessed here. Additional information or assistance with registration may be obtained by contacting Melissa Hoffman at mhoffman@mssny.org.

Medical Matters is a series of CME webinars sponsored by MSSNY’s Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster/Terrorism Response. 

The Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

MSSNY designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.   Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  (CLANCY, HOFFMAN)

Assemblyman Schimminger Introduces Proposals Strongly Supported by MSSNY
Assemblyman Schimminger introduced two bills strongly supported by MSSNY. 

  • 5648 – The “medical liability reform act” would implement a number of important reforms to the medical liability adjudication system to reduce the exorbitant and rapidly rising cost of medical liability insurance.  This bill would require an attorney for a plaintiff in a medical, dental or podiatric malpractice case to include with the certificate of merit, an affidavit from a physician stating that there is a reasonable basis for such malpractice action.  The failure to file would result in the dismissal of the suit. The bill also limits noneconomic damages in such causes of action to $250,000 has been adopted by several other states.  Additionally, the bill requires enhanced and comprehensive disclosure of expert witnesses to be used by any party in medical, dental and podiatric malpractice cases.
  • 4914 would prohibit a hospital from requiring board certification as a condition of having staff privileges, and prohibit a health insurance company from requiring board certification as a condition of being a participating physician in such plan. The legislation is designed to alleviate some of burdensome costs & time demands associated with Maintenance of Certificate (MOC) requirements.
    (BELMONT)

For more information relating to any of the above articles, please contact the appropriate contributing staff member at the following email addresses:

pschuh@mssny.org mauster@mssny.org         pclancy@mssny.org   jbelmont@mssny.org

enews large

BMJ: IMGs Seem to Perform At Least as Well as U.S.-Trained Physicians
Hospitalized patients in the U.S. who are treated by attending physicians who received their medical training abroad fair just as well — and in some cases better — than those treated by domestically trained physicians, suggests a study in The BMJ.

The authors examined data on 1.2 million Medicare beneficiaries who were admitted from 2011 to 2014 and treated by 44,000 general internists. Roughly 44% of the internists were international medical graduates.

After multivariable adjustment, patients of international medical graduates had significantly lower 30-day mortality rates than those of U.S. graduates (11.2% vs. 11.6%). The mortality differences were similar across numerous clinical conditions. However, international graduates had higher costs of care ($1145 vs. $1098). Readmission rates were similar between the groups.

The authors write: “Taken together, our findings should reassure policymakers and the public that our current approach to licensing international medical graduates in the US is sufficiently rigorous to ensure high quality care.” The BMJ article

Weekly Charting Tip:

Remember when you were bad in 2nd grade and your teacher told you it was going on your permanent report card? Well, your National Practitioner Data Bank profile is that permanent report card for health care professionals. Most any malpractice settlement or judgment, hospital privilege loss, being terminated by a managed care company, being disciplined by your state board; all of these and more can be found in your NPDB profile. Request a copy via going on line to the NPDB and initiate a “self-query.” It is only a few dollars. Don’t you want to know what every inquiring entity knows about you? You also want to make sure it is accurate. While patients and plaintiff attorneys cannot access this, a hospital where you applied for privileges, a medical group doing a due diligence prior to hiring you or a managed care company, can certainly access it. Also be warned that if you settle a case, your state board will have access to this information if they want to investigate the matter. Forewarned is forearmed!  – Larry Kobak, Esq., Kern Augustine

Governor Announces $20 Million Fund to Expand/Upgrade Healthcare Facilities
The AP (2/3) reports New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the creation of the Community Health Care Revolving Fund, which aims to “help community health organizations that might not be able to expand otherwise.” The state has set aside almost $20 million for the fund in order “to assist local health care providers looking to expand or upgrade their facilities.” The money will be awarded in the form of low-cost loans.

