How Will the Governor’s Proposed Budget Impact Physicians?
MSSNY’s Division of Government Affairs staff is continuing to pore through the thousands of pages of Budget documents contained in Governor Hochul’s proposed $216.3 Billion State Budget submitted to the State Legislature yesterday. Below is a very brief “thumbnail” of items that – at first read – are of importance to physicians.
The positive items include:
- Require health insurers to pay telehealth services at rates equal to comparable in-person services
- Restoration of last year’s 1.5% cut and a 1% across the board increase for Medicaid payments
- Funds MSSNY Committee for Physicians Health (CPH) at the historical level of $990,000
- Require that all health insurers follow credentialing application deadlines applicable currently to only some insurers
- Gives DFS power to enforce violations of some federal health insurance protections and provide some protections against excessive medical record requests
- Lowering judgment interest rate from 9% to a market rate
- Increases from $9 million to $15 million funding for the Doctors Across NY program
- Increase Essential Plan eligibility from 200-250% FPL. Additional 92,000 eligible
- Eliminates CHIP insurance payments for patients in families making less than 233% FPL
- Support for additional Harm Reduction Services ($9 million recurring) and
- Naloxone distribution ($8 million in FY 2023 and $10 million thereafter)
$400 million new investment in opioid abuse/substance abuse services
Provide Medicaid post-partum coverage for up to 1 year
- Expands who a physician can designate to take a Covid test of a patient
Items that will require further review:
- Conforms New York surprise bill law provisions to be consistent with federal law protections including eliminating requirement of obtaining assignment to go to IDR (similar to DFS Circular letters 10, 11 and 12). It protects consideration of UCR in NY IDR but permits consideration of insurer QPA.
- Adds NY to the 30 states who have joined the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact
- Transfers to DOH oversight of all Education Law regulated health care providers
- $1.2 billion in bonuses for health care workers at Article 28 facilities who make less than $100,000 and employees of non-Article 28s who see at least 20% Medicaid patients
- Expansion to Medicaid eligibility so that low-income New Yorkers aged 65 and up, as well as those with disabilities, are able to maintain Medicaid eligibility after they become eligible for Medicare.
Concerning items include:
- Eliminates remaining statutory informal collaborative requirements for those NPs practicing in primary care with more than 3,600 hours practice but maintains collaborative requirements for specialty care NPs and written collaborative agreement requirement for NPs with less than 3,600 hours of practice.
- Permits pharmacists to perform limited services lab test authorized by FDA
- Eliminating “prescriber prevails” protections in Medicaid and Medicaid managed care.
- Provides $102 million for Excess Malpractice Insurance Program (same as last year) but requires physicians to purchase it themselves and then be reimbursed by the carrier in 2 yearly installments. (We’ve been in touch with MLMIC to set the stage for our joint advocacy to the Legislature to oppose this new wrinkle to Excess coverage). Again, this is a preliminary summary. It may be revised as we look more closely at these provisions as well as others in the thousands of pages that encompass the State Budget.
MSSNY Press Statement Regarding the Governor’s Proposed Budget
MSSNY sent the following statement to the press today, January 19:
MSSNY Supports Several Health Care Initiatives in Governor Hochul’s Proposed Budget; Voices Concern over New Costs for Insurance Coverage to Offset NY’s High Medical Liability Costs
Statement Attributable to:
Joseph R. Sellers, MD, FAAP, FACP
President, Medical Society of the State of New York
“Governor Hochul’s proposed Budget recommends a number of far-reaching initiatives to help support both our health care system and our health care workers who are weary from multiple years of responding to the COVID crisis we have collectively faced. Importantly, the Governor invests in the future of patient medical care delivery by providing significant increases to the Doctors Across New York loan repayment program and invests in care accessibility by ensuring fair payment for patient care delivered via telehealth. The Budget also makes significant investments to ensure more patients have comprehensive health insurance coverage to obtain the quality medical care they need.
“The Governor’s proposal to significantly reduce interest rates on court judgments would help to bring down New York’s exorbitant medical liability insurance costs. However, given the enormous challenges we have faced over the last two years, physicians are very concerned with another proposal that would thrust potentially significant new costs on countless physicians in the State who are enrolled in a long-standing program to provide supplemental insurance coverage to help offset New York’s notoriously high medical liability costs.
“We are continuing our review of the many facets of this Budget submission that would impact patient access to primary and specialty physician care. We look forward to working with the Governor and Legislature to ensure the final Budget due April 1 will continue to ensure patient access to the physician of their choice.”
New PMG Members Welcome!
MSSNY’s Post-Medical Graduate (PMG) membership category was especially designed for International Medical School Graduates (IMGs) preparing to enter a residency in New York State.
