It’s Time for COVID-19 Vaccines to be Distributed to Community-Based Physicians

For Immediate Release
February 3, 2021

 

It’s Time for COVID-19 Vaccines to be Distributed to
Community-Based Physicians
 

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

“Yesterday’s announcement of the additional supply of COVID-19 vaccines to pharmacies and to New York State is welcome news in the effort to ensure that all New Yorkers are vaccinated. However, the Medical Society of the State of New York continues to urge that more doses be made available and distributed to community-based practicing physicians so they can begin to immunize their patients.

“MSSNY has long advocated for physician involvement as a COVID-19 immunizer, and many community-based private practices have already signed up to do so. These individuals practice in a wide range of communities, including those that serve the Black/Brown/LatinX/Asian patient population and in the rural, urban, and suburban communities. We hear every day from physicians who are asking when they will be getting vaccines. Patients are requesting immunization from their physician rather than going to a POD or a pharmacy where they believe they risk greater exposure to COVID-19. Many of these physicians care for the state’s most vulnerable— seniors, those with significant co-morbidities, individuals of color, and those who speak different languages.

“Additionally, we appreciate that Governor Cuomo has placed great emphasis on ensuring that communities of color are vaccinated. MSSNY’s Health Disparities Committee has recommended to the state that data be collected that includes racial, ethnic, and geographical information on who has been immunized. We believe that this will give the state and all COVID-19 immunizers a comprehensive review of which populations need to be targeted to ensure equity.

“Community-based physicians provide immunizations on a daily basis and have experience in providing flu clinics. Perhaps most importantly, they would be able to check their patient database and immediately identify patients who are eligible to receive the vaccine. We are making great strides in getting people immunized, but barriers remain. While we understand the significant challenges regarding the limited supply, we urge that more vaccinations also be made available for distribution to community-based physicians to help ensure their patients can be vaccinated and help stem this pandemic.”

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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

Communications / Marketing
Medical Society of the State of New York
865 Merrick Ave.
Westbury, New York
516-488-6100 ext 302 
rraia@mssny.org

 

New York Physicians: From Healthcare Heroes to Healthcare Zeros 

For Immediate Release
January 20, 2021
 

New York Physicians: From Healthcare Heroes to Healthcare Zeros


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

“Over the last year, tens of thousands of physicians across the State of New York put their health and the health of their families at risk to ensure patients receive the care they needed. Many of them became sick themselves and, sadly, some even passed away from COVID-19.

“Yet these physicians continue their work on the front lines every day to be there for their patients.

“That is why we are stunned by the litany of proposals in the Executive Budget that will make it even harder for physicians to continue to provide the care our patients need. We note that there are some positive aspects in this State Budget proposal, including to provide needed regulation over PBM practices and expanding the state’s capacity to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) that physicians often lacked and have been the subject of enormous cost increases. However, we are extremely concerned with several other Budget proposals.

“One State Budget proposal would foist tens of thousands of dollars of new costs on physicians (totaling over $50 million) for keeping liability insurance protections that are absolutely necessary due to New York’s excessive medical liability premium costs. These liability costs far exceed any other state in the country. The substantial new costs will be near-impossible for many physicians to absorb given the enormous drop in patient visits and revenue experienced by physicians across the State over the last year. As an example, it would impose an approximate $20,000 new cost for an OB-GYN practicing on Long Island. If the Excess Insurance program is eliminated or reduced, then we need comprehensive medical liability reform instead.

“We are also perplexed by proposals to eliminate important due process protections for physicians against whom a complaint has been filed with the Office of Professional Medical Conduct. As we have previously stated, while we are anxious to work to identify gaps in our disciplinary system to protect the public, this Budget proposal would give the Commissioner of Health the authority in their sole discretion to disclose to the public that a complaint has been filed against a particular physician, despite the fact that very few complaints ever actually result in a finding of professional misconduct. This information can remain on the internet forever, potentially ruining a physician’s professional reputation. The law already permits the Commissioner to disclose information to the public when there is a public health threat.

