NEWS CAPSULES

 

 

2023 

September 22, 2023

September 15, 2023

September 8, 2023

September 1, 2023

August 25, 2023

August 18, 2023

August 11, 2023

August 4, 2023

July 28, 2023

July 21, 2023

July 14, 2023

July 7, 2023

June 30, 2023

June 23, 2023

June 16, 2023

June 9, 2023

June 2, 2023

May 26, 2023

May 19, 2023

May 12, 2023

May 5, 2023

April 21, 2023

April 14, 2023

April 7, 2023

March 31, 2023

March 24, 2023

March 17, 2023

March 10, 2023

March 3, 2023

February 3, 2023

January 27, 2023

January 6, 2023

January 20, 2023

 

 

2022 

December 23, 2022

December 16, 2022

December 9, 2022

November 25, 2022

November 4, 2022

October 28, 2022

October 21, 2022

October 14, 2022 

October 7, 2022

September 30, 2022

September 16, 2022

September 16, 2022

September 9, 2022

September 2, 2022

August 26, 2022

August 19, 2022

August 12, 2022

August 5, 2022

July 29, 2022

July 22, 2022

July 8, 2022

July 1, 2022

June 24, 2022

June 17, 2022

June 10, 2022

June 3, 2022

May 20, 2022 

May 13, 2022

May 6, 2022 

April 29, 2022

 April 22, 2022

April 15, 2022

April 8, 2022

April 1, 2022

March 25, 2022

March 18, 2022

March 11, 2022

March 4, 2022

February 25, 2022 

February 18, 2022

February 11, 2022

February 4, 2022

January 28, 2022

January 21, 2022

January 14, 2022

January 7, 2022

 

 

September 22, 2023

 

Today’s COVID: Society Immediate Past President Erick Eiting, MD, talks about what is happening with COVID in New York right now. Check it out in the New York Post HERE.
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Strategies and Timing on the Wrongful Death Bill (A.6698/S.6636): Since the legislative session ended in June, Governor Kathy Hochul has been working through hundreds of pieces of legislation, but over 400 bills are still in the review stage; they haven’t officially been sent to her desk for signature or veto. Once a bill has actually been delivered, she has 10 days (minus Sundays) to sign or veto it before it automatically becomes law. So, legislators usually wait until she actually asks them to send a bill — they want to leave time to make sure she has sufficiently reviewed it, or has completed any needed amendment negotiations before the bill gets signed. (Bills that haven’t been sent, or she hasn’t acted on before the year ends, are automatically vetoed after 30 days.) Meanwhile, what can you do? Email the Governor today at Urge Governor to Veto Wrongful Death Liability Expansion! (A.6698/S.6636) (p2a.co). Telephone her at (518) 474–8390. You can select Option 3 to make a powerful statement, Option 1 to leave a compelling voicemail, or Option 2 to connect directly with the Governor's staff. Get more background: Listen to MSSNY’s September 15 podcast as Moe Auster, Senior Vice President & Chief Legