MSSNY eNews: December 18, 2020 – MSSNY Partners with Premier Group Purchasing

.MSSNY’s Partnership with Premier Group Purchasing

MSSNY’s Partnership with Premier Group Purchasing


We are excited to announce registration information for our new group purchasing partnership between MSSNY and Premier.

We expect this new partnership to result in lower operating costs and improved access to supplies and products for MSSNY members who sign on to purchase through Premier negotiated agreements.

Sign up today and begin taking advantage of the value and savings Premier brings to the table for MSSNY members:  

  • A leading healthcare improvement company dedicated to better care and outcomes at lower costs
  • Nearly 30 years of experience in the alternate site group purchasing organization space
  • A portfolio featuring more than 900 suppliers and 2,000 products and services ranging from pharmaceuticals to medical/surgical supplies to business solutions and more (including numerous PPE solutions!)
  • A distributor neutral approach, meaning MSSNY members can continue using existing distributors while accessing Premier-negotiated pricing
  • A commitment to hands-on service to ensure MSSNY members are receiving the best value for all their purchasing needs

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

Questions? Email or call (888) 258-3273.

Register now!

Bonnie Litvack, MD
MSSNY President

Congress Scurries to Finish Year End Package – Your Action Still Needed!
As the US Congress scrambles to finish a year-end continuing Budget resolution and COVID relief package, all physicians are urged to continue to contact their respective US Representative and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to request that they:

1) Work to substantially revise an insurance industry-favoring proposal to address out of network surprise medical bills that, unlike New York’s heralded approach to surprise medical bills, prohibits the arbitrator from even considering physician or FAIR Health charge data. This proposal adversely impacts all physicians, not just out of network physicians, as health insurers will be even more empowered to ratchet down physician payment;

2) Prevent potentially steep Medicare cuts for many specialties while enabling long     overdue E&M payment increases to go forward; and

3)   Support programs to help address the huge drop in patient revenue facing physician practices this year

MSSNY President Dr. Bonnie Litvack had issued a statement earlier this week urging Congress to “go back to the drawing board” on its grossly unfair surprise bill proposal MSSNY Statement on US Congressional Committees’ Surprise Billing Agreement   – Congress is likely to work well into the weekend, and perhaps even into early next week, to finalize this package, so please continue to contact your Representatives!

MSSNY Weekly Podcast
Vaccines, COVID relief and Surprise Bills

Gov. Cuomo: Hospitals to Lead Regional Vaccine Distribution
Nearly a dozen hospitals and health systems across New York have been chosen to lead the regional distribution and administration of Covid-19 vaccines to essential workers and prioritized members of the public, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

Key context: Local hospitals, which will serve as regional vaccination hubs, must work with community officials in developing plans for administering Covid-19 immunizations. Those plans, Cuomo said, must be submitted to and approved by the Department of Health by early January so they are in place by the time New York has enough doses to enter Phase II of its vaccination effort — likely in late January.

Cuomo said the model will allow local health officials, county governments and community-based organizations to coordinate on a distribution plan that ensures outreach to hard-to-reach communities and meets the needs of the region. It will also ensure politics are not part of the process, he said.

“It’s a medical procedure, it will be handled by medical professionals. There will be no political favoritism,” he said during a late-morning news conference.

Cuomo noted that the state will have a “Vaccine Command Control Center” and will provide support to implement the plans.

Details: Regional vaccination hub coordinators include: The Greater New York Hospital Association for New York City; Northwell Health Systems for Long Island; Albany Medical Center for the Capital Region; Catholic Health System for Western New York; SUNY Upstate Medical Center for Central New York; and Westchester Medical Center for the Mid-Hudson region.

Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital, meanwhile, will oversee efforts in the North County; Mohawk Valley Medical Center will coordinate vaccinations in the Mohawk Valley; United Health Services will serve as the regional hub for the Southern Tier; and University of Rochester Medical Center will lead vaccine efforts in the Finger Lakes.

