MSSNY eNews: March 12, 2021 – A Year of Agony: A Week of Progress


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Colleagues:

March 11th marked the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization’s declaration of the COVID-19 global pandemic. While we are not entirely out of the woods, we have made considerable progress.  This week we add to those gains with a stimulus package, expansion of vaccine coverage, a new webinar and a new member benefit. 

Stimulus Package Passes Congress–Still awaiting Medicare Sequester Reprieve 

This week Congress passed a $1.9 trillion stimulus package with many important health care related provisions including increasing the Affordable Care Act premium subsidies for two years, providing 100% coverage of a consumer’s COBRA costs through September, extending Medicaid coverage for one year for women after childbirth where eligibility was based upon the pregnancy, $12.5 billion in aid to the New York State government and $ 4 billion to support/enhance vaccine delivery and Covid testing in New York State.

However, absent from this package was a provision to postpone the Medicare sequester payment cuts that are scheduled to go into effect on April 1, 2021. To make matters worse, the Congressional Budget Office, estimates that the final passage of the American Rescue Plan Act will set in motion further statutorily required cuts in Medicare spending of 4% next year. Having Déjà vu? Remember the SGR?

Congress did recently introduce bipartisan legislation, H.R. 315 the “Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act” which would continue the current Medicare sequester moratorium for the duration of the current public health emergency.  Please click here to contact your congressional representatives and urge them to sign on to the “Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act”.

Vaccine updates

Vaccine rollout expansion continues, this week adding those older than age 60 to the list of eligible New Yorkers.  Click here for the most recent guidance Your MSSNY has been working closely with the Governor’s office to get vaccine to supply to community physician offices and several physician practices around the state may receive an allocation of vaccine supply next week. Physician practices should also be in touch with their local health departments who are authorized to allocate a portion of their supply to physician practices.  

Physician Wellness

The Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) has invited MSSNY to present at their Recovery and Preparedness Webinar Series.  Dr. Charles Rothberg, Chair of the MSSNY Physician Wellness and Resilience Committee, Dr. Frank Dowling, MSSNY Secretary and myself will be speaking on “Physician Wellness and Peer to Peer Program”.  Please click here to join us on 3/17/2021 at 3pm.

New Member Benefit: Virtual Volunteer Homework Assistance Program   

Our Women Physicians Committee met recently and recognized the considerable additional responsibility that has fallen on our physician families with school age children due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  To help ease the burden MSSNY is launching a Virtual Volunteer Homework Assistance Program.   If you have children in high school or college who would be interested in helping other members’ children with K-12 homework, this is a great community service opportunity. If you have school age children (K – 12) who could use a helping hand with homework, let us know. Contact sbennett@mssny.org. and tell us if your child will be a tutor or a tutee and include their email address.

On this anniversary let us all take time to reflect on a year like no other. Let us keep the memory of those we lost close at hand, cherish our hero colleagues, and count our many blessings as we look toward herd Immunity and the end of the pandemic.

Bonnie Litvack, MD
MSSNY President


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In Case You Missed MSSNY’s Physician Advocacy Day on March 2nd
For those physicians who missed our Physicians’ Advocacy Day program – you can now view the entire program by visiting MSSNY’s CME website here.

Please note that you will need to create an account there if you haven’t already. (ALI)


NYS Expands Eligibility Criteria for COVID-19 Vaccine
This week New York State has expanded eligibility criteria for vaccinations to include those who are 60 years and older and on March 17thpublic-facing government and public employees, not-for-profit workers who provide public-facing services to New Yorkers in need, and essential in-person public-facing building service workers and providers of essential building services.  A copy of the guidance is here.

Beginning March 17th, enrolled vaccine providers other than pharmacies, may vaccinate any eligible individual. MSSNY has been working closely with the state to get vaccines to supply to community physician offices and several physician practices around the state may receive an allocation of vaccine supply next week. Physician practices should also be in touch with their local health departments who are authorized to reallocate a portion of their supply to physician practices.   Physicians who are enrolled providers in the NYSIIS or CIR system are also reminded that they should be filling out their pre-booking of vaccines every Monday, by 5 p.m.

Physicians and patients can determine eligibility by going here.

New York State has also released interim travel guidance for healthcare workers.

