Do Not Open Floodgates for Lawsuits Against Frontline Heroes

For Immediate Release

July 30, 2020

 

Do Not Open Floodgates for Lawsuits Against Frontline Heroes


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

 

“We urge Governor Cuomo to veto legislation (S.8835/A.10840) that could potentially open up the floodgates to lawsuits against doctors and other front line care providers for factors beyond their control in the event a “second wave” of the pandemic hits New York.  MSSNY together with 13 specialty societies together representing tens of thousands of physicians across the State of New York sent a letter raising profound concerns with this bill.

“This legislation would significantly weaken very important liability protections initially established by Governor Cuomo in an Executive Order and then codified in the State Budget.  As hospitals faced an unending flow of patients during the height of the pandemic in March and April, these protections were critically important to helping build physician capacity in health care systems in the hard hit New York City metropolitan region. Many physicians, nurses and other care providers were re-directed from their usual areas of focus to handle the influx of patients, both those with Covid-19 and those who did not have it but needed to be immediately treated.  These physicians and other care providers faced a significant risk of infection to themselves and to their families because often they did not have sufficient protective equipment.

“New York’s success at greatly reducing the transmission of coronavirus was the product of teamwork across many levels.  But with many other states witnessing a surge of cases, including some states where their hospitals are reaching their capacity, it is a distinct possibility we could see another wave hit New York.  It is therefore very possible that we could see again see circumstances of physicians needing to provide care to patients outside their specialty, as well as another requirement that physicians postpone elective surgeries and other critical diagnostic tests in order to prioritize health care resources for those patients in most immediate need.  To place these physicians at greater risk of lawsuits for factors far beyond their control is grossly unfair.

“Again, we urge Governor Cuomo to veto this legislation”

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is the “Right to Report” Sign Appropriate in a Physician’s Own Office?|

For Immediate Release
July 23, 2020

Is the “Right to Report” Sign Appropriate in a Physician’s Own Office?|

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

“While the Medical Society of the State of New York does not object to expanding patient awareness of their rights to file complaints about a particular physician with the Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC), we are very concerned with the distrust that will be fostered by legislation (A.7991-A/S.6678-A) that passed the State Legislature. This legislation would require every physician to post a conspicuous sign in their office how that patient can report a physician to the OPMC.

As patients can often be nervous when they arrive, physicians and their staffs are committed to ensuring that patients feel welcome and comfortable upon entering our offices. We are very concerned that reading about how they can file a complaint against that physician upon entering the office, particularly for the first time, will only increase their anxiety and create unnecessary confusion.

Physicians remain very much committed to ensuring a strong disciplinary process to remove those aberrant practitioners who betray the trust of their patients and their professional oaths. However, there is already ample information available through a basic internet search through an iPhone, tablet or PC regarding how a patient can file a complaint to the OPMC about a particular physician.

With this and other legislation also under consideration to eliminate liability protections for physicians (and others) responding to potential future pandemic surges, it is clear that many have forgotten that not along ago they thought of physicians as ‘heroes.’

We will be urging Governor Cuomo to veto this legislation.”

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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

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

 

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.”

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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

State Medical Societies Urge Congress to Fight for Funding for Community Physician Practices in Next Stimulus Package

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For Immediate Release
June 16, 2020 

CONNECTICUT STATE MEDICAL SOCIETY
MEDICAL SOCIETY OF DELAWARE
MED CHI, THE MARYLAND STATE MEDICAL SOCIETY
MEDICAL SOCIETY OF NEW JERSEY
MEDICAL SOCIETY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
OHIO STATE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION 

State Medical Societies Urge Congress to Fight for Funding for Community Physician Practices in Next Stimulus Package

On behalf of the tens of thousands of physicians collectively represented by our associations, and the millions of patients we treat, we are urging that Congress continue to fight for needed funding in the next “stimulus” package to assist community physician practices to be able to keep their doors open for their patients.  Like many businesses, our physicians have faced a devastating impact on their practices as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

At stake is access to care for the patients we serve and the staff we employ. With patients having appropriately limited their trips out of the house including to their doctor’s offices along with all elective procedures being suspended for months, the impact has devastated practices and the hundreds of thousands of those physicians employed by community physician practice.

For example, a survey by the Medical Society of the State of NY found that: 79% of physicians had seen a reduction of more than 50% in the volume of patients visiting their practices; Nearly 3/4 had a greater than 50% drop in practice revenue; and 40% had to lay off or furlough at least 25% of their staff.  While the survey also demonstrated that the CARES Act enacted by Congress in March and supplemented in April helped to marginally offset some of these enormous deficits, it has been nowhere near enough to ensure the survival of many physician practices across the state.

