February 26, 2016 – Physicians Shaping the Discourse

 Dr. Joseph R.  Maldonado

February 26,  2016
Volume 16, Number 8

Dear Colleagues:

This week, I attended the AMA National Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC.   New York had a very prominent number of physicians in attendance, many of whom went on their own dime.  It made me proud of their dedication and passion to take time from their busy schedules to go down to Washington and meet with our Federal legislators.  I was most impressed by Senator Schumer’s open style and graciousness in meeting with us.  He listened and made very insightful suggestions for our efforts.  Honestly I had not expected this level of engagement and I was glad to have seen it firsthand.

The sessions in Washington with the staff members of many of our legislators were refreshing.  They are a young group of individuals with a broad range of knowledge of the subject.  All of them have a keen aptitude and intellect in capturing the important concepts and engaging with them.  There was a seemingly genuine interest in listening to our perspective, which as a cynic of the Washington process, I had not expected.

While I tend to relate best to the seasoned staff of legislators in Albany, the group in Washington seemed to have a freshness about them that gave me hope that perhaps they were not jaded by years of work in the Washington arena.  They did a lot of listening, and didn’t seem to have established opinions.  They asked reasonable and smart questions.  They seemed interested in our views as physicians about how the problems could be addressed.  They offered options on how we might best tackle challenges facing us.

Most importantly, it was a pleasure not getting the sense that we were dealing with a group of young individuals who had an agenda to carry out and would indulge us on only those issues that complemented their agendas.  I’m not certain if there is a “Washington Staff Etiquette” course new staff members take before starting to work for Federal legislators, but the receptive style of engagement gave me hope that perhaps if we could not convince our legislators on key issues, engagement with their staff might provide them with the data needed for them to more effectively carry out the task on our behalf.

All in all, the advocacy experience was very positive.  Join us in Albany next week and see what your experience as a physician in the trenches can do for changing policymakers’ perspectives on healthcare.

Joseph Maldonado, M.D, MSc, MBA, DipEBHC
MSSNY President

Please send your comments to comments@mssny.org



MSSNY Lobby Day Scheduled for March 8th – Physicians Urged to Attend and Wear Your White Lab Coats
MSSNY’s “Physician Advocacy Day” will be held on March 8th in the Lewis Swyer Theatre in the Egg located at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, New York.  If you plan to attend, please register here.

A full slate of legislators and top Administration officials will attend and dialogue with Advocacy Day participants including:

  • Donna Frescatore, Executive Director, NYS Health Benefit Exchange;
  • Troy Oechsner, Executive Deputy Superintendent, Department of Financial Services;
  • Legislative Panel: Senate Health Chair Kemp Hannon; Assembly Health Chair Richard Gottfried; Senate Insurance Chair James Seward; Assembly Insurance Chair Kevin Cahill.

In addition, Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan have also agreed to attend the morning proceedings.  Speaker Heastie has also been invited.  A brief informal luncheon to which members of each House are invited to speak with their constituents will follow the morning program.   County Medical Societies will be scheduling appointments for physicians to meet with their elected representatives.


Physicians Invited to Attend Fireside Chat with MSSNY President Dr. Joseph Maldonado and Troy Oechsner, Deputy Superintendent of Insurance
On March 7th, the evening before MSSNY’s Lobby Day, Joseph Maldonado, Jr., MD, MSc, MBA, will conduct a “fireside chat” with Troy Oechsner, Deputy Superintendent at DFS.

This is a relaxed and fluid format in which Dr. Maldonado and Mr. Oechsner can discuss issues of concern to the medical community (network adequacy, action taken by Emblem Health to narrow its network,  the collapse of Health Republic, etc). Physicians are invited to be physically present at this event in the DGA offices located at Ste 408, One Commerce Building, in Albany or can engage in real time by submitting their questions during the LIVE webcast of the event through the this link.

The program will run for one hour from 5:30-6:30PM on March 7th.  To register to attend the event, click here.

