MSSNY eNews: July 31, 2020 – MSSNY Fights for You on Every Front


MSSNY Fights for You on Every Front

This week, I report a storm of healthcare politics on a state and national level with one common theme—MSSNY Fights for You!

Physicians Need Stimulus Funding

MSSNY sent a letter to our NY congressional delegation urging Congress to include needed funding in the next stimulus package to assist community physician practices across the state of New York to keep their doors open, to maintain continuity of care for our patients and to maintain jobs for the hundreds of thousands employed by physicians across our State.

MSSNY urged our Congressional delegation to fight to ensure that the final relief package include important protections to preserve the viability of New York’s health care system including new funding for the CARES Act provider relief pool, a re-start of the Medicare Advance Payment Program including more favorable repayment terms and significant additional funding to states to prevent potentially steep Medicaid cuts.

Barriers to Re-Opening Practices

MSSNY alerted our Congressional delegation to barriers to re-opening faced by physician practices including the need to limit the numbers of patients treated in a day and the continued lack of affordable, reliable personal protective equipment (PPE).  We shared results from a recent MSSNY survey that found that 72% of the physician respondents were still having difficulty in securing PPE and that where available the cost was astronomical, with the vast majority of the respondents indicating that their PPE costs had gone up by at least 30%.

On the home front, in Albany we are still actively advocating for our NYS Legislature and Governor to have insurance companies (who have prospered due to COVID-19) reimburse physician practices for the added cost of PPE needed to care for their insureds.

Surprise Medical Billing Solutions

Once again, some in Washington have tried to tie negotiations dealing with COVID-19 to surprise medical billing solutions.  MSSNY has expressed strong concerns about this to our NY Congressional delegation, stressing that any proposal to address surprise billing must be consistent with New York’s successful, groundbreaking law, rather than one-sided solutions advanced by the market-dominant health insurance industry.  We again asserted that to do otherwise would adversely impact patient access to essential on-call specialty care in emergency departments throughout our state.

You can send a letter to your Congressional representatives in opposition to short-sighted surprise billing approaches, and in support of needed additional funding here.

Repeal of Liability Protections

This week were pleased to see that Coronavirus-related liability protections were a top priority for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with the Senate stimulus package including liability protections for hospitals and medical professionals.  However, on the home front, despite our best efforts, S.8835/A.10840 passed both houses and has been delivered to the Governor.

This legislation prospectively repeals the liability protections for physicians and other health care providers enacted in the State Budget for patient care provided as part of the Covid-19 response effort. These protections were not only for direct care provided to Covid-19 patients but also for the extremely difficult triaging decisions made when hospitals particularly downstate were being overwhelmed with patients. These protections were essential for physicians who were required by state government to postpone “elective” procedures to prioritize health care resources for Covid-19 patients.

As we prepare for a potential second “surge” of COVID19, please use this link to send a letter to the Governor urging him to VETO this legislation and ensure the availability of physicians and other frontline health care workers by protecting them from liability for decisions made under the most overwhelming circumstances.

The AMA recently reported on a study showing that doctors had significantly higher resilience scores than the general employed population.  I believe we all knew this to be empirically true.  However, our resilience has been tested over the past six months like never before. Fortunately, we don’t just have any port in a storm.

We have MSSNY to see us through all the stormy weather, political and otherwise.

Bonnie Litvack, MD
MSSNY President

Note: “Governor Cuomo had an op-ed in today’s New York Times noting that, over the last week, 85% of New York’s COVID tests took a median of just 2 days to complete.  Is this your experience?  Please let us know. MSSNY has been in regular communication with the NYS Department of Health and Governor’s office regarding our concerns with unnecessary delays regarding receiving COVID testing results.”

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 4,427,620
Deaths: 150,717
Recovered: 1,389,425

Counts reflect data available as of 8:45 a.m. CDT July 30.

MSSNY’s Peer to Peer (P2P) Program
If you or someone you know is struggling with everyday life stressors, reach out to the P2P program to be connected with a peer supporter to help!

