MSSNY eNews: October 30, 2020 – Good News: Hot Off the Presses



I am happy to report that the closing of this week brings some good news. 

Delay in Compliance Deadline for the Information Blocking Rule

Yesterday, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) announced that it will be extending the deadline for compliance with the Information Blocking Rule, a provision of the 21st Century Cures Act.  Under the interim rule, providers won’t be required to come into compliance with the regulation’s information-blocking provisions until April 5, 2021. Compliance for conditions and maintenance of certification requirements related to application programming interface (API) will also go into effect in April 2021 while standardized API functionality won’t be required until December 2022. This extension is a direct result of advocacy by both MSSNY and the AMA who urged the ONC to give healthcare providers more time and flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Resources on the Information Blocking Rule and how to comply can be found through the AMA at:

MSSNY Awarded Scope of Practice Partnership Grant

The AMA Scope of Practice Partnership yesterday awarded our MSSNY a grant to help subsidize a campaign to defeat legislation in the New York State Legislature that would create complete independent practice for various non-physician practitioners while promoting the concept of maintaining physician-led team care.

Each of these non-physician groups believe that they will have a significant opportunity to achieve legislation to permit independent practice as a result of a Governor’s Executive Order issued this past March at the height of the Covid pandemic, and continued since then, to waive otherwise applicable statutory collaboration and/or supervision requirements.

Physicians very much value the enormous contributions of these non-physician professionals to helping ensure patients have access to needed care.  However, it is imperative to continue to ensure and enhance existing physician collaboration and/or oversight requirements. Physician led teams are the best vehicle to achieve the quadruple aim of providing better patient experience, better population health, lower overall costs and improved professional satisfaction. This grant will help EXPAND PUBLIC AWARENESS FOR our patients and our legislators of our concerns with legislation to “silo” the delivery of care away from a team-based system.

Happy Halloween–wishing you treats and no tricks.

Bonnie Litvack
MSSNY President

MSSNY Weekly Podcast

Appointments for MSSNY President, MSSNY Chief Counsel and VP of Public Health

  • Bonnie Litvack, MSSNY President, has been named by Governor Cuomo to the Vaccine Distribution and Implementation Task Force which has been established to guide the process of how the vaccine will be distributed and administered throughout NY State.
  • Moe Auster, JD, MSSNY Senior Vice President and Chief Legislative Counsel, was appointed to the DFS Administrative Simplification workgroup. The state departments of Financial Services and Health on Tuesday announced that they had chosen 25 members for a new group aimed at reducing health care administrative costs. Members include leaders from insurers, health systems, and physician and advocacy groups across the state. The departments noted in announcing the list that, as a result of a recent change in New York law, they are required to convene to study and evaluate methods to reduce costs and complexities through standardization and technology. To help do so, the group will examine claims submission and attachments; preauthorization practices; provider credentialing; insurance eligibility verification; and access to electronic medical records, the departments said. The group will issue a report to the departments’ respective heads and the state Legislature in October 2021.
  • Pat Clancy, MSSNY Vice President for Public Health and Education/Managing Director, has been asked by Department of Health to serve on the Operations Work group to the State’s COVID-19 Vaccination Planning—this group will identified as immunizers, distributors, vaccination priorities based on clinical guidance and any necessary training for providers.

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FBI Warns Imminent Cybercrime Threat to Hospital/Health Care Providers
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and two federal agencies are warning of an “imminent cybercrime threat” to US hospitals and health care providers, noting that several hospitals across the country have already been hit. In a joint advisory, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), FBI and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said they have “credible information” that cybercriminals are taking new aim at health care providers and public health agencies as the COVID-19 pandemic reaches new heights. “Malicious cyber actors” may soon be planning to “infect systems with Ryuk ransomware for financial gain” on a scale not yet seen across the American healthcare system.

Hospitals, physician practices, and public health organizations should take “timely and reasonable precautions to protect their networks from these threats.” Malware targeting techniques often lead to “ransomware attacks, data theft, and the disruption of healthcare services.” The agencies recommend several mitigation steps and best practices for health care entities to take to reduce their risk, including the following:

  • Patch operating systems, software, and firmware as soon as manufacturers release updates.
  • Regularly change passwords to network systems and accounts and avoid reusing passwords for different accounts.
  • Use multi-factor authentication where possible.
  • Disallow use of personal email accounts
  • Disable unused remote access/Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) ports and monitor remote access/RDP logs.
  • Identify critical assets; create backups of these systems and house the backups offline from the network.
  • Set antivirus and anti-malware solutions to automatically update; conduct regular scans.