CDC: 40,000,000 Have Some Hearing Loss Due To Noise Outside Workplace
In a Feb. 7, 2017, media briefing with Anne Schuchat, MD, acting director, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the Feb. 7, 2017, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, “40,000,000 American adults have lost some hearing because of noise, and half of them suffered the damage outside the workplace, from everyday exposure to leaf blowers, sirens, rock concerts and other loud sounds.” Researchers found that “24 percent of adults had ‘audiometric notches’ – a deterioration in the softest sound a person can hear – in one or both ears.” The data “came from 3,583 people who had undergone hearing tests and reported the results in the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
The report is available at http://bit.ly/2kAsqlQ

Jan 28 NYSDOH Report: Four Deaths This Influenza Season
The NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) reports in their Influenza Surveillance Report for the week ending January 28, 2017 that  influenza activity level was categorized as geographically widespread:

  • This is the sixth consecutive week that widespread activity has been reported.
  •  There were 5,235 laboratory-confirmed influenza reports, a 20% increase over last week. Of the 1,873 specimens submitted to NYS WHO/NREVSS laboratories, 406 (21.68%) were positive for influenza.
  • Of the 66 specimens tested at Wadsworth Center, 41 were positive for influenza. 31 were influenza A (H3), 2 were influenza A (Not Subtyped), 4 were influenza B (Yamagata) and 4 were influenza B (Victoria).
  • Reports of percent of patient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI3 ) from ILINet providers was 9.19%, which is above the regional baseline of 3.00%.
  • The number of patients hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza was 961, a 4% increase over last week.

There was one influenza-associated pediatric death reported this week. There have been four influenza-associated deaths this season. https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/influenza/surveillance/2016-2017/flu_report_current_week.pdf


SAVE THE DATE
Physician Lobby Day in Albany
Wednesday, March 8th, 2017
YOU NEED TO TAKE A DAY AWAY FROM YOUR PRACTICE
Call Your County Medical Society for Details


NY State of Health Report on Number of Insured by County
Nearly one-quarter of New York City residents have purchased health insurance on New York State of Health, the exchange created by the Affordable Care Act. See the county results here.


Obese People May Be Less Likely To Receive Hospice Care, Research Suggests
Research suggests that obese people are less likely receive hospice care “and more likely to die at home.” The study authors “tracked the experiences of almost 5,700 Medicare beneficiaries who died between 1998 and 2012.” The investigators “looked at weight levels and whether or not someone died in hospice care.” Overall, about “35 percent of those in the study received hospice care, but just 23 percent of the severely obese did. In addition, the severely obese spent four fewer days in hospice care than those with a BMI of 20.” The findings were published online Feb. 6 in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Attest to 2016 EHR Incentive Requirements by March 13 to Avoid Pay Adjustment
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has extended the attestation deadline for providers participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program to Monday, March 13, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. PT.

Providers participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program must attest to the 2016 program requirements by March 13, 2017 to avoid a 2018 payment adjustment.  If you are participating in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, please refer to your state’s deadlines for attestation information.

If you are eligible to participate in both the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, you MUST demonstrate meaningful use to avoid the Medicare payment adjustment. You may demonstrate meaningful use under either Medicare or Medicaid.If you are eligible to participate in both the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, you MUST demonstrate meaningful use to avoid the Medicare payment adjustment. You may demonstrate meaningful use under either Medicare or Medicaid.

Attestation Resources

For More Information
For questions about the Registration and Attestation System, contact the EHR Information Center at 1-888-734-6433 (press option 1). The EHR Information Center is open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET, except federal holidays


CLASSIFIEDS


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Tax, Accounting, Advisory Services
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YSL & Associates LLC
(212) 232-0122
PCAOB-Registered, Peer-Reviewed
Member firm “The MD TAXES Network” CPAs Specializing in Healthcare Professionals


Modern/High End Office (Upper East Side)
Large and Modern office to share.  Located on the ground floor.  2+ treatment/exam rooms, large waiting room, private office, storage.  Price is negotiable for 1-3 day/week.  Call Dr. Austin 5189284819 or email ian@caneandaustin.com No broker fee.  Craig Austin, M.D. 120 East 64th Street, NYC 10065



Elegant Plastic Surgery Office (Upper East Side Manhattan)
Very large and classy office to share. Located in the ground floor of a 25′ x 100′ carriage house opposite the 66th Street Armory with large consult room, 2+ treatment/exam rooms, large waiting room, business office, storage. See video of office — you won’t believe it: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uli8Cck_eRA   $5000/month incl utilities. no brokers. Call Doctor Fischman at (212) 472–3300.Jeffrey R. Fischman, M.D.  110 E 66th Street.

Physician Opportunities


A Private Multidisciplinary Medical Group is seeking an Internal Medicine/Family Medicine Physician in Manhattan
A well-established Manhattan based private multidisciplinary medical group is seeking to hire an Internal Medicine/Family Medicine Physician. This is a great opportunity to start your own practice in a modern office in midtown Manhattan. Attractive base salary plus comprehensive benefits package offered (Malpractice, 3 weeks paid vacation, 1 week CME, CME allowance, paid health insurance, etc).If you are a solo practitioner in private practice looking to join a private group practice, we will work with you to make the transition seamless. Please email your CV to tsrgexpress@gmail.com. No recruiters please.

