MSSNY Applauds Senator Schumer and other U.S. Senators on New Bill to Use Government’s Purchasing Power to Increase PPE Production and Distribution

For Immediate Release
November 18, 2020  

MSSNY Applauds Senator Schumer and other U.S. Senators on New Bill to Use Government’s Purchasing Power to Increase PPE Production and Distribution  

Statement Attributable to:
Bonnie Litvack, MD
President, Medical Society of the State of New York

“We thank Senator Schumer and the several other US Senators who have advanced legislation to increase the production and distribution of critically needed personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N-95 masks.  Legislation such as this will help to make PPE more readily available to our community physician practices so that they can continue to provide the care needed by their patients.

“Many physician offices across the state of New York are straining to meet their patient care needs due to a lack of available and affordable PPE.   This challenging dynamic was highlighted in a USA Today-New York article earlier this week.  A recent physician survey conducted by the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) noted that nearly 2/3 of the physician respondents indicated that they are at least “sometimes” finding it difficult to obtain needed PPE.  Over 40% of the physician respondents have indicated that it takes them at least 4 weeks to get their PPE from when they order it; while 53% of the physician respondents said the cost of PPE has gone up by at least 25% compared to pre-pandemic levels, and nearly 1/3 have said the cost has gone up by more than 50%.  Of greatest concern, 1/3 of the physician respondents indicated that the lack of available/affordable PPE has adversely impacted their ability to care for their patients.

“The survey results indicate that further government intervention is urgently needed to help make PPE more widely available to our community physician practices.  We look forward to working with Senator Schumer and our New York Congressional Delegation on measures such as that announced today to help expand this availability so that patient care is not disrupted or delayed due to these shortages.”

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Founded in 1807, the Medical Society of the State of New York is the state’s principal non-profit professional organization for physicians, residents and medical students of all specialties. Its mission is to represent the interests of patients and physicians to assure quality healthcare services for all. 


Media Contact:
Roseann Raia

Communications / Marketing
Medical Society of the State of New York
865 Merrick Ave.
Westbury, New York
516-488-6100 ext 302 
rraia@mssny.org

MSSNY eNews: November 18, 2020 – NY COVID-19 Test Positivity Rates: On Nov. 18, It Is 2.9

 

COVID-19 Test Positivity Rates: Nov. 18
New York: 2.9
New daily cases: 5,088
Tests per 1,000: 8.3


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US Daily Death Toll Highest Since May
The U.S. hit 77,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations Nov. 17, a single-day record, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project. Twenty states also reported the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations for their state Nov. 17, reports The COVID Tracking Project.

  • Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is 95 percent effective beginning 28 days after the first dose, the companies said 18. Phase 3 clinical trial data showed the vaccine’s efficacy was consistent across age, gender, race, and ethnicity demographics. The companies plan to apply for FDA emergency use authorization within daysand expect to produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.
  • The FDA on Nov. 17 issued emergency use authorization to the first at-home COVID-19 test. The Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit is a molecular single use test that produces results within 30 minutes. A prescription is required to obtain the test.
  • Less costly interventions like promoting social distancing and food assistance programs may be as effective, or more, than lockdowns at controlling the pandemic, according to a study published in Nature Human Behavior. The finding is based on an analysis of 6,068 non-pharmaceutical interventions implemented in 79 territories worldwide this spring.
    (Becker’s Hospital Review, 11/18)

AAP: More than One Million Children in US Have Had COVID-19
More than 1 million U.S. children have had COVID-19 as of Nov. 12, according to data compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association. The highest weekly increase in new pediatric COVID-19 cases was reported during the week ending Nov. 12, with 111,946 new cases. In states reporting cases by age, children accounted for 11.5 percent of all COVID-19 cases.


