Thomas J. Madejski, MD
September 21, 2018
Volume 20 Number 35
As you may be aware, the MLMIC Berkshire Hathaway transaction is very close to completion. DFS Superintendent Maria Vullo has approved the demutualization application, the acquisition and the application for approval of the amendments to MLMIC’s charter and bylaws. MLMIC is currently in the process of being acquired by National Indemnity Company NICO, a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary. Currently, MLMIC is a mutual insurance company, meaning it is owned by its policyholders/insured physicians. Once the sale to NICO is complete, however, the company will be transitioned to a stock insurance company owned by NICO’s shareholders.
Policy Holders Entitled to Distribution
Any physician who was a MLMIC policyholder between July 15, 2013 and July 14, 2016 will be entitled to a distribution from the NICO transaction. It is currently estimated that the distribution for each policyholder will equal approximately 1.9 times the annual premiums paid by that provider during the eligible period. For instance, if a physician was insured for the entire three-year period and paid total malpractice insurance premium of $100,000, the physician would be entitled to $190,000 from the distribution.
In the event that a proper objection to a distribution is received by MLMIC, upon the closing of the NICO transaction, the disputed distribution payment will be placed in an escrow account until the individual and employer agree on the manner of its release, or until MLMIC is ordered to release the funds by a court or arbitration panel.
Whether you are an employer who has employed providers insured through MLMIC between July 2013 and July 2016, or an individual provider who has been covered a MLMIC policy while employed by a practice, hospital, or other entity, you may want to promptly take affirmative steps to protect your potential interest in the distribution. For more information, visit www.mlmic.com.
On August 23, MSSNY Executive Vice-President Philip Schuh, CPA testified in support of MLMIC’s acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway, during a New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) hearing examining the proposed transaction. Mr. Schuh noted that “MLMIC’s alliance with Berkshire Hathaway will fortify its finances and enable MLMIC to continue its mission to assure physicians, dentists and hospitals have access to quality medical malpractice insurance coverage and risk management services long into the future”.
He noted that “some physicians have expressed concerns that entities with enormous resources at their disposal could coerce a physician to give up their statutory right to these proceeds because of the fear of excessive litigation costs. He suggested that DFS impose a condition on the conversion approval “to assure a strict deadline for release of the funds from escrow following the closure of the transaction, whereby the funds will be awarded to the policyholder at the conclusion of such period if the process for resolving the dispute has not yet been completed.”
In the recent vote of Record Date Policyholders, 6,635 out of 6,979 of the ballots were in favor of the Conversion & Amended/Restated Charter. MLMIC & NICO, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, are now proceeding to finalize the closing arrangements.
Please share your thoughts and comments with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ADA and Your Medical Practice’s Website
MSSNY has been alerted to a serious concern for our physicians that have websites for their medical practices. Recently, many health care providers in New York have been sued in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, for alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act concerning their websites. MSSNY contacted our General Counsel, Garfunkel Wild, P.C., for advice and guidance. Please refer to this link for the educational material.
Plan to Participate in NYS “Listening Sessions” on Legalizing Recreational Marijuana
As previously reported, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has called for a series of “listening sessions” across New York State to receive public comment regarding a proposal to legalize and regulate the recreational use of marijuana in New York State. As noted below, there are forums coming up next week on Monday (9/24) in Queens, Tuesday (9/25) in Brooklyn, Wednesday (9/26) in Staten Island and Thursday (9/27) in Hempstead. MSSNY President-elect Dr. Fougner and MSSNY Councilor Dr. Saulius Skeivys will participate at the Queens Forum.
This week, MSSNY Councilor and Westchester neurosurgeon Dr. Thomas Lee testified at the Bronx forum to raise public health concerns with this proposal. Dr. Lee’s testimony noted MSSNY’s support for de-criminalizing marijuana possession, but also significant concerns with outright permitting recreational use. Specifically, he noted that “While marijuana offers potential benefits, one must always balance them against intoxication, carcinogenic effects, respiratory illnesses, altered mental status, depression, anxiety, and addiction. In the era of narcotic dependence and associated catastrophic outcome, the State of New York is seeking to legalize this mind altering substance. We must have a more internally consistent and scientifically sound public health policy.