President Biden has also announced that he will be directing all states, tribes, and territories to make all adults, people 18 and over, eligible to be vaccinated no later than May 1 and has also indicated the federal government is working to increase the supply of vaccine.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also released interim guidance for fully vaccinated individuals.                  (CLANCY)


MSSNY Peer to Peer Program to be Presented as Part of HANYS Recovery and Preparedness Webinar Series
Stress and burnout among physicians have been well documented for years. The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the public health problem of physician burnout in New York state. Throughout the pandemic, physicians and other health professionals have faced concerns about safety, overworking and feelings of loss.

Without an intervention, it is possible that a high number of physicians over the next few years may develop chronic stress reactions, anger, clinical depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidality.

Join us Wednesday, March 17, at 3 p.m. for a webinar with the Medical Society of the State of New York to better understand physician burnout and gain tools and resources to encourage physician resiliency and wellness. The objectives of this presentation are to provide an understanding of why physician wellness is important for the organization, recognize and promote the concept that it’s okay to not be okay, and provide the tools and resources to encourage resiliency and wellness within the physician and physician community.  Learn more and register online.   (LAUDER)


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Assembly and Senate Budget Proposals Set the State for 3-Way Budget Negotiations – Contact Your Legislators Today
Next week, both the New York State Assembly and Senate will advance their respective “one-House” Budget proposals for Fiscal Year 2021-22, setting the stage for 3-way negotiations with the Governor’s office towards finalizing a state Budget by the State’s April 1 deadline.  Among the key issues where physicians need to continue to advocate:

Protecting against huge new costs for Excess Insurance CoveragePlease continue to urge your legislators to reject an extraordinarily ill-timed Budget proposal that would foist thousands to tens of thousands of dollars of new costs on the nearly 17,000 physicians enrolled in the Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance.   You can send a letter and/or tweet them from here: Click Here 

This proposal would require enrolled physicians to bear an extraordinary 50% of the cost of these policies, which could translate to thousands to tens of thousands of dollars of new costs on physicians receiving this coverage at a time when patient visits and practice revenue are way down compared to previous years.  A recent AMA survey reported that during the pandemic the average number of in-person visits to physician offices dropped nearly in half.   The bottom line is that the new costs this proposal would impose are simply not assumable by physicians, meaning that many physicians will face no choice but to forgo receiving this additional coverage.

NEW COSTS TO BE IMPOSED ON PHYSICIANS FOR EXCESS COVERAGE BASED UPON GOVERNOR’S 50% COST BUDGET PROPOSAL

SPECIALTY Long Island Bronx, Staten Island Brooklyn, Queens Westchester, Orange, Rockland, and Manhattan
Emergency Medicine $5,653 $6,561 $6,118 $4,500
Cardiac Surgery $4,482 $5,202 $4,862 $3,567
OB-GYN $20,881 $24,235 $22,648 $16,617
Neurosurgery $35,222 $40,879 $38,202 $28,030

Protecting Physician Due ProcessPlease contact your legislators to urge them to reject an Executive Budget proposal that that would greatly curtail due process protections for physicians when a complaint has been filed with the Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC), including making information public about a complaint even if no professional misconduct is found and greatly lessening the burden for imposing an interim suspension prior to the conclusion of the statutory hearing process.   You can send a letter and/or tweet to your local legislators from here: Click Here

New York’s physicians share the goal of assuring the State has ample power to protect the public when the conduct of a particular health care provider places patients at risk.  However, the Commissioner already has authority to take summary action prior to the conclusion of a disciplinary hearing in the absence of a finding of misconduct.  MSSNY together with several specialty societies have raised concerns his proposal is greatly over-reaching given that most complaints never result in findings of misconducts or even formal charges being filed. Of greatest concern is that information released to the public, even if there is no action ultimately taken, can remain available through “Google searches” forever, with the potential to eviscerate a physician’s professional reputation.

  • Preventing Uncoordinated Siloed Care to be Provided by Pharmacists Please contact your legislators to urge that they reject proposals that would greatly expand the scope of services provided to patients by pharmacists without coordination with patient care physicians.  You can send a letter from here: Click Here.  Please let them know these proposals would greatly enhance the power of big box giants to control various aspects of patient care delivery not in coordination with but to the exclusion of community-based primary care and specialty care physicians that typically manage the care of their patients.

