MSSNYeNews: February 3, 2021 – Frustrating Ordeal for Community Doc Seeking COVID Shot

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Gov. Cuomo’s  COVID-19 Update for February 3, 2021:

  • 8,082 Patient Hospitalizations Statewide
  • 1,522 Patients in the ICU; 1,003 Intubated
  • Statewide Positivity Rate is 4.68%
  • 7-Day Average Positivity Rate Has Declined for 26 Consecutive Days
  • 160 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

Today’s data is summarized briefly below:

  • Test Results Reported – 126,489
  • Total Positive – 5,925
  • Percent Positive – 4.68%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive – 4.86% (lowest since 12/4)
  • Patient Hospitalization – 8,082 (+15)
  • Net Change Patient Hospitalization Past Week – -689
  • Patients Newly Admitted – 680
  • Hospital Counties – 57
  • Number ICU – 1,522 (+19)
  • Number ICU with Intubation – 1,003 (-1)
  • Total Discharges – 129,378 (+489)
  • Deaths – 160
  • Total Deaths – 35,631
Post Holiday COVID Graph

The rate of increase in statewide COVID hospitalizations has
slowed considerably (2/1)


More Women Are Becoming Physicians; Four Other Workforce Insights
The U.S. physician workforce has gained women and older members since 2007, according to a new data report released by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The report, released Feb. 2, is based on 2019 data from the American Medical Association, U.S. Census Bureau and GME Track, a resident database and tracking system.

Five insights on the nation’s physician workforce from the report:

  1. Women represented 28.3 percent of the physician workforce in 2007 compared to 36.3 percent in 2019.
  2. Specialties with the highest percentages of women in 2019 were pediatrics (64.3 percent) and obstetrics and gynecology (58.9 percent).
  3. Nearly 45 percent of active physicians were age 55 or older in 2019, up from 44.1 percent in 2017 and 37.6 percent in 2007.
  4. The percentage of active physicians in sports medicine grew by 55.3 percent, from 1,865 to 2,897, between 2014 and 2019.
  5. Specialties with the largest numbers of first-year Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education residents and fellows in 2019 were internal medicine (10,379), family medicine/general practice (4,456), and pediatrics (2,993).

Access the full report here


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Your Voice Makes a Difference and Together, Physicians Are a Force for Change!
Pending Alert: Physicians are urged to let their legislators know of their objection to an extremely concerning proposal contained in the Governor’s proposed 2021-22 Budget that would require the nearly 17,000 physicians currently enrolled in the Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance program to bear 50% of the cost of these policies.

This incredibly short-sighted proposal would thrust over $50 million of new costs on the backs of community-based physicians at a time when many have seen historic drops in patient visits and revenue.  Moreover, these new costs would be imposed on the thousands of physicians who have been on the “front lines” of responding to the coronavirus outbreak. Please let your legislators know of your objection to this proposal and ask them to fully fund this program. Click here to contact your legislators today!


Frustrating Ordeal for Community Doc Seeking COVID Shot
The COVID-19 vaccine waits for no one. That’s exactly what Julie Kupersmith, MD, a community physician in Westchester County north of New York City, has discovered.

Kupersmith, a plastic surgeon, is among those supposedly included in New York’s first priority group for vaccination, but she has been unable to get a shot, she told MedPage Today.

For weeks, she has phoned and emailed nearby hospitals as well as her local and state health departments, to no avail, she said. As she hears of hospital-based physicians, nurses, and administrative employees who have already received their second dose of the vaccine, she said she has no idea when she’ll be able to get her first.

New York has since opened up vaccination to adults age 65 and up and other frontline workers. And like other states, it’s experiencing a shortage of doses.

Health departments continue to refer Kupersmith to the state’s online portal for scheduling vaccination appointments, she said. However, the only open time slots she has been able to find through the portal are hundreds of miles away.

As of Monday, the nearest appointment available was 413 miles north of Westchester County at Plattsburgh International Airport.

