MSSNY Statement on US Congressional Committees’ Surprise Billing Agreement  

For Immediate Release
December 14, 2020

 

MSSNY Statement on US Congressional Committees’ Surprise Billing Agreement
“Agreement is Giveaway to Enormously Profitable Insurance Companies and is at the Expense of Community Physicians on the Front Lines Delivering Patient Care During Pandemic” 

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

“Let’s be clear. The new House-Senate committees’ surprise billing legislative agreement is a flat-out giveaway to already enormously profitable insurance companies at the expense of community physicians on the front lines during the pandemic.

“If this proposal were to be enacted, it will reduce patient choice in New York by compelling even more private practice physicians into forced employment arrangements. We are disappointed that Congress did not look to New York’s well-regarded surprise medical bill law as a model of balance. Instead, they chose a methodology for resolving surprise bills that is designed to tip the scales grossly in favor of insurance companies and empower them to further squeeze patient care physicians at a time when many physicians are also about to absorb huge Medicare cuts.

“Indeed, the CBO estimates that most of the so-called savings from this surprise bill proposal would come from cuts insurance companies would impose of network participating physicians, not out-of-network physicians. The end result will inevitably be greatly reduced access to care for our patients.

“So, as the year-end nears, instead of a thank you to the hundreds of thousands of physicians across the country who have put their own lives and the lives of their families at risk, Congress is giving these physicians a giant lump of coal. We continue to urge that Congress take action to protect patients from surprise medical bills, but this proposal is way off the mark.

“MSSNY urges Congress to go back to the drawing board and develop a more balanced proposal. Our health care safety net depends upon it.”

# # #

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


Media Contact:
Roseann Raia

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

 

MSSNY eNews: December 11, 2020 – More Good News on the Vaccine Front


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Colleagues:

More good news on the vaccine front this week and not a moment too soon as reports indicate hospitals are reaching capacity throughout the nation.

Yesterday, FDA advisors voted 17-4 that the benefits of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine outweigh its risks for use in individuals 16 years of age and older.

The vote paves the way for the FDA to grant emergency use authorization (EUA) within the next few days. The FDA review released earlier this week indicated the efficacy of the two dose Pfizer vaccine is approximately 95%. The advisory panel will meet again shortly on 12/17 to offer recommendations on Moderna Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Back on the home front, New York State has started mobilizing the first phase of the vaccine role out. New York has been appropriated approximately 170,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Those first doses will be distributed around the state to hospital frontline workers and nursing home residents and staff with distribution prioritized to areas based on virus surge.

Until the vaccine is widely available and most of the population is vaccinated, hospital capacity will remain a top concern. In fact, this week, data was released from the Department of Health and Human Services showing that 1/3 of Americans are living in areas where hospitals are running critically short of intensive care unit beds. In response, our Governor has directed hospitals to expand bed capacity by greater than 50% and has called on retired physicians and nurses to rejoin the workforce. However, in one corner of our state, the Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center Hospital is actually slated for closure on January 1, 2021.

This plan predated the pandemic and the current surge. Several regional physician advocacy groups including the Medical Society of the County of Kings and the Manhattan Central Medical Society are urging that it remain open given this surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. This approximately 200 bed hospital predominately serves communities of color and may be critical to meeting the healthcare needs of the Brooklyn area during the next phase of this pandemic. Our medical society agrees with the Governor that hospital bed capacity is of paramount importance and therefore is joining with these other societies to urge reconsideration of the timing of this closure.

With the virus surging and our censuses rising, it is of the utmost importance that we as physicians take care of ourselves so that we can remain healthy, physically and mentally, to guide our patients and our state out of the pandemic. Remember that MSSNY is there for you and accessing our confidential peer to peer program is only an email (p2p@mssny.org) or phone call (1-844-P2P-PEER) away.

Bonnie Litvack, MD
MSSNY President


MSSNY Weekly Podcast:
Vaccine Approval, Stimulus Package & Upcoming Educational Programs


Notes from Governor Cuomo’s Friday Briefing:
COVID:
– Day 286
– Three focal points: hospital capacity, containment, vaccinations
– NYS Clinical Advisory Task Force approved FDA decision on vaccine unanimously
– Statewide positivity rate without micro-clusters: 4.55%
– Statewide rate with micro-clusters: 4.9%
– Micro-cluster positivity rate: 6.8%
– 212,000 tests conducted yesterday
– 21 million tests conducted to date
– 87 deaths
– 5,321 hospitalizations
– 1,007 ICU
– 546 intubations

Hospitalizations by Region:
– Finger Lakes: 611, 0.05%
– Western NY: 548, 0.04%
– Gov. noted increase in Western NY is beginning to flatten
– Southern Tier: 161, 0.03%
– Mid-Hudson: 696, 0.03%
– NYC: 1,668, 0.02%
– Long Island: 846, 0.03%
– Capital Region: 244, 0.02%
– Central New York: 314, 0.04%
– Mohawk Valley: 186, 0.04%
– North Country: 47, 0.01%

Winter Plan:
– Schools “almost without exception” are safer than broader communities
– Gov. said schools should be open unless there is spread within the school
– Gov. called hospitalization increase “dramatic”
– However, ICU rate is down 30%, 50% fewer intubations than in Spring
– Also, length of stay in hospital went from 11 days in Spring to 5 currently
– Death rate also decreased from 23% previously to 8% now
– Gov. discussed contact tracing data on where spread is occurring: primarily household gatherings, healthcare delivery, higher education students
– Gov. said indoor dining spread is better, but “still an issue”
– Gyms are now one of the lowest venues for spread, personal care services are much lower now as well
– Rate of transmission is 1.3% currently, which Gov. called “problematic”

New Restrictions Being Implemented:
– Based on CDC guidance, rate of transmission, and density indoor dining in NYC will close beginning Monday, December 14
– Outdoor dining, takeout to continue
– Gov. stressed federal government needs to provide relief for restaurants, bars
– Gov. announced NY will extend commercial eviction moratorium, but did not specify for how long
– Gov. added that gyms and salons can operate in orange zones with reduced capacity at 25%, and bi-weekly testing
– Outside NYC, in orange zones indoor dining will continue to be monitored

Potential New Restrictions:
– Red zone puts region on NY Pause, metric is 21 days from 90% hospital capacity,
– Gov. said this is necessary if hospitals are in risk of being overwhelmed
– Orange zone occurs if 4% positive rate over 10 days, or up to 80% hospital capacity, or high rate of hospital admission as determined by DOH
– Yellow zone occurs if 3% positivity rate over 10 days, or if region is in top 10% of hospital admissions
– Gov. said based on these metrics, new zoning will be announced on Monday
– In Staten Island: 26 deaths, which is 25% of NYC deaths, although Staten Island is 5% of the population
– Staten Island also high in hospital admission rate of increase

Hospitals:
– Hospitals are already at 25% increase in staff and beds
– Hospitals must remain under 85% capacity, can do so by adding additional 25% bed capacity or by reducing elective surgeries
– Over 85% capacity equals critical hospital capacity

Vaccine:
– 170,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine expected “imminently”
– 346,000 doses of Moderna vaccine expected week of Dec. 21
– Gov. stressed the need for inclusivity for the vaccine, cited his letter sent to HHS Secretary Azar

Members of Congress:
– Reps. Jeffries, Meng, Haaland, Castro, and Bass attended virtually
– Representatives discussed the need for state and local aid, equitable distribution of the vaccine to all communities, and vaccine prioritization


New York City COVID-19 Vaccination Program Enrollment
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is now enrolling private practices, independent pharmacies and other facilities that will immunize adults in the NYC COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

Click on the links below to review the letter and instructions on how to sign the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement in the online Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR):

Attend a webinar on completing the Provider Agreement in the CIR:
Enrollment in the NYC COVID-19 Vaccination Program
Tuesday, December 15, 2020, 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
Register Here

For questions, please call the Provider Access Line at 1-866-692-3641 or email nycimmunize@health.nyc.gov. Periodic updates will be sent to keep you informed and the COVID-19 vaccine webpage will be updated.


