MSSNY eNews: April 27, 2022
Are Physicians Prohibited from Responding to Online Patient Reviews?
Numerous websites provide information about clinicians and organizations from which patients seek health care. Some of these sites provide user-submitted reviews about practices and clinicians from patients or members of the public. Unfortunately, patient reviews are not always positive, and can sometimes be negative, inflammatory, or false. Negative or false reviews can adversely, and sometimes seriously, affect a physician, their practice, reputation, and their career. To avoid these potential consequences, physicians may feel compelled to respond to reviews to address concerns or rectify problems but are fearful they will run afoul of the law and patient privacy protections if they do.
Debunking the Myth
There are no federal laws or regulations prohibiting physicians or practices from responding to online patient reviews; however, unlike other businesses that may respond to online reviews in any way they deem appropriate, physicians are limited in what and how they can communicate with a patient reviewer in a public forum.
Acknowledgement of a patient’s relationship with the provider might risk violating patient privacy protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and applicable state laws. It is important to note that HIPAA does not explicitly prohibit physicians from responding to online reviews; physicians are free to respond and contribute to an online review forum, but they must maintain the privacy of the patient’s protected health information (PHI), even if the patient has already revealed personal information. While a patient is free to share any information about their experience in an online forum, physicians are prohibited from disclosing any patient-specific information.
Most, if not all, online review sites have openly published community review guidelines or standards. Physicians and practices do have the option to contact the review sites directly to dispute false or inflammatory reviews, especially if they believe the reviews violate the site’s community standards.
Physicians are encouraged to consider these suggestions when deciding whether and how to respond to online reviews…Read more
Several Categories of Physician Medicaid Fees Increase July 1
Physician Medicaid fees for Evaluation & Management and Medicine CPT codes will be increased to 70% of Medicare, for services July 1, 2022 and after, as announced by the New York State Department of Health during a webinar this week detailing significant changes enacted in the recently enacted 2022-23 State Budget. 2022-23 Executive Budget Briefing and Questions & Answers (ny.gov) Many of these patient services provided by physicians are currently paid at below 50% of Medicaid.
As part of the webinar, the DOH also announced that the enacted Budget also removed the requirement for physicians and other care providers to request DOH to increase beneficiary benefit limits. DOH indicated the reason for the change was to reduce some of the administrative burdens that physicians and other care providers have with the Medicaid program.
The DOH webinar also discussed several other important changes arising from the recently enacted State Budget, including expanded eligibility for the State Essential Plan and increasing eligibility for no-cost Child Health Insurance Plus coverage.
MSSNY’s Dr. Bonnie Litvack Elected American College of Radiology State Government Relations Chair
Congratulations to MSSNY Immediate Past President Dr. Bonnie Litvack, the incoming chair of State Government Relations Committee for the American College of Radiology (ACR). The ACR’s primary purpose is to advance the science of radiology, improve radiologic services to patients, study the socioeconomic aspects of radiology, and encourage continuing education for radiologists. This week, Dr. Litvack moderated a lively session at ACR 2022 Annual Meeting that included ACR Radiology Advocacy Network incoming committee chair Dr. Amy Patel, Kristin Brackemyre Director, PAC and Government Relations at the Public Affairs Council, and Dr. Tilden Childs, the Howard Fleishon Radiology Advocacy Network Advocate of the year and Texas Radiological Society Gold medalist. MSSNY wishes Dr. Litvack success in her newest endeavor.
Questions about Virtual Credit Cards (VCC) & Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)?
Many insurance companies are turning to paying via EFT or VCC. There has been a lot of confusion when it comes to this and what the CMS regulations are. The AMA has set up a tool kit that provides all the information you need to know.
If you have questions about this or any other insurance concern, contact MSSNY’s Director of Physician Payment and Practice, Heather Lopez, at 518.465.8085 X332 | firstname.lastname@example.org
MSSNYPAC at the HOD
MSSNYPAC Chairs Dr. Thomas Lee and Dr. Rose Berkun invite local physicians, medical students, delegates and guests who will be attending the MSSNY House of Delegates or will be in the Tarrytown area on Friday, May 20 from 5pm-6pm to attend the MSSNYPAC membership meeting at the Tarrytown Marriot. We will discuss the recent legislative accomplishments, legislative priorities for the remainder of the 2022 Legislative Session and the essential role MSSNYPAC plays in supporting physician relationships with candidates seeking election or re-election to the NYS Senate, NYS Assembly and statewide offices. Contact Jennifer Wilks at email@example.com or call/text 914-933-7722 for further information or to RSVP. Donate online today at www.mssnypac.org.
Helping Private Practices Navigate Non-Essential Care During COVID-19
The American Medical Association has released updated guidance for private practice physicians navigating the provision of care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The resource emphasizes ways physicians and practices should protect their employees, patients, and visitors while also operating within the constraints of a national healthcare staffing crisis. The guide includes recommendations to review COVID-19 federal and state guidelines to ensure patient and staff safety and to assist in adjusting workflows to support both staff and patients.
Federation Health Equity Exchange May 5
The AMA Federation Health Equity Exchange will be held on May 5 at 3 pm ET. Register Here. In addition to a presentation from Bill Jordan, MD, AMA Health Equity Policy Director, Carla Brathwaite of the American College of Radiology will share their experience with forming the Radiology Health Equity Coalition. There will be time for questions and discussion as well. The intent of these calls is for Federation and AMA staff to share information, learn from each other and foster discussion.
OnBoard: Limited Release – Phase Three Starting Next Week!
The final phase of OnBoard: Limited Release will be available Monday, May 2 and will include Treatment/Testing prior authorization requests.
Phase Three Q&A webinars will be announced soon—so stay tuned!
If you have any general OnBoard questions, email OnBoard@wcb.ny.gov.
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Job Position: Internal Family Medicine Physician please send resumes to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We are offering employment opportunities to Internal or Family Medicine Physicians who are interested in providing high-quality clinical care to our patients in the diverse communities that we serve. As a rapidly growing network, we provide a supportive environment for our physicians to practice medicine
under the guidance of dedicated medical leadership. www.rendrcare.com.
Job Position: Clinical Operations Medical Director in this role, you will provide clinical oversight and help lead our team of providers to assure high standards of care for our patients. The ideal candidate will be dedicated to improving the health of the communities we serve and will be a practicing physician as well as an established medical leader with proven experience improving clinical operations and building strong teams. Please send resumes email@example.com. We are offering leadership opportunities to Physicians who are interested in providing high-quality clinical care to our patients in the diverse communities that we serve. As a rapidly growing network, we provide a supportive environment for our physicians to practice medicine under the guidance of dedicated medical leadership. www.rendrcare.com.