Specifically, these Budget proposals would 1) permit pharmacists to order various lab tests without any physician oversight and without any requirement to coordinate with the patient’s physician for follow-up care; 2) greatly expand the physician-pharmacist Collaborative Drug Therapy Program to enable pharmacists to adjust the medications provided to entire classes of patients rather than individual patients and 3) permit pharmacists the power to administer any vaccination approved by the federal Advisory Commission on Immunization Practices (ACIP), including those which may be added in the future.

All of these programs together could incentivize the development of health care silos at the expense of the patient centered medical home model we have worked so hard to develop in New York.   It would also marginalize community based primary care and specialty care physicians’ ability to continue to be able to manage their patients’ ongoing care needs.    Please urge your legislators to reject these measures as they finalize the State Budget for 2021-22.        (AUSTER)


Legislation to Require Consolidated Hospital/Physician Billing Moving in the Assembly – Please Urge Amendments!
Physicians are urged to continue to contact their legislators to urge them to amend the Patient Medical Debt Reduction Act, A.3470-A/S.2521-A, to ensure non-employed hospital-based physicians continue to have the ability to bill distinct from hospitals. You can send a letter from here: Send Letter Now. 

This week the Assembly Codes Committee reported the bill to Ways & Means Committee by a 16-6 vote, with Assemblymembers Giglio, Lavine, Mikulin, Morinello and Tannousis voting against the bill.

The legislation has laudable goals to protect patients during this difficult time.  However, there is one seriously problematic provision contained within this comprehensive legislation that would prohibit a physician or other provider with any financial or contractual relationship with a hospital from separately billing a patient, instead, requiring a single combined hospital and physician bill.  Because of the reimbursement structures of Medicare and commercial insurance, physicians are required to bill patients directly for cost-sharing amounts that insurance will not cover. This provision will seriously adversely impact community-based independently practicing physicians who would thereafter be forced to rely on hospitals to collect and transmit all monies owed to them for services rendered. The new dependent relationship that would be created were this bill to be passed as is, would essentially end independent practice for many, requiring all patient billing to be filtered through the hospital’s billing system.

Please let your legislators know you appreciate the intent of the legislation to minimize the financial burden on our patients but that this “single bill” component will most heavily adversely impact community physicians, and ultimately result in the loss of patient choice and exacerbate health care monopolies in our health care system. Click here to contact your legislators today!   (AUSTER) 


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MSSNY Supported Legislation Would Provide Payment Parity to Physicians for Telehealth Services
Legislation (S.5505, Rivera) is before the Senate Health Committee next week that will ensure insurer payments to physicians for delivering telehealth services are on par with those received for in-office appointments. MSSNY supports this legislation.  The same-as bill (A.6256, Woerner) has been referred to the Assembly Insurance Committee.

The social distancing requirements of the COVID19 crisis caused patients and physicians to embrace new ways to ensure patients received needed care. While some New York physicians had already integrated Telemedicine into their practices, prior to the onset of the pandemic, the COVID19 crisis pushed thousands of physicians to quickly increase their capacity to provide care to their patients remotely. From the start, though, payments to physicians from insurers for care delivered by telehealth were woefully inadequate to what they were receiving for in-office visits, creating a barrier to care for many patients.

A May 2020 MSSNY survey bolstered the urgency for payment parity, showing that 83% of the physician respondents had incorporated telemedicine into their practice, with nearly half the respondents noting that they were treating at least 25% of their patients virtually. Moreover, a spring 2020 Fair Health study showed that for the northeastern part of the country, use of Telehealth went from 0.08% of claim submissions in May 2019, to 12.5% in the span of a month.  Showing that this was not just a temporary bump, telehealth claims also increased 2,938 percent nationally from November 2019 to November 2020, rising from 0.20 percent of medical claim lines in November 2019 to 6.01 percent in November 2020, according to new data announced recently from FAIR Health.