New York State COVID-19 Vaccination Program Enrollment
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) is now enrolling healthcare provider practices (outside of New York City’s five boroughs) in the NYSDOH COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

Practices (outside NYC) interested in administering COVID-19 vaccine when the vaccine becomes available to their group must enroll in the NYSDOH program to be ready to order and receive publicly supplied COVID-19 vaccine and ancillary supplies.

Please review the following attached documentation and complete the online COVID-19 vaccine enrollment application located in the Health Commerce System by Friday, December 18, 2020.

Send questions regarding the NYSDOH enrollment process to: COVID19Vaccine@health.ny.gov


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2021 Medicare Payment Rule Finalizes Steep 10% Conversion Factor Cut – Contact Your Member of Congress to Prevent CMS from Implementing
The American Medical Association has developed a comprehensive summary of the 2021 Medicare physician payment rule.  As has been widely reported, while the payment rule incorporates some long overdue increases in E&M codes, statutory budget neutrality rules are forcing a 10.2% cut in the conversion factor.

Therefore, MSSNY has been working together with numerous state medical associations and the AMA in support of Congressional legislation to prevent the conversion factor cut (while urging the E&M changes to go forward).  You can join us in these efforts by sending a letter from here: Urge Congress to Prevent Medicare Cuts, Expand Lifeline Programs and Oppose One-Sided Surprise Bill Proposals (p2a.co)

From the AMA Summary – CY 2021 Physician Fee Schedule Ratesetting and Conversion Factor

  • The final CY 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) conversion factor is $32.4085, which represents a 10.2% reduction from the CY 2020 conversion factor of $36.09.
  • Similarly, the final CY 2021 anesthesia conversion factor is $20.0547, down 9.61% from the CY 2020 anesthesia conversion factor of $22.20.
  • The most widespread specialty impacts of the relative value unit (RVU) changes are generally related to the changes to RVUs for specific services resulting from the E/M office visit increases and other changes made by CMS. The AMA/Specialty Society RVS Update Committee’s (RUC) recommendations account for a 5.5% reduction to the conversion factor. The remaining spending increases and resulting conversion factor reduction is attributed to various CMS proposals to increase valuation for specific services, including the E/M visits and the new G2211 visit complexity add-on code.
    • E/M visits billed using CPT codes comprise approximately 45% of allowed charges for PFS services. Office and outpatient E/M visits comprise approximately 25% of allowed charges for PFS services.
    • There is considerable variability within the specialties of the Federation in terms of E/M level of visits and volume. Physicians such as family practitioners who do not provide procedural interventions or diagnostic tests have most of their allowed charges from E/M visits. Therefore, these practitioners and other primary care providers should expect to see increases for their E/M visits.
  • CMS finalized Current Procedural Terminology® (CPT) descriptors, guidelines, and payment rates effective on January 1, 2021, which are a significant modification to the coding, documentation, and payment of E/M services for office and outpatient visits. In the final rule, CMS retained five levels of coding for established patients, reduced to four levels for new patients, and revised code definitions. CMS revalued services analogous to office outpatient E/M visits.

Should Physicians Who Had COVID-19 Still Get the Vaccine?
“Healthcare workers are recommended to be first in line for COVID-19 vaccines once they’re authorized, but many have already been infected — leading to a debate about whether they should give up their place in line,” reports Medpage Today (D’Ambrosio, 12/3). “Experts disagree when it comes to interpreting the evidence regarding lasting immunity and the need for vaccination among healthcare workers (or anyone, for that matter) who’ve already been infected.

Cases of reinfection have been documented; they appear to be rare, but the true rate remains unknown. For starters, second infections won’t be recognized as such if the first was never detected. Likewise, an asymptomatic reinfection may go unnoticed, yet the individual may still transmit it to others. It would not be good if that person happens to be a healthcare worker.” Medpage Today reports on the debate here.


Poll: Only About Half of Americans Want to Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19
The AP (12/9, Neergaard, Fingerhut) reports, “As states frantically prepare to begin months of vaccinations that could end the pandemic, a new poll finds only about half of Americans are ready to roll up their sleeves when their turn comes.”

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey “shows about a quarter of U.S. adults aren’t sure if they want to get vaccinated against the coronavirus,” while “roughly another quarter say they won’t.” Those “on the fence have safety concerns and want to watch how the initial rollout fares.”


MSSNY in the News this Week

WGRZ – 2 Buffalo (NBC Affiliate) – 12/08/20
2 On Your Side Answers Questions About The Coronavirus Vaccine
(MSSNY President Dr. Bonnie Litvack interviewed)

Crain’s Health Pulse – 12/09/20
MEDICARE CUTS
(MSSNY Statement / President Dr. Bonnie Litvack quoted)


Join Garfunkel Health Advisors for Webinar on Changes to E/M Coding and Documentation Requirements in 2021
Join Garfunkel Health Advisors, Inc. to prepare you for the biggest change in decades to the documentation and coding guidelines for Evaluation and Management (E/M) services, which go into effect on January 1, 2021.

Who this will affect: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) new E/M coding changes will affect every provider that bills for office and outpatient visits, including physicians, NPPs, practice plans, hospitals, HIT companies, health plans and health systems.

Why you need to attend: It is critical that the provider community understand the full impact of these changes, how they will affect your reimbursement and how to train your providers and staff to ensure compliance. This webinar will provide practical guidance on the most important aspects of the new rules and discuss best practices to reduce your audit and compliance risks.

Register for the webinar here.


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MSSNY Offers Access to PPE Supply Chain in Collaboration with American Society of Plastic Surgeons
MSSNY is pleased to again offer members access to purchase PPE supplies through the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) PPE supply chain program. Items available range from N95 masks and face shields to hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes. New items are consistently being added and restocked. Please note that shipment times may vary from several days to several weeks. Some orders may be fulfilled by outside vendors with longer shipping times. To see the available supplies and create an account to purchase items, visit this website.


