MSSNY eNews: September 18, 2020 – MSSNY President, Bonnie Litvack MD, Inaugurated



Let me start by saying thank you to our entire House of Delegates, our physician members throughout the state and our county and state staff.  You are rock stars and heroes. Your ethics, courage, strength, ingenuity, and resilience pulled this state through a spring like we have never seen before, the roughest healthcare crisis in recent memory. You are role models for the state and the nation and are the reason that New York currently has among the lowest virus levels in the country.

While this year we had to forgo our ceremony of presidents, a moving and meaningful part of our House of Delegates, the spirit of that event lives on.  Our leadership is a continuum building from year to year incorporating the best of the past and welcoming the new, the present and the future.  I thank all the past presidents that came before me for their service, inspiration, and guidance.

Women in Medicine Month and Mentors

This month is “Women in Medicine” month and therefore a perfect time for our first ever virtual House of Delegates with a female society president. As most of you know, I am the third female president in the history of the Medical Society of the State of NY.  However, most of you do not know that the reason I got involved in the medical society was at the behest of Dr. Ann Cea our first female MSSNY president.  Watching Ann artfully and seamlessly navigate through multiple land mines and successfully build coalitions to benefit NY was mesmerizing. I am extremely grateful for her mentorship and all that she has given to our entire 9th district delegation. I treasure and admirer my 9th district delegation who are incredibly dedicated and thoughtful leaders. I am proud to call all of you my friends and colleagues. In particular, I must single out Dr. Andy Kleinman who continues to mentor me on the “art of the deal”, Dr. Mark Fox and Dr. Kira Geraci who regularly share their expertise on creating effective policy, Dr. Tom Lee for his abounding energy and sharing his financial and legislative prowess and Dr. Michael Rosenberg for always modeling calm, reasonable and approachable leadership and of course the phenomenal executive directors that I have been privileged to work with throughout the state but in particular, Stuart Hayman, Brian Foy and Janine Miller.

In the wisdom our forefathers, the “Office of the President” construct was erected helping to provide a seamless transition from one year to the next.  Our office of the president meets weekly to discuss, strategize and plan our agenda.  This group lives the motto: “Together we are Stronger.”   It is and has been a true honor to work with and learn from Sam Unterricht, Bob Hughes, Andy Kleinman, Charlie Rothberg, Tom Madejski, Art Fougner, Joe Sellers, Parag Mehta, Bill Latreille and Maria Basile as well as Phil Schuh and our MSSNY Senior Vice Presidents, Moe, Pat, Eunice, Christina, Laurie and Regina. I thank all of you for your friendship and for sharing your time, thoughts, worries and advice.  A special thank you to our Executive Director, Phil Schuh who will be retiring in December but who will remain at the forefront of our thoughts after spending 30 years at MSSNY advancing the agenda of the house of medicine and helping to steer us in the right direction.  Phil, we owe you debt of gratitude and we salute you.


Even in the midst of a pandemic the work of medicine and medical advocacy continued. Over the course of the past year we have made great strides forward repealing the religious vaccine exemption, establishing the maternal mortality review board with confidentiality protections, obtaining reforms for insurance parity for mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and autism spectrum disorders, obtaining a 20% tax on the sale of “vapor products”, a defeat of the trial lawyers’ “Wrongful Death” bill, maintaining the excess layer of malpractice coverage and defeating the proposal to bypass existing OPMC due process protections for physicians.

Our success has, in no small part been due to the strong leadership of my dear friend and our immediate past president, Dr. Arthur Fougner.  This year we continue to build on those successes and to deal with the new and challenging current practice environment.

Helping Practices During Covid-19

With the pandemic, we have focused on emergency preparedness with our emergency preparedness committee and our infectious disease committee working tirelessly and in tandem to create useful webinars to share information about Covid as well as to provide feedback to our NYS DOH about testing, tracing and vaccine distribution.  We have met with legislators, the governor’s office, DOH and testified before our NYS legislature, coordinated with the AMA and sent letters to federal legislators highlighting the need for more funds to NYS physician practices, the woefully inadequate PPE supply chain, the high cost of PPE and the need for faster testing turn-around times and community physician access to point of service tests and supplies.  We continue to look for ways for our NYS physicians to procure vetted PPE at a reasonable cost and continue to work with DFS, the Health Plan Association and the legislature on solutions to defray the cost of PPE to physician practices.  We have procured and distributed 40,000 N95 masks at cost and on Monday will be offering members access to 6,000 face shields donated by the Ford Company.  Our Member Benefits committee expects to shortly announce the opportunity for MSSNY members to participate in a Group Purchasing Organization that will give our members access to numerous discounts, including PPE.

