MSSNY eNews: March 19, 2021 – We’ve Been Heard – Now Let’s Keep It Going

We’ve Been Heard – Now Let’s Keep It Going


The Assembly and Senate proposed their one-house budgets this week and for the most part recommended the rejection of the numerous problematic proposals that we lobbied against on Physician Advocacy Day earlier this month, at a joint NYS legislative budget hearing and for the last several months through our grassroots network.

This was a very important step forward, and is the result of our collective advocacy including extensive physician grassroots and advocacy by our government relations team.  However, there is more work to be done as the Legislature begins negotiations with the Governor’s office towards adoption of a final Budget in 12 days.  Because there is no guarantee that the recommendations of the Assembly and Senate are what will be carried through during difficult Budget negotiations, please continue your grassroots advocacy here and from the specific links below.

Here are the One-House Budget Highlights:

  • The Assembly and Senate both rejected the $51 million cut to the Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance program and the proposed 50% physician cost share. You can continue to send letters/tweets here.
  • The Assembly and Senate both rejected the “OPMC Modernization Act” provisions from the Executive Budget that would substantially reduce physician due process rights. You can continue to send letters/tweets here.
  • The Assembly entirely rejected the pharmacy scope expansion provisions and the Senate rejected the proposals to greatly expand the physician-pharmacy Collaborative Drug Therapy program and pharmacist self-ordering of lab tests, but mostly accepted the proposal to expand the immunizations by pharmacists.
    You can continue to send letters/tweets here.
  • The Senate proposed restoring the proposed cuts to the Committee on Physician Health (CPH)
  • Both the Assembly and Senate rejected the proposal to eliminate the right of prescribers to apply for a year-to-year waiver of e-prescribing requirements.
  • Both the Assembly and Senate rejected the proposal to eliminate Medicaid Prescriber Prevails provisions.
  • The Assembly rejected almost all of the Executive Budget telehealth proposal except for a provision that expands the locations where telehealth services can be provided.  The Senate accepted the Governor’s telehealth Budget proposal, but added language requiring payment parity.
  • Only the Assembly included the Governor’s proposal to extend the existing modified nurse practitioner independent practice statute for another 6 years.
  • Both the Senate and the Assembly rejected the 1% across the board Medicaid cut.

When the House of Medicine stands together, our voice is strong, our message resonates and much is accomplished.  We need to keep up the volume until the 3-way budget negotiations with the Governor are finalized. Thank you to all that have taken the time out of your busy days and practices to contribute to the chorus. Make sure to sign up for MSSNY Grass Roots Alerts by texting MSSNY to 52886 so that you can take action quickly and easily.

Bonnie Litvack, MD
MSSNY President

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Assembly, Senate Advance One-House Budget Proposals that Would Reject Many Problematic Budget Proposals; Conference Committees Begin
This week, both the Assembly and the Senate passed their respective “one-House” Budget recommendations setting the stage for 3-way negotiations with the Governor’s office to complete a State Budget before the April 1 deadline.   Below is an initial summary of the most pressing Budget issues where MSSNY has been advocating.

While the actions of the Assembly and Senate represent significantly positive developments, it is imperative that physicians continue their extensive grassroots efforts on these issues as the State Budget is finalized over the next 2 weeks.

Excess Insurance
Both the Assembly and Senate Budget proposals rejected the $51 million cut to the Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance program and 50% physician cost share imposition that had been proposed in the Executive Budget. Physicians can send a letter to legislators urging that they continue to fight to prevent this cut from being included in the Budget:  (Click Here)

OPMC Changes
The Assembly Budget proposal rejected the “OPMC Modernization Act” provisions from the Executive Budget in its entirety including several provisions that would substantially curtail physician due process rights when a complaint has been filed against them with the OPMC.

The Senate Budget proposal rejected most of the “OPMC Modernization Act” provisions including all the proposed reductions to physician due process but left in “non-OPMC” components that would:

  • Require new applicants for licensure to undergo criminal background checks
  • Require physicians to include on their NYS Physician profile updates office hours, whether accepting new patients, and health plan participation information (which would be based upon information already publicly available at another DOH website that is based upon information provided by the health plan)

Physicians can send a letter urging the Legislature to continue to fight to preserve due process protections for physicians and rejecting these seriously unfair proposed changes: (Click Here)

Pharmacy Scope
The Assembly Budget proposal rejected in its entirety the pharmacy scope expansion provisions from the Executive Budget proposal.