MSSNY has argued for some time that rates at which physicians are paid by insurers have not kept pace with those paid for in-office visits and the withering financial situation for physician practices during COVID exacerbated the disparity. To better understand the impact of inadequate payment on physician practices, surveys conducted by key MSSNY partners, of their memberships, revealed the following:

  • Participants of a survey by one of our partner organizations, the New York Medical Group Management Association (NY MGMA), revealed that only 23% of all health plans pay equal to what they received for in-office visits.
  • 25% said that most plans pay significantly less for in-office visits.
  • More specifically, surveys conducted by MSSNY partner organizations found that while Telehealth visits conducted by video were reimbursed at higher rates than audio-only, physicians were compensated as little as 30% the rate of in-person appointments, depending on the health plan.
  • Audio-only visits were the least compensated, with most payers reimbursing 80% less than for in-office visits.

It is possible that provisions of this legislation could come up as part of the ongoing budget negotiations.               (CARY)


Legalization of Marijuana Negotiations Underway at State Capitol
Negotiations between the Legislature and the Governor’s Office have begun on the marijuana legalization issue, and the Medical Society of the State of New York and other public health groups are weighing in against it.  The NYS Parent Teacher Association released a letter to the NYS Legislature.

The letter has been signed by MSSNY, NYSPTA, Rural Schools Association of New York State NYS Association of Chiefs of Police New York State Sheriffs’ Association New York State Association of County Health Officials (NYSACHO) and Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM).  MSSNY also participated last week in a SAM press conference opposing this measure.   Physicians are urged to send a letter to the governor and the NYS Legislature urging that this issue be removed from Budget consideration, and can do this by logging onto the MSSNY Grassroots Action Center here.         (CLANCY/AUSTER)  


Congress Completes Passage of $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Package
President Biden has signed into law the $1.9 Trillion stimulus package that was passed by the US House of Representatives this past Wednesday and passed by the US Senate last weekend.  Among the many important health care related provisions of this package include:

  • increasing the Affordable Care Act premium subsidies for two years for those making up to 400% of the federal poverty level. The bill also adjusts subsidies for people who make more than 400% of the poverty level to ensure that out of pocket premium costs do not exceed 8.5% of their income for coverage.
  • Providing 100% coverage of a consumer’s COBRA coverage costs through September
  • Extending from 60 days to 1 year Medicaid coverage for a woman after the birth of a child where eligibility was based upon the pregnancy.
  • $12.5 billion in direct aid to the New York State government to help potentially offset steep Budget cuts and program revisions that had been proposed in the January Executive Budget
  • $4 billion to support/enhance vaccine delivery and Covid testing in New York State

Please remain alert for further comprehensive updates regarding this far-reaching legislation.                                  (AUSTER)


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Please Urge Our Senators and Representatives to Stop Impending Medicare Cuts
One issue left unaddressed in the stimulus package just approved by Congress is preventing an upcoming 2% cut in Medicare payments scheduled to go into effect April 1.   Recognizing the enormous challenges associated with the pandemic, Congress last year on multiple occasions halted the otherwise applicable 2% Medicare sequester cut, including as part of comprehensive legislation in December that further postponed the cut until March 31, 2021.

Please urge Senator Schumer and Gillibrand and your Respective Representative to take action to prevent this upcoming cut by sending a letter from the AMA’s Grassroots Action platform: Stop physician Medicare payment cuts NOW!

Legislation (H.R. 315 the “Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act”) was recently introduced in Congress that would continue the current Medicare sequester moratorium for the duration of this public health emergency.  Among the co-sponsors of this legislation is Rep.. Tom Suozzi (D-Long Island).

If Congress doesn’t act by March 31, the Medicare payment sequester will take effect, triggering a devastating financial impact on physician practices across the country, many of which are already strained to the breaking point.

New York’s and America’s physicians need relief!  Please take action today: Stop physician Medicare payment cuts NOW!         (AUSTER)


Bill to Repeal COVID Immunity Protections Advancing – Contact Your Legislators to Oppose
Next week the New York State Senate Health Committee will be considering concerning legislation (S.5177) that would repeal the Covid liability immunity provisions provided to physicians and other care providers enacted as part of last year’s State Budget.  The same-as legislation (A.3397) recently passed the Assembly.  In a state notorious for its already hostile liability climate, these protections enacted by the Governor and the Legislature last year were absolutely essential for hospitals, physicians and other care providers to build the capacity necessary to treat an unending stream of Covid patients during the height of the pandemic.

