Medical Society Thanks NYS Assembly and Senate Leadership and Governor for Restoration of Health Care Cuts That Had Been Advanced in Executive Budget

For Immediate Release
April 6, 2021

 

Medical Society Thanks NYS Assembly and Senate Leadership and Governor for Restoration of Health Care Cuts That Had Been Advanced in Executive Budget 

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


“In adopting the 2021-22 State Budget, physicians thank the New York State Assembly and Senate leadership for their efforts to restore numerous steep health care cuts that had been advanced in the Executive Budget, and the Governor for agreeing with the restoration of these cuts.  Because the COVID pandemic has caused historic drops in patient visits and revenue for physicians over the last year, there could not have been a worse time to cut Medicaid as well as other essential programs that help to preserve patient access to needed care such as the Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance Program.

“Physicians also appreciate the collective efforts of the Governor and Legislature to enhance other programs that provide needed health insurance coverage to New Yorkers, including the Essential Plan.  We look forward to working with the Senate, Assembly and Governor in additional collaborative efforts to ensure New Yorkers receive the care they need.”

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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

 

Medical Society Urges Governor Cuomo to Stay Strong on Public Health Restrictions to Keep COVID in Check 

For Immediate Release  

 

 Medical Society Urges Governor Cuomo to Stay Strong on Public Health Restrictions to Keep COVID in Check 

March 31, 2021, Westbury, NY— Dr. Bonnie Litvack, President of the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY), applauded Governor Cuomo for his strong stance on mask requirements.  “COVID is still an active threat in New York and around the country,” said Litvack.  “Unlike other state leaders, Governor Cuomo has remained committed to the mask requirement.  Wearing masks, even after vaccination, is among the most important tools to keep us safe and stop the spread of this pandemic.”

Today, MSSNY continued to urge New Yorkers to maintain important public health measures such as wearing a mask, to keep social distance, washing hands, and most importantly, getting vaccinated.

Medical Society President Litvack also urged Governor Cuomo to maintain other important public health restrictions.  “Social distancing, combined with frequent hand washing, are part of the ongoing measures needed to keep COVID in check,” said Litvack.  “Physicians of New York urge the Governor to follow the science, and not relax social distancing and other public health protections prematurely.”

MSSNY remains concerned that New York is relaxing some of the state’s COVID restrictions just as the CDC reports infections nationally have increased by 10 percent. Due to spring break travel and lifting of some restrictions, many states including New York are seeing increases in cases among young people.

“We are extremely pleased that the vaccine eligibility will soon encompass all adults and teens 16 years and older,” said Litvack.  “We know that the New York State’s vaccine supply is up significantly, thereby allowing that supply to be directed to the community-based physicians to immunize their patients.”

In New York State, 29.9% of adults have received at least one dose of vaccine and 17.3% are considered fully vaccinated.  “There are many New Yorkers who are still waiting to be immunized which is why we should not let our guard down,” noted Litvack.  “Many of those are the elderly, members of the black, brown, and Asian communities, and those with co-morbidities.  Community physicians can be an important part of the immunization effort.  We are in a race against COVID.”

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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

 

Medical Society Calls on Governor and State Legislature to Restore Cuts to Excess Medical Malpractice Program 

For Immediate Release
March 29, 2021  

Medical Society Calls on Governor and State Legislature
to Restore Cuts to Excess Medical Malpractice Program
 


Statement Attributable to:
Bonnie Litvack, MD

PresidentMedical Society of the State of New York 

“As the State Legislature and Governor work to finalize the State’s Budget over the next 24 or so hours, it is imperative that they agree to restore the huge cuts to New York’s essential Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance Program.

“It is shocking that, as we approach Doctors’ Day on March 30—which is a time to acknowledge the enormous sacrifices made by our state’s dedicated physicians as they respond to our patients’ needs during the pandemic—the 17,000 frontline physicians who depend upon this coverage could face as much as tens of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Governor’s proposed Executive Budget cut is implemented.  Given the significant drop in patient visits and revenue, these cost impositions would come at the worst possible time.

“We deeply appreciate that both the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate propose to restore the funding to this essential program in their respective one-House Budgets. And we are grateful that New York reportedly received sufficient funds in the recent federal stimulus package to restore proposed cuts.  Yet somehow physicians are still facing the prospect of this devastating cut and imposition of these enormous new costs. It makes no sense whatsoever.

