Oct. 12, 2018 – MSSNY Says NO to Legal Marijuana

Thomas J. Madejski, MD MSSNY President

Thomas J. Madejski, MD
MSSNY President

October 12, 2018
Volume 20  Number 38



The sale of MLMIC to Berkshire Hathaway has been concluded. This should provide a windfall to many of MLMIC’s policyholders, and hopefully improve the competitive position of MLMIC with the assets of Berkshire Hathaway providing additional financial security for MLMIC insureds.

Legalization of Marijuana

I recently met with Governor Cuomo’s team to discuss legalization of marijuana in New York State.  MSSNY policy opposes legalization of marijuana. I expressed our concerns with the recommendations of the Governors work group and reviewed our policy recommendations and support for decriminalization without legalization. My editorial on this topic was published in the Syracuse Post- Standard this week

Execs Meeting

I attended the County Executive meeting at West Point last week. Our executives are a hard-working group and are always open to new ideas to increase membership and its value. I applaud them for their loyalty and ability to act alone and as a group. They are our valuable “hunters and gatherers” of prospective members and deserve more recognition than they receive. We agreed that MSSNY will exercise deliberate efforts to improve communications between county and state.

Personal Note

Since I took office, I have been burning up the roads of New York, which gave me the opportunity to spend some time with my godmother, Margaret Quinn, a retired Administrative Law Judge for the Social Security Administration. My aunt related her experience with discrimination and harassment when she was in the process of application for her judgeship back in 1980. She was able to fight back successfully and served for 20 years before her retirement in 2001. It brought home to me the importance of MSSNYs establishment of our Women’s Physician Committee, and the importance of an open, welcoming work place for all in our society. New York State recently codified a requirement for sexual harassment training. We will have our General Counsel Garfunkel Wild’s Sexual Harassment webinar up on our website shortly for members.


Please contact me at comments@mssny.org.

Thomas J. Madejski, MD 
MSSNY President

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Preliminary Approval of CVS/Aetna Deal in Spite of MSSNY/AMA Opposition
The US Department of Justice announced this week it had given preliminary approval to the proposal of CVS to purchase Aetna for $69 billion, with the condition that Aetna divest itself of its Part D prescription drug plan. MSSNY as well as the American Medical Association and other provider advocacy organizations had spoken in opposition to merger of health care behemoths on many occasions.  In August, the AMA submitted a letter to the US DOJ to reject the merger.

Of particular concern is the clear financial incentive of the merged entity to steer patients to their own sites rather than other community-based health care providers including physician-led medical homes.  Next week, MSSNY Immediate Past-President Dr. Charles Rothberg will be testifying at a NY Department of Financial Services hearing examining this transaction.

MSSNY President Dr. Thomas Madejski was quoted in a City & State article this week examining this transaction. “The premise behind this consolidation is that CVS – using their retail clinics and their stores – is going to make health care more accessible.  However, there’s really not that much data to support that. They may be able to make it more accessible, but that really has not translated to any improvement in outcomes nor to better patient care. And, actually, there are some studies that show that retail clinics actually cost more without any improvement.”

MSSNY’s strong concerns were also noted in a Westchester Journal News reporting on the DOJ action.

AMA President Dr. Barbara McEneny offered the following statement expressing disappointment in DOJ decision:

“The AMA worked tirelessly to oppose this merger and presented a wealth of expert empirical evidence to convince regulators that the merger would harm patients. We now urge the DOJ and state antitrust enforcers to monitor the post-merger effects of the Aetna acquisition by CVS Health on highly concentrated markets in pharmaceutical benefit management services, health insurance, retail pharmacy, and specialty pharmacy.

“Patients are better served by promoting competitive health care markets. The AMA is committed to ensuring that competition in health care is not compromised. We will continue to examine proposed health care mergers as they arise and take every opportunity to challenge those that are detrimental to the patients we serve.”

Four in 10 Cases of Legionnaires’ Disease Live in New York
Nearly four in 10 Americans who contracted Legionnaires’ Disease this year live in New York, according to the latest data from the CDC. The CDC projected there will be 1,180 cases of Legionnaires’ Disease in New York by the end of 2018, up from 1,009 in 2017. This statistic does not include the 27 cases from the Washington Heights outbreak earlier this summer.

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President Trump Signs Bills Banning “Gag Clauses”
The New York Times (10/10) reports that on Wednesday, President Trump signed bipartisan legislation that would ban so-called “gag clauses” and allow “pharmacists to tell consumers when they could actually save money by paying the full cash price for prescription drugs rather than using health insurance with large co-payments, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs.” Pharmacists “say they have often been forbidden to share information on drug pricing with customers” because of the gag clauses imposed on them “by companies that manage drug benefits for insurers and employers.” One bill bans gag clauses in commercial insurance and the other applies to outpatient drug coverage in Medicare, either through its fee-for-service program or Medicare Advantage plans.