Why Physicians Need to Take a Day Away From Your Practice to Lobby Albany on March 8, 2016

  • Think you pay too much in malpractice insurance costs?  The Trial Bar doesn’t care. They have introduced legislation that will certainly increase your premium costs.
  • If you practice in the Capital District, Southern Tier, Central NY, or Western NY, New York State wants to take away your Excess Liability Insurance Coverage.
  • New York State wants to enable NPs to deliver care to injured workers and take away County Medical Society review of authorized physicians rather than fixing what ails the Workers’ Compensation system.
  • The Proposed NYS Budget does nothing to compensate physicians for the unpaid care they have provided to Health Republic insureds.
  • New York State wants to enable Walmart and Target to hire NPs to deliver care to the public to compete directly against you.
  • Patient health could be threatened by inappropriately expanding the scope of practice of countless non-physicians, including dentists, optometrists and psychologists.
  • We need to prevent insurers from offering patients narrow networks for Exchange plans and denying patient access to out of network physicians.

These are very real issues that are currently being discussed and will be resolved either in the State Budget which will be enacted by April 1st or before the end of Session on June 16th. You need to come to Albany, and speak with your elected officials so that they can hear your concerns. Otherwise, all they will hear are the perspectives of trial lawyers and insurance companies.


Legislation to Make Changes to the ERx Law to Exempt Low Volume Prescribers and to Enable Nurses in LTC Facilities to Act as Agent for the Physician Introduced and Reported by Assembly Health Committee
Just this week, legislation (A. 9335, Gottfried/ S.6779, Hannon) was introduced at MSSNY’s request which would exempt low volume prescribers from the e-prescribing mandate entirely. MSSNY is aware that physicians who are low volume prescribers (those who write less than 25 prescriptions a year) are receiving waivers from the mandate; but those waivers are only good for one year requiring low volume physicians to reapply each year. This measure would eliminate the need for them to re-apply for a waiver each year.

The bill would also amend the eRx law by eliminating existing provisions which require prescribers who invoke one or more of the exemptions to the eRx mandate to contact the department when they exercise an exemption. Instead, the bill would require a prescriber to make a notation in the patient’s record that the exercise of the exemption was utilized.

The Assembly bill was reported unanimously from the Assembly Health Committee to the Assembly Codes Committee. The Senate counterpart is on next week’s Senate Health Committee.

A second proposal (A.9334, Gottfried/S.6778, Hannon), also supported by MSSNY, was unanimously reported by the Assembly Health Committee this week to the Assembly floor. Specifically this proposal would allow prescirptions for non-controlled substances for nursing home residents to be made orally rather than electronically.  For decades, nurses, acting as the agent to the physician, have been authorized to take oral orders from the physician for non-controlled medications through the nursing home medication administration system to deliver medications to residents safely and without delay. In this long-standing system, the physician then routinely signs the oral orders within 48 hours.

Physicians are not physically present in nursing homes 24 hours a day. Nurses serve a vital role ensuring proper medication administration in nursing homes. This bill is necessary to assure that physician’s orders are timely filled to protect the health and well-being for each resident in a safe and secure method. The Senate counterpart to the Assembly bill is also on next week’s Senate Health Committee agenda.

Senate Advances Legislation to Limit Opioid Prescribing to 3-10 Days for Patients in Acute Pain
Senate Bill 6091A, sponsored by Senator Kemp Hannon, has moved to the Senate floor for a vote.  This bill would limit the initial prescription by a physician or other prescriber of Controlled Substance, Schedule II or III, to a three to 10 day supply for patients suffering acute pain.   Its companion measure, A. 8601, sponsored by Assemblymember John McDonald, is in the Assembly Health Committee.  

The bill, if enacted, would establish a limitation on a physician’s license by prohibiting the physician from practicing to the fullest extent of his/her education and training when they seek to prescribe Schedule II or III controlled substance.  Senate Bill 6091A/A.8601 would effectively prevent a physician from exercising his/her clinical judgement on behalf of the patient.   Moreover, this action would set a dangerous precedent in New York State and represents an enormous encroachment of the New York State Legislature into the practice of medicine.  The Medical Society of the State of New York is strongly opposed to this measure.  Physicians are urged to contact their legislator and urge them not to enact this measure.   Physicians may call the NY Senate at 518-455-2800 or the Assembly at 518-455-4100.

Health Republic Guarantee Fund Legislation (S.6667/A.9311) Picks Up Several New Assembly Co-Sponsors
13 Assemblymembers  have joined Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried  and Assemblyman Charles Lavine (D-Nassau County) in introducing legislation (A.9311) to establish a Guarantee Fund to help to assure the payment of the hundreds of millions that Health Republic owes physicians and hospitals across New York State, as well as to protect consumers and health care providers from future health plan insolvencies.  To view the list of co-sponsors, click here.