During the pandemic, MSSNY has focused not only on our community physicians but has also spoken out on the plight of our employed physician members.  We raised concern and objections with the Governor’s office, DOH, our NYS legislature and in the press about unacceptable working conditions and protections that put the health and safety of physicians and their families in jeopardy and the despicable practice of imposing gag orders and sanctions. We also objected to enforcement of non-competes on furloughed physicians as well as salary reductions and withheld productivity bonuses. This year a new committee will be formed chaired by Dr. Arthur Fougner which is charged with empowering our employed members.

Physician Wellness

Physician Wellness has been and remains a priority for our society.  This year thanks to the hard work of Dr. Charlie Rothberg, Frank Dowling, Pat Clancy and Cayla Lauder and the entire Physician Wellness and Resilience Committee we have made considerable progress.  The MSSNY Peer to Peer Program is now up and running and any physician, resident, fellow or medical student can access the confidential helpline by calling 1-844-P2P-PEER or by emailing to be connected with a trained, empathetic peer supporter who will offer support, provide positive coping skills, or connect physicians to professionals for more focused assistance.  In addition, four NYS institutions have now agreed to partner with MSSNY and the AMA in the Practice transformation Initiative in order to enact system level change in a continuous learning collaborative format.


Advocacy is always a MSSNY priority and progressive malpractice reform and collective negotiation remain at the top of the list this year as well as advocating for telehealth payment parity and opposing national surprise medical bill legislation that does not adhere to the tried and true NY model. However, front and center over the past few months has been Scope of Practice.  MSSNY has met with the Governor’s Office and our legislators and testified at a joint hearing of the Senate and Assembly to express our concern with Executive Orders 202.55 that 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. We have urged that given our relatively low virus infection rate that statutory supervision and/or oversight requirements be restored as soon as possible.  Our MSSNY Scope of Practice committee has been monitoring the legislative scope of practice initiatives of nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetics and others and is hard at work on strategy for fighting scope of practice creep in our state.

Health Equity

Achieving health equity and gender equity have long been MSSNY goals. Our committee to eliminate healthcare disparities was instrumental in the creation of the AMA’s Center for Health Equity that is working to embed health equity as a part of practice, process, action, innovation, and organizational performance and outcomes and AMA president, Dr. Patrice Harris personally expressed her thanks to MSSNY at our June council meeting. Our MSSNY committee will play a critical role this year in helping our state to work toward greater health equity by identifying and eliminating inequities through advocacy, community leadership and education. Our Women Physicians committee will also continue to play an important role this year in righting gender equity in our organization and our profession.

My Family

This MSSNY house provides shelter, support, and stability for all in the medical profession.  It is welcoming and dynamic and I am proud to be a part of it and honored and humbled to be able to serve as your president.  I am grateful that my children grew up in the house of medicine as they have learned much from our passion, dedication, ability to share information and even our ability to “argue” respectfully.  My girls Sydney, Haley and Carly may not ultimately choose medicine as a career but from us they have learned the importance of leadership and advocacy and they will be better people and citizens for having been exposed to our House of Medicine.  I thank them and my husband Craig for allowing me to take time away from our family to be with and lead my medical family.

We as a medical society have learned much and will use our knowledge and leadership skills to guide our state and our country forward, out of the worst global pandemic in a century and into a future that includes a healthy and unified state and nation.  We will do this by this by adhering to our core values as physicians and Americans and by honoring our pledge of allegiance to one nation under god, indivisible with liberty, justice, and health for all.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker and Madam Vice Speaker for your hard work in developing an online format for our 2020 HOD and for the privilege of addressing this house.

Bonnie Litvack, MD

MSSNY’s Weekly Podcast

Federal Stimulus Funds for Physicians
Survey of New York Physicians 


In March and April, Congress passed multiple pieces of legislation to create the Paycheck Protection forgivable loan Program (PPP) to assist small businesses including physician practices. To date, the program has approved assistance to nearly 250,000 New York businesses in two different rounds of application periods, including many physician practices.

