MSSNY and other Physician Organizations Call for NYS DOH and the Governor to Provide Flexibility in Reporting COVID-19 Results 

For Immediate Release


MSSNY and other Physician Organizations Call for NYS DOH and the Governor to Provide Flexibility in Reporting COVID-19 Results


October 22, 2020, Westbury, NY—Today, the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY), the NY Chapter of the American College of Physicians, the New York State Academy of Family Physicians and the NYS American Academy of Pediatrics, Chapters 1, 2 & 3 called upon the NYS Department of Health and the Governor’s office to provide flexibility for  reporting  results of COVID-19 and Influenza tests performed in physician offices.  A survey conducted by these medical societies found that many physicians will be unable to provide these critically needed tests without more time to report results for fear of the potentially significant penalties for failure to comply.

On September 21, NYS Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker sent a notice to all healthcare providers requiring the reporting of all positive and negative COVID-19 and flu tests to the NYS Department of Health within 3 hours.   Additionally, the order requires that the ordering physicians report contact information, employment and/or school information for each patient.  Penalties for non-compliance are up to $2000/day.   The medical organizations are advocating for the removal of the three-hour reporting requirement for the negative tests.

“Physicians across the state share the goal of having information as soon as reasonably possible to begin contact tracing and other containment efforts. Three hours, however, is simply not enough time for busy and overburdened practices to report results, especially negative results,” says   Bonnie Litvack, MD, President, of MSSNY.

“A survey, conducted by MSSNY in conjunction with several specialty societies, found that over 60% of physicians believe the three-hour reporting period is a daunting, if not impossible, task for many practices,” continues Dr. Litvack.  “Over 78% of the respondents indicated that they are unable to comply with the three-hour requirement.  MSSNY is gravely concerned that these requirements may discourage practices from ordering tests and offering testing at a time when COVID-19 rates are rising in our state and more testing, not less is needed.”

“The reporting requirement is likely to compel many practices to forego providing COVID and flu tests which will inconvenience patients by requiring them to have these tests performed elsewhere,” says NYSAFP president Jason Matuszak, MD. “Also, requiring patients to go to multiple locations for tests increases their risk of exposure. Rapid tests could be done at the primary care practice, as opposed to waiting days to get results back from a commercial lab which would allow patients to know their results sooner.”

“Pediatricians across New York are deeply concerned that the recent three-hour reporting requirement for both COVID-19 and Flu test is unrealistic for community-based practices, says Warren Seigel, MD, FAAP, Chair of NYSAAP, District II.  “The recently imposed requirement will discourage offices from offering Flu and/or COVID-19 tests on site.  Sending patients to alternative venues for testing is inefficient, may contribute to the spread of disease and is a breach of medical home principles.  We urge the Department of Health to work with the house of medicine to design a more reasonable turnaround time so all practices can better serve their patients and still meet the state’s requirements for timely data on infections.”

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Founded in 1807, the Medical Society of the State of New York is the state’s principal non-profit professional organization for physicians, residents and medical students of all specialties. Its mission is to represent the interests of patients and physicians to assure quality healthcare services for all.

Media Contact:
Roseann Raia
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Medical Society of the State of New York
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Westbury, New York
516-488-6100 ext 302