Identical legislation (S.6667, Valesky, also with several co-sponsors) has been introduced in the State Senate.  Right now, New York is the only state in the country that does not have such a Guarantee Fund.  With the health insurance industry in strong opposition to this proposal, it is imperative that you urge your Senators and Assemblymembers to support this bill and include it as part of the State Budget currently under negotiation by sending a letter from here.

You must remind your legislators that, with physicians facing so many other challenges in seeking to keep their doors open to deliver patient care, including high liability costs, expensive electronic medical record equipment, employee costs, insurance companies dropping physicians from their networks and declining payments from insurers, failure to assure payment for these claims would have serious negative consequences for patient care and employment in your community.

Please Complete Survey to Let Us Know What You are Owed as a Result of Health Republic Debacle
MSSNY’s updated survey of outstanding Health Republic claims shows that, based upon results received, physicians are owed nearly $25,000,000.  However, we believe that far more physicians who have been adversely impacted have yet to respond.  As we continue our advocacy in support of legislation (A.9311, Gottfried/S.6667, Valesky) to create a Guarantee fund and/or the allocation of other monies to pay for the unpaid claims as a result of the Health Republic demise, we need those of you who have not completed the survey to provide us with updated information regarding the amounts you are due from Health Republic.  To complete the survey, click hereThis data is critical to our advocacy efforts!   We need to obtain updated and more precise numbers from as many impacted physicians as possible since many legislators have asked us for this data.

Physicians Must Continue to Let Their Legislators Know of Concerns with Adverse Workers’ Compensation Budget Proposal
All physicians must continue to contact their State Senators and Assemblymembers to express their strong opposition to sweeping Workers’ Compensation reform proposals contained in the Executive Budget.

MSSNY staff continues to meet with key legislative leaders and staff to voice its very serious concerns with Budget proposals that would:

  • Expand the list of non-physicians who can treat and be paid directly for care to injured workers without any clarity as to how these non-physicians will coordinate care delivery when specialized care is needed;
  • Expand the circumstances when a physician or other health care provider can have their authorization removed and empowers the Board to impose significant fines on a physician or any other Board-authorized health care provider for violating a Workers Compensation rule;
  • Remove the authority of county medical societies to recommend physicians to serve as treating providers or independent medical examiners under Workers Compensation.
  • Reduce choice for injured workers by expanding the circumstances when an injured worker must seek care within a PPO network; and
  • Remove the requirement for a referral by a physician for an injured worker as a pre-condition to receive psychological care;

In the 30-day Executive Budget amendments, the proposal was made even more adverse by a) requiring physicians and other currently authorized WC providers to execute an “authorization agreement” with the Board (as of now, it is unclear what would be contained within such “authorization agreement”) within 12 months of the effective date of the proposal, if it were to be enacted; and b) removing the ability of professional associations, such as MSSNY, to recommend arbitrators to resolve medical fee disputes between health care providers and carriers.

MSSNY has also reached out to labor organizations and associations representing attorneys for injured workers to coordinate its advocacy in opposition.  We are pleased to learn that the New York Insurance Association has released a memo in opposition to the provisions that would expand the role of non-physicians in Workers Compensation.  MSSNY has also been working closely with county medical society leadership from across the State to encourage their outreach to their local Senators and Assemblymembers to request that these proposals be jettisoned from the Budget.

Please Advocate for Due Process Rights When Physicians are Non-Renewed by a Health Insurer
Physicians are urged to contact their legislators to support a bill (A.1212, Lavine/S.4751, Hannon) that would assure physicians are accorded a fair peer review appeals mechanism before their participation contract with a health insurance company can be non-renewed.  To send a letter in support of this legislation here:.  The bill is currently on the Assembly calendar and in the Senate Insurance Committee.  The legislation is in response to situations such as the recent example of Emblem dropping 750 of its network physicians in October based upon specious allegation of failure to transition to value-based payments, severing patient treatment relationships for countless patients.  MSSNY has strenuously urged to the Department of Financial Services, Department of Health, and Attorney General that these physicians be given a fair opportunity to be reinstated, and have shared this information with the entire New York State Legislature. (See MSSNY letter to DFS here.