A Private Multidisciplinary Medical Group is seeking a Podiatrist in Manhattan
A well-established Manhattan based private multidisciplinary medical group is seeking to hire a Podiatrist. This is a great opportunity to start your own practice in a modern office in midtown Manhattan. Attractive base salary plus comprehensive benefits package offered (Malpractice, 3 weeks paid vacation, 1 week CME, CME allowance, paid health insurance, etc).If you are a solo practitioner in private practice looking to join a private group practice, we will work with you to make the transition seamless. Please email your CV to tsrgexpress@gmail.com. No recruiters please.

CALL FOR RATES & INFO. CHRISTINA SOUTHARD: 516-488-6100 ext. 355

February 3, 2017 – DSRIP Not Trickling Funds Down to Doctors

Dr. Reid - MSSNY President
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
Dr. Malcolm Reid
February 3, 2017
Volume 17
Number 5

mssny_enews_dividend

Dear Colleagues:

The Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program, better known as DSRIP, was designed to overhaul Medicaid. NY State released its NYS DSRIP Mid-Point Assessment Final Reports for all 25 PPSs (Performing Provider Systems) throughout the state on January 3, 2017. The reports are extensive.  In case you want to take a look at it, click here.

At our January 19 Council Meeting, a summary of the report was given to the Councilors. The bad news is that DSRIP is not trickling down to physicians as we had anticipated. In the reports, you need to review the DSRIP fund’s flow charts. See them here.

What is quite telling is that the funds are not flowing to physicians. We see that the larger entities are taking their slice of the pie and keeping it for themselves.

On our brief review of the fund flow charts, we see the following:

  • Advocate Community Providers, Inc. has the highest percentage of funds to physicians – 40.8% to PCPs and 6.1% to non-PCPs.
  • Sisters of Charity Hospital of Buffalo, New York is next with 15.53% to PCPs and 1.20% to non-PCPs.
  • Next is Alliance for Better Health Care, LLC at 9.3% to PCPs and appears to have no non-PCPs.
  • Montefiore is next at 6.26% for PCPs and 1.4% to non-PCPs.

Regrettably, the remaining PPSs shared less with the participating physicians.

Based on a statement of the OMIG and the DOH, DSRIP funds are distributed among the participating providers to incentivize providers to reach DSRIP performance goals.

I strongly advise all physicians who are participating in Performing Provider Systems (PPSs) to speak to the administrator of their PPS and question when they will receive their fair share.

Malcolm Reid, MD, MPP
President, Medical Society of the State of New York

Save the Date:
MSSNY Physician Advocacy Day in Albany March 8!

Please send your comments to comments@mssny.org



Please Contact Your Legislators to Express Concerns with Several State Budget Proposals
Physicians are urged to contact their elected officials regarding a number of State Budget proposals listed below.   While the proposed Executive Budget contains a number of positive provisions, it also includes several proposals that could have an adverse impact on physician care delivery.  Physicians are urged to contact their legislators to ask that these adverse provisions be removed from the Budget or, where appropriate, additional allocations be made.  For example,

  • We appreciate that funding for the Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance program is proposed to be continued at previous years’ funding levels.  However, physicians would be required to receive a “tax clearance” as a pre-condition, potentially a cumbersome requirement that could unnecessarily endanger coverage for some physicians.  To send a letter to your legislators, click here.
  • Pharmacists would be permitted to enter into “comprehensive medication management protocols” with physicians or nurse practitioners to manage, adjust and change the medications of patients with a chronic disease or diseases who have not met clinical goals of therapy, are or at risk for hospitalization.  While similar “collaborative drug therapy” programs exist within the hospital environment, only physicians are currently permitted to enter into such protocols.  To send a letter to the Legislature, click here.
  • “Prescriber prevails” protections that currently exist in Medicaid and Medicaid Managed Care would be eliminated, except for atypical antipsychotic and anti-depressant medications, forcing physicians to go through even more burdensome prior authorization requirements.  To send a letter to your legislators, click here.
  • The State Budget fails to include a specific allocation to address the likely shortcoming in payments due physicians arising from the financial collapse of liquidated insurer Health Republic. To send a letter to your legislators urging funding in the Budget to address this shortfall, click here. 
  • The Budget would establish a 25 member “Healthcare Regulation Modernization Team” to look at developing numerous health care delivery change proposals including: “Modernizing the Certificate of Need laws, and changing scope of practice for non-physician.” Of significant concern, the language would permit state agencies to implement demonstration programs without the need for legislative approval. 

