MSSNY eNews: January 13, 2021 – Guidance for NYS COVID-19 Vaccination Program Effective 1/12/21

Guidance for NYS COVID-19 Vaccination Program Effective January 12, 2021

Gov. Cuomo Unveils Plan to Expand Telehealth Services at 2021 State of the State
At his initial State of the State address on Monday, Governor Cuomo announced plans to expand Telehealth coverage in 2021. Key proposed reforms include adjusting reimbursement incentives to encourage Telehealth, eliminating outdated regulatory prohibitions on the delivery of Telehealth, removing outdated location requirements, addressing lack of technical proficiency among both patients and providers through training programs, and establishing other policies that incentivize the use of Telehealth. However, we are awaiting further details – likely in next week’s Executive Budget proposal – as to how exactly these expansions would occur. More on the Governor’s proposals here:

Governor Cuomo Announces Proposal to Expand Access to Telehealth for All as Part of 2021 State of the State | Governor Andrew M. Cuomo (

The Governor and state agencies took very important steps early in the pandemic to help provide patients needed treatment from their physicians, virtually, by removing several barriers to the receipt of care through Telehealth. This was not only an important lifeline for patients and physicians, but it has also helped transform how care is delivered in New York.

MSSNY is working with a range of health care advocacy groups on passing comprehensive reform of New York’s Telehealth policies and we look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature on this critical issue. (Joint Telehealth Letter)

DOH COVID-19 Update for Physicians Tomorrow January 14 @ 1-2 PM
Please join the NYS Department of Health Thursday, January 14th at 1-2 PM for a COVID-19 update for healthcare providers.

To accommodate the large number of participants, find our webinar streaming via YouTube Live (and available for viewing immediately thereafter) on the NYSDOH COVID website for providers:

Audio number and code: 844-512-2950 Access code 2191361#

DOH Webinar Recording of Vaccination Task Force Webinar
DOH and senior members of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Vaccination Task Force held a webinar on Monday, January 11. The recording is available here.

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Cuomo One of Eight Govs Urging HHS To Give States More COVID-19 Vaccines
Eight governors signed a letter sent to HHS Secretary Alex Azar demanding that the federal government distribute more COVID-19 vaccines from its stockpile to the states.

In the Jan. 8 letter, the governors wrote their need for more vaccines is becoming more urgent each day as COVID-19 case surges continue and new variants of the coronavirus spread across the country.

“According to publicly reported information, the federal government currently has upwards of 50 percent of currently produced vaccines held back by the administration for reasons unknown,” the governors wrote. “While some of these life-saving vaccines are sitting in Pfizer freezers, our nation is losing 2,661 Americans each day, according to the latest seven-day average.”

The governors also wrote that the federal government’s failure to distribute more vaccines to states that request them is “unconscionable and unacceptable.”

It appears HHS is unlikely to heed the governors’ request, as a department spokesperson responded to the letter by telling Politico “there will always be a lag between shots allocated and those ordered, between those ordered and those delivered, between those delivered and those administered, and between those administered and reported as administered.”

The eight states with governors who signed the letter are New York, California, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington, and Kansas.

COVID-19 & Mental Health: Registration Now Open for Two CME Webinars
January 20, 2021 @ 7:30am Medical Matters: COVID-19 & Mental Health of Patients Click here to register

February 5, 2021 @ 7:30am Physician Wellness/Medical Matters COVID-19 & Mental Health of Physicians and Other Healthcare Providers Click here to register 

The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to countless health problems over the past year, not the least of which are mental health related.  Learn more about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the mental health of patients on January 20th at 7:30am and how it has affected physicians and other healthcare workers on February 5th at 7:30am.  Dr. Craig Katz will serve as faculty for both webinars.

COVID-19 & Mental Health of Patients
January 20, 2021 @ 7:30am

  • Identify the usual scope of mental health reactions to disasters
  • Examine what is known so far about the mental health impact of COVID-19 on a range of populations!
  • Appraise the scope of COVID-19’s long term mental health impact on our communities!

