eNews: WHO YOU GONNA CALL? MSSNY, Your Ghostbusters
While we all love New York, practicing medicine in New York State has significant challenges that seem to increase year after year and have been compounded this year by the Covid 19 pandemic. So it is no wonder that in my travels (or these days my Zooms) around the state that doctors are often wondering where to turn for help. For MSSNY members, the answer is your dedicated MSSNY team. So, this week let me remind you/introduce you to some of your MSSNY Ghostbusters so you know who to call.
- Insurers trying to back off on telehealth payments? Physician extenders trying to practice medicine? Covid testing turnaround too long? Who you gonna call? Your MSSNY government relations team at 518-465-8085, Moe Auster, Senior VP and Chief Legislative Counsel (firstname.lastname@example.org) and staff are hard a work every day lobbying on your behalf.
- Need CME? Who you gonna call? Through MSSNY lobbying efforts, the deadline to renew your NY State-required pain management course in now October 2020. The course can be completed on the MSSNY.org website and is FREE to members. Nonmembers pay $150.
- Need legal help? Thinking of selling your practice, joining a partnership, becoming employed? Who you gonna call? MSSNY members get FREE consults and discounted rates with Garfunkel Wild P.C., specialists in health care law. email@example.com, 516-393-2200.
- Having trouble with insurers? Didn’t get your Cares ACT money? Who you gonna call? Regina McNally, Senior VP Socio-Medical Economics, firstname.lastname@example.org, 516-488-6100. MSSNY staff provides FREE assistance to members. They have contacts and experience with all major insurance companies, Medicare, Medicaid and Workers’ Comp and can give you Free advice on submitting claims and expert help in handling payment disputes. They make the proper arguments to the right individuals.
- Feeling Stressed? Need to talk? Who you gonna call? MSSNY Peer to Peer (P2P) at 1-844-P2P-PEER or P2P@mssny.org. You are not alone. Your MSSNY PEERS are there to listen and help. Want to volunteer to train as a peer supporter? Contact Pat Clancy, Senior VP for Public Health and Education at email@example.com, 518-465-8085.
- Need Affordable PPE? Who you gonna call? MSSNY has been working tirelessly to raise state and national awareness of the problem and to find solutions. MSSNY procured and distributed 36,000 NIOSH/FDA approved masks this week at < $1/mask and continues to actively search for more options for our members.
Our staff, our committees, our council, our house of delegates, our officers and our counties are all on your side working hard to banish those things haunting your ability to practice medicine and care for your patients.
We are Team MSSNY—Your Ghostbusters.
Bonnie Litvack, MD
NY COVID-19 Statistics: 32,283 deaths; 71,279 recovered
The U.S. set another daily case record, with about 60,000 new COVID-19 infections confirmed July 7. On July 8, the total number of cases reported in the U.S. surpassed 3 million.
MSSNY Joins with Other Associations Urging Congress for Enhanced Stimulus Funding
As the US Congress debates the scope and size of its next stimulus package, MSSNY joined on two letters this week to DC leaders to ensure needed funding was provided or maintained for hard-hit community physician practices.
The first letter, along with the California, Florida and Texas medical associations, asks Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to increase funding to the HHS Provider Relief Fund by another $100 billion to sustain physician practices and protect patient access to care.
It also asks Congress to adopt the Provider Relief Fund distribution methodology included in the “HEROES Act” that had been passed by the US House of Representatives that provides funding that is commensurate with each provider’s COVID-19 related expenses and revenue losses from all payers in order to target funds to physicians who still desperately need it.
In the second letter, MSSNY joined with the National Governors Association, AMA, HANYS, the Greater NY Hospital Association and several state medical societies in support of an enhanced federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) for the Medicaid program in the next bipartisan COVID relief bill. This increased Medicaid funding for the states is essential to help prevent against potentially steep Medicaid payment cuts that may be required due to the severe drop in revenue.
Physicians’ Offices Big Beneficiaries of Small-Business COVID-19 Relief Loans
Physicians’ offices hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic received a significant share of forgivable small-business COVID-19 relief loans, according to new government data. After intense public pressure, the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration released loan-level data about Paycheck Protection Program loans above $150,000. The healthcare sector received more than 12% of the total loans disclosed, and the biggest recipients in the healthcare sector were physicians’ offices.
Physicians’ offices received at least $8.4 billion in PPP loans, according to the dataset. The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged primary care practices’ revenues, and many healthcare industry analysts expect that consolidation could ensue in the coming months as practices in financial peril evaluate their options. Skilled-nursing facilities received at least $3.4 billion, home health services providers received at least $3 billion, dentists received at least $2.2 billion, and hospitals received at least $2 billion.
Physicians’ offices and dentists were initially the hardest-hit portions of the healthcare sector in March and April. Dentists’ offices shed 503,000 jobs in April, and physicians’ offices lost 243,000. However, things are looking up, as dentists saw the strongest recovery in the healthcare sector in May, adding back 244,800 jobs, and physicians’ offices added 51,300.
Nursing homes, however, are still losing jobs as of June employment data, and a Moody’s Investors Service report from May said that the pandemic was hurting the nursing home and senior living sectors more than any other sector of U.S. public finance.
Many hospitals didn’t qualify for PPP loans because they are only open to businesses that employ 500 people or fewer. The SBA chose to apply affiliation rules that counted many hospitals’ affiliated physician practices toward the employee threshold. The affiliation rules and related guidance also led to many medical practices owned by private equity firms being shut out of the aid program, despite lobbying efforts to include them.