Other Items of Note in the State Budget

  • Funding for MSSNY’s Committee for Physicians Health would be continued at past levels;
  • Re-appropriating $300,000 for MSSNY’s Veterans Health Care Initiative.
  • E-cigarettes would be taxed in the same manner as tobacco cigarettes.
  • Requiring the registration and regulation of Pharmaceutical Benefit Manager (PBMs)
  • Making the “inappropriate prescribing of opioids” an unacceptable provider practice in the Medicaid program, giving the state discretion to remove a physician or other prescriber from the program.
  • Reducing prescription drug costs by making drug companies pay a surcharge when costs exceed a certain benchmark to be determined by a Drug Utilization Review Board within the NYS Department of Health;
  • Requiring the testing of public water systems every three years for contaminants.

MSSNY will testify at the state Senate and Assembly public hearing on February 16, 2017 on the proposed NYS health budget.  (DIVISION OF GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS)

MSSNY Lobby Day Just a Few Weeks Away – March 8th – Physicians Urged to Attend and Wear Your White Lab Coats
Please make your plans now to to come to Albany Wednesday March 8 for MSSNY’s “Physician Advocacy Day”, which will be held at the Lewis Swyer Theatre in the Egg located at the Empire State Plaza in Albany.  Please register here.

The morning program will begin at 8 AM.   A full slate of legislators and key policymakers have been invited and/or confirmed to participate including:

  • Jason Helgerson, NYS Medicaid Director;
  • Troy Oechsner, Special Assistant to the Superintendent, Department of Financial Services;
  • Legislative Panel: Senate Health Chair Kemp Hannon; Assembly Health Chair, Richard Gottfried; Senate Insurance Chair, James Seward; Assembly Insurance Chair Kevin Cahill.

In addition, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan have been invited.

A brief informal luncheon to which legislators are invited to speak with their constituents will follow the morning program.   County medical societies will be scheduling appointments for physicians to meet with their elected representatives.

Come meet with your legislators to urge that they:

  • Reject burdensome new impediments to obtaining Excess Medical liability insurance coverage contained in the proposed State Budget;
  • Reject inappropriate scope of practice expansions such as the proposal contained in the proposed State Budget that would permit pharmacists to enter into medication management protocols with nurse practitioners;
  • Reject changes to increase physician prior authorization requirements contained in the proposed State Budget;
  • Support legislation to reduce prior authorization hassles including legislation to permit physicians to collectively negotiate contract terms with health insurers;
  • Support legislation to reduce the extraordinary cost of medical liability insurance in New York and reject legislation that would drive up these costs; and
  • Reject legislation that would impose costly and time consuming mandates on physician practices.

Do not leave it to the “other guy”.  Please plan to come to Albany to advocate on behalf of your profession, your community and your patients!                     
(DIVISION OF GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS)

Medical Liability Bills Re-Introduced
Legislation, A.3339 and S.4080,  have been re-introduced that would substantially lengthen the statute of limitations for medical malpractice actions and lead to enormous increases in the cost of liability insurance for physicians and hospitals.  If enacted, this bill could increase liability premiums by 15% at a time when no premium increases can be tolerated.

MSSNY continues to oppose expansion of liability provisions that would have drastic consequences on York’s health care system.  MSSNY will continue to push for comprehensive liability reform to preserve access to care for patients, not one-sided proposals that would further reduce access.

As we go into Super Bowl weekend, it is a good reminder that little can be done sitting on the sidelines.  Physicians are urged to contact their legislators by writing letters, making phone calls and meeting with their elected officials.  Physicians can send a letter from here.     (BELMONT)


Your membership yields results and will continue to do so. When your 2017 invoice arrives, please renew. KEEP MSSNY STRONG!


Collective Negotiation Bill Introduced
One of MSSNY’s priority pieces of legislation was re-introduced this week.  Legislation, A.4472, Gottfried and S.3663, Hannon, would allow physicians to communicate with each other and jointly negotiate with health maintenance organizations (HMOs).  The bill divides the matters subject to being collectively negotiated into two major areas.

