As of this week, more than 50 percent of adults in the US have received at least one COVID vaccine dose and as of last week, all New Yorkers age 16 and up are eligible for vaccination. COVID testing in New York shows decreasing positivity rates and the number of COVID hospitalizations and deaths are thankfully declining as well. Hurdles, such as the removal of penalties for not administering the COVID vaccine within seven days, are being removed and vaccine supply has increased.
This is good news indeed, as all of us— physicians, patients, our state, and our country—are pandemic-fatigued. However, the magic numbers we need to achieve herd immunity (70-90 percent vaccinated) have not yet been realized and therefore we cannot be complacent. Statistics show men lagging women in vaccination rates and a trend toward rural vaccine hesitancy. Since we physicians are the trusted source of health information, we must take to our exam rooms and do what we do best—listen, advise, and heal. We need to understand our patients’ concerns and why they are hesitant—then counter the misinformation, address fears about side effects, put risks (particularly given the pause with the J&J vaccine) in perspective and tailor our messages about personal, familial, and societal benefits.
We need to take pride in having been vaccinated ourselves and share that sentiment with our patients and our extended families however we can—through social media, stickers, pins, signs, or even t-shirts.
Last weekend was the MSSNY 3rd and 4th district retreat in Lake Placid, an annual event for more than 20 years. Due to COVID, the event could not be held as planned in January but thanks to the vaccination of most physicians in December-February, the event was held safely in-person in April. Physicians adhered to safety protocols and were able to meet face- to-face (or mask-to-mask) and share ideas, proffer resolutions, hear from legislators, get legislative updates, and enjoy each other’s company. While I am grateful that Zoom has allowed us to stay connected and functional through the pandemic, I am nostalgic for the good old days of 2019 with in-person meetings and interactions.
Herd immunity and that long-awaited goal of getting life back to normal are within reach, but physician efforts will be crucial in the last mile to combat vaccine hesitancy so that efforts do not stall. Hoping to see all of you in-person soon!
Bonnie Litvack, MD
MSSNY Continues to Advocate for Needed Health Insurer Reform Legislation to Assist Patients Receive Needed Care
With only 7 weeks left in the Legislative Session, MSSNY continues to work with several patient and physician advocacy groups in support of legislation to address aberrant health insurer practices that adversely impact the ability of patients to receive the care and medications they need. These bills include:
- 951/S.1575 – would enable independently practicing physicians the ability to jointly negotiate network participation terms with market dominant health insurance companies.
- A.1741/S.5299 – would enable third party financial assistance to count towards patients meeting their deductible costs.
- 4111/S4668 – would limit the ability of health insurers to make adjustments to their prescription drug formularies during a policy year
- 4177/S.2528 – would provide needed due process protections for physicians whose network participation contract is unilaterally non-renewed by an insurance company.
In addition, legislation (similar to A.3038/S.2847 of 2020) is soon to be re-introduced would enact a number of reforms to address prior authorization hassles including limiting the ability of a health insurer to require a physician and patient to repeat a previously obtained prior authorization.
According to a recent survey from the American Medical Association, almost 70% of 1,000 practicing physicians surveyed in Dec. 2020 reported that health insurers had either reverted to past prior authorizations policies or never relaxed these policies during the height of the pandemic. More than nine in 10 physicians (94%) reported care delays while waiting for health insurers to authorize necessary care, and nearly one-third (30%) of physicians reported that prior authorization requirements have led to a serious adverse event for a patient in their care. (AUSTER, CARY)
Walk-in Appointments for COVID-19 Opens Today at Mass Vaccination Sites
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that beginning today, April 23, 16 mass vaccination sites will accept walk-in appointments for individuals age 60 and older. New York State will set aside a vaccine allocation to facilitate this expanded vaccination access. Proof of identity and insurance information, if applicable, will be needed. A listing of the 16 sites can be found here: Click Here
This week, the Governor’s Executive Orders removed the penalties for not administering the COVID-19 vaccine in seven days Click Here
There has been 43% of the New York State population that have received one dose and 29.7% have completed the series. For a list of guidance and other information, physicians and other health care providers are encouraged to go to: Click Here (CLANCY)
Requirement to Discuss Alternative Treatment Services Before Prescribing Opioid is Moving in NYS Legislature
The New York State Senate Health Committee will consider S.4640, sponsored by Senator Gustavo Rivera, which would require physicians and other health practitioners before prescribing an opioid medication to consider, discuss and refer or prescribe alternative services such as chiropractic, massage therapy or behavioral therapy. Its companion measure (A. 273) is in on the Assembly floor for a vote and is sponsored by Assemblymember Richard Gottfried. The Medical Society of the State of New York is opposed to this measure. MSSNY is concerned that this legislation will ultimately create significant new documentation requirements for prescribers that will simply deter more physicians from prescribing pain medications for those patients that truly need them.
