MSSNY eNews: November 25, 2020 – Steps to Become a COVID-19 Distributor



Over the River and Through the Woods
Running through my mind today is the Thanksgiving poem “Over the River and Through the Woods.” Unfortunately, not too many of us will have the privilege of going to Grandmother’s house this year.  It will be a different and strange holiday but the light at the end of the tunnel grows closer with promising vaccine updates released this week from Pfizer and Moderna.

While we can draw some degree of comfort, hope, and relief from the vaccine news, there is still a great deal of work that will need to be done to vaccinate enough people to achieve herd immunity and return to some semblance of normalcy.  Many of you are already involved in the effort and have taken the steps necessary to become COVID-19 vaccine distributors.  However, before we can distribute the vaccine the public needs to be ready, willing and able to receive the vaccine. In fact, in a recent Gallup pool, only approximately 60% of American adults said they were willing to take a coronavirus vaccine.

A non-profit marketing group, the Ad Council, who led a campaign in the 1950s to get people vaccinated against Polio, has recently stepped in to develop a COVID-19 vaccine public education and advertising plan.  As physicians, we will be an integral part of any such plan as we are trusted sources of health information and our patients will be looking to us for advice and to lead the way.

Your Medical Society is conducting a physician survey on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.  This survey is being conducted following media reports that the healthcare workforce and patients may not participate in getting the vaccine.  Please take the survey here.

I wish all of you and your families a safe and healthy Thanksgiving 2020 and hope and pray to be over the river and through the woods next year with family, friends, a large turkey, and lots of pie.

Bonnie Litvack
MSSNY President

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Steps to Become a COVID-19 Vaccine Distributor
The Medical Society of the State of New York is providing you with information on the steps to become a COVID-19 vaccine distributor; it is MSSNY’s understanding that physicians and other healthcare providers and organizations will be receiving information next week from the NYS Department of Health regarding the enrollment process.   The information below is meant to help you begin this process. The following information was obtained from the NYS Department of Health November 19, 2020 webinar regarding steps for physicians to serve as a distributor of COVID 19 vaccine to patients.

Step One: Register for the Immunization Information System

  • Physicians who do not have an account are urged to register in the NYS Immunization Information System (NYSIIS).  Physicians residing in New York City will need to register with the Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR)
  • This is because all COVID-19 Vaccination Program providers (each location submitting a profile) will need a NYSIIS or a CIR account
  • Your practice may currently have a NYSIIS or CIR account, but it is important to review the information so that appropriate staff has access

For health care providers located outside of New York City, take the following steps for new users in NYSIIS-See the Checklist to Go Live with NYSIIS here.

  1. NYSIIS is located on the Health Commerce System. If responsible staff do not yet have an HCS account, they must apply for one.
  2. Take the NYSIIS Administrative User Training located here

New York City physicians should register their practice online in CIR here.

Step Two: Enroll in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program

  • In addition to registering with NYSIIS or CIR, physicians will then need to enroll in the COVID-19 Vaccine Program
  • NYSDOH and NYC DOHMH are implementing a phased approach to provider enrollment and will notify private practice physicians as each new group is opened for enrollment.  MSSNY understands that this will occur for private practicing physicians next week.
  • Providers in NYS, outside of NYC, will enroll in the NYS COVID-19 Vaccination Program through the Health Commerce System.
  • Providers in NYC will enroll in the NYC COVID-19 Vaccination Program through the CIR.
  • Networks with facilities or providers in both NYS and NYC should enroll their facilities or providers outside of NYC in the NYS Covid-19 Vaccination Program through the Health Commerce System and enroll facilities or providers in NYC in the NYC Covid-19 Vaccination Program through the CIR.

Step Three: Ordering, Receiving, and Administering Vaccine

  • When COVID-19 vaccine is available, providers in NYS, outside of NYC, will order Covid-19 Vaccine through NYSII and providers in NYC will order Covid-19 vaccine through the CIR.  Orders will be approved by NYS DOH and shipped directly from the vaccine manufacturer or CDC distributor.
  • When vaccine is available, functions staff perform in NYSIIS or CIR will include monitoring vaccine inventory, entering doses administered and/or performing data exchange (uploading and downloading data) between the provider’s electronic health system and NYSII/CIR; entering vaccine returns and wastage, and generating reports for internal review (e.g. doses administered).

Any questions on this process can be directed to Pat Clancy at

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MSSNY Survey on COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy
The Medical Society of the State of New York is conducting a physician survey on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.  This survey is being conducted following media reports that the healthcare workforce and patients may not participate in getting the vaccine. Please take the survey here.

