MSSNY eNews: June 16, 2021 – MSSNY Press Statement: New York State Reaches 70 Percent Adult COVID-19 Immunization


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MSSNY Press Statement: New York State Reaches 70 Percent Adult COVID-19 Immunization
Governor’s Vaccine Distribution and Implementation Task Force Member and NYS Medical Society Immediate Past President Bonnie L. Litvack, MD, Reflects on Reaching Important Milestone and Calls for Continued Vaccination Efforts

Statement from Bonnie Litvack, MD
Immediate Past President, Medical Society of the State of New York
Member, Governor’s Vaccine Distribution and Implementation Task Force 

“As of today, 70 percent of the adult population in New York have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. As we hit this important milestone, I am reminded of the resilience, the resolve, and the forbearance of my fellow New Yorkers. We were once at the epicenter of the pandemic and now—in true New York fashion—we have pulled together, stayed strong, and achieved 70 percent immunity.

“When Governor Cuomo established the Vaccine Distribution and Implementation Task Force in September 2020 to advise and set up operations for the state’s COVID-19 vaccination program, it was my hope—and that of the entire Task Force—that we would one day achieve this important milestone.

“But the fight is not over. My hope going forward is that as cases continue to decrease, more New Yorkers will see what can happen when we work together to get vaccinated.

“As variants increase, it is more important than ever for every eligible citizen to roll up their sleeves—and get the COVID-19 vaccination.”

Statement from Joseph Sellers, MD
President, Medical Society of the State of New York
“I am extraordinarily proud of my colleague, Dr. Bonnie Litvack, for the important work she has done as a member of the Governor’s Vaccine Distribution and Implementation Task Force,” said MSSNY President Dr. Joseph Sellers. “I know that her hard work will continue as we aim to get 100 percent of New Yorkers fully vaccinated.”

Press Coverage:
Politico New York (6/15, Young) reports, “The Medical Society of the State of New York touted the vaccination milestone as a reminder of New York’s resiliency.” In a statement, MSSNY immediate past president Bonnie L. Litvack, MD, who is a member of Cuomo’s Vaccine Distribution and Implementation Task Force, said: “We were once at the epicenter of the pandemic and now – in true New York fashion – we have pulled together, stayed strong, and achieved 70 percent immunity.”

Democrat & Chronicle/USA TODAY Network’s Atlantic Group (6/15, Spector)
New York lifts most COVID restrictions as vaccination rate hits 70%
“Bonnie Litvack, past president of the state Medical Society who served on Cuomo’s vaccine task force, said New Yorkers’ resolve should continue.

“The fight is not over,” she said in a statement.

“My hope going forward is that as cases continue to decrease, more New Yorkers will see what can happen when we work together to get vaccinated. As variants increase, it is more important than ever for every eligible citizen to roll up their sleeves—and get the COVID-19 vaccination.”

AMA Survey Shows Over 96% of Doctors Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19
The American Medical Association (AMA)’s recent survey (PDF) among practicing physicians finds that more than 96 percent of surveyed U.S. physicians have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, with no significant difference in vaccination rates across regions. Of the physicians who are not yet vaccinated, an additional 45 percent do plan to get vaccinated.

The national AMA survey is the first to specifically collect data on practicing physicians’ COVID-19 vaccination rates. The survey was conducted June 3–8 and showed an increase of more than 20 percent for physicians who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 compared to a May 2021 Medscape poll.

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Medicare Increases Payments for at Home COVID-19 Vaccination
With an estimated 1.6 million persons 65 and older who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 because of difficulty leaving home, the Biden Administration announced that, in addition to the current payment amount, Medicare will pay an additional amount of $35 per dose for administering the vaccine in the home for certain Medicare patients that have difficulties leaving their homes. The change was made effective June 8.  Medicare will pay the $35 amount in addition to the standard administration amount (approximately $40 per dose), for a total payment of approximately $75 for a single-dose vaccine or $150 for both doses of a 2-dose vaccine. Medicare will also geographically adjust the additional amount and administration rate based on where the vaccine is administered.  For more information: Vaccination administration in the home.