The first issue area involves non‐fee related matters such as utilization review, coverage provisions, benefits and exclusions definition of medical necessity, risk transfer, referral provisions, burdensome pre‐authorization procedures, limited drug formularies and access where necessary to out‐of‐network specialists.

The second issue area which can be negotiated involves fee‐related matters. These can be negotiated, however, only if the health care plan has substantial market share in the service area in which the physicians are practicing.  Strikes are expressly prohibited.

As many health insurers continue to expand their market share, shrink networks and impose more and more administrative burdens that interfere with patient care delivery, enactment of this legislation is essential to preserving the ability of a physician to advocate to assure their patients can get the care they need.   (Belmont) 

Assembly Health Committee Advances Legislation to Protect Physician Due Process Rights with Health Insurers
Legislation, A2704, Lavine, to assure physicians are accorded a fair peer review appeals mechanism before their participation contract with a health insurance company is non-renewed was favorably reported from the Assembly Health Committee to the Codes Committee this week.   MSSNY strongly supports this legislation.

The legislation is designed to protect existing patient-physician treatment relationships from being severed due to arbitrary health plan decisions to shrink their networks.  For example, in late 2015, hundreds of physicians were unfairly dropped from the networks of one large NYC-based insurer, allegedly because of these physicians’ failure to transition to value-based payments. Moreover, a recent MSSNY survey showed that more than 25% of the respondents indicated that they had been dropped from an insurer’s network in recent years.  Identical legislation (S.3943, Hannon) has been introduced in the New York State Senate.
(AUSTER)

Assembly Health Committee Agenda Next Week: Physicians Urged to Oppose Corporate-Owned Retail Clinic Bill
There are several bills of note on the Assembly Health Committee agenda next week, some supported by MSSNY, and some we oppose.  These include:

  • Legislation (A.958, Paulin) strongly opposed by MSSNY which would authorize the establishment of clinics in corporate-owned retail stores. To send a letter in opposition, click here:
  • Legislation (A.2539, Gottfried) strongly supported by MSSNY that would prohibit a health insurer from denying care unless it is reviewed by a physician in the same or similar specialty, and licensed in New York State; and
  • Legislation (A.2703, Gottfried) strongly supported by MSSNY that would clarify that the statutory liability protections offered for physician participants in MSSNY’s Committee for Physicians’ Health (CPH) program extend to the organization who sponsors the program as well as its employees.
    (AUSTER)

MSSNY Fights for Funding to Attract and Retain Physicians in NYS
MSSNY paired up with other health care advocates as part of the Workforce Advisory Group Lobby Day in hopes of gaining support in their efforts to address the shortage of primary physicians in underserved regions in New York State.

Among the notable issues was the request of legislative support for additional funding for Doctors Across New York (DANY).  DANY is a state funded program that was launched in 2008 to train and place physicians in areas of New York State where that specialty is most needed.  After seeing success in recruitment and retention rates in the previous cycles, the Workforce Advisory Group asked for an additional investment of $2 million dollars to award 50 more physicians.  The group also advocated for the expansion of the Take a Look Program – which introduces medical students and residents practicing in NYC to Upstate New York and the opportunities available in medicine.
(Harring, Belmont)

Blue Cross/Blue Shield of WNY Announces Reducing Prior Authorization Burdens for Many Services
As reported in the Buffalo News and on radio station WBFO, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Western New York will be dropping prior authorization http://(http://buffalonews.com/2017/02/01/insurer-policy-shift-drops-preapproval-requirement-many-services/requirements for over 200 medical services.  To review the list of services that will no longer require prior authorization, click here.

These articles note that the action by BCBSWNY followed a report issued last week by the AMA noting the overwhelming burden to physician practices of prior authorization requirements, and the recommendation of several principles that health insurers should follow to reduce these burdens.     MSSNY was one of a handful of state medical societies to work with the AMA in developing these principles.  It also follows strong and sustained advocacy by leaders of the Erie County Medical Society to BCBSWNY and other regional health insurers regarding the need to reduce the administrative burdens that are interfering with patient care delivery.  Review of the list of services is ongoing, and suggestions may be made to expand this list of services not requiring PA.
(AUSTER)