These Congressional packages have also allocated $175 billion for the CARES Act Health Provider Relief Pool to assist physicians, hospitals, and other health providers. The funds from this pool have been allocated in various distribution segments over the past several months.

We understand that many physicians have received distributions from one or both of these funding pools. However, we have also frequently heard that these funding pools have only modestly offset the enormous drop in patient revenue for this year. That is why MSSNY continues to advocate with many organizations in support of urging Congress to enact another “stimulus” bill to supplement these previous efforts.

As with our two previous surveys, MSSNY wants to gather data to determine how much New York physicians are benefiting from these new resources to better guide our advocacy.

Please help us evaluate this by taking a few minutes to fill out and submit the
Surveymonkey questionnaire TODAY!

Press Release

MSSNY Supports Requirement that School Age Children Receive the Influenza Vaccine

Westbury, New York, September 17, 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 support of requiring the administration of the influenza vaccine for all school-age children and teens, unless medically contraindicated, who attend childcare, pre-kindergarten, K-12 and college and universities in New York State.

“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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MSSNYPAC Makes Candidate Endorsements
At this week’s MSSNY Council meeting, the following bi-partisan list of legislators (10 Assembly, 6 Senate; and 8 Congress) were endorsed for re-election by the Medical Society of the State of New York Political Action Committee (PAC) for the upcoming November 3 election. Each candidate on this list has demonstrated themselves to be champions of issues to preserve the ability of patients to continue to receive needed and timely physician care.

Council Approved the Following at the September 17 Council Meeting:

  • MSSNY Supports Requirement that School Age Children Receive the Influenza Vaccine
    The Medical Society of the State of New York supports a requirement for administration of the influenza vaccine for all school-age children, unless medically contraindicated, who attend childcare, prekindergarten, K-12 and colleges and universities in New York State.
  • MSSNY Approval of any Amicus Brief
    Any proposed MSSNY amicus, or proposed participation in any amicus brief by MSSNY, will require the approval of the President when MSSNY has related policy; approval of Council or Executive Committee when there is no relevant MSSNY policy; and approval of MSSNY Board of Trustees when expenditures are required in relation to the amicus brief. Any amicus approved by the President needs to be reported to the Council.
  • Access to Medication
    MSSNY will seek regulations that prohibit pharmacy benefit plans from limiting patient access to medications based on an initial prescription placed for mail-order and will seek regulations that require pharmacies to offer patients access to their prescribed medications without undue delay. MSSNY will seek support from the AMA to form regulations on a national level that prohibit pharmacy benefit plans from limiting patient access to medications based on an initial prescription placed for mail-order.
  • Resolutions Referred to Council
  • MSSNYPAC Report, including the list of recommendations for state and federal candidate endorsements.

MSSNY CME Provider Virtual Conference 2020 9/25/2020
The MSSNY CME Provider Conference will be virtual this year.  The conference is for CME professionals, including CME Directors, as well as physician leaders involved in the CME programs at their organizations.

The conference will be held on Friday, September 25, 2020, from 8:30 AM to 12:15 PM, Eastern Time.

More information is available on the flyer here. Registration is required; registration link here.

The Medical Society of the State of New York is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for  physicians. 

The Medical Society of the State of New York designates this live activity for a maximum of 3.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.  Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Registration Now Open
September 23, 2020 @ 7:30am Medical Matters CME Webinar
The Importance of Herd Immunity: 2020 Update with a COVID-19 Twist

Learn more about the role herd immunity plays in eliminating vaccine-preventable diseases (including SARS CoV-2) by registering for: “The Importance of Herd Immunity: 2020 Update with a COVID-19 Twist” on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 7:30 a.m.  William Valenti, MD, chair of MSSNY Infectious Disease Committee and a member of the Emergency Preparedness and Disaster/Terrorism Response Committee will serve as faculty for this program. Registration is now open for this webinar here

Educational objectives are:

  • Review the epidemiology vaccine-preventable infectious diseases and the role of herd immunity.
  • Describe how herd immunity protects vulnerable populations such as newborns, the elderly and those who are too sick to be vaccinated.
  • Discuss the percentage(s) of a population who need to be vaccinated for herd immunity to be effective.
  • Examine the role of herd immunity in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic

Additional information or assistance with registration may be obtained by contacting Melissa Hoffman at

The Medical Society of the State of New York is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Medical Society of the State of New York designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA/PRA Category 1 credits™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

MSSNY Podcasts and CME Keep You Informed and Current
In addition to MSSNY’s weekly Update podcasts, there are numerous informative podcasts available on topics ranging from COVID-19 to emergency preparedness to vaccines.  Each podcast offers insight from medical experts on topics they are extensively well versed on.  Go here and choose one or many to listen to.