COVID-19 from a Physician-Patient Perspective
Register now to learn more about what it is like to experience COVID-19 as both physician and patient.  Register now for: “COVID-19 from a Physician-Patient Perspectiveon Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 7:30 a.m.  Lorraine Giordano, vice chair of MSSNY Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster/Terrorism Response and Parag Mehta, MD, MSSNY Vice President will serve as faculty for this program. Registration is now open for this webinar here

Educational objectives are:

  • Describe COVID-19 from the perspective of both patient and physician
  • Examine insights gained from experiencing SARS CoV-2 firsthand
  • Identify chronic and acute symptoms that are prominent as a result of experiencing COVID-19 as a patient

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

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

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


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The Beginning of the End: COVID-19 Vaccine Considerations for Long Term Care Providers
Join Garfunkel Wild for an update from a former CDC pandemic expert on the ethical, legal, and logistical challenges of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.

When: Thursday, December 17, 2-3:00 pm

Register for the Webinar

Senior living providers are eagerly awaiting a COVID-19 vaccine — but protection against COVID-19 includes multiple strategies and the logistics around inoculating residents and employees are complex. Join Dr. Lisa Koonin, founder of Health Preparedness Partners, LLC, who spent more than 30 years at the CDC. Dr. Koonin led the development of national pandemic influenza preparedness and response plans and policies, served in leadership positions for multiple national and international emergency responses (including the 2016 Zika response, 2014-2015 Ebola response, 2013 H7N9 avian influenza outbreak in China, 2009 – 2010 H1N1 influenza pandemic), and has consulted with businesses, state and local governments, healthcare facilities, and ministries of health around the world, to improve emergency preparedness.

Why you need to attend: We will provide a current pandemic update, and discuss the ethical, legal and logistical challenges of the vaccine roll-out. Our panel will also discuss patient consent and liability, employee strategies, and infection control. Please sign up to hear the insight and new information needed to help protect your staff and residents.  If you have questions that you would like our panel to address, kindly submit them to Mandy Kaplan at mkaplan@garfunkelwild.com before December 15, 2020.


“PTSD in Returning Veterans” Webinar
The Medical Society of the State of New York is hosting a Continuing Medical Education (CME) program entitled Veterans Matters: PTSD in Returning Veterans live webinar on Tuesday, January 26, 2020 at 7:30 am.

Click here to register for the program. View the program flyer here.

When: January 26, 2020 at 7:30 am
Faculty: Frank Dowling, MD

Educational Objectives:

  • Identify diagnostic criteria for PTSD
  • Discuss medical and psychiatric comorbidities of military related PSTD
  • Discuss evidence-based treatment modalities for PTSD including medications and psychotherapy
  • Discuss strategies to help veterans overcome stigma to seek and accept treatment for military related trauma

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

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

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

Classifieds

Dermatology Practice for Sale – Staten Island, NY
Building includes 3 exam rooms, waiting area. Please respond by calling 718-987-3300 or email enbmd@aol.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Enroll in the NYC COVID-19 Vaccination Program

Enroll in the NYC COVID-19 Vaccination Program

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is now enrolling private practices, independent pharmacies and other facilities that will immunize adults in the NYC COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

Click on the links below to review the letter and instructions on how to sign the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement in the online Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR):

General Provider Letter on COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement and Profile Form

COVID-19 Provider Vaccination Agreement-Access Instructions

Attend a webinar on completing the Provider Agreement in the CIR:
Enrollment in the NYC COVID-19 Vaccination Program
Tuesday, December 15, 2020, 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

Register Here

For questions, please call the Provider Access Line at 1-866-692-3641 or email nycimmunize@health.nyc.gov. Periodic updates will be sent to keep you informed and the COVID-19 vaccine webpage will be updated.

MSSNY Statement on FDA Approval of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

For Immediate Release
December 10, 2020 

MSSNY Statement on FDA Approval of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

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

“Today, the world took an important step forward in changing the face of the COVID-19 pandemic with the approval of the Pfizer vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration.  This vaccine, along with the others that are in the pipeline, will save countless lives in the United States.   The Medical Society of the State of New York welcomes and appreciates the FDA emergency use authorization for this vaccine and the science that has made this vaccine a reality. MSSNY and its physicians are committed to ensuring that all New Yorkers are immunized against this deadly virus.  Throughout the years, vaccines have saved lives and we are confident that the COVID-19 vaccines will help us end this pandemic.”

# # #

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


Media Contact:
Roseann Raia

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

MSSNY eNews: December 9, 2020 – 2021 Medicare Payment Rule: 10% Conversion Factor Cut

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2021 Medicare Payment Rule Finalizes Steep 10% Conversion Factor Cut – Contact Your Member of Congress to Prevent CMS from Implementing
The American Medical Association has developed a comprehensive summary of the 2021 Medicare physician payment rule.  As has been widely reported, while the payment rule incorporates some long overdue increases in E&M codes, statutory budget neutrality rules are forcing a 10.2% cut in the conversion factor.

Therefore, MSSNY has been working together with numerous state medical associations and the AMA in support of Congressional legislation to prevent the conversion factor cut (while urging the E&M changes to go forward).  You can join us in these efforts by sending a letter from here.

From the AMA Summary – CY 2021 Physician Fee Schedule Ratesetting and Conversion Factor

  • The final CY 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) conversion factor is $32.4085, which represents a 10.2% reduction from the CY 2020 conversion factor of $36.09.
  • Similarly, the final CY 2021 anesthesia conversion factor is $20.0547, down 9.61% from the CY 2020 anesthesia conversion factor of $22.20.
  • The most widespread specialty impacts of the relative value unit (RVU) changes are generally related to the changes to RVUs for specific services resulting from the E/M office visit increases and other changes made by CMS. The AMA/Specialty Society RVS Update Committee’s (RUC) recommendations account for a 5.5% reduction to the conversion factor. The remaining spending increases and resulting conversion factor reduction is attributed to various CMS proposals to increase valuation for specific services, including the E/M visits and the new G2211 visit complexity add-on code.
  • E/M visits billed using CPT codes comprise approximately 45% of allowed charges for PFS services. Office and outpatient E/M visits comprise approximately 25% of allowed charges for PFS services.
  • There is considerable variability within the specialties of the Federation in terms of E/M level of visits and volume. Physicians such as family practitioners who do not provide procedural interventions or diagnostic tests have most of their allowed charges from E/M visits. Therefore, these practitioners and other primary care providers should expect to see increases for their E/M visits.
  • CMS finalized Current Procedural Terminology® (CPT) descriptors, guidelines, and payment rates effective on January 1, 2021, which are a significant modification to the coding, documentation, and payment of E/M services for office and outpatient visits. In the final rule, CMS retained five levels of coding for established patients, reduced to four levels for new patients, and revised code definitions. CMS revalued services analogous to office outpatient E/M visits.

