MSSNY eNews: November 4, 2020 – COVID-19 Stories from the Frontline


Gov. Provides Flexibility for Physicians to Report COVID/Flu Test Results
Governor Cuomo’s latest Executive Order issued Tuesday night importantly contains a provision providing greater flexibility to physicians and other professionals to report positive and negative COVID-19 and influenza tests to the NYS Department of Health.  Physicians and labs will now be required to report these test results within 24 hours of receipt rather than 3 hours, as had previously been required in a September 21 notice from the NYS Commissioner of Health.

MSSNY together with the pediatric, family physician, internal medicine, emergency medicine and urgent care associations had strongly advocated for the Commissioner and Governor’s office to provide this additional flexibility.

MSSNY Praises Governor’s Executive Order Provision for Flexibility in Reporting COVID-19 and Influenza Test Results to DOH
“Physicians across the state very much appreciate that the Governor’s latest Executive Order contains a provision to provide some additional time flexibility for reporting positive and negative COVID-19 and influenza test results to the Department of Health.  Under this provision, physicians and other test providers can report positive and negative test results in 24 hours, rather than 3 hours as previously required.

“Physicians are anxious to provide these needed tests to their patients to ensure proper diagnoses, to begin necessary treatments and if necessary, to ensure their patients can begin quarantining as soon as possible.  Physicians are also anxious to ensure that results are reported timely to assist the State in its containment and other response efforts.

“We thank the Governor and the Commissioner of Health for taking this important action.”

Statement Attributable to:
Bonnie Litvack, MD
President, Medical Society of
the State of New York

NY Legislative Election Results Still Being Tabulated but Seat Flips Likely
With tens of thousands of ballots still to be counted within many legislative races across the State, after Tuesday’s election, Republicans stood a chance to pick up several seats in the New York State Senate to narrow the Democratic majority, currently at 40-23.  More on this here.

As of this writing, Republican candidates were winning in 7 Senate districts currently held by Democrats, including districts in Long Island, Brooklyn, and the Hudson Valley.  On the other hand, Democrats were winning in 3 Senate districts currently held by Republicans in the Buffalo and Rochester areas.  There are also other competitive Senate races still too close to be called in Syracuse and the greater Capital District, where the number of outstanding ballots to be counted exceeds the difference in vote totals.

With regard to New York’s Congressional delegation, after Tuesday night’s election, Republican challengers to Democratic incumbents held a lead in 3 Congressional seats, including on Long Island, Staten Island and the Mohawk Valley/Southern Tier, again with thousands of ballots still to be counted.  More here.

Even with these potential Republican gains, the New York State Assembly and Senate will still be governed by sizable Democratic majorities in 2021, and the US House of Representatives will maintain a Democratic majority.

Regardless of the ultimate outcome of these races, there are likely to be dozens of new legislators in Albany next year, and we will need physicians to continue to work to educate these new lawmakers on the litany of issues physicians face in delivering care to their patients. Play stay tuned for further updates.

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About 20 Percent of New Yorkers Have Had COVID-19, Study Finds
While the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in New York City March 1, the virus was present as early as mid-February, and more than 1.7 million have been infected, according to a study published Nov. 3 in Nature. Researchers analyzed 10,691 blood plasma samples in weekly intervals between February and July from patients at New York City-based Mount Sinai Health System. After measuring antibodies from two groups, a positive control group from patients seeking urgent care at the health system’s emergency departments and a second group seeking routine care visits, they determined that at least 1.7 million New Yorkers have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 so far, with a 0.97 percent fatality rate — 10 times higher than the flu.

The positive control group, or “urgent care” group, included 4,101 samples and was meant to detect increasing infections in patients with moderate to severe COVID-19. The routine care group included 6,590 samples and was intended to represent the general population, since scheduled visits were not related to COVID-19.

Researchers said antibody presence increased in both groups at different rates, with the urgent care group seeing a sharp rise. Positive samples were detected as early as mid-February and leveled out around 20 percent across both groups after cases started to let up at the end of May. Antibody levels stabilized between May and July.

“We show that the infection rate was relatively high during the first wave in New York but is far from seroprevalence that might indicate herd immunity,” Florian Krammer, PhD, study author and vaccinology professor at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, said in a news release.  “Knowing the detailed dynamics of the seroprevalence shown in this study is important for modeling seroprevalence elsewhere in the country.”  (Becker’s Hospital Review, Nov.3)

US Sees Five Highest Days of COVID-19 Cases Leading Up to Election
The US recorded 91,530 new Covid-19 infections on the day many Americans cast their ballots, adding to a series of staggering case numbers reported within just the past week. The country’s five highest days of coronavirus cases have all been recorded since October 29, affirming experts’ warnings another surge is well underway and will only get worse.

The nationwide seven-day average of new daily cases now stands at about 86,363 — more than double what it was on September 4, data from Johns Hopkins University show.

And while doctors have stressed basic public health measures like masks and social distancing can turn things around, such measures remain a point of contention in some parts of the US.

As of Tuesday, at least 36 states reported more new cases in the last week versus the week prior, Johns Hopkins data show. And six states — Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, and Pennsylvania –reported their highest one-day COVID-19 case count Tuesday.