The Senate Budget proposal rejected Executive Budget proposals to greatly expand the physician-pharmacy Collaborative Drug Therapy program and pharmacist ordering of lab tests for patients without coordination with a physician, but mostly accepted the proposal to expand the immunizations that can be performed by pharmacists.

Please urge your legislators to continue to fight to reject these short-sighted proposals that would empower big box chains at the expense of community-based physician medical homes: (Click Here)

Committee for Physicians Health
The Senate Budget proposal restored the nearly $200,000 cut that had been proposed to CPH in the Executive Budget.  While the Assembly Budget proposal did not affirmatively restore the cut, there have been indications that they will support the restoration of this cut.

E-Prescribing Waivers
Both the Assembly and Senate Budget proposals rejected the Executive Budget proposal to eliminate the right of prescribers to apply for a year-to-year waiver of e-prescribing requirements.

Medicaid “Prescriber Prevails”
Both the Assembly and Senate Budget proposals rejected the Executive Budget proposal to remove the statutory protection for the prescriber’s determination (not State Medicaid’s) to prevail for a medication prescribed to a patient covered by Medicaid.

The Assembly Budget proposal rejected almost all of the Executive Budget telehealth Budget proposal except for a provision that expands the locations where telehealth services can be provided.

The Senate accepted the Governor’s telehealth Budget proposal, but added language supported by MSSNY that would require payment parity for telehealth services as compared to in-person services.

Nurse Practitioner Collaborative Practice
The Assembly Budget proposal included the Governor’s proposal to extend the existing modified nurse practitioner independent practice statute for another 6 years.  The Senate Budget proposal did not include these provisions.

Expanded “De-Credentialing” of Physicians/Providers Under No-Fault Insurance
Both the Assembly and Senate rejected the Governor’s Budget proposal.

Medicaid Cuts
Both the Senate and the Assembly rejected the 1% Across the Board Medicaid cut.

Recreational Use Marijuana
This was excluded from both one-House Budget proposals, but a separate bill is currently under extensive 3-way negotiation. (DIVISION OF GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS)

NYS Congressional Delegation Leads Push Urging the Biden Administration to Include Physicians in Vaccination Effort Following Meetings with MSSNY
Following meetings by MSSNY physician leadership with members of the NY Congressional Delegation, the delegation is leading an effort to urge the Biden Administration to include physicians in the COVID 19 vaccination effort.  

MSSNY advocated for the delegation to collectively urge for the inclusion of office-based physicians into the national COVID-19 vaccine administration plan in order to address demographic gaps in access to the vaccine, and to combat existing hesitancy to receiving the shots across urban, suburban, and rural areas.  MSSNY believes that community-based physicians are uniquely situated to address these concerns, are trusted by their patients and have always play a pivotal role administering the flu vaccine and other vaccines.  The announcement by New York Rep. Paul Tonko, Rep. Grace Meng, and Rep. Adriano Espaillat can be viewed at this link: Click Here

MSSNY has also been working with other state medical societies to urge federal action.  Joining in the statement were the: Connecticut State Medical Society, Massachusetts Medical Society, Medical Society of New Jersey, Pennsylvania Medical Society, and the Ohio State Medical Association. (Click Here)  This week, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced that ambulatory physician offices will be added to the team of groups giving the coronavirus vaccine. (Click Here)          (CLANCY, AUSTER)

NYS Continues to Expand Eligibility for COVID-19 Vaccine
On March 17, 2021 New York State expanded eligibility criteria for vaccinations to include March 17th public-facing government and public employees, not-for-profit workers who provide public-facing services to New Yorkers in need, and essential in-person public-facing building service workers and providers of essential building services.   Additionally, enrolled vaccine providers other than pharmacies, may vaccinate any eligible individual. The March 17 guidance is here: Click Here.

