MSSNY eNews: February 18, 2022 – Healthcare Worker Booster Requirement Will No Longer Go into Effect February 21
MSSNY is Here to Help Make the Practice of Medicine Easier for Our Members
I’m pleased to announce MSSNY’s newest member benefit, a partnership with Epoch Health Solutions—a healthcare practice revenue cycle consulting and compliance firm that provides physicians with the highest level of professional and personal service. Epoch can identify and resolve your issues by assessing and improving charging and billing operations, coding, documentation, compliance, and third-party contract review and support. They specialize in Medicare, Medicaid and other third-party commercial payer reimbursement.
Epoch offers MSSNY members a 10% discount on its services. When you call the office you will speak directly to a partner—a professional with extensive experience in healthcare consulting. Not only do they answer the phone and emails, but every job is staffed with partners. Contact Epoch at 518-430-1144 or www.EpochHealth.com.
This benefit fits nicely with a valuable existing member benefit—our division of Physician Payment and Practice, which can help with a specific insurance issue. As one MSSNY member told us recently, “Heather Lopez, MSSNY’s Director of Physician Payment & Practice, has an outstanding and diverse knowledge background and has been so instrumental to our practice in providing direction and contacts to help us combat the issues of insurance payment delays due to excessive medical records requests and inappropriate overpayment notices going back years from certain payors. Her response time and knowledge are priceless to any practice and to managers who are fed up and frustrated with the amount of time spent to get through to these companies and get no answers.”
MSSNY is here to make the practice of medicine easier for members, so we can focus on what matters the most—taking care of our patients.
Healthcare Worker Booster Requirement Will No Longer Go into Effect
February 21 In order to avoid potential staffing issues and give healthcare workers more time to get boosted, New York State announced this afternoon that it will no longer enforce the booster requirement set to go into effect on February 21. The State will reassess in three months whether additional steps need to be taken to increase booster rates among the healthcare work force. The original vaccination requirement for healthcare workers remains in effect.
“The vaccine and booster are critical tools to keep both healthcare workers and their patients safe, and we continue to urge everyone to get vaccinated and receive a booster dose when eligible,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “While we are making progress with 75% of staff received or are willing to receive their booster, the reality is that not enough healthcare workers will be boosted by next week’s requirement in order to avoid substantial staffing issues in our already overstressed healthcare system. That is why we are announcing additional efforts to work closely with healthcare facilities and ensure that our healthcare workforce is up to date on their doses.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James Recovers $400,000 for Consumers Unfairly Charged for Expedited COVID-19 Tests
On February 14, 2022, NY AG Letitia James announced that her office recovered more than $400,000 for New Yorkers who paid for expedited COVID-19 tests, but received their results outside the promised timeframe. The press release noted that after AG James sent warning letters to ClearMD Health and Sameday Health, the testing labs refunded consumers who were unfairly charged. ClearMD Health refunded 1,198 consumers more than $182,000 and Sameday Health refunded 3,110 consumers more than $230,000. The companies also corrected their advertising and instructed employees to provide accurate information regarding turnaround times.
AG James launched her investigation into COVID-19 testing sites in December 2021, following reports from New Yorkers who were not receiving test results as promised during the busy holiday season. Since then, AG James has issued eight warning letters to labs and testing companies. The Attorney General is asking consumers to report labs or testing facilities that are making false promises about turnaround times for COVID-19 test results by filing a complaint online with the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau or by calling the office at 1-800-771-7755.
Podcast: MSSNY Physician Leaders Meet With NY’s Congressional Delegation
This week, MSSNY physician leaders, staff and county executives met with NY’s Congressional Delegation to advocate for Medicare access protection and prior authorization reform. Listen to MSSNY’s February 18 podcast as Senior Vice-President & Chief Legislative CounselMoe Auster recaps the meetings.
Micro Masterclasses on Advocacy March 1 and March 3: Register Now!
There is nothing more impactful on your profession and your career than legislative advocacy. Even a small act of advocacy can have a significant impact.
When most people think about legislative advocacy, they think it is a huge time commitment. The truth is that standing up for your profession takes as much or as little time as you want it to. One of the easiest acts of advocacy is a simple call or email to your legislator to share your perspective on an issue that affects you and how you practice medicine.