Vaccine costs: The governor said that he has directed the Department of Financial Services to ensure that no New Yorker has to pay for a Covid-19 vaccine and that insurers cover the costs.

“In New York state, no person will have to pay a penny for a vaccination,” he said. “We want people to get vaccinated. It shouldn’t be about wealth. No one will pay a penny.”

New York had administered around 4,000 total Covid-19 vaccine doses as of noon on Wednesday.

Notes from Governor Cuomo’s Briefing

– Day 293
– Statewide rate without micro-clusters: 4.60%
– Statewide rate with micro-clusters: 5%
– Micro-cluster rate: 6%
– 249,000 tests
– 120 deaths
– 6,081 hospitalizations, down 66
– 1,068 ICU patients, down 27
– 592 intubations, down 19

Hospitalizations by Region:
– Finger Lakes: 746 (0.06%)
– Western NY: 474 (0.03%)
– Southern Tier: 164 (0.04%)
– Central NY: 385 (0.05%)
– Mid Hudson: 739 (0.03%)
– NYC: 1,984 (0.02%)
– Long Island: 1,007 (0.04%)
– Capital Region: 331 (0.03%)
– Mohawk Valley: 188 (0.04%)
– North Country: 63 (0.02%)

– Gov. said he believes hospitals will have enough capacity to manage
– Downstate, an additional 31,000 beds have been added
– Northwell, GNYHA will back up smaller systems and NYC H&H
– State spoke with Erie, Monroe hospitals and HANYS, they have added additional
capacity, are prepared
– Gov. reiterated DOH requires state must be notified if hospitals are within 3 weeks
of hitting 85% capacity, added that no hospital has so far

Vaccination period is expected to take between 6-9 months
– Gov. again said he would take the vaccine publicly
– FDA has authorized Moderna vaccine, state advisory panel also approved it
– 346,000 doses from Moderna expected next week
– Gov. said original shipment from Pfizer contained more doses than intended
– FDA, DOH have authorized additional doses
– 19,000 vaccinations administered so far in NY
– Vaccine information available at:

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 a health care provider choose to use a consent form.  That form is not yet available.

Non Patient-Specific Standing Order for the Administration of the PfizerBioNTech COVID-19 Vaccination for the Initial Phase of the COVID-19 Vaccination Program

MLMIC Banner

Employers Can Require COVID-19 Vaccine, EEOC Says
Employers can legally require staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to their place of work, according to updated guidelines from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are permitted to impose “a requirement that an individual shall not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of individuals in the workplace,” the EEOC said in a Dec. 16 guideline.

However, employers must provide a “reasonable accommodation” for employees who have a disability or sincere religious beliefs that forbid vaccinations. Accommodations may include temporarily changing an employee’s job duties, modifying work schedules, or installing plexiglass barriers to separate employees, according to the commission.

If a reasonable accommodation cannot be made, and the unvaccinated employee poses a “direct threat” to other employees’ health and safety, employers may prevent the individual from entering the workplace. However, this is not grounds to automatically terminate the employee, the EEOC said.
To learn more, click here.

FDA Authorizes First Fully At-Home COVID-19 Test
The FDA granted emergency approval Dec. 15 for the first fully at-home COVID-19 diagnostic test, which doesn’t need a prescription and doesn’t need to be sent to a lab. The Ellume COVID-19 Home Test is a rapid antigen test that detects proteins from the virus from a nasal swab and can be used on anyone over 2 years old.

“Today’s authorization is a major milestone in diagnostic testing for COVID-19. By authorizing a test for over-the-counter use, the FDA allows it to be sold in places like drug stores, where a patient can buy it, swab their nose, run the test, and find out their results in as little as 20 minutes,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD. The agency warned that a small percentage of results may be false.

The test correctly identified 96 percent of positive samples and 100 percent of negative samples in people with symptoms. In those without symptoms, the test correctly identified 91 percent of positive samples and 96 percent of negative samples. The FDA said that people without symptoms should treat a positive result from the Ellume test as presumptively positive until confirmed by a lab test. Those with symptoms who get a negative result should follow up with their healthcare provider to decide whether they should get another test, the FDA said.