  • Email: and request that you be connected with a peer supporter
  • Phone: 1-844-P2P-PEER (1-844-727-7337) and request that you be connected with a peer supporter

MSSNY is seeking volunteer peer supporters!
A peer supporter is an individual who has shared experiences, listens without judgement, can validate feelings and provide SUPPORT, EMPATHY AND PERSPECTIVE. This is someone who also provides supports to systems and practices and encourages the use of positive coping skills. They also help connect the individual with needed treatment.

Physicians, residents, or medical students who are members of MSSNY can become volunteer peer supporters.

How are peers trained? MSSNY will provide free training to the volunteer peer through a training program. This training program will be offered virtually and consists of peer support and what makes a good peer (How to be a Peer), psychological first aid, and how the program will operate. There will also be other on-line course work that a peer can avail themselves of through MSSNY’s CME website. The virtual training programs will be offered more than once.

How to become a volunteer peer: Volunteer peers can be nominated by county medical society presidents, county medical society executives, or another physician, resident, or medical students. To nominate an individual please send an email to Cayla Lauder at or call (518) 465-8085.

The Medical Society of the State of New York now offers to physicians, residents, and medical students an opportunity to talk with a peer about some of life stressors. MSSNY’s Physician Wellness and Resiliency Committee launched a Peer 2 Peer (P2P) program to assist their colleagues who are need of help in dealing with work and family stressors. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the emotional issues related to this event, may also be troubling for our colleagues.

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When He Got Sick with COVID, He Saw the Best of Humanity
MSSNY Vice President Dr. Parag H. Mehta, Senior Vice Chairman of the Department of Medicine at NYP Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, his wife and daughters are all COVID-19 survivors. Dr. Mehta shares his touching story of his ordeal.

Have you seen heaven? I found it during my COVID journey.

My wife, daughters, and I are all COVID survivors. I had a fever for 13 days, hypoxia, and tachycardia. When I returned to work, I was 12 pounds lighter with reduced stamina and endurance. At the same time, I also felt much healthier, mentally and spiritually. I am grateful for my recovery, and it is uplifting to be back at work to see my friends, colleagues, and residents.

During the weeks I was sick, I was able to reflect on my life. The adversities I faced have transformed me into a more positive person. I have found a new appreciation for life and the opportunity to help people as a physician. All the people who surrounded me while I was sick made me realize the amount of support, love, friendship, and care that cocooned me. Friends and family sent food, cleaning supplies, masks, and blessings. While there were many days I had no appetite, when my daughters cooked for me I knew I had to try. Food made with such love forced me to eat something. There were days when it was difficult to engage in conversation, but a simple FaceTime with my family uplifted my spirits. Even though I had been alone with no physical contact with anyone for 13 days, these sentiments pushed me through. I continued to feel the warmth of these acts of kindness around me when I returned to work. All of my colleagues and residents took care of me — making sure I was well hydrated, well fed, and healthy mentally and physically.

This journey was not easy. I saw and heard too many dying patients. I lost my mother-in-law and couldn’t be by her side. I lost two of my physician friends and many others I knew. I wondered how lonely they felt with no one by their sides. While I am impressed with the compassion of nurses and doctors, I am tormented for the families not able to be there for their loved ones, including my own.

My experiences with loss, grief, and loneliness, as well as those of my loved ones, have made me more committed to my work. I spent so much time reading about COVID to understand the treatment and timely interventions. I called numerous hospitals, caregivers, nurses, and doctors. I also read a great deal about the leadership during the crisis and reopening, going back to normal. As the elected vice president of the Medical Society of the State of New York and a governor in the New York Chapter of the American College of Physicians, I am participating in advocacy for patients and healthcare workers. I am also part of initiatives like telehealth, remote monitoring, and employee testing.

In this time of uncertainty, there is one certainty: There is love, support, and positivity all around me. This world is beautiful and filled with compassionate people. If there is heaven, it is here with you. When the line between life and death was blurry, I thank you all for giving me the courage to go on.