MSSNY has been working closely with the state to get vaccine supply to community physician offices and several physician practices around the state may receive an allocation of vaccine supply shortly.  Physician practices should also be in touch with their local health departments who are authorized to reallocate a portion of their supply to physician practices. According to the NYS Department of Health there are 1,609 medical practices enrolled in the state vaccination program and this represents 22,943 staff; 6,287,392 patients (of which 29% are 60+) and requests for approximately requests for 187,147 doses. Physicians who would like to become a COVID-19 immunizer, will need to enroll into either the NYSIIS or CIR systems. Physicians can find information about enrolling here: Click Here.

Effective immediately, providers in receipt of COVID-19 vaccine, irrespective as to whether such doses are via a direct State or federal allocation or a redistribution, will now be required to report to the vaccine tracker on Mondays and Thursdays by 10 am.  All providers with COVID -19 vaccine doses on hand or that depleted their allocation since their last report are now required to fill out the vaccine tracker both days. This reporting will continue to be used for allocation determinations and is still required. Click Here.

Physicians and patients can determine eligibility by going to Click Here.

President Biden has announced that he will be directing all states, tribes, and territories to make all adults, people 18 and over, eligible to be vaccinated no later than May 1 and has also indicated the federal government is working to increase the supply of vaccine.  Twelve states are expanding eligibility to COVID-19 vaccines earlier than planned for every adult, accelerating the biggest such campaign in the country’s history and making long strides toward President Joe Biden’s May 1 deadline for eligibility.  (CLANCY)

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NYS Supreme Court, Appellate Division Third Judicial Department Affirms Dismissal of Challenge to the NYS Law Ensuring Medical Contraindications Exemptions Only for Vaccinations
The New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department this week affirmed the dismissal of the challenge to the New York State Legislature’s passage of a law to eliminate religious exemptions for vaccinations.   Plaintiffs had raised a number of constitutional challenges, and the case was originally brought in 2019 to the Supreme Court who also dismissed it.

The American Medical Association, the Medical Society of the State of New York, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the New York State American Academy of Pediatrics, as amici curiae in support of New York State and the law, and offered their conclusion that eliminating religious exemptions is in the best interest of public health.  This brief is cited several times in the decision.

In 2019, the Medical Society led the fight to advocate for allowing only medical exemptions to be a reason not to be immunized.   MSSNY was joined by 46 public health and patient advocacy organizations in this effort and this dismissal is a huge victory for public health.  A copy of the decision can be found at:  Click Here.     (CLANCY)

Bill to Repeal COVID Immunity Protections Advancing – Contact Your Legislators to Oppose
Legislation (S.5177) to repeal the COVID liability protections provided to physicians and other care providers enacted as part of last year’s State Budget has advanced to the Senate floor and could be voted on at any time. Physicians are urged to continue to contact their legislators (Click Here)  to oppose efforts to remove these important protections.

The same-as legislation (A.3397) recently passed the Assembly. In a state notorious for its already hostile liability climate, these protections enacted by the Governor and the Legislature last year were absolutely essential for hospitals, physicians and other care providers to build the capacity necessary to treat an unending stream of Covid patients during the height of the pandemic.

Many groups including MSSNY have written to legislators to oppose this legislation and to highlight the importance of maintaining these protections for the duration of the public health emergency given that New York continues to have thousands of new Covid cases every day and an increasing penetration of more easily spread variants.

MSSNY has also raised concerns with the possibility that S.5177/A.3397 could be interpreted by a court to retroactively repeal these essential liability protections for care provided during the height of the pandemic when there were not clear medical protocols for Covid treatment and when many non-COVID health care services were required to be postponed.  At the same time, it should be noted there were comments made by several Assemblymembers during the floor debate on the legislation when it was passed by the NYS Assembly that the “effective date” language means that the repeal provisions would only apply prospectively, in other words, for acts or omissions after the date the bill was signed into law, if it were to be passed by the Senate and signed by the Governor. (AUSTER)

MSSNY Working to Secure Telehealth Expansion in FY 2022 Budget While Preserving Patient Access to their Physicians
As noted above, the Assembly and Senate released their one house budget bills this week, with both including some components on Telehealth expansion. The Assembly plan rejected mostly all of the Executive Budget’s Telehealth proposal, with the exception of a provision that expands the locations where Telehealth services can be provided. The Senate, however, accepted the Executive’s Telehealth full, but added language supported by MSSNY, that would require payment for Telehealth services that is on par with in-person visits.