Note: The AMA and the American Hospital Association (AHA) have created two resources to help physicians and hospitals guard against cyber threats. Those resources and additional cyber security information can be found at the AMA’s cybersecurity webpage


MSSNY Vice President Dr. Parag Mehta Shares His Personal Journey
with COVID-19
As a COVID-19 survivor, MSSNY’s Vice President Dr. Mehta has a unique perspective on the pandemic.  Here, he shares his reflections on COVID-19:

When the COVID 19 crisis/pandemic started:
I felt responsible
: I am in a leadership position at my institution and a member of a vibrant community. I felt responsible to take care of my patients and protect my team from a murky future., treatment or severity of COVID 19 and there was a scarcity of PPE.
I felt proud and grateful
: I am surrounded by compassionate people who showed exceptional courage and willingness to treat COVID 19 while risking their own lives. I am grateful to see their sacrifices, and willingness to help each other. I did not find any resistance from my residents or colleagues to help others, rather they came forward to help each other. If someone was sick, that person came right back to work as soon as he or she could.
I felt helpless: We all were ignorant of the havoc this disease would bring upon us and how to manage the havoc.  I witnessed ignorance and misuse/mishandling of resources: We were ignorant of the mode of transmission
I was tormented: my smiles became sorrow: I got COVID 19, my team members got COVID, and my family and many friends were infected while working. Several physicians, nurses, and family members became sick and we lost many souls. I was surrounded by pain, suffering, death, separation, anxiety, and uncertainty. I was tormented with this question “Why do people who tried to help others have to suffer?” I was looking for hope, healing, and health.
If you love someone say it now: I learned that to take care of the patient, we should comfort the family who cannot be with the patient. We need to connect people and the family virtually and spiritually. When I took care of many families and patients during times of illness and death, I learned if you love someone, say it now and often. Do not wait until it is too late.
Finding Peace: Forgiveness to self and all. Grateful for what we have. Practicing mindfulness and meditation. Going back into memory lane made me think how lucky I am and how blessed I am to have caring friends and family. Stay Positive.

Click here to view Dr. Mehta’s PowerPoint on his journey.

Medical Societies Concerned with State Governments’ Efforts to Legalize Recreational Marijuana
October 30, 2020, Westbury, NY— On behalf of the tens of thousands of physicians we represent, the medical societies of Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are again joining together to express mutually shared concerns about state governments’ efforts to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Legalization continues to present serious public health concerns.

Legalization continues to be considered across many states.  For example, New Jersey voters will consider legalization of cannabis through a ballot referendum on Election Day.  The New York State’s Governor’s office has announced that the legalization of recreational use marijuana will be again be part of the state’s 2021 budget proposal.

We appreciate the enormous challenges state policymakers face to address burgeoning budget deficits, but we strongly believe that further detailed research must be undertaken and assessed regarding the effects legalization of cannabis will have on important public health markers, such as emergency department visits and hospitalizations, impaired driving arrests, and the prevalence of psychiatric and addiction disorders. We are very concerned that the long-term public health costs associated with hospitalizations and treatment for psychiatric/addictive disorders could significantly outweigh any revenues that these states anticipate would be received from the legalization of cannabis.

Data shows that despite best efforts of states to limit the purchase of legal marijuana to adults, it has also led to a troubling increase in youth use. Overall use by youth aged 12-17 is up in “legal” states while declining in non-legal states, according to a uniform survey of marijuana use conducted by the federal government. The percentage of youth aged 12-17 using marijuana in states where marijuana is “legal” was 7.7%, versus 6.2% in non-legal states (NSDUH State Reports 2016-2017).  The University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future Survey of American Youth reported that between 2017 and 2018 the percentage of 8th and 10th graders who report “vaping” marijuana increased 63%.  And according to a 2019 report by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s toxicology reports, the percentage of adolescent suicide victims testing positive for marijuana continues to increase. Between 2011 and 2013, 20.7% of suicide victims between the ages of 10 and 19 tested positive for marijuana (compared with 12.7% who tested positive for alcohol). Between 2014-2016, 22.4% tested positive for marijuana (compared with 9.3% for alcohol) And, in Colorado, the annual rate of marijuana-related emergency department visits increased by 62% from 2012 to 2017 and marijuana-related poisoning hospitalization rates in Colorado rose by 143% from 2012 to 2017 (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 2019).

We are in the midst of a world-wide pandemic and we already know that smoking or vaping marijuana can increase patient risk for more severe complications from COVID-19.  Additionally, there are concerns about the secondary effects on adults and young people from COVID-19 regarding the increased rates of addiction due to the stress of isolation, boredom, and decreased access to recovery resources.