NY State of Department  of Health Announces More Than 3.6 Million New Yorkers Secure Health Coverage
The NY State Department of Health reported this week that it saw a sharp influx of enrollees bringing the total number of people who receive coverage through New York’s Exchange to over 3.6 million – a 29% increase since the end of Open Enrollment in 2016.  While most continue to be enrolled in Medicaid, 1.2 million are enrolled in non-Medicaid plans.  242,880 are enrolled in a non-qualified health plan, with almost 60% of new enrollees entitled to federal tax credits to reduce the cost of monthly premiums.  The “Essential Plan”, which covers individuals with income between 138-200% FPL, saw a 75% upsurge in enrollment, bringing the total number receiving coverage to almost 670,000 New Yorkers.    In addition, 299,214 children are enrolled in Child Health Plus.
(HARRING, AUSTER)

MIPS Educational Webinar Program Available from MSSNY MACRA Webpage
Over 120 physicians and/or their staff participated in a January 26 webinar hosted by MSSNY to learn about key aspects of the new Medicare Merit Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) that went into effect on January 1, 2017.  The MIPS program was enacted as part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), and will have a significant impact on physician care delivery and billing for Medicare.  MSSNY thanks Frank Winter, Partnership Manager for the New York Regional Office for CMS, for taking the time to present important information about this new program for physicians and their staffs, and answering their questions.

To listen to a re-broadcast of this one-hour program, please go to the “MACRA” section of the MSSNY website or click here:  (Members only).
(AUSTER)

DOH Commissioner Medical Grand Rounds to be Held on Feb. 8th
The third session of the 2016-2017 Commissioner’s Medical Grand Rounds series will be held on February 8, 2017 from 6-8 p.m.   The session, “Technology Changes Our Connection: Physician and Patient Communication” will take place in Manhattan at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. The flyer for this session is here.

The session will also be streamed as a live webcast for those unable to attend in-person and will also be offered on our webpage as an archived webinar afterwards. Participants are eligible for CME credits whether they view in-person, via the live webcast, or the archived webcast.   The session will be hosted by NYS DOH Commissioner Howard Zucker, MD.  Presenters are: Richard M Frankel, PhD; Professor of Medicine and Geriatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine Senior Scientist, VA HSR&D Center for Health Information and Communication and Joseph C Kvedar, MD, Vice President, Connected Health, Partners HealthCare Associate Professor, Dermatology, Harvard Medical School.(CLANCY)

Register Now for Upcoming Medical Matters 2017 CME Webinar Series
The Medical Society of the State of New York encourages you to register for its next Medical Matters webinar on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 7:30 a.m. with The Mental Health Impact of Active Shooter/Bombing on the Healthcare Team.  Faculty for this program is Craig Katz, MD, member of MSSNY’s Emergency Preparedness and Disaster/Terrorism Response Committee.  Registration is now open for this webinar here just click on “Upcoming”.

The educational Objectives are: 1) Describe the psychological problems and stress symptoms that can result from an active shooter/bombing event in the healthcare setting.  2) Identify means by which members of the healthcare team can address stress before, during and after an active shooter/bombing event.  3) Review resources and methodologies available to address the mental health impact of an active shooter/bombing on the healthcare team.

The Medical Matters program for March 15, 2017 at 7:30 a.m. is Exercise Response to Novel Influenza Strains.  Faculty for this program is Pat Anders, MS, MEP, Manager, Health Emergency Preparedness Exercises, New York State Department of Health, Office of Health Emergency Preparedness.

A copy of the flyer can be accessed here. Additional information or assistance with registration may be obtained by contacting Melissa Hoffman at mhoffman@mssny.org. 

Medical Matters is a series of CME webinars sponsored by MSSNY’s Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster/Terrorism Response. 

The Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

MSSNY designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.   Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.                               (CLANCY, HOFFMAN)

For more information relating to any of the above articles, please contact the appropriate contributing staff member at the following email addresses:

pschuh@mssny.org mauster@mssny.org         pclancy@mssny.org   jbelmont@mssny.org

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AMA to Homeland Security: Concern re IMGs Who Have Visas to Train/Practice in US
The American Medical Association entered the immigration debate Wednesday with a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security asking the agency to clarify how the Trump Administration’s executive order applies to health workers trained abroad, to those seeking to train in the U.S. and to patients needing care. MSSNY has the same concerns as the AMA as we have a higher percentage of IMGs in New York than other states. The Association of American Medical Colleges said 260 medical students from the seven countries are applying to residency programs in the United States.