MSSNY is supportive of efforts to include expansion of Telehealth services through the budget and is working with legislative staff to address our significant concerns with the Telehealth proposal that was advanced in the Executive Budget, and to include strong language in the final FY 2022 budget that creates a comprehensive set of Telehealth policies that creates access to care for patients.  MSSNY has sent to the Legislature its recommendations on these various Budget proposals including its request:

  • That the Interstate Compact provisions be deleted from any Telehealth Budget language;
  • Language be added to ensure that health insurers cannot exclude coverage for telehealth services delivered by physicians that are participating in that health plan for providing in-person services; and
  • “Payment parity” be required for services delivered via telehealth, similar to the provisions set forth in S.5505 (Rivera)/A.6256 (Gottfried).

The Governor and legislature must agree on a new budget by April 1st and MSSNY will provide updates as negotiations go forward.    (CARY)

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New York Health Act Re-Introduced
Legislation to create a single payor system in New York was recently re-introduced in the New York State Assembly and NYS Senate (A.6058, Gottfried/S.5474, Rivera). The bill has 79 co-sponsors in the Assembly and 33 co-sponsors in the Senate.

Previous iterations of the bill passed the Assembly from 2015-2018.    MSSNY continues to have a long-standing policy position in support of a multi-payor system to achieve universal coverage and in opposition to a single payor system, but also recognizes that there is a wide array of physician perspectives on this issue.  Indeed, this position has been regularly debated at the MSSNY annual House of Delegates meeting.  MSSNY has repeatedly stated that it looks forward to continued open dialogue and careful evaluation of the likely “real world” impact of such a far-reaching proposal to ensure that New York moves forward in a manner that ensures that patients’ access to needed care from the physician of their choice is not impaired.

MSSNY has also noted in public statements and testimony that there have been meaningful improvements to the legislation based upon comments from physician groups, including MSSNY and the New York County Medical Society (including this statement from 2019 – Click Here).  This year’s version has been revised to require the Commissioner of Health to consider “usual and customary rates” maintained by Fair Health as part of the development of a payment schedule for this program, in response to concerns that State Budget constraints could force this system to use grossly inadequate Medicaid rates as the model for payment.  The legislation had also been amended from previous versions to limit the use of prior authorization on care delivery and to provide a fairer process to negotiate payments for patient care.

There will likely be extensive discussions on this far-reaching proposal after the State Budget is enacted, and MSSNY will continue to provide updates to its members as these discussions progress.                                                                     (AUSTER)

MSSNY Joins Patient Advocates to Examine Impact of Step Therapy Reforms
This week, MSSNY joined with several patient advocacy organizations for a meeting with staff at the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) raising concerns that some New York health plans may not be complying with the important step therapy reform law that passed the Legislature and enacted in 2016.

Step Therapy, also known as “fail first”, is a policy used by insurers to “control costs”, that requires patients to try and fail on one or more drugs prescribed by their physicians, before an insurer will provide coverage for the originally prescribed treatment. Step therapy protocols can also lead to serious health consequences and increased costs for patients. MSSNY was a key player among the many groups that worked to pass the law in 2016, which set forth a number of criteria under which a health plan must grant a step therapy override request based upon information submitted by the patient’s physician (for more info, see here: Step Therapy New Law (

A recent survey by the advocacy group Aimed Alliance indicated that there are situations where patients are still facing challenges of having to “fail first” on certain medications that treat serious health conditions, despite the protections under New York’s law.   If you have examples of health plans not following the law, or you know of other physicians who have had issues, please contact to share details.

The group is planning on having future discussions a and we will provide updates as they happen.                                              (CARY)

House Passes Bill to Prevent 2% Medicare Sequester Cut; Senate Activity Uncertain
The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating to many — physically, emotionally, and financially – and physicians are no exception. And while the number of Americans getting vaccinated is encouraging, there is still deep concern that persistently high COVID-19 rates will continue to stress the entire health care system, especially physician practices.

Congress recognized early on during the pandemic the severe financial strain facing our health care system and provided a much-needed reprieve from the 2% Medicare payment sequester through the remainder of 2020. Realizing the severity of the situation Congress again extended the sequester moratorium until March 31, 2021.  However, if Congress doesn’t act by March 31, the Medicare payment sequester will take effect, triggering a devastating cut for physician practices across the country, many of which are already strained to the breaking point.