Physicians are urged to continue to contact their legislators to oppose efforts to remove these important liability protections.  MSSNY and many other groups have written to legislators to highlight the importance of these protections.  They have also raised concerns with the possibility that S.5177/A.3397 could be interpreted by a court to retroactively repeal these essential liability protections for care provided during the height of the pandemic when there were not clear medical protocols for Covid treatment and when many non-Covid health care services were required to be postponed.

However, it should be noted there were several comments made by Assemblymembers during the floor debate on the legislation when it was passed by the NYS Assembly that the “effective date” language means that the repeal provisions would only apply prospectively, in other words, for acts or omissions after the date the bill was signed into law, if it were to be subsequently passed by the Senate and signed by the Governor.  (AUSTER)


NYS DOH to Hold Virtual Training on Organizational Resilience and Making Meaning: During COVID-19 and Beyond
The New York State Department of Health, in collaboration with the New York State Office of Mental Health and the SUNY New Paltz Institute for Disaster Mental Health, will hold a virtual training on March 18, 2021 from 1-2:30 p.m. on Organizational Resilience and Making Meaning During COVID 19 and Beyond.  Speakers: Rachel Kaul and Kayla Siviy from the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.

This virtual yet interactive workshop will examine current impacts of stressors within organizations and provide participants with concrete leadership and organizational activities and evidence-informed strategies that promote well-being and enhance workforce performance. Stressors explored through an organization approach will include burnout, compassion fatigue and complex grief. Participants will be provided tools and re-sources to reflect on their experiences, meet the current challenges, and make meaning as we move forward.

Registration

To enroll in the training, please go to www.NYLearnsPH.com and either register or login to the LMS. Search Course Catalog for:

Course Description or go to: Training-Announcement.pdf (CLANCY)


MSSNY Medical Matters Program on the History of Coronavirus
Registration now open
Medical Matters: Three Coronaviruses in Three Decades
Date: March 24, 2021 @ 7:30am

Did you know that since 2003 there have been three coronavirus outbreaks?  Learn more about the epidemiology and evolution of coronaviruses by registering for Medical Matters: Three Coronaviruses in Three Decades. This webinar will take place on Wednesday March 24th at 7:30am.

Stephen Morse, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology at the Columbia University Medical Center and Director of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Certificate Program at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health will serve as faculty for this program.  Click here to register for this webinar.

Educational objectives

  • Identify three different coronaviruses and the epidemiology specific to each one
  • Discuss SARS-CoV-2 in relation to other coronaviruses
  • Evaluate the circumstances that contributed to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

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.     (HOFFMAN)


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Stressed Physicians, Residents and Students: Peer Support is Here for You!
If you or someone you know is struggling with everyday life stressors, reach out to the P2P program to be connected with a peer supporter to help!

  • Email: P2P@mssny.org and request that you be connected with a peer supporter
  • Phone: 1-844-P2P-PEER (1-844-727-7337) and request that you be connected with a peer supporter

The Medical Society of the State of New York now offers to physicians, residents, and medical students a completely confidential and anonymous opportunity to talk with a peer about some of life stressors. MSSNY’s Physician Wellness and Resiliency Committee launched a Peer 2 Peer (P2P) program to assist their colleagues who are need of help in dealing with work and family stressors. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the emotional issues related to this event, may also be troubling for our colleagues.

MSSNY has established a confidential helpline phone number (1-844-P2P-PEER) and an email address (p2p@mssny.org) so that physicians may be connected with a peer 24 hours a day/7 days a week. In addition to offering a trained, empathetic ear, peer supporters may provide information on specific resources that can offer further support, provide positive coping skills, or connect physicians to professionals for more focused assistance when needed. MSSNY has nearly 50 trained peer supporters across NYS who are just a phone call away!


MSSNY MEMBER BENEFIT
CareClix Remote Patient Monitoring Provides Better Access &Higher Quality Care to Patients

CareClix incorporates Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) into its system to realize key benefits for providers, including, but not limited to:

  • Preventing Readmissions
  • Shortened Patient Stays
  • Increasing Treatment Adherence
  • Improving Post-discharge Planning

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) is an essential tool that supports post-discharge planning and helps patients adhere to treatment after they leave a hospital. Through the use of wearable medical devices that transmit data in real-time, patients are able to maintain constant contact with their providers.