The Attorney General’s office continues to investigate specific complaints raised by individual physicians whether they were given a fair chance to appeal these non-renewals.

Tell Your Legislators to Reduce Your Liability Costs, Not Expand Them!
All physicians must continue to contact their legislators to urge that they oppose legislation (A.285-A, Weinstein/S.6596, DeFrancisco) that could drastically increase New York’s already exorbitantly high medical liability premiums by changing the medical liability Statute of limitations to a “Date of Discovery” rule.

You need to tell your legislators that no liability increases can be tolerated.  MLMIC’s estimate is that this bill could increase physician liability premiums by nearly 15%!   New York physicians continue to pay liability premiums that are among the very highest in the country.  By way of example, a neurosurgeon practicing on Long Island must pay an astounding $338,252 for just one year of insurance coverage and an OB/GYN practicing in the Bronx or Staten Island must pay $186,639.   New York far surpasses all other states in terms of total medical liability payouts, per capita payments, and medical liability awards above $1 million.

This week, MSSNY joined the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) and Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) in an ad in the Albany Times-Union with the headline “NEW YORK’S HOSPITALS AND DOCTORS HAVE THE HIGHEST MEDICAL MALPRACTICE COSTS – AND THAT MAKES NO SENSE”.

To make matters even worse, trial lawyers are aggressively pushing the Legislature to consider additional liability expansion bills such as legislation that would eliminate the statutory limitation on contingency fees in medical liability actions, legislation that MLMIC has estimated could have the effect of raising your premiums by over 10%.   Please tell your legislators to enact comprehensive liability reform to bring down these costs, not legislation that increases them!                                                                                                       (AUSTER, DEARS)

Physicians Advocate for Their Colleagues and Patients in Nation’s Capitol
Several New York leader physicians and MSSNY staff traveled to Washington DC this week to meet with key members of New York’s Congressional delegation.  The meetings were in conjunction with the AMA’s National Advocacy Conference.  The physicians participating in these Hill visits included:

  • Rome urologist and MSSNY President Dr. Joseph Maldonado;
  • Manhattan physiatrist and MSSNY President-elect Dr. Malcolm Reid;
  • Saratoga Springs ENT and MSSNY Board of Trustees member Dr. Robert Hughes;
  • Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine Dean and past MSSNY President Dr. Robert Goldberg;
  • Schenectady ophthalmologist and MSSNY Councilor Dr. John Kennedy;
  • Harrison allergist and MSSNY House of Delegates Speaker Dr. Kira Geraci-Ciardullo;
  • Rochester Psychiatrist Dr. John McIntyre; and
  • Buffalo Urologist Dr. Willie Underwood

The physicians urged members of Congress to address a number of issues that are adversely affecting the delivery of patient care in New York State, including: assuring the claims of failed co-op insurer Health Republic are paid; simplifying the enormously cumbersome Meaningful Use program; assuring fairness in Medicare Recovery Audits; supporting comprehensive multipronged efforts to reduce the nation’s opioid abuse crisis in a way that does not inadvertently limit treatment options for patients; and pushing CMS to investigate Medicare Advantage plans (such as Emblem) interfering with existing treatment relationships by dropping scores of physicians from their networks.

In addition to meetings with many New York Congressional delegation members and staff, in conjunction with physician leaders of several other state medical societies, meetings were held with US House Ways & Means Chair Kevin Brady (R-TX); Rep. Dr. Michael Burgess, a key leader of the House Doctors Caucus; and with key health policy “central” staff for both the US House and US Senate.

