MSSNY eNews: August 13, 2021


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Interested in Participating in MSSNY’s Telehealth Initiative?


Telemedicine is undoubtedly here to stay. Many physicians who had limited experience with telemedicine prior to the COVID pandemic quickly learned to adapt to it. And we’ve discovered how helpful it is in many different situations, including monitoring our patients with chronic conditions and reaching populations who may have difficulty with transportation and access like the elderly, disabled, and underserved populations. Access to mental health care has improved in many locations with chronic shortages of physicians and therapists.

The key, in my opinion, is integrating telemedicine into physician practices so that those patients who benefit more from in person visits still have that option.

I am pleased to announce that MSSNY will be helping physicians provide the best use of these tools for extending access to our patients with our new telehealth initiative in cooperation with the Physicians’ Foundation and the American Medical Association.  MSSNY is seeking 5-10 physician and/or institutional based practices involved in various stages of telehealth.  This telehealth initiative is a yearlong project and will allow practices to optimize and measure telehealth in all settings. If you are interested in being part of this initiative, please contact Cayla Lauder, MSSNY Program Coordinator, at or Pat Clancy, MSSNY Sr. VP/Managing Director of Public Health and Education, at

As part of the project, MSSNY and the AMA will work together to develop relevant educational content, resources, measurement tools, and evaluation support to help practices with telehealth implementation.  MSSNY, as part of this program, will be part of a national network and support needed to establish and maintain strong relationships with physicians, practices, and health systems interested in implementing, optimizing, or sustaining telehealth. In addition to providing ongoing support, this year’s program will emphasize the importance of realizing the true value of virtual care.

And remember that MSSNY has a telemedicine member benefit partnership with CareClix. MSSNY members receive the discounted rate of $50 per month for the license fee with no start-up costs—for a total of $790 in savings. The CareClix user-friendly HIPPA compliant platform enables physicians to conduct routine virtual visits with patients in any location. CareClix believes that implementing and managing a Chronic Care Management module requires much more than just a traditional telemedicine platform with videoconferencing. To learn more about CareClix:

Joseph Sellers, MD, FAAP, FACP
MSSNY President.

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FDA Authorizes Extra Vaccine Doses for Immunocompromised Patients
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration yesterday amended the emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for both the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to allow for the use of an additional dose in certain immunocompromised individuals, specifically, solid organ transplant recipients or those who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is scheduled to meet today to discuss further clinical recommendations regarding immunocompromised individuals. Today’s action does not apply to people who are not immunocompromised.

“The country has entered yet another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the FDA is especially cognizant that immunocompromised people are particularly at risk for severe disease. After a thorough review of the available data, the FDA determined that this small, vulnerable group may benefit from a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Vaccines,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. “Today’s action allows doctors to boost immunity in certain immunocompromised individuals who need extra protection from COVID-19. As we’ve previously stated, other individuals who are fully vaccinated are adequately protected and do not need an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine at this time. The FDA is actively engaged in a science-based, rigorous process with our federal partners to consider whether an additional dose may be needed in the future.”

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is currently authorized for emergency use in individuals ages 12 and older, and the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine is authorized for emergency use in individuals ages 18 and older. Both vaccines are administered as a series of two shots: the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is administered three weeks apart, and the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine is administered one month apart. The authorizations for these vaccines have been amended to allow for an additional, or third, dose to be administered at least 28 days following the two-dose regimen of the same vaccine to individuals 18 years of age or older (ages 12 or older for Pfizer-BioNTech) who have undergone solid organ transplantation, or who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise.
Read the FDA press announcement in its entirety here.

MSSNY President Dr. Sellers’ Press Interview on Instilling Vaccine Confidence in Patients
MSSNY President Dr. Sellers was interviewed this week by Benita Zahn on Albany’s WNYT for a segment on Health Beat entitled “Getting People Vaccinated.” In a wide-ranging interview, Dr. Sellers talked about many vaccine-related topics, including the issue of combating vaccine misinformation and the important role physicians play in instilling vaccine confidence in patients. Watch the WNYT Health Beat interview with Dr. Sellers here.

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MSSNY Members are Invited to Join the White House Virtual Conversation on Health Systems, Providers, and the COVID-19 Vaccination Effort
The White House COVID-19 Response Team invites MSSNY members to a White House Virtual Conversation on Health Systems, Providers, and the COVID-19 Vaccination Effort. The event is next Wednesday, August 18, from 12:00 – 1:00 PM ET. The event will focus on the significant progress that has been made in activating providers in the vaccination effort, as well as a number of best practices health systems and providers have committed to in order to further increase vaccine confidence and uptake. Click here for a formal PDF invitation with details on the event and a link to view it.

New York’s Individual Health Insurance Market will Increase by 3.7% for 2022
Superintendent of Financial Services Linda A. Lacewell announced today that the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) premiums in New York’s individual health insurance market will increase by 3.7% for 2022. She also announced that, in the small group market, insurers requested premium increases of 14.0% on average, for 2022, which DFS reduced to 7.6%.  Over 1.1 million New Yorkers are enrolled in individual and small group plans. Read August 13 DFS press release here.