Sounds like a lot of prep work too, right? Not so. We have put all the resources that you need right at your fingertips. Join us for two lunchtime Micro Masterclasses where we share background on legislative issues and tips on how to make your act of advocacy count.
So, grab your lunch and join us from 12:15 pm to 12:30 pm on Tuesday, March 1, for Check out the Legislative Score and on Thursday, March 3, for Up Your Advocacy Game. To register for Check out the Legislative Score click here and to register for Up Your Advocacy Game click here.
Then register for MSSNY’s Virtual Physician Advocacy Day taking place on March 8, 2022, to hear directly from legislators about the issues affecting physicians and make your voice heard.
Join us for MSSNY’s Virtual Lobby Day on March 8th
The $216 Billion dollar budget proposed by Governor Hochul last month will have a profound impact on all New York physicians. At times like these, it’s more important than ever that leaders in Albany listen to the concerns of physicians. To make their voices heard, physicians should plan to attend MSSNY’s Virtual Lobby Day on Tuesday, March 8th. Register Now!
The format will follow last year’s format, where assembled physicians and allies will hear from legislative leaders in the morning (via Zoom), including:
- Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried
- Senate Health Committee Chair Gustavo Rivera
- Assembly Insurance Committee Chair Kevin Cahill
- Senate Insurance Committee Chair Neil Breslin
- Assembly Majority Leader Crystal People-Stokes
- Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris
- Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt
After the conclusion of the morning program, physicians will have virtual visits with their respective legislators (coordinated by their county medical societies).
In her budget, Governor Hochul articulated support for a number of measures advocated by MSSNY such as: support for telehealth payment parity, significant increases in loan repayment programs for physicians, and increased eligibility for subsidized health insurance coverage for patients. However, she also indicated support for measures where physicians have raised strong concerns, such as: permitting pharmacists to perform dozens of diagnostic lab tests without coordination with the patient’s physician or other treating provider; eliminating statutory collaborative agreement requirements for nurse practitioners to practice in collaboration with a physician; and adding new prior authorization requirements for prescriptions for patients insured by Medicaid.
There are countless other items that will be under discussion this legislative session as well, including further proposals to change scope of practice of various non-physician practitioners, proposals to reduce health insurer prior authorization hassles, and proposals to address various public health threats. We urge all physicians to join their colleagues in advocacy to their legislators to protect access to quality care for their patients.
MSSNY Physician Leaders Meet with New York Congressional Delegation to Protect Access to Physician Care by Medicare Recipients
MSSNY and county medical society physician leaders from across the State joined MSSNY staff in meetings with several members of New York’s Congressional delegation this week. The goal of these meetings was to protect seniors’ access to needed care by preventing future Medicare physician payment cuts and by addressing prior authorization hassles with Medicare Managed Care plans 2022 National Advocacy Conference Action Kit | AMA (ama-assn.org). The meetings were held in conjunction with the AMA’s Virtual National Advocacy Conference. Meetings were held with the offices of US Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, and Representatives Yvette Clarke, Brian Higgins, Chris Jacobs, Joe Morelle, Elise Stefanik, and Paul Tonko.
Participants in the meetings included: MSSNY President Dr. Joseph Sellers, MSSNY President-elect Dr. Parag Mehta, MSSNY Vice-President Dr. Paul Pipia, MSSNY Past-President Dr. Bonnie Litvack, MSSNY Past-President and AMA Board of Trustees member Dr. Tom Madejski, MSSNY HOD Speaker Dr. William Latreille, MSSNYPAC Co-Chair Dr. Rose Berkun, Monroe County Medical Society President Dr. Susan Danahy, MSSNY Councilor Dr. Mark Jajkowski, Erie County Medical Society Treasurer Dr. Stacey Watt, Albany County Medical Society EVP Jon Dougherty, Erie County Medical Society Aimana ElBahtity, and Monroe County Executive Director Lucia Acosta-Castillejo.
Governor Amends Budget Proposal Relating to Excess Liability Coverage
The 30-day amendments to the Governor’s Executive Budget released late last night appears to have removed the requirement for the 17,000 physicians enrolled in the Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance program to pay upfront for coverage and then be reimbursed in 2 yearly
installments. Because MSSNY had strongly opposed this upfront payment requirement, this would be a positive change from the original proposal.