AMA National Advocacy Conference. L-R: Former MSSNY President  Dr. Robert Hughes, Representative .Dr. Michael Burgess (R-TX), Phil Schuh, MSSNY Executive VP

Dr. Robert Goldberg, Dr. John Kennedy, Representative Eliot Engel, Dr. Malcolm Reid, Dr. Kira Geraci, and MSSNY VP Moe Auster

MSSNY leadership with Ways and Means Chair Kevin Brady (R-TX)) & representatives of the  TX, CA, NJ, OK and NC state medical societies

Bill to Require  Physicians to Prescribe Medications in Accordance to Guidelines Moves Forward in Assembly; Would Create a New Element of Professional Misconduct
Assembly Bill 2230, sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, has moved to the Assembly floor for a vote.  This legislation requires health care professionals to order, prescribe, administer and dispense pain-relieving medications in accordance with professional standards and guidelines. The bill would provide limited protections for physicians from professional discipline and criminal liability for ordering, prescribing, and administering pain relieving medications in accordance with reasonable standards of care including an “accepted guideline”.  The definition of “accepted guideline”, under the proposed legislation, means a peer reviewed clinical practice guideline for pain management developed, as applicable, by a nationally-recognized health care professional or specialty association, or a nationally-recognized pain management association.  However, Assembly Bill  2230 establishes  a new element of professional misconduct for failure to adequately order, prescribe, administer or dispense pain-reliving medications or other treatments for the relief of pain in accordance with the reasonable standard of care of the health care practitioner’s profession, including an accepted guideline. This legislation would apply to all patients with pain.   The Medical Society of the State of New York is opposed to this measure.                                                                            (CLANCY, DEARS)

Final Opioid Prescribing Webinar on March 10th;  Registration is Now Open
The final webinar in the opioid series will be held on Thursday, March 10th at 7:30 a.m. Title of the program is “Treatment of Opioid Use Disorders”.   Physicians and other prescribers are encouraged to register for the remaining webinars  at this link.  Click on the upcoming tab and select the programs.

Physicians will need to register for each webinar; each webinar has different topics described below. Physicians and other prescribers are allowed to register up to ½ hour before the webinar.

The Medical Society of the State of New York, the New York State Office for Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Service and the NYS Department of Health’s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, are jointly providing this free, four part webinar series on opioid prescribing. 

Entitled “Revisiting the Role of Opioid Analgesics for Simple and Complex Patients with Chronic Pain”, faculty for the session will be Charles Argoff, MD and Charles Morgan, MD, FASAM, FAAFP, DABAM.   The educational objectives are:    Recommend tools to assist in the management of patients for whom opioids are indicated and prescribed; and discuss strategies to reduce risk of treating pain in patients with substance use disordershysicians and other prescribers can take one or all of the webinars. 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.

Please contact Pat Clancy at pclancy@mssny.org or Terri Holmes at tholmes@mssny.org for further information.                                       (CLANCY, DEARS)

MSSNY’s Opioid Webinars are Now Available Through its CME Online Site
The Medical Society has archived its opioid webinar series on its continuing medical education website at http://cme.mssny.org.  The webinars that are currently on the site are:  Webinar 1 Pain Management at the Crossroads:  A Tale of Two Public Health Problems and Webinar 2   Rational Opioid Prescribing:  Is this Possible for Chronic Pain?  Physicians and other prescribers can earn up to one hour of continuing medical credits by viewing this webinar and completing the test.    The reminder of the webinars will be placed on line in the very near future. 

The MSSNY CME site requires new users to register, but once registered physicians and other health care providers will have a personalized training page to take the webinars and other course work located on the site.   New registrants to the site will create a username and password, which should be retained and be used for continued access to the site. Once registered and logged into the site, physicians will be taken to an instruction page.   Click on the tool bar menu located at the top of the page and click on “My training” to view and take the various courses.    

MSSNY has over 50 programs at this site and physicians are able to earn continuing medical education credits for each course.  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 number of continuing medical education credits for these online programs vary, but the majority of the programs are for 1.0 AMA/PRA Category 1 credit.  Further information on all these programs may be obtained by contacting Pat Clancy at pclancy@mssny.org.            (CLANCY)

PTSD and TBI in Returning Veterans:  March – June Webinars
MSSNY will be holding a series of CME webinars on PTSD and TBI in returning veterans on eight dates listed below from March through June. The faculty presenters will be Frank Dowling, MD and Joshua Cohen, MD.

