MSSNYeNews: February 17, 2021 – AMA Acknowledges Its History of Racism


AMA Acknowledges that Founder, Dr. Nathan Davis, Allowed and Upheld Racism
Today, the American Medical Association (AMA) is taking an important step to reconcile AMA’s past by acknowledging the harms that one of their founders, Dr. Nathan Davis, had in their organization’s history that allowed and upheld racism within the medical profession.

This Viewpoint from AMA CEO James L. Madara, MD, provides important details and context for this acknowledgment including AMA’s 2008 apology, recent actions by their Board and House of Delegates, and the work underway through the AMA Center for Health Equity. By acknowledging the past, the AMA is embracing a discussion about how to begin to heal past harms.

Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Cuts Symptomatic Cases By 94%, Data Shows
COVID-19 infections fell by 94 percent among people who received two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, according to a study by Clalit, the largest healthcare provider in Israel. Clalit studied symptomatic COVID-19 infections among 600,000 people who received two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine and compared them to an unvaccinated group of the same size (WSJ) reported Feb. 15. The study included 430,000 participants between ages 16 and 59 and 170,000 participants ages 60 and older, Clalit said.

The study also found that Pfizer’s vaccine reduced cases of severe illness from COVID-19 by 92 percent. (Becker’s Hospital 2/18)

Physicians See Spike in Rare Inflammatory Condition Linked to COVID-19
Physicians are reporting a significant uptick in cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, a rare inflammatory condition potentially linked to COVID-19, reports The New York Times. The condition, known as MIS-C, typically emerges several weeks after COVID-19 infection and causes symptoms like fever, inflammation and poor organ function. Physicians said these cases are not just becoming more common, but also more severe.

“We’re now getting more of these MIS-C kids, but this time, it just seems that a higher percentage of them are really critically ill,” Roberta DeBiasi, MD, chief of infectious diseases at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., told the Times. About 80 percent to 90 percent of Children’s National patients with MIS-C need intensive care, up from about half of patients in the spring, according to Dr. DeBiasi. Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha saw about two MIS-C cases per month between April and October 2020, with about 30 percent of patients needing intensive care. This jumped to 10 cases in December and another 12 in January, with about 60 percent needing ICU care.

It is unclear why cases are rising, and experts say it is too early to speculate whether virus variants are influencing these numbers. Overall, MIS-C is still a rare condition. As of Feb. 8, the CDC had confirmed 2,060 cases nationwide, including 30 deaths.

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Vaccine Will Be Available to All Americans By Late July, President Biden Says
For the first time in 2021, no state is reporting a seven-day COVID-19 case average higher than 10,000 as of Feb. 16, reports The COVID Tracking Project.

Other updates:

  1. President Joe Biden also said that every American who wants to receive a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to get one by the end of July during a town hall meeting hosted by CNN Feb. 16.
  2. The federal government will increase states’ collective vaccine allocation to 13.5 million doses each week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Feb. 16. The U.S. is also doubling its supply for pharmacies to 2 million doses weekly through a new federal program, Ms. Psaki said.
  3. Moderna expects to deliver 300 million vaccines to the U.S. government by the end of July, according to a Feb. 16 update. About 25.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine have been administered in the U.S. thus far, according to a CDC communication with Moderna.

2021 E/M Coding Changes: Are You Leaving Money on the Table?
Limited to 25 Attendees
Two convenient time slots for “2021 E/M Guideline Changes
Course Description
Many physicians are still struggling when it comes to implementing these historic changes into their day-to-day workflow. Garfunkel Health Advisors is offering an interactive event on Documentation & Coding Compliance following the new E/M Coding Guidelines.To help ensure you get the most out of the live session, participation will be limited to 25 participants and you may submit questions in advance, specific to your practice and specialty.  During the event we will:

  • Share our knowledge and experience
    •  Answer your questions
    •  Discuss tips and best practices
    •  Review Time vs MDM opportunities
    •  Wave the caution flag in areas of potential audit risk

Alicia Shickle
President, Documentation and Coding/Audit Division of
Garfunkel Health Advisors, Inc

Discounted pricing for MSSNY members:
◊ Member rate $150
◊ Non-member rate $300 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021 Presentation:
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm (EST)
Thursday, February 25, 2021 Presentation:
7:30 pm – 9:00 pm (EST)

For more information call: 516-393-2294


Garfunkel Health Advisors, Inc.
Garfunkel Wild is pleased to announce the launch of Garfunkel Health Advisors, Inc., a healthcare consulting subsidiary providing strategic and operational advice to the healthcare industry

43% of Patients Check a Pharmacy Comparison App for Prescription Savings
Americans are becoming increasingly curious about ways to lower their prescription drug costs, according to recent survey results released by healthcare software company CoverMyMeds.