The Ellume test connects to a smartphone app to give results, which come in about 20 minutes. The app reports the results to public health authorities to help monitor disease prevalence. Ellume said it expects to make more than 3 million tests in January. The company didn’t mention how much the tests will cost.

The FDA previously has given emergency approval for an at-home COVID-19 test from LabCorp that doesn’t require a prescription, but must be sent to a lab for results. The agency authorized the first at-home COVID-19 test in November, but that requires a prescription and must be sent to a lab. (Becker’s Hospital Review, Dec.18)

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):

Attend a webinar on completing the Provider Agreement in the CIR:
Enrollment in the NYC COVID-19 Vaccination Program
Tuesday, December 15, 2020, 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
Register Here

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.

Sellers Insurance Banner

More Students Are Entering Medical School
AAMC data show that the number of first-year medical students grew in 2020. Women continue to outnumber men among future physicians, and underrepresented groups are making modest gains.

The number of people entering medical school in the United States reached a two-decade high in 2020 with a total of 22,239 matriculants, according to new data from the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges). That number represents a 1.7% increase over the 2019 entering class.

Meanwhile, applicants for the class of 2021 are skyrocketing, with the number already up 18% compared to last year.

“This increased interest in medicine comes at a crucial moment,” said David J. Skorton, MD, AAMC president and CEO. “The pandemic is spotlighting the extraordinary services that physicians provide on the front lines. It’s heartening to see that more students want to pursue a career in medicine to serve their communities and make a difference.”

The data show that medical schools are also making gradual progress in diversifying their ranks while experiencing little growth — or even declines — in applicants from most underrepresented groups. One population showing a notable increase is Black or African American men: Their numbers in medical schools rose 6.2% overall, with a 12.2% increase in new students.

Some key data help paint the picture of medical students from underrepresented backgrounds:

  • Although the percentage of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish-origin applicants dropped slightly, matriculants increased 8.6% to 2,678.
  • The number of Black or African American applicants remained roughly the same, but matriculants increased by 10.5% to 2,117.
  • American Indian or Alaska Native matriculants rose 7.8% to 248, while applicants in that group fell 4.3%.

The number of entering students identifying as Black or from other underrepresented groups rose overall. But those increases were concentrated only at a tiny number of schools, highlighting the important role of historically Black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions, experts say. “This underscores the critical role of minority-serving institutions, but it also shows that other schools must recommit to diversifying their classes to increase those historically underrepresented in medical school,” argued Geoffrey Young, PhD, AAMC senior director of student affairs and programs. (AAMC, Dec. 16)

Moderate Sleep Loss Boosts Risk of Medical Errors 53%, Study Finds
Even moderate levels of sleep deprivation among physicians can cause a significant increase in the risk of medical errors, a study published Dec. 7 in JAMA Network Open found.

Researchers surveyed physicians at 11 academic medical centers nationwide on various wellness topics, including sleep, between November 2016 and October 2018. More than 11,300 physicians provided survey responses on sleep habits, and 7,762 responded to questions about self-reported medical errors.

Residents had higher rates of sleep-related impairment than attending physicians, and residents in surgical specialties reported the most sleep deprivation among the 12 medical specialties included in the analysis. Among attending physicians, emergency medicine specialists reported the most sleep-related impairment, while surgical specialists reported the least.

After adjusting for such factors as training status and practice specialty, researchers found physicians who reported moderate levels of sleep deprivation had a 53 percent greater chance of self-reporting a clinically significant medical error. This figure jumped to 97 percent for physicians with the highest rates of sleep deprivation.

“Sleep-related impairment was associated with increased burnout, decreased professional fulfillment and increased self-reported clinically significant medical error,” study authors concluded. “Interventions to mitigate sleep-related impairment in physicians are warranted.”

