MSSNY eNews: June 9, 2021 – Health Organizations Ask Assembly: Help Patients Struggling with Medication Costs
MSSNY Joins Forces with Other Health Organizations to Ask NY Assembly to Help Patients Struggling with Medication Costs
The following press release was issued yesterday by MSSNY and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, NAACP, NYS Bleeding Disorders Coalition, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society:
ALBANY, NY – June 8, 2021 – Health organizations have joined forces to ask the New York Assembly to pass legislation that will help patients be able to pay for the health care they need.
The bill, commonly referred to as the Copay Accumulator bill (S5299 Rivera/A1741 Gottfried), will help patients struggling to pay for their medication. While the legislation passed the Senate earlier this year, the bill has not received a vote in the Assembly.
Some patients rely on financial assistance programs, such as a copay coupon or card, to reduce the cost of their medication. But insurers are using a new tactic – called a copay accumulator adjustment, to undermine these financial assistance programs. Copay accumulator adjustments prevent patients from using a copay card or coupon to cover their out-of-pocket expenses. Under this practice, when a patient uses a copay coupon or card, the health plan receives the payment from the card or coupon, yet the amount of the support provided by the coupon/card does NOT count toward the patient’s maximum out of pocket limit. This legislation would ensure such payments benefit the patient rather than the insurer’s bottom line.
“We need to put patients first. Copay accumulators are unfair for patients,” said American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Senior New York Government Relations Director, Julie Hart. “It’s especially challenging for patients with high deductibles or high copayments. Ten states have now passed laws to stop insurers from using copay accumulators. It’s time for New York to do the same and stop this misleading tactic.”
“Many of our patients rely upon needed medications to help recover from illness or to manage a life-threatening medical condition” stated Joseph Sellers, MD, President of the Medical Society of the State of New York. “With some patients facing significant out of pocket cost-sharing requirements such as high deductibles, health insurer-imposed copay Accumulators have a significant adverse effect upon patients living with chronic conditions like cancer, diabetes, and Multiple Sclerosis, just to name a few. MSSNY strongly supports legislation that would prohibit these co-pay accumulator policies and ensure that third party financial support will help patients to meet the cost of their medications.”
“The New York State Assembly has a choice to make. Putting patients before profits should be an easy choice.” said Lorraine Braithwaite-Harte, Health Chair, NAACP, New York State Conference. “Copay accumulators are just another tactic to shift costs to patients. It’s time for New York to stop this tactic and pass this bill to help keep medications affordable.”
“People with bleeding disorders already struggle to stay healthy. They shouldn’t have to struggle to pay for their medications as well when there’s help available. Accumulators will hurt people and this bill will protect people,” added Bob Graham, Director of Policy for the New York State Bleeding Disorders Coalition.
“MS is an expensive disease to live with and treat, impacting the healthcare system, health plans and of course, families affected by MS. A person with MS spends three times as much out-of-pocket than the average person in employer plans. Until we find real solutions to the challenges in our healthcare system that prevent people from affordably accessing the care and treatments they need, we cannot rip away the band-aids people have come to rely on—like copay assistance programs,” said Jennifer Muthig-Director, Advocacy & Policy National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Department of Financial Services (DFS) Eliminates Cost-Sharing Waiver in Extending Emergency Regulation on Telehealth
DFS recently issued its latest extension of the emergency regulation related to Telehealth coverage for another 30 days, through July 4, 2021. However, with greatly reduced Covid cases, the latest DFS regulation was not a straight extension of current policy as it removes the waiver exempting patients from incurring out-of-pocket expenses including co-pays, coinsurances, and deductibles for in-network Telehealth services. Importantly, however, the regulation does ensure that commercial health insurers must continue to cover for audio-only Telehealth services.
Early on in the pandemic, with the support of MSSNY and many other patient advocacy organizations, DFS and the state Department of Health (DOH), adopted critically important policies to better enable patients to obtain health care services via telemedicine, including waiving cost-sharing requirements for services delivered via telemedicine, expressly permitting coverage for health care services via audio-only, and allowing delivery of telemedicine services through basic smartphone video technologies. Medicare also followed this path, waiving the federal statute that limits Medicare coverage for Telehealth to rural areas and significantly increased the payments for video and audio-only Telehealth services.
Even as a significant portion of the population begins to be immunized against COVID19, public health experts anticipate that it will remain a public health threat for the foreseeable future, making continued access to Telehealth services critical and passage of this important legislation all the more important. Therefore, MSSNY has raised concerns to DFS that it may still be premature to re-instate otherwise applicable patient cost-sharing requirements. Moreover, MSSNY will continue to advocate for measures that remove barriers to patients receiving Telehealth services from their physicians, including fair payments for these services.
Join CareClix on June 23 @ Noon for Overview of Virtual Care Management Program
MSSNY Members receive a discounted rate for implementing CareClix, a virtual telehealth platform that enables you to put your patients first.
Join CareClix for a brief overview of the platform followed by a Q&A session with CareClix’s CEO to answer any questions.
Date: June 23rd, 2021
Time: 12 pm EST
Presenter: Dr. John Korangy, MD, MPH, CEO of CareClix
CareClix’s all-in-one platform lets you deliver an exceptional patient experience that’s convenient for your patients and efficient for you. Allow patients – new and old – to chat straight from your website or mobile app. Increase appointment bookings and capture patient demand 24/7.