Additionally, in 2018 the Legislature enacted a law requiring all prescriptions for treating patient chronic pain to be consistent with the CDC chronic pain guidelines. Importantly, these guidelines already include a component that directs physicians and other prescribers to seek alternatives to prescribing opioids in consultation with their patients. Physicians are encouraged to contact members of the Senate Health Committee by calling 518-455-2800. Senator committee members are: Senators Gustavo Rivera, Patrick Gallivan, Brian Benjamin, Alessandra Biaggi, Phil Boyle, Samra Brouk, Brad Hoylman, Todd Kaminsky, Rachel May, Peter Oberacker, Edward Rath, Sean Ryan, Julia Salazar, Daniel Stec, and Kevin Thomas. (CLANCY)
Please Contact Your Legislators to Urge Revisions to “Consolidated Billing” Legislation
Physicians should continue to contact their Assembly members and Senators to urge them to substantially revise A.3470-A/S.2521-A, “The Patient Medical Debt Reduction Act”. Click here to contact your legislators today! Click Here.
The bill is currently in the Assembly Ways & Means Committee, and the Senate Health Committee. While there are many components to this well-intended legislation, there is a seriously problematic component which would prohibit a physician with a “financial or contractual relationship” with a hospital from separately billing a patient for a course or episode of treatment in the hospital.
While it doesn’t appear to prohibit continued separate billing to insurance companies or other payers, a single hospital-physician bill would be required when a bill is sent to a patient for costs not covered by the patient’s insurance, such as collection of a deductible. It would also require such consolidated bill to be sent within 7 days of a patient’s discharge from the hospital, before there is any clarity as to what expenses will actually be covered by a patient’s insurance.
If this bill were to pass and this provision not amended, it would put these non-employed physicians at the complete mercy of the hospitals where they practice since the legislation does not specify how payments to hospitals from this “single bill” would then be distributed to these physicians.
What would happen if only partial payments are made? How can a physician verify what payments were received by the hospital? Would complaints about the payment process from the hospital to the physician place the physician at risk of losing hospital privileges? In an era when patients’ insurance policies regularly impose enormous deductibles, it would likely force even more physicians to sell their practices and become employees of hospitals in response to the helpless position many physicians would find themselves. Other physicians may leave the state altogether. The impact of this prohibition will fall most adversely on physicians who are on the front lines of the pandemic, many of whom are facing an enormous drop in patient volume due to a significant amount of delayed care.
In an effort to address one concern with our health care system, a whole new problem adversely affecting patient access to necessary specialized care could be created. Please urge your legislators to make necessary revisions to this bill. (AUSTER)
MSSNY Urges Passage of Legislation to Provide Payment Parity to Physicians for Telehealth Services
Physicians are urged to contact their legislators to urge that they support legislation (A.6526/S.5505) that will ensure insurer payments to physicians for delivering telehealth services including video, and audio-only visits, are on par with those received for in-office appointments. The Assembly bill, before the Assembly Insurance Committee, is sponsored by Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner (D- Saratoga) and Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried (D- Manhattan) and the Senate bill, before the Finance Committee, is sponsored by Senator Gustavo Rivera (D- Bronx) and Senator Peter Harckham (D- Peekskill). A letter can be sent from here: Urge Legislators to Support Payment Parity in Telehealth
The COVID19 pandemic forced patients and physicians to embrace new ways to deliver care. While some New York physicians had already integrated Telemedicine into their practices, prior to the onset of the pandemic, the pandemic pushed thousands of physicians to quickly increase their capacity to provide care to their patients remotely. From the start, though, payments to physicians from insurers for care delivered by telehealth were woefully inadequate to what they were receiving for in-office visits, creating a barrier to care for many patients.
MSSNY has argued for some time that rates at which physicians are paid by insurers have not kept pace with those paid for in-office visits and the withering financial situation for physician practices during COVID exacerbated the disparity. To better understand the impact of inadequate payment on physician practices, surveys conducted by key MSSNY partners, of their memberships, revealed the following:
- Participants of a survey by the New York Medical Group Management Association (NY MGMA), revealed that only 23% of all health plans pay equal to what they received for in-office visits.
- 25% said that most plans pay significantly less for in-office visits. More specifically, surveys conducted by MSSNY partner organizations found that while Telehealth visits conducted by video were reimbursed at higher rates than audio-only, physicians were compensated as little as 30% the rate of in-person appointments, depending on the health plan.
- Audio-only visits were the least compensated, with most payers reimbursing 80% less than for in-office visits.
The bill requires payment parity for telehealth services in the state’s Medicaid Fee for Service, Medicaid Managed Care, and Child Health Plus programs. This is crucial to achieving true equity in health care access, in New York, as without parity across all systems Medicaid providers may not have the financial capacity to provide Telehealth services to beneficiaries, including low-income patients, and those with transportation or childcare challenges, creating a hurdle that doesn’t exist in commercial insurance.
MSSNY Medical Matters Program – Triage in a Disaster Event
Registration now open
Medical Matters: Triage in a Disaster Event
Date: May 26, 2021 @ 7:30am
There have been innumerable disaster events taking place all around us on a regular basis. Learn more about how to perform triage when you find yourself in proximity to different types of disaster by registering for Medical Matters: Triage in a Disaster Event. This webinar will take place on Wednesday May 26th at 7:30am. Arthur Cooper, MD and Zackary Hickman, MD will serve as faculty for this program. Click here to register for this webinar.
- Describe the importance of immediate bleeding suppression during a disaster event
- Describe the SALT methodology for triage and where to access SALT training
- Recognize the importance of both mass casualty and bio-event triage
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)
Veterans Matters Program: Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) in Veterans Webinar
Registration Now Open
Wednesday, May 12th @ 7:30 am
The Medical Society of the State of New York is hosting a Continuing Medical Education (CME) program entitled Veterans Matters: Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) in Veterans live webinar on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 7:30 am.
When: May 12, 2021 at 7:30 am
Faculty: Thomas Madejski, MD
- Identify Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) in veterans
- Discuss evidence-based psychosocial strategies to treat veterans with SUDs
- Discuss Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for veterans with alcohol or opioid use disorders
- Identify barriers to diagnosis and treatment of SUDs in veterans and methods to overcome them
For more information, contact Jangmu Sherpa at firstname.lastname@example.org 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. (SHERPA)
MSSNY’s Physician Wellness and Resiliency Committee: Peer to Peer Program
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: P2P@mssny.org 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 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 (email@example.com) 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)
Interested in Joining Premier Group Purchasing? Call MSSNY’s Dedicated Rep!
MSSNY has a group purchasing partnership with Premier Group Purchasing to provide lower operating costs and improved access to supplies and products for members who sign on to purchase through Premier negotiated agreements.
Click the links below to access specifics on the program:
Continuum of Care Overview: High level overview of the Premier program and the value it provides.
GPO FAQ: Questions and answers to further introduce Premier and explain the program.
Physician Practices information sheet: Provides value proposition of the Premier program, followed by specific suppliers and contracts members will be able to access, broken down by category.
What to Expect: Step by step onboarding guide for members.
MSSNY Member Benefit: CareClix Remote Patient Monitoring Provides Better Access and Higher Quality Care to Patients
CareClix incorporates Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) into its system to realize key benefits for providers, including, but not limited to:
- Preventing Readmissions
- Shortened Patient Stays
- Increasing Treatment Adherence
- Improving Post-discharge Planning
Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) is an essential tool that supports post-discharge planning and helps patients adhere to treatment after they leave a hospital. Through the use of wearable medical devices that transmit data in real-time, patients are able to maintain constant contact with their providers.
The types of devices today vary in scope of technology. There are a number of devices for managing blood pressure, glucose levels for diabetes, spirometers for asthmatics, pulse oximeters, and weight scales. Each device has a different application for patients depending on the disease, condition, or other parameters being monitored. Chronic disease management, post-acute care management, and safety monitoring are key applications of RPM technologies for the older adult population.
While chronic care management and post-acute care are more obvious uses for RPM technologies, there are several applications, such as patient care safety, that people often overlook. Many RPM technologies are now focusing on detecting and preventing falls and wandering, particularly in dementia patients. Fall detection, fall prevention, and location tracking technologies allow caregivers to track patients through continuous surveillance.
All in all, RPM technology will continue to expand, particularly as the aging population grows, as it can help slow the progression of chronic disease, ensure a steady recovery post-discharge, and alert caregivers when a vulnerable patient is at risk. There is ample opportunity in the remote monitoring space, and CareClix offerings support hundreds of RPM devices to provide the best benefits to patients and providers.
To learn more about the CareClix RPM program: careclix.com/remote-patient-monitoring/
To implement telemedicine for your practice visit: careclix.com/provider-signup/
Have questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
TOMORROW is the Day: Join MSSNY Young Physicians, Residents/Fellows, and Medical Students at 12:30 PM
MSSNY’s Young Physicians, Residents/Fellows, and Medical Students (YPS/RFS/MSS) will gather for a joint virtual meeting tomorrow, Saturday, April 24 at 12:30. All physicians and medical students are welcome! Register for the YPS/RFS/MSS meeting.
The meeting features informative speakers on a variety of important topics:
12:30 PM – Welcome
12:40 PM – Dr. Bonnie Litvack, MSSNY President: MSSNY Updates
1:15 PM – Dr. Luis Seija, Vice-Chair of MSSNY-RFS: Racism as a Public Health Crisis
1:45 PM – Dr. Thomas Madejski, AMA Board of Trustees: AMA Action Information
2:30 PM – Dr. Mira Irons, Chief Health & Science Officer of the AMA: COVID Updates
3:00 PM – Moe Auster, MSSNY VP for Government Affairs: Legislative Victories Update and the importance of MSSNYPAC
3:30 PM – Kate Sellers, Sellers Insurance: What You Need to Know About Disability Insurance
4:00 PM – Dr. Charles Rothberg and Dr. Frank Dowling: MSSNY’s Peer-to-Peer program.
Reading the Fine Print of Health Literacy
Join the Nassau County Medical Society (NCMS) for “Reading the Fine Print of Health Literacy” on April 28, 2021 at 6:00 PM.
Dr. Anthony J. Santella is an applied health services researcher and evaluator specializing in HIV/AIDS, STDs, and sexual health with over two decades of experience in academia, government, and the private sector. He is a public health consultant, and an Associate Professor of Public Health at Hofstra University and will speak on health literacy, the problems that arise when it is low (especially in underserved communities) and the resources already in place that will provide assistance to those struggling.
Join NCMS on April 28 to deepen your knowledge on how those who struggle with finding, understanding, and using the information to make health-informed decisions can access resources and get the support they need.
Register for the webinar here.
Do You Know an Outstanding Physician? MSSNY Now Accepting Nominations for the Albion O. Bernstein, MD Award
“…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.
Deadline for applications is June 9, 2021. 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
Office Rental 30 Central Park South
Two fully equipped exam, two certified operating, bathrooms and consultation room. Shared secretarial and waiting rooms. Elegantly decorated, central a/c, hardwood floors. Next to Park Lane and Plaza hotels. $1250 for four days a month. Available full or part-time. 212.371.0468 / email@example.com.
Beautifully Renovated Modern Medical Office Sublet in Great Neck
-Separate reception area -Consultation room -1-3 exam rooms -Free Valet Parking -Designated physician parking spot. Contact Dr. Nir Somekh (516) 662-1232.
Ophthalmic Office to Sublet – NYC
340 E. 49TH St. (Ground Floor -Handicap Accessible) 1-3 Lanes Wed/Fri/Sat/Sun Full use of: VF / OCT /Pachymeter/ Autorefractor /Autolensometer / Argon / YAG Lasers
Please contact Scott Weissman MD. firstname.lastname@example.org. 914-772-5581
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.
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 email@example.com
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:firstname.lastname@example.org
Date Posted: 03/23/21 Applications Due: 04/06/21 Vacancy ID: 85272
|Agency||Health, Department of|
|Title||Health Program Director 2 -TBD|
|Occupational Category||Other Professional Careers|
|Bargaining Unit||M/C – Management / Confidential (Unrepresented)|
|Salary Range||From $122092 to $154253 Annually|
|Jurisdictional Class||Non-competitive Class|
Hours Per Week
|Compressed workweek allowed?||No|
|Street Address||CCH; Division of Family Health
Corning Tower, ESP
|Minimum Qualifications||Twelve years of professional level work experience, three of which must have included managerial, decision-making and/or oversight responsibilities for a major health-related program or in the direction of a major administrative function of a large health-related organization. A bachelor’s degree may be substituted for four years of the general professional experience.
Twelve or more years of progressively responsible administrative experience in programs that improve perinatal health, child and/or adolescent health, early care, and learning, and/or sexual violence prevention, including four years of managerial, decision-making, and/or program direction. Seven years of this experience would also include fiscal management, policy making and oversight responsibilities, and statewide supervision of professional level staff. The preferred candidate would be familiar with representing departmental interests and serving as a spokesperson and liaison to Executive staff, and have experience working with other state and federal governmental programs. Experience with second-level professional supervision as well as strong oral and written communication skills is also desired. A master’s degree in an appropriate field may substitute an additional one year of the general professional experience, not to exceed a maximum of five years total allowable educational substitution. Please refer to full listing