COVID-19 & Mental Health of Physicians and Other Healthcare Providers
February 5, 2021 @ 7:30am

  • Examine the mental health risks posed by COVID-19 for physicians
  • Review the possible range of psychological and psychiatric responses to the pandemic!
  • Discuss principles and interventions for helping ourselves, our families, and our colleagues

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 each 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 – Medicare Part B 2021 Important Update from Anthem

MSSNY will be partnering with National Government Services to conduct a webinar on important changes for the Medicare Program in 2021.

Agenda Topics to include:

  • COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE)
  • Telehealth
  • Evaluation & Management coding Changes in CY2021
  • 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS)
  • Final Policy, Payment, and Quality Provisions Changes to the MPFS for Calendar Year 2021
  • Quality Payment Program
  • Contact Information/Resources

James D. Bavoso
Provider Outreach & Education, Manager 

National Government Services
Office: (718) 351-2098| Fax: (315) 442-4103 | | |


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The New York Society of Addiction Medicine (NYSAM) Invites You to a Webinar
“Expanding Use of Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Treatment in New York’s Jails and Prison”

When:     Wednesday January 20th, 2021 at 7:30-8:45 pm
Join   :
Costs:      Free (requires pre-registration)


Kevin Fiscella, MD MPH, Professor, Dept of Family Medicine, University of Rochester Medical Center

Jill Harrington, RN BSN CCHP-RN, Health Services Administrator, Albany County Correctional Facility

Jasdeep Mangat, MD, Medical Director, Substance Use Treatment, Correctional Health Services (New York City)

John Morley, MD, Chief Medical Office, New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

In the two weeks following their release, people coming home from prison are 129 times more likely to die from a drug overdose than the general population. We have known this for years, but people across New York State are working to change this!

Please join us to learn about the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s policy statement on “Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder in Correctional Settings” and the progress being made in New York State to expand access to life-saving medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) in jails and prisons.

Aaron Fox
Chair, Policy and Advocacy Committee
New York Society of Addiction Medicine

What the Incoming CDC Director Dr. Walensky Wants People to Know
Incoming CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said in a NY Times op-ed that she will lead “with facts, science and integrity” and work to restore public trust in the agency that she said has been undermined. Dr. Walensky rebuked White House interference in CDC guidance over the past year and said in the op-ed that on her first day she would ask Anne Schuchat, MD, the agency’s principal deputy director, “to begin a comprehensive review to ensure that all existing guidance related to Covid-19 is evidence-based and free of politics.”

She also said the nation needs to redouble its vaccination efforts, that she would inform elected officials and the public about pressing scientific information “even when the news is bleak,” that American public health infrastructure needs to be better funded, and that she would work to address healthcare inequities faced by communities of color.

“I promise to work with my colleagues at the C.D.C. to harness the power of American science and confront these challenges,” Dr. Walensky said. (Becker’s Hospital Review, Jan 12)

Scammers Selling COVID-19 Vaccines on the Dark Web
Sellers on the dark web are advertising COVID-19 vaccines for the price of hundreds and thousands of dollars in bitcoin but failing to deliver the product, according to a Jan. 13 CNBC report.

Cybersecurity firm Check Point found listings for COVID-19 vaccines on the dark web for as high as $1,000, with some advertisements contradicting official medical guidance on the number of shots required. After performing a search query for vaccines, Check Point found more than 340 ads on 34 pages on the dark web. The average median price of $250 for an unspecified vaccine dose has now risen to $500 to $1,000.

Firm researchers placed an order for a vaccine dose from a vendor they contacted on an encrypted messaging app and were offered a vaccine, developed in China, for $750 in bitcoin. After paying and sending their delivery address, the seller’s account was deleted and the package was never delivered, according to the report.

There were also several sellers who claimed to supply vaccine doses in bulk. One vendor advertised a 10,000-vial order for $30,000. Another vendor Check Point contacted offered to sell an unspecified COVID-19 vaccine for around $300 in bitcoin and claimed 14 doses were required. Click here to view the full report.


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