MSSNY Weekly Podcast

AMA Survey on Treating Pain During COVID-19 Pandemic
The AMA Advocacy Resource Center is asking for MSSNY’s help to survey physicians specifically on the issue of treating patients with pain. We know that your members have received many surveys, and we’re highly sympathetic to the time and other pressures on their practices, but this is the first to specifically address issues affecting and physicians who treat patients with pain during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results will help inform future advocacy efforts.

The survey is available here.

The AMA will keep the survey open for approximately 2-3 weeks. We will then analyze and communicate the results if we obtain a representative sample of responses.

If you have any questions, please contact the AMA’s

Study Suggests 78% of Recovered COVID-19 Patients May Have Heart Damage
 “78% of recovered COVID-19 patients had permanent heart damage,” according to a new study published in JAMA Cardiology. The study “examined the cardiovascular MRIs of 100 people who had recovered from the coronavirus.” The heart images “showed that almost 80% of recovered COVID-19 patients had structural changes to their hearts.”

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Study Suggests: Spring School Closures May Have Saved Tens of Thousands
In a new analysis, pediatric researchers have estimated that the states’ decisions to close schools last spring likely saved tens of thousands of lives from [COVID-19] and prevented many more coronavirus infections. The study, published in JAMA, “focuses on a six-week period in the spring and concluded that school closure ‘may have been associated with approximately 1.37 million fewer cases of [COVID-19] over a 26-day period and 40,600 fewer deaths over a 16-day period.’”

Emergency Physicians’ Main Stressor: 96% Said Availability of PPE
A vast majority of emergency medicine physicians said increasing the availability of personal protective equipment would relieve their stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey shows.

The survey was emailed to all emergency medicine physicians at seven U.S. academic emergency departments. A total of 426 physicians responded. Survey results were published in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine.

When asked what measures would relieve their stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic, respondents said:

  1. Enhanced availability of PPE: 96.2%
  2. Rapid turnaround testing (less than six hours): 92%
  3. Testing for COVID‐19 for patients at my discretion (instead of being limited by current protocols): 82.4%
  4. Clearer communication about changes in protocols: 73.5%
  5. Assurances that I can take leave to care for myself and family members: 71.8%
  6. Ability to request testing of myself for COVID‐19 even if I don’t have symptoms: 69.2%
  7. Greater clarity about my risk for exposure: 66.7%
  8. Assurances that my medical care and that of my dependants will be covered by my employer: 63.4%
  9. Assurances about disability benefits: 57%
  10. Easily available mental health consultations for me and other healthcare providers: 56.8%
  11. Departmental video sessions to discuss COVID-19 response and changes: 55.4%

Academic Emergency Medicine Physicians’ Anxiety Levels, Stressors, and Potential Stress Mitigation Measures During the Acceleration Phase of the COVID19 Pandemic First published: 22 June 2020

Health Advisory: Revised Protocols for Personnel in Healthcare and Other Direct Care Settings to Return to Work Following COVID-19 Exposure or Infection

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AMA’S Dr. Duane & Joyce Cady Honor Fund Awards Two $10,000 Scholarships
The Duane & Joyce Cady $10,000 Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarships have been awarded to medical students attending school in New York and who are also actively involved in organized medicine and plan to practice in New York.

The 2020 awardees are:

Gabrielle J. Sagesse, who graduated Cum Laude from Binghamton University in 2017 with a degree in Integrative Neuroscience where she was actively involved as Treasurer and President of the Student National Medical Association. Gabrielle intends on being a Family Medicine physician with a focus on health disparities and working with our most vulnerable patient populations – the very young and the very old, low-income, and homeless, chronically ill, and disabled. She hopes to open a community center where her passions for mental health advocacy, health policy and education, fitness and nutrition may come together to serve specifically, Black, and undeserved communities, like her own in Canarsie, Brooklyn, NY.