CoverMyMeds surveyed patients, providers and pharmacists during September and October. One thousand patients, 400 providers and 328 pharmacists participated in the survey, the results of which were released Jan. 25.

  • Sixty-two percent of patients seek information from their provider about medication costs and affordability options.
  • Forty-three percent of patients said they checked a pharmacy comparison app to find cheaper medication prices, up from 28 percent the previous year.
  • More than a third of pharmacists said they saw patients use prescription price shopping tools on a daily basis. (Feb. 15 Becker’s Hospital Review)

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Northwell Sues Insurers for Denying Pandemic-Related Claims

  • New York’s largest health care provider is suing two out-of-state insurance companies for denying claims related to business-interruption insurance policies and the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Northwell Health, home to more than 21 hospitals in the metropolitan area, is suing Boston-based Lexington Insurance Co. and Chicago-based Interstate Fire & Casualty Co. for breach of contract for their refusal to honor an “all risk” property policy.
  • In the lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of New York, Northwell contends it suffered “significant property and business-interruption losses arising out of the novel coronavirus outbreak and ongoing Covid-19 pandemic,” and the defendants “have refused to compensate Northwell for its losses.”
  • Northwell alleges that the defendants denied coverage in its entirety Oct. 30 based on a “pollution” exclusion endorsement. The health system says the defendants’ interpretation of the pollution exclusion contravenes the plain meaning of the language, and the policy contains coverage for communicable diseases, confirming that a virus can cause loss of or damage to property.
  • Northwell says both defendants have refused to pay any amount to date, with currently assessed damages listed as “hundreds of millions of dollars.” The health care provider alleges its policies with the defendants provide almost $1.3 billion in coverage, with Lexington covering 90% of the share, and Interstate covering 10%. (Crain’s Feb. 16)

The Importance of Community-Based Organizations During the Pandemic
With the COVID-19 national emergency, many people are facing unprecedented challenges. Some have lost their jobs and have lost health insurance coverage for themselves and their families. Others may be underinsured with unaffordable health coverage, or may have health insurance, but are not sure how to access the services that they need for their health problems.

With these uncertainties, Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) are key players who can help link community members to valuable resources, including how and where to obtain health insurance. CBOs also play a major role in educating community members about COVID-19 vaccines, raising awareness about the benefits of vaccination, and addressing common questions and concerns. As many communities are waiting for their turn to get the vaccine, CBOs can encourage them to take the time to consider their health insurance coverage. 

What can CBOs do now to help your community access valuable resources on the vaccine and health insurance coverage?

  • Use the NEW Community-Based Organizations COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit. Soon the communities you serve will have access to vaccines to help protect against COVID-19. CDC has designed a toolkit to help CBOs educate communities about this important new prevention tool. This toolkit is designed for staff of organizations serving communities affected by COVID-19.
  • Share COVID-19 Vaccine information and Resources with the communities that you serve. Here’s some messaging to share with your communities through newsletters, e-mail listserv announcements or other channels:
    • You can receive the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost. People without health insurance or whose insurance does not provide coverage of the vaccine can also get the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost.
    • State governments are handling the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Look for updates from your state and local officials as more doses of the vaccine become available for additional priority groups.
    • Link community members to information on how to obtain health insurance or use their existing coverage:
    • Consumers can take advantage of a special enrollment period (SEP) for individuals and families to apply and enroll in the coverage they need starting February 15, 2021 through May 15, 2021. This SEP will be available to consumers in the 36 states served by Marketplaces that use gov. Read the press release here.
    • Those in states with State Based Exchanges should check their state’s exchange website to find out specific enrollment options for their state. Go to gov to find out more information or be directed to your state’s exchange.
    • See if you qualify for Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program or check on your health benefits if you already have coverage.
    • The From Coverage to Care initiative, has resources such as the Roadmap to Better Care to help consumers understand their health coverage and connect to primary care and the preventive services that are right for them.

Questions? Please e-mail us:

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CMS: What Partners Need to Know Now About Health Insurance During Pandemic
As COVID-19 vaccines begin rolling out across the country, CMS is taking action to protect the health and safety of our nation’s patients and providers and keeping you updated on the latest COVID-19 resources from HHS, CDC, and CMS.

With information coming from many different sources, CMS has compiled resources and materials to help you share important and relevant information on the COVID-19 vaccine with the people that you serve. You can find these and more resources on the COVID-19 Partner Resources Page and the HHS COVID Education Campaign page. We look forward to partnering with you to promote vaccine safety and encourage our beneficiaries to get vaccinated when they have the opportunity. 


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Unique Rheumatology Practice Opportunity – Great Neck, NY
Partnership opportunity available at an established rheumatology practice in Great Neck, NY. Looking for a dedicated physician to join our practice or merge practices. Contact 516-972-2986 / for more info.