Shelf Life Extended for Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine
On June 10, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) authorized an extension of the shelf life for the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen single-shot COVID-19 vaccine (J&J vaccine) from 3 months to 4.5 months (an additional 6 weeks). The decision is based on data from ongoing stability assessment studies, which have demonstrated that the vaccine is stable at 4.5 months when refrigerated at temperatures of 36 – 46 degrees Fahrenheit (2 – 8 degrees Celsius).

Vaccine providers that have J&J vaccine in storage should visit and enter the lot number to confirm the latest expiration dates of vaccine, including those currently available for administration throughout the U.S. This extension applies to refrigerated vials of J&J COVID-19 vaccine that have been held in accordance with the manufacturer’s storage conditions.

Mark the vials and carton with the new date displayed and also update the date in the NYSIIS or CIR inventory module.  If you have vaccine in storage that expired prior to June 10, 2021, those vials should be disposed of as medical waste and reported as wastage in NYSIIS/CIR (see NYSIIS wastage reporting guidance here and NYCIR here.

COVID-19 vaccines that are authorized under an EUA do not have fixed expiration dates, and their expiration dates may be extended as the FDA receives and reviews additional stability data.  Please be sure to check the manufacturer’s website to obtain the most up-to-date expiration dates for COVID-19 vaccines you have on hand.

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Join CareClix on June 23 @ Noon for an 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:

  • Messaging
  • Scheduling
  • Appointments
  • Provider Dashboard
  • Virtual Waiting Room
  • 3rd Party Invite
  • Account Settings
  • Setting Up Clinic
  • Setting up Fee and Specialties

Time and Financial Costs for Physician Practices to Participate in the Medicare Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)
The MIPS track of the Medicare Quality Payment Program influences payment for more than 1 million physicians annually. There is growing concern that MIPS increases administrative burden, and little is known about what it costs physician practices to participate. Research published by the Physicians Foundation examines this issue using interviews from December 2019 to June 2020 with leaders of 30 physician practices across the U.S.

  • An average of $12,811 was spent per-physician to participate in MIPS in 2019; small and medium primary care practices had mean per-physician costs of $18,466 and $13,631, respectively.
  • Physicians and administrators spent more than 200 hours per physician on MIPS-related activities.
  • Physician time accounted for the greatest proportion of overall MIPS-related costs with a mean cost of $6,909.
  • Average MIPS-related costs were substantial, totaling $1,111 per physician.

JAMA Network | May 2021 Click here to view the full report.

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New York City / New York State COVID-19 Vaccination Program Enrollment

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

There is a New York State Department of Health website that discusses the COVID-19 Vaccine COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine ( and information can also be obtained on the CDC website: Healthcare Professionals: Preparing for COVID-19 Vaccination (

This week, the Governor issued a new Executive Order No. 202.82 that permits licensed physicians and certified nurse practitioner to issue non-patient specific orders for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine to nurses, physician assistants, special assistants, pharmacists and other persons authorized by the commissioner.  The executive order also waives the consent provision for those persons 19 years or older from having their vaccine data entered into the New York State Immunizations Information System (NYSIIS).  This provision was the consent procedure for all immunizations.

Additionally, the Executive Order specifies that the administration of a COVID-19 or Influenza vaccination is required to be reported to the NYSIIS or CIR systems within 24 hours regardless of the patient’s age.  Recognizing that many physicians who regularly provide influenza immunizations to their adult patients are not currently connected to the NYSIIS system, MSSNY has raised concerns to the NYSDOH and has urged that this requirement be reconsidered.

For those private practices who are becoming a COVID-19 vaccine provider, there is information that must be communicated to the patient or their caregiver prior to them receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and includes an explanation of the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).  This form is titled the “Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers” and can be download at .  The New York State Department of Health has indicated that there is no specific written consent form required, however, an informed consent process is required for the patient to understand the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and the risks and benefits of vaccination.  This may be performed verbally or by using a consent form and the NYS DOH will provide a sample consent form for use in health settings should health care providers choose to use a consent form. That form is not yet available.

New York City COVID-19 Vaccination Program Enrollment

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is now enrolling private practices, independent pharmacies and other facilities that will immunize adults in the NYC COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

Click on the links below to review the letter and instructions on how to sign the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement in the online Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR):

For questions, please call the Provider Access Line at 1-866-692-3641 or email Periodic updates will be sent to keep you informed and the COVID-19 vaccine webpage will be updated.

New York State COVID-19 Vaccination Program Enrollment

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) is now enrolling healthcare provider practices (outside of New York City’s five boroughs) in the NYSDOH COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

Practices (outside NYC) interested in administering COVID-19 vaccine when the vaccine becomes available to their group must enroll in the NYSDOH program to be ready to order and receive publicly supplied COVID-19 vaccine and ancillary supplies.

Please review the following attached documentation and complete the online COVID-19 vaccine enrollment application located in the Health Commerce System by Friday, December 18, 2020.

Send questions regarding the NYSDOH enrollment process to:

Vaccine Update from MSSNY President Bonnie Litvack, MD

Dear Colleague:

This pandemic has stretched the capabilities of every single American, indeed every citizen of the world. The financial and economic fall-out, the mental, emotional, and physical toll every one of us has felt for the last eight months has been immense. Recovery may take many years. Everyone is weary and everyone is exhausted.

But there is one thing I know: physicians are resilient and have proven time and again that they will take care of patients day in and day out without fail, because that is who we are and that is what our profession is all about.

Over the last week there have been many phone calls and emails from physicians with concerns that they will not be immunized for COVID-19.

The reality is that all physicians and other healthcare workers are considered in the 1a vaccination group and will be offered vaccination before the next phase of vaccination begins. However, at the moment vaccine is still in short supply and only about 50,000 or so have been vaccinated to date in NY.

In the next week or so the state is expecting 5-600,000 doses and those will all go to the 1a category. There are 2 million people in the 1a group. The hope is over the next month or so that NYS will get enough vaccine to vaccinate the 1a group, which includes physicians and office staff that have patient contact.

Regional hubs have been assigned throughout the state and those hubs are currently developing the plans with the local health departments on how the vaccine will be distributed in their areas. Each region is supposed to be using an algorithm to decide who gets the vaccine first within the 1a group; that algorithm factors in work exposure as well as personal risk factors. The hubs will reach out to the non-hospital affiliated doctors when vaccine is available for them and their staffs. They are counting on our help to distribute the vaccine. We are hoping to have the contact information for each regional hub shortly and will provide you with that information.

The regional hubs are: Greater New York Hospital Association for New York City; Northwell Health System for Long Island; Westchester Medical Center for Mid-Hudson; Albany Medical Center for Capital Region; Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital for the North Country; Mohawk Medical Center for the Mohawk Valley; United Health Systems for the Southern Tier; SUNY Upstate Medical Center for Central New York; University of Rochester Medical Center for Finger Lakes; Catholic Health System for Western New York.

This country is soon to embark on a mass immunization and all physicians will again be called upon to help in the effort. We urge you to be an advocate for COVID-19 immunization by becoming immunized, and encouraging your staff and colleagues to do the same. Recommend immunization to your patients and consider being a COVID-19 immunizer.

Information on this process can be found here.

The good news today is the national purchase of vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech for delivery in the second quarter of 2021. With this new purchase, our patients will be able to receive the vaccine earlier. While I wish there was an adequate supply of vaccine available immediately for all physicians and other healthcare workers, unfortunately, that is not the case. However, please know that there is a NYS plan and community physicians with and without hospital affiliation are included and will be vaccinated in the priority group.

Thank you for all that you have done and will do. I sincerely wish you a wonderful holiday season and look forward to a better New York.

Warmest regards,

Bonnie Litvack, MD
President, Medical Society of the State of New York