MSSNY and other Physician Organizations Call for NYS DOH and the Governor to Provide Flexibility in Reporting COVID-19 Results 

For Immediate Release

 

MSSNY and other Physician Organizations Call for NYS DOH and the Governor to Provide Flexibility in Reporting COVID-19 Results

 

October 22, 2020, Westbury, NY—Today, the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY), the NY Chapter of the American College of Physicians, the New York State Academy of Family Physicians and the NYS American Academy of Pediatrics, Chapters 1, 2 & 3 called upon the NYS Department of Health and the Governor’s office to provide flexibility for  reporting  results of COVID-19 and Influenza tests performed in physician offices.  A survey conducted by these medical societies found that many physicians will be unable to provide these critically needed tests without more time to report results for fear of the potentially significant penalties for failure to comply.

On September 21, NYS Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker sent a notice to all healthcare providers requiring the reporting of all positive and negative COVID-19 and flu tests to the NYS Department of Health within 3 hours.   Additionally, the order requires that the ordering physicians report contact information, employment and/or school information for each patient.  Penalties for non-compliance are up to $2000/day.   The medical organizations are advocating for the removal of the three-hour reporting requirement for the negative tests.

“Physicians across the state share the goal of having information as soon as reasonably possible to begin contact tracing and other containment efforts. Three hours, however, is simply not enough time for busy and overburdened practices to report results, especially negative results,” says   Bonnie Litvack, MD, President, of MSSNY.

“A survey, conducted by MSSNY in conjunction with several specialty societies, found that over 60% of physicians believe the three-hour reporting period is a daunting, if not impossible, task for many practices,” continues Dr. Litvack.  “Over 78% of the respondents indicated that they are unable to comply with the three-hour requirement.  MSSNY is gravely concerned that these requirements may discourage practices from ordering tests and offering testing at a time when COVID-19 rates are rising in our state and more testing, not less is needed.”

“The reporting requirement is likely to compel many practices to forego providing COVID and flu tests which will inconvenience patients by requiring them to have these tests performed elsewhere,” says NYSAFP president Jason Matuszak, MD. “Also, requiring patients to go to multiple locations for tests increases their risk of exposure. Rapid tests could be done at the primary care practice, as opposed to waiting days to get results back from a commercial lab which would allow patients to know their results sooner.”

“Pediatricians across New York are deeply concerned that the recent three-hour reporting requirement for both COVID-19 and Flu test is unrealistic for community-based practices, says Warren Seigel, MD, FAAP, Chair of NYSAAP, District II.  “The recently imposed requirement will discourage offices from offering Flu and/or COVID-19 tests on site.  Sending patients to alternative venues for testing is inefficient, may contribute to the spread of disease and is a breach of medical home principles.  We urge the Department of Health to work with the house of medicine to design a more reasonable turnaround time so all practices can better serve their patients and still meet the state’s requirements for timely data on infections.”

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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 Responds to Governor Signing Legislation to Require OPMC Signs in Physician Offices

For Immediate Release 

October 7, 2020

MSSNY Responds to Governor Signing Legislation to
Require OPMC Signs in Physician Offices

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

“As we stated repeatedly when this bill was being considered by the Legislature, MSSNY has no objection to expanding public awareness for how patients can file complaints about a particular physician with the Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC).  The OPMC provides an essential patient safety oversight function that helps to protect the public by removing aberrant practitioners.

“However, we are very concerned with the distrust and unnecessary anxiety that will be created by a mandate that every physician post a readily noticeable sign in their office or other practice setting regarding how patients can report a physician to the disciplinary Board.

“We believe this law unfairly singles out physicians – as opposed to any type of health care provider or other professional – for this signage requirement.  With already ample information available through a basic internet search regarding how a patient can file a complaint to the OPMC about a particular physician, this requirement is unnecessary.

