eNews: July 24, 2020

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How Soon They Forget They Called Us Heroes
Despite MSSNY’s best efforts, including several thousand physician contacts to their legislators during this week the New York State legislature passed legislation (S.6678-A/A.7991-A) requiring “all physicians’ practice settings to conspicuously post signage, visible to their patients, directing patients to the office of professional medical conduct’s website for information about their rights and how to report professional misconduct”.

The distrust that will be fostered by legislation would be concerning at any time but passage at this time in the middle of a healthcare crisis is particularly ill timed and harmful on multiple fronts.  Patients are often nervous when they arrive at a physician’s office and even more so now in the middle of a pandemic.  Our staffs are committed to ensuring patients feel welcome, and comfortable upon entering our offices and a prominent sign about how a patient can file a complaint against their physician upon entering the office is counter-productive to initiating and developing a positive, collaborative doctor/patient relationship.

This signage will increase patient anxiety and create unnecessary confusion.  On the physician end it will contribute to increased physician demoralization, further threatening the health and well-being of our physician work force, already under significant stress.

We as physicians and a medical society are committed to ensuring a strong disciplinary process to remove those aberrant practitioners who betray the trust of their patients and their professional oaths.  However, this legislation entirely misses the mark.  This is not re-imaging healthcare in a constructive positive fashion.  This serves to drive a wedge between a doctor and a patient and potentially increase the number of frivolous claims brought to OPMC. We will be urging Governor Cuomo to veto this legislation.

You can join us in this effort by sending a letter to the Governor urging a veto here. 

Bonnie Litvack, MD
MSSNY President


This Week’s MSSNY Podcast


Notes from Governor Cuomo’s Briefing:
OF NOTE: Governor said Congress is looking at August (now) for COVID-related legislation.

COVID:

Day 146 of COVID
– 650 hospitalizations, 56 lower than yesterday
– 156 total ICU COVID patients
– 9 lives lost on 7/23: 7 in hospitals, 2 in nursing homes
– 76,000 tests completed yesterday, 0.98% positive
– Gov. stated enforcement of safety protocols is improving
– SLA and State Police Task Force conducted compliance checks in NYC yesterday, 37 violations were issued

RESPONSE TO DHS

– Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) recently issued statement they are dropping opposition to NY’s lawsuit for stopping the Trusted Traveler Program
– This statement cited the amendment of Green Light Law being the reason
– Dept. of Justice (DOJ) then filed a brief stating DHS position was not truthful
– It was found that other states also have Green Light Laws and action taken toward NY to cease Trusted Traveler Program was “punitive” and unjustified
– Gov. stated DHS Secretary Wolf “violated his oath of office” by claiming it was unknown that other states besides NY had Green Light Laws
– Gov. called on U.S. AG Barr to launch an investigation
– Gov. also called for a congressional investigation
– Gov. stated he believes NY entitled to damages

Q&A

– Asked if Gov. is asserting stopping TTP contributed to spread of COVID
– Gov. stated it’s possible stopping the program caused backlogs which contributed to COVID spread
– Gov. again discussed inadequate federal response allowing COVID to reach NY
– Asked if CDC guidelines are consulted for school reopenings
– Gov. stated he looks at CDC guidelines but will open schools if it is safe
– Asked about deadline for budget, potential bill in Congress
– Gov. said Congress is saying August, which is acceptable
– Asked about DOH internal report on nursing homes and why an independent investigation isn’t being conducted
– Gov. said this issue is politically motivated, and facts do not support those politically-charged claims
– Asked about municipal departments of health claiming to be “usurped”
– Gov. said local departments of health can issue guidelines, and counties have “primary responsibility”
– Asked about immunity law for hospitals and nursing homes passed earlier this year
– Gov. stated we asked hospitals to take on burden during COVID, that law made sure they had no liability as a result of those burdens. Law passed yesterday is consistent with that, but specifies they are not relieved of liability for non-COVID related issues.


State Legislature Passes Bill Over Objection of Health Care Groups to Limit COVID Liability Protections
Over the objection of MSSNY, numerous specialty societies, and hospital and nursing home associations, the State Legislature passed a bill this week (S.8835/A.10840) that would limit previously established liability protections prospectively so that it would only apply to care which is provided to patients related to the diagnosis and treatment of a patient with a confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19.

MSSNY worked with the specialty societies to send a letter to the entire Legislature objecting to this measure and will be urging the Governor to veto this bill.  Specifically, we raised concerns that, should there be a second surge, this legislation would eliminate these important protections and unfairly invite lawsuits for care to non-Covid patients that may need to be delayed to prioritize health care resources, as we had to do in March in April.

As noted in this article in the NY Times from Thursday and many other news articles, several legislators and the AARP have been aggressively pushing for legislation to retroactively and entirely eliminate these essential liability protections for health care workers and health care entities that had been enacted in the State Budget adopted in early April.

While the focus of these legislators has been on the several thousand nursing home patients that died during the height of the pandemic, the legislation they seek would invite lawsuits and second guessing of all care provided by physicians in any health care setting.

These essential liability protections were not only applicable for treatment of patients with Covid-19 but also extended to other patients whose care may have been impacted by the Covid emergency response, such as the countless numbers of patients whose scheduled surgery or other treatment was postponed due to the Executive Order prohibiting elective surgery. The State Legislature is planning multiple hearings next month examining the impact of the nursing homes’ response to the pandemic.

Last week, MSSNY President Dr. Bonnie Litvack’s letter to the editor of the Albany Times-Union was published objecting to this short-sighted legislation.

The provisions of the bill that passed this week would eliminate liability protections for care to non-Covid patients based upon “acts or omissions” that occur on or after the effective date of the legislation.  It is not clear yet whether Governor Cuomo will sign or veto this legislation.

Today, the American Medical Association(AMA) sent a joint letter with the American Hospital Association and the American Nurses Association asking Congress to allocate as part of the next COVID-19 relief package at least an additional $100 billion for the emergency relief fund to provide direct funding to front line health care personnel and providers, including physicians, nurses, hospitals and health systems, as they continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please send a letter to the Governor here.


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Litany of Adverse Legislation to Expand Damages, Change Scope and Create New Mandates Not Taken Up
While 2 bills strongly opposed by MSSNY passed both Houses of the Legislature this week, there were also a litany of adverse bills that had been on the floor of both Houses or moving in either House that were not passed following MSSNY advocacy together with the specialty societies and other allied groups.  These include bills that would have:

  • greatly expanded damages in wrongful death actions (S.4006/S.5612);
  • Inappropriately granted optometrists the right to prescribe certain oral medications without proper training and/or documentation of training (S.4035-A/A.1193-C);
  • Bypassed recently adopted state regulations establishing criteria for the creation of midwife led birth centers (A.10440/S.8307);
  • Mandated co-prescribing of naloxone for many patients on opioid medications (A.5603/S.5150-B)
  • Mandated posting in a physician’s office of where a patient can obtain information about Consumer Product Safety Commission recalls (A.2631/S.3583);
  • Mandated notification to epileptic patients of the risk of sudden death due to epilepsy (A.7807-A/S.5397-A)
  • Mandated reporting to the Statewide Immunization system of a prescription of a rescue inhaler (S.7337/A.10085).

The AMA also sent a sign-on letter with over 100 Federation members to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) supporting many of the temporary regulatory waivers that CMS issued in response to COVID-19. However, we express concern about and urge CMS to sunset the waivers involving scope of practice and licensure.

We also affirm our organizations’ support for the physician-led team-based approach to care and vigorously oppose efforts that undermine the physician-patient relationship during and after the pandemic. There has been concern from some physicians who strongly disagree with a recent Joint Commission letter that took the opposing view on the scope waivers. This sign-on letter was already being circulated to the Federation at that time.


AMA Partners with Project N95 to Make PPE Available to AMA Members
The AMA partnered with Project N95 (a not-for-profit, National COVID-19 Clearinghouse) to make personal protective equipment (PPE) available exclusively to its members. Starting June 22, AMA members receive a series of three emails which describe the program. Members sign in using their AMA Sign In username and password and complete the Registration Form to express an interest in ordering PPE shown below.

  1. Makrite 9500 N95 surgical respirator; size S

    2. Makrite 9500 N95 surgical respirator; size M/L

    3. Disposable Isolation gown

All AMA member orders will be aggregated and shipped no later than August 26, via UPS ground.  Gowns may start shipping as early as August 17. Members receive email and text order status and shipping confirmation notices.

Project N95 has written policies on order cancellations, refunds, and handling of damaged goods. See attached Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for those and other details about the program and order process.

This pilot program has specific deadlines for registration, orders, and shipping, which are summarized below:

Registration: Last date to submit registration form (July 30, 3:00 PM, CST)

Orders: Last date to submit an order (August 30, 3:00 PM, CST)

  1. Cancel Order: Last date to cancel order (August 2 – open timeframe)
  2. Shipping:  Orders shipped by date (August 26 – open timeframe)

For this program, AMA and Project N95 established the purchasing business guidelines shown below in order to support as many members as are interested in participating.

Minimum Purchase

1 box of Surgical N95 Respirator (20 masks) or 1 bag of Isolation Gowns (15 gowns)

Maximum Purchase

Surgical N95 Respirator, Size S & Standard (M/L): 50 boxes (20 masks/box) – 1000 masks

Isolation Gowns: 66 bags (15 gowns/bags) – 990 gowns

Questions about this collaboration should be directed to Kristen Tinney at a href=”mailto:kristen.tinney@ama-assn.org”>kristen.tinney@ama-assn.org.


HHS Extends COVID-19 Emergency for Another 90 Days
HHS extended COVID-19 public health emergency designation for another 90 days.

Significant funding and regulatory relief for hospitals and other healthcare providers are tied to the emergency, which was set to expire on July 25. HHS officials had repeatedly signaled HHS’ intention to continue the emergency designation, and the agency previously renewed it in April.

The renewal gives the healthcare industry certainty through the fall on several key policies to assist with the COVID-19 response. Some notable policies tied to the public health emergency are the 20% Medicare inpatient add-on payment for COVID-19 patients, increased federal Medicaid matching funds for states, a mandate that insurers cover medically necessary COVID-19 tests without cost-sharing, relaxed telehealth restrictions, and Section 1135 waivers that give providers additional flexibility to respond to COVID-19.

The public health emergency length is also connected to CMS’ adjustments to the Medicare Shared Savings Program for accountable care organizations. The number of months the emergency lasts affects the amount of shared losses an ACO must pay back to CMS.

The public health emergency doesn’t have any bearing on how long providers have to spend their grants from the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund. (Modern Health, 6/23)


 

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Emergency Physicians’ Main Stresser: 96% Said Availability of PPE
A vast majority of emergency medicine physicians said increasing the availability of personal protective equipment would relieve their stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey shows.

The survey was emailed to all emergency medicine physicians at seven U.S. academic emergency departments. A total of 426 physicians responded. Survey results were published in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine.

When asked what measures would relieve their stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic, respondents said:

  1. Enhanced availability of PPE: 96.2%
  2. Rapid turnaround testing (less than six hours): 92%
  3. Testing for COVID‐19 for patients at my discretion (instead of being limited by current protocols): 82.4%
  4. Clearer communication about changes in protocols: 73.5%
  5. Assurances that I can take leave to care for myself and family members: 71.8%
  6. Ability to request testing of myself for COVID‐19 even if I don’t have symptoms: 69.2%
  7. Greater clarity about my risk for exposure: 66.7%
  8. Assurances that my medical care and that of my dependants will be covered by my employer: 63.4%
  9. Assurances about disability benefits: 57%
  10. Easily available mental health consultations for me and other healthcare providers: 56.8%
  11. Departmental video sessions to discuss COVID-19 response and changes: 55.4%

Academic Emergency Medicine Physicians’ Anxiety Levels, Stressors, and Potential Stress Mitigation Measures During the Acceleration Phase of the COVID19 Pandemic

First published: 22 June 2020 https://doi.org/10.1111/acem.14065


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Classifieds

Upper East Side Office to Share
Includes waiting room, 2 exam rooms and room for medical assistants. Flexible schedule. Call Bianca at 212-327-1851.

For Sale:  715 Park Avenue
Medical office, 1,800 sq. ft. Rectangular, 11 1/2 ft ceilings, street level access. Private entrance on 70th Street, side of the building.  Windows on Park Avenue and 70th Street.  Excellent office space for plastic surgeon, dermatologist or dental practice. Central air conditioning, high voltage electric service, two bathrooms. *Sale could include active Cardiac / Medical Practice. Please contact Janet @ 212-288-5468.