MSSNY Treasurer Dr. Joseph Sellers testified at the Albany forum on September 5.
This week Crains New York Business wrote an article about these forums that referenced MSSNY’s opposition while also noting the strong public commentary in support of legalization.
Physicians are urged to register to participate and testify at these upcoming forums from the links below:
- Queens – Monday, September 24, 2018- Register
- Brooklyn – Tuesday, September 25, 2018 – Register
- Staten Island – Wednesday, September 26 – Register
- Long Island – Thursday, September 27, 2018 – Register
- Newburgh – Monday, October 1, 2018 – Register
- Binghamton – Tuesday, October 2, 2018 – Register
- Buffalo – Wednesday, October 3, 2018 – Register
- Rochester – Thursday, October 4, 2018 – Register
- Syracuse – Tuesday, October 9, 2018 – Register
- Utica – Wednesday, October 10, 2018 – Register
- Watertown – Thursday, October 11, 2018 –Register
County Health Officials Urge Rejection of Legalized Recreational Marijuana
Noting that “legalization of regulated marijuana will lead to dangerous public health outcomes”, this week the New York State Association of County Officials (NYSACHO) – representing 58 local Health Departments across New York State – sent a letter to Governor Cuomo expressing their opposition to proposals to legalize recreational marijuana use.
Their letter noted that “both research and experience of states with legalized marijuana (such as Colorado) have substantiated these concerns. Their list of public health concerns included:
- Risk of Addiction– evidence clearly indicates that long–term marijuana use can lead to addiction. There is also recognition of a bona fide cannabis withdrawal syndrome, which makes cessation difficult and contributes to relapse. Adolescents are particularly susceptible; as compared with persons who begin the use of marijuana in adulthood, those who begin in adolescence are approximately 2 to 4 times as likely to have symptoms of cannabis dependence within 2 years after first use
- Possible Role as a Gateway Drug– data suggests that the use of marijuana in adolescence could influence multiple addictive behavior in adulthood
- Cognitive and Academic Effects– weekly or more frequent marijuana use by adolescents and young adults is associated with impaired learning, memory, math and reading achievement, even 28 days after last use, and is strongly associated with failure to graduate from both high school and college
- Relation to Mental Illness– regular marijuana use is associated with an increased risk of anxiety and depression, and is linked with psychoses, especially among people with a preexisting genetic vulnerability.
- Adverse Cardiac and Respiratory effects– marijuana use may be associated with increased risk of stroke in individuals younger than 55 years of age, and may be associated with increased risk of heart attack among adults. Daily or near daily marijuana smoking is strongly associated with chronic bronchitis, including chronic cough, sputum production, and wheezing..
- Unintentional Exposures in Children– legal marijuana access is strongly associated with increased numbers of unintentional exposures in children, which can lead to hospitalizations. In Colorado, at least 14,000 children are at risk of accidentally eating marijuana products that are not safely stored, and at least 16,000 are at risk of being exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke in the home1.
- Risk of Motor Vehicle Accidents– both immediate exposure and long term exposure to marijuana impair driving ability; marijuana is the illicit drug most frequently reported in connection with impaired driving and accidents, including fatal accidents
2019 Nominations for MSSNY Leadership
The list of nominations for 2019 MSSNY leadership positions is now available on the website. Click here to view the list.
Governor Urged to Sign Legislation to Require Greater Transparency of Insurer Compliance with Mental Health & SUD Parity Laws
Physicians are urged to send a letter to the Governor requesting that he sign into law legislation (S.1156-C, Ortt/A.3694-C, Gunther) which directs the NY Department of Financial Services (DFS) to collect certain key data points and elements from health insurers in order to scrutinize and analyze if they are in compliance with the federal and state mental health and substance use (MH/SUD) disorder parity laws. A letter can be sent from here.