Key features that will be demonstrated in the webinar:
- Provider Dashboard
- Virtual Waiting Room
- 3rdParty Invite
- Account Settings
- Setting Up Clinic
- Setting up Fee and Specialties
Dr. Sellers’ Interview with Empire State Weekly on Vaccine Confidence
MSSNY president Dr. Sellers discussed the important role of physicians in instilling vaccine confidence in patients, encouraged parents to vaccinate younger children as they are able, and drove home the point by saying he would make sure his grandchildren get vaccinated when their age group is offered access. Link to full interview.
Summer is Almost Here! Sign Your Children Up for MSSNY’s Virtual Volunteer Homework Assistance
Now is a great time to get your young children ready for the next school year. MSSNY’s Virtual Volunteer Homework Assistance program can keep your kids up to date with their coursework, as well as provide a friendly mentor.
MSSNY’s Women Physicians Committee has homework assistants who can virtually help your school age children maintain their skills over the summer. This is a MSSNY members only program, and our homework assistants are MSSNY members’ children who have volunteered (i.e. not professionals tutors and not vetted). MSSNY is not responsible for scholastic outcomes.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us in which subject(s) your child is in need of support. We will match your child with a helper, and you can then make the arrangements that work best for all.
White House Virtual Town Hall: Primary Care Providers, Health Systems, and the Next Phase of the Vaccination Rollout
The Biden Administration has worked closely with U.S. provider associations, health systems, and state and local health departments to expand the role of primary care providers as COVID-19 vaccinators and as vaccine ambassadors.
The White House Virtual Town Hall event on Friday, June 11 is an opportunity for the Administration to thank primary care providers and health systems for their service to their patients, state, and country throughout the COVID-19 response and vaccine rollout. It will focus on the importance of primary care providers and health systems in further expanding efforts to administer vaccination programs and educate their patients on the vaccine, as well as the tools the federal government is providing to support them. It will also touch on how state and local health departments can help enable vaccinations at primary care provider offices.
The event will feature five conversations with primary care providers, health system leaders, and state health officials on innovative approaches they are taking to patient outreach and implementing vaccination program at primary care provider offices. Each conversation will be chaired by a different public health leader from the Biden Administration: Dr. Fauci, Dr. Walensky, Dr. Murthy, Dr. Nunez-Smith, and Dr. Choucair.
Date: Friday, June 11
Time: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM EST
Please click the following link during the event to attend:
Deadline Approaching to Comment on the ABMS Draft Standards for Continuing Certification
The deadline to comment on the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) “Draft Standards for Continuing Certification – Call for Comments” is approaching. Opened on Tuesday, April 20, the 80-day period to obtain input and feedback from all stakeholders who possess, use, or rely upon board certification will close on Thursday, July 8, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. CT. Feedback received during the open Call for Comments will guide and inform the development of the final Draft Standards for Continuing Certification (“Draft Standards”), which will be considered by the ABMS Board of Directors in October 2021.
The new Draft Standards reflect foundational changes to the manner in which ABMS and its Member Boards deliver on their mission, bringing value to both the profession and the public at large. They were developed after a year of deliberation with key stakeholders in response to the recommendations of the Continuing Board Certification: Vision for the Future Commission as well as of the wider stakeholder community.
Structured to support and provide diplomates with the tools they need to stay current in medical knowledge; the Draft Standards prepare them to address emerging medical and public health issues; and help them identify and address opportunities for practice improvement within the systems in which they work, in a way that enhances relevance and reduces burden. The Draft Standards also address the needs of patients, families, and communities by assuring that board certified diplomates maintain the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver the quality specialty care upon which they rely.
To review and comment on the Draft Standards, visit the Draft Standards for Continuing Certification section on the ABMS Website by 11:59 p.m. CT on Thursday, July 8, 2021. Please feel free to share the “Draft Standards for Continuing Certification – Call for Comments” with your colleagues and others who may have an interest in them and encourage them to share their feedback to ensure that all stakeholder perspectives are considered in the finalization of the standards that will guide the specialty care practice of the future.
Our Profession Needs Our Protection
Physicians commit their lives to healing and helping patients. Preserving the profession of medicine now and into the future is a critical ongoing effort. Assuring patients’ access to needed care and protecting physicians require vigilance and thoughtful strategic action. MSSNYPAC support has helped to secure many victories amidst an unending onslaught of well-funded interest groups attempting to increase their power at the expense of physicians and to the detriment of patient care. The ability to continue to advance and defend physician perspectives and to advocate for our patients requires all NY’s physicians and allies to invest in MSSNYPAC.
Please join MSSNYPAC today. Your contribution works to reduce and eliminate prior authorization hassles and administrative burdens; push back against health insurers and managed care company abuses; reduce frivolous lawsuits, liability costs and continuous attempts to expand liability; and preserve physician-led, team-based healthcare while protecting patients from inappropriate scope expansion. Working together, through MSSNYPAC, we can strengthen the physicians’ voice at the discussion table when healthcare policy is being formed. Join online www.mssnypac.org/contribute or by phone/text 914-933-7722.
Updated COVID-19 Guidance for Hospital Visitation and Non-Hospital Employed Patient Support
In response to the reduced prevalence of COVID-19 in New York State, hospitals must have visitation policies for patients that allow and encourage visitors and patient support persons to spend appropriate amounts of time with patients. This updated guidance supersedes all previous guidance documents on hospital visitation during COVID-19.
Join NYS Department of Health Thursday, June 10th at 1 – 2 PM for COVID-19 Update
NYS DOH will cover the following topics in this webinar: Vaccine, Data, and Excelsior Pass for Healthcare Providers.
To accommodate the large number of participants, the webinar will stream via YouTube Live (and available for viewing immediately thereafter) on the NYSDOH COVID website for providers.
Audio number and code: 844-512-2950 Access code 3946289#
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