MSSNY also has more than 30 modules on our CME website. (Note: new users to the site will need to create an account).  Time is running out to complete the required three hours of Pain Management, Palliative Care & Addiction (Free to MSSNY members, and $50.00 per CME credit for non-members) training which must be attested to by October 1st.  You can also earn free CME credits on emergency preparedness topics that range from Anthrax to Zika Virus.  Additional topics include Medical Matters and Veterans Matters as well as Steps to Physician Wellness and Resiliency.

Trump Poised to Approve Drug Imports from Canada
Over the objections of drugmakers, the Trump administration is expected within weeks to finalize its plan that would allow states to import some prescription medicines from Canada. Six states — Colorado, Florida, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Vermont — have passed laws allowing them to seek federal approval to buy drugs from Canada to give their residents access to lower-cost medicines. (9/18 Kaiser Health News)

NEJM Publishes Free Articles for Physicians on COVID-19
NEJM published a collection of articles and other resources on the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, including clinical reports, management guidelines, and commentary. All NEJM content related to the Covid-19 pandemic is freely available. NEJM COVID-19 page

Check Out MSSNY’s Veterans Matters Podcast Series on Veterans’ Healthcare

Topics include:

PTSD in Returning Veterans, TBI in Returning Veterans, Substance Use in Veterans, Suicide in Veterans, The Special Mental Health Needs of Women Veterans and Military Culture: Everything Physicians Need to Know about Veterans as Patients.

Click here to listen to Part 1 of PTSD in Returning Veterans with Dr. Frank Dowling.

Click here to listen to Part 2 of PTSD in Returning Veterans with Dr. Frank Dowling.

Click here to listen to TBI in Returning Veterans with Dr. David Podwall.

Click here to listen to Substance Use Disorders with Dr. Thomas Madejski.

Click here to listen to Suicide in Veterans podcast with Dr. Jack McIntyre.

Click here to listen to The Special Mental Health Needs of Women Veterans with Dr. Malene Ingram, Colonel, U.S. Army Reserves and Retired Chief Master Sergeant, U.S. Air Force, Marcelle Leis.

Click here to listen to Military Culture: Everything Physicians Need to Know about Veterans as Patients with Retired Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, Lance Allen Wang and Retired Chief Master Sergeant, U.S. Air Force, Marcelle Leis.

Registration Now Open

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Be Sure to Check Out MSSNY’s Medical Matters & Emergency Preparedness
FREE CME Programs

It was recently announced that a leak at a biopharmaceutical company in China has caused a large outbreak of brucellosis.  You can learn more about brucellosis at the MSSNY CME site by viewing the Emergency Preparedness CME program entitled: Brucellosis, Glanders, Melioidosis and Tularemia.

You can also view all of MSSNY’s timely and relevant CME programs at  Please note that you will need to create an account there if you haven’t already.

Additional information or assistance with the website may be obtained by contacting Melissa Hoffman at

MSSNY’s First Virtual HOD Zoom MeetingHOD Photo Collage

(Top Left) Phil Schuh, EVP, CFO; Assistant Speaker Maria Basile, MD;
Speaker of the House William R. Latreille, MD, FACP, AME

(Top Right) William R. Latreille, MD, FACP, AME; Michael Reyes, coordinating the Zoom meeting
(Center Left) Speaker William R. Latreille, Md, FACP, AME; Assistant Maria A. Basile, MD
(Center Right) Bonnie Litvack, MD, FACR, MSSNY President
(Bottom Left) Immediate Past President Arthur C. Fougner, MD
(Bottom Right) Phil Schuh, MSSNY EVP, CFO




Dermatology Practice for Sale – Staten Island, NY
Building includes 3 exam rooms, waiting area. Please respond by calling 718-987-3300 or email

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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
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For inquiries please call 212.737.8700, email

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