It is “vitally important” that this process not impede patients’ access to timely treatment or restrict doctors and international medical graduates “who have been granted visas to train, practice, or attend medical conferences” in the U.S., ” the AMA’s chief executive officer, Dr. James L. Madara, wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly.

Dr. Madara noted that the order could block entry to foreign medical graduates who have applied for or who have been granted visas to come to the U.S. to train and provide care in poor and underserved communities to “some of our most vulnerable patients,” many of whom live in rural and low-income areas. “One of every four physicians practicing in the United States is an [international medical graduate],” he said, noting that they meet the same stringent licensing requirements as US graduates, but they are more likely to practice in underserved and poor communities, and to fill training positions in primary care and other specialties that face significant workforce shortages.

The letter requests rapid action, because the order places into limbo foreign medical school graduates whose residency assignments will be decided next month. He also expressed concerns about how the order might affect medical school applicants granted temporary work permits under an Obama Administration program that allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as minors to remain for at least two years.

Erie County Suing Pharmaceuticals for Promoting Opioids to Doctors/Patients
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is suing several pharmaceutical companies alleging that the companies misled doctors and patients into thinking that their highly addictive medications were safe. The lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court, names 11 major companies- including Purdue, Hanssen, and Endo. Read the Buffalo News story here.

MSSNY Members ONLY: Free Service to Resolve Your Insurance Problems
The Division of Socio-Medical Economics (SME) is responsible for addressing health insurance-related issues and developments affecting the physician community. SME is here to help you and your staff with problems relating to insurance reimbursement for care you render to your patients. We receive thousands of calls each year regarding Medicare, Medicaid, Workers’ Comp (WC), No-Fault Auto (NFA), managed care, traditional indemnity plans, etc. Sometimes we help our members by explaining insurer requirements, diagnosis and procedure coding questions, Medicare/Medicaid Crossover issues, National Provider Identifier (NPI) matters, WC/NFA questions, private-pay arrangements, etc.  This is a FREE SERVICE for MEMBERS ONLY.

In other cases, we may argue with a health plan on behalf of our members for policy clarification or proper payment of a bill or claim. In 2016, our Ombudsman Program recovered $89,815.79 for our members

Please contact the SME staff if you have questions or problems with which you think we can help at 516-488-6100 ext. 334.

Regina McNally, Vice-President


SAVE THE DATE
Physician Lobby Day in Albany
Wednesday, March 8th, 2017
YOU NEED TO TAKE A DAY AWAY FROM YOUR PRACTICE
Call Your County Medical Society for Details


MSSNYPAC – The Political Voice for New York’s
PhysiciansFace-to-face relationship-building with those who will be deciding policies which impact our ability to provide care to our patients is of great importance to all physicians.  MSSNYPAC provides opportunities for physicians to support and encounter physician-friendly candidates.  Every individual physician, resident, medical student and Alliance member is essential to strengthen these relationships. Join or increase your support and participation today at www.mssnypac.org/contribute

Open Payments System Is Now Available
The Open Payments system is now available, enabling physicians and teaching hospitals to register. Physicians and teaching hospitals must register first in order to review any payments and other transfers of value attributed to them. If physicians and teaching hospitals registered last year, they do not need to register again.

If it has been over 180 days since a physician or teaching hospital has logged onto the Enterprise Identity Management System (EIDM), the account has been deactivated for security purposes. If an account must be reactivated, physicians and teaching hospitals can contact the Help Desk. Beginning today, the Help Desk has extended hours from 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. (EST).

The review and dispute period is targeted to start in April 2017, following the close of data submission (the Program Year 2016 data submission window begins on February 1, 2017 and ends on March 31, 2017).

You can learn more about the Open Payments system enhancements by viewing the Open Payments Overview and Enhancements presentation. Additional updated resources are located here.

Questions—Contact Live Help Desk
For more information about Open Payments, please visit the Open Payments website. If you have any questions, you can submit an email to the Help Desk at openpayments@cms.hhs.gov..

Live Help Desk support is available by calling 1-855-326-8366, Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (EST), excluding Federal holidays.

Please be aware that other critical deadlines for the House of Delegates meeting remain ahead of us.

Resolutions Have Two DeadlinesFebruary 17 and March 17!
We tried this last year and it worked well.  Please try to submit any resolutions that are ready by FEBRUARY 17.  This gives staff adequate time to review and contact you or the author with questions or clarifications.