Notes from Governor Cuomo’s Wednesday Briefing
COVID-19 Data:
– Day 284
– Statewide positivity rate without micro-clusters: 4.86%
– Statewide positivity rate with micro-clusters: 5.44%
– Micro-cluster positivity rate: 7.08%
– 95 Deaths
– 194,595 tests conducted yesterday
– 4,993 hospitalizations (+158)
– 952 ICU patients (+46)

– 521 intubations (+28)

COVID-19 General:
– Gov reiterates his plan to manage hospitals via a surge and flex method
– Gov plans to meet with hospital administrators today
– Gov will add new factors to the plan to slow spread on Friday
– Mayor Bill de Blasio and AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento joined the Gov during the briefing
– de Blasio emphasized the importance of federal aid
– Cilento thanked the Gov for leading the call for federal aid
– Cilento warned that without federal aid, the unemployment rate
will go up and businesses and schools will suffer

General Vaccine Information:
– Short-term plans for the state:
– release a public education campaign to battle skepticism
– conduct outreach to minority communities
– expedite distribution and administration beginning in the next few days
– Pfizer’s vaccine is expected to be approved by the FDA tomorrow
– If the FDA approves, 6 million doses will be available, with half
being shipped immediately and a second shipment 21 days later
– NY expects to receive 170,000 doses as soon as this weekend
– Priorities for vaccines are as follows:
– 1. Nursing home residents, then nursing home staff, followed by high risk hospital workers
– 2. By week 2, all high risk staff will have access to a vaccine
– 3. All long term and congregate care staff, EMT
– 4. Essential workers and general population

Vaccine Distribution:
– There are 90 regional distribution centers for the vaccine in NY
– 90 locations across the state will receive enough doses for 90,000 hospital staff
– Estimated allocation by region:
– North Country: 3,700
– Finger Lakes: 11,150
– Mohawk Valley: 4,200
– Western NY: 14,500
– Central NY: 6,400
– Capital Region: 7,850
– Southern Tier: 4,500
– Mid-Hudson: 19,200
– NYC: 72,000
– Long Island: 26,500
– NYS National Guard has been selected to be part of a Federal pilot program to be part of the limited Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine distribution for military personnel
– The CDC agreed that no individual identifying data will be shared with the federal government, protecting undocumented individuals

Q&A:
– On community sites for vaccination, when will the Gov roll out a list for vaccination locations
– Gov refers to the list of priorities for vaccination
– The general public might be eligible for vaccinations by late January
– Why hasn’t the state released more data on outbreaks?
– Gov: contact tracing data comes from local governments
– Gov will release more contact tracing data on Friday

– On limitations for indoor dining, is there a nexus between COVID and indoor dining?
– Gov says spread from indoor dining is not as bad as it was due to the current restrictions in place
– Indoor dining qualifies as a type of gathering place, which is still a source of spread


Bi-Partisan Letter Sent to Senate Leaders Urging Congress to Pass Legislation to Prevent Physician Medicare Cuts
MSSNY released a statement to the press on Tuesday thanking Senator Gillibrand for joining the bi-partisan letter signed by 50 Senators to prevent the huge Medicare cuts:

“MSSNY thanks Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for joining on to a bi-partisan letter to US Senate Majority Leader McConnell and US Senate Minority Leader Schumer urging Congress to pass legislation to help prevent steep cuts to Medicare physician payment for 2021 that would undoubtedly cause significant access to care issues for our seniors and exacerbate already enormous practice challenges arising from the pandemic. The cuts are the result of a statutory ‘budget neutrality’ rule that requires that any increases in Medicare payments must be offset by corresponding decreases…read full press release here.


Crain’s New York: MSSNY Press Statement
MEDICARE CUTS: The Medical Society of the State of New York said in a statement issued Tuesday that it applauds Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for joining a bi-partisan letter to Senate leaders urging Congress to pass legislation to prevent physician Medicare cuts. “The cuts are the result of a statutory ‘budget neutrality’ rule that requires that any increases in Medicare payments must be offset by corresponding decreases,” said Dr. Bonnie Litvack, president of the medical society, in a statement. “The letter notes, importantly, the Senators’ support for other changes to the 2021 Medicare payment rule that would provide long overdue payment increases for primary care and other office-based services.” (Crain’s, 12/9)


 

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Discounts for MSSNY Members on Grocery Delivery and Meal Services
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased demand for food delivery services. MSSNY has numerous grocery delivery and meal service discount offers available for members through our member benefit partner, Abenity. Click on the links below to access the discounts. Haven’t signed up for Abenity yet? See story below for easy instructions.


Are You Registered for MSSNY’s Member Perks Program? Sign Up for Abenity Now
MSSNY’s Abenity App provides members with exclusive perks and over $4,500 in savings on everything from grocery delivery and meal delivery services to mortgage savings and auto care.

REGISTER & LOG IN: 

  • Click on the following link: http://mssny.abenity.com
  • Create a unique user name and password 
  • Visit the App Store and download the Abenity App 
  • Begin Saving! 

Attention Medical Students: Join Webinar, “Medical Student and Physician Wellness in the Present Era”
Join MSSNY, the AMA, and our partners for an exclusive conversation with the Immediate Past President of the American Medical Association, Dr. Patrice Harris. Dr. Harris is a psychiatrist from Atlanta and is one of the leading voices in the nation on the topic of physician and medical student wellness. Please click here to register for the webinar.


Interested in Learning Social Media?
MSSNY is planning an upcoming Zoom “Social Media in Medicine” presentation for physician members interested in using social media. If interested in participating, please contact rraia@mssny.org for more information.


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CMS Finalizes Major Changes to E/M Coding and Documentation Requirements in 2021 – Will You Be Ready?
Join Garfunkel Health Advisors, Inc. to prepare you for the biggest change in decades to the documentation and coding guidelines for Evaluation and Management (E/M) services, which go into effect on January 1, 2021.

Who this will affect: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) new E/M coding changes will affect every provider that bills for office and outpatient visits, including physicians, NPPs, practice plans, hospitals, HIT companies, health plans and health systems.

Why you need to attend: It is critical that the provider community understand the full impact of these changes, how they will affect your reimbursement and how to train your providers and staff to ensure compliance. This webinar will provide practical guidance on the most important aspects of the new rules and discuss best practices to reduce your audit and compliance risks.

Register for the webinar here.


“PTSD in Returning Veterans” Webinar
The Medical Society of the State of New York is hosting a Continuing Medical Education (CME) program entitled Veterans Matters: PTSD in Returning Veterans live webinar on Tuesday, January 26, 2020 at 7:30 am.

Click here to register for the program. View the program flyer here.