New Survey Highlights Importance of Physician Support Systems
The recent 2021 Survey of America’s Physicians, COVID-19 Impact Edition: A Year Later examines how COVID-19 has affected the nation’s physicians more than a year since the start of the pandemic, from increased burnout rates to the continued epidemic of physician suicide.

As the survey reveals the negative effects of COVID-19 on physicians’ wellbeing, the findings also highlight the key role of support systems. Nearly all (89%) physicians cite their family as essential in supporting their wellbeing, followed by friends (82%) and colleagues (71%).

Institutions also provide support in meaningful ways. Fifty-three percent of physicians said their medical practice or group has been helpful to their mental health and wellbeing, while 35% reported similar benefits from their hospital or health system.

Also, more than 70% of physicians indicated they believe a multi-pronged approach needs to be taken to address mental health conditions, burnout, and/or suicide prevention, including confidential therapy, counseling or a support phone line, the availability of peer-to-peer support groups, and evidence-based professional training to prevent burnout, behavioral health conditions, and suicide.

MSSNY’s Peer-to-Peer (P2P) program provides physicians, residents, and medical students the opportunity to talk with a peer about their life stressors.  Physicians may engage in a one-time confidential discussion with a peer supporter—an individual trained to share experiences, listen without judgment, and validate feelings. MSSNY has established a confidential helpline phone number (1-844-P2P-PEER) and an email address ( so that physicians may be connected with a peer 24 hours a day/7 days a week. In addition to offering a trained, empathetic ear, peer supporters may provide information on specific resources that can offer further support, provide positive coping skills, or connect physicians to professionals for more focused assistance. 

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Check Out MSSNY’s CME Website for More than 60 CME Programs
MSSNY’s CME website, offers more than 60 CME programs. Of particular topical interest are the Emergency Preparedness modules on Brucellosis, Glanders, Melioidosis & Tularemia, and the one on Plague.  It was recently announced that a 10-year-old child in Colorado died after contracting plague.  Plague has been reported in six Colorado counties as well as being found in chipmunks in Lake Tahoe, California.  Additionally, recent reports show that melioidosis has been found for the first time in United States soil in Georgia, Kansas, Texas, and Minnesota leaving two dead.  The CDC is recommending that doctors be aware of melioidosis symptoms.  You can learn more about melioidosis and plague at the MSSNY CME site by viewing the Emergency Preparedness CME programs entitled: Brucellosis, Glanders, Melioidosis, and Tularemia and Plague.

View all MSSNY’s timely and relevant CME programs at  Please note that you will need to create an account if you haven’t already done so.

For additional information or assistance with the website contact Melissa Hoffman at

MSSNY’s Bernstein Award Nominations Due September 7
The Medical Society of the State of New York is accepting nominations for the 2020 Albion O. Bernstein, MD Award.  The deadline for applications has been extended to September 7, 2021. This prestigious award is given to:

“…the physician, surgeon or scientist who shall have made the most widely beneficial discovery or developed the most useful method in medicine, surgery or in the prevention of disease in the twelve months prior to December 2020.”

This award was endowed by the late Morris J. Bernstein in memory of his son, a physician who died in an accident while answering a hospital call in November 1940.

The $2,000 award will be presented to the recipient during a MSSNY Council Meeting.

Nominations must be submitted on an official application form and must include the nominator’s narrative description of the significance of the candidate’s achievements as well as the candidate’s curriculum vitae, including a list of publications or other contributions.

To request an application, please contact:

Committee on Continuing Medical Education
Miriam Hardin, PhD, Manager, Continuing Medical Education
Medical Society of the State of New York
99 Washington Avenue, Suite 408
Albany, NY 12210

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Office Space for Lease – Great Neck, NY
Large, fully equipped space available for lease up to 7 days per week. Includes onsite parking and is close to mass transit. Call 516-972-2986 for info.

Rheumatology Practice Opportunity – Great Neck, NY
Opportunity available at an established rheumatology practice in Great Neck, NY. Looking for a dedicated physician to join, share or merge practices. Fully equipped office with onsite parking and proximity to mass transit. Contact 516-972-2986 for more info.

AIDS Institute’s Office of the Medical Director for a Public Health Physician II
Health Research, Inc. (HRI) has a job opening within the AIDS Institute’s Office of the Medical Director for a Public Health Physician II. Please distribute this announcement widely through your networks. Interested individuals can apply for this position through the HRI website.

Medical Office and Medical Practice (Upper East Side)
79th St near Lexington / Park. 750 sq Ft beautiful, street entrance, medical office for sale with a 25 + yr internal medical practice for sale. Office is in move in condition. Physician retiring. Waiting room. Secretarial area for 3. 1 Consult room. 2 exam Rooms 2 Toilets. Please contact: 917-770-8700 / email