“Many physicians have expressed frustration that this signage requirement is symbolic of the confounding lack of appreciation for the countless patient lives saved and improved every day by physicians across this state.  It was only a few short months ago that physicians were regularly lauded as heroes for their efforts in responding to the pandemic.

“Legislation such as this will only serve to discourage more physicians from wanting to practice in the State of New York, threatening patient access to needed specialized care.  Indeed, New York already loses the vast majority of resident physicians it pays to train.  We urge our policymakers to focus on measures to maintain and increase physician supply rather than measures that will drive them away.”

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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 Supports Requirement that School Age Children Receive the Influenza Vaccine 

For Immediate Release  

MSSNY Supports Requirement that School Age Children
Receive the Influenza Vaccine 
 

American Academy of Pediatrics, NYS District II, Chapters 1, 2 & 3
 Joins MSSNY in Support of Requirement 

Westbury, New York, September 18, 2020—The Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) and the American Academy of Pediatrics, NYS District II, Chapters 1, 2 & 3 today announced joint support of the requirement that all school-age children and teens who attend childcare, pre-kindergarten, K-12 and colleges and universities in New York State receive the flu vaccine, unless medically contraindicated.

“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, immunizing school-age children with the influenza vaccine is vital to public health,” said Dr. Bonnie Litvack, president of the Medical Society of New York. “Studies show that children frequently introduce influenza to households and that schools act as a conduit for infection transmission in communities.

“Vaccination of children protects the elderly populations and those individuals, including the immune-comprised, who are already at high risk of serious complications of influenza,” continued Dr. Litvack.

“During this time of COVID-19, it is imperative that all infants, children and teens who are attending childcare, school or college be immunized against flu, said Dr. Warren Seigel, Chair of NY American Academy of Pediatrics, District II, NYS. “With the increased time spent indoors as fall and winter approach, school age children and young people in college settings are even more vulnerable to both COVID-19 and flu. We have an effective and safe flu vaccine. Let’s use it!”

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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. 

About American Academy of Pediatrics, NYS District II, Chapters 1, 2 & 3
The New York Chapter of the AAP was established in 1949 as an endorsed Chapter Affiliate of the national organization.  The AAP is a national organization composed of over 55,000 pediatricians.   

 

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 Opposes HHS Authorization to Allow Pharmacists to Administer Vaccines to Children

 

For Immediate Release

MSSNY Opposes HHS Authorization to Allow Pharmacists to Administer Vaccines to Children

Westbury, NY—August 20, 2020—The Medical Society of the State of New York today joined with the American Academy of Pediatrics in its opposition to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) emergency authorization to allow state-licensed pharmacists to order and administer all vaccines to children and adolescents ages 3-18 years.

“This is a completely unnecessary move on the part of the Health and Human Services and will cause further chaos in getting children properly immunized.  New York State’s pediatric offices have been opened throughout the pandemic and remain open.  They are safe places to receive the vaccination, and most importantly, parents and children already have an established relationship with the pediatrician.  Here in New York State, children are entitled to vaccines through the well-child visits and the Vaccine for Children program—few pharmacies in the state participate in this program.    Taking children out of the medical home where they are able to get immunized, get screened for developmental milestones, and get the medical care that they need, will only lead to a further fragmentation of a child’s health care,” said MSSNY President Bonnie Litvack, MD.

“We urge that the US Department of Health and Human Services immediately rescind this authorization.  We also question the legality of a federal agency declaration pre-empting state statutes that clearly establish the scope of practices of various health care practitioners, which has long been the jurisdiction of state governments. This action has enormous implications to the long-term health care of children and to use the COVID-19 pandemic as justification to make policy change is not acceptable,” said Dr. Litvack.