“We urge the Governor and Legislature to work to continue the historical funding for the Excess program, which exists to ensure New York’s patients do not lose access to essential care due to the State’s extraordinarily high liability costs.”

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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

Medical Society Applauds Decision Protecting Public Health by Upholding Law Providing for Vaccination Requirements 

For Immediate Release
March 19, 2021  

Medical Society Applauds Decision Protecting Public Health by Upholding Law Providing for Vaccination Requirements


NYS Supreme Court, Appellate Division Third Judicial Department
 Affirms Dismissal of Challenge to the NYS Law Ensuring Only Medical Contraindication Exemptions for Vaccinations

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

“The Medical Society of the State of New York applauds the decision of the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department affirming the dismissal of the challenge to the law passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor to eliminate religious exemptions for state vaccination requirements.

“This court decision is an important victory for public health.  As we are seeing in the current COVID pandemic, vaccinations are an absolutely essential component to combatting communicable diseases.  Physicians across the State will continue to work on the front lines to ensure they protect their patients’ health, and make sure the public is educated about the importance of vaccinations in protecting everyone’s health.

“The Medical Society of the State of New York, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the New York State American Academy of Pediatrics participated as amici curiae in the litigation in support of New York State and the law, and offered their conclusion that having medical exemptions only was in the best interest of public health.  This brief is cited several times in the decision.

“In 2019, as the measles outbreak was exceeding record levels, the Medical Society led the fight to advocate for ensuring that medical contraindications were the only permitted exception to otherwise applicable vaccination requirements.  MSSNY was joined by a diverse array of 46 public health and patient advocacy organizations in this effort.”

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


Media Contact:
Roseann Raia

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

MSSNY Applauds NYS Assembly and Senate for Advancing One-House Budget Proposals to Restore Health Care Cuts in the Executive Budget    

For Immediate Release
March 17, 2021

 

MSSNY Applauds NYS Assembly and Senate for Advancing
One-House Budget Proposals to Restore Health Care Cuts
in the Executive Budget
   

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

“We thank the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate for advancing one-house Budget proposals that would restore numerous steep health care cuts that have been advanced in the Executive Budget.  With physicians facing historic drops in patient visits and patient revenue over the last year as a result of the crisis we collectively faced, there could not be a worse time to cut Medicaid as well as other essential programs that help to preserve patient access to needed care such as the Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance Program.

Moreover, with so many physicians and other health care practitioners struggling in the aftermath of the pandemic, cuts to MSSNY’s Committee for Physicians Health would only reduce access to these critical services needed by many.  We applaud the Assembly and Senate leadership for rejecting these cuts and look forward to working with them on these and other key health care issues under Budget consideration as the Legislature and Governor work towards adoption of a final Budget by April 1.”

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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 Biden Administration and State Governments to Facilitate Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccine to Community-Based Physicians

 

For Immediate Release

February 19, 2021

 

 CONNECTICUT STATE MEDICAL SOCIETY
MASSACHUSETTS MEDICAL SOCIETY
MEDICAL SOCIETY OF NEW JERSEY
MEDICAL SOCIETY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
PENNSYLVANIA MEDICAL SOCIETY
OHIO STATE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

 

 State Medical Societies Urge Biden Administration and State Governments to Facilitate Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccine to Community-Based Physicians

 

“On behalf of the tens of thousands of physicians we represent, the medical societies of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio call upon the Biden Administration and state governments to facilitate the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to those community-based physicians who have registered with their state systems in order for them to immunize the country’s most vulnerable patients.

As the country moves forward into the immunization process, and as supply increases, it is vitally important that the country and the states employ all resources available and that includes the community-based physicians.   Unfortunately, so far, hospitals, chain pharmacies and mass vaccination sites have been prioritized at the expense of those who know their patients’ needs best – the community physician. These are individuals who can quickly identify the most vulnerable and can reach large amounts of patients who suffer from significant co-morbidities and cannot travel to a vaccine distribution site due to health reasons.

Community-based physicians practice in a wide range of communities such as urban, rural and suburban settings and serve the poor, the elderly, individuals of color and those with co-morbidities.   Many of these patients do not have transportation, are in communities without mass transportation, lack the financial resources or are simply too ill to travel.    Community based physicians care for thousands of patients each and can quickly identify those patients who are most of risk of getting COVID-19 or having complications due to their comorbidities.  More importantly, patients feel comfortable with their physicians, with whom they can discuss the vaccine, and address any vaccine hesitancy, and feel comfortable in the office setting.