Office Space and Quad-A Certified O.R. for Rent
Plastic surgery office and/or quad A – certified operating room available for rent. We welcome you to tour our facility, where safety and luxury are combined in the most prime location on the upper east side. We assure you will be delighted by what you discover. We take pride in our facility, where your patients’ safety and satisfaction are our number one priority.
  • Fully equipped operating room perfect for a board-certified plastic surgeon
  • Pre-op and recovery areas
  • A bright and modern waiting area
  • 3 consultation rooms, administrative room, kitchenette, and 2 bathrooms
  • Full day office rental per week / O.R. rental per case

For inquiries please call 212.737.8700, email polina@specialtyaestheticsurgery.com
Office Space and Quad-A Certified O.R. for Rent


 

 

 

 

 

 

eNews: July 22, 2020

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Gov. Cuomo Press Conference Highlights 

COVID: 

– Day 144 of pandemic 

– 67,00 tests yesterday, 705 were positive, infection rate is 1.04% 

– 9 lives lost on 7/21 

– 714 hospitalizations, 10 less than yesterday 

– NY “doing very well” 

– It was expected infection rate would go up after reopening, but has continued to go down 

– Still concern over increase in infection rate across U.S., virus could have a “ricochet effect” throughout the country  

FEDERAL: 

– President said yesterday masks should be worn, Gov. called this a “positive step forward”, but President needs to issue federal mandate for masks 

– IHME model showed mask mandate could save 40,000 lives 

– Gov. spoke with Pres. Yesterday; Pres. said he is considering sending federal agents to NY to deal with “increasing crime problem;” Gov. stated he is also concerned about crime in NYC, but the situation can be managed by the state, no need for federal involvement at this point 

– Gov. expressed concern over federal COVID bill – state and local governments excluded 

– Gov. cited “numerous experts” that have stated economy will not rebound if state and local governments do not receive relief.  

Q&A: 

– Asked about conversation with President – what will state do to impact crime rate in NYC 

– Gov. stated if there is a public safety emergency in NYC that requires assistance, additional resources can be brought in to address emergency; Gov. said he will declare an emergency if he believes necessary 

-Asked about the parameters for declaring a public emergency, Gov. said he “will know it when [he] sees it”, but has been working with the city to make changes to   

NYPD: 

– While concerned, Gov. said he does not believe aggressive action is required at this time by federal government 

– Asked about bill legislature is considering this week to end civil/legal immunity for nursing homes during pandemic; Gov. said he will have to see the bill, but he believes it deals with non-COVID situations 

– Asked whether Trump is engaging in personal politics; Gov. cited “different tone with President” yesterday, believes there was a recognition by Pres. that federal govt. has been in denial over COVID 

– Asked about widespread graffiti in NYC; Gov. stated concern is worse than graffiti – NYC is in “troubling times” due to COVID, increased crime, impact on economy; Graffiti “another manifestation of deterioration of NYC,” city should work harder on this 

– Asked about positive infection rate and the period of time tests cover due to backlogs in labsGov stated results are from tests coming back yesterdayGov. stated only national labs experiencing backlog of test results 

– Rhodes added that about 72% of tests yesterday were done within the last 2-3 days, and tests in hotspots are processed more quickly 

– DeRosa added that results are also looked at as a 5-day average


Daily COVID-19 Stats, State-By-State 

(Becker’s Hospital Via hhs)


HHS Extends Medicaid and CHIP Physicians from July 20 to August 3!
HHS extended the deadline for eligible Medicaid and CHIP physicians and organizations to submit information and apply for funding from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund from July 20 until August 3, 2020.

HHS is distributing approximately $15 billion to eligible physicians who have not previously received a payment from the Provider Relief Fund. The payment amount will be at least 2 percent of reported gross revenue from patient care, and the final amount will be determined based on submitted data, including the number of Medicaid patients served. HHS has created a fact sheet explaining the application process and answering frequently asked questions.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has made HHS aware of an issue where physicians who primarily care for patients with Medicaid and CHIP coverage received a small amount of money from the automatic Medicare allotment in April because they treated one or two patients with ESRD. They are ineligible to apply for this round of funding even if they rejected and returned the money. HHS has indicated they are working on a policy to address this issue.


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Around 20% of Pregnant Women Misused Opioids in 2019, CDC Reports
About one in five U.S. women reported that they misused prescription opioids during pregnancy, a CDC analysis of survey data showsCDC analyzed data from surveys conducted in 2019 polling 21,488 women who had given birth in the last two to six months. Learn more about the data and methodology here. 

Of the women polled, 20,643 (96.1 percent) provided information regarding prescription opioid use during their most recent pregnancy. Overall, 1,405 (6.6 percent) reported prescription opioid use during pregnancy. A little over 21 percent of women who used prescription opioids during pregnancy reported misuse, with 4 percent reporting getting the opioids from a non-healthcare provider source and using them for reasons other than pain. Among women who used prescription opioids during pregnancy, 27.1 percent indicated wanting or needing to cut down or stop using. 

About 68 percent of the women reported that a healthcare provider counseled them about the effect of opioid use on an infant. (CDC)


NYSDOH: Procedures for Testing/Reporting of Mosquito & TickBorne Illnesses
NYSDOH is reminding healthcare providers of the procedures for testing and reporting of mosquito- and tick-borne illnesses. As NYS residents may be spending more time outdoors this spring/summer due to social distancing recommendations and symptoms of vector-borne diseases may be similar to some associated with COVID-19 disease, providers are reminded to ask patients about outdoor activities as part of routine telehealth, outpatient, and inpatient assessments. Prompt recognition of and treatment for tick-borne diseases, in particular, is crucial to minimizing morbidity and mortality. 


NY Senators: Over $680 Million In Additional Emergency Federal Funding For ‘Hot Spot’ Hospitals


 

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Classifieds

Upper East Side Office to Share
Includes waiting room, 2 exam rooms and room for medical assistants. Flexible schedule. Call Bianca at 212-327-1851.

For Sale:  715 Park Avenue
Medical office, 1,800 sq. ft. Rectangular, 11 1/2 ft ceilings, street level access. Private entrance on 70th Street, side of the building.  Windows on Park Avenue and 70th Street.  Excellent office space for plastic surgeon, dermatologist or dental practice. Central air conditioning, high voltage electric service, two bathrooms. *Sale could include active Cardiac / Medical Practice. Please contact Janet @ 212-288-5468.


Office Space and Quad-A Certified O.R. for Rent
Plastic surgery office and/or quad A – certified operating room available for rent. We welcome you to tour our facility, where safety and luxury are combined in the most prime location on the upper east side. We assure you will be delighted by what you discover. We take pride in our facility, where your patients’ safety and satisfaction are our number one priority.
  • Fully equipped operating room perfect for a board-certified plastic surgeon
  • Pre-op and recovery areas
  • A bright and modern waiting area
  • 3 consultation rooms, administrative room, kitchenette, and 2 bathrooms
  • Full day office rental per week / O.R. rental per case

For inquiries please call 212.737.8700, email polina@specialtyaestheticsurgery.com
Office Space and Quad-A Certified O.R. for Rent


 

 

 

 

 

 

eNews: July 17, 2020


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Dear Colleagues:

Legislators Are Back! MSSNY Issues at Stake!
The pandemic caused all of us to have our years unfold in ways far different than we thought it was going to be.

The New York State Legislature is no exception.

With several state legislators contracting the virus in mid-March and most of the state smartly following instructions to stay “socially distant” the State Legislature essentially suspended proceedings in early April after enactment of the State Budget (with limited returns for focused agendas in late May and mid-June).

Now with our low infection rates having made New York a model for the country, the Legislature is returning to Session next week, mostly virtually, to take up a “robust agenda” (as one legislator described it) of items that had been put on hold due to the pandemic response.  While many of the items under consideration are local issues important for the constituents of a particular Assembly or Senate district, there are also numerous health care items that could be brought up for discussion and have a significant impact on physicians and their patients.

One of these items is legislation (A.10427/S.8497) strongly opposed by MSSNY that would repeal the liability protections for physicians and other health care providers enacted in the State Budget for patient care provided as part of the Covid-19 response effort. These protections were not only for direct care provided to Covid-19 patients but also for the extremely difficult triaging decisions made when hospitals particularly downstate were being overwhelmed with patients.  These protections are also absolutely essential for physicians who were required by state government to postpone so-called elective procedures to prioritize health care resources for Covid-19 patients.

MSSNY worked together with the specialty societies to send a letter to the Legislature expressing its strong objections to this proposal.  I also had a letter to the editor of the Albany Times-Union published this week objecting to this short-sighted legislation.

While the bill’s proponents have focused on nursing home issues as the basis for repealing these liability protections, the impact of the legislation goes far beyond nursing homes.  In both our letter to the Legislature and to the Albany T-U, we noted our strong concerns that this legislation will not only prevent hospitals and other health care facilities from re-developing capacity in case of a second “surge” but also would unfairly retroactively remove the liability protection that healthcare professionals and facilities believed they had in responding to the crisis of patient load exceeding capacity.

As you know, we found ourselves making extraordinary medical decisions in confronting a new deadly disease with an unprecedented volume of patients. At the same time were asked to provide health care services that were not within our usual scope of services, and often without adequate protective equipment, threatening our health and our families’ health.

Certainly, it is important to assess our pandemic response for the purposes of improving how we can respond if there is a “second surge” in New York, or for future pandemics.  But undoing protections to our healthcare heroes who bravely treated patients on the frontlines would be extremely unfair and counterproductive for future response efforts.

Please remain alert for further updates.  We are continuing to work closely with our allies across healthcare sectors to advocate for the protection of this important law.

Bonnie Litvack, MD
MSSNY President


MSSNY Continues to Oppose Numerous Legislative Mandate Bills
With the Legislature set to return to Session next week, MSSNY continues to oppose countless well-intended but problematic bills under active consideration that would add significant new mandates on medical care delivery.

Taken together, these proposals would add significant new record keeping responsibilities that would also impose civil sanctions and/or disciplinary action for failing even in one instance to properly follow the mandate.  These proposals include:


Urge Your Legislator to Oppose Massive Liability Expansion Bill
With the State Legislature to return to Session next week to take up many items that had been set aside due to the pandemic, all physicians are urged to contact their legislators to have them oppose legislation (A.5612/S.4006) that has advanced that would greatly expand the possible damages awardable in a wrongful death action, and have the effect of greatly expanding our already outrageously high liability insurance premiums.  

You can send a letter here.

One recent actuarial estimate indicated that passage of this legislation could require a liability premium increase of nearly 50%.  

These kinds of increases are untenable particularly at a time when physician practices have been struggling to stay afloat due to the enormous drop in patient visits arising from the pandemic.

Please urge your legislators to oppose this legislation today!


MSSNY Working with NYSOS Urges Legislature to Keep Patient Safety Standards for Ophthalmological Care
Proposed legislation (A.1193-C/S.4035-A) to permit optometrists to prescribe certain oral medications has been amended, over the objection of ophthalmologists, to weaken optometrist training requirements designed to ensure patient safety. The bill was advanced by the Assembly Higher Education and Codes Committees this week.

To send a letter in opposition, click here: https://p2a.co/HsyXbSp

The bill had been negotiated between the NYS ophthalmological society and NYS Optometry Association but has been amended as follows:

  • Significantly reducing the training required of optometrists to prescribe these oral medications;
  • Removing the requirement that optometrists taking the required certification course and final examination retake the course if they have failed the final examination three times; and
  • Eliminating a proposed requirement that optometrists to furnish evidence that they have completed required continuing education courses when they submit an application for license renewal;

To read MSSNY’s memo in opposition to this legislation, click here.


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Members of New York’s Congressional Delegation Team Up in Bipartisan Push for Additional Funding for Community Physicians in CARES Act
Representatives Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) and Elise Stefanik (R-Plattsburgh) teamed up this week to send a letter to the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS), Alex Azar, urging support for additional funding in the federal CARES Act, to help community physicians across New York State as they work to recover from the economic impact of the COVID19 crisis.

Specifically, the letter notes that, “Like many businesses, community physicians in New York have experienced a devastating impact on their practices because of the COVID-19 crisis, with patients having to appropriately limit their trips out of the house, including to their doctor’s office, along with the suspension of all elective procedures for months during lockdowns. The impact has devastated practices and jeopardized jobs for millions across the state.”