The SBA allowed most community-owned hospitals to apply for PPP loans in April, as long as the facilities receive less than half their funding from state or local government sources, exclusive of Medicaid. However, hospitals in bankruptcy proceedings aren’t eligible for the loans, an appeals court ruled.
Congress tweaked the PPP program in June. The changes gave borrowers 24 weeks instead of eight weeks to spend the PPP funds, allowed them to delay paying payroll taxes, and would only require them to spend 60% of the loan expenses on payroll costs instead of 75% as originally stipulated. The data release accounts for nearly 75% of the loan dollars, the agencies said. The PPP loans are forgivable as long as borrowers use the loans for specified expenses. (Modern Healthcare, July 8).
How Airborne COVID-19 Transmission Has Evolved: A Timeline of Key Studies
Since March, researchers worldwide have published several studies exploring how the new coronavirus interacts with the air. These findings have evolved as the world continues to learn more about the new virus.
Here are six studies and reports covered by Becker’s Hospital Review about airborne transmission of the new coronavirus:
March 4: An early study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested that the new coronavirus may not linger in the air, but does contaminate hospital environments and surfaces.
March 17: Later that month, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that the new virus can remain infectious in the air for up to three hours and last on some surfaces for more than a day.
April 27: Another study from China published in the journal Nature found that the new virus can potentially be spread via fine airborne particles and may linger in patient bathrooms, medical staff areas and areas prone to crowding, though it did not establish how infectious the virus detected in these hospital areas were.
July 6: More than 200 scientists wrote an open letter to the World Health Organization stating that airborne spread indoors could be a significant mode of COVID-19 transmission and that evidence shows the virus lingers in the air in indoor spaces.
July 7: Following the letter’s publication, WHO officials acknowledged “emerging evidence” about the airborne spread of COVID-19.
July 9: WHO officials officially acknowledged that droplets carrying the new coronavirus may be airborne indoors and that people who spend long periods in crowded settings with poor ventilation may be at risk of becoming infected. (Becker’s Hospital Review, July 9)
NIH Launches COVID-19 Clinical Trial Network
The National Institutes of Health today said it established a clinical trial network for large-scale clinical testing of COVID-19 investigational vaccines and monoclonal antibodies. The COVID-19 Prevention Trials Network will operate under the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to enroll thousands of volunteers, according to NIH, as a functional unit of federal “Operation Warp Speed” initiative.
The network will use a harmonized vaccine protocol developed by a public-private partnership to enable analyses of results across multiple clinical trials.
With COVID Surging and Workforce Stretched, AMA Implores Administration to Change Proposed Regulation on International Students
The AMA urged Trump administration officials today to reconsider its ill-advised regulation on international students that could jeopardize the status of current medical students. In the letter, the AMA said the United States already is facing a physician shortage, and the pandemic has generated an even greater need for physicians all across the country.
Ideally, this would be a time that the country provides medical students with as many options as possible to successfully obtain their education. Instead, the regulation would change the status of these student merely because their classes are moving online.
“At a time when physicians are needed in the U.S. more than ever, it is unwise to deter medical professionals from coming to the U.S. now and potentially in the future. Moreover, this modification will likely cause medical students to attend school in other countries leading … to a brain drain as other countries obtain and likely retain the brightest young medical minds from across the world,” the letter said.
The letter noted that hundreds of international medical students who would be affected by the administration’s proposal should be allowed to remain in the country even if their medical instruction moves online because of the pandemic. “To ask these students to transfer to a new school or program weeks before the beginning of the term is not a viable solution and is completely unfair to students that have worked for years of their lives to be able to go to medical school.”
FDA Warns of False Positives From BD-Brand COVID-19 Test
The Food and Drug Administration on Monday warned of an increased risk of false positive results from the BD SARS-CoV-2 Reagents for the BD Max System test. FDA said the manufacturer reported approximately 3% of results were false positives. The agency recommends clinical laboratory staff and health care providers consider presumptive any positive result from tests using the BD SARS-CoV-2 Reagents for the BD Max System and confirm results using an alternate, authorized test.
Dr. Donald Moore’s Interview “Keeping Ourselves Healthy-A Race to Action”
Dr. Donald Moore (Kings), an emergency medicine specialist and primary physician in Brooklyn, and affiliated with New York Methodist Hospital, is a MSSNY Member and President of Provident Clinical Society. Dr. Moore was interviewed on the topic, “Keeping Ourselves Healthy—A Race to Action.”
The video is available here.
MSSNY in the News:
Struggling Medical Offices See Some Light At End Of Tunnel As NYC Reopens (MSSNY President Dr. Bonnie Litvack quoted)
Democrat and Chronicle – 06/30/20
How marijuana laws complicate scientists’ search for crucial answers about cannabis, hemp
- (MSSNY Immediate Past President Dr. Arthur Fougner quoted)
Bronx Times – 07/01/20
Richard ‘Doc’ Izquierdo, founder of Urban Health Plan, dies at 90
(Bronx Medical Society founder Dr. Richard Izquierdo mentioned)
- New York Amsterdam News – 07/02/20
Herbert Louis Thornhill makes his transition
(MSSNY member Dr. Herbert Louis Thornhill mentioned
Albany Times Union – 07/03/30
Big hospitals got millions in federal aid. One area practice got $87
(MSSNY President Dr. Bonnie Litvack quoted)
Stat News – 07/07/20
Health care reform: The ‘new normal’ needs to go beyond clinical care
(Op-Ed featuring MSSNY EVP & CFO Philip Schuh)
NY Times – 07/08/20
Grave Shortages of Protective Gear Flare Again as Covid Cases Surge
(MSSNY member Inderpal S. Chhabra quoted)
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org