MSSNY eNews: November 5, 2021 – 3 Paths to Create Strong Relationships with Physicians
3 Paths to Create Strong Relationships with Physicians
I firmly believe that good communication is the best way to create strong relationships. And I believe that two-way communication between MSSNY and the physician community in New York will help us to build robust relationships that will help our members do what they love to do—practice the art and the science of medicine.
There are many avenues to building these relationships. First, MSSNY leadership is available to attend county medical society or state specialty society meetings and to present at hospital medical staff meetings to keep our colleagues informed about what we are doing for physicians and patients.
Secondly, our communication efforts are instrumental in keeping our members informed on issues uniquely tailored to the physician community. MSSNY has been the go-to resource for many New York physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re a MSSNY member you’re entitled to a subscription to The Daily, a digest of medical and health-related news, which many of our physicians cite as the way they start each weekday. Our bi-weekly eNews is chock-full of public health and legislative information, key regulatory updates, practice tips, studies, and much more. And, finally, our social media platforms are the most immediate way to keep up with important public health and legislative updates as they come in. Please follow MSSNY on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is MSSNY’s political advocacy. We are recognized as the clear voice of New York physicians in Albany and in Washington, DC. Through MSSNY, we all have an opportunity to have our voices heard in the political process. I encourage each of you to get involved with a MSSNY committee or to submit resolutions to our House of Delegates in the Spring where we set MSSNY policy. MSSNY provides a unique opportunity for you to make your voice heard on the matters that matter to you as a New York physician. Start by visiting MSSNY’s Grassroots Action Center.
These are but a few of the paths to building strong relationships. I would love to hear any ideas you have as we continue to work together.
Council Notes: November 4, 2021
- Council approved the following:
- MSSNY President Dr. Joseph Sellers presented:
- MSSNY Executive Vice President Troy J. Oechsner presented:
Biden Administration Issues Rules to Require Health Care Workers to be Vaccinated by January 4
This week, the Biden administration released two rules mandating vaccination in the workplace. The CMS issued an Interim Final Rule (IFR) mandating that health care workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid to be fully vaccinated by January 4th – similar to New York’s requirements for health care workers in facilities regulated by Article 28 of New York’s Public Health Law. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is also issuing an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring employers with 100 or more employees to ensure each of their workers is fully vaccinated or tests for COVID-19 on at least a weekly basis by January 4th.
CMS Rule. The facility types covered by the CMS vaccination requirement are hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, dialysis facilities, home health agencies, and long-term care facilities. The requirement applies to both clinical and non-clinical staff at these facilities, including: employees, students, trainees, and volunteers. Additionally, this also includes individuals who provide care, treatment, or other services for the facility and/or its patients under contract. It also applies to physicians admitting and/or treating patients in a facility. The AMA notes that (similar to the New York State rule implemented earlier year), the requirements do not apply to private physician offices.
OSHA rule Under the OSHA ETS, covered employers will be required to develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy. The AMA notes that, as an alternative to a mandatory vaccination requirement, employers have the option to develop, implement and enforce a policy for employees not fully vaccinated that requires weekly testing and mandatory face coverings while in the workplace. The vaccine mandate applies to all employers under OSHA jurisdiction of at least 100 employees firm- or corporate-wide, but does not include employees who do not report to a workplace where other employees are present. Employers must determine vaccine status of all employees, obtain proof of vaccination from all employees, and maintain records of employee vaccination status. Employers must also provide support for employee vaccination, including at least four hours of paid leave to receive the vaccine, as well as reasonable paid time off for recovery of vaccine side effects. Employees who elect to not receive the vaccination will be subject to weekly testing, but employers are not required to cover those testing expenses. Additionally, all unvaccinated employees will be required to wear a face covering when indoors or occupying a vehicle with other employees.
Doctors Across NY Cycle VIII Applications Now Being Accepted
Doctors Across New York is a state funded initiative enacted in 2008 to help train and place physicians in underserved communities in a variety of settings and specialties to care for New York´s diverse population.