“Another Budget proposal would impose huge cuts to the Committee for Physicians Health (CPH), a successful long-standing organization that provides essential counseling services for physicians confronting alcoholism, substance abuse, or mental illness. Many of these conditions have been exacerbated by the pandemic, making CPH more essential than ever. CPH provides important confidential peer to peer services to physicians in need of support for their health and well-being. Studies that review the long-term model effect of physician health programs show that physician recovery rates are markedly higher than the general population—even when extended into five years or more. If these cuts were to go through, it would substantially limit the work CPH can provide for physicians – and indirectly the public at large – at a time when the program is needed more than ever.

“These are just a few of the very concerning proposals in the state Budget. While we understand that the State is responding to the huge drop in revenue arising from the pandemic, these proposals will be the “last straw” for many physicians who already are finding it difficult to remain in practice to deliver patient care due to New York’s already notoriously hostile practice environment.

“We urge the Legislature to reject these unfair proposals in the State Budget.”

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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

Communications / Marketing
Medical Society of the State of New York
865 Merrick Ave.
Westbury, New York
516-488-6100 ext 302 
rraia@mssny.org

 

MSSNY Welcomes Governor Cuomo’s Efforts to Expand Telehealth Services in New York

For Immediate Release
January 11, 2021 

 

MSSNY Welcomes Governor Cuomo’s Efforts to Expand
Telehealth Services in New York

 

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

“The physician community welcomes efforts announced by the Governor to expand Telehealth coverage in 2021. The Governor and state agencies took very important steps during the pandemic to help facilitate the ability of patients to receive needed treatment virtually from their physicians. This was not only an important lifeline for these patients and for these practices, it also has helped to significantly transform the delivery of care in the future.

“MSSNY has been working with a number of different health care advocacy groups in support of legislation that would help to make permanent some of these temporary changes, as well as ensure ‘payment parity’ for delivery of care via Telehealth.  Read Joint Telehealth Letter

“We look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature on ensuring fair coverage for Telehealth services.”

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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
Communications / Marketing
Medical Society of the State of New York
865 Merrick Ave.
Westbury, New York
516-488-6100 ext 302
rraia@mssny.org

 

Medical Society of New York (MSSNY) Welcomes Governor Cuomo’s Efforts to Expand Telehealth Services in New York

or Immediate Release
January 11, 2021

Medical Society of New York (MSSNY) Welcomes Governor Cuomo’s Efforts to Expand Telehealth Services in New York 

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

“The physician community welcomes efforts announced by the Governor to expand Telehealth coverage in 2021. The Governor and state agencies took very important steps during the pandemic to help facilitate the ability of patients to receive needed treatment virtually from their physicians. This was not only an important lifeline for these patients and for these practices, it also has helped to significantly transform the delivery of care in the future. MSSNY has been working with a number of different health care advocacy groups in support of legislation that would help to make permanent some of these temporary changes, as well as ensure ‘payment parity’ for delivery of care via Telehealth (http://www.mssnyenews.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Joint-Telehealth-Letter-FINAL-2021-01-07-18_47_15-1.pdf)

“We look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature on ensuring fair coverage for Telehealth services.”

# # #

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
Communications / Marketing
Medical Society of the State of New York
865 Merrick Ave.
Westbury, New York
516-488-6100 ext 302
rraia@mssny.org

 

Docs Upset by Nixing Due Process When Patients Make Unproven Allegations

For Immediate Release
January 10, 2021

 

Docs Upset by Nixing Due Process When Patients
Make Unproven Allegations

 

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

“It is stunning that after a year of physicians working on the front lines in every region of the State responding to the pandemic – in which many physicians themselves became very sick and some even passed away – that they are again faced with the proposal to eliminate essential due process rights when a complaint has been filed against them with the Office of Professional Medical Conduct.  When a similar proposal was advanced last year in the Executive Budget, we highlighted that very few complaints filed with the disciplinary board (roughly 2-3%) actually result in a disciplinary action.

“We remain committed to working with the Governor and the New York State Department of Health to protect our patients through maintaining a strong disciplinary process and addressing identified gaps. However, we remain extremely concerned with overbroad measures that hold serious potential to unfairly destroy a physician’s career through the release of allegations that have not been proven yet could remain easily “searchable” on the internet forever.”