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Reminder: Upcoming MIPS Important Dates and Deadlines
CMS would like to remind clinicians of important upcoming Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) dates and deadlines:

  • December 31 – 2020 Promoting Interoperability Hardship Exception and Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Exception Applications Clinicians, groups, and virtual groups who believe they are eligible for these exceptions may apply, and if approved, will qualify for a re-weighting of one or more MIPS performance categories. CMS will notify applicants via email whether their requests are approved or denied. If approved, the exception will also be added to the QPP Participation Status Tool but may not appear in the tool until the submission window opens in 2021.
  • Note: CMS has proposed for the 2020 performance year to allow Alternative Payment Model (APM) Entities to submit Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances applications as a result of COVID-19. For more information about the impact of COVID-19 on Quality Payment Program participation, see the Quality Payment Program COVID-19 Response webpage.
  • December 31 – 2021 virtual group election period closes. Solo practitioners and groups with 10 or fewer clinicians (including at least one MIPS eligible clinician) who want to participate in MIPS as a virtual group for the 2021 performance year must submit their election to CMS.
  • January 4, 2021 – 2020 MIPS performance year data submission window opens.
  • March 1, 2021 – Deadline for CMS to receive 2020 claims for the Quality performance category. Claims must be received by CMS within 60 days of the end of the performance period. Deadline dates vary to submit claims to the MACs. Check with the MACs for more specific instructions

Training for New Medical Treatment Guidelines Available
Training is available for the new Medical Treatment Guidelines (MTGs) that are to go into effect on January 1, 2021.

Elbow Injuries
Foot and Ankle Injuries
Hip and Groin Injuries
Hand, Wrist and Forearm Injuries (including Carpal Tunnel Syndrome)
Occupational Interstitial Lung Disease
Occupational/Work-Related Asthma
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder*
Major Depressive Disorder*

The Board has developed training for each of the MTGs to introduce health care providers to the new guidelines. Each training will provide an overview of the General Guideline Principles, conditions associated with the body part or disease, and treatment recommendations.

As an added benefit, there is opportunity to obtain complementary continuing medical education (CME) accreditation upon completion of each course. For those on your staff who would benefit from the training but do not need CME accreditation, training presentations are available as pdfs.

To register for the training courses and receive CME accreditation, go to MTG Training for CME Accreditation

For the non-CME training, go to Training for Non-medical and Administrative Staff

* Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder have been posted for a 60-day public comment period starting on October 21, 2020.  Training for these MTGs will be adjusted if needed based on the feedback received during the public comment period.

More Information

For more information, please visit the Board’s website or call (877) 632-4996. You can also email

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Veterans Matters: Suicide in Veterans Webinar
The Medical Society of the State of New York is hosting a CME live webinar entitled Veterans Matters: Suicide in Veterans on Monday, November 23, 2020 at 7:30 am.

Click HERE to view the flyer and register for the program!

When:           November 23, 2020 at 7:30 am
Faculty:        Jack McIntyre, MD

Educational Objectives:

  • Address the causes and warning signs of suicide and suicidal behavior among veterans
  • Explore evidence-based diagnostic, intervention, and treatment options
  • Identify barriers to identification and treatment in military culture and methods to overcome them

For more information, contact Jangmu Sherpa at or call (518) 465-8085

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.





Elegant, Custom Built Home with Unparalleled Craftsmanship – Rhinebeck, NY
Rhinebeck Estate for SaleElegant, custom-built home with unparalleled craftsmanship and attention to detail. Set on 10.6 acres in Rhinebeck, bordering Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill, this home offers character, ambiance and livability. The foyer entry features a tastefully designed staircase, millwork, high ceilings & cherry wood floors. Custom windows provide plenty of natural light. The kitchen with marble counter-topped island evokes farmhouse luxury, with cozy fireside seating area for winter, and glass doors from the hexagonal eat-in kitchen leading to the expansive stone terrace for warmer months. The master suite boasts a high vaulted ceiling, double walk-in closets & bath with clawfoot tub. Two bedrooms with generous closets plus two full baths are also on the second floor plus a sitting room/office or fourth bedroom. Generous closets throughout including a hidden 3 floor elevator. Immaculate lower level with media room, exercise room, bar, wine cellar & full bath. Beautifully landscaped gardens surround the home, a well-established vegetable garden is adjacent to 2-story barn, which is equipped with water & electricity and hilltop views abound. Close to Village & Amtrak. EXCLUSIVE View full listing Contact Nader Kayal, MD, 845-518-7780 / or Rachel Hyman-Rouse at Gary DiMauro Real Estate 845-876-5100 x 10 / 917-686-4906

UES Park Avenue Medical Office Space for Rent – One or Two Days a Week
Elegant office space on UES, in Park Avenue doorman building.  Enormous furnished windowed consult room, large exam room and private secretarial area.  Private elevator to office, huge waiting room and all shared office space. One – two days available; ideal for low volume Practitioner of any specialty. Please contact office manager Theresa – 212-288-2171 or via email at

UES Park Avenue Medical Office Space         

Dermatology Practice for Sale – Staten Island, NY
Building includes 3 exam rooms, waiting area. Please respond by calling 718-987-3300 or email

OBGYN Physician for Our Upper East Side Practice
Gynecology office setting only – No Obstetrics. Please contact the office at 212-772-3722 Email: Office Location: VCARE OBGYN 328 East 75th St. Suite 4 New York NY 10021 REQUIREMENTS: Doctor of Medicine degree. New York Medical License. DEA Board Certified OBGYN