Cameron Bosinski was born and raised in Buffalo. He received a BS in Biology and Psychology from Stony Brook University and an MS in Neuroscience from the University of Hartford. After graduating, he worked as a medical scribe at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo and taught biology courses at Villa Maria College. During medical school, he was awarded a fellowship by the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research and won first place for best abstract at the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ annual meeting.

He has held several leadership positions, including Anesthesiology Interest Group President, Class of 2021 Curriculum Committee Representative, and founded the Association of Native American Medical Students Chapter at SUNY Upstate. Bosinki has been instrumental in planning an annual pre-admission workshop for Native American premedical students and continues to mentor several of the students that he has met.

The AMA Foundation brings together physicians and communities to improve our nation’s health. Support our shared mission: make a gift today. This year, the Scholarship Fund wanted to offer two scholarships and the committee thanks MLMIC for its generosity.

2020 MSSNY Poster Symposium Virtual Posters Online
The 2020 MSSNY Poster Symposium could not be held due to uncontrollable circumstances, but you can still view a selection of accepted posters here. Password is houseny.

Please take a look at the work of our resident, fellow and medical student members!

Yale Research: Students Need COVID-19 Testing Every 2 Days to Contain Virus
Testing students for COVID-19 more frequently using a less sensitive test may be the most cost-effective way to control the virus on college campuses this fall, according to research published on the medical preprint server medRxiv.

Researchers at New Haven, Conn.-based Yale University modeled various testing strategies for a hypothetical group of 5,000 uninfected college students in an 80-day semester. Models varied based on the frequency, sensitivity, specificity, and cost of testing.

Screening students for COVID-19 daily using a test with 70 percent sensitivity would limit infections to just 85 a semester, costing about $920 per student. Testing students every two days would limit infections to 135 over the same time period and cost about $470 per person. In contrast, screening students just once a week would result in more than 3,600 cases. “Rapid, inexpensive and frequently conducted screening (even if only 70 percent sensitive) would be cost-effective and produce a modest number of COVID-19 infections,” researchers said. “While the optimal screening frequency hinges on the success of behavioral interventions to reduce the base severity of transmission, this could permit the safe return of student[s] to campus.”

The research has not been peer-reviewed. To learn more, click here.


CDC Webinar Aug. 4 on COVID-19 Telehealth Lessons
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Aug. 4 at 2 p.m. ET will host a Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity webinar on telehealth’s benefits and challenges, based on lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. The presenters will share their experiences implementing telehealth across diverse health care settings and address considerations for its future use. Join the webinar here using webinar ID 160 872 1092. A recording will be available for viewing on the COCA Call webpage a few hours after the live event concludes.

CMS and CDC Announce Provider Reimbursement Available for Counseling Patients to Self-Isolate at Time of COVID-19 Testing
On July 30, CMS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are announcing that payment is available to physicians and health care providers to counsel patients, at the time of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing, about the importance of self-isolation after they are tested and prior to the onset of symptoms.

The transmission of COVID-19 occurs from both symptomatic, pre-symptomatic, and asymptomatic individuals emphasizing the importance of education on self-isolation as the spread of the virus can be reduced significantly by having patients isolated earlier, while waiting for test results or symptom onset. The CDC models show that when individuals who are tested for the virus are separated from others and placed in quarantine, there can be up to an 86 percent reduction in the transmission of the virus compared to a 40 percent decrease in viral transmission if the person isolates after symptoms arise.

Provider counseling to patients, at the time of their COVID-19 testing, will include the discussion of immediate need for isolation, even before results are available, the importance to inform their immediate household that they too should be tested for COVID-19, and the review of signs and symptoms and services available to them to aid in isolating at home. In addition, they will be counseled that if they test positive, to wear a mask at all times, and they will be contacted by public health authorities and asked to provide information for contact tracing and to tell their immediate household and recent contacts in case it is appropriate for these individuals to be tested for the virus and to self-isolate as well.

CMS will use existing evaluation and management payment codes to reimburse providers who are eligible to bill CMS for counseling services no matter where a test is administered, including doctor’s offices, urgent care clinics, hospitals, and community drive-thru or pharmacy testing sites.

For More Information:


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