January 5, 2018


Charles Rothberg, MD - MSSNY President

Charles Rothberg, MD
January 5, 2018
Volume 18
Number 1

MLMIC Insurance for Physicians


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Physicians Should Contact Governor Cuomo to Veto Legislation That Significantly Expands the Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
Legislation (S.6800/A.8516) to significantly expand the medical malpractice statute of limitations was the ONLY bill that passed the State Senate and Assembly in 2017 that has NOT yet been acted upon by the Governor!  Based upon a quirk in our State Constitution, Gov. Cuomo has until the end of January to consider the legislation.

All physicians are urged to contact the Gov. to urge him to veto this legislation. You can send a letter to the Governor here and/or call 518-474-8390
Urge him to work to develop comprehensive legislation that addresses the many deficiencies of New York’s malpractice adjudication system.   NY overwhelmingly has the highest medical liability costs in the country and was recently designated by WalletHub as the worst state in the country to be a physician.  The bill would significantly expand the time to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit, in circumstances based upon an “alleged negligent failure to diagnose a malignant tumor or cancer.” 

Moreover, given that there will be ongoing discussions with the Legislature regarding the ultimate disposition of S.6800, physicians are urged to contact their local senators and assembly members to: 

  • share their concerns about the impact of this legislation to access to patient          care in their communities, and
  • urge them to work towards the enactment of comprehensive medical liability        reform.

A letter can be sent from here.

Governor Seeks to Reverse the Opioid Epidemic
During the State of the State, Governor Andrew Cuomo emphasized all that his administration has done to confront the national opioid crisis, but did indicate that more can be done.  Governor Cuomo is seeking to address various aspects of the epidemic and his five point proposal included limiting the prescribing of opioids to the same limitations to patients with a diagnosis of chronic pain that have not previously used opioids.  He has indicated that he will advance legislation to restrict subsequent refills to no more than one additional seven day prescription of opioids for acute pain without having an in-person visit with the prescriber.

Additionally, the proposal includes a requirement to have emergency department prescribers to consult the Prescription Monitory Program (PMP) prior to prescribing opioids.  The governor also proposes the establishment of a Statewide Pain Management Steering Committee through the Department of Health and the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) to make recommendations on pain management issues, taking into account the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.  Other proposals include:

  • Elimination of the insurance barriers to addiction treatment and recovery services by limiting requirements for prior authorization and co-payments for outpatient addiction treatment.
  • Directing state agencies to implement regulatory and policy reforms that increase access to substance use disorder services including the development of new regulations to include subacute pain as a qualifying condition for the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
  • Moving 11 fentanyl analogs to Schedule I of the controlled substance schedules under New York Public Health Law and moving 35 different synthetic cannabinoids to New York’s schedule of controlled substances list. The governor also proposed giving the state health commissioner the authority to add to the state controlled substances schedules any new drugs that have been added to the federal schedule.
  • The governor also proposed to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for their hold in perpetuating the opioid epidemic and he and the New York Attorney General will take enforcement actions action pharmaceutical opioid distributors for breaching their legal duties to monitor, detect and report suspicious orders of prescription opioids.   (DIVISION OF GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS)

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Governor Cuomo Outlines Plan to Reduce Health-Care Costs
During his State of the State address, Governor Andrew Cuomo indicated that he will advance legislation that will include price transparency proposals to address the rising costs of health care.  One of these proposals would require health plans to provide members with information, such as cost-estimator tools and quality ratings about healthcare providers in their network.   Additionally, current law requires hospitals to provide financial assistance for patients with incomes of 300 percent of the federal poverty level or less.  Governor Cuomo indicated he wants to expand awareness and guidance for financial assistance programs.  Other health care initiatives include expanding existing patient legal protections, simplifying medical billing and expanding telehealth services.   (BELMONT)

Governor Proposes To Implement a Lyme and Tick-borne Disease Control Plan
In his State of the State address, Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed an initiative to reduce the incidence of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses in New York State.  Under this initiative, the governor will direct the Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to launch a tick reduction strategy targeting priority counties and public lands that have the highest risk of tick exposure by employing application of eco-friendly tick control treatments.  The governor has also proposed the establishment of a new working group on Lyme and other tick-borne disease to review current strategies and improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne diseases in New York State.   The proposals also includes having the Department of Health continue its public outreach campaigns, and to convene a tick borne disease summit in the spring.

