MSSNY eNews: August 14, 2020 – Urge Gov. to Veto Mandatory OPMC Signage



Philip Schuh, CPA, MS, MSSNY’s long-time CEO and Executive Vice President, has announced his plans to retire at the end of this year.  A 30-year MSSNY veteran, Phil also heads MSSNY’s subsidiary, the Empire State Foundation. He also represents MSSNY on two prestigious national medical society boards, the Physician Foundation of Excellence, and the Physician Advocacy Institute. Both organizations were financed by multi-million-dollar insurance company settlements that uncovered systemic, egregious practices that affected physician payment. MSSNY was a lead plaintiff in both class action suits. During his tenure, MSSNY has been the recipient of numerous million-dollar grants that financed many educational programs for MSSNY physicians.

Phil has guided MSSNY through turbulent times as the landscape for physicians has changed drastically in the past two decades. With his firm hand and his innate common sense, he guided many physicians through their presidential terms, and we are very grateful to him for his exemplary service.

Bonnie Litvack, MD
MSSNY President

Please Urge Governor Cuomo to Veto Mandatory OPMC Signage Legislation
All physicians are urged to contact Governor Cuomo to request that he veto legislation (S.6678-A/A.7991-A) requiring every physician’s practice setting to post a sign regarding how a patient can file a misconduct complaint with the OPMC. Let the Governor know that this proposal would create unnecessary distrust in the physician-patient relationship and unfairly singles out physicians.

This legislation is also unnecessary because this information is already easily available through a simple internet search.  With nearly 10,000 complaints already made each year to OPMC (resulting in only a few hundred actual disciplinary actions), it is clear there is already strong public awareness of this oversight body.

You can send a letter and tweet to the Governor opposing this baffling legislation here.

Notes from the Governor Cuomo’s 8/13 Conference Call
COVID-19 Update:
– 85k tests yesterday
– 727 tested positive
– .85% positive percentage = “fantastic”
– 7th straight day of below 1% positivity rate
– 554 hospitalizations
– 4 deaths yesterday
– 59 intubated / 127 in the ICU
– SLA found 12 violations yesterday
– AG and Markets to work w/ DOH to deploy mobile testing sites
– Infection rate gives ability to schools to open.  “Doesn’t mean they must”
– Reiterates that districts must consult parents and teachers
– Gov says district conference calls state that the districts aren’t
allowing teachers and parents to talk
– If “school districts want to stonewall conversation” it’ll show on the
first day of school; people won’t show up
– DOH working on that, will start a pilot project looking into removing COVID
from wastewater
Federal Funds / Elections:
– Gov says COVID will be a lead issue in November elections

– Asked about Pres EOs, and new guidance
– Gov states that it would require a law.  “He will be sued, and the Executive Orders
will fail”
– References administrative delays and issues associated with last round,
states that delay would happen again under structure in EO.
– Also references other states that received “more money than they needed”
in the last round, and they’re looking for flexibility in how to spend the
– Pres and Mnuchin says that people are leaving NY, Cuomo calls both claims a
lie.  “State income tax rates are down, that’s a fact.”
– Gov adds that crime in NYC is a problem and that tension between NYPD and
the community is also a problem
– Gov adds that there is a disconnect between parents, teachers and their
school districts. Gov continues on the school thread, referencing flu
season additional complications. Flu season is busy for the labs, and the
complications of adding COVID testing.

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.
Cases: 5,197,749
Deaths: 166,038
Recovered: 1,755,225

Counts reflect data available as of 8:30 a.m. CDT Aug. 13.

MSSNY President Calls for Physicians Supervision of Non-Physicians
The Medical Society of the State of New York is calling on the state to restore physician supervision for non-physician health care practitioners following a systemwide approach to reduce Covid-19 infections. Dr. Bonnie Litvack, president of the medical society, said in a statement: “These orders that eliminate essential physician supervision potentially place patients at risk.” (Crain’s, 7/10).MS


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Sam Gelfand, Former MSSNY President (1977-78), Has Died
Dr. Samuel Gelfand, a thoracic surgeon, and longtime MSSNY member from Nassau County has passed away. He was MSSNY’s President from 1987-1988 and, until recently, continued as Treasurer of the Empire Foundation.

A MSSNY member since 1955, Dr. Gelfand held numerous County and State leadership positions over his tenure. He was a past Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, an AMA Delegate and Chair of Legislation and Physician Advocacy Committee. In2019, Dr. Gelfand published a book, Memoirs of a MASH Surgeon

Top Selling Drugs in the United States
The IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science released a report detailing the 20 top-selling drugs in the U.S. by non-discounted spending.