Course objectives:

  • Explore the two most prevalent mental disorders facing American veterans today, their causes, symptoms, and comorbidities
  • Outline treatment options including evidence-based psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy
  • Discuss barriers to treatment, including those unique to military culture, and how to overcome them
  • Outline the process of recovery and post-traumatic grow

To register for this webinar, click on a date below and fill out the registration form

Wednesday, March 9, 7:30-8:30 AM

Tuesday, Mach 22, 6-7 PM

Thursday, April 7, 6-7 PM

Tuesday, April 12, 7:30-8:30 AM

Thursday, May 5, 6-7 PM

Thursday, May 19, 7:30-8:30 AM

Thursday, June 2, 6-7 PM

Thursday, June 9, 7:30-8:30 AM

MSSNY to Conduct Medical Matters Webinar on Zika Virus on March 16, April Session on Ebola
The Medical Society, in conjunction with the New York State Department of Health will conduct a Medical Matters webinar on the  “Zika Virus: An Evolving Story” on March 16th at 7:30 a.m.   Registration for this program is now open at. Click hereClick on the upcoming tab and select the programs.

The educational objectives for this program are: 1) Describe the epidemiology of Zika Virus infection;

2) Understand the modes of transmission; 3) Understand how to advise patients; and 4) Learn methods for prevention of infection.  William Valenti, MD, chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Disease Committee, and Elizabeth Dufort, MD,  Medical Director, Division of Epidemiology from the New York State Department of Health will conduct this presentation.

The April session of Medical Matters will take place at the MSSNY House of Delegates and is entitled,

“Ebola: A Perspective from the Field”.  The program will be conducted by Dario Gonzalez, MD, FACEP, Associate Medical Director,  Fire Department City of New York/Office of Medical Affairs.  Dr. Gonzalez was deployed for nine weeks by Americares to Liberia, West Africa as part of the US response to the Ebola epidemic.  The program will be held on Thursday, April 14, 2016 at 2:00pm. Physicians may attend the session at the Westchester Marriott, 670 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591 or by webinar.  Registration is now. Click here.  Click on the upcoming tab and select the program.

The educational objective is: Offer perspective and lessons learned from an individual who treated Ebola patients firsthand.

The May session will be “Radiological Emergencies”, this session will be held on May 18, 2016 at 7:30 AM. (Please note that this session was originally scheduled for March 16, 2016) Faculty for this session will be Cham Dallas, PhD.  Dr. Dallas is a professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the College of Public Health, University of Georgia.  He is also the Director of the Institute for Disaster Management at the University of Georgia and a Board Member of the National Disaster Life Support Foundation (NDLSF).  Dr. Dallas has a national/international reputation in toxicology and emergency preparedness and response, including over 30 years of experience.

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.

Further information or assistance in registering for any of these programs may be obtained by contacting Melissa Hoffman at mhoffman@mssny.org.

For more information relating to any of the above articles, please contact the appropriate contributing staff member at the following email addresses:          

pschuh@mssny.org ldears@mssny.org            mauster@mssny.org  
pclancy@mssny.org jMcPartlon@mssny.org    

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MSSNY President Dr. Joseph Maldonado Quoted in Wall Street Journal Article on Looming E-Prescribing Deadline
In a Wall Street Journal article on Tuesday, Corinne Ramey reports that some medical institutions in New York are asking for more time to comply with a state law that will take effect on March 27th, requiring that all medications be prescribed electronically in order to cut down on drug abuse, errors, and fraud. Commenting on how the new policy will limit patients’ ability to shop for lower drug costs or take the prescription to another pharmacy, Medical Society of the State of New York President Joseph Maldonado stated, “The physician now has to deal with an angry patient, a belligerent patient or a patient that insists they want this in writing.” 

This Year’s Flu Vaccine Is 59% Effective, Preliminary Data Show
The CDC reported this week preliminary overall influenza effectiveness of 59 percent this year. Unlike last year, this year’s vaccine is a good match to the strains that make people sick. These data were presented at a meeting of the agency’s Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) in Atlanta. This finding is comparable to past estimates for seasons when most circulating flu viruses and vaccine viruses have been similar.

“This means that getting a flu vaccine this season reduced the risk of having to go to the doctor because of flu by nearly 60 percent,” said Joseph Bresee, M.D., chief of CDC’s Epidemiology and Prevention Branch. “It’s good news and underscores the importance and the benefit of both annual and ongoing vaccination efforts this season.”