Notes from Governor Cuomo’s Briefing:
– 5.2% positivity rate in micro-clusters
– 3.04% statewide rate without micro-clusters
– 3.6% statewide rate with micro-clusters
– 173,000 tests conducted yesterday
– 41 fatalities
– 2,982 hospitalizations
– 596  ICU patients
– 277 intubations
– 10 days after Thanksgiving is when a spike will be evident
– Gov. stated experts recommend developing a plan to get through winter months
– Gov. said a plan needs to be developed to keep schools open, particularly
– Gov. noted emergency field hospitals are beginning to open in other states
due to overwhelmed hospital systems
– Gov. will speak with Biden’s COVID advisory team again today to discuss
difficulties with vaccine distribution plan
– 330 million vaccines will be needed, twice
– Gov. reiterated states will need funding to implement vaccine plans
– Gov. discussed need to convince Americans vaccine is safe
– Gov. stressed need to find ways to eliminate disparities for black, brown, and
low-income communities in vaccine administration
– VT, HI, ME are the only states with lower positivity rate than NY
– Other states are much higher than NY, despite less density than NY
– Gov. urged New Yorkers to remain cautious through the holidays
– Gov. reminded that 35% of cases are from pre-symptomatic spread, 24% of
cases are from asymptomatic spread
– Gov. said celebrating holidays is fine, as long as it’s kept within households,
with is in accordance with CDC guidance
– On reports from Monroe County DOH that COVID has not been contact traced to gyms, salons, but those services are closed when an orange zone is designated
– Gov. questioned where spread is reported to be occurring instead, which questioner
responded was living room spread, small gatherings
– Gov. said all experts say restaurants, bars, gyms, home gatherings are where spread
primarily occurs
–  Gov. cited difficulty in enforcement for home gatherings, but argued that restaurants, bars, gyms, salons can be enforced
– DeRosa said services such as those provided at salons, gyms, do not allow for
adequate social distancing
– DeRosa stressed the importance of reducing spread before it gets out of control
– DeRosa explained there is greater community spread with these services, so if
restrictions are not helping enough, closures are needed

– On Erie County progress:
– Gov. said numbers are leveling off, which is an indication restrictions are working
– Gov. stated numbers will continue to be watched through Thanksgiving, 7-10 days
– Gov. added winter plan will add factors to yellow, orange, red zones, such as
hospitalization rate to ensure system is not overwhelmed

– On inconsistencies in micro-cluster approach in closures and how this varies
upstate vs. downstate:
– Gov. said the line will always intersect something, there will always be one area
closed with nearby areas open with this approach
– Rhodes added that this works upstate, sends message that if action is not taken,
more restrictions will be needed
– Gov. emphasized large discrepancies in positivity rate by neighborhoods, said
the focus on individual neighborhoods will “get the attention” of residents, will
improve compliance
– Gov. added this approach is “fairer” than shutting down businesses in entire
regions, this approach could not have been done at the beginning of COVID

On the economy:
– Gov. reiterated federal government needs to pass a stimulus plan
– “The choice cannot be the economy or public health”

On Gov.’s previous comment that Western NY did not see full force of COVID
at start of pandemic:
– Gov. said Western NY was not initially hit as hard as downstate was
– The numbers were so much higher in NYC, so they felt greater intensity
– Gov. noted continuous sirens, emergency cemeteries, refrigerated trucks being
used as morgues
– Gov. said although tragic everywhere, Buffalo did not get impacted the
way NYC did

– On testing in schools in orange and red zones:
– Gov. said part of winter plan is vaccines, testing, hospitalizations, and how to
keep schools K-8 open safely, which would be through continuous testing but testing capacity is needed for that.

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New WC Initiatives
The NYS WCB is moving forward toward electronic claim filing, which is expected to reduce the current paperwork burden.  For more information on this process, please see this link.

In addition, the NYS WCB is making progress toward making the CMS 1500 claim form as the required form for filing Workers’ Compensation claims for injured workers.  More information can be found here.

MSSNY’S Committee on WC and NF Insurance has been supportive of both these initiatives. 

MSSNY’s Peer to Peer (P2P) Program
Last weekend we heard of the suicide death of a physician at North Shore University Hospital. MSSNY has been working with hospital officials to make sure that all personnel have resources available to reach out and get help or speak with a peer if needed.  We have since heard of a death among a resident staff member of Rochester General. Since these tragedies may have impacted many of our colleagues, MSSNY wants to let you know that you are not alone.

The Medical Society of the State of New York offers to physicians, residents, and medical students an opportunity to talk with a peer about some of life 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 now has over 40 peer supporters trained to support their colleagues.

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


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COVID-19 from a Physician-Patient Perspective: CME Webinar
Learn more about the COVID-19 pandemic from the perspective of physicians who have had COVID-19.  Register now for: “COVID-19 from a Physician-Patient Perspectiveon Wednesday December 16, 2020 at 7:30 a.m.  Lorraine Giordano, vice chair of MSSNY Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster/Terrorism Response and Parag Mehta, MD, MSSNY Vice President will serve as faculty for this program. Registration is now open for this webinar here

Educational objectives are:

  • Describe COVID-19 from the perspective of both patient and physician
  • Examine insights gained from experiencing SARS CoV-2 firsthand
  • Identify chronic and acute symptoms that are prominent as a result of experiencing COVID-19 as a patient

Additional information or assistance with registration may be obtained by contacting Melissa Hoffman at

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.