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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
Communications / Marketing
Medical Society of the State of New York
865 Merrick Ave.
Westbury, New York
516-488-6100 ext 302
rraia@mssny.org

 

MSSNY Stands Ready to Support NYS in COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Effort  

For Immediate Release  


MSSNY Stands Ready to Support NYS in COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Effort
 


January 4, 2021, Westbury, NY
—Governor Cuomo’s call today to better ensure the full distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to physicians and other front-line health workers was welcome news to physicians throughout the state, as today marks the first day community-based physicians and their patient-facing staff are eligible to be immunized according to the New York State guidance.

“Community-based physicians and their front-line staff are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine based on the NYS Department of Health guidance.  We have received several hundred emails and telephone calls from these physicians asking where they and their staff should go to be immunized,” said Bonnie Litvack, President of the Medical Society of the State of New York. “Many physicians understandably want the vaccine for themselves and their staff as they are on the front-lines testing and treating patients who may have COVID-19.   We are hopeful that today’s announcement will better ensure that hospitals with vaccine supplies will be further communicating with the physicians and other health care workers in the communities they collectively serve.”

Dr. Litvack added: “Additionally, many community-based practices are willing and able to assist in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to not only patients, but other smaller practices.  Many of these practices are proven vaccinators and already conduct various flu clinics. Ensuring we can reverse the pandemic and return to some sense of ‘normalcy’ will be a significant team effort, and MSSNY stands ready to support the state in this massive distribution effort.”   

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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
Communications / Marketing
Medical Society of the State of New York
865 Merrick Ave.
Westbury, New York
516-488-6100 ext 302 
rraia@mssny.org

Year End COVID Package – Congressional Hits and Misses

For Immediate Release
December 22, 2020 

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

Year End COVID-19 Package: Congressional Hits and Misses

“The end-of-year package agreed to by Congress contains some positive measures, including a new round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program that assisted many community-based physician practices on the verge of closure earlier this year due to historic drops in patient visits.   Also important are provisions to ensure the continued ability to deduct certain essential business expenses for those who receive these loans, and provisions to help reduce though not eliminate the very steep Medicare cuts countless physicians will face for delivering health care services to their patients in 2021.

“Regarding the surprise medical billing dispute resolution component of this package, we have long supported efforts to add additional federal protections to help prevent patients from receiving these unexpected bills.  However, while the final version contains slight improvements from earlier versions, it does not address our fundamental concern we have repeatedly raised that the dispute resolution mechanism to resolve insurer-physician differences is greatly tilted in favor of health insurance companies.  Health insurers will be permitted to present data as to the appropriate cost of the health care services while physicians for all practical purposes will not be permitted to offer their own data.

“This is grossly unfair, and inconsistent with New York’s far more balanced approach to addressing surprise medical bills for patients insured under state-regulated plans. With this new, even greater leverage, we are very concerned that health insurers will take advantage to dramatically cut payments for their network participating physicians at a time when community physician practices are already at the edge of extinction due to a variety of factors.  More forced employment arrangements are inevitable, furthering reducing competition in health care delivery and driving up costs.

“We thank the efforts of the many members of the New York Congressional Delegation who have worked diligently to improve many of these provisions from earlier versions. However, the bottom line remains that this year-end Congressional package does as much harm as good to our front-line physicians who have put their health and their families’ health at risk this year to ensure their patients receive the care they need.”

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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
Communications / Marketing
Medical Society of the State of New York
865 Merrick Ave.
Westbury, New York
516-488-6100 ext 302 
rraia@mssny.org

 

MSSNY Statement on US Congressional Committees’ Surprise Billing Agreement  

For Immediate Release
December 14, 2020

 

MSSNY Statement on US Congressional Committees’ Surprise Billing Agreement
“Agreement is Giveaway to Enormously Profitable Insurance Companies and is at the Expense of Community Physicians on the Front Lines Delivering Patient Care During Pandemic” 

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

“Let’s be clear. The new House-Senate committees’ surprise billing legislative agreement is a flat-out giveaway to already enormously profitable insurance companies at the expense of community physicians on the front lines during the pandemic.