 

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COVID ASSISTANCE: New App for New Yorkers Locating Benefits
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on Monday, announced the new app, Find Services, to help users locate benefits during the pandemic. The state Office of Information Technology Services and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance developed the app in partnership with Google. During a three-week pilot, more than 100,000 New Yorkers accessed it. Its code has been open-sourced to allow government entities to build their own benefits assistance system. (Crain’s Health Pulse 11/18)


Modern Healthcare: Amazon Pharmacy Not Likely to Disrupt Drug Fulfillment
Amazon customers in the U.S. can get prescriptions delivered to their home and receive up to an 80% discount when paying without insurance, the e-commerce giant announced Tuesday in its latest push into the healthcare industry. Amazon Prime members across 45 states will have access to unlimited, free two-day deliveries and can compare prices across 50,000 pharmacies. They can also save up to 80% on generic drugs and 40% off branded products when paying without insurance, which is administered by Evernorth subsidiary Inside Rx. (KFF, 11/17)


CDC Quietly Removes Guidance Pushing for School Reopenings
The CDC has quietly removed controversial guidance from its website that pushed for schools to reopen in the fall and downplayed the transmission risks of COVID-19 to children and others.  The CDC’s website now states that “the body of evidence is growing that children of all ages are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and contrary to early reports might play a role in transmission.” The website also acknowledges that “teachers and students are in close contact for much of the day, and schools can become a place where respiratory diseases like COVID-19 can quickly spread.” (The Hill, 11/17)


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Important Info: Workers’ Compensation Board Prescription Drug Formulary
As you are aware, legislation was signed in 2017 that required the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board (Board) to establish a prescription drug formulary. After multiple public comment periods, the Board adopted the New York Workers’ Compensation Drug Formulary (Formulary) regulations in May 2019. These regulations required new prescriptions to comply with the Formulary by December 5, 2019, and refill prescriptions to comply by June 5, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board moved the date for refill compliance with the Formulary to January 1, 2021.

As with any formulary, providers must have a way to prescribe non-formulary agents to treat worker-specific issues. To accommodate that need, a prior authorization process, using the Board’s online Medical Portal, was implemented. To date, there have been nearly 40,000 requests by providers to use non-Formulary medications through the Medical Portal prior authorization process.

As the Board approaches the final step in Formulary implementation, refill compliance, it is taking some additional time to ensure that the Formulary and prior authorization process work for all stakeholders. Thus, the Board is temporarily suspending the January 1, 2021, date for refill compliance, and a new date (likely spring, 2021), will be announced soon. Between now and then, the Board will address feedback from providers and payers; make system and process improvements by aligning with the initial release of the Board’s new business information system, OnBoard; and continue outreach and education to key users.

In the meantime, if providers have any difficulty getting needed medications for injured workers, or if payers have questions, please reach out to the Board’s Medical Director’s Office at wcbformularyquestions@wcb.ny.gov.

                           About the Formulary Prior Authorization Process
A full description of the Formulary and the prior authorization process, including two sets of Q&As, are posted on the Board’s website. You are encouraged to review the Q&As as a reminder of associated prior authorization requirements and parameters.


Waiving ACA Provision for Essential Benefits Would Raise Out-Of-Pocket Costs
As the Supreme Court considers the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act, an analysis released Monday found that eliminating or permitting states to waive the law’s provision that protects 10 essential health benefits could contribute to thousands of dollars in new out-of-pocket expenses for patients. On Monday, David Sandman, president of the New York State Health Foundation, detailed in a new blog post that if the law were to fall, the effect on New York would include 3.2 million individuals losing coverage; rising premiums, which have dropped by about 55% under the ACA; and the potential loss of some $10 billion in federal funding for the state. If the ACA does “survive another near-death experience,” it would be good news for New York, which has been among the states to implement it most successfully, Sandman noted.

“In the meantime, our leaders will need to focus on curbing the pandemic, ramping up for an equitable distribution of vaccines and ensuring that everyone can get the care they need,” Sandman wrote. “But we also need to make sure that our health care and public health systems are prepared to keep us safe and healthy in the long term, during and beyond the pandemic.” (Crain’s Health Plus 11/18)


AMA 2020 House of Delegates
Physicians discussed the best way to advocate for new flexibilities in telemedicine granted to patients and clinicians due to the COVID-19 pandemic, during the American Medical Association virtual Special Meeting of its House of Delegates.

Whether in response to mandatory quarantines or patients’ concern for their own risk of transmitting the virus, many more patients are choosing telemedicine, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has encouraged that shift in care by relaxing many of the restrictions that typically limit patient access to telemedicine.

At the meeting on Saturday, during committee discussions, AMA delegates introduced two separate resolutions focused on this issue.