Applications are currently being accepted for the DANY grant from November 3, 2021 until December 22, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. All new awards for this program will require a 3-year service obligation for a maximum amount of $120,000.
For more information and to apply, go to: https://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/doctors/graduate_medical_education/doctors_across_ny/.
For questions, comments, or to be added to the DANY ListServe, contact: Karolyn at DANY2018@health.ny.gov.
Contact Your Representatives of Congress to Prevent Staggering Medicare Cuts in 2022
With CMS announcing its final rule for the 2022 Medicare physician fee schedule this week, physicians are urged to contact their member of Congress to prevent payment cuts approaching 10%. Tell Congress to cancel Medicare cuts today!
While AMA and MSSNY continue to thoroughly analyze the 2400+ page rule, of significant consequence the 2022 Medicare conversion factor will be reduced by approximately 3.75% as a result of the expiration of an increase to the conversion factor enacted by Congress last December. In addition, there is a 2% cut as a result of the scheduled re-implementation of the previously delayed Medicare sequester provisions, and imposition of a 4% Statutory PAYGO sequester resulting from passage of the American Rescue Plan Act. Should lawmakers fail to act, it will result in a cumulative Medicare payment cut of nearly 10%.
Earlier this fall, Reps. Ami Bera, MD (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN) circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter highlighting the financial uncertainty within the Medicare payment system and the dangers facing patient care if Congress fails to enact legislation to prevent this staggering cut. Within a matter of weeks 245 of their colleagues showed their support for fixing the problem of these extreme Medicare cuts by co-signing the letter, including many of the members of the New York Congressional delegation.
The 2022 payment rule also finalized provisions that extend coverage of services that were added to the Medicare telehealth list on an interim basis in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency until the end of 2023 and eliminated geographic barriers, allowing patients in their homes to access telehealth services for diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of mental health disorders. In addition, CMS announced plans to permanently increase payment for immunization administration, beyond COVID vaccines, and relied on information from the AMA and the RUC in developing the improved payment rates. CMS is also moving forward with the first round of seven MIPS Value Pathways (MVPs) that will be available, beginning with the 2023 performance year.
Text of the proposed rule. (Tables 136 and 149 show the specialty by specialty impact of the payment rule).
Are You Feeling Overwhelmed by Chronic Stress? MSSNY’s Peer-to-Peer Program is Here to Help
Stress and burnout among physicians have been well documented for years. The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the public health problem of physician burnout in New York state. Throughout the pandemic, physicians and other health professionals have faced concerns about safety, overworking and feelings of loss.
Without an intervention, it is possible that a high number of physicians over the next few years may develop chronic stress reactions, anger, clinical depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidality.
MSSNY’s P2P program Co-Chairs Dr. Frank Dowling and Dr. Charles Rothberg were interviewed recently about the program. Watch the interview here.
If you wish to become a trained peer supporter, please reach out to Cayla Lauder, Program Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you or someone you know is struggling with everyday life stressors, email P2P@mssny.org or call 1-844-P2P-PEER (1-844-727-7337) to be connected with a peer supporter to help.
COVID Vaccination Program Guidance for Physicians: Vaccination of Children Ages 5-11
Following are links to updated guidance for the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) COVID-19 vaccination program:
- Vaccination of Children Ages 5-11
- Screening Checklist for the Administration of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for Children 5-11 years old
- COVID-19 Immunization Screening and Consent Form
A NYSDOH webinar on Pediatric and Booster vaccines is available here.
Psychosocial and Epidemiological Aspects of Vaccine Hesitancy:
Medical Matters Webinar on November 17
Among eligible individuals, the number of those who are fully vaccinated remains under 60% in the United States. Learn more about both the psychosocial and epidemiological impact of vaccine hesitancy by registering for “Psychosocial and Epidemiological Aspects of Vaccine Hesitancy” on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at 7:30 a.m.
William Valenti, MD, chair of MSSNY Infectious Disease Committee and a member of the Emergency Preparedness and Disaster/Terrorism Response Committee and Craig Katz, MD, vice-chair of the Emergency Preparedness and Disaster/Terrorism Response Committee will serve as faculty for this program.