The letter also quotes a MSSNY survey this spring that found that 79% of physicians had seen a reduction of more than 50% in the volume of patients visiting their practices. Nearly 3/4 of physicians had a greater than 50% drop in practice revenue; and 40% had to lay off, or furlough, at least 25% of their staff. A recent Fair Health report indicating that patient visits to physician practices were down by nearly 80% in the Northeast.[1]

MSSNY’s Division of Governmental Affairs will continue to engage on this important issue and provide updates to members. CARY, AUSTER

[1] FAIR Health, Healthcare Professionals and the Impact of COVID-19, A FAIR Health Brief, June 10, 2020,https://s3.amazonaws.com/media2.fairhealth.org/brief/asset/Healthcare%20Professionals%20and%20the%20Imp act%20of%20COVID-19%20-%20A%20Comparative%20Study%20of%20Revenue%20and%20Utilization%20- %20A%20FAIR%20Health%20Brief.pdf

Quality Health Plans of NY (QHPNY) No Longer Contracted with Medicare
Please be aware, QHPNY no longer has a contract with Medicare effective February 29, 2020.  QHPNY is responsible for all payment of claims for its (prior) members. CMS understands that QHPNY is in the process of being liquidated by the New York State Department of Insurance.  Once that happens, that State will pay the remaining claims.  CMS heard from physicians regarding outstanding claims. CMS has advised them to file a complaint for unpaid claims with the New York State Department of Financial Services.  Complaints can be made by submitting to www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/filecomplaint.htm  After which, calls can be made to 212 480 6400. (Regina McNally, VP Socio-Med Div.)


New York’s Health Premiums Remain Among the Highest in the U.S.
The average cost of New Yorkers’ health benefits increased by less than the national average in 2019 but remained among the highest in the U.S., according to recently published federal data.

The average cost for family coverage rose 4 percent to $22,874, which was 12 percent above the national average and second only to Alaska, according to an annual survey of private-sector employers by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (see first chart). The average cost of single coverage rose 2 percent to $7,890, which was 13 percent above the national average and third behind Alaska and Delaware.

Those increases were a bit lower than the nationwide jumps of 5 percent for family coverage and 4 percent for single coverage.

Still, all those figures were two or three times the general inflation rate – continuing a long-term pattern for New York and the U.S.

New York’s insurance has traditionally been more expensive than national norms, but the gap has been getting wider in recent decades (see second chart).

The state’s high cost of living is likely a factor, especially in the New York City area. State policy also drives up premiums by heavily taxing health insurance and continually adding to a long list of coverage mandates. (empire Center, July 17)


Missed Childhood Vaccines Could Be Bigger Threat than COVID-19, WHO says
The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a major decline in childhood immunization rates worldwide, the consequences of which could be more severe than the pandemic, the World Health Organization warned.

“The avoidable suffering and death caused by children missing out on routine immunizations could be far greater than COVID-19 itself,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said in a statement cited by The Hill.

The WHO, CDC and other health partners polled 82 countries June 5-20. Sixty-nine percent of countries reporting on their vaccine programs said efforts were disrupted or suspended due to the pandemic. The most common reasons for disrupted vaccine programs were shortages of personal protective equipment, travel restrictions and a lack of available health workers.

Preliminary data for January through April also shows a “substantial drop” in the number of children receiving three doses of the vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, the WHO said. This could be the first time the world sees a drop in immunization coverage for these diseases in 28 years.

The WHO and UNICEF said they are providing resources and services to help countries make up lost ground on childhood vaccinations.

To learn more, click here.


HHS Telemedicine Hack on Telemedicine (One Hour per Week) Begins on July 22
This course is a free10-week learning community to accelerate telemedicine implementation for ambulatory providers. It is a learning collaborative from the US Department of Health and Human Services and others addressing telemedicine. Questions should be directed to: c19ECHO@salud.unm.edu


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Managing Your Social Media Presence Webinar on August 12
On August 12, at 12 noon, MLMIC and HANYS will present a one-hour webinar designed to help healthcare providers optimize their social media strategy and minimize risks associated with its use. Read more at MLMIC.com


Please Take the AMA Survey on Telehealth Impact (on) Physicians
The American Medical Association has been working on a Telehealth Impact Physician survey in collaboration with MITRE, Mayo and others as part of an effort of the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition.

You are invited to complete the Telehealth Impact Study Provider Questionnaire by clicking on the link below.  The study has been approved by the Mayo Clinic IRB and is part of our efforts in the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition to address the pandemic. Since COVID-19 started, we have experienced a significant shift towards telehealth.  The goal of this project is to learn more about your experience with telehealth to identify the challenges and barriers, as well as the benefits. 

Building on existing research, your response will help inform additional resources needed across the industry and health care community, provide insights to federal and state policymakers, and identify gaps in current research. Respondent and organization information will remain confidential and will only be reported in aggregate. The findings will be shared and made available to all on the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition website, as well as shared by the various organizations participating in the Coalition Telehealth Workgroup*. 

The COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition is focused on understanding your experience of telehealth as an individual physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. Please click here to start the survey https://src.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6KAkyEVfhtGj3vL. The survey is expected to take up to 15-20 minutes and we ask that you complete the survey by August 13th, 2020.  Please remember to press submit when you get to the end of the survey. 

We want to hear from as many clinicians as possible to inform our work. If you have colleagues who use telehealth, please consider forwarding this invitation to them. 

Thank you in advance for your consideration and valuable insights. 

Best Regards,
Steve R. Ommen, MD
Medical Director, Center for Connected Care, Mayo Clinic
Francis X. Campion, MD, FACP
Principal Lead, Digital Health
MITRE Corporation 

*COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition Telehealth Workgroup: American Medical Association (AMA), American Telemedicine Association (ATA), Digital Medical Society (DiMe), MassChallenge Health Tech, Mayo Clinic and MITRE Corporation. The AMA, while a part of the Coalition Telehealth Workgroup, is not a formal member of the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition.


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MSSNY’s Weekly Podcast


What is the Cost of COVID-19 Hospitalization?
The median in-network commercial charge for COVID-19 hospitalizations ranged from $34,662 for the 23 to 30 age group to $4

5,683 for the 51 to 60 age group, new data show.

The 51 to 60 age group was the most expensive to treat as well as the most common to be hospitalized for COVID-19, accounting for nearly 30% of related hospitalizations, according to an analysis of commercial claims from January through May by not-for-profit research firm Fair Health. Although, the age distribution may be in flux, researchers said, pointing to recent reports indicating that the average age of new COVID-19 cases dropped by about 15 years.

In the South, Midwest and West, individuals aged 19 to 40 accounted for larger shares of COVID-19 claims than in the Northeast and the nation as a whole.

The study mirrored Medicare claims data showing that chronic kidney disease and kidney failure were the most common comorbidities of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

Many Medicare beneficiaries, which Fair Health’s analysis excludes, end up under the Medicare severity-diagnosis related group of respiratory system diagnosis with ventilator support, which yields more than $42,000, said Glenn Melnick, a healthcare economist at the University of Southern California who has been studying COVID-19-related utilization and reimbursement trends. That may explain why the commercial claims for those 61 and older are relatively lower, he said, noting that it could also be related to claims lag since a lot of older patients are staying in the hospital longer. Still, the charges and payments for the upper age groups seem low, especially since commercial insurers typically pay more than Medicare, Melnick said.

The total charges to treat COVID-19 within hospital settings are projected to range from at least $362 billion to as high as $1.45 trillion, Fair Health estimates.

The Fair Health analysis revealed that males were associated with a larger share (54%) of COVID-19 commercial claims, according to Fair Health data. The office setting was the most common venue for initial diagnoses, except for patients aged 61 and older, who were most commonly diagnosed initially in an inpatient setting.

Notably, the Northeast had the highest percentage of COVID-19 patients first diagnosed via telehealth, which was typically the least-common medium.

Physicians and data experts at Santa Clara (Calif.) Valley Medical Center developed a COVID-19 risk score that aims to maximize resources and direct treatment. If they are male, over the age of 60, have a body-mass index of at least 30 and have comorbidities like diabetes or heart conditions, they are more likely to get sick, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center experts’ analysis of nearly 7,000 emergency department visits revealed. Patients who have fewer than three of those characteristics are extremely unlikely to require hospitalization. And 1 in 8 patients who meet at least three of the criteria will likely get very sick.


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Classifieds

Upper East Side Office to Share
Includes waiting room, 2 exam rooms and room for medical assistants. Flexible schedule. Call Bianca at 212-327-1851.

For Sale:  715 Park Avenue
Medical office, 1,800 sq. ft. Rectangular, 11 1/2 ft ceilings, street level access. Private entrance on 70th Street, side of the building.  Windows on Park Avenue and 70th Street.  Excellent office space for plastic surgeon, dermatologist or dental practice. Central air conditioning, high voltage electric service, two bathrooms. *Sale could include active Cardiac / Medical Practice. Please contact Janet @ 212-288-5468.


Office Space and Quad-A Certified O.R. for Rent
Plastic surgery office and/or quad A – certified operating room available for rent. We welcome you to tour our facility, where safety and luxury are combined in the most prime location on the upper east side. We assure you will be delighted by what you discover. We take pride in our facility, where your patients’ safety and satisfaction are our number one priority.
  • Fully equipped operating room perfect for a board-certified plastic surgeon
  • Pre-op and recovery areas
  • A bright and modern waiting area
  • 3 consultation rooms, administrative room, kitchenette, and 2 bathrooms
  • Full day office rental per week / O.R. rental per case

For inquiries please call 212.737.8700, email polina@specialtyaestheticsurgery.com
Office Space and Quad-A Certified O.R. for Rent


 

 

 

 

 

 

eNews: July 15, 2020


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MSSNY Peer to Peer (P2P) Program for Colleagues
The Medical Society of the State of New York is excited to offer to physicians, residents, and medical students the opportunity to talk with a peer about some of life stressors. 

MSSNY’s Physician Wellness and Resiliency Committee has launched the MSSNY Peer to Peer (P2P) program for colleagues to avail themselves and reach out to peer supporters to discuss every daily stressors such as work, school, family, or financial stressors. And, with the advent of COVID-19 pandemic, there may also be some additional stress in our colleague lives.

The P2P program is an opportunity for our colleagues to have a one-time confidential discussion with a peer supporter.  The peer supporter is a trained individual who can share experiences, listens without judgment, who can validate your feelings and provide you with Support, Empathy and Perspective.

Peer supporters can also provide information on organizations that can support you and will provide you with positive coping skills.  They can also help connect you to organizations and individuals should you need more focused assistance.

Any physician, resident, or medical students who wishes to relate to a peer supporter, may contact the Medical Society of the State of New York in the following ways:

  • MSSNY has established a separate email at P2P@mssny.org and requests that you be connected with a peer supporter
  • Or you can call MSSNY at 1-844-P2P-PEER (844-727-7337) and request that you be connected with a peer supporter.  The line is answered by MSSNY staff during regular business hours (Monday – Friday, 8:30-5 p.m.) and the call will be responded to by an MSSNY staff person.  After 5 p.m. the call will be answering by a live answering service who will take down contact information for MSSNY staff to follow up with.

It is well documented that physicians, residents, medical residents have enormous stressors that can range from the emotions arising in the context of patient care to the environment in which we practice medicine.   Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, those stressors may be exacerbated.

Please know that you are not alone.  MSSNY has trained peer supporters that are ready to support and take time to talk with you. Please reach out to us and know that we care about you and the issues that you face.

The words “Be Well” apply to all of us.

Bonnie Litvack, MD
MSSNY President

Charles Rothberg, MD, Chair
MSSNY Committee on Physician Wellness and Resiliency


MSSNY to HHS: CARES Act Provider Relief Fund for Survival of Practices
Physicians are essential to the health of their communities, as well as their economic well-being. Physicians contribute to their local economies and are important employers, providing jobs to nearly 700,000 New Yorkers according to a 2018 report from the American Medical Association. The fall-out from this crisis threatens to fundamentally alter the long-term stability of physician practices, and could lead to increased consolidation, which hurts competition and drives up costs for patients and employers.

The need is clear – our community-based physicians are important bedrocks of our communities and the nation’s economy. We urge you to do all in your power to ensure that adequate funds are allocated from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund to help ensure the survival of community physician practices. Should you need additional resources to accomplish this, we stand ready to work with you to make that possible. Thank you for your continued work to address the COVID-19 pandemic and we look forward to continuing to work with you to serve the American people. Letter to Honorable Alex Azar II.


MSSNY Reaches Out to DOH re COVID-19 Tests Taking Too Long to Process
MSSNY has reached out to the New York State Health Department to raise concerns brought by some physicians that certain labs processing Covid-19 tests in some parts of the State, including one of the national lab companies, are reporting that it will take them over a week to complete and report testing results.  What makes this particularly challenging for patients is that NYSDOH protocols for elective surgery require a negative Covid-19 test to be received within 5 days of the procedure.  This means that some patients in need of medical care may not be able to receive the care they need.

An article in New York Daily News noted “some test results are taking a week or longer to reach patients”.  During the Governor’s press briefing today, he noted that national laboratories are getting overwhelmed, but they process only 30% of New York’s testing.  The Governor’s chief of staff also added that, as New York has a network of 215 labs performing tests with the typical turn-around time of 2-3 days for tests, patients could opt to use these other labs instead.