Today, legislation was passed 246-175 by the US House of Representatives (HR 1868) that among other provisions would protect physician practices by extending the current Medicare sequester moratorium beyond the March 31 deadline.  MSSNY thanks the 25 of 27 New York’s Congressional delegation members representing both parties who voted in favor of the legislation (only Rep. Zeldin and Rep. Reed voted against the legislation). However, it is unclear what the Senate will do.  Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer supports the legislation but several Representatives and Senators have raised objections over the cost of this legislation as it relates to the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill enacted a few weeks ago.   Please remain alert for further updates.       (AUSTER)                               

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Registration Now Open – Veterans Matters: Military Culture: Everything Physicians Need to Know about Veterans as Patients Webinar

Thursday, April 22nd @ 7:30 am

The Medical Society of the State of New York is hosting a Continuing Medical Education (CME) program entitled Veterans Matters: Military Culture: Everything Physicians Need to Know about Veterans as Patients live webinar on Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 7:30 am.

Click HERE to register for the program! View the program flyer HERE

When:                 April 22, 2021 at 7:30 am
Faculty:               Lt. Colonel Lance Allen Wang (Ret.) & Sharran Chambers-Murphy, Desert Storm-era Veteran

Educational Objectives:

  • Describe the unique aspects of military culture and how they impact patients who are veterans;
  • Explain the Dwyer Peer-to-Peer program as a resource to assist veteran patients re-acclimating from a group to an individual mentality; and
  • Review and identify resources to improve physician’s ability to fully treat veterans who are transitioning back to civilian life

For more information, contact Jangmu Sherpa at or call (518) 465-8085

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.

MSSNY Medical Matters Program on the History of Coronavirus

Registration now open
Medical Matters: Three Coronaviruses in Three Decades
Date: March 24, 2021 @ 7:30am 

Did you know that since 2003 there have been three coronavirus outbreaks?  Learn more about the epidemiology and evolution of coronaviruses by registering for Medical Matters: Three Coronaviruses in Three Decades. This webinar will take place on Wednesday March 24th at 7:30 am.  Stephen Morse, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology at the Columbia University Medical Center and Director of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Certificate Program at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health will serve as faculty for this program.  Click here to register for this webinar.

Educational objectives

  • Identify three different coronaviruses and the epidemiology specific to each one;
  • Discuss SARS-CoV-2 in relation to other coronaviruses; and
  • Evaluate the circumstances that contributed to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

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. (Hoffman)

If You or Someone You Know is Struggling With Everyday Life Stressors, Reach Out to The P2P Program to Be Connected With a Peer Supporter to Help!
Email: and request that you be connected with a peer supporter

Phone: 1-844-P2P-PEER (1-844-727-7337) and request that you be connected with a peer supporter

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 stressors. MSSNY’s Physician Wellness and Resiliency Committee launched a Peer 2 Peer (P2P) program to assist their colleagues who are in need of help in dealing with work and family stressors. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the emotional issues related to this event, may also be troubling for our colleagues.

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 when needed. MSSNY has nearly 50 trained peer supporters across NYS who are just a phone call away!                                               (Lauder)

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UHC’s Optum Pay
UHC introduced a new product called Optum Pay.  This product has two components.  Optum Pay Basic Portal Access and Optum Pay Premium Portal Access. Originally, under the Basic option, plan remittance advice notices would be available for viewing for 30 days. The Basic option is provided for free.  Under the Premium option, remittance advice notices would be available for a longer period of time, would be downloadable and would cost the practice .5% of payments made to the practice.

For more information about the original versions of Optum Pay Portal Access, please see the attached.

Due a large outcry from physicians, UHC agreed to provide enhancements to the Basic option.  Please see this link which now includes enhancements to the Basic option-

Physicians can now complete an Optum Pay Premium cancellation form and email it to Optum. This cancellation from the Premium option must be emailed to through the end of March without penalty.  Note, the website states that the Basic plan allows access to remittance data for 13 months; but the cancellation form says users will have access for 30 days, only. Based on an additional clarification from UHC, they clarified that the form is old. Basic users will have 13 months of access to remittance data.