They are:

  1. Humira — $21.4 billion
  2. Eliquis — $9.9 billion
  3. Enbrel — $8.1 billion
  4. Stelara — $6.6 billion
  5. Keytruda — $6.5 billion
  6. Trulicity — $6.5 billion
  7. Januvia — $6 billion
  8. Xarelto — $6 billion
  9. Biktarvy — $5.1 billion
  10. Remicade — $4.7 billion
  11. Opdivo — $4.4 billion
  12. Rituxan — $4.3 billion
  13. Lantus Solostar — $4.3 billion
  14. Symbicort — $3.9 billion
  15. Jardiance — $3.9 billion
  16. Genvoya — $3.8 billion
  17. Tecfidera — $3.8 billion
  18. Vyvanse — $3.7 billion
  19. Victoza 3-pak — $3.6 billion
  20. Ibrance — $3.6 billion

Find the full report here (Becker’s Hospital)

Youths Who Vape at Higher Risk of Getting COVID-19, Study Finds
Teenagers and young adults who vape face a significantly higher risk of contracting COVID-19, a new study shows.

The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Healthincludes data from online surveys conducted in May. The surveys included responses from 4,351 participants, ages 13 to 24, from across the country. About half had used e-cigarettes, while the other half had never used nicotine products.

Researchers found that those who vaped were five times more likely to contract COVID-19 than those who did not use e-cigarettes. Those who vaped and smoked cigarettes were seven times more likely to contract the disease. Youths who had vaped and smoked cigarettes in the previous 30 days were almost five times as likely to experience COVID-19 symptoms, such as coughing, fever and difficulty breathing as those who had never smoked or vaped. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

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Most Physicians Think Antibiotic Overprescription is Still an Issue, Study Finds
Most physicians think inappropriate antibiotic prescription is a pervasive problem that needs intervention, according to survey results released Aug. 6 by Pew Research Center and the American Medical Association.

The survey gathered responses from 1,550 primary care physicians between August and October 2018. Here are some of its key findings:

  • Sixty percent of respondents reported that while they believe antibiotic overprescription is a problem, they think they prescribe antibiotics more appropriately than their peers.
  • Seventy-two percent of respondents reported believing antibiotic stewardship programs need to be implemented in healthcare facilities.
  • Seventy-nine percent of respondents reported they thought antibiotic stewardship programs would be ineffective without patient education efforts.
  • Forty-seven percent of respondents reported they would need significant assistance to establish an antibiotic stewardship program in their practice.

Another Op for Physicians to Apply to Relief Fund: New Deadline is August 28
On July 31, 2020, HHS announced that certain Medicare providers would be given another opportunity to receive additional Provider Relief Fund payments. These are providers who previously missed the June 3, 2020 deadline to apply for additional funding equal to 2 percent of their total patient care revenue from the $20 billion portion of the $50 billion Phase 1 General Distribution, including many Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and dental providers with low Medicare revenues.

In addition, certain providers who experienced a change in ownership, making them previously ineligible for Phase 1 funding, will also be given an opportunity to apply for financial relief.

Starting August 10th, these eligible providers may now submit their application for possible funds by August 28, 2020. This deadline aligns with the extended deadline for other eligible Phase 2 providers, such as Medicaid, Medicaid managed care, CHIP, and dental providers.

Continuous Recruitment for NYS DUR Board Membership
Federal legislation requires States to maintain a DUR program and establish a DUR Board. The NYS Medicaid DUR Board provides recommendations to the Department of Health associated with establishing clinical standards for Medicaid’s pharmacy program. The composition of the DUR Board can be found on pages 1 & 2 of the Bylaws

Responsibilities of the DUR Board include:

  • the establishment and implementation of medical standards and criteria for the retrospective and prospective DUR program;
  • the development, selection, application, and assessment of educational interventions for physicians, pharmacists and recipients that improve care;
  • collaboration with managed care organizations to address drug utilization concerns and to implement consistent management strategies across the fee-for-service and managed care pharmacy benefits;
  • the review of therapeutic classes subject to the Medicaid Preferred Drug Program statute and
  • making recommendations for target supplemental rebate amounts, per the Medicaid Drug Cap statute.

CVs associated with interest in becoming a DUR Board member are accepted continuously and can be submitted to the DUR Board mailbox at If no vacancies exist, CVs will be kept on file for consideration once a position becomes available. Questions on membership and candidacy can be directed to the DUR Board Member Liaison, Robert Sheehan, at or 518-486-3209.