However, of significant concern is that the proposal would continue to break up the payments to the carrier (MLMIC) into 2 yearly installments. This could affect the stability of the program going forward, as it is essential for the stability of New York’s healthcare system given that medical liability verdicts grow each year and New York’s medical liability insurance costs exceed all other states. MSSNY will advocate for the program to continue “as is,” in the absence of comprehensive liability reform, to bring down New York’s excessive liability risks and costs. MSSNY is continuing its assessment of this and other items in the 30-day amendments.
MSSNY Statement in Support of New Bill to Stem Prior Authorizations that Unnecessarily Interfere with Patient Care
On behalf of physicians across New York State, MSSNY thanks Neil Breslin (D-Albany), Chair of the Senate Insurance Committee, for introducing a bill (S.8299) to establish a “Gold Card” program, in which insurers will exempt physicians and other care providers from Prior Authorization requirements if they receive at least 90% approval for prior authorizations for that specific health care treatment. The legislation is similar to a law enacted last year in Texas, which was designed to prevent unnecessary roadblocks to patient care and reward the following of evidence-based treatment guidelines.
“MSSNY is grateful to Senator Breslin for his leadership and support on this important issue,” said MSSNY’s President Dr. Joseph Sellers, MD. “The bill is a new and important part of our ongoing advocacy efforts to confront excessive prior authorization requirements that interfere with patient care delivery and access to the most effective treatments.”
Excessive Prior Authorization hassles continue to be a major impediment to patient care. Last week the American Medical Association released an updated survey which shows that more than 9 in 10 physicians (93%) reported care delays while waiting for health insurers to authorize necessary care, and 82% said patients abandon treatment due to authorization struggles with health insurers. Moreover, more than half (51%) of physicians reported that prior authorization had interfered with a patient’s job responsibilities, and more than one-third (34%) of physicians reported that prior authorization led to a serious adverse event, such as hospitalization, disability, or even death, for a patient in their care.
MSSNY looks forward to continuing its work with Senator Breslin, and others, to advance this bill this session in addition to others (such as A.7129/S.6435) that limit excessive and unnecessary prior authorization requirements.
CDC’s Pain Management Guideline to Be Revamped; MSSNY Seeks Comments
The Centers for Disease Control has begun the process of updating its 2016 CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain and has opened public comment on these guidelines. The American Medical Association (AMA) Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force, and the Medical Society of the State of New York has sought revisions to the guideline. Importantly, in putting forth its review, the CDC stated, “This clinical practice guideline is not: A replacement for clinical judgment or individualized, person-centered care; Intended to be applied as inflexible standards of care across patients, and/or patient populations by healthcare professionals, health systems, pharmacies, third-party payers, or governmental jurisdictions or to lead to the rapid tapering or discontinuation of opioids for patients; A law, regulation, and/or policy that dictates clinical practice or a substitute for FDA-approved labeling.”
The AMA released a statement, that says in part, ”For nearly six years, the AMA has urged (PDF) the CDC to reconsider its problematic guideline on opioid prescriptions that proved devastating for patients with pain. The CDC’s new draft guideline—if followed by policymakers, health insurance companies, and pharmacy chains—provides a path to remove arbitrary prescribing thresholds, restore balance and support comprehensive, compassionate care. The previous guidance has harmed patients with chronic pain, cancer, sickle cell disease, and those in hospice. The restrictive policies also failed patients who are stable on long-term opioid therapy, and it has denied care to post-surgical patients and those with an opioid use disorder. The list of misapplications of the 2016 guideline is long.” The AMA outlined its concerns and recommendations (PDF) in 2016 and 2020 to the CDC.
MSSNY is seeking comments from physicians on the guideline. Comments can be sent to the AMA Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force, Frank Dowling, MD at email@example.com or Pat Clancy, Sr. Vice President, Public Health and Education at firstname.lastname@example.org. The task force will meet next week to discuss the development of additional comments on the guideline.
Please Urge Your Legislators to Protect Physician-Led Team Care
Physicians are urged to continue to contact their Senators and Assemblymembers to oppose an Executive Budget proposal as well as stand-alone legislation (S.3056-A/A.1535-A) that could lead to uncoordinated, siloed care by eliminating statutory requirements for nurse practitioners to maintain collaborative arrangements with a physician practicing in the same specialty. A letter can be sent here.