MSSNY will continue to keep members alerted as to the status of our efforts to ensure testing results will be returned promptly. (See article below.).


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Quest Diagnostics Will Expedite Pre-Surgical Clearance
MSSNY EVP Phil Schuh asked our Socio-Med Division to check with Quest Diagnostics for information about their COVID test results turn-around time. Please see the attachment that should provide some clarity for their Priority Specimen Handling Program. Apparently, if the patient identifies that their test is related to pre-surgical clearance, the lab will expedite handling.  The following is a press release  from Quest:  https://newsroom.questdiagnostics.com/COVIDTestingUpdates

When the physician obtains the COVID specimen which is sent to Quest, the physician needs to stress to the Quest lab that the test is part of pre-surgical clearance. When the patient goes to a testing site for a pre-surgical clearance, the patient needs to stress to the site that the test is for pre-surgical clearance. Quest indicated that they believe other labs have created similar protocols for pre-surgical clearance procedures.  If the specimen is not treated as a priority, the physician can call 866MYQUEST to complain that a specific lab site is not compliant with Quest’s priority process.

Quest has only this one number for the entire US. Quest call center is divided into pods that service different parts of the country. The call will be directed to the appropriate pod that serves New York. If you have questions, call Regina McNally at 516-488-6100 ext.332. (Regina McNally, VP MSSNY Scio-Med Div.)


New Coronavirus Cases Shift to Affluent New York Neighborhoods
Coronavirus cases are popping up in more affluent Brooklyn and Manhattan neighborhoods that were not hard hit at the height of the pandemic, city health officials said Tuesday. As the infection rate rises among New Yorkers in their 20s, the geography of the virus has also shifted, with young adults now contracting the disease outside the working-class outer borough areas that have been the epicenter.

“We’re seeing cases in parts of Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn among that age group, that doesn’t exactly overlay with our poverty and racial disparities that we’ve seen in the past,” said Dr. Jay Varma, a senior adviser for public health in the mayor’s office.

As the pandemic cut a deadly course across the city, where it has killed more than 23,000 people, lower-income neighborhoods in the outer boroughs suffered the most cases and the most deaths. Latino and Black New Yorkers have died at twice the rate of whites.

The virus’ spread has decreased dramatically from its height, but the city is still seeing several hundred new cases each day. Total cases have stayed relatively flat, but data shows the infection rate is rising for New Yorkers in their 20s, while it is falling for people over 40. Neighborhoods in Manhattan and brownstone Brooklyn, which were largely spared earlier in the pandemic, are among those now seeing increases among young adults as the city reopens.

Officials pointed to young adults who had been quarantined at home venturing out and socializing more as the main driver of the uptick, though they have not identified exactly where the new cases are being transmitted. “People are now moving around more. They’re socializing more,” Varma said. “The most important way that we dropped transmission was to keep people separated from each other. People were essentially confined to their homes.”

Restaurants and bars reopened for outdoor service on June 22, and gatherings of up to 25 people are now legal as long as social distancing is maintained. Varma said it was “possible” people have gotten infected at recent protests police brutality but argued protests are unlikely to be the main cause. (Politico July 15)


List Prices for COVID-19 Tests Range: $20 to $850 at Large Hospitals Nationwide
A new KFF analysis of what large hospitals nationwide charge for out-of-network COVID-19 tests show a wide range of publicly posted prices — from $20 to $850 for a single test. In many cases, the prices exceed what Medicare pays for COVID testing, which is either $51 or $100 depending on the test.

Federal law now requires private insurers, Medicare and Medicaid to cover COVID-19 tests without any cost to the patient and provides funding to support free testing for some people without health insurance, though it does not guarantee access to no-cost tests for the uninsured. Those laws ensure that most people will not have to pay out of pocket for COVID tests, though limits to the federal requirements mean that some people with and without health insurance could receive bills for COVID-19 tests.

The analysis finds:

  • The median price for a COVID-19 was $127, and about half of hospitals price their tests between $100 and $199. About one in five price their tests at more than $200.
  • Some hospitals list a discounted rate for self-pay individuals, which range from $36 to $180. Other hospitals indicate that uninsured or self-pay individuals could receive free or discounted care through their financial assistance programs.
  • Prices also vary for COVID-19 antibody tests, which are not used to diagnose active infections, from $35 to $300 at hospitals that list their prices.

The analysis set out to examine publicly posted prices at the two largest hospitals in each state and the District of Columbia. Although federal law requires hospitals to make COVID-19 prices publicly available on their websites, prices could only be found for 78 of the 102 hospitals examined. The prices reflect what they would charge for out-of-network services. Data on the negotiated rates for in-network services is not available. The analysis is part of the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker, an online information hub dedicated to monitoring and assessing the performance of the U.S. health system.



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The Risk of Dying From COVID-19-by Age, Sex. Weight and Ethnicity
A newly published study of more than 17 million people in England sheds light on how much a person’s age, race/ethnicity, body mass index, and more are correlated with their risk of dying from Covid-19. See the patterns on our interactive chart. (Advisory Board, July 13)


COVID-19 Study from FAIR Health Examines Patient Characteristics
FAIR Health released the fourth in its series of COVID-19 studies, Key Characteristics of COVID-19 Patients: Profiles Based on Analysis of Private Healthcare Claims. This new brief uses the nation’s largest repository of private healthcare claims to illuminate some of the key characteristics of patients diagnosed with COVID-19. These characteristics include age, gender, rural versus urban area by age, venue of care where first diagnosed, venue of care by age, comorbidities of hospitalized patients and median costs of hospitalization. The patient characteristics are analyzed nationally and by US census region. The data studied are from the period January-May 2020.

Among the findings:

  • Nationally and in every US census region, chronic kidney disease and kidney failure were the most common comorbidity in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, accounting for 13 percent of all such patients.
  • All regions except one resembled the nation in having type 2 diabetes as the second most common comorbidity; the exception, the South, had hypertension in that rank.
  • Nationally, the median charge amount for hospitalization of a COVID-19 patient ranged from $34,662 for the 23-30 age group to $45,683 for the 51-60 age group. The median estimated in-network amounts ranged from $17,094 for people over 70 years of age to $24,012 for people aged 51-60 years.
  • The West was the region with the widest range of costs for COVID-19 hospitalizations. There, median charge amounts ranged from $21,407 for the 19-22 age group to $93,459 for the over 70 age group. Median estimated in-network amounts ranged from $15,289 for the 19-22 age group to $60,205 for the over 70 age group.
  • Nationally, an office was the most common setting for initial presentation of patients with COVID-19: 33.3 percent of COVID-19 patients presented to an office and 23.0 percent presented to an inpatient facility. However, older people (age 61 and above) most commonly presented first to an inpatient setting.
  • In the Northeast, telehealth was more common for initial diagnosis of COVID-19 than emergency rooms (6.7 versus 6.2 percent of COVID-19 patients). The Northeast was the region with the highest percentage of COVID-19 patients who received their initial diagnosis via telehealth.
  • Nationally, males were associated with a larger share (54 percent) of the distribution of COVID-19 claim lines than females (46 percent).
  • The first brief in FAIR Health’s series on the COVID-19 pandemic examined projected US costs for COVID-19 patients requiring inpatient stays, the second the impact of the pandemic on hospitals and health systems, and the third the impact on healthcare professionals.For the new brief, click here.

Health Organizations Speak in Support of Dr. Anthony Fauci
Health and medical organizations are speaking out in support of Anthony Fauci, MD, a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, as he is coming under attack from some members of the Trump administration, including the president himself.

“The AAMC is extremely concerned and alarmed by efforts to discredit Anthony Fauci, MD, our nation’s top infectious disease expert,” Association of American Medical Colleges President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, and AAMC Chief Scientific Officer Ross McKinney, Jr., MD, said in a statement Monday. “America should be applauding Dr. Fauci for his service and following his advice, not undermining his credibility at this critical time.”

“The only way out of this pandemic is by following the science, and developing evidence-based prevention practices and treatment protocols as new scientifically rigorous data become available,” said Thomas File Jr., MD, president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), in a statement. “If we have any hope of ending this crisis, all of America must support public health experts, including Dr. Fauci, and stand with science.”

In addition to AAMC and IDSA, the HIV Medicine Association also weighed in on the issue. “We have been very fortunate to have Dr. Fauci at the helm directing infectious diseases research at NIH for so many years,” association chair Judith Feinberg, MD, said in a statement. “His leadership and support of a rigorous scientific process has been critical to transforming HIV from a death sentence to a chronic condition​, saving millions of lives worldwide. His voice and expertise need to be amplified not silenced if we are going to get control of the COVID-19 pandemic​, which has now taken the lives of more than 135,000 Americans and more than 570,000 people worldwide.”

Fauci’s last reported meeting with President Trump was during the first week of June, but he has no plans to leave his position, according to the Washington Post. Fauci is a civil servant and not a political appointee, meaning the White House cannot fire him directly. Dr. Fauci has been at his post since 1984 and has advised six presidents, according to his biography on the NIAID website. At the institute he oversees a budget of nearly $6 billion. (MedPage Today, July 14).


Please join the NYS Department of Health on
Thursday July 16th at 1-2PM 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.

For audio only, please dial in: 844-512-2950 and access code: 7519629


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AMA Statement on Trump Administration Decision on Student Visas
“The AMA is pleased that the Administration has reconsidered what would have been a setback for U.S. public and rural health. International medical students can now focus on their studies — rather than their immigration status — as they prepare to enter the health field and help fight this pandemic.” The following statement is attributable to: AMA President Susan R. Bailey, M.D.


School Reopening Guidance Includes Student Mask Requirements
Teachers and students will likely be required to wear masks or facial coverings in school buildings, under an outline of New York’s reopening guidance announced on Monday. Masks will be required anytime social distancing cannot be maintained, and “strongly encouraged” all other times except during meals, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a Monday press conference.

Faculty members working with special education students will be allowed to wear clear face shields so that they can better communicate with the children, according to a presentation to the Board of Regents.


Some of the youngest children can also be exempted. 
Other details about mask requirements and safety protocols will be left to local school officials. Once the full guidance is available, local district officials will have until the end of the month to develop individualized reopening plans, down to a school-by-school level, and submit them for approval. But even that does not guarantee classrooms will be open this fall. Cuomo said he will begin making reopening determinations during the first week of August.


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Classifieds

Upper East Side Office to Share
Includes waiting room, 2 exam rooms and room for medical assistants. Flexible schedule. Call Bianca at 212-327-1851.

For Sale:  715 Park Avenue
Medical office, 1,800 sq. ft. Rectangular, 11 1/2 ft ceilings, street level access. Private entrance on 70th Street, side of the building.  Windows on Park Avenue and 70th Street.  Excellent office space for plastic surgeon, dermatologist or dental practice. Central air conditioning, high voltage electric service, two bathrooms. *Sale could include active Cardiac / Medical Practice. Please contact Janet @ 212-288-5468.


Office Space and Quad-A Certified O.R. for Rent
Plastic surgery office and/or quad A – certified operating room available for rent. We welcome you to tour our facility, where safety and luxury are combined in the most prime location on the upper east side. We assure you will be delighted by what you discover. We take pride in our facility, where your patients’ safety and satisfaction are our number one priority.
  • Fully equipped operating room perfect for a board-certified plastic surgeon
  • Pre-op and recovery areas
  • A bright and modern waiting area
  • 3 consultation rooms, administrative room, kitchenette, and 2 bathrooms
  • Full day office rental per week / O.R. rental per case

For inquiries please call 212.737.8700, email polina@specialtyaestheticsurgery.com
Office Space and Quad-A Certified O.R. for Rent


 

 

 

 

 

 

eNews: WHO YOU GONNA CALL?  MSSNY, Your Ghostbusters


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WHO YOU GONNA CALL?  MSSNY, Your Ghostbusters

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Colleagues:

While we all love New York, practicing medicine in New York State has significant challenges that seem to increase year after year and have been compounded this year by the Covid 19 pandemic. So it is no wonder that in my travels (or these days my Zooms) around the state that doctors are often wondering where to turn for help. For MSSNY members, the answer is your dedicated MSSNY team.  So, this week let me remind you/introduce you to some of your MSSNY Ghostbusters so you know who to call.