One of the requirements for PMG membership has been certification by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). But we recognize that due to Covid exigencies, the new pathways set up to obtain ECFMG certification may be a barrier for recent international graduates who wish to join MSSNY.
Noting the importance of diversity and inclusivity, we have therefore re-evaluated and revised the requirements for IMGs applying for PMG membership. Effective in years 2022, 2023 and 2024, ECFMG certification will not be a requirement for membership in this category. It will be replaced by an applicant’s attestation to having passed Step 1 and Step 2CK of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) or an equivalent pathway to licensure if there is a future change in ECFMG requirements.
Let any of your interested colleagues know! Applications for the PMG category are available by contacting email@example.com.
MSSNY Immediate Past President Talks to USA Today Network About Omicron Surge
The Lower Hudson Valley (NY) Journal News (USA Today Network) reports, “New York’s recent explosion of COVID-19 cases shattered dreams of a return to the carefree pre-pandemic world, awakening many New Yorkers to the prospect of living with the coronavirus indefinitely.” The article adds, “From another COVID-marred holiday season and chaotic remote-school reboots to overwhelmed emergency rooms, the stark reality of getting infected with coronavirus struck home for at least 1.8 million New Yorkers since Dec. 1.” The “Omicron odyssey” for Dr. Bonnie Litvack, Immediate Past President of the Medical Society of the State of New York, “included the crush of colleagues at her Mount Kisco medical offices missing work after contracting COVID-19,” and the variant also “breached the homes of Litvack’s brother and sister-in-law.” Dr. Litvack said, “It’s just the sheer number of cases. … Omicron has really affected everybody’s life in and out of the office.”
Yahoo! News (1/18) carries the Lower Hudson Valley (NY) Journal News story.
MSSNY Members, Do You Have a Question?
If you have a question about dues, CME programs, a billing issue, legislation you’re concerned with, or any other concern you may have, contact Memberresources@mssny.org and a Member Services Representative will respond or refer you to a staff member familiar with your issue.
New Electronic Process for Workers Comp Deposition Fee Collection Process
Historically the Workers Comp deposition fee collection process was to send all information to the WCB via hard copy by mail. This process can now be done electronically through email. This will save time and money. Instructions are available here.
If you have questions about this or any other insurance concern, contact MSSNY’s Director of Physician Payment and Practice, Heather Lopez, at 518.465.8085 X332 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Place Your Order for Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests
Residential households in the U.S. can order one set of 4 free at-home tests from USPS.com. Here’s what you need to know about your order:
- Limit of one order per residential address
- One order includes 4 individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests
- Orders will ship free starting in late January
MSSNY’s In-Person House of Delegates Set for May 21
As MSSNY prepares for the in-person House of Delegates on May 21 in Tarrytown, we alert you to several important deadlines.
The first deadline is for credentialed delegates, which must be submitted by Thursday, January 27. Send credentialing to Michael Reyes.
The next deadline is for submission of resolutions to be considered, discussed, and voted on. Submit your resolutions by 5 PM on Friday, February 25. Send your resolutions to Laurie Mayer.
Resolutions should be properly formatted, well thought out and constructed, and any research to document the author’s resolved clause should be included. This is a substantial help to reference committee staff. Authors should include policy citations from MSSNY’s position statements. Please remember that resolutions that repeat existing policy will likely wind up on the reaffirmation calendar!
The House of Delegates will begin promptly at 8 AM on Saturday, May 21 and will continue until late afternoon. The completed reference committee reports and the recommendations made within them will be the focus of the day. While we will make every effort to complete discussion of our ref com reports on Saturday, discussion may continue Sunday
Updated Information from CDC on COVID-19 Vaccine for Individuals who Received Primary Vaccination Not Approved/Authorized in the US
The CDC recently updated the Emergency Use Instructions (EUI) and clinical guidance for persons who received primary vaccination with vaccines not approved/authorized in the U.S. The updated EUI and clinical guidance state that individuals who received an incomplete series of a vaccine listed for emergency use by the WHO but not authorized nor approved by the FDA no longer need to restart the primary COVID-19 vaccine series in the U.S. Instead, these individuals may now receive a single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after receipt of their most recent dose, after which they will be considered fully vaccinated.
Attached are updated documents:
- Guidance for The New York State COVID-19 Vaccination Program for Individuals 12 Years of Age and Older
- Information for Health Care Professionals about the Screening Checklist for the COVID-19 Vaccine: Individuals 12 Years of Age and Older
- Information for Health Care Professionals about the Screening Checklist for the COVID-19 Vaccine: Additional Dose for Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised
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Healthcare Tech Investment Opportunity
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Opportunity available at an established rheumatology practice in Great Neck, NY. Looking for a dedicated physician to join, share or merge practices. Fully equipped office with onsite parking and proximity to mass transit. Contact 516-972-2986 for more info.