COVID-19 Update June 15, 2020

New DOH Guidance on Elective Surgery Changes 3 Day COVID-19 Test Rule to 5 Days
The New York State Department of Health has released updated guidance for resumption of non-essential elective surgeries and non-urgent procedures in hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, office-based surgery practices and diagnostic and treatment centers.

Importantly, the new guidelines increase the time frame by which a patient must receive a negative COVID-19 test from three days to five days of the planned elective surgery. MSSNY has been strenuously arguing to the NYS Department of Health that the previous 3-day requirement in many cases could not be met, thereby creating impediments to patients having needed surgeries that had already been postponed due to the prohibition on the performance of elective surgery.

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MSSNY Opposes Effort to Allow Discrimination Against Patients
MSSNY President Bonnie Litvack, MD today issued the following statement to the press:

“MSSNY opposes the Trump Administration’s final rule from the US Department of Health and Human Services that reverses a policy banning health care providers from discriminating against certain patients, including LGBTQ, women and others.

“As physicians, we believe that respect for all of our patients is our highest priority.  Our professional and moral obligation is to ensure healthcare for all Americans, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

“The Federal Government should never stand in the way of an individual’s ability to access health care.”

Notes from Governor Cuomo’s Briefing

Day 107 of COVID-19
-Gov reiterated NY is on the right track.
-1,608 Hospitalizations, the lowest number since March 20.
-27 lives lost on Sunday.
-Some regions are entering Phase III:
Guidelines will be modified to allow gatherings of up to
25 people.
Original guidelines limited gatherings to 10 people.
-COVID-19 is increasing in 22 states and Puerto Rico.
-Gov stressed the importance of monitoring data and building back better.
-Gov announced the state is accelerating $2 billion in MTA capital projects.
-Gov announced the opening of the pedestrian shared-use path on the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.
-On interstate travel: Gov said that we are not yet considering testing or quarantine for travelers coming to NY.
-On business: Gov pointed out that he has received an unprecedented amount of complaints about health violations.
-Gov reiterated that rules will be enforced and the state will conduct health inspections.
Gov reiterated that local governments must enforce laws related to large gatherings.

COVID-19 Testing Survey
MSSNY is conducting a short survey to ensure community physicians’ ability to test their patients for COVID-19. This information will be used by MSSNY leadership and staff to advocate to ensure community physicians’ offices have the ability to conduct this testing as we move forward in confronting this pandemic.

Please take just a few minutes to complete the survey.

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DOH Guidance for Graduation Celebrations During COVID-19
In response to New York’s continued success to contain the spread of COVID-19 and in alignment with Governor Cuomo’s strategic approach for a phased reopening, the New York State Department of Health has updated guidance that provides additional alternative graduation celebration options, including outdoor, in-person graduations.

Researchers Say Wearing a Mask Most Effective Way to Reduce Transmission of Coronavirus
Researchers in California and Texas compared coronavirus infection rate trends in Italy and New York both before and after face masks were made mandatory, and concluded that wearing a mask is the most effective way to stop person-to-person spread by reducing airborne transmission of the virus. The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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Crain’s New York Business Reports Dr. Litvack’s Call for Financial Aid for Devastated Physician Practices
In addition to Crain’s Health Pulse and Politico reports, Crain’s New York Business also reported MSSNY President Dr. Bonnie Litvack’s statement that a study from Fair Health has confirmed that the coronavirus pandemic has had an “absolutely devastating” impact on physician offices in the state. Dr. Litvack said, “We again urge the New York congressional delegation to continue its efforts for dedicated grant funding in the next stimulus package for these hard-hit community practices – not only to preserve the hundreds of thousands of jobs physician offices provide across the state, but most importantly to ensure we can continue to treat our patients, who depend on our services.”

New York State Physicians, Are You Experiencing COVID-19 Related Stress?
MSSNY’s Helpline is available to help you 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Please call 518.292.0140.

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