West Nile Virus Detected in Chautauqua County
The Buffalo (NY) News (10/10) reports West Nile virus has been found in two mosquito pools in Chautauqua County, New York, where officials “are advising residents to take precautions.” The county health department said the pools, “collected from the Audubon Community Nature Center in Jamestown, tested positive for the virus in late September,” according to the article.

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Medicare Advantage Plans Shifting Financial Risk to Physicians’ Groups
Kaiser Health News (10/8) discusses “WellMed, a physician-management company whose doctors treat more than 350,000 Medicare patients at primary care clinics in Florida and Texas.” Rather than “being reimbursed for each patient visit, WellMed gets a fixed monthly payment from private Medicare Advantage plans to cover virtually all of their members’ health needs, including drugs and physician, hospital, mental health and rehabilitation services.” If companies like WellMed “can stay under budget, the physician companies profit. If not, they lose money.” The article says the model, called “‘full-risk’ or ‘global risk’ – is increasingly used by Medicare plans such as Humana and UnitedHealthcare to shift their financial exposure from costly patients to WellMed and other physician-management companies.” Meanwhile, it provides physicians’ groups with “more money upfront and control over patient care.”

US Saw Most Flu Deaths in Over a Decade Last Winter
The New York Times (10/1) reports that “more than 80,000 Americans died of the flu in the winter of 2017-2018, the highest number in over a decade, federal health officials said last week.” Although 90 percent of those deaths were in people over age 65, “the flu also killed 180 young children and teenagers, more than in any other year since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began using its current surveillance methods.” The estimates were released at a news conference held by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases to urge Americans to get vaccinated and to fight the myths that scare off some people — such as the common misconception that flu shots can cause flu.

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Study: Elderly Spending More Time in Rehab Therapy Near End of Their Lives
Bloomberg News (10/9) reports research published in JAMDA indicates nursing home residents increasingly are “spending time in rehabilitation treatment during the last days of their lives, subjected to potentially unnecessary therapy that reaps significant financial benefits for cash-strapped facilities.” According to the study, the number of “nursing home residents who received ‘ultrahigh intensity’ rehabilitation increased by 65 percent from October 2012 to April 2016.”

Continuing Medical Education

4th Columbia Psychosomatics Conference “Healing Unexplainable Pain” – Oct 20-21, 2018 NYC (13.5 CME Category 1 credits)

If you can’t see this image please go to 4th Columbia Psychosomatics Conference website HERE.Columbia Conference Banner

Leading international experts in the field are coming to present and conduct workshops on How to Treat Psychosomatic Brain-Body Disorders – topics include:

  • Somatic Symptom Disorders, Functional Disorders, Medically Unexplained Symptoms: From medical office to specialized psychosomatic treatments
  • How to Treat Somatic Symptom and Functional Disorders in Primary Care and Family Medicine Practice
  • Advances in Psycho-Cardiology
  • Biopsychosocial Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders: Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction
  • How to Diagnose and Treat Hypochondriasis
  • Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia
  • Where Body Meets Mind in Late-Stage Lyme Disease and many more……

Our conference is science-based & clinically relevant

Register NOW as several workshops are almost full and the number of seats is limited!


The Bureau of Psychiatric Services & Research Institute Support (BPSRIS) is accredited by the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The Bureau of Psychiatric Services & Research Institute Support (BPSRIS) designates this live activity for a maximum of 13.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

For more details about the conference and to register please visit the conference website

Look forward to seeing you at the conference!

Conference Organizing Committee:

Alla Landa, PhD,
Harald Guendel, MD,
Brian Fallon, MD,
Philip Muskin, MD

“Influenza 2018-19” CME Webinar on October 17; Registration Now Open
The CDC estimates that there were approximately 80,000 flu and flu-related deaths in the United States during the 2017-18 flu season.  And there have already been at least three flu-related deaths this season.  Are you prepared for the 2018-19 flu season?  Learn about the upcoming flu season at the first of MSSNY’s 2019 Medical Matters continuing medical education (CME) webinar series: “Influenza 2018-19” on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 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.

Additional information or assistance with registration may be obtained by contacting Melissa Hoffman at mhoffman@mssny.org.

Educational objectives are:

  • Describe key indicators to look for when diagnosing patients presenting with flu-like symptoms
  • Describe clinical and laboratory diagnostic features and treatment specific to each flu season
  • Identify recommended immunizations and antiviral medications for treatment and how best to effectively encourage patients to get vaccinated

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. 