When:          January 26, 2020 at 7:30 am

Faculty:        Frank Dowling, MD

Educational Objectives:

  • Identify diagnostic criteria for PTSD
  • Discuss medical and psychiatric comorbidities of military related PSTD
  • Discuss evidence-based treatment modalities for PTSD including medications and psychotherapy
  • Discuss strategies to help veterans overcome stigma to seek and accept treatment for military-related trauma

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

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

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


 

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MSSNY Applauds Senator Gillibrand for Joining Bi-Partisan Letter to Senate Leaders Urging Congress to Pass Legislation to Prevent Physician Medicare Cuts

For Immediate Release
December 8, 2020


MSSNY Applauds Senator Gillibrand for Joining Bi-Partisan Letter

to Senate Leaders Urging Congress to Pass Legislation
to Prevent Physician Medicare Cuts

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

“MSSNY thanks Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for joining on to a bi-partisan letter to US Senate Majority Leader McConnell and US Senate Minority Leader Schumer urging Congress to pass legislation to help prevent steep cuts to Medicare physician payment for 2021 that would undoubtedly cause significant access to care issues for our seniors and exacerbate already enormous practice challenges arising from the pandemic. The cuts are the result of a statutory ‘budget neutrality’ rule that requires that any increases in Medicare payments must be offset by corresponding decreases. The letter notes, importantly, the Senators’ support for other changes to the 2021 Medicare payment rule that would provide long overdue payment increases for primary care and other office-based services.

“We also thank the many other members of New York’s Congressional delegation who joined their colleagues in a similar bi-partisan letter to House Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy urging that these steep cuts be prevented. The New York Congressional members—both Democrats and Republicans—that signed the letter include Representatives Brindisi, Clarke, Delgado, Jacobs, Katko, S.P. Maloney, Meeks, Morelle, Reed, Rice, Stefanik, Suozzi, and Tonko.

“We completely agree with the assessment of the Senate letter that ‘Health care professionals across the spectrum are reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 emergency as they continue to serve patients during this global pandemic. The payment cuts finalized by CMS would pose a threat to providers and their patients under any circumstances, but during a pandemic the impact is even more profound.’

“We urge Congress to take action in the next few weeks to prevent these cuts.”

# # #

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

NYSDOH COVID-19 Vaccination Program Enrollment

NYSDOH COVID-19 Vaccination Program Enrollment

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) is now enrolling healthcare provider practices (outside of New York City’s five boroughs) in the NYSDOH COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

Practices (outside NYC) interested in administering COVID-19 vaccine when the vaccine becomes available to their group must enroll in the NYSDOH program to be ready to order and receive publicly supplied COVID-19 vaccine and ancillary supplies.

Please review the following attached documentation and complete the online COVID-19 vaccine enrollment application located in the Health Commerce System by Friday, December 18, 2020.

Send questions regarding the NYSDOH enrollment process to: COVID19Vaccine@health.ny.gov

Note: The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) has a separate process for enrolling providers located within NYC.   NYC providers should email enrollment questions to: nycimmunize@health.nyc.gov

 

MSSNY eNews: December 4, 2020 – NYSDOH COVID-19 Vaccination Program Enrollment


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Vaccines: The Talk of the Water Cooler

Colleagues:

The COVID-19 Vaccine has been the talk of the virtual water cooler over the past couple of weeks.  With rising COVID-19 positivity rates, rising hospitalizations and rising numbers of deaths, the vaccine news has been a welcome bright spot.

The NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) is now enrolling healthcare provider practices (outside of NYC’s five boroughs) in the NYSDOH COVID-19 Program. Click on this link (or in the box below) to enroll in the Program.

The Governor announced on Wednesday that by the middle of the month, Pfizer will be sending enough vaccine doses to NYS to immunize 170,000 people and shortly after that, the State will receive an additional shipment of vaccine from Moderna.  The first to be immunized will be frontline healthcare workers and the most at risk residents of long-term care facilities.   With ICUs filling up quickly and rising numbers of positive patients, this plan safeguards our healthcare workforce and in doing so helps to ensure access to care as the virus surges.  This plan at the same time also protects the safety of those most at risk for severe disease/death.

The results of our recent MSSNY vaccine survey indicate that our community and hospital–based physicians are prepared to receive the vaccine and in doing so, send a strong message to patients that being immunized is the best protection possible.

Nearly 80% of physician respondents reported that they plan to become immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine.  Physicians in our survey recognized that there will be hurdles to overcome in order to accomplish our goal of widespread vaccination, but our physicians plan to build on patient trust and use self-modeling and education tools to combat vaccine hesitancy.

NYS COVID BoxHerd immunity through vaccination is our safest and fastest way out the COVID-19 crisis.  Our vaccine survey shows that our physician members stand ready and able to begin the process of immunizing the New Yorkers.  As the COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available, our MSSNY and the New York State’s vaccine task force are committed to ensuring that the vaccines are widely disseminated to all people in a fair and equitable manner.

Bonnie Litvack, MD
MSSNY President


MSSNY Weekly Podcast


NYSDOH COVID-19 Vaccination Program Enrollment
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) is now enrolling healthcare provider practices (outside of New York City’s five boroughs) in the NYSDOH COVID-19 Vaccination Program. 

Practices (outside NYC) interested in administering COVID-19 vaccine when the vaccine becomes available to their group must enroll in the NYSDOH program to be ready to order and receive publicly supplied COVID-19 vaccine and ancillary supplies. 

Please review the following documentation and complete the online COVID-19 vaccine enrollment application located in the Health Commerce System by Friday, December 18, 2020. 

Send questions regarding the NYSDOH enrollment process to: COVID19Vaccine@health.ny.gov

Note: The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) has a separate process for enrolling providers located within NYC.   NYC providers should email enrollment questions here.


Seven State Medical Societies including MSSNY Press Congress to Prevent Steep Medicare Cuts, Enact COVID-19 Relief
MSSNY joined with six other northeastern medical societies this week in a joint letter to our respective Congressional delegations urging immediate action to prevent steep Medicare cuts and an expansion of COVID-19 relief financial lifeline programs such as the CARES Act provider pool and the Medicare Advance Payment Program.

This week, CMS announced it was implementing a drastic, over 10% decrease to the 2021 conversion factor that determines all Medicare payment rates. While the 2021 Medicare payment rule would also provide long overdue increases in payments for Evaluation and Management (E/M) codes, because of budget neutrality requirements, CMS is bound to make cuts to offset these increases. 

MSSNY has for weeks been urging physicians to send a letter to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and their respective US Representatives, to urge Congress to pass legislation to permit these E/M increases to go forward, but to prevent the corresponding deep cuts that will accrue to several specialties (You can send a letter here).  Several members of New York’s Congressional delegation have signed letters to House and Senate leadership urging action to prevent these cuts.

As Congress is seeking to finalize a continuing Budget resolution by December 11, there have been extensive discussions about including funding to prevent these Medicare cuts, as well as a new COVID-19 relief package that could include further additions to the CARES Act provider pool, and funding to state governments to help prevent steep cuts to state programs such as Medicaid.  MSSNY’s joint letter with the state medical societies of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Ohio, urges Congressional action in these areas, as well as urging that any proposal to address surprise medical bills is fairly balanced and consistent with demonstrated successful laws, such as New York’s, rather than one-sided solutions advanced by the market-dominant health insurance industry.

The letter notes that Congressional acts to prevent these Medicare cuts and to adopt a further COVID-19 relief package “is particularly important as we are managing a second surge in COVID-19 cases and many practices have yet to fully recover from the historic drops in patient visits this past spring. Without this assistance, patients in our states may find increasing difficulties in accessing care from their physicians due to practice closures and staffing shortages that could cause physicians to have to limit the patients they can treat.” 