  • Insurers trying to back off on telehealth payments? Physician extenders trying to practice medicine? Covid testing turnaround too long? Who you gonna call?  Your MSSNY government relations team at 518-465-8085, Moe Auster, Senior VP and Chief Legislative Counsel (mauster@mssny.org) and staff are hard a work every day lobbying on your behalf.
  • Need CME?  Who you gonna call?  Through MSSNY lobbying efforts, the deadline to renew your NY State-required pain management course in now October 2020.  The course can be completed on the MSSNY.org website and is FREE to members.  Nonmembers pay $150.
  • Need legal help? Thinking of selling your practice, joining a partnership, becoming employed?  Who you gonna call?   MSSNY members get FREE consults and discounted rates with Garfunkel Wild P.C., specialists in health care law. bcepelewicz@garfunkelwild.com, 516-393-2200.
  • Having trouble with insurers? Didn’t get your Cares ACT money? Who you gonna call? Regina McNally, Senior VP Socio-Medical Economics, rmcnally@mssny.org, 516-488-6100.  MSSNY staff provides FREE assistance to members.  They have contacts and experience with all major insurance companies, Medicare, Medicaid and Workers’ Comp and can give you Free advice on submitting claims and expert help in handling payment disputes.  They make the proper arguments to the right individuals.
  • Feeling Stressed?  Need to talk? Who you gonna call? MSSNY Peer to Peer (P2P) at 1-844-P2P-PEER or P2P@mssny.org.  You are not alone. Your MSSNY PEERS are there to listen and help. Want to volunteer to train as a peer supporter? Contact Pat Clancy, Senior VP for Public Health and Education at pclancy@mssny.org, 518-465-8085.
  • Need Affordable PPE? Who you gonna call? MSSNY has been working tirelessly to raise state and national awareness of the problem and to find solutions.  MSSNY procured and distributed 36,000 NIOSH/FDA approved masks this week at < $1/mask and continues to actively search for more options for our members.

Our staff, our committees, our council, our house of delegates, our officers and our counties are all on your side working hard to banish those things haunting your ability to practice medicine and care for your patients.

We are Team MSSNY—Your Ghostbusters.

Bonnie Litvack, MD
MSSNY President



.This Week’s MSSNY Podcast


NY COVID-19 Statistics: 32,283 deaths; 71,279 recovered
The U.S. set another daily case record, with about 60,000 new COVID-19 infections confirmed July 7. On July 8, the total number of cases reported in the U.S. surpassed 3 million.


MSSNY Joins with Other Associations Urging Congress for Enhanced Stimulus Funding
As the US Congress debates the scope and size of its next stimulus package, MSSNY joined on two letters this week to DC leaders to ensure needed funding was provided or maintained for hard-hit community physician practices.

The first letter, along with the California, Florida and Texas medical associations, asks Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to increase funding to the HHS Provider Relief Fund by another $100 billion to sustain physician practices and protect patient access to care.

It also asks Congress to adopt the Provider Relief Fund distribution methodology included in the “HEROES Act” that had been passed by the US House of Representatives that provides funding that is commensurate with each provider’s COVID-19 related expenses and revenue losses from all payers in order to target funds to physicians who still desperately need it.

In the second letter, MSSNY joined with the National Governors Association, AMA, HANYS, the Greater NY Hospital Association and several state medical societies in support of an enhanced federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) for the Medicaid program in the next bipartisan COVID relief bill. This increased Medicaid funding for the states is essential to help prevent against potentially steep Medicaid payment cuts that may be required due to the severe drop in revenue.

Congress is scheduled to return to Washington DC on July 20.
 in the U.S. surpassed 3 million.


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Physicians’ Offices Big Beneficiaries of Small-Business COVID-19 Relief Loans
Physicians’ offices hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic received a significant share of forgivable small-business COVID-19 relief loans, according to new government data. After intense public pressure, the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration released loan-level data about Paycheck Protection Program loans above $150,000. The healthcare sector received more than 12% of the total loans disclosed, and the biggest recipients in the healthcare sector were physicians’ offices.

Physicians’ offices received at least $8.4 billion in PPP loans, according to the dataset. The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged primary care practices’ revenues, and many healthcare industry analysts expect that consolidation could ensue in the coming months as practices in financial peril evaluate their options. Skilled-nursing facilities received at least $3.4 billion, home health services providers received at least $3 billion, dentists received at least $2.2 billion, and hospitals received at least $2 billion.

Physicians’ offices and dentists were initially the hardest-hit portions of the healthcare sector in March and April. Dentists’ offices shed 503,000 jobs in April, and physicians’ offices lost 243,000. However, things are looking up, as dentists saw the strongest recovery in the healthcare sector in May, adding back 244,800 jobs, and physicians’ offices added 51,300.

Nursing homes, however, are still losing jobs as of June employment data, and a Moody’s Investors Service report from May said that the pandemic was hurting the nursing home and senior living sectors more than any other sector of U.S. public finance.

Many hospitals didn’t qualify for PPP loans because they are only open to businesses that employ 500 people or fewer. The SBA chose to apply affiliation rules that counted many hospitals’ affiliated physician practices toward the employee threshold. The affiliation rules and related guidance also led to many medical practices owned by private equity firms being shut out of the aid program, despite lobbying efforts to include them.

The SBA allowed most community-owned hospitals to apply for PPP loans in April, as long as the facilities receive less than half their funding from state or local government sources, exclusive of Medicaid. However, hospitals in bankruptcy proceedings aren’t eligible for the loans, an appeals court ruled.

Congress tweaked the PPP program in June. The changes gave borrowers 24 weeks instead of eight weeks to spend the PPP funds, allowed them to delay paying payroll taxes, and would only require them to spend 60% of the loan expenses on payroll costs instead of 75% as originally stipulated. The data release accounts for nearly 75% of the loan dollars, the agencies said. The PPP loans are forgivable as long as borrowers use the loans for specified expenses. (Modern Healthcare, July 8).


How Airborne COVID-19 Transmission Has Evolved: A Timeline of Key Studies
Since March, researchers worldwide have published several studies exploring how the new coronavirus interacts with the air. These findings have evolved as the world continues to learn more about the new virus.

Here are six studies and reports covered by Becker’s Hospital Review about airborne transmission of the new coronavirus:

March 4: An early study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested that the new coronavirus may not linger in the air, but does contaminate hospital environments and surfaces.

March 17: Later that month, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that the new virus can remain infectious in the air for up to three hours and last on some surfaces for more than a day.

April 27: Another study from China published in the journal Nature found that the new virus can potentially be spread via fine airborne particles and may linger in patient bathrooms, medical staff areas and areas prone to crowding, though it did not establish how infectious the virus detected in these hospital areas were.

July 6: More than 200 scientists wrote an open letter to the World Health Organization stating that airborne spread indoors could be a significant mode of COVID-19 transmission and that evidence shows the virus lingers in the air in indoor spaces.

July 7: Following the letter’s publication, WHO officials acknowledged “emerging evidence” about the airborne spread of COVID-19.

July 9: WHO officials officially acknowledged that droplets carrying the new coronavirus may be airborne indoors and that people who spend long periods in crowded settings with poor ventilation may be at risk of becoming infected. (Becker’s Hospital Review, July 9)


NIH Launches COVID-19 Clinical Trial Network
The National Institutes of Health today said it established a clinical trial network for large-scale clinical testing of COVID-19 investigational vaccines and monoclonal antibodies. The COVID-19 Prevention Trials Network will operate under the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to enroll thousands of volunteers, according to NIH, as a functional unit of federal “Operation Warp Speed” initiative.

The network will use a harmonized vaccine protocol developed by a public-private partnership to enable analyses of results across multiple clinical trials. 


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With COVID Surging and Workforce Stretched, AMA Implores Administration to Change Proposed Regulation on International Students
The AMA urged Trump administration officials today to reconsider its ill-advised regulation on international students that could jeopardize the status of current medical students. In the letter, the AMA said the United States already is facing a physician shortage, and the pandemic has generated an even greater need for physicians all across the country.

Ideally, this would be a time that the country provides medical students with as many options as possible to successfully obtain their education. Instead, the regulation would change the status of these student merely because their classes are moving online.

“At a time when physicians are needed in the U.S. more than ever, it is unwise to deter medical professionals from coming to the U.S. now and potentially in the future. Moreover, this modification will likely cause medical students to attend school in other countries leading … to a brain drain as other countries obtain and likely retain the brightest young medical minds from across the world,” the letter said.

The letter noted that hundreds of international medical students who would be affected by the administration’s proposal should be allowed to remain in the country even if their medical instruction moves online because of the pandemic. “To ask these students to transfer to a new school or program weeks before the beginning of the term is not a viable solution and is completely unfair to students that have worked for years of their lives to be able to go to medical school.”


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FDA Warns of False Positives From BD-Brand COVID-19 Test
The Food and Drug Administration on Monday warned of an increased risk of false positive results from the BD SARS-CoV-2 Reagents for the BD Max System test. FDA said the manufacturer reported approximately 3% of results were false positives. The agency recommends clinical laboratory staff and health care providers consider presumptive any positive result from tests using the BD SARS-CoV-2 Reagents for the BD Max System and confirm results using an alternate, authorized test.


Dr. Donald Moore’s Interview “Keeping Ourselves Healthy-A Race to Action”
Dr. Donald Moore (Kings), an emergency medicine specialist and primary physician in Brooklyn, and affiliated with New York Methodist Hospital, is a MSSNY Member and President of Provident Clinical Society. Dr. Moore was interviewed on the topic, “Keeping Ourselves Healthy—A Race to Action.”

The video is available here.


MSSNY in the News:

Also ran in:
Star Gazette
Ithaca Journal
LoHud
Poughkeepsie Journal
MSN.com


Garfunkel Wild Ad

Classifieds

Upper East Side Office to Share
Includes waiting room, 2 exam rooms and room for medical assistants. Flexible schedule. Call Bianca at 212-327-1851.

For Sale:  715 Park Avenue
Medical office, 1,800 sq. ft. Rectangular, 11 1/2 ft ceilings, street level access. Private entrance on 70th Street, side of the building.  Windows on Park Avenue and 70th Street.  Excellent office space for plastic surgeon, dermatologist or dental practice. Central air conditioning, high voltage electric service, two bathrooms. *Sale could include active Cardiac / Medical Practice. Please contact Janet @ 212-288-5468.


Office Space and Quad-A Certified O.R. for Rent
Plastic surgery office and/or quad A – certified operating room available for rent. We welcome you to tour our facility, where safety and luxury are combined in the most prime location on the upper east side. We assure you will be delighted by what you discover. We take pride in our facility, where your patients’ safety and satisfaction are our number one priority.
  • Fully equipped operating room perfect for a board-certified plastic surgeon
  • Pre-op and recovery areas
  • A bright and modern waiting area
  • 3 consultation rooms, administrative room, kitchenette, and 2 bathrooms
  • Full day office rental per week / O.R. rental per case

For inquiries please call 212.737.8700, email polina@specialtyaestheticsurgery.com
Office Space and Quad-A Certified O.R. for Rent


 

 

 

 

 

 

Medical Society Launches Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Program for Physicians

For Immediate Release

Medical Society Launches Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Program for Physicians

Revolutionary Program Connects Physicians with a Peer to Talk about Life Stressors

Trained Individuals Offer Support, Empathy and Perspective

Westbury, NY—July 7, 2020—The Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) today launched a revolutionary program to provide physicians, residents, and medical students the opportunity to talk with a peer about their life stressors.  Under the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) program, physicians may engage in a one-time confidential discussion with a peer supporter—an individual trained to share experiences, listen without judgment, and validate feelings.

The pillars of the P2P program are Support, Empathy and Perspective.

“MSSNY is excited to offer this valuable tool to our physicians,” says MSSNY President Bonnie Litvack, MD.  “It is well documented that physicians, residents, and medical students have enormous stressors that can range from the emotions that arise in the context of patient care to the demanding environment in which we practice medicine.”

MSSNY’s Committee on Physician Wellness and Resiliency played an integral role in the creation of the P2P program—which grew out of a MSSNY survey that found over 50 percent of New York physicians suffer from life stressors.

“Physicians are healers that too often are reluctant to seek help for themselves. We hope that colleagues will connect to peer supporters to discuss daily stressors, including work, school, family, substance, or financial issues,” continues Dr. Litvack. “Especially in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are additional stressors burdening our colleagues’ lives.”

MSSNY has established a confidential helpline phone number (1-844-P2P-PEER) and an email address (p2p@mssny.org) so that physicians may be connected with a peer 24 hours a day/7 days a week. In addition to offering a trained, empathetic ear, peer supporters may provide information on specific resources that can offer further support, provide positive coping skills, or connect physicians to professionals for more focused assistance.

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About MSSNY
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. 