New York Hospital Takes $34M Hit from Nearly 2,700 Canceled Surgeries
Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, N.Y., is working to recover revenue lost due to canceled surgeries and lower patient volumes tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 573-bed hospital reported a 6 percent year-over-year decline in emergency department visits in 2020, leading to a revenue drop of $1.5 million, according to Buffalo Business First.

Canceled elective surgeries took a bigger financial toll on the hospital. The suspension of elective procedures last year led to nearly 2,700 canceled surgeries and $34 million in lost revenue, according to the report.

“It is a financial hit for us to have less visits, but the more severe financial hit was lack of surgeries, that is the heart financially of the organization,” Erie County Medical Center President CEO Thomas Quatroche Jr., Ph.D., told Buffalo Business First.

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Deloitte: Six Predictions for Hospitals, Health Systems and Medical Professionals
The national sector leader for Deloitte’s healthcare practice in the U.S. (Tina Wheeler), has written a report outlining trends she expects to emerge or accelerate in healthcare.

Six predictions:

  1. More interest in practicing medicine. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a surge in medical school applications— one that admissions officers link to the example of Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Ms. Wheeler said she expects this increased interest in medicine to continue for people who want to help others.
  2. Medical school students could be more interested in public health. Ms. Wheeler predicts more medical school students could be more interested in job opportunities with public health organizations several years from now. She cited information from the Association of American Medical Colleges showing that some medical schools have already added electives that offer students more of these types of opportunities.
  3. Physicians will likely see their reliance on virtual health grow. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of virtual health. In fact, students at her daughter’s school learned how to interview standardized patients in hospital exam rooms before the pandemic, but they have since seen face-to-face encounters moved to an online platform in response to the public health crisis, said Ms. Wheeler. She predicts physicians will likely need this skill as more care is delivered virtually.
  4. Patients could receive more hospital-level care at home. The COVID-19 pandemic has also resulted in hospitals providing more care in people’s homes. For example, telehealth company Amwell announced its involvement on March 10 in a hospital-at-home care initiative backed by Amazon, Salt Lake City-based Intermountain and St. Louis-based Ascension. Ms. Wheeler said more hospital-level care could be delivered in the home in the future.
  5. Transparent pricing could spur newly engaged digital customers. The CMS price transparency rule requiring hospitals to post their standard charges online took effect Jan. 1. Ms. Wheeler said this could help educate and empower consumers, and newly engaged digital consumers will likely have more influence in healthcare. “The new rules are creating mandates and opportunities for greater data-sharing in the industry,” she wrote. Ms. Wheeler said health plans might specifically find opportunities for greater data-sharing to improve social, economic, and environmental factors that affect health outcomes.
  6. Interoperability will change healthcare interactions: HHS has finalized two interoperability rules issued by ONC and CMS. Ms. Wheeler predicts these rules will change healthcare interactions by meeting empowered consumer needs and supporting consumer choice. She said health plans can spend time understanding how data sharing can help them empower and guide members and improve their healthcare experience.

Open Payments National Provider Call
Thursday March 25, 2020 2:00pm – 3:00pm (ET)


Join the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on March 25, 2020 for an informative session on the Open Payments Program and the upcoming review, dispute, and correction processes.

Reporting entities are currently submitting data to the Open Payments system on payments or transfers of value made to physicians and teaching hospitals during 2020.  Beginning in April, physicians and teaching hospitals have 45 days to review and dispute records attributed to them. CMS will publish the Open Payments Program Year 2020 data and updates to previous program years in June 2021.

During this call, learn about the Open Payments program and how to access the system to review the accuracy of the data submitted about you before it is published on the CMS website.

A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation.


  • Overview of the Open Payments Program
  • Program Timeline
  • Program Roles
  • Registration Process

Target Audience: physicians, teaching hospitals and office staff.