“If this proposal were to be enacted, it will reduce patient choice in New York by compelling even more private practice physicians into forced employment arrangements. We are disappointed that Congress did not look to New York’s well-regarded surprise medical bill law as a model of balance. Instead, they chose a methodology for resolving surprise bills that is designed to tip the scales grossly in favor of insurance companies and empower them to further squeeze patient care physicians at a time when many physicians are also about to absorb huge Medicare cuts.

“Indeed, the CBO estimates that most of the so-called savings from this surprise bill proposal would come from cuts insurance companies would impose of network participating physicians, not out-of-network physicians. The end result will inevitably be greatly reduced access to care for our patients.

“So, as the year-end nears, instead of a thank you to the hundreds of thousands of physicians across the country who have put their own lives and the lives of their families at risk, Congress is giving these physicians a giant lump of coal. We continue to urge that Congress take action to protect patients from surprise medical bills, but this proposal is way off the mark.

“MSSNY urges Congress to go back to the drawing board and develop a more balanced proposal. Our health care safety net depends upon it.”

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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

Communications / Marketing
Medical Society of the State of New York
865 Merrick Ave.
Westbury, New York
516-488-6100 ext 302 
rraia@mssny.org

 

MSSNY Statement on FDA Approval of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

For Immediate Release
December 10, 2020 

MSSNY Statement on FDA Approval of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

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

“Today, the world took an important step forward in changing the face of the COVID-19 pandemic with the approval of the Pfizer vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration.  This vaccine, along with the others that are in the pipeline, will save countless lives in the United States.   The Medical Society of the State of New York welcomes and appreciates the FDA emergency use authorization for this vaccine and the science that has made this vaccine a reality. MSSNY and its physicians are committed to ensuring that all New Yorkers are immunized against this deadly virus.  Throughout the years, vaccines have saved lives and we are confident that the COVID-19 vaccines will help us end this pandemic.”

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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

Communications / Marketing
Medical Society of the State of New York
865 Merrick Ave.
Westbury, New York
516-488-6100 ext 302
rraia@mssny.org

MSSNY Applauds Senator Gillibrand for Joining Bi-Partisan Letter to Senate Leaders Urging Congress to Pass Legislation to Prevent Physician Medicare Cuts

For Immediate Release
December 8, 2020


MSSNY Applauds Senator Gillibrand for Joining Bi-Partisan Letter

to Senate Leaders Urging Congress to Pass Legislation
to Prevent Physician Medicare Cuts

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

“MSSNY thanks Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for joining on to a bi-partisan letter to US Senate Majority Leader McConnell and US Senate Minority Leader Schumer urging Congress to pass legislation to help prevent steep cuts to Medicare physician payment for 2021 that would undoubtedly cause significant access to care issues for our seniors and exacerbate already enormous practice challenges arising from the pandemic. The cuts are the result of a statutory ‘budget neutrality’ rule that requires that any increases in Medicare payments must be offset by corresponding decreases. The letter notes, importantly, the Senators’ support for other changes to the 2021 Medicare payment rule that would provide long overdue payment increases for primary care and other office-based services.

“We also thank the many other members of New York’s Congressional delegation who joined their colleagues in a similar bi-partisan letter to House Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy urging that these steep cuts be prevented. The New York Congressional members—both Democrats and Republicans—that signed the letter include Representatives Brindisi, Clarke, Delgado, Jacobs, Katko, S.P. Maloney, Meeks, Morelle, Reed, Rice, Stefanik, Suozzi, and Tonko.

“We completely agree with the assessment of the Senate letter that ‘Health care professionals across the spectrum are reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 emergency as they continue to serve patients during this global pandemic. The payment cuts finalized by CMS would pose a threat to providers and their patients under any circumstances, but during a pandemic the impact is even more profound.’

“We urge Congress to take action in the next few weeks to prevent these cuts.”

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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
Communications / Marketing
Medical Society of the State of New York
865 Merrick Ave.
Westbury, New York
516-488-6100 ext 302
rraia@mssny.org

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