 


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NYS DFS: Health Plans Required to Cover Medically Necessary COVID Testing
From the NYS Department of Financial Services: Health plans are required to cover medically necessary COVID-19 testing with no cost share.  If the patient was exposed and/or experiencing symptoms and their PCP prescribed the test, it should be covered.  Non-diagnostic tests that are required for employment purposes or other similar scenarios do not have to be covered.  If this falls within the applicable parameters, persons should file a complaint with DFS and they will look into this.

For free COVID testing, individuals should find a NYS-run testing site near them.  Please use the following link.


MSSNY in the News

Spectrum News Albany – 12/01/20
Vast Majority of NY Doctors to Take COVID Vaccine
(MSSNY President Dr. Bonnie Litvack quoted) 

WNET Albany (ABC affiliate) -12/01/20
Governor Cuomo outlines challenges with vaccine distribution
(MSSNY President Dr. Bonnie Litvack quoted) 
Also ran in MyTwinTiers.com; Rochester First; LocalSYR 

Crain’s Health Pulse – 12/02/20
Physician Vaccination
(MSSNY Mentioned)  

Politico – 12/03/20
New York City to receive 500,000 Covid-19 doses but faces the battle of buy-in
(MSSNY Mentioned)

News 12 Long Island – 12/03/20
Nassau Executive Curran describes COVID-19 vaccine distribution as ‘military-style campaign’
(MSSNY President Dr. Bonnie Litvack quoted)

Spectrum News Albany – 12/03/20
What Role Will Doctors Play in Vaccine Distribution?
(MSSNY President Dr. Bonnie Litvack quoted) 

CNY Central – 12/03/20
Doctors say COVID-19 vaccine is worth it, despite possible side-effects
(MSSNY President Dr. Bonnie Litvack interviewed) 
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Steps to Physician Wellness and Resiliency 
A recent physician suicide in New York State has again led us to contemplate how stressed physicians, residents, and students are in performing their duties–especially during the second wave of COVID-19. 

The Medical Society of the State of New York will present an educational webinar entitled, “Steps to Physician Wellness and Resiliency” in December. Presented by Frank Dowling, MD, the webinar will be held on December 10th from 7:30-8:30am. The program will focus on aspects of physician wellness and discusses depression, suicide, anxiety, and substance use warning signs and to know when to ask for professional assistance.

Register by clicking here.  

The educational objectives are:

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

Please click here to view the flyer for this program.

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.

Any questions please reach out to Cayla Lauder at clauder@mssny.org or Melissa Hoffman at mhoffman@mssny.org


Department of Health Survey on Telehealth During COVID-19 State of Emergency
The New York State (NYS) Department of Health (The Department) is conducting a survey of All Health Care Providers to gain knowledge of providers’ experiences using telehealth during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. The Department will use the results of this survey to inform post-pandemic telehealth policy development. 

The information gathered from this survey will be shared with, and help inform the work of, the Reimagine New York Commission. More information on the Reimagine New York Commission can be found here.

The survey should take approximately 20 minutes to complete and can be found at the following link. All clinicians are encouraged to respond; however, please limit to one survey response per individual clinician. The Department is interested in gathering perspectives from clinicians from the same organization, especially if they have different perspectives. Please submit your survey responses as soon as possible; the survey will close on December 15th

With the rapid transition to telehealth during the State of Emergency, providers may have received surveys from multiple state agencies. Surveys administered over the summer by the Department’s Office of Quality and Patient Safety (OQPS) had a focus on provider well-being and the Office of Mental Health (OMH) survey had a focus on consumer experience with behavioral health services. For providers who are exclusively an OMH-licensed provider and who previously participated in the comprehensive OMH survey, we welcome your responses but understand if you do not have the resources to complete another survey at this time.

Below are COVID-19 telehealth guidance resources issued by New York State and referenced in the survey:


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COVID-19 From a Physician-Patient Perspective
Registration Now Open 

December 16, 2020 @ 7:30am Medical Matters CME Webinar 

COVID-19 from a Physician-Patient Perspective

Learn more about the COVID-19 pandemic from the perspective of physicians who have had COVID-19.  Register now for: “COVID-19 from a Physician-Patient Perspectiveon Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 7:30 a.m.  Lorraine Giordano, vice chair of MSSNY Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster/Terrorism Response and Parag Mehta, MD, MSSNY Vice President will serve as faculty for this program. Registration is now open for this webinar here.  

Educational objectives are: 

  • Describe COVID-19 from the perspective of both patient and physician
  • Examine insights gained from experiencing SARS CoV-2 firsthand
  • Identify chronic and acute symptoms that are prominent as a result of experiencing COVID-19 as a patient

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

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

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


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MSSNY eNews: December 2, 2020 – MSSNY Survey Finds 80% of NY Physicians Plan to Get Immunized


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Notes from Governor Cuomo’s Wednesday Briefing
Briefings will follow a regular Mon/Wed/Fri schedule starting next week

COVID-19 General:
– Day 277
– 5.88% rate in micro-clusters
– 4.63% statewide rate with micro-clusters
– 4.21% statewide rate without micro-clusters
– 193,551 tests conducted
– 69 fatalities
– 3,924 hospitalizations
– 742 ICU patients
– 373 intubations
– Gov showed a PSA on COVID safety guidelines
– Outlined “living room spread”
– Gov warned of a COVID spike through the holiday season

Vaccine General:
– Gov referenced his 5-point plan:
– Manage hospital load
– Increase and balance testing
– Keep schools (K-8) open when safe
– Small gatherings are the #1 cause for spread
– Prepare for vaccine distribution
– Gov: the goal is to flatten the curve post-New Year
– Evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccine program
– 75-85% of population must be vaccinated for the economy to return
to normal (experts estimate this will be reached around June-September)
– NY panel will review federal approval process for the vaccine
– Black, Brown, and poor vaccine inclusion is vital
– Undocumented community cannot be excluded
– Gov: there must be federal funding for vaccine distribution

Vaccine Distribution:
– CDC issued prioritization recommendations, conforming to NY guidelines:
– Frontline healthcare workers and vulnerable/elderly citizens
– Pfizer will be enough doses for 170,000 New Yorkers
– Vaccines will be prioritized for residential health care facilities
– Doses are expected to arrive on December 15th
– Nationwide, the federal government estimates that we will have enough doses to vaccinate ~20 million people (6% of Americans)
– NYS expects additional allocations of Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccine this month

Q&A:
– On vaccine batches, what are the Governor’s expectations?
– Gov: the state’s plan is to vaccinate nursing home residents and staff
– Nursing home residents and staff in NY: 210,000 individuals
– We may get a Moderna batch at some point
– We expect an additional Pfizer vaccine in 21 days
– Where is living room spread information coming from, and does this change the Governor’s thinking on indoor dining/other businesses?
– Mujica: The information comes from contact tracing data
– Gov: social behavior has changed because of social distancing regulations
– On nursing homes, why not reach out to critics and address nursing homes on a regular basis?
– Gov: the criticism is politically motivated
– NYS, in relation to other states, is currently the 46th lowest in terms of nursing home deaths
– Gov: there are so many topics to discuss along with nursing homes
– On hospital capacity, are any states reaching critical mass?
– Gov: ending elective surgery expands hospital capacity
– The second phase is to expand hospital beds by 50%
– The third step is to create field hospitals, but staff will be limited