CMS requests that all press inquiries related to this call and the Open Payments program are sent to the CMS press office mailbox at Please include your professional contact information, specific concerns, and your deadline. Note: The Review and Dispute period is targeted to begin on April 1, 2021 and end on May 15, 2021

Please Submit Names of Doctors and Family Members Who Lost Their Lives During COVID-19
Doctors Day is March 30. This year, to honor our physicians and family members who died of COVID-19 in 2020-2021, MSSNY is designing a poster with the names that are submitted. Please send the names to

NYS DOH Informational Message: Monoclonal Antibodies
Monoclonal antibody treatments for Covid19 are no longer being distributed through a state allocation system. There is no shortage in supply of these drugs, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has enough on hand to meet the needs of all treatment facilities. For this reason, these therapies are now available through direct ordering only. All treatment sites meeting EUA requirements must now order Covid19 mAb therapies directly from AmerisourceBergen Corporation (ABC), the drugs’ sole distributor. The products remain free of charge to requesting sites.

HHS will continue to monitor all direct orders and retains the capacity to resume allocation of these and future therapies if needed. Treatment sites should review the direct ordering process guide and place orders directly with ABC at this site.

Please note that in addition to reporting therapeutics data in HHSProtect or the National Healthcare Safety Network, treatment sites wishing to place direct orders will be required to provide ABC with a board of pharmacy license or physician letter of authorization, attest to their designated class of trade, and ensure that product administration will be conducted according to the drugs’ EUAs.

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding the direct order process for COVID-19 monoclonal antibodies, you may contact HHS/ASPR at or ABC at

15 Recent Findings from COVID-19 Related Studies
A number of recent studies have focused on COVID-19 vaccine efficacy, hospitalization trends and variants.

Here are 15 findings from studies published since March 3:

  1. Pfizer said March 11that its COVID-19 vaccine prevented 94 percent of asymptomatic cases, according to an Israeli study.
  2. Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate was 96.4 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 in its phase 3 U.K. trial, the drugmaker announced March 11.
  3. Eli Lilly said on March 10 its COVID-19 antibody cocktail reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by 87 percent during a recent phase 3 study.
  4. GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology said on March 10that their COVID-19 antibody drug was 85 percent effective at reducing virus-related hospitalizations and death in a phase 3 clinical trial.
  5. Despite few hospitalized COVID-19 patients having a bacterial infection, 52 percent of hospitalizations led to at least one antibiotic prescription, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Antibiotic Resistance Project published March 10.
  6. People who have more than five symptoms of COVID-19 during the first week of illness may be more likely to develop prolonged health issues, known as “long COVID-19,” according to a study published March 10 in Nature Medicine.
  7. Patients ages 30 and older infected with the U.K. coronavirus variant had a 64 percent higher death risk than those infected with previously circulating strains, according to a U.K. study published March 10 in The BMJ.
  8. People who received both doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s messenger RNA vaccine and had no symptoms had an 80 percent lower risk of testing positive for COVID-19 compared to those who were unvaccinated, according to research published March 10 in Clinical Infectious Diseases. The findings suggest mRNA vaccines are effective at reducing the risk of asymptomatic infection.
  9. Among 71,491 U.S. adults who were hospitalized with COVID-19, 27.8 percent were overweight and 50.2 percent were obese, according to the CDC’s latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published March 8.
  10. Just 0.025 percent of staff from Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital experienced anaphylaxis after receiving Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, according to a study published March 8 in JAMA.
  11. The COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech was shown to be 95 percent effective in neutralizing a more contagious variant of the novel coronavirus that was discovered in Brazil, according to a study published March 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
  12. Both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines were at least 10 times less effective against a virus variant first found in South Africa in a small study conducted by researchers from Columbia University, Business Insider reported March 8.
  13. In-hospital mortality for COVID-19 patients fell 15 percentage points from March to August 2020, according to a study published March 5 in JAMA Network Open.
  14. Among 152 children hospitalized with COVID-19, 18, or 12 percent, developed acute kidney injury, according to a study published March 3 in Kidney International.
  15. The SARS-CoV-2 virus may more easily bind to the airway cells of people with Type A blood, according to a study published March 3 in Blood Advances. (Becker’s Hospital Review, March 16)

Nassau County Med Society Virtual Event: Women on the Frontlines: Stronger Together March 31st, 2021 from 6-7 PM

You’re invited to a conversation with:

Dr. Susan Bailey, President of the AMA • Dr. Elizabeth Fontana, Neurosurgeon and Chief Resident at New York Presbyterian Hospital • Dr. Bonnie Litvack, President of MSSNY • Dr. Carmen Rodriguez, FACOG, President of the LIJ, Medical Staff Society and Associate Chair of the Long Island Jewish Medical Center – Performance Improvement Coordinating Group • Dr. Aisha Terry, MPH, FACEP, Emergency Physician and Associate Professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Milken Institute School of Public Health and Pandemic Advisor • Dr. Haritha Veeramachaneni, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and recipient of the New York Times’ Super Doctors Rising Stars

In honor of Women’s History Month, we are celebrating women who have been leaders on the frontline during the pandemic. Please register here for our virtual event on Wednesday, March 31st, 2021. For further details or registration assistance, please email or call (516) 832-2300.

Now Accepting Applications: Primary Care First Model Cohort 2
Today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Request for Applications (RFA) for Cohort 2 of the Primary Care First (PCF) Model. Primary care practices in eligible regions are encouraged to apply. Practices that participate in PCF will have flexibility in terms of care delivery and the opportunity to increase practice revenue through performance-based model payments. The deadline for practice applications is April 30, 2021; the deadline for payer applications is May 28, 2021. The PCF Model tests whether the way Medicare pays for advanced primary care—shifting from a fee-for-service to a value-based payment approach—can positively affect the quality of care and reduce total Medicare expenditures. By tying performance-based payment adjustments to health outcomes, the PCF Model seeks to improve advanced primary care for participating practices and patients alike.

What this means for model participants:

  • You have greater independence and can tailor care delivery approaches to meet the special needs of your patients.
  • You have the opportunity to prioritize the doctor-patient relationship.
  • You are supported in offering patients increased access to care, greater engagement in the decision-making process and enhanced care coordination.

Further, participating practices that focus on patients with complex chronic needs receive higher model payments for the care of these patient populations.

PCF Cohort 2 will have five performance years and is scheduled to begin in January 2022. You can access the RFA, practice application, and more information on the PCF Model, on the CMS Primary Care First website.

Webinars for interested applicants will be held in the coming weeks, and will include opportunity for live question and answer:

Introduction to PCF

Become a Primary Care First Payer Partner

Ready, Set, Apply!

MSSNY is Accepting Nominations for the 2020 Albion O. Bernstein, MD Award
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



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 Christina Southard 516-488-6100 x355 • fax 516-488-2188

Soho Rental Office
Two Offices Available for Rent in Established SoHo Primary Care Practice
Newly constructed loft space. Dedicated private waiting area available.  This space is ideal for individual psychiatry, psychology, social work, physical therapy, or acupuncture services. Potential to work with existing Primary Care Practice as a referral source. Centrally located in the heart of SoHo, close to all subways. Available 7 days/week. Contact:

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

For Rent Medical Office 800 2nd Ave, 806
FOR RENT 800 2nd Avenue, 806 – Fully built out Medical office ready for use – reception area; 2 office/ consultation rooms; 4 examination rooms with plumbing; 1 sterilization room or pantry; 1 file/ nurse room, Total 8 rooms. All examination rooms are set up with plumbing and cabinetry.  24/7 doorman/ Elevators. Central location, Grand Central Station, buses Subways. Rent: $65 per Rentable Sq Ft; Sq Ft: 1,482 Rentable; Gross Lease. Showings or video contact Maya – Broker – or mobile 646-258-4460 listing information

800 2nd Ave Lobby800 2nd Ave Hallway

Allergy Practice For Sale, Forest Hills, NY
Founded in 1988, this well-established Single Practitioner Allergy Practice has over 3500 active patients, with very positive patient reviews. The office is only one of a few in the area, but patients are seen from throughout the NYC Metropolitan Area, as well as Long Island. Potential for growth. Centrally located next to major public transportation.  Retirement planned. Lease is assignable. Well-trained, extremely personable staff of three, including a Registered Nurse. Payer mix85% private, 10% Medicare 5% other. Email any questions to:

Two (2) Prime Commercial Spaces
Two (2) affordable office spaces available for immediate occupancy.  Located in Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn,  surrounded by multiple co-ops and private homes.  Space can be viewed at your convenience. Price negotiable. Call: Avi 212-736-3680 ext. 15