The final deadline for receipt of resolutions is MARCH 17 at 5 PM.  This deadline was selected so that any issues which might arise as a result of Physician Advocacy Day participation can still be addressed.  Anything received after Friday March 17th will be considered LATE and referred to the House Committee on Rules, Credentials and Order of Business.  That committee meets on Thursday April 20, 2017 at 2 PM and the author of that late resolution must be present to discuss the reasons for the lateness of the resolution.

Resolutions must be submitted as word documents (each resolution as a separate document) with the proper formatting, necessary research and policy citations noted.  Resolution titles should be succinct and reflect the broad topic of the resolution.  Guidelines for constructing resolutions and proper formatting are installed on the MSSNY website.  Please research your resolutions to establish whether there is already existing policy on your topic.  The Policy and Position Statements are on the MSSNY website and have been updated through the January Council meeting.

Join us for ARTMED INSIGHT’s February Workshop at the MET Museum! 

THE ART OF SEEING: ART IN CLINICAL PRACTICE 

Expanding Point of View and Creative Thinking Skills
February 17, 2017, from 6 to 8.30 pm and February 18, 2017 from 5 to 7.30 pm

Boost your perceptual and communication skills and strengthen your clinical practice! 

Open to all physicians, physician assistants, psychiatrists, residents, nurses, medicals students, and healthcare professionals across disciplines. 

Expanding Point of View: February 17 from 6 to 8.30 pm

Participants explore art works in order to uncover their perceptual habits and move beyond them. Multiplying perspectives, participants learn how to access new data and ways of seeing. Issues of bias and context are also considered and their relevance to medical practice and patient communication explored.

Enhancing Creative Thinking Skills: February 18 from 5 to 7.30 pm

In part 2 of this workshop, participants investigate art works and develop perceptual tools to “reframe” their looking. This serves to stimulate participants’ creativity and capacity for creative problem solving. Challenges regarding ambiguity and premature closure are also examined and explored.      

Cost: $285 (includes 1/17/17 and 1/18/17 + museum entrance fee) $185 for students

Art experience is welcome but not necessary–Location: The MET Museum in NYC.

Space is limited to insure interactivity! For more information check out our website www.artmedinsight.org and to register go here.


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Modern/High End Office (Upper East Side)
Large and Modern office to share.  Located on the ground floor.  2+ treatment/exam rooms, large waiting room, private office, storage.  Price is negotiable for 1-3 day/week.  Call Dr. Austin 5189284819 or email ian@caneandaustin.com No broker fee.  Craig Austin, M.D. 120 East 64th Street, NYC 10065



Elegant Plastic Surgery Office (Upper East Side Manhattan)
Very large and classy office to share. Located in the ground floor of a 25′ x 100′ carriage house opposite the 66th Street Armory with large consult room, 2+ treatment/exam rooms, large waiting room, business office, storage. See video of office — you won’t believe it: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uli8Cck_eRA   $5000/month incl utilities. no brokers. Call Doctor Fischman at (212) 472–3300.Jeffrey R. Fischman, M.D.  110 E 66th Street.

Physician Opportunities


A Private Multidisciplinary Medical Group is seeking an Internal Medicine/Family Medicine Physician in Manhattan
A well-established Manhattan based private multidisciplinary medical group is seeking to hire an Internal Medicine/Family Medicine Physician. This is a great opportunity to start your own practice in a modern office in midtown Manhattan. Attractive base salary plus comprehensive benefits package offered (Malpractice, 3 weeks paid vacation, 1 week CME, CME allowance, paid health insurance, etc).If you are a solo practitioner in private practice looking to join a private group practice, we will work with you to make the transition seamless. Please email your CV to tsrgexpress@gmail.com. No recruiters please.

A Private Multidisciplinary Medical Group is seeking a Podiatrist in Manhattan
A well-established Manhattan based private multidisciplinary medical group is seeking to hire a Podiatrist. This is a great opportunity to start your own practice in a modern office in midtown Manhattan. Attractive base salary plus comprehensive benefits package offered (Malpractice, 3 weeks paid vacation, 1 week CME, CME allowance, paid health insurance, etc).If you are a solo practitioner in private practice looking to join a private group practice, we will work with you to make the transition seamless. Please email your CV to tsrgexpress@gmail.com. No recruiters please.

CALL FOR RATES & INFO. CHRISTINA SOUTHARD: 516-488-6100 ext. 355