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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 Calls for Restoration of Physician Supervision for Non-Physician Health Care Practitioners 

For Immediate Release
August 7, 2020


MSSNY Calls for Restoration of Physician Supervision for Non-Physician Health Care Practitioners

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

“We are concerned for patient safety that Executive Order 202.55 continues the waiver of otherwise statutorily required physician supervision requirements for various non-physician health care practitioners, including nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

“MSSNY had significant concerns with the March Executive Order that eliminated physician supervision requirements with an understanding that the COVID-19 pandemic required an ‘all hands-on deck’ approach.  However, given our ‘all in’ efforts to significantly reduce COVID-19 infections in New York, of which we should all be very proud, these Orders that eliminate essential physician supervision potentially place patients at risk.  While various non-physician practitioners are an important part of the health care team, they have far less training than the many years of specialized training that physicians are required to complete before delivering safe patient care.

“We urge that statutory supervision and/or oversight requirements be restored as soon as possible.”

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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 11590
516-488-6100 ext 302 
rraia@mssny.org

MSSNY Urges NY DFS to Require Health Insurers to Reimburse Health Care Practitioners for PPE Costs

MSSNY Urges NY DFS to Require Health Insurers to Reimburse Health Care Practitioners for PPE Costs


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

“MSSNY does not condone health plan-participating health care practitioners charging their patients for the huge jumps in the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE), as state regulations limit the ability of such practitioners to bill patients for these costs.

“At the same time, given the enormous profits of the health insurance industry, MSSNY and others have been urging the NY Department of Financial Services to require health insurers to reimburse health care practitioners for these enormous jumps in PPE costs, and the significant difficulty in even obtaining it in the first place. Indeed, a recent MSSNY survey reported that nearly three quarters of the respondents expressed significant difficulty in obtaining PPE altogether, while nearly 40% of the respondents indicated that their PPE costs had gone up by more than 50%.

“Moreover, in some states such as California, their state governments have aggressively worked to provide community-based physician practices with PPE to ensure that these shortages do not adversely impact patient care.  MSSNY’s survey also showed that nearly one third of the responding physicians indicated that delays in obtaining PPE and huge price jumps forced these physicians to reduce their patient treatment capacity by at least 25%.

“This is a complex problem.  We will continue to work proactively with the Governor, DOH and DFS to help ensure physicians can receive the PPE they need so they can continue to be able to meet their patients’ care needs in a timely manner.”

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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

STATEMENT OF MSSNY PRESIDENT DR. BONNIE LITVACK, IN REACTION TO GOVERNOR SIGNING INTO LAW THAT ROLLS BACK COVID-19 LIABILITY PROTECTIONS 

For Immediate Release
August 4, 2020


STATEMENT OF MSSNY PRESIDENT DR. BONNIE LITVACK,
IN REACTION TO GOVERNOR SIGNING INTO LAW
THAT ROLLS BACK COVID-19 LIABILITY PROTECTIONS 

“We are deeply concerned with the consequences of the significant narrowing of these liability protections, particularly when there remains a very real possibility of a second surge of cases this fall.   It will put our physicians and other health care workers, who not long ago were regularly lauded as ‘heroes’, into even more extraordinarily challenging circumstances.  During the height of the pandemic, in many downstate hospitals, physicians and physicians in training were regularly being asked to provide health care services outside of their areas of expertise to help manage the overwhelming patient flow. They did so because of their dedication to helping all patients. 

“We pray that such a drastic situation will not come again, but if it does, many physicians will again find themselves with the unimaginable choices of triaging which patients are to receive care first, knowing full well that this new law means that the “wrong choice” could result in that physician losing everything they own to a lawsuit. Moreover, this narrowing of these liability protections also puts a physician at much greater risk of a lawsuit if the state once again requires the postponement of elective surgeries to preserve resources for patients with Covid-19. This is a grossly unfair position in which to be placed.

“We are very concerned that the practical effect of this legislation will be that hospitals will face far more difficulties in attempting to manage a huge influx of patients in the event of a second surge. To paraphrase David Bowie, apparently our doctors were heroes just for one day.” 


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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

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

 

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