Press Contact:
Roseann Raia
Communications/Marketing
Medical Society of the State of New York
865 Merrick Ave
Westbury, NY 11590
516.488.6100 x302
rraia@mssny.org

 

eNews: July 8, 2020

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Gov. Cuomo’s Press Briefing Today
– Gov. stated school re-openings still being examined, finalized guidance will be provided on July 13th

– Schools will submit reopening plans by July 31st

– State will announce decision on school re-openings between Aug. 1-7

– Gov. said all County Fairs cancelled until further notice

– Malls can begin re-opening in Phase IV on July 10th, provided air filtration system is in place

FEDERAL RESPONSE:

– Gov. stated school re-openings are not determined by the President and are a state decision

– Gov. said projections now show an additional 15,000 deaths nationwide by October

– Projections suggest an additional 45,000 deaths nationwide without use of masks

Q&A:

– Gov. said plans will be submitted, alterations made accordingly, and then will be either accepted or declined

– Follow-up: if based on today’s data would a decision to reopen be made?

Gov. stated decision cannot be made based upon current data, will be made first        week in August

– Gov. said decision may differ based upon region and infection rates

– Gov. stated we are “better than we hoped to be” currently, but infection rate can change before August

– Asked about President’s tweet about cutting off aid to states. Gov. stated President’s claim is “not constitutional”

– Jim Malatras, Director of State Operations, added that a commission is discussing reopening with labor relations, superintendents, school transportation to make a determination

– Asked about backlog in federal laboratories in testing. Gov. stated national laboratories are getting overwhelmed, and provide back-up testing for NYS, but they process only 30% of NY’s testing

– Cuomo aide DeRosa added that NY has network of 215 labs, turn-around time is 2-3 days for tests, patients can opt to utilize these labs instead

– Gov. reiterated need to change relationship between police and communities

– Follow-up on increased backlog in labs and if can state increase capacity

– Gov. responded that he does not believe there is any avenue to increasing testing further. Gov noted capacity went from 400 maximum per day at beginning of pandemic to current 57,000

– Asked how private schools will handle reopening. Malatras said private and charter schools will also submit plans. Public schools often provide transportation to private schools, he expects public schools to work with private schools on plans. Malatras stated when collaboration is not occurring, the state will assist in facilitating cooperation

– Asked about air filtration in HVAC systems in schools. Gov. stated this is also being looked at. It depends on the type of HVAC system a school has and if it can utilize the right type of filter.


MSSNY Raises Concerns about Lag Time in Covid-19 Lab Tests
MSSNY has reached out to the New York State Health Department to raise concerns brought by some physicians that certain labs processing Covid-19 tests in some parts of the State, including one of the national lab companies, are reporting that it will take them over a week to complete and report testing results.

What makes this particularly challenging for patients is that NYSDOH protocols for elective surgery require a negative Covid-19 test to be received within 5 days of the procedure.  This means that some patients in need of medical care may not be able to receive the care they need.

An article in today’s New York Daily News noted “some test results are taking a week or longer to reach patients”.  During the Governor’s press briefing today, he noted that national laboratories are getting overwhelmed, but they process only 30% of New York’s testing.  The Governor’s chief of staff also added that, as New York has a network of 215 labs performing tests with the typical turn-around time of 2-3 days for tests, patients could opt to use these other labs instead.

MSSNY will continue to keep members alerted as to the status of our efforts to ensure testing results will be returned promptly.


Health Advisory: Revised Protocols for Personnel in Healthcare and Other Direct Care Settings to Return to Work Following COVID-19 Exposure or Infection American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians and American Medical Association

TO: All Healthcare Settings, except Nursing Homes, including but not limited to Hospitals, Adult Care Facilities (ACFs), End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Facilities, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Home Care, Outpatient Clinics, and Private Practices

Revised Interim Guidance: Protocol for COVID-19 Testing Applicable to All Health Care Providers and Local Health Departments.


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State Says 1 in 4 Nursing Home Workers Were Infected with COVID-19
A State Department of Health analysis examining how Covid-19 spread within nursing homes concluded that the disease spread from staff members at those facilities to vulnerable patients. The report found that 37,500 nursing home workers, about 1 in 4 statewide, were infected with Covid-19 between March and early June, and more than one-third of nursing home residents had the virus during that time.

The state sought to investigate the factors leading to the deaths of about 6,400 nursing home residents from either confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19. The report also looked at whether the Cuomo administration’s March 25 directive to nursing homes to accept Covid-19 positive patients contributed to fatalities.

A survey conducted by the state showed about 6,300 Covid-positive patients were admitted to 310 skilled-nursing facilities across the state from March 25 to May 8. Of those homes, 252 already had a patient with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 before one was transferred from a hospital.

The report said the timing of the peak in nursing home deaths on April 8 supports its theory that transmission from staff was the main driver as the highest number of staffers reported symptoms on March 16. That timeline aligns with findings that most patients who die from the disease do so in 18 to 25 days on average.

Meanwhile, the highest number of transfers from hospitals to nursing homes occurred on April 14, which was after the peak in nursing home mortality, according to the report.

The department said it suspects visitors to nursing homes, who were allowed to enter facilities until March 13, might also have transmitted the virus but doesn’t have data to support the assumption.

It said investigations by the department and the state Attorney General into whether nursing homes accepted patients they were unable to care for are ongoing.

“The data shows that the nursing home residents got COVID from the staff, and presumably, also from those who visited them,” said Dr. Howard Zucker, the state health commissioner. “Unfortunately, we did not understand the disease early on, we did not realize how widespread it was within our community, and therefore, it was able to be introduced into a vulnerable population.” (Crain’s, 7/7)


NY Nurses Union Files Unfair Labor Charges, Seeks Data on Infected Workers
A union representing 42,000 nurses in New York state is urging several hospitals to provide COVID-19 data on healthcare workers, according to The Wall Street Journal. The New York State Nurses Association filed labor charges July 7 with the National Labor Relations Board regional offices, seeking this information from hospitals in New York City-based Mount Sinai and New York-Presbyterian health systems, the newspaper reports. Labor charges also were filed against Interfaith Medical Center, Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center and Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, all in New York City.

By filing the labor charges, the union said it seeks to get a clearer picture of how many healthcare workers in New York City have been infected with COVID-19 since early March and prepare for a potential second wave, according to the Journal. Numbers it wants include how many union nurses reported COVID-19 symptoms, received tests, and tested positive. It also wants to know how many union workers have been off work sick for any amount of time during the pandemic.

In a separate labor charge filed July 7, the union seeks data on nurse infections from Valhalla, N.Y.-based Westchester Medical Center. But the newspaper said obtaining such information may be challenging partially due to testing shortages early during the pandemic.

The union estimates at least 22 New York State Nurses Association members have died of COVID-19, and data provided to the union shows more than 2,000 New York City healthcare workers have been sickened or had to leave work at two hospital systems for reasons related to the pandemic. A spokesperson for Westchester Medical Center, told the Journal in an email: “Our staff has tested positive for COVID-19 at a level consistent with or lower than community spread.” The spokesperson added that “our practices (and these statistics) have been shared with NYSNA repeatedly, both informally and formally.”

A spokesperson for Interfaith Medical Center told the newspaper the hospital expects to comply with the union’s request for information. Mount Sinai, New York-Presbyterian and the other hospitals didn’t immediately provide comment to the publication. This is not the first time the union has taken legal action during the pandemic. The union also filed three lawsuits against the state and two hospitals in April, alleging they failed to provide adequate protection for healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients. (Becker’s Hospital Review, July 8)


Statement on Official Withdrawal of U.S. from the World Health Organization
The following statement is attributable to AAP President Sally Goza, MD, FAAP, AAFP President Gary L. LeRoy, M.D., AMA President Susan R. Bailey, M.D., and ACP President, Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, FACP

“The Trump administration’s official withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO) puts the health of our country at grave risk. As leading medical organizations, representing hundreds of thousands of physicians, we join in strong opposition to this decision, which is a major setback to science, public health, and global coordination efforts needed to defeat COVID-19.

“The WHO plays a leading role in protecting, supporting, and promoting public health in the United States and around the world. The agency has been on the frontlines of every global child health challenge over the last seven decades, successfully eradicating smallpox, vaccinating billions against measles, and cutting preventable child deaths by more than half since 1990. Withdrawing from the WHO puts these investments at risk and leaves the United States without a seat at the table – at a time when our leadership is most desperately needed.

“As our nation and the rest of the world face a global health pandemic, a worldwide, coordinated response is more vital than ever. This dangerous withdrawal not only impacts the global response against COVID-19, but also undermines efforts to address other major public health threats. The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians and American Medical Association strongly oppose this short-sighted decision. We call on Congress to reject the Administration’s withdrawal from the WHO and make every effort to preserve the United States’ relationship with this valued global institution. Now is the time to invest in global health, rather than turn back.”


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HHS and DOD Agreement with Regeneron for Anti-Viral Antibody Treatment
On Tuesday, July 6, HHS) and the Department of Defense (DOD) announced an agreement with Regeneron, Inc. for the commercial-scale manufacturing of the company’s COVID-19 investigational anti-viral antibody treatment, REGN-COV2.

The federal government will own the doses created through this agreement. Regeneron “estimates between 70,000 and 300,000 treatment doses could be available from this project, with the initial doses ready as early as end of summer and completed this fall.” This manufacturing project will take place at the same time as clinical trials.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar stated, “This agreement with Regeneron is the first of a number of Operation Warp Speed awards to support potential therapeutics all the way through to manufacturing, allowing faster distribution if trials are successful.”

Additional information can be found in the linked press release.


Poll: Majority Report Being Concerned About Lack of Social Distancing
The Hill  reports, “A majority of Americans for the first time said in a new survey that they are concerned about a lack of social distancing in their area, according to Gallup.” This “survey, taken from June 22-28, found that 54 percent of respondents said they are now concerned.” Gallup noted “the level of concern reached a low of 41 percent in late May and percentages hovered in the 40s most of April and May. Gallup surveyed a random sample of 3,454 adults who are part of its panel for the poll. Its results have a 3-point margin of error for individual samples, with a higher margin of error for subgroups.”


HHS Provider Relief Fund Update
After the initial CARES ACT distribution of 30 billion dollars, several member physicians advised MSSNY that they did not receive their HHSPAYMENT by direct deposit.  Regina McNally, VP of the Division of Socio-medical Economics reached out to her contact at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) asking for an investigation.

Based on continued activity, DHHS recently advised that they are working with Acumen and UHG, the Department’s administrators for this payment activity, to fill any gaps in the General Distribution payments including those experienced by MSSNY members.  DHHS is planning on generating payments this week. 



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PPP Application Deadline Extended
The President signed a bill over the holiday weekend that gives small businesses and nonprofits additional time to apply for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) relief loans. Applicants now have until August 8, 2020 to submit their applications to a participating financial institution. Under the CARES Act, the PPP application period closed on June 30. That deadline passed with more than $130 billion of PPP funds still unused. This 5-week extension will allow more borrowers to receive low-interest, potentially forgivable loans up to $10 million to recover from COVID-19 losses.

When passing the bill, the House called on the Small Business Administration to continue to clarify confusing guidance, ensure PPP funds are reaching underserved businesses, and release more data on how PPP funds are being used. In addition to the deadline extension, the PPP Flexibility Act was signed into law last month gives borrowers more time to use PPP funds and rehire their employees to qualify for loan forgiveness.


Fair Health: Telehealth Claims Increased Nationally by 8000%
Manhattan-based Fair Health said that telehealth claim lines increased more than 8,000% nationally over the course of a year, from 0.15% of medical claim lines in April 2019 to 13% this past April, according to its recently launched telehealth tracking tool. The data represent the privately insured population, excluding Medicare and Medicaid. Telehealth claim lines rose even more in the Northeast, increasing 26,000% from 0.07% in April 2019 to nearly 20% in April 2020. (Crain’s’ 7/7)


The NYS Department of Health invites you to participate in a webcast:

Supporting Healthcare Provider Well-being in COVID and Beyond on Thursday, July 9th, 2020 at 1-2 PM 

Find our webinar streaming via YouTube Live (and available for viewing immediately thereafter) on the NYSDOH COVID website for providers: For audio only, please dial in: 844-512-2950 and  Access code: 2395356


 

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MSSNY Helpline for Physicians Experiencing COVID-19 Related Stress 518-292-0140


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Classifieds

Upper East Side Office to Share
Includes waiting room, 2 exam rooms and room for medical assistants. Flexible schedule. Call Bianca at 212-327-1851.


For Sale:  715 Park Avenue
Medical office, 1,800 sq. ft. Rectangular, 11 1/2 ft ceilings, street level access. Private entrance on 70th Street, side of the building.  Windows on Park Avenue and 70th Street.  Excellent office space for plastic surgeon, dermatologist or dental practice. Central air conditioning, high voltage electric service, two bathrooms. *Sale could include active Cardiac / Medical Practice. Please contact Janet @ 212-288-5468.