The New York delegation called for continued coverage of “the full spectrum of technologies” available during the pandemic; urged that public and private payers appropriately account for the “time and complexity” of care; and suggested that current emergency regulations, which have improved access and reimbursement, be made permanent.

Robert Goldberg, DO, a New York delegate and the author of the policy recommendation, sought to amend his original resolution from calling for insurers to provide coverage for telemedicine “with any physician licensed and registered to practice in the United States” to “any physician permitted to practice under state law.”

Goldberg called for more narrow language in order to discourage insurers from hiring physician assistants and nurse practitioners across the country in place of physicians. (Medpage, Nov.17)


 


John Maese, MD, Honored: Staten Islanders Who Stepped Up to Fight COVID-19
                       At the pandemic’s peak, heroes put their neighbors first

A strong advocate for keeping doctors connected to the community, Dr. John Maese had his staff call a number of patients every day to check on their mental well-being at the onset of the pandemic.

“It’s so important to have that doctor-patient bond,” Maese says. “And for people who are alone, it’s very frightening to be by yourself. And so many elderly are by themselves – knowing somebody cared enough to call was really a plus.”

The line of communication between doctor and patient didn’t end there. For years, Maese has been one of the many physicians encouraging hospitals to adopt the telehealth option. Previously, Maese worked on the National Governors Association’s telemedicine team from 2004 to 2006. During the pandemic, Maese worked with other physicians in the Richmond County Medical Society to bring the necessary resources and training to hospitals on Staten Island to make more telehealth appointments possible, especially for the borough’s most vulnerable patients, like the elderly and those who live alone.

“About 15% of the doctors were using telemedicine before COVID-19, and we were able to convert and give out information and teach the doctors how to do telehealth so that 85% of them were doing telehealth within a month of COVID,” Maese says.

Maese was also involved with the Staten Island Community Organizations Active in Disasters, a coalition of nonprofit organizations and health facilities dedicated to combating the pandemic. It created a communications system to effectively transmit the same information communitywide to avoid misinformation as the pandemic progressed.

Now that physicians have a better understanding of how to effectively treat patients with COVID-19, the group is communicating less frequently. However, Maese and his team continue to stay dedicated to community guidance and ensuring that Staten Island residents feel cared for.

Dr. Maese is a 31-year member of MSSNY the Richmond County Medical Society and the Academy of Medicine of Richmond.


Healthcare Provider COVID-19 Bi-Weekly Call
Please join the NYS Department of Health Thursday, November 19th at 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM for a COVID-19 update for healthcare providers.

To accommodate the large number of participants, find our webinar streaming via YouTube Live (and available for viewing immediately thereafter) on the NYSDOH COVID website for providers: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/weekly-healthcare-provider-update

Audio number and code: 844-512-2950 Access code 7359106#

REGISTER NOW

Registration Now Open: Veterans Matters: Suicide in Veterans Webinar
Monday, November 23rd @ 7:30 am
The Medical Society of the State of New York is hosting a Continuing Medical Education (CME) program entitled Veterans Matters: Suicide in Veterans live webinar on Monday, November 23, 2020 at 7:30 am.

Click HERE to view the flyer and register for the program!

When:             November 23, 2020 at 7:30 am
Faculty:           Jack McIntyre, MD

Educational Objectives:

  • Address the causes and warning signs of suicide and suicidal behavior among veterans
  • Explore evidence-based diagnostic, intervention, and treatment options
  • Identify barriers to identification and treatment in military culture and methods to overcome them.

Register here.

For more information, contact Jangmu Sherpa at jsherpa@mssny.org or call (518) 465-8085

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.




Registration Now Open for Steps to Physician Wellness and Resiliency
Registration is now open for Steps to Physician Wellness and Resiliency on December 10th from 7:30-8:30 am.

Frank Dowling, MD will serve as faculty for this webinar.

Educational Objectives are:

  • Review the warning signs that stress, depression, anxiety, or substance use may impact work or personal life
  • Identify strategies to increase personal empowerment toward making positive change, including self-assessment tools
  • Recognize self-monitoring strategies for stress related problems and know when to seek professional assistance

Register by clicking here.  Please click here to view the flyer for this program.

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

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.


 

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