CDC Study: HPV Infections Decline Among Teenage Girls
A CDC study published in the March issue of Pediatrics suggests that fewer US women are entering adulthood infected with HPV thanks to a vaccination program that began a decade ago. The study is the first to show falling levels of dangerous strains of the virus among American women in their early 20s. Girls between 14 and 19 years old saw infection rates on the four types of HPV covered by the Gardasil vaccine fall 64 percent from the rate prior to the vaccine’s introduction — from 11.5 percent in 2003-2006 to 4.3 percent between 2009 and 2012.

MSSNY Member Richard Lockwood, MD Named Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Central New York Region
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has named Richard Lockwood, M.D., vice president and chief medical officer of the company’s Central New York region. He replaces Marybeth McCall, M.D., who is now serving as vice president and chief medical officer of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Utica region.

Lockwood has been vice president and chief medical officer of utilization management for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield since July 2015. He joined the company as a part-time associate medical director in 1999 and was named medical director for the company’s Central New York region in 2011.

In his professional career, Lockwood has been in private practice with Onondaga Hill Internists, Family Care Medical Group, Van Duyn Home and Hospital, Loretto, and Hill Haven Nursing Home, all in Syracuse. He has held the position of medical director at Iroquois Nursing Home, Jamesville, since 2005.

After graduating cum laude from Syracuse University and SUNY Downstate College of Medicine, Brooklyn, Lockwood completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at the Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He is a clinical instructor at SUNY Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse, and has hospital privileges at Upstate Medical University and Upstate University Hospital Community Campus, where he served as president of the medical staff prior to the hospital’s merger with Upstate Medical University.

A member of MSSNY since 1982, Dr. Lockwood is also a member of the Onondaga County Medical Society and American College of Physicians,  and is a Fellow of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

CMS Webinar on TCPI and CJR Programs
The New York City Regional Office of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will be hosting a webinar entitled “New Program Initiatives – Goals and Operations” on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, from 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM EST.  The programs that will be discussed along with a Q & A segment include:

  • Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI) &
  • Comprehensive Joint Replacement Program (CJR)

The target audience is State Health and Trade Associations, Hospitals, Group, Specialty and Individual Physician Practices, and Ancillary providers (all provider types).

There is no charge to attend, but registration is required.  To register, click here 

Do You Have Expertise in Physician Stress and Burnout? We Need You!
At the 2015 House of Delegates of the Medical Society of the State of New York, a resolution was passed calling for action to address the prevalence of physician burnout.

We need your help!

We are looking to assemble the MSSNY team to tackle this work. This calls for physicians who have experience or expertise in designing or implementing physician health programs or stress/burnout programs for physicians. Please contact eskelly@mssny.org with a short bio and letter expressing your interest, expertise and what you intend to bring to the taskforce to advance the mission of the project.

Physician Entrepreneurship: Transform the Future of Health Care
Interested in opportunities to impact medicine beyond your clinical practice? Join the AMA for an exclusive event to discuss how physicians are getting involved in and, indeed, helping to lead health care innovation.

A dynamic panel of physicians will share their perspectives, accomplishments and insights gleaned as they’ve developed new products, formed companies, advised start-ups and invested in innovative health care ventures.

WHEN: 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 1. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be provided.

WHERE: Impact Hub NYC, 394 Broadway, New York, NY

Register today! Free for AMA members. Limited seating available. $500 for non-AMA members.

Poster Symposium Seeks Judges on April 15 in Tarrytown
If you’re coming to the House of Delegates in Tarrytown – or just live in the neighborhood – and are free on Friday afternoon, April 15, from 2 – 4 pm, please consider participating as a judge at the MSSNY Resident and Fellow Section Poster Symposium. It’s always an exciting, lively event! Please contact sbennett@mssny.org or 516-488-6100 extension 383 if you’re interested. Thank you.


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Two fully equipped exam rooms, two certified operating rooms, bathrooms and consultation room.  Shared secretarial and waiting rooms.  Elegantly decorated, central a/c, hardwood floors. Next to Park Lane and Plaza hotels. $1250 for four days a month. Available full or part-time. 212.371.0468drdese@gmail.com.

Jerome I. Sager – Attorney at Law
The health care law experts representing medical professionals for more than 25 years.  See us for Professional Medical Conduct Defense, Medicaid and Medicare Fraud Cases, DEA and Controlled Substance Issues, Third party insurance issues. We can handle most legal matters. Call us for a free consultation. 212-685-2333 / 917-312-6631, jeromesager@cs.com