The types of devices today vary in scope of technology. There are a number of devices for managing blood pressure, glucose levels for diabetes, spirometers for asthmatics, pulse oximeters, and weight scales. Each device has a different application for patients depending on the disease, condition, or other parameters being monitored. Chronic disease management, post-acute care management, and safety monitoring are key applications of RPM technologies for the older adult population.

While chronic care management and post-acute care are more obvious uses for RPM technologies, there are several applications, such as patient care safety, that people often overlook. Many RPM technologies are now focusing on detecting and preventing falls and wandering, particularly in dementia patients. Fall detection, fall prevention, and location tracking technologies allow caregivers to track patients through continuous surveillance.

All in all, RPM technology will continue to expand, particularly as the aging population grows, as it can help slow the progression of chronic disease, ensure a steady recovery post-discharge, and alert caregivers when a vulnerable patient is at risk. There is ample opportunity in the remote monitoring space, and CareClix offerings support hundreds of RPM devices to provide the best benefits to patients and providers.

To learn more about CareClix RPM program: careclix.com/remote-patient-monitoring/

To implement telemedicine for your practice visit: careclix.com/provider-signup/

Have questions contact us at:  sales@careclix.com


NYS: This Week We Received Limited Supply of J&J Vaccine
New York State and other jurisdictions received a very limited initial supply of Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine this week. DOH has instructed hospitals to use Janssen for vaccinating only the following populations: Individuals being discharged from inpatient care, prioritizing those 65 years of age or older first, followed by those ages 18-64 with one or more of the currently eligible comorbidities or underlying conditions. Then non-hospital patients who are 65 years of age or older New York State DOH updated the COVID-19 vaccination guidance to include the newly authorized single-dose Janssen vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older.


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Very Few Severe Allergic Reactions Tied to Vaccines, Research Shows
Just 0.025 percent of staff from Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital experienced anaphylaxis after receiving Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, according to a study published March 8 in JAMA. Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, both based in Boston, sent survey links to 64,900 of the hospitals’ employees who received either a Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from Dec. 16 to Feb. 12. Both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines use mRNA, which means they mimic infection in the body by carrying the genetic instructions for cells to produce antigens that fight COVID-19.

Acute allergic reactions, which were defined on the survey as itching, rash, hives, swelling, and/or respiratory symptoms, occurred in 2.10 percent of respondents, but anaphylaxis occurred in only 0.025 percent. Anaphylaxis occurred in 16 employees who received Moderna’s vaccine and seven employees who received Pfizer’s vaccine. Among these 23 people, the mean age was 41. All recovered without experiencing shock or requiring endotracheal intubation.

The mean time from vaccination to anaphylaxis onset was 17 minutes. One patient required intensive care, and 56 percent received intramuscular epinephrine to steady their breathing. Ninety-seven percent of the employees who experienced anaphylaxis were women, 63 percent had an allergy history and 31 percent previously had anaphylaxis.


New York Surgeon to Pay $783K to Resolve Fraudulent Billing Case
A New York vascular surgeon and his medical practice agreed to pay $783,200 to resolve a civil case alleging fraudulent billing, the U.S. Justice Department said March 8.

According to prosecutors, Feng Qin, MD, and Qin Medical PC fraudulently billed Medicare for vascular surgery procedures performed on end-stage renal disease patients that were not covered under Medicare rules or were not medically reasonable or necessary.

In addition to the payment, Dr. Qin agreed to enter a Voluntary Exclusion Agreement with HHS, prohibiting him from participating in Medicare and other federal healthcare programs for four years.

As part of the settlement, Dr. Qin also admitted to routinely scheduling and treating end-stage renal disease patients every three months regardless of medical need, treating those patients with fistulagrams and angioplasties even though there was insufficient evidence to justify the treatments and filing false claims to Medicare, knowing that Medicare would not pay for the fistulagrams and angioplasties without required clinical justification.

Dr. Qin was criminally charged for the scheme in December 2018, and the U.S. filed a civil complaint against him later that same month.