Office Space and Quad-A Certified O.R. for Rent
Plastic surgery office and/or quad A – certified operating room available for rent. We welcome you to tour our facility, where safety and luxury are combined in the most prime location on the upper east side. We assure you will be delighted by what you discover. We take pride in our facility, where your patients’ safety and satisfaction are our number one priority.
  • Fully equipped operating room perfect for a board-certified plastic surgeon
  • Pre-op and recovery areas
  • A bright and modern waiting area
  • 3 consultation rooms, administrative room, kitchenette, and 2 bathrooms
  • Full day office rental per week / O.R. rental per case

For inquiries please call 212.737.8700, email polina@specialtyaestheticsurgery.com
Office Space and Quad-A Certified O.R. for Rent


 

 

 

 

 

 

Enews: July 1, 2020


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Burnout at Record High for Many Primary Care Clinicians, Survey Finds
Nearly half of primary care clinicians reported that their burnout is at an all-time high, largely due to financial pressures caused by the covid-19 pandemic, a new survey found. The Larry A. Green center and primary care collaborative surveyed 763 practicing clinicians in 49 states from June 12-15. Respondents represented a broad range of primary care specialties, practice settings and types.

Five Survey Findings:

  1. 44% of respondents reported high levels of personal burnout, and 48 percent reported high levels of office burnout.
  2. 36% said their physical well-being has suffered, while 45 percent said their psychological state has declined.
  3. 63% of respondents said they have had “severe” or “near severe” stress levels the last four weeks.
  4. 39% said they have had to lay off or furlough staff members in the last month.
  5. 25% of respondents said they have skipped or deferred their salaries.

To view the full survey, Click Here.
(Editor’s Note: This article was updated June 30 at 11:00 A.M. CDT. Becker’s Hospital Review)


California Among 8 States Added to Gov. Cuomo’s Quarantine Order
Travelers from eight additional states, including California, will be subjected to a mandatory two-week quarantine upon entering New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday.

The other states are Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, and Tennessee.

Key context: Since Texas and Florida were among the eight states already on the quarantine list, now travelers from the country’s three most-populous states will be restricted in their ability to travel to the fourth-most populous state.

What comes next: Cuomo’s order applies to any state where more than 1 out of every 10,000 residents has tested positive on a seven-day rolling average or more than 10 percent of the tests come back positive. New Jersey and Connecticut joined New York in issuing the same restrictions and thresholds last week. (Politico, 6/30)


Dr. Fauci Predicts COVID-19 Cases Could Top 100K Cases A Day
“We can’t just focus on the areas that are having the surge. It puts the entire country at risk,” Dr. Fauci told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on a hearing focused on whether schools could reopen. “We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100K a day if this does not turn around so I’m very concerned … I think it’s important to tell you and the American public that I’m very concerned because it could get very bad.”

He suggested that people who ignored social distancing and didn’t wear face coverings have contributed to community spread, even in states that have closely followed reopening guidelines laid out by the Centers for Disease Control. “I think we need to emphasize the responsibility we have as individuals and as part of a societal effort to end the epidemic and that we all have to play a part in that,” Dr. Fauci said. (Politico 6/30)

“It is critical that we all take the personal responsibility to slow the transmission of COVID-19, and embrace the universal use of face coverings,” Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during his testimony Tuesday. “Specifically, I’m addressing the younger members of our society, the millennials and Generation Zs,” Redfield said. (KHN, 6/30)


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AHA Says: Hospitals Will Take $320B Hit This Year
Hospitals and health systems will lose over $320 billion in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an American Hospital Association report Tuesday. More than $200 billion in financial losses occurred from March to June. But the AHA expects hospitals to lose another $120 billion—about $20 billion per month—through year-end, mostly driven by lower patient volumes. (Modern Healthcare, 6/30)

Local and state public health departments across the country work to ensure that people in their communities have healthy water to drink, their restaurants do not serve contaminated food and outbreaks of infectious diseases don’t spread. Those departments now find themselves at the forefront of fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

But years of budget and staffing cuts have left them unprepared to face the worst health crisis in a century.

KHN and The Associated Press sought to understand the scale of the cuts and how the decades-long starvation of public health departments by federal, state, and local governments has affected the system meant to protect the nation’s health. (Modern Healthcare)


Six Takeaways of KHN-AP Investigation into the Erosion of Public Health
Here are six key takeaways from the KHN-AP investigation:

  • Since 2010, spending for state public health departments has dropped by 16% per capita, and for local health departments by 18%. Local public health spending varies widely by county or town, even within the same state.
  • At least 38,000 state and local public health jobs have disappeared since the 2008 recession, leaving a skeletal workforce in what was once viewed as one of the world’s top public health systems.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Americans live in counties that spend more than twice as much on policing as they spend on non-hospital health care, which includes public health.
  • More than three-quarters of Americans live in states that spend less than $100 per person annually on public health. Spending ranges from $32 in Louisiana to $263 in Delaware.
  • Some public health workers earn so little that they qualify for government assistance. During the pandemic, many have found themselves disrespected, ignored or even vilified. At least 34 state and local public health leaders have announced their resignations, retired, or been fired in 17 states since April.
  • States, cities, and counties whose tax revenues have declined during the current recession have begun laying off and furloughing public health staffers. At least 14 states have cut health department budgets or positions, or were actively considering such cuts in June, even as coronavirus cases surged in several states.

Dr. Richard Izquierdo, 2019 AMA Nathan Davis Awardee, Dies at Age 90
The American Medical Association (AMA) presented Richard “Doc” Izquierdo, M.D., with the Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Public Service. Dr. Izquierdo has served his Bronx community for nearly six decades as a physician, health care innovator, community leader and Medical Society advocate. He was chosen for the AMA’s top public service award for his lifetime of work, serving generations of Bronx residents.

Dr. Izquierdo has dedicated his entire career to furthering health and opportunity in his Bronx community. With a $3,000 down payment, he founded the San Juan Health Center, which in 1974 became Urban Health plan, Inc., and today is one of the largest health centers in New York State. Dr. Izquierdo also served as the first chairman of the Community Planning Board and as Chairman of the 41st Precinct Community Council for 14 years.

In 2010 Dr. Izquierdo fulfilled a lifelong dream when he opened the Dr. Richard Izquierdo Health and Science Charter School. The first school of its kind, it provides technical education geared specifically toward preparing students for jobs in the health care sector, including Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification.

“Dr. Izquierdo put down roots for good nearly 60 years ago when he opened his first practice two blocks from where he grew up in the Bronx,” said AMA Board Chair Jack Resneck, Jr., M.D. “Not only has he treated generations of patients from his community, but he has built, in his charter school and health center, a legacy that will serve the Bronx for years to come.”

Dr. Richard Izquierdo was one of eight honorees chosen this year to receive the Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Public Service. The award, named for Dr. Nathan Davis, a member of the Medical Society for the State of New York, and the founding father of the AMA, recognizes those in service whose outstanding contributions have promoted the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health.

Dr. Izquierdo attended University of Lausanne Medical School and completed his internship and residency at Fordham Hospital in New York. The AMA presented Dr. Izquierdo with the Dr. Nathan Davis Award last night at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. as part of the AMA’s National Advocacy Conference.

Dr. Izquierdo (known as “The People’s Doctor of the Bronx and Founder of the Urban Plan, Dead at 90)”) was also featured in the Bronx Journal.


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Dr. Fauci: Contact-Tracing ‘Not Going Well;’ Other Updates

  • National contact-tracing efforts are “not going well,”Anthony Fauci, MD, told CNBC.. Instead of creating a national contract-tracing strategy, the White House instructed states to develop infrastructure for broad COVID-19 testing and contact-tracing before reopening. Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said some states have been slow to ramp up this capacity, which will be crucial before a potential second wave of coronavirus cases this fall. 
  • Federal officials are warning of fake mask exemption cards that say their owners are exempt from ordinances requiring masks in public due to a health condition, according to The New York Times. Some versions of the card feature a fake U.S. Justice Department logo and list a phone number to report violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. A group called the Freedom to Breathe Agency was selling 500-count boxes of the fake cards online for $49.99, officials said.

US Warns that 2nd COVID-19 Wave Could Worsen Generic Drug Shortages
A federal intelligence report found that the U.S. is likely to see a worsening shortage of generic drugs if another round of shutdowns occurs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to ABC News. The federal report, created by the Department of Homeland Security and distributed to government agencies last week, found that the U.S. already is seeing shortages of more than 200 drugs and supplies due to international shutdowns. The report is warning that another round of shutdowns could further strain the system in a way that many U.S.-based drugmakers would be “unable to quickly offset,” according to ABC. 

“Chinese factories that produce raw ingredients for common antibiotics closed for weeks as of March, and India’s lockdown extended until the end of May,” the report said, according to ABC. “France, Germany, and China have also considered reimposing lockdown measures as COVID-19 cases have begun to reemerge.”


NEJM Study: 300 Cases Rare Inflammatory Disorder in COVID-19 Children
U.S. researchers have found nearly 300 cases of a rare inflammatory disorder linked to COVID-19 in children, according to two new studies cited by STAT. In the first study, researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital identified 186 children with the condition in 26 states. Eighty percent required intensive care, 20 percent were put on a ventilator, and 2 percent (four children) died. In a second study examining 99 cases in New York state, 63 percent needed mechanical ventilation, and two children died. Both studies were published in The New England Journal of Medicine.


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AMA Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Louisiana Abortion Access Case

Statement Attributable to:
Susan R. Bailey, M.D.
President, American Medical Association

“Today’s decision is a victory for patients and a strike against government interference in the patient-physician relationship. There is no evidence that Louisiana’s admitting privileges requirement improves patients’ safety, and we are pleased by the U.S. Supreme Court’s finding that such regulations are constitutionally invalid.

“The AMA joined other leading national health organizations in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court, urging it to strike down a Louisiana law that interferes with clinical judgment and obstructs women’s access to abortion services in the state. We will always fight government intrusion that compromises access to safe clinical care.


Gilead Sets Remdesivir Price, Allocation Plan
Gilead Sciences will charge the U.S. government and other developed countries $2,340 for a five-day course of remdesivir. Commercial insurers in the U.S. will pay 33 percent more, or $3,120 for a five-day course, the drugmaker said June 29.

Most patients treated with remdesivir receive a five-day treatment course using six vials of remdesivir. The cost breaks down to $390 per vial for government insurers like Medicaid and $520 per vial for private insurers.

Gilead said while deciding on a pricing strategy for remdesivir, it wanted to create a one-price model to curb the need for country-by-country negotiations on price. While there are still no COVID-19 treatments approved by the FDA, remdesivir has been shown to shorten recovery time of hospitalized patients by about four days. Due to its potential to save lives and cut hospital spending, Gilead said its pricing is well below value. Gilead said due to the earlier hospital discharge, hospitals could save about $12,000 per patient.

“As with many other aspects of this pandemic, we are in uncharted territory in pricing remdesivir,” Daniel O’Day, chair and CEO of Gilead, wrote in a statement on the pricing decision. “Ultimately, we were guided by the need to do things differently. As the world continues to reel from the human, social and economic impact of this pandemic, we believe that pricing remdesivir well below value is the right and responsible thing to do.”

Gilead also said July 29 that HHS will continue to manage the allocation of remdesivir to U.S. hospitals through September. After that period, HHS will no longer manage allocation. (Open letter from Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day)


MSSNY Helpline for Physicians Experiencing COVID-19 Related Stress 518-292-0140


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Upper East Side Office to Share
Includes waiting room, 2 exam rooms and room for medical assistants. Flexible schedule. Call Bianca at 212-327-1851.


For Sale:  715 Park Avenue
Medical office, 1,800 sq. ft. Rectangular, 11 1/2 ft ceilings, street level access. Private entrance on 70th Street, side of the building.  Windows on Park Avenue and 70th Street.  Excellent office space for plastic surgeon, dermatologist or dental practice. Central air conditioning, high voltage electric service, two bathrooms. *Sale could include active Cardiac / Medical Practice. Please contact Janet @ 212-288-5468.


Office Space and Quad-A Certified O.R. for Rent
Plastic surgery office and/or quad A – certified operating room available for rent. We welcome you to tour our facility, where safety and luxury are combined in the most prime location on the upper east side. We assure you will be delighted by what you discover. We take pride in our facility, where your patients’ safety and satisfaction are our number one priority.
  • Fully equipped operating room perfect for a board-certified plastic surgeon
  • Pre-op and recovery areas
  • A bright and modern waiting area
  • 3 consultation rooms, administrative room, kitchenette, and 2 bathrooms
  • Full day office rental per week / O.R. rental per case

For inquiries please call 212.737.8700, email polina@specialtyaestheticsurgery.com
Office Space and Quad-A Certified O.R. for Rent


 

 

 

 

 

 

MSSNY Statement on Vice President Pence’s Comments About COVID-19 and PPE Availability

For Immediate Release
June 26, 2020

MSSNY Statement on Vice President Pence’s Comments About COVID-19 and PPE Availability

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

“MSSNY is very concerned by the comments from the Vice-President today with regard to containment of the Covid-19 pandemic and availability of personal protective equipment (PPE). The record number of new cases across the country suggests that the curve, in fact, has not been flattened.