We further note that the American Medical Association has a recently updated position (H-95.924) that continues to assert that “cannabis is a dangerous drug and as such is a serious public health concern,” that the sale of cannabis for recreational use should not be legalized and discourages its use—especially by persons vulnerable to the drug’s effects and in high-risk populations such as youth, pregnant women, and women who are breastfeeding.  At the same time, our states continue to assert that the best step states can take to address the very real and legitimate concern regarding unfair enforcement of these laws is to remove criminal sanctions for small amounts of marijuana possession, and to ensure the availability of treatment for addiction.

The cost to the public health system from cannabis use will likely far outweigh any revenues that states secure by legalizing marijuana.

We must proceed cautiously and pay close attention to the public health impacts in states where legalization has occurred.

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MSSNY’s Medical Students Section Elects New Officers
Last Sunday, October 25, the medical student section elected the following students:

MSSNY Medical Student Section Councilor (April ’21 to April ’22)
Leanna Knight – University of Rochester School of Medicine

2021 MSSNY HOD – Medical Student Section Delegates
Eunice Choe – SUNY Upstate Medical University
Christian Coletta – NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine
Jess Hubert – University of Rochester School of Medicine

2021 MSSNY HOD – Medical Student Section Alternate Delegates

Yung Chan – New York Medical College
Claire Choi – SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Divya Seth – Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Harlem

Live Webinar on Vaccines: What You Need to Know
Join the Nassau County Medical Society for this live webinar with Bruce Farber, MD, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital. Dr. Farber will provide an update on current vaccines and what to expect in the near future.

What: Vaccines: What You Need to Know
Date: November 18, 2020
Time: 6:00 p.m.

Register here
Link to Flyer

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U.S. Tops 88,000 COVID-19 Cases, Setting New Single-Day Record

COVID-19 Graph

The United States reported 88,452 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, setting a single-day record, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

COVID-19 Daily Graph





Veterans Matters: TBI in Returning Veterans Webinar
The Medical Society of the State of New York and Nassau County Medical Society are hosting a CME live webinar entitled Veterans Matters: TBI in Returning Veterans on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at 7:30 am.
Click HERE to view the flyer and register for the program!
When:   November 3, 2020 at 7:30 am
Faculty:  David Podwall, MD
.Educational Objectives:

  • Identify signs and symptoms indicative of the spectrum from concussion/mild TBI to severe TBI
  • Examine evidence-based treatment modalities and when to refer to a specialist
  • Identify red flags that indicate alternate or more severe pathology
  • Outline an appropriate management plan for a patient presenting with concussion/TBI including a return to “normal life” protocol
  • 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 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.




Elegant, Custom Built Home with Unparalleled Craftsmanship – Rhinebeck, NY
Set on 10.6 acres in one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Rhinebeck, this stunning home borders Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill (a conservation land and the highest point in Rhinebeck). Features beautifully landscaped gardens with sweeping hilltop views and a well established vegetable garden and barn. This handsome home is generously proportioned throughout, with an inviting foyer entry with tastefully designed staircase, millwork, high ceilings, cherry wood floors and custom windows.Rhinebeck Estate for Sale A world class kitchen with a marble counter-topped island, enjoys both a cozy fireside seating area perfect for winter evenings, and glass doors in the hexagonal eat-in-kitchen opening onto the expansive stone terrace for three season enjoyment and entertaining.A luxurious Master suite, with high vaulted ceiling design, his and hers walk-in closets and a gorgeous master bath with cast iron clawfoot tub. The second floor also includes two spacious bedrooms with generous closets and 2 full bathrooms, An additional large sitting room/office could easily make a lovely fourth bedroom. Lower level features a media room, exercise room, bar, wine cellar and full bathroom. Additionally there is a two story barn equipped with water and electricity.
The house is located 7 minutes to the charming center of Rhinebeck village with its many superb restaurants, boutiques & shops. The highly rated Northern Dutchess Hospital, the excellent Rhinebeck schools and the County Fairgrounds, a most desirable venue destination throughout the year, are all nearby. Rhinecliff train station is a mile beyond with Amtrak service south to NYC(1hour 40 minutes) and north to Hudson, Albany, Niagara Falls and Montreal. View full listing Contact Nader Kayal, MD, 845-518-7780 / or Joshua M. Briggs at Heather Croner RE-Sotheby’s 917 213-9042 /

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

Consult Room Consult Room

Exam Room Exam Room


Waiting Room Waiting Room

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

OBGYN Physician for Our Upper East Side Practice
Gynecology office setting only – No Obstetrics. Please contact the office at 212-772-3722 Email: Office Location: VCARE OBGYN 328 East 75th St. Suite 4 New York NY 10021 REQUIREMENTS: Doctor of Medicine degree. New York Medical License. DEA Board Certified OBGYN