Educational objectives are:
- Recognize the psychological role of vaccine-positive messaging
- Outline the epidemiological impact of sub-optimal vaccination rates
- Identify social and psychological explanations of vaccine hesitancy
- Illustrate the steps necessary to overcome vaccine hesitancy
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.
MSSNY Joins Patient Advocacy Groups Urging Governor Hochul to Sign legislation to Prevent Mid-year Formulary Changes
MSSNY together other with patient advocacy groups met with Governor Hochul’s office this week to urge that she sign into law legislation (S.4111 Breslin, D- Albany/A.4668 Peoples-Stokes, D- Buffalo), which would protect patients by significantly limit the ability of health insurers to change their prescription drug formularies during the middle of a policy year. The bill passed the Assembly and Senate by overwhelming margins earlier this year.
Physicians can join in the effort to help get this bill enacted by sending a letter to Governor Hochul urging her to limit health insurer and PBM interference in the patient-physician treatment relationship Urge Governor to SIGN two RX bills – Regulating PBMs and Restricting Mid-Year Formulary Changes (p2a.co)
MSSNY recently joined with 65 other physician and patient advocacy organizations in a joint letter to Governor Hochul urging her to sign the legislation to limit mid-year formulary changes. The group letter notes that enactment of this law will help prevent situations where mid-year formulary changes essentially force stable patients to switch from their prescribed medications, to potentially less effective alternatives for non-medical reasons, a move that often leads to complications for those managing debilitating chronic illness. Moreover, data shows that changes in medication unrelated to health outcomes are generally ineffective in achieving any meaningful cost savings and, instead, disrupts the continuity of care, reduces medical adherence, and unnecessarily puts the patient’s health at risk.
Opt-Out Period for NYC Medicare Advantage Plus Plan Extended Until Further Notice: MSSNY Continues to Field Questions from Concerned Physicians
Following negotiations this past summer between municipal unions, and the city of New York, an agreement was reached to transition New York City retirees from their current, traditional Medicare plan to Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. Beneficiaries will have the ability to opt-out of the NYC Medicare Advantage Plus Plan and remain enrolled in their current, traditional Medicare plan. The new plan is being administered by Emblem and Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield and coverage for these enrollees is scheduled to begin January 1, 2022.
However, several entities have filed lawsuits to stop implementation of the new plan including the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees, a group formed to oppose the switch. On October 20th, a state Supreme Court judge rendered a ruling on the case to temporarily prohibit the city and the new insurer — a partnership between EmblemHealth and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield known as the Retiree Health Alliance — from enforcing a planned Oct. 31st deadline for retirees to opt-out of the plan. The NYC Health Benefits Program recently posted a message on its homepage that the opt-out period for the NYC Medicare Advantage Plus Plan is extended until further notice. The judge’s order does not, however, scrap the plan, with the judge writing that he “does not intend to disturb” the city’s choice to team with the Alliance. Retirees can only opt-out of the NYC Medicare Advantage Plus Plan in order to remain in their current retiree health plan.
Many MSSNY members have raised concerns about possible adverse impacts on patients once their new MA coverage becomes effective. To that end, several MSSNY physician leaders met virtually on October 21st with representatives from Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield to discuss questions from physicians regarding the possible impact of the upcoming transition for patient care delivery. The issue was also discussed at the November 4 MSSNY Council meeting. Separately, Kings County Medical Society Past-President, Dr. Donald Moore, testified regarding the potential new prior authorization requirements at a hearing about the issue, that was held on Thursday, October 28th by the New York City Council Committee on Civil Service and Labor.
Given the confusion among retirees, and physicians about what to expect should this coverage be implemented, MSSNY has launched an outreach and educational effort, to provide as much detail as possible over the next two months. Empire and Emblem is developing educational materials for physicians and other providers including webinars and MSSNY will monitor the impact of the new plans, should they be implemented in January, for reports of potential pre-authorization and claims hassles for physicians, and barriers to care for patients.
To view materials provided to MSSNY by Emblem and Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield:
To access a range of other information shared by the NYC Office of Labor Relations:
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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.