As part of last year’s State Budget, there was a provision enacted that extended until June 30, 2022, the existing law that permits nurse practitioners with more than 3,600 hours of experience to practice without a written collaborative agreement provided they maintain evidence of “collaborative relationships” with a physician in the same specialty practiced by the NP. The Governor’s Budget proposal would remove the requirement for primary care nurse practitioners with more than 3,600 hours of practice to maintain evidence of collaborative relationships with primary care physicians, and S.3056-A/A.1535-A would remove these requirements entirely.
In an Assembly public hearing last November, and in communications with the Governor’s office, MSSNY raised concerns that the crisis standard of care that led to the waiving of these very important patient protections during the height of the pandemic should not become the general standard of care. These communications highlighted a recent MSSNY survey in which nearly 2/3 of the physician respondents indicated that advanced care practitioners working independently during the pandemic under the Governor’s Executive Orders (waiving physician supervision requirements) had committed an error while treating a patient and 80% indicated that the error could have been prevented had there been physician oversight. Moreover, in a 2021 survey of random New York voters conducted by the American Medical Association, 75% of respondents indicated that it was very important for physicians to be involved in diagnosis and treatment decisions.
Senate Advances Legislation to Provide Protections When Insurers Non-Renew Participation Contracts
The New York State Senate Health Committee this week advanced legislation (S.2528, Rivera) to the Senate floor supported by MSSNY to require health insurers to provide fair appeal rights to physicians whose network participation contract with a health insurer is not renewed. Current statute provides for appeal rights when the contract is terminated, but not for a non-renewal. This legislation is important given the frequency with which some insurers disrupt the continuity of the patient-physician treatment relationship by arbitrarily paring down their networks. Same-as legislation (A.4177, Lavine) is on the Assembly floor.
Are Barriers to Biosimilar Medications Limiting Health Care Cost Savings?
Please Help MSSNY Find Out!
Patients living with chronic or complex diseases have benefited in recent years from innovative biological medicines, which are manufactured from living cells and are highly effective for many patients. Today, there are even more options on the market with “Biosimilars,” which are biological
medicines approved by the FDA as “highly similar” to an original biologic medicine, which work in the same way and have no clinically meaningful difference in safety or efficacy.
Biosimilars may increase treatment options in critical disease areas and have the potential to lower health care costs for patients, states, and insurers. However, the potential of these savings has not yet been realized, and it is important to understand any access barriers that may be contributing factors and if there are policy solutions to explore for greater use of Biosimilars that could generate savings.
Even if you do not prescribe Biosimilars or biological treatments, this is a growing area of medicine, and we value input from all physicians. Please take a couple of minutes to help us learn more about physicians’ experience with these )treatments by taking this survey!
CDC Updates COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Guidance
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its COVID-19 vaccine clinical guidance. A summary of the changes is below:
On January 31, 2022, the FDA approved the licensure of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will be marketed under the brand name Spikevax.
On February 4, 2022, the CDC endorsed the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)’s reaffirmation of its previous recommendations for the use of Moderna (Spikevax) COVID-19 vaccine in persons aged 18 years and older.
On February 11, 2022, the CDC issued updated clinical guidelines for the COVID-19 vaccine for persons who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. This includes:
- Clarification of current recommendations for mRNA vaccine 3-dose primary series and booster dose for a total of 4 doses.
- Shortened interval between the primary series and booster dose from 5 months to 3 months.
- New guidance for those who received Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to receive an additional dose and a booster dose for a total of 3 doses.
- Updated clinical guidelines on administration of COVID-19 vaccines to persons who received passive antibody products as treatment, post-exposure prophylaxis, or pre-exposure prophylaxis of COVID-19.
- Updated clinical guidelines on receiving a booster dose if vaccinated outside of the United States.
- Myocarditis or pericarditis after receipt of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccines is a precaution to future vaccination with a COVID-19 vaccine.
The guidance can be found on MSSNY website.
Registration Now Open – March 16, 2022 @ 7:30am
Medical Matters CME Webinar
Antivirals, Antibodies & Testing
The landscape of treatment options for COVID-19 has been changing throughout the pandemic. Learn more about EUA approved antivirals, developments in monoclonal antibodies, and testing options by registering for “Antivirals, Antibodies & Testing” on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, at 7:30 a.m. William Valenti, MD, chair of MSSNY Infectious Diseases committee will serve as faculty for this program. Register now.