MSSNY, working together with the New York State Psychiatric Association and other specialty societies, had strongly supported this legislation as it passed the Legislature nearly unanimously. While many physicians weighed in with their legislators in support earlier this year, advocacy should now be directed to the Governor’s office in support of this important measure.
If signed into law by the Governor, the information collected would be analyzed and used for the preparation of a parity compliance report that would be contained within in the annual “Consumer Guide to Health Insurers” issued by the DFS.
Although MH/SUD parity laws have been on the books for over a decade on the federal and state level, recent Attorney General settlements note that there continue to be patterns of disparity between coverage criteria imposed on MH/SUD care and treatment as compared to other covered services. The goal of the legislation is to better ensure compliance with these laws.
Research Finds No Benefit of Low-Dose Aspirin For Primary Prevention
The Washington Post (9/16, Bernstein) reports that research indicates “a regimen of low-dose aspirin offers healthy, older people no benefit in staving off cardiovascular disease, dementia or disability and increases their risk of bleeding in the digestive tract and brain.” The findings were published in three articles in the New England Journal of Medicine. To view the NEJM articles, click here, here, and here.
Marist College to Open Medical School 2022
New York’s Marist College is teaming up with a regional health care company to create a new medical school. The college announced that it will join forces with the hospital network Health Quest to create the Marist Health Quest School of Medicine. Marist is a private liberal arts college in Poughkeepsie, about 85 miles north of New York City. Marist President David Yellen says adding a medical school is “a natural next step” for the college.
The new medical school will be the only MD-granting institution between Westchester County and Albany. Marist and Health Quest say the college will open in July 2022 with 60 students. There will be an estimated 480 students when the schoolis running at full enrollment after six years.
Buying Life Insurance? Strap on Your Fitbit!
John Hancock insurance announced this week that it will stop selling traditional life insurance and instead sell only interactive policies that track data through wearable fitness devices and smartphones. Interactive life insurance is already well-established in South Africa and Britain and is becoming more widespread in the United States. Read more here.
Fetal Exposure to Environmental Pollutants May be Associated With Thyroid Functioning in Newborns
MedPage Today (9/14, Monaco) reports that “Fetal exposure to environmental pollutants was associated with thyroid functioning in newborns,” research indicated. In the “analysis of infants born in Los Angeles, those exposed in utero to greater amount of ambient pollution had higher levels of total thyroxine (TT4) levels as newborns,” the study found. The findings were published in JAMA Network Open.
|Continuing Medical Education|
HIV in 2018: Keeping the Vision on Women
Friday, October 12th, 2018
Hilton Garden Inn
235 Hoosick Street
Troy, NY 12180
This free full-day clinical conference will focus on HIV prevention and care for women of all experiences, highlighting the vital role medical providers play in women’s health. Click here for the agenda.
Register today! http://rebrand.ly/CEIOct12
Registration is free of charge and is restricted to New York State medical providers including physicians, physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, dentists, and pharmacists. A light breakfast and lunch will be included.
Questions? Contact Jessica Steinke at email@example.com or 212-731-3789
Influenza 2018-19: CME Webinar on October 17
Did you know that the World Health Organization (WHO) is predicting two new strains of influenza for the 2018-2019 season? Learn about this and more at the first of MSSNY’s 2019 Medical Matters continuing medical education (CME) webinar series: “Influenza 2018-19” on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 at 7:30 a.m. William Valenti, MD, chair of MSSNY Infectious Disease Committee and a member of the Emergency Preparedness and Disaster/Terrorism Response Committee will serve as faculty for this program. Registration is now open for this webinar here.
Additional information or assistance with registration may be obtained by contacting Melissa Hoffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Educational objectives are:
- Describe key indicators to look for when diagnosing patients presenting with flu-like symptoms
- Describe clinical and laboratory diagnostic features and treatment specific to each flu season
- Identify recommended immunizations and antiviral medications for treatment and how best to effectively encourage patients to get vaccinated
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.
Join MSSNY’s Member Perks Program and Enjoy $4,500 in Savings!