We urge that you fight to ensure that the final package includes important protections, including a re-start of the Medicare Advance Payment Program and ensuring that grant funding is dedicated to community physician practices without size restrictions or employee thresholds. So far, community physicians have only received a microscopic portion of the billions in grant funding allocated by Congress in the CARES Act, which has mostly benefitted large health systems.  While our hospitals must be protected and strengthened, so too must our community physicians for whom our patients depend.

We also urge that the next stimulus bill include provisions to ensure that critically important expanded telehealth coverage rules are maintained – including required coverage by ERISA plans not subject to state regulation but also rejecting industry efforts to fulfill network adequacy requirements only through telehealth at the expense of in-person care.

We also urge that the market dominant health insurers who faced a significant drop in claim submissions ensure that their windfall profits are shared with their contracted physicians including through support for the huge increase in Personal Protective equipment (PPE) costs.  For example, Aetna recently announced that its claims submission had dropped by 30% during April at the height of the pandemic.

Moreover, it is critically important that any proposal to address surprise out of network medical bills are consistent with demonstrated successful laws such as New York’s groundbreaking solution, rather than one-sided solutions advanced by the market-dominant health insurance industry that could potentially adversely impact patient access to essential on-call specialty care in emergency departments across the State.  Now is not the time to disrupt our health care safety net.

Critically important as well is providing support for those physicians, residents and students who provided on the front lines who provided needed care to patients while putting their life and health at risk, including hazard pay and/or student loan relief.  Representative Maloney has advanced important legislation (HR 6720) that would achieve this goal.

To repeat  – we are extremely concerned about the stability of our health care system given these enormous losses. The next package coming out of Congress must help to preserve our States’ health care infrastructure, including community physician practices.  This is not only essential for the hundreds of thousands of jobs we provide but most importantly to ensure we can continue to be able to treat our patients who continue to depend upon as begin to recover from this crisis.

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About the Medical Society of the State of New York
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.

 

MSSNY 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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MSSNY Statement on U.S. Supreme Court’s Ruling on Title VII Cases


MSSNY Seal
MEDICAL SOCIETY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
865 Merrick Avenue, Westbury, New York 11590-9007
www.mssny.org
Communications Division
Telephone: (516) 488-6100

 

For Immediate Release
June 16, 2020

MSSNY Statement on U.S. Supreme Court’s Ruling on Title VII Cases

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

“The Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) applauds the U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming that federal workplace discrimination protections apply to LGBTQ+ individuals.

“As physicians, we believe that workplace discrimination can lead to negative health outcomes. LGBTQ+ individuals must be protected from any and all discrimination.

“MSSNY members played key roles in the passage of AMA policies over the last two years that led to the amicus brief the AMA wrote to the Supreme Court, urging it to confirm that discrimination protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 cover sexual orientation and gender identity.”

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About the Medical Society of the State of New York
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.

 

MSSNY 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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MSSNY Opposes Effort to Allow Discrimination Against Patients


MSSNY Seal
MEDICAL SOCIETY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
865 Merrick Avenue, Westbury, New York 11590-9007
www.mssny.org
Communications Division
Telephone: (516) 488-6100

 

For Immediate Release
June 15, 2020

MSSNY Opposes Effort to Allow Discrimination Against Patients

Statement Attributable to:
Bonnie Litvack, M.D.
President, Medical Society of the State of New York

“MSSNY opposes the Trump Administration’s final rule from the US Department of Health and Human Services that reverses a policy banning health care providers from discriminating against certain patients, including LGBTQ, women and others.

“As physicians, we believe that respect for all of our patients is our highest priority.  Our professional and moral obligation is to ensure healthcare for all Americans, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

“The Federal Government should never stand in the way of an individual’s ability to access health care.”

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About the Medical Society of the State of New York
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.

 

MSSNY 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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New DOH Guidance on Elective Surgery Changes 3 Day COVID-19 Test Rule to 5 Days


MSSNY Seal
MEDICAL SOCIETY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
865 Merrick Avenue, Westbury, New York 11590-9007
www.mssny.org
Communications Division
Telephone: (516) 488-6100

 

For Immediate Release
June 15, 2020

New DOH Guidance on Elective Surgery Changes 3 Day Covid-19
Test Rule to 5 Days

 

Statement Attributable to:
Bonnie Litvack, M.D.
President, Medical Society of the State of New York

“The updated ‘elective surgery’ guidance announced by the New York State Department of Health importantly changes from 3 days to 5 days the time frame prior to an elective surgery that a patient must have received a negative Covid-19 test.  This change is essential because of the difficulty many physicians and patients were having with obtaining and receiving the results of a Covid-19 test within 72 hours of a planned elective surgery.  This change should help many more patients to be able to obtain the surgical care and cancer testing (such as colonoscopies) they need. 