“New York’s physicians saw first-hand the suffering of patients and their families that occurred when there is a rapid incline in Covid-19 cases. We do not wish to return to such devastation. It took an enormous ‘team effort’ between our health care workers, Governor Cuomo and other government officials, and sadly of course, the sacrifices of the citizens of our great state, to not only flatten New York’s curve, but also to get to a point where we now have the lowest hospitalization levels since mid-March. With a disease that knows no state boundaries, we are deeply concerned by the significant increases in infection rates in other states.

“Additionally, physicians in New York State continue to face enormous challenges in obtaining PPE that is slowing the ability of community-based physicians to return to treating patients in-person on a regular basis again. Too many vendors sell only to government or large health systems—ignoring community physicians or make PPE available in minimal quantities at grossly inflated prices. Instead of asserting that there are ‘no outstanding requests’, we would ask Vice President Pence and the Trump Administration to confer with the physician community in New York and across the country to assess their challenges in obtaining PPE, and then, work to address these blatant supply chain problems.

“Given the incredibly infectious nature of Covid-19, now is not the time to rest on our laurels. We need all of our government officials to continue to work together to ‘reverse the curve’ in states where the numbers are rising and ‘protect the curve’ in states where Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations have receded.”

# # #

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

eNews June 26, 2020


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MSSNY Peer to Peer (P2P) Goes Live: We’re Here for You
Starting Monday, July 6, 2020, the Medical Society of the State of New York will offer physicians, residents, and medical students the opportunity to talk with a peer about their life stressors.  MSSNY’s Physician Wellness and Resiliency Committee has launched the long-awaited MSSNY Peer to Peer (P2P) program. We hope that colleagues will reach out to peer supporters to discuss daily stressors such as work, school, family, or financial issues.  With the advent of COVID-19 pandemic, there may also be some additional stress in our colleagues’ lives.

The P2P program is an opportunity for our colleagues to have a one-time confidential discussion with a peer supporter.  The peer supporter is a trained professional who can share experiences, listen without judgment, and can validate your feelings and provide you with Support, Empathy and Perspective.  Peer supporters can also provide information on specific organizations that can support you and will provide you with positive coping skills.  They can also help connect you to professionals should you need more focused assistance.

Any physician, resident, or medical student who wishes to chat with a peer supporter, may contact the Medical Society of the State of New York in the following ways:

  • Email your request to P2P@mssny.org to be connected with a peer supporter.
  • Or you can call MSSNY at (518) 465-8085, ext. 321 and request that you be connected with a peer supporter. The line is answered by MSSNY staff during regular business hours (Monday – Friday, 8:30-5 p.m.) After 5 p.m., the call will be answered by a live answering service that will take down your contact information and MSSNY staff will subsequently follow-up with you.
  • All calls and emails will remain strictly confidential.

It is well documented that physicians, residents, and medical students have enormous stressors that can range from the emotions arising in the context of patient care to the demanding environment in which we practice medicine.   Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic added into the mix, those stressors may be exacerbated.

Please know that whatever your situation, you are not alone.  MSSNY P2P is here to help.  Our trained peer supporters are ready, willing, and able to take time to talk with you.  Please reach out to us. We truly care about you and the difficult issues that you face.

The words “Be Well” apply to all of us.

Bonnie Litvack, MD
MSSNY President


NYS DOH COVID-19 Tracker


Daily US Cases Hit New High; White House Reconvenes Task Force
The U.S. reported more than 41,000 new COVID-19 cases June 25, the nation’s highest count since the pandemic began, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The count surpassed previous records of 36,880 cases June 24 and 36,739 cases confirmed April 24, according to The New York Times.

At least 20 million Americans may have had COVID-19, according to a new CDC estimate cited by NBC News. The estimate is based on an analysis of blood samples from patients nationwide. “Our best estimate right now is that for every case that’s reported, there actually are 10 other infections,” CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, said June 25.

The coronavirus task force is set to reconvene today for its first briefing since April 27, White House officials told The New York Times. Task force members are expected to share new data from areas seeing a surge in cases.

On Wednesday, the State tested 67,642 people. Of those tested, 749, or 1.1%, were positive.


Nationwide, Coronavirus Cases up 30% Compared to Beginning of June
There are 26 states seeing daily COVID cases increase over the past week. New York State is one of the exceptions. The travel advisory is now in effect for people arriving to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut from hotspot states.



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US Aim: ‘Take Flu Off The Table’ In Preparation For Second Wave of Coronavirus
Drugmakers are making millions of extra flu shots this year in preparation for a possible second wave of COVID-19 during the annual flu season, and in a rare move, the CDC has bought 7 million doses directly from them. The CDC usually buys about 500,000 doses of the flu shot to distribute to states but has spent $100 million to buy 7 million doses and has given $140 million to immunization programs across the U.S. to boost adult flu vaccination. Drugmakers are planning to boost production by about 10 percent to make 189 million doses this year, up from 170 million last year. Public health experts are expecting an “unprecedented” number of people to get a flu shot this year, according to the Post.

Experts have said lowering the number of people who catch the flu could free up critical hospital space to handle a potential second wave of COVID-19. Health officials are especially concerned about people at higher risk for both COVID-19 and the flu, the Post reported, such as residents and employees at long-term care facilities, African Americans, Hispanics, and people with comorbidities. Read the full article here.


Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients May Be More Prone to Major Organs Clotting
Modern Healthcare (6/25) reports, “Hospitalized COVID-19 patients may be more likely to develop clotting in their major organs, which researchers say may explain why some with the virus suffer heart attacks despite having no prior coronary damage.” According to findings published in the Lancet, “a series of 18 autopsies performed on NYU Winthrop Hospital patients who tested positive for COVID-19 discovered abnormal clotting and deposits of cells and proteins that cause clots in small blood vessels in their hearts, kidneys, lungs and livers.” Moreover, “clotting was also found in the heart veins rather than arteries, causing heart muscle damage.”


Five Regions of New York Are on Track to Enter Phase 4 of Reopening Today
The metrics in the Finger Lakes, Central New York, Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley, and the North Country continue trending in the right direction. Phase 4 permits indoor religious gatherings at 33% of capacity and allows low-risk indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment, film and TV production and professional sports without fans. Read more about Phase 4 here.

  • Social gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed as part of Phase Currently, gatherings of up to 25 people are permitted in regions that are in Phase 3.
  • A note on malls, movie theaters and gyms. These industries are unusually risky from a health standpoint. The State is undertaking further study to ensure they make informed decisions before reopening these businesses.

The total number of COVID hospitalizations continues to decline. Total hospitalizations fell to 1,071, from 1,104 the previous day. Sadly, 17 people in New York died due to COVID-19 (June 24)

On June 23, the State tested 51,144 people. Only 581, or 1%, were positive.


MSSNY’s Weekly Podcast


WHO Outlines COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan
The World Health Organization has laid out a proposal for the distribution of  COVID-19 vaccines and said over 4 billion doses will be needed to vaccinate the world’s priority populations, Politico reported. In a document presented to WHO member countries June 18, the organization said the allocation framework’s goal should be to reduce COVID-19 deaths and to protect health systems.

The WHO said three groups should be prioritized to receive vaccines: healthcare workers, adults over 65 and adults with comorbidities including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. All countries should receive an initial shipment of vaccines, but the formula for how many vaccines each country will receive can change to reflect the prioritization of a specific region or a shifting risk assessment of a country’s vulnerability and COVID-19 threat, according to Politico. Read the full article here.


 

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Physicians, Do You Use Telemedicine?
CMS has asked MSSNY for a listing of physicians who do Telemedicine. They have heard from a numbers of community health care groups for seniors that some patients are hesitant about calling their physicians about needed appointments since they are fearful of having to go to the doctor’s office.

CMS is asking for MSSNY’s assistance for two reasons:

  • The first is to alert patients in communities where physicians can provide virtual care during this pandemic.
  • Second, regarding forward thinking, it would be helpful for CMS to know which and how many physicians can provide telemedicine. This information would be useful in making the argument of continuing the expanded telemedicine coverage in a post pandemic future.

If you can provide telemedicine, please provide MSSNY with your name, address, specialty, phone and NPI number. This information will be added to MSSNY’s website and shared with your county societies.  CMS would also help in disseminating the information to the patient community. Send info to rmcnally@mssny.org


MSSNY WEBINAR

Monday June 29, 2020 @ 7:30am Medical Matters CME Webinar Registration Now Open Questions & Answers Surrounding the COVID-19 Pandemic
Be sure to register now for MSSNY’s next webinar related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Medical Matters: Questions & Answers Surrounding the COVID-19 Pandemic on Monday June 29th at 7:30am. Faculty for this program is William Valenti, MD, Arthur Cooper, MD, Marcus Friedrich, MD and Elizabeth Dufort, MD.

Educational objectives:

  • Identify frequently asked questions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Examine the dynamic circumstances encompassing COVID-19

Click here to register

To view the companion pieces to this webinar, be sure to go here or go to the MSSNY podcast site and listen to the COVID-19 related podcasts available here.

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.


CMS

CMS Rule Promotes Payer Drug Price Negotiations Based on Clinical Outcomes
CMS issued a proposed rule June 17 that would make it easier for Medicaid to make payment models based on a drug’s clinical value.

Current regulations make it hard for drugmakers to report payments under value-based arrangements to the agency. The regulations hinder payers and drugmakers from designing new payment arrangements based on the value a drug provides to a patient and leads to prices based on the quantity of drugs sold rather than the quality of the drug, CMS said.

“CMS’s rules for ensuring that Medicaid receives the lowest price available for prescription drugs have not been updated in thirty years and are blocking the opportunity for markets to create innovative payment models,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “By modernizing our rules, we are creating opportunities for drug manufacturers to have skin in the game through payment arrangements that challenge them to put their money where their mouth is.”

The new proposed rule seeks to modernize regulations to encourage innovation and encourage states, private payers and drugmakers to pay for prescription drugs based on clinical outcomes. Basing payment on clinical outcomes could foster innovation and reduce overall healthcare spending and hospital visits, CMS said.

Read the full news release here.


CMS Announces Relief for Clinicians Participating in the Quality Payment Program in 2020
In response to the 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency, CMS) is announcing flexibilities for clinicians participating in the Quality Payment Program (QPP) Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) in 2020:

  • Clinicians significantly impacted by the public health emergency may submit an Extreme & Uncontrollable Circumstances Application to reweight any or all of the MIPS performance categories. Those requesting relief via the application will need to provide a justification of how their practice has been significantly impacted by the public health emergency.
  • Reminder: In April, CMS added a new COVID-19 clinical trials improvement activity. There are two ways MIPS eligible clinicians or groups can receive credit for this new improvement activity:
    • A clinician may participate in a COVID-19 clinical trial and have those data entered into a data platform for that study; or
    • A clinician participating in the care of COVID-19 patients may submit clinical COVID-19 patient data to a clinical data registry for purposes of future study.

For More Information


Veterans Matters Podcasts
Check out MSSNY’s Veterans Matters podcast series on Veterans’ healthcare topics including PTSD in Returning Veterans, TBI in Returning Veterans, Substance Use in Veterans, Suicide in Veterans, The Special Mental Health Needs of Women Veterans and Military Culture: Everything Physicians Need to Know about Veterans as Patients.

Click here to listen to Part 1 of PTSD in Returning Veterans with Dr. Frank Dowling.

Click here to listen to Part 2 of PTSD in Returning Veterans with Dr. Frank Dowling.

Click here to listen to TBI in Returning Veterans with Dr. David Podwall.

Click here to listen to Substance Use Disorders with Dr. Thomas Madejski.

Click here to listen to Suicide in Veterans podcast with Dr. Jack McIntyre.

Click here to listen to The Special Mental Health Needs of Women Veterans with Dr. Malene Ingram, Colonel, U.S. Army Reserves and Retired Chief Master Sergeant, U.S. Air Force, Marcelle Leis.

Click here to listen to Military Culture: Everything Physicians Need to Know about Veterans as Patients with Retired Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, Lance Allen Wang and Retired Chief Master Sergeant, U.S. Air Force, Marcelle Leis.


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MSSNY Helpline for Physicians Experiencing COVID-19 Related Stress 518-292-0140


Classifieds

Upper East Side Office to Share
Includes waiting room, 2 exam rooms and room for medical assistants. Flexible schedule. Call Bianca at 212-327-1851.

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