The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest health care challenge that this country has faced in the last 100 years.   The difference compared with public health crises is the rapid advancement of science that allowed the world to develop vaccine that could very well stop this pandemic in its tracks.  The key though is to ensure that we engage all facets of the health care system and that includes the community-based physician.

It is time to change the game plan on the distribution of the vaccine and get the vaccine to the people rather than having the people go to the vaccine.   The first step in this process is for the federal government to take the necessary steps to enable community-based physicians to secure a supply of the COVID -19 vaccine and to begin to immunize those patients most at risk.”

# # #

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 Biden Administration and State Governments to Facilitate Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccine to Community-Based Physicians

For Immediate Release
February 19, 2021  

 

CONNECTICUT STATE MEDICAL SOCIETY
MASSACHUSETTS MEDICAL SOCIETY
MEDICAL SOCIETY OF NEW JERSEY
MEDICAL SOCIETY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
PENNSYLVANIA MEDICAL SOCIETY
OHIO STATE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION  

State Medical Societies Urge Biden Administration and State Governments to Facilitate Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccine to Community-Based Physicians

“On behalf of the tens of thousands of physicians we represent, the medical societies of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio call upon the Biden Administration and state governments to facilitate the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to those community-based physicians who have registered with their state systems in order for them to immunize the country’s most vulnerable patients.

As the country moves forward into the immunization process, and as supply increases, it is vitally important that the country and the states employ all resources available and that includes the community-based physicians.   Unfortunately, so far, hospitals, chain pharmacies and mass vaccination sites have been prioritized at the expense of those who know their patients’ needs best – the community physician. These are individuals who can quickly identify the most vulnerable and can reach large amounts of patients who suffer from significant co-morbidities and cannot travel to a vaccine distribution site due to health reasons.

Community-based physicians practice in a wide range of communities such as urban, rural and suburban settings and serve the poor, the elderly, individuals of color and those with co-morbidities.   Many of these patients do not have transportation, are in communities without mass transportation, lack the financial resources or are simply too ill to travel.    Community based physicians care for thousands of patients each and can quickly identify those patients who are most of risk of getting COVID-19 or having complications due to their comorbidities.  More importantly, patients feel comfortable with their physicians, with whom they can discuss the vaccine, and address any vaccine hesitancy, and feel comfortable in the office setting.

The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest health care challenge that this country has faced in the last 100 years.   The difference compared with public health crises is the rapid advancement of science that allowed the world to develop vaccine that could very well stop this pandemic in its tracks.  The key though is to ensure that we engage all facets of the health care system and that includes the community-based physician.

It is time to change the game plan on the distribution of the vaccine and get the vaccine to the people rather than having the people go to the vaccine.   The first step in this process is for the federal government to take the necessary steps to enable community-based physicians to secure a supply of the COVID -19 vaccine and to begin to immunize those patients most at risk.”

# # #


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

Troy Oechsner Named Executive VP of Medical Society  

For Immediate Release
 

Troy Oechsner Named Executive VP of Medical Society

February 17, 2021, Westbury, NY—The Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) today announced that it has named Troy Oechsner as its new Executive Vice President. Oechsner is a veteran of State government who served as lead regulator of commercial health insurance at the Department of Financial Services as well as prosecutor of illegal and deceptive health care business practices with the New York State Attorney General.  Most recently, Oechsner has been a partner at the consulting firm Manatt, Phelps and Phillips.

“We are thrilled to have Troy on board at MSSNY.  He brings proven ability to effectively advocate for positive reforms that will protect the rights of doctors and their patients to affordable, accessible quality health care,” said Dr. Bonnie Litvack, MSSNY President.  “Troy has a track record of effective management and leadership, and the ability to build coalitions among a broad section of health care professionals and consumers.”

“The Medical Society has worked successfully with Troy for decades,” said Dr. Andrew Kleinman, Chair of the MSSNY Board of Trustees.  “He brings passion, knowledge and skill to the job that will help further the cause of physicians and patients.  Troy is a welcome addition to the important work of the Society.”