The government agreed to defer Dr. Qin’s criminal prosecution for one year. If he abides by the terms of his deferred prosecution agreement, the U.S. will seek to dismiss the criminal charges. In addition to the $783,200 settlement announced March 8, the state of New York is expected to enter into an additional settlement with Dr. Qin and the medical practice in the amount of $16,800. (Becker’s Hospital Review, March 8)


Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) Utilization Decreased During the Pandemic

  • During the first three months of the pandemic, outpatient health care services plunged 51% and overall services decreased by 42% in April.
  • The largest utilization decreases were observed among Asian beneficiaries, who account for 2% of the overall Medicare FFS population.
  • Click here to view the full report.

Telehealth’s Impact: Physician Survey Analysis
The experience of physician practices engaging in an unprecedented number of telehealth visits in 2020 is captured in this report from a survey of 1,600 physicians, issued by the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition.

  • 75% of physicians reported that telemedicine enabled them to provide quality care in the areas of COVID-19-related care, acute care, chronic disease management, hospital/ED follow-up, care coordination, preventative care, and mental/behavioral health.
  • 60% reported that telehealth improved the health of their patients. 55% reported that telehealth improved their work satisfaction.
  • 73% reported that no or low reimbursement will be a major challenge postCOVID.
  • 64% said that technology challenges, such as lack of access to broadband and technological illiteracy, are a barrier to sustained use of telehealth, pointing to the need for policies that support audio-only services where needed.

AMA Candidate Workshop is Going Virtual
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic the AMPAC Candidate Workshop will be conducted virtually this year. Full details including dates and how to register below.

Ever wonder how Doctors get elected to Congress or your state legislature? Considering a run for office for yourself? The AMPAC Candidate Workshop will teach you how to run a winning political campaign, just like we taught many of your AMA colleagues over the years.

The Candidate Workshop is designed to help you make the leap from the exam room to the campaign trail and give you the skills and strategic approach you will need to make a run for public office. 

To provide the same high-quality content of the in-person program, the Virtual Candidate Workshop will be conducted over the course of two consecutive weekends: May 1-2 and 8-9. Both weekends are part of the full program and must be attended by participants. Each of the four virtual sessions will start at 11:00am EST and run approximately four hours.

At the Candidate Workshop, political veterans from both sides of the aisle will give you expert advice about politics and the sacrifices needed to mount a competitive campaign. You will learn how and when to make the decision to run; the importance of a disciplined campaign plan and message; the secrets of effective fundraising; what kinds of media advertising are right for your campaign; how to handle the inevitable crises that emerge for every campaign; and the role your spouse and your family will play.

Note: Registration fee is $250 for AMA Member/$1000 for non-AMA members. This fee is waived for AMA residents and students; however, space is limited and the AMPAC Board will review and select four participants from the pool of qualified resident and student applicants.

Registration for the Virtual Candidate Workshop is now OPEN. Space is limited and the deadline to register is April 9.

For more information please contact: Politicaleducation@ama-assn.org

Your run for office begins today!


Classifieds

Classified Ads Available for:

Physicians’ search services • allied medical placements • locum tenens • practice valuation • practice brokerage • practice consulting • real estate

For help, information or to place your ad, call Christina Southard 516-488-6100 x355 • fax 516-488-2188


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79th St near Lexington / Park. 750 sq Ft beautiful, street entrance, medical office for sale with a 25 + yr internal medical practice for sale.
Office is in move in condition. Physician retiring.
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Secretarial area for 3
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800 2nd Ave Lobby800 2nd Ave Hallway


Allergy Practice For Sale, Forest Hills, NY
Founded in 1988, this well-established Single Practitioner Allergy Practice has over 3500 active patients, with very positive patient reviews. The office is only one of a few in the area, but patients are seen from throughout the NYC Metropolitan Area, as well as Long Island. Potential for growth. Centrally located next to major public transportation.  Retirement planned. Lease is assignable. Well-trained, extremely personable staff of three, including a Registered Nurse. Payer mix85% private, 10% Medicare 5% other. Email any questions to: allergydoctorbn@gmail.com

Two (2) Prime Commercial Spaces
Two (2) affordable office spaces available for immediate occupancy.  Located in Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn,  surrounded by multiple co-ops and private homes.  Space can be viewed at your convenience. Price negotiable. Call: Avi 212-736-3680 ext. 15