On vaccines:
– Gov: the goal is to have the fastest vaccination program in the country
– “I will be the first person to stand up and take the vaccine”
– The plan identifies regions, how do we choose geographically where vaccines go?
– Mujica: we will be able to cover every nursing home in the state in the first allocation of vaccines
– Will the state develop a list of priorities?
– Zucker: we are creating a list but not every person will get the vaccine because there has to be consent
– Health care workers and residential care facilities will be prioritized.
– We need 210,000 vaccines to cover all residents and staff
– Between the first Pfizer batch and the Moderna batch, we will cover all residents and staff
– Gov: there will be residents or staff that refuse to take the vaccine
– There will likely be rolling shipments of vaccines every 7 days


MSSNY Survey Finds 80 Percent of NY Physicians Plan to Get Immunized When Vaccine is Widely Available
MSSNY Press Release Issued on 11/30:
According to a survey conducted by the Medical Society of State of New York, nearly 80% of New York State’s community and hospital-based physicians plan to become immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes widely available.  

Only 7.5% of physician respondents to the survey indicated that they would not receive the vaccine.  

The survey also reported that three-quarters of physicians’ patients are asking about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. However, nearly 70% of physicians estimated that at least half of their patients will receive the COVID-19 vaccine once it is widely available.  

When asked, nearly 70% of the physicians reported that they believe that communicating to their patients that they themselves have been immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine would be the most effective way of combatting vaccine hesitancy. Over two-thirds of responding physicians believe that having a state-wide educational campaign on the importance of being immunized against COVID-19 would be instrumental in also combatting vaccine hesitancy. Physicians also believe that another essential component is having statewide educational brochures and flyers (46.50%) that can be distributed to patients along with a prepared script on the importance of getting the vaccine with an explanation of safety (41.76%).  

“This survey clearly shows that community and hospital physicians are prepared to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes widely available and that by immunizing themselves, they can send a strong message to their patients that being immunized is the best protection possible,” says MSSNY President Bonnie Litvack, MD.  

Sixty-six percent of physicians stated that vaccine hesitancy is the biggest obstacle in getting New Yorkers vaccinated; 61% believe that NOT having an adequate supply of the COVID-19 vaccine could be another obstacle. Nearly 50% of responding physicians indicated that having a sufficient supply of the COVID-19 vaccine was of concern while ensuring that there is equitable access to the vaccine; 39% cited concerns about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.  

Along with traditional immunizers, such as the community and hospital-based physicians, the survey asked physicians about regional and local points of distribution (PODs) to administer the vaccine. Almost 65% of physicians indicated that they thought their patients would have safety concerns regarding COVID-19 spread due to the number of people that would be at a POD location and 61% thought that their patients may not be able to travel to the locations of the POD. Over 48% thought that screening for medical contraindications and who would be administering the vaccine would be of concerns to patients; 43% are concerned about language barriers.  

“New York physicians stand ready and able to begin the process of immunizing New Yorkers and the Medical Society of the State of New York believes that the trust patients have in their physicians will go far in combatting vaccine hesitancy,” says MSSNY President Bonnie Litvack, MD. “Community-based physicians’ practices are located in New York’s rural, suburban, and urban areas and more often than not, those physicians speak the language of their patients, and most importantly, have the trust of their patients. As physicians, we must all work together to immunize all New Yorkers with the COVID-19 vaccine.  

“We must change the course of this pandemic, and the best way to do it is through a vaccine,” says Dr. Litvack.  

Click here to read Spectrum News story on the MSSNY survey. 

Click here to read the Crain’s item on the survey. The text is below: 

PHYSICIAN VACCINATION: The Medical Society of the State of New York said this week that nearly 80% of community- and hospital-based physicians surveyed plan to become immunized with a Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes widely available. Nearly 70% of physicians surveyed reported that they believe communicating to their patients that they themselves had been immunized would be the most effective way of combating hesitancy. (Crain’s, 12/1)


MSSNY Survey on COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy
The physician survey on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is still open for those who have not yet taken it.  This survey is being conducted following media reports that the healthcare workforce and patients may not participate in getting the vaccine. If you haven’t already done so, please take the survey here.


CMS 2021 Medicare Physician Payment Schedule Released Yesterday 
Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2021 Medicare Physician Payment Schedule Final Rule, which provides long-overdue increases for office visits, but also imposes significant cuts in other areasMSSNY has set up a grassroots letter for physicians to send to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, as well as their respective member of Congress, to urge Congress to “waive budget neutrality” and prevent these cuts from going forward: Urge Congress to Prevent Huge Medicare Cuts! (p2a.co).  MSSNY has also been working with AMA and other state medical societies to urge Congressional action to stop these steep cuts while permitting the positive E&M changes to go forward. 

Office and Outpatient Evaluation and Management (E/M) Visits 

Last year, CMS finalized an important policy change in the 2020 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule when it adopted CPT guidelines to report office and outpatient E/M visits based on either medical decision making or physician time and reduce unnecessary documentation. These changes were made effective on Jan. 1, 2021 to allow for extensive education on use of the new guidelines and revised codes.   

CMS also adopted the relative value recommendations made by the AMA/Specialty Society RVS Update Committee (RUC) for the office and outpatient E/M visits, which will lead to significant payment increases for these services in 2021.  

The final 2021 E/M policies differ from the RUC recommendations in one important respect: although the surgical specialties participated in the RUC survey and their data and vignettes were incorporated into the RUC recommendations, CMS did not apply the RUC recommended values to the visits bundled into global surgical payments. 

The January 2021 office visit guidelines and descriptions; an AMA Ed Hub tutorial; detailed RUC recommendations, data, and a vote report are all posted on the AMA website and may be obtained via www.ama-assn.org/cpt-office-visits.  

Budget Neutrality Adjustments 

 By law, significant increases in Medicare physician payment rates must be offset by across-the-board decreases. This budget neutrality requirement means that the RUC recommendations for the office and outpatient E/M visits would lead to an approximate 5% payment reduction affecting physicians and other health professionals who do not report office visits. This reduction was doubled to more than 10% as a result of other policy changes made by CMS. In particular, despite concerns about a lack of clarity in its definition and estimated utilization, CMS finalized a new code, G2211, to be reported in addition to the CPT codes for office visits which requires an additional budget neutrality offset of about $3 billion.  

Despite the consensus of the AMA and the Federation that CMS should waive the budget neutrality impacts of the Medicare E/M policies in light of the COVID-19 public health emergency, CMS has finalized a significant budget neutrality adjustment. The CY 2021 physician payment conversion factor is $32.41, a decrease of $3.68 from the CY 2020 conversion factor of $36.09. This is a decrease of 10.2%. The CY 2021 anesthesia conversion factor is $20.04, a decrease of $2.15 from the CY 2020 conversion factor of $22.20.  