Educational objectives are:
- Examine antiviral treatments for COVID
- Investigate best practices for monoclonal antibodies in treating COVID
- Summarize COVID testing options
Additional information or assistance with registration may be obtained by contacting Melissa Hoffman at email@example.com.
The Medical Society of the State of New York is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
The Medical Society of the State of New York designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Peer to Peer (P2P) Program
The Medical Society of the State of New York now offers to physicians, residents, and medical students a completely confidential and anonymous opportunity to talk with a peer about some of life’s stressors. MSSNY’s Physician Wellness and Resiliency Committee launched a Peer 2 Peer (P2P) program to assist their colleagues who are need of help in dealing with work and family stressors.
MSSNY has established a confidential helpline (1-844-P2P-PEER) and an email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that physicians may be connected with a peer 24/7. 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 when needed. MSSNY has nearly 50 trained peer supporters across NYS who are just a phone call away!
A training session to become a peer supporter will be scheduled for the coming month. If you wish to become a trained peer supporter, please reach out to Cayla Lauder, MPH, Public Health Associate, at email@example.com.
If someone you know is struggling with life stressors, reach out to the P2P program to connect them to a peer supporter!
Email: P2P@mssny.org and request that you be connected with a peer supporter
Classified Ads Available for:
Physicians’ search services • allied medical placements • locum tenens • practice valuation • practice brokerage • practice consulting • real estate
Medical Office Suite for Rent (Downtown, New York City) – Ready to Move In!
On Canal Street, NYC : near Mulberry and Mott Street. Busy area near Subways. In a professional 7day/week concierge building . Office Suite 1002+ sq ft, beautiful & bright w/ five office consult-exam rooms, Spacious waiting and receptionist area, utility room & private restroom. MUST SEE! Please Call for showing at: 917-378-2699 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask for Sammie.
Opportunity: Medical Director- Long Term Care (RiverSpring Living)
The Medical Director is responsible for the quality assurance program for RiverSpring, formerly known as ElderServe Health (a division of Hebrew Home), in the NYC area. This individual will be the most senior level physician in the organization and report directly to the EVP and President of the business. They will work with an interdisciplinary team of administrative and clinical staff who are highly experienced in the care of the frail elderly and disabled individuals to develop care plans and guidelines and assess quality. S/he will chair the Quality Assurance Committee, appoint its members, and set the agenda. In addition, this position provides an exciting opportunity for a forward-thinking physician to build a PACE program and ensure members receive the highest quality care. Internal Medicine, Family Practice, Geriatrics preferred. Please inquire at Lisa.email@example.com.
Rendr- Transforming Healthcare – Leadership Opportunity: Associate Chief Medical Office, SVP of Population Health, Bilingual English and Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese) preferred Job Position: Associate Chief Medical Office, SVP of Population Health in this role, you will lead and provide a wide range of support through population health, quality measures, practice transformation, Rendr360 department, House Calls, and other projects. Please send resumes firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Rendr- Transforming Healthcare – Primary Care Opportunity: Internal or Family Medicine Physician, Bilingual English and Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese)
Job Position: Internal Family Medicine Physician please send resumes to: email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Healthcare Tech Investment Opportunity
Kalypsys (www.heykaly.com) is a healthcare tech startup that integrates patient appointment booking, telemedicine, and practice growth, with additional leveraged, validated, and lucrative revenue sources available downstream. We are a 100% physician-owned and operated company seeking $2.5MM in seed investment via SAFE agreement from the physician community. This is a rare and unique opportunity to invest on the ground floor in a ready-to-launch tech startup in an industry that is ripe for disruption. If you are frustrated with the $35-$110 per booking fee of our competitors, please contact us immediately to review our investor deck! We are also looking for board-certified physicians to add to our growing medical advisory board. Great opportunity to break into the healthcare tech space. Please inquire at email@example.com!
NYS Department of Health is looking for a licensed, board-eligible /board certified physician to serve as the Medical Director for the Medicaid State Disability Review Unit (SDRU). Interested candidates: Submit resume and cover letter preferably in PDF format, to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax to (518) 473-3395 with Reference Code SC/PHP2HS/15223 included in the subject line. View Full Listing