MSSNY is pleased to announce our newest member benefit! Our new Abenity App provides members with exclusive perks and over $4,500 in savings on everything from restaurants, City Pass, AMC movie tickets, theme parks, hotels, car rentals, mortgage savings, auto care and much more!
Popular Features Include:
- Nearby Offers: Use our show and save mobile coupons to quickly access savings on the go.
- eTickets On Demand: Save up to 40% with no hidden fees.
- Showtimes: Find movies, watch trailers, and save up to 40% at a theater near you.
- Monthly Giveaways: Win cash, movie tickets, electronics and more with our monthly contests.
And, with over 302,000 available discounts across 10,000 cities in the United States and Canada, you’ll never be far from savings!
REGISTER & LOG IN
Click on the following link: http://mssny.abenity.com and then create a unique user name and password
New TPAs for Workers’ Compensation, Volunteer Firefighter, and Volunteer Ambulance Claims
As of September 10, 2018, the Special Funds Conservation Committee (SFCC) will no longer be administering workers compensation, volunteer firefighter, and volunteer ambulance worker claims.
These claims are being transferred to new third-party administrators (TPAs), who will assume all claims administration services.
Notifying Injured Workers
Injured workers have been notified of the name and contact information of their new TPA, and have been advised to inform their legal representatives and medical providers of this change.
Medical Reporting and Billing
All requests for treatment authorization on and after September 10, 2018, must be sent to the correct TPA for the injured worker.
All medical bills received by SFCC in error during this period of transition will be forwarded to the proper TPA for resolution and payment.
Finding the New TPA
If you are providing medical treatment or legal representation for an injured worker who lists SFCC as their insurer on or after September 10, 2018, please inquire further, as the SFCC will no longer be the claims administrator at that time.
For information about the new TPA, the injured worker (or your office if you have previously submitted Form OC-400 or medical bills to the Workers Compensation Board for that person in that workers compensation case) may contact SFCC or the Workers Compensation Board.
Buffalo: (716) 686-5700
Dewitt: (315) 445-9405
New York City: (212) 883-3900
Contact the Workers Compensation Board
4th Columbia Psychosomatics Conference – Oct 20-21, 2018 NYC
If you can’t see this image please go to 4th Columbia Psychosomatics Conference website HERE.
Magnificent Medical Suites for Lease – 184 East 70th St. New York, NY
West 57 St. – Shared Office Space to Rent
Rare Find — Great Office Share
Are You Trying to Lease Your Medical Office or Sell Your Medical Practice? Trying to Sell New or Used Medical Equipment?
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Medical Director in the NYS Office of Health Insurance Programs Division of Systems
The Medical Director position will be responsible to review prior approval requests and issue denials as indicated. The incumbent will review pended claims and recommend whether payment should be made or denied and review requests for enhanced reimbursement for Out-of-State Hospital services. The incumbent will participate in several external and internal committees including: Provider Enrollment Appeals Committee, Laboratory Policy Committee, Internal Benefit Review Committee, Irregular Billing Committee, Utilization Review Edit Committee, Quality Improvement Committee, Physician Administered Medication Committee, and Medical Coding Review and Coverage Decisions Committee. The incumbent will also attend the Hearing Aid Dispensing Advisory Committee representing the Commissioner of Health and participate in the Evidence-Based Benefit Review. The incumbent will a key stakeholder in monitoring the Radiology Utilization Management Contract and interacting with the Medical Director and clinical staff. The incumbent will also be responsible to participate with other OHIP Medical Directors in meetings on topics about Medicaid Policy including DSRIP and VBP.
Interested candidates may submit a resume to Human Resources Management Group, Room 2276, Corning Tower Building, Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12237-0012,
or by email to email@example.com with a subject line “OHIP Medical Director Position,” or by fax to (518) 474-6771.
Physicians Wanted to Help Shape the Future of Primary Care
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CALL FOR RATES & INFO. CHRISTINA SOUTHARD: 516-488-6100 ext. 355