“As a former insurance regulator and prosecutor, I recognize the many challenges faced by both physicians and patients,” said Oechsner.  “Physicians have been leaders in the frontline battle against COVID.  I am excited and honored to join the MSSNY team in our common fight to support doctors and patients seeking improved access to quality, affordable health care, guided by the physician’s training, experience and best practices.”

During over 30 years in State government, Oechsner helped lead many actions to improve health care for physicians and consumers.  Oechsner was part of a team leading the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in New York, including the successful establishment of the state’s health insurance exchange marketplace – the New York State of Health.  Oechsner was also instrumental in drafting and negotiating New York’s landmark Surprise Balance Billing Law that protected consumers from surprise bills from out-of-network doctors with a dispute resolution system fair to physicians and insurers.

Mr. Oechsner led an investigation by the New York Attorney General’s office into improper denials of specialty care by Aetna when it failed to acknowledge appropriate referrals to specialists.  These actions resulted in a negotiated settlement with Aetna that assured fair reimbursement to the impacted physicians.  Oechsner also helped initiate the investigation of Ingenix, which ultimately produced action by then Attorney General Cuomo to stop the manipulation of physician fee data, which was inappropriately increasing patient cost-sharing responsibilities for out-of-network care.

Oechsner succeeds Philip Schuh, CPA, who is retiring from MSSNY after a 35-year career at the Medical Society.

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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

 

 

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

For Immediate Release
February 3, 2021

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Media Contact:
Roseann Raia

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

 

New York Physicians: From Healthcare Heroes to Healthcare Zeros 

For Immediate Release
January 20, 2021
 

New York Physicians: From Healthcare Heroes to Healthcare Zeros


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

“Over the last year, tens of thousands of physicians across the State of New York put their health and the health of their families at risk to ensure patients receive the care they needed. Many of them became sick themselves and, sadly, some even passed away from COVID-19.

“Yet these physicians continue their work on the front lines every day to be there for their patients.

“That is why we are stunned by the litany of proposals in the Executive Budget that will make it even harder for physicians to continue to provide the care our patients need. We note that there are some positive aspects in this State Budget proposal, including to provide needed regulation over PBM practices and expanding the state’s capacity to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) that physicians often lacked and have been the subject of enormous cost increases. However, we are extremely concerned with several other Budget proposals.

“One State Budget proposal would foist tens of thousands of dollars of new costs on physicians (totaling over $50 million) for keeping liability insurance protections that are absolutely necessary due to New York’s excessive medical liability premium costs. These liability costs far exceed any other state in the country. The substantial new costs will be near-impossible for many physicians to absorb given the enormous drop in patient visits and revenue experienced by physicians across the State over the last year. As an example, it would impose an approximate $20,000 new cost for an OB-GYN practicing on Long Island. If the Excess Insurance program is eliminated or reduced, then we need comprehensive medical liability reform instead.

“We are also perplexed by proposals to eliminate important due process protections for physicians against whom a complaint has been filed with the Office of Professional Medical Conduct. As we have previously stated, while we are anxious to work to identify gaps in our disciplinary system to protect the public, this Budget proposal would give the Commissioner of Health the authority in their sole discretion to disclose to the public that a complaint has been filed against a particular physician, despite the fact that very few complaints ever actually result in a finding of professional misconduct. This information can remain on the internet forever, potentially ruining a physician’s professional reputation. The law already permits the Commissioner to disclose information to the public when there is a public health threat.

“Another Budget proposal would impose huge cuts to the Committee for Physicians Health (CPH), a successful long-standing organization that provides essential counseling services for physicians confronting alcoholism, substance abuse, or mental illness. Many of these conditions have been exacerbated by the pandemic, making CPH more essential than ever. CPH provides important confidential peer to peer services to physicians in need of support for their health and well-being. Studies that review the long-term model effect of physician health programs show that physician recovery rates are markedly higher than the general population—even when extended into five years or more. If these cuts were to go through, it would substantially limit the work CPH can provide for physicians – and indirectly the public at large – at a time when the program is needed more than ever.

“These are just a few of the very concerning proposals in the state Budget. While we understand that the State is responding to the huge drop in revenue arising from the pandemic, these proposals will be the “last straw” for many physicians who already are finding it difficult to remain in practice to deliver patient care due to New York’s already notoriously hostile practice environment.

“We urge the Legislature to reject these unfair proposals in the State Budget.”

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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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