Cybersecurity: A Daily Threat for Healthcare” CME webinar on November 14, 2018 at 7:30am Registration now open
Is your office protected against a cybersecurity event?  Studies show that 88% of all ransomware attacks in 2017 occurred within the healthcare industry and 89% of studied healthcare organizations experienced a data breach.  Learn how to protect yourself, your patients and your workplace on November 14th at 7:30am.  Register here for Medical Matters: Cybersecurity: A Daily Threat for Healthcare.  Mahesh Nattanmai, Deborah Sottolano, MD of New York State Department of Health and Peter Bloniarz of the New York State Cyber Security Advisory Board will serve as faculty for this program.

Additional information or assistance with registration may be obtained by contacting Melissa Hoffman at mhoffman@mssny.org.

Educational objectives are:

  • Describe vulnerabilities within medical practices, hospitals and daily life
  • Identify methods to increase protection from cyberattacks
  • Review methods for reporting and responding to a cybersecurity incident

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. 

EHR Incentive

New Webinar from the NY Medicaid EHR Incentive Program
Unsure about the security risk analysis (SRA) requirements for meaningful use? NY Medicaid EHR Incentive Program now offers a live webinar to help eligible professionals, especially those new to meaningful use, understand the basic definitions and actions related to the SRA which must be conducted each calendar year.

Topics covered include:

  • Meaningful Use Objective 1: Protect Patient Health Information
  • SRA Toolkit (by the Office of the National Coordinator)
  • Safety Measures to Consider
  • Common Considerations and Creating an Action Plan

Sign up here for one of the webinar sessions scheduled on October 30 and November 28, 2018.

Reference materials about the SRA and other program requirements are available at https://health.ny.gov/ehr. For additional assistance, please contact program support at 1-877-646-5410 or hit@health.ny.gov.


HRSA Funding Opportunities

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All-Inclusive Medical Office Space for Rent-5 Locations: Elmhurst, Ozone Park, Lawrence, Lindenhurst & East Setauket
Starting up, slowing down or growing your practice? Interested in trying out
a new town or opening a satellite site, with no long term commitment? Come
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We are open 24/7 and offer individual rooms or private suites to rent, with
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For more information please log on to www.MedPlexLLC.com, Loop-Net/Co-Star, or call Carla Scalici, Operations manager, @ 516-797-7735, cscalici@MedPlexLLC.com

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Magnificent Medical Suites for Lease 184 East 70th St. New York, NY
The space has just undergone a complete STATE OF THE ART renovation.
Located in a luxury building with a separate elevator entrance on the prestigious upper east side of Manhattan, this recently renovated space is conveniently situated steps from Lenox Hill Hospital, Cornell /Columbia Presbyterian, HSS and Memorial Sloan Kettering. Includes exam rooms, new custom cabinetry, new exam beds, scale, waiting area – new furniture, new TV, water cooler etc. Space A: one consultation room plus 2 exam rooms. $6000 per month
Space B: One consultation room plus one exam room. $4500 per month
Space C: one consultation plus one exam $4500. other combination may work as well. Available for sharing For full details and photos see listing at http://bit.ly/2E3Zvh0 or contact Karen Tamir at 917-865-1006 or KarenTamir@Yahoo.comRental Space East 74th St. NYC Waiting Room Rental Space East 74th St. NYC Nurses Station

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West 57 St. – Shared Office Space to Rent
Lovely Garden view office with natural light. Located near Columbus Circle in a beautiful Art Deco building. Recently renovated office with additional exam room/ room with a sink. Wi-Fi, medical waste pickup and cleaning included.  Ideal location in desirable neighborhood. Contact Jason Faller 914-393-6583 goutmd@aol.com

West 57th St. NYC Building Lobby West 57th St. NYC Waiting Room

West 57th St. NYC Window View

Rare Find — Great Office Share
Wonderful office share in terrific location at great price. Choice of smaller windowed consultation room with adjoining exam room or big windowed consultation room with one or two exam rooms. Beautiful bright rooms, lovely reception area and front . First-rate building on 58th Street between Park and Lexington.  Rent by day (about $180) or by month ($5500). Front desk and office management available, along with many other amenities, including internet, ultrasound, EMG Kitchen, optional C Arm. Willing to make changes for new tenant. Call 646-642-0700.

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Internal Medicine Physician and Nurse Practitioner Wanted – Syracuse Area
Syracuse primary care practice recruiting for a highly motivated Internal Medicine Physician and Nurse Practitioner. Candidates should be interested in working closely with patients, care teams, and community partners, Send resume to neurosciencesgroup@gmail.com

Physicians Wanted to Help Shape the Future of Primary Care
98point6 is a healthcare technology startup committed to delivering more affordable, accessible, high-quality primary care. To support our mission, the insights of forward-thinking physicians like you are invaluable. Members of our exclusive Primary Care Council have no clinical responsibilities and are compensated for their participation, which requires only a few hours annually.

Interested? Learn more and apply today at www.98point6.com/pcc