NYS Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS) Fall Newsletter
The NYS Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS) Team has released the latest EDRS Newsletter Fall 2020 issue, which includes Important information on the following:

  • Amendment Supporting documentation and the HCS Secure File Transfer
  • Key EDRS fields for Medical Certifiers to Complete
  • Troubleshooting the dreaded “404 Server Error”
  • …and more!

Review the newsletter, along with other updates, training and resources on the NYS Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Records EDRS website here.

Steps to Physician Wellness and Resiliency Webinar
Steps to Physician Wellness and Resiliency, presented by Frank Dowling, MD, will be held on December 10th from 7:30-8:30 am. This program looks at aspects of physician wellness and discusses depression, suicide, anxiety, and substance use warning signs and when to ask for professional assistance.

Register by clicking here

The educational objectives are:

  • Review the warning signs that stress, depression, anxiety or substance use may impact work or personal life
  • Identify strategies to increase personal empowerment toward making positive change, including self-assessment tools
  • Recognize self-monitoring strategies for stress related problems and know when to seek professional assistance

Please click here to view the flyer for this program.

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. 

If you have questions, please reach out to Cayla Lauder at or Melissa Hoffman at

Veterans Healthcare Training Conference on December 5
The Medical Society of the State of New York, New York State Psychiatric Association and the New York State Chapter of National Association of Social Workers is hosting a joint ½ day virtual conference on Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 8:30 am to 11:30 am.

Register HERE for the program! Click HERE to view the flyer.
View the Agenda 

Educational Objectives:

  • Identify signs and symptoms of mental health responses, including depression, anxiety, PTSD,and suicidal ideation in veteran patients
  • Review relevant statistics related to the veteran population, including their access to and use of healthcare
  • Recognize the importance of primary care specialists and community mental health providers in screening individuals for military service
  • Discuss the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on mental health of veteran patients

Panel 1: 9:15 – 10:10 am.

The Challenges: The Health & Mental Health Issues Facing Veterans & Their Families Amid Pandemic, & Efforts to Address, Including VMHTI.

Keynote Speaker: Joe Geraci, Lt. Colonel, U.S. Army; LMHC
Panelists: Frank Dowling, MD (MSSNY)
Gretchen Foley, MD
Sharon Bailey, Major, USAF (Ret.), LCSW-R.
Invited legislators: Senator Carlucci, Assemblywoman Gunther.

This panel will focus on challenges faced by veterans, related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including factors that exacerbate mental health and substance use disorder, suicidal ideation, and self-medication trends.

The focus of this panel will be to discuss short term impacts that have emerged as a result of COVID-19, as well as longer-term effects of global fear, stress, and isolation, including the re-triggering of Post-Traumatic Stress symptoms.

Speakers will review current statistics related to the pandemic and cultural factors that may cause or heighten anxiety and/or depression symptoms, as well as efforts that have been put in place to address and manage these challenges. Keynote Speaker, Moderator, and Panelists will include Veterans, Physicians, and Mental Health Experts in the Field of Veteran Services.

Panel 2: 10:30 – 11:20 am.

What Has Helped: The Successes, Including Veterans Sharing What Has Made a Difference in Transition, & Clinicians Sharing Best Practices for Identification,
Treatment & Referral.

Panelists: Malene Ingram, MD & Colonel, U.S. Army (MSSNY)

Marianne Goodman, MD
Mike Shurmatz, U.S. Army (Ret.), LMSW
Ben Pomerance, Esq., Deputy Director for Program Development for NYS Division
of Veterans’ Affairs.

Invited Legislators: Senator Brooks, Assemblywoman Barrett

This panel will be a continuation from Panel 1 (The Challenges) and will subsequently focus on what has been most helpful for veterans who have been struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what that brings up for them.

Speakers will discuss what is most effective in terms of improving overall mental health, decreasing anxiety, minimizing substance misuse, and reducing the risk and prevalence of suicide in the veteran community.  Speakers will share what practices have been most effective, as well as what areas to focus on for screening, treatment, and best-fit referrals.

This panel will discuss what has proven to be successful, in order to pave the way for, and build upon, positive outcomes for veterans seeking care. Keynote Speaker, Moderator, and Panelists will include Veterans, Physicians, and Mental Health Experts in the Field of Veteran Services.

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 3.0 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.



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UES Park Avenue Medical Office Space for Rent – One or Two Days a Week
Elegant office space on UES, in Park Avenue doorman building.  Enormous furnished windowed consult room, large exam room and private secretarial area.  Private elevator to office, huge waiting room and all shared office space. One – two days available; ideal for low volume Practitioner of any specialty. Please contact office manager Theresa – 212-288-2171 or via email at

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Dermatology Practice for Sale – Staten Island, NY
Building includes 3 exam rooms, waiting area. Please respond by calling 718-987-3300 or email