MSSNY looks forward to assisting the governor in this initiative as there are approximately 8,000 cases of Lyme disease, and over 1200 cases of other tick-borne illnesses reported to the New York State Department of Health each year.

US Attorney General Rescinds Obama Guidelines Allowing the Use of Marijuana
The United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded the Obama Administration guidelines that allowed states that had authorized the use of marijuana under state law without fear federal prosecution.  New York State has authorized the use of marijuana for certain medical conditions. This action may allow federal prosecutors on Thursday to more aggressively enforce marijuana laws. It remains unclear how this action will impact states where marijuana is legal for medical purposes.

The Medical Society of the State of New York has always expressed concerns about federal prosecution against physician who certified a patient for the use of marijuana.    Under the New York State statute establishing the marijuana program, the governor or the commissioner of health has the ability to suspend the program at any point.   MSSNY will continue to monitor this situation closely and will provide updates.  According to the Department of Health, New York State’s marijuana program for medical use has 1,384 providers that are approved to certify patients for marijuana and has 40,286 patients that use marijuana for medical conditions.  (CLANCY)

MSSNY Partners with AMA to Educate New York’s Physicians and Patients on Diabetes Prevention; Physicians Encouraged to Take Survey
The Medical Society of the State of New York has partnered with the American Medical Association to bring its Prevent Diabetes STAT initiative to New York.  MSSNY has developed a short survey to sample physician’s knowledge of the National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and the Prevent Diabetes STAT program. The survey also serves as a platform to physicians to express what specific boundaries they have experienced or anticipate experiencing regarding the implementation of the DPP and/or Prevent Diabetes STAT. Participation in this survey is essential to the development of various educational components that will benefit both the physician and patient communities. Click here to take the survey.

By educating physicians and connecting more patients to evidence-based lifestyle change programs, this diabetes initiative will help bridge the gap between clinical care settings and communities to reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes. “Improving the quality of prediabetes and diabetes care in medical practices is crucial to the health of New York State’s patient population,” said MSSNY’s President Dr. Charles Rothberg. “Over 700,000 New Yorkers have this disease, yet almost a third are unware.  Educating both physicians and patients about lifestyle changes and diabetes management is a priority, and MSSNY is proud to be partnered with the AMA in an effort to make these necessary changes.”                                                                                                            (HARRING, CLANCY)

Medical Society of the State of New York Announces its January CME Webinar Schedule
The Medical Society of the State of New York is pleased to announce its January free Continuing Medical Education (CME) webinars.  Participation in the webinars will earn physicians one CME credit free of charge.   The January schedule is as follows: 

January 17th at 7:30am – Medical Matters:  Mental Health and Disasters Overview

Register for this webinar here . 

Faculty: Craig Katz, MD

Educational Objectives:

  • Explore the psychological impact of mass trauma.
  • Provide physicians with a strong background on both the psychological symptoms and syndromes specific to mass trauma.
  • Prepare physicians to conduct acute assessments and interventions.

January 22nd at 7:30amCurrent Concepts in Concussion for Pediatric and Adult Patients

Register for this webinar here.

Faculty: Deborah Light, MD

Educational Objectives:

  • Identify signs and symptoms indicative of concussion as well as red flags that indicate alternate or more severe pathology;
  • Outline an appropriate management plan for a patient presenting with concussion including a return to “normal life” protocol;
  • Describe methods for the primary and secondary prevention of concussion;
  • Identify patients who would benefit from referral to a concussion specialist

January 30th at 7:30amVeterans Matters:  PTSD & TBI in Veterans

Register for this webinar here.

Faculty: Emerald Lin, MD

Educational Objectives:

  • Identify signs and symptoms of PTSD & TBI
  • Examine evidence-based treatment modalities for PTSD & TBI
  • Explore military culture and methods to overcome unique barriers to treatment intrinsic to military culture

To view all of MSSNY’s scheduled programs, click here and select “Upcoming”.

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 each of these live activities 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.

Additional information or assistance with registration may be obtained by contacting Melissa Hoffman at mhoffman@mssny.org.                                                                           (HOFFMAN, CLANCY)