Though Kupersmith said she is taking all of the safety precautions in caring for patients, she said she is concerned for her health, and what would happen if she fell ill and had to close her practice for an extended period of time. She said community physicians are often undervalued.

At the beginning of last month, as community physicians became eligible to receive the vaccine, Bonnie Litvack, MD, president of the Medical Society of the State of New York, said in a statement that the organization was fielding hundreds of emails and phone calls from providers asking where they should go to get immunized.

Litvack told MedPage Today on Monday that those concerns have largely eased, and most of its physician members and their staff have been able to get at least a first dose of the vaccine.

However, she said there are likely instances where community physicians haven’t been able to be inoculated, given limited shipments of doses. Some physicians have had to travel hours to get the vaccine.

“It’s really supply and demand here,” Litvack said. “We’ve got high demand and limited supply.”

A survey conducted by the medical society late last year found that nearly 80% of New York’s community and hospital-based physicians planned to take the COVID-19 vaccine once it became available. Only 7.5% of respondents indicated they would not.

Litvack said she believes that, as additional vaccines enter the mix, community physicians will be able to obtain doses to help vaccinate other individuals. She said she is encouraged that some 70% of healthcare workers in the state have at least gotten the first dose.

Erin Silk, a spokeswoman for the state health department, said in an email that the agency “continue[s] to do everything we can to get as many New Yorkers vaccinated as quickly as possible.”

Kupersmith said she doesn’t know if receiving the vaccine would be a game-changer for her and other community physicians who may be struggling to do so. Another primary concern is that reliable access to COVID-19 testing and personal protective equipment is still elusive for smaller practices at this stage of the pandemic.

However, “it would definitely make me feel more comfortable,” she said. (MedPage Today, Feb.3) 


 

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Study: COVID-19 Survivors Experience More Intense Side Effects from Vaccine
A new study released Monday may explain why people who were previously infected with COVID-19 experience “unexpectedly intense reactions to the first shot of a vaccine.” Researchers found COVID-19 survivors “had far higher antibody levels after both the first and second doses of the vaccine,” and reported physical side effects more frequently. “Based on these results, the researchers say, people who have had Covid-19 may need only one shot.” The findings were posted on medRxiv.


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It’s Time for COVID-19 Vaccines to be Distributed to Community-Based Physicians

For Immediate Release
February 3, 2021

 

It’s Time for COVID-19 Vaccines to be Distributed to
Community-Based Physicians
 

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

“Yesterday’s announcement of the additional supply of COVID-19 vaccines to pharmacies and to New York State is welcome news in the effort to ensure that all New Yorkers are vaccinated. However, the Medical Society of the State of New York continues to urge that more doses be made available and distributed to community-based practicing physicians so they can begin to immunize their patients.

“MSSNY has long advocated for physician involvement as a COVID-19 immunizer, and many community-based private practices have already signed up to do so. These individuals practice in a wide range of communities, including those that serve the Black/Brown/LatinX/Asian patient population and in the rural, urban, and suburban communities. We hear every day from physicians who are asking when they will be getting vaccines. Patients are requesting immunization from their physician rather than going to a POD or a pharmacy where they believe they risk greater exposure to COVID-19. Many of these physicians care for the state’s most vulnerable— seniors, those with significant co-morbidities, individuals of color, and those who speak different languages.

“Additionally, we appreciate that Governor Cuomo has placed great emphasis on ensuring that communities of color are vaccinated. MSSNY’s Health Disparities Committee has recommended to the state that data be collected that includes racial, ethnic, and geographical information on who has been immunized. We believe that this will give the state and all COVID-19 immunizers a comprehensive review of which populations need to be targeted to ensure equity.

“Community-based physicians provide immunizations on a daily basis and have experience in providing flu clinics. Perhaps most importantly, they would be able to check their patient database and immediately identify patients who are eligible to receive the vaccine. We are making great strides in getting people immunized, but barriers remain. While we understand the significant challenges regarding the limited supply, we urge that more vaccinations also be made available for distribution to community-based physicians to help ensure their patients can be vaccinated and help stem this pandemic.”

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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