For more information about the NYS Medicaid DUR Board please go here.

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CDC: Hispanic and Black Children Face Higher Rates of COVID-19 Hospitalization 
A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that Hispanic and Black children have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic at a disproportionate rate, underscoring how minority communities across the country have been among the hardest hit by COVID-19.

The report released Friday uses pediatric data collected from 14 states, including California, Georgia, New York, and Ohio, between March 1 and July 25. The agency notes that children are still at a lower risk for serious complications from COVID-19 such as hospitalization but concluded that Black and Hispanic children are more likely to have such symptoms than their white peers.

Physician Assistant Median Annual Base Salary, By State
Physician assistants in Alaska earned the highest median annual base salary in 2019, while PAs in Alabama earned the lowest, according to a salary report released Aug. 3 by the American Academy of PAs.

Data in the report is based on a survey of 13,682 physician assistants between Feb. 1 and March 1.

The PA median annual base salary in each state and the District of Columbia are listed below, in descending order. The list includes ties at Nos. 3, 5, 10, 14, 16, 19, 27, 33, 39, 42, 45 and 47.

  1. Alaska: $133,976
  2. California: $130,000
  3. Nevada: $125,000
  4. Wyoming: $125,000
  5. Connecticut: $120,000
  6. Washington: $120,000
  7. Hawaii: $117,500
  8. District of Columbia: $117,253
  9. Minnesota: $117,000
  10. New Jersey: $115,000
  11. New Mexico: $115,000
  12. Oregon: $115,000
  13. North Dakota: $112,500
  14. Maine: $112,000
  15. Texas: $112,000
  16. Arizona: $111,000
  17. New York: $111,000

Alert Postcard Disguised as Official OCR Communication
OCR has been made aware of postcards being sent to health care organizations disguised as official OCR communications, claiming to be notices of a mandatory HIPAA compliance risk assessment. The postcards have a Washington, D.C. return address, and the sender uses the title “Secretary of Compliance, HIPAA Compliance Division.”

The postcard is addressed to the health care organization’s HIPAA compliance officer and prompts recipients to visit a URL, call, or email to take immediate action on a HIPAA Risk Assessment. The link directs individuals to a non-governmental website marketing consulting services.

The postcard below is not from HHS/OCR.

Postcard used as scam

HIPAA covered entities and business associates should alert their workforce members to this misleading communication. This communication is from a private entity – it is NOT an HHS/OCR communication.

The addresses for OCR’s HQ and Regional Offices are available on the OCR website at, and all OCR email addresses will end in If organizations have additional questions or concerns, please send an email to: Suspected incidents of individuals posing as federal law enforcement should be reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


Elegant, Custom Built Home with Unparalleled Craftsmanship – Rhinebeck, NY
Set on 10.6 acres in one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Rhinebeck, this stunning home borders Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill (a conservation land and the highest point in Rhinebeck). Features beautifully landscaped gardens with sweeping hilltop views and a well established vegetable garden and barn. This handsome home is generously proportioned throughout, with an inviting foyer entry with tastefully designed staircase, millwork, high ceilings, cherry wood floors and custom windows.

Rhinebeck Estate for SaleA world class kitchen with a marble counter-topped island, enjoys both a cozy fireside seating area perfect for winter evenings, and glass doors in the hexagonal eat-in-kitchen opening onto the expansive stone terrace for three season enjoyment and entertaining.

A luxurious Master suite, with high vaulted ceiling design, his and hers walk-in closets and a gorgeous master bath with cast iron clawfoot tub. The second floor also includes two spacious bedrooms with generous closets and 2 full bathrooms, An additional large sitting room/office could easily make a lovely fourth bedroom. Lower level features a media room, exercise room, bar, wine cellar and full bathroom. Additionally there is a two story barn equipped with water and electricity.

The house is located 7 minutes to the charming center of Rhinebeck village with its many superb restaurants, boutiques & shops. The highly rated Northern Dutchess Hospital, the excellent Rhinebeck schools and the County Fairgrounds, a most desirable venue destination throughout the year, are all nearby. Rhinecliff train station is a mile beyond with Amtrak service south to NYC(1hour 40 minutes) and north to Hudson, Albany, Niagara Falls and Montreal. View full listing Contact Nader Kayal, MD, 845-518-7780 / or Joshua M. Briggs at Heather Croner RE-Sotheby’s 917 213-9042 /

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

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

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

For inquiries please call 212.737.8700, email

Office Space and Quad-A Certified O.R. for Rent