To view the full study, click here.

CDC Issues Advisory as Drug Overdose Deaths Spike
The CDC issued a Health Alert Network advisory to medical and public health professionals and others Thursday, saying drug overdose deaths have soared to the highest number ever recorded in a 12-month period. Approximately 81,230 drug overdose deaths occurred in the U.S. in the 12 months ending May 2020, with the largest spike after the COVID-19 public health emergency started, from March 2020 to May 2020.

Drug overdose deaths were rising before March, but the findings suggest they accelerated during COVID-19, the agency said.

“The disruption to daily life due to the COVID-19 pandemic has hit those with substance use disorder hard,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, in a statement. “As we continue the fight to end this pandemic, it’s important to not lose sight of different groups being affected in other ways. We need to take care of people suffering from unintended consequences.”

The number of deaths increased 18.2% from the 12-month period ending in June 2019 to the 12-month period ending in May 2020 and appeared to be driven largely by deaths involving synthetic opioids like illicitly manufactured fentanyl, according to the CDC.

Of 38 jurisdictions with available synthetic opioid data in the CDC’s analysis, 37 reported increases in synthetic opioid overdose deaths. Eighteen reported increases greater than 50%. Ten western states reported more than a 98% increase in synthetic opioid-involved deaths. Cocaine-related overdose deaths also increased by 26.5% in the 12-month period; these were likely connected to using cocaine together with illicitly manufactured fentanyl or heroin, the CDC noted.

Overdose deaths involving stimulants like methamphetamine increased by 34.8% and exceeded the number of cocaine-involved deaths. These deaths have been increasing with and without synthetic opioid co-use and at a rate faster than overdose deaths involving cocaine, the agency said, noting the rise was consistent with the growth of methamphetamine in the illicit drug supply and increases in methamphetamine-related treatment admissions.

The advisory recommended that naloxone use and overdose education be expanded, that awareness and availability of treatment for substance use disorder be improved, and that drug overdose outbreaks and spikes be monitored more rapidly. (Medpage, Dec.17)

Altfest Banner

Registration Now Open Veterans Matters: PTSD in Returning Veterans Webinar

Tuesday, January 26th @ 7:30 am

The Medical Society of the State of New York is hosting a Continuing Medical Education (CME) program entitled Veterans Matters: PTSD in Returning Veterans live webinar on Tuesday, January 26, 2020 at 7:30 am.

Click HERE to register for the program! View the program flyer

When:          January 26, 2020 at 7:30 am
Faculty:        Frank Dowling, MD

Educational Objectives:

  • Identify diagnostic criteria for PTSD
  • Discuss medical and psychiatric comorbidities of military related PSTD
  • Discuss evidence-based treatment modalities for PTSD including medications and psychotherapy
  • Discuss strategies to help veterans overcome stigma to seek and accept treatment for military-related trauma

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.

Now More Than Ever, Patients Need Relief from the High Cost of Prescriptions
While COVID-19 has dominated the headlines for months, many New York residents are also dealing with health issues unrelated to the virus that may require medications. In addition, many have lost their jobs and health insurance. The New York Rx Card may be able to help ease the burden of costly prescription medications for your patients. This savings program is designed to help those who may be uninsured, underinsured or who have health insurance coverage with no prescription benefits – but anyone can use it.

Patients (and physicians) can save up to 80% on prescription drugs by using this free card. All they need to do is present the card at a pharmacy when paying for a prescription. In instances in which patients are unable to go to the pharmacy in person, they should call the pharmacy to provide the information and the discount can be applied.

If you are interested in ordering cards for your practice, clinic, hospital or for yourself, please contact Program Director Chez Ciccone or call 800-931-2297. The card can also be printed at home or in your office.

New Rx Banner


Unique Rheumatology Practice Opportunity – Great Neck, NY
Partnership opportunity available at an established rheumatology practice in Great Neck, NY. Looking for a dedicated physician to join our practice or merge practices. Contact 516-972-2986 / for more info.

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