“MSSNY thanks the NYSDOH and the Cuomo Administration for their efforts to provide this needed flexibility to assist patients in receiving necessary care that had been delayed due to the need to prioritize health care resources during the height of the acute phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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About the Medical Society of the State of New York
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.

 

MSSNY 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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New Fair Health Report Confirms MSSNY Survey Findings that COVID-19 Has Devastated Physician Practices


MSSNY Seal
MEDICAL SOCIETY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
865 Merrick Avenue, Westbury, New York 11590-9007
www.mssny.org
Communications Division
Telephone: (516) 488-6100

 

For Immediate Release
June 11, 2020

New Fair Health Report Confirms MSSNY Survey Findings that COVID-19 Has Devastated Physician Practices

Statement Attributable to:
Bonnie Litvack, M.D.
President, Medical Society of the State of New York

“The June 10th Fair Health report—which highlights the fact that community physician practices faced 80% drops in patient visits and revenue—confirms similar MSSNY surveys about the absolutely devastating impact this pandemic has had on community physician offices across New York State.

“MSSNY surveys have demonstrated that the federal CARES Act enacted by Congress in the spring helped to offset some of these enormous deficits, but it has been nowhere near enough to ensure the survival of many physician practices across the state.

“We again urge the New York Congressional delegation to continue its efforts for dedicated grant funding in the next stimulus package for these hard-hit community practices—not only to preserve the hundreds of thousands of jobs physician offices provide across the state, but most importantly to ensure we can continue to treat our patients who depend on our services.”

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About the Medical Society of the State of New York
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.

 

MSSNY 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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Some PPE Vendors Will Not Sell to Doctors with Smaller Practices; Or, Worse— Sell at Exorbitant Prices


MSSNY Seal
MEDICAL SOCIETY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
865 Merrick Avenue, Westbury, New York 11590-9007
www.mssny.org
Communications Division
Telephone: (516) 488-6100

 

For Immediate Release
June 3, 2020 


Some PPE Vendors Will Not Sell to Doctors with Smaller Practices;
Or, Worse— Sell at Exorbitant Prices

 

Statement Attributable to:
Bonnie Litvack, M.D.
President, Medical Society of the State of New York

“As the acute threat of COVID-19 begins to recede, physicians are anxious to return to providing in-person care to their patients. Telehealth has been essential in this crisis and remains an important and safe way for patients to receive treatment when an in-person visit is difficult or impossible. However, many conditions cannot be diagnosed or treated via telehealth and require a face-to-face visit.

“Masks, gowns, gloves, and other materials prevent the inadvertent transmission of viruses and germs between physicians, medical staff, and patients. As community physicians look forward to re-opening their offices, a major barrier to resuming regular patient care is the shocking shortage of this essential personal protective equipment (PPE).

“The contagious nature of the COVID-19 virus makes it necessary to change PPE frequently. Unfortunately, over the last several months some vendors refused to sell their products to smaller physician practices. Instead, they only contracted with larger institutions or government entities. In instances when suppliers would contract with physicians, there were outrageous price increases or supply limits that prevented physicians from receiving more than a few days’ supply.

“To ensure physicians can continue to serve their communities, these disgraceful business practices must be addressed. Otherwise, patient care will be compromised, as many patients may be unable to be seen and treated by their physicians.

“The State Legislature recently passed a measure to provide greater clarity under the law. Now, vendors who take advantage of a public health crisis to charge grossly inflated prices for needed medical equipment may be prosecuted. This is an important step to prevent price gouging but does not go nearly far enough. Currently, some vendors will not even attempt to sell to community physicians!

“The state and federal governments need to take immediate steps to require medical supply vendors are dealing fairly with physician practices. Should health care institutions receive all the medical supplies they need? Absolutely! However, community physicians play an essential role in treating patients on the front lines. However, without adequate PPE, some will be unable to open their offices and others will unable to stay open.

“We urge the Cuomo Administration and the Trump Administration to take the necessary steps to ensure that New York’s and America’s doctors have the basic tools to, once again, care for their patients and guarantee their safety during their office visits.”

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About the Medical Society of the State of New York
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.

 

MSSNY 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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