MSSNY eNews: July 16, 2021 – MSSNY Supports the Wellbeing of All Physicians


MSSNY Supports the Wellbeing of All Physicians


When I was informed about the three recent, tragic physician deaths at a NYC hospital, I immediately thought about the vital role MSSNY plays in supporting physicians—and how critical it is for all of us to get the word out to our colleagues about the help MSSNY provides.

MSSNY supports the health and wellbeing of all physicians through our Committee for Physicians Health (CPH)—which was founded in 1974 to provide non-disciplinary, confidential assistance to physicians, residents, medical students, and physicians’ assistants, including stress, substance abuse, and other psychiatric disorders—and more recently, with the addition of MSSNY’s revolutionary Peer to Peer Program.

As physicians, we know all too well the reality of stressors that range from the emotions that arise in the context of patient care to the demanding environment in which we practice medicine. Aside from the stressors in our own lives, I cannot begin to imagine trying to process the reality of three physician deaths in one hospital over a short period of time. How does a physician move on when faced with the loss of a colleague? Sometimes a fellow physician—who understands the unique challenges we routinely face—is best equipped to help.

MSSNY’s Physician Wellness and Resiliency Committee developed the Peer to Peer Program to provide physicians, residents, and medical students a completely confidential and anonymous opportunity to talk with a peer about some of life’s stressors. Under the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) program, 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.

Your membership in MSSNY allows us to support peers in need of support.

Joseph Sellers, MD, FAAP, FACP
MSSNY President.

MSSNY Legislative Podcast
Efforts on Behalf of NYS Physicians Continue into the Summer Months

US Surgeon General Issues Warning About Urgent Threat of Health Misinformation
Earlier this week U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued his first Surgeon General’s Advisory of this Administration to warn the American public about the urgent threat of health misinformation. Health misinformation, including disinformation, have threatened the U.S. response to COVID-19 and continue to prevent Americans from getting vaccinated, prolonging the pandemic and putting lives at risk, and the advisory encourages technology and social media companies to take more responsibility to stop online spread of health misinformation.

“Health misinformation is an urgent threat to public health. It can cause confusion, sow mistrust, and undermine public health efforts, including our ongoing work to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy. “As Surgeon General, my job is to help people stay safe and healthy, and without limiting the spread of health misinformation, American lives are at risk. From the tech and social media companies who must do more to address the spread on their platforms, to all of us identifying and avoiding sharing misinformation, tackling this challenge will require an all-of-society approach, but it is critical for the long-term health of our nation.”

Learn more and access the full advisory here.

Check with Your Legal Counsel Whether You Are Required to Follow Federal or State Employee Protection Standards
Physician offices should consult with their legal counsel to determine if they are required to comply with the recent federal OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) rules for protecting employees from airborne Covid-19 transmission or instead required to comply with newly enacted state requirements for all employers who are not subject to federal rules.

MSSNY’s General Counsel law firm, Garfunkel Wild, recently prepared an alert OSHA Issues Emergency Rules For Healthcare Employers And Updated Guidance For All Employers | Garfunkel Wild, that provided a summary of the requirements for the OSHA ETS.  The alert notes that exempted from compliance with the OSHA ETS are “employers performing healthcare services on an outpatient basis in a non-hospital setting, if non-employees are screened prior to entry and people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not permitted to enter.”

However, employers that are exempt from the OSHA ETS must establish an airborne infectious disease plan required by New York State for all employers. The New York State Department of Labor (NY DOL) recently put forth model forms for all New York employers to adopt NY HERO Act | Department of Labor. The law requires all employers regardless of size to have extensive new workplace health and safety protections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The statute requires that employers adopt a safety plan within 30 days of the Department of Labor posting the model forms (August 5).  After adopting a plan, the employer is required to share the safety plan with employees within 30 days.

Importantly, MSSNY has received clarification from the NY DOL that “the standard published by the Department provides that it does not apply to ‘Any employee within the coverage of a temporary or permanent standard adopted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration setting forth applicable standards regarding COVID-19 and/or airborne infectious agents and diseases.’  As such, employers within the coverage of the current OSHA ETS (which is currently limited to healthcare) are not currently required to take action or adopt a plan pursuant to the NY HERO Act.”

Therefore, whether a physician’s office is required to follow the federal OSHA ETS or the NY DOL standard may vary from office to office.  For example, a primary care practice that treats patients with suspected Covid-19 would likely be required to comply with the federal OSHA standard, but an orthopedic practice that instructs all patients with suspected Covid to not enter the office may not be required to follow the federal standard but instead be required to comply with the state standard.

Again, physicians should consult with their legal counsel for how best to ensure their offices comply with these state or federal requirements.