Because the Administration does not offer any relief from the budget neutrality cuts in the final rule, the AMA strongly urges Congress to avert the more than 10% cut as physicians are experiencing substantial economic hardships due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Cuts of this magnitude are problematic for all services, but we are extremely concerned that these cuts will directly impact care to COVID-19 patients, as payments for hospital visits, critical care visits, and home visits are among those being slashed.



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Department of Health Survey on Telehealth During COVID-19 State of Emergency
The New York State (NYS) Department of Health (The Department) is conducting a survey of All Health Care Providers to gain knowledge of providers’ experiences using telehealth during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. The Department will use the results of this survey to inform post-pandemic telehealth policy development.

The information gathered from this survey will be shared with, and help inform the work of, the Reimagine New York Commission. More information on the Reimagine New York Commission can be found here.

The survey should take approximately 20 minutes to complete and can be found here. All clinicians are encouraged to respond; however, please limit to one survey response per individual clinician. The Department is interested in gathering perspectives from clinicians from the same organization, especially if they have different perspectives. Please submit your survey responses as soon as possible; the survey will close on December 15th.

With the rapid transition to telehealth during the State of Emergency, providers may have received surveys from multiple state agencies. Surveys administered over the summer by the Department’s Office of Quality and Patient Safety (OQPS) had a focus on provider well-being and the Office of Mental Health (OMH) survey had a focus on consumer experience with behavioral health services. For providers who are exclusively an OMH-licensed provider and who previously participated in the comprehensive OMH survey, we welcome your responses but understand if you do not have the resources to complete another survey at this time.

Below are COVID-19 telehealth guidance resources issued by New York State and referenced in the survey:

________________________________________________________________________
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Hospital-Based Elective Procedures in Erie County to be Postponed
The New York Department of Health sent a notification to Erie County hospitals today that requires “all hospitals in Erie County to postpone all non-essential elective procedures, until further notice.”  Governor Cuomo had announced in a Monday press conference that these elective procedures would be postponed as of this Friday, December 4, as a result of the need to prioritize health care services given the high percentage of positive Covid cases in Erie County and the sharp uptick in hospitalizations. 

The notice further states that “This directive does not apply to elective procedures at ambulatory surgery centers, office based facilities or free standing diagnostic and treatment centers at this time.”


Calling All MSSNY Social Media Ambassadors!
MSSNY has created a gallery of social media assets for both our Peer to Peer (P2P) program, which offers physicians, residents, and medical students an opportunity to talk with a peer about life stressors, and our “Masking Up” campaign to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Please download and share to your social media accounts to help get the word out:

Tag us @mssnytweet and @mssnygram and use one or more ofthe following hashtags in your posts: #MSSNY, #MSSNYStrong, #P2P #MaskUpNY #MaskUpAmerica.


Interested in Learning How to Use Social Media?
MSSNY is planning an upcoming Zoom “Social Media in Medicine” presentation for physician members interested in getting involved with social media. If interested in participating, please contact rraia@mssny.org for more information.


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Updates to US Blood Pressure Validated Device Listing
On December 1, NORC at the University of Chicago announced updates to the US Blood Pressure Validated Device Listing (VDL™). Launched in April 2020, the VDL assists providers and patients in identifying blood pressure (BP) devices that have been validated for clinical accuracy as determined through an independent review process.  

With the addition of nine new device models, two manufacturers, and three BP device types (Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring, Automated Office Blood Pressure, and Community Kiosk), the VDL now features 25 device models and five manufacturers, including A&D Medical, Hillrom-Welch Allyn, Microlife, Omron, and PharmaSmart. 

On the heels of the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to make hypertension control a national public health priority and create tailored strategies aimed at improving reach and equity, the expansion of this list is a significant step towards every person with hypertension having access to a validated BP device to use in partnership with their physician. Ensuring major device manufacturers share their testing data and results for independent review is critical to reducing the devastating impact of hypertension on vulnerable communities. 


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Classifieds

Dermatology Practice for Sale – Staten Island, NY
Building includes 3 exam rooms, waiting area. Please respond by calling 718-987-3300 or email enbmd@aol.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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80 Percent of NY Physicians Plan to Get Immunized When Vaccine Is Widely Available 

For Immediate Release

 

80 Percent of NY Physicians Plan to Get Immunized When Vaccine
Is Widely Available 


November 30, 2020, Westbury, NY
—According to a survey conducted by the Medical Society of State of New York, nearly 80% of New York State’s community and hospital-based physicians plan to become immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes widely available.

Only 7.5% of physician respondents to the survey indicated that they would not receive the vaccine.

The survey also reported that three-quarters of physicians’ patients are asking about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. However, nearly 70% of physicians estimated that at least half of their patients will receive the COVID-19 vaccine once it is widely available.

When asked, nearly 70% of the physicians reported that they believe that communicating to their patients that they themselves have been immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine would be the most effective way of combatting vaccine hesitancy. Over two-thirds of responding physicians believe that having a state-wide educational campaign on the importance of being immunized against COVID-19 would be instrumental in also combatting vaccine hesitancy. Physicians also believe that another essential component is having statewide educational brochures and flyers (46.50%) that can be distributed to patients along with a prepared script on the importance of getting the vaccine with an explanation of safety (41.76%).

“This survey clearly shows that community and hospital physicians are prepared to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes widely available and that by immunizing themselves, they can send a strong message to their patients that being immunized is the best protection possible,” says MSSNY President Bonnie Litvack, MD.

Sixty-six percent of physicians stated that vaccine hesitancy is the biggest obstacle in getting New Yorkers vaccinated; 61% believe that NOT having an adequate supply of the COVID-19 vaccine could be another obstacle. Nearly 50% of responding physicians indicated that having a sufficient supply of the COVID-19 vaccine was of concern while ensuring that there is equitable access to the vaccine; 39% cited concerns about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

Along with traditional immunizers, such as the community and hospital-based physicians, the survey asked physicians about regional and local points of distribution (PODs) to administer the vaccine. Almost 65% of physicians indicated that they thought their patients would have safety concerns regarding COVID-19 spread due to the number of people that would be at a POD location and 61% thought that their patients may not be able to travel to the locations of the POD. Over 48% thought that screening for medical contraindications and who would be administering the vaccine would be of concerns to patients; 43% are concerned about language barriers.

“New York physicians stand ready and able to begin the process of immunizing New Yorkers and the Medical Society of the State of New York believes that the trust patients have in their physicians will go far in combatting vaccine hesitancy,” says MSSNY President Bonnie Litvack, MD. “Community-based physicians’ practices are located in New York’s rural, suburban, and urban areas and more often than not, those physicians speak the language of their patients, and most importantly, have the trust of their patients. As physicians, we must all work together to immunize all New Yorkers with the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We must change the course of this pandemic, and the best way to do it is through a vaccine,” says Dr. Litvack.

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


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

 

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