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Do You Know an Outstanding Physician?
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

Workers Compensation Proposes Rule to Formally Cover Telehealth; In-Person Treatment Required for Every Third Clinical Encounter
The New York Workers Compensation Board has proposed a regulation to formally permit the Workers Compensation program to cover health care services to injured workers delivered via telehealth.  Among the key components of the proposed regulation for covering telehealth services:

  • Every third clinical encounter must be an in-person assessment by the treating medical provider.
  • The medical provider who provided treatment and care at the initial clinical encounter must also provide the treatment and care at any telehealth clinical encounter.
  • When subsequent medical treatment and care will be performed by a medical provider other than the medical provider who treated at the initial clinical encounter, the subsequent treating medical provider must have an in-person clinical encounter with the claimant prior to providing medical treatment and care via telehealth, and thereafter every third clinical encounter with that subsequent treating provider must be an in-person clinical encounter.
  • Telehealth is not permissible for services administered by physical therapists, occupational therapists, acupuncturists, and chiropractors.
  • Permanency evaluations may not be performed via telehealth.

For more information, please review the proposed regulations here: Proposed Amendment of 12 NYCRR 325-1.13 (Telehealth)Comments can be sent to until September 12.

MSSNY Immediate Past President Bonnie Litvack, MD Discusses COVID-19 Vaccines with CNYCentral
Following is an excerpt from MSSNY Immediate Past President and member of the state’s vaccine task force Bonnie Litvack, MD’s interview with CNYCentral about COVID-19 vaccines:

“The state has told us they’re getting out of the vaccine business,” said Dr. Bonnie Litvack, the immediate past president of the New York State Medical Society.

Dr. Litvack is a member of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine task force. She said while the state will be prepared to reignite mass vaccination sites should they become necessary, so far, the plan would be to make your local pediatrician or pharmacy the place to go for a booster.

“The last discussions that we’ve had on that, is that vaccines would go back to the normal process of getting vaccines. Which would be through your doctor’s offices and pharmacies as you normally get your normal shots and booster shots,” said Dr. Litvack.

Health professionals like Dr. Litvack are urging New Yorkers to get vaccinated. In Onondaga County, just under 60% of the county’s entire population is fully vaccinated. Anyone without a vaccine is still vulnerable, especially to the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus.

“If you are unvaccinated, you are vulnerable to it. In communities that have high numbers of unvaccinated people, the community is vulnerable,” said Dr. Litvack.

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Take the Survey on the NYS Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement’s New Morphine Milligram Equivalents Calculator
NYS Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement (BNE) has recently developed a Morphine Milligram Equivalents (MME) Calculator, which is located on the New York State PMP (NYSPMP). They also developed a web-based survey to gather input from PMP users regarding anticipated use of the NYSPMP MME Calculator.

BNE is seeking MSSNY assistance in getting information on the use of the calculator.  The survey offers an opportunity for feedback from NYSPMP users in a format that will only take 10-15 minutes. The survey is available now and can be found by going to this link:

The following QR code may be more convenient for some PMP users:

QR code for a survey

In addition to distributing the survey link, it would be helpful if you could include the attached document (Accessing the New York State Morphine Milligram Equivalents Calculator.pdf) to help PMP users locate the calculator, if they are not already aware of its location.

If you have questions, contact:

For help locating the calculator, click Accessing the New York State Morphine Milligram Equivalents Calculator.

New York State Opioid Prevention Program’s Opioid Annual Report
The New York State – Opioid Annual Data Report, 2020 contains data on deaths, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations involving opioid overdoses, as well as data on opioid prescribing, admissions to substance use disorder treatment programs for heroin and other opioids, and on naloxone administration encounters.

Data-to-Action Reports:

These Data-to-Action Reports are short communications on important topics that provide specific opioid-related data to mobilize public health action. Reports include key messages, quick facts describing the topics, figures illustrating relevant data, language describing recommendations, evidence-based approaches, and suggested actions and resources.

Opioid Data Dashboard: In addition, the Opioid Surveillance Data Dashboard application was updated on the NYSDOH website. This dashboard makes opioid-related data easily accessible to health officials and the public, and displays data for opioid indicators interactively at both state and county levels. The dashboard is designed to be a key resource for enhancing the utilization of opioid surveillance data, and assisting in the response to the opioid crisis.

The reports are available on the opioid data webpage ( on the NYSDOH website.

If you have questions and feedback, contact

2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule
As reported earlier this week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the proposed rule for the 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule.  The AMA report to state medical societies noted that, while it will analyze and develop a summary of the 1,700+ page proposal, it is important to highlight that the 2022 Medicare conversion factor would be reduced by approximately 3.75% from $34.8931 to $33.5848. This is largely a result of the expiration of a 3.75% increase to the conversion factor at the end of calendar year 2021, as enacted by Congress to prevent what otherwise would have been a devastating cut to many physicians in their Medicare payments.

Working together with the AMA and the federation of medicine, MSSNY will strongly advocate that Congress avert this significant cut and extend the 3.75% increase for 2022. Please note that the impact table in the proposed rule does not seem to include the 3.75% reduction in the conversion factor.

Access the proposed rule (PDF).

Additional resources:

Click here to view the AMA specialty impact table.

Classified Ads Available for:

Physicians’ search services • allied medical placements • locum tenens • practice valuation • practice brokerage • practice consulting • real estate

For help, information or to place your ad, call Roseann Raia at 516-488-6100 ext. 302 

For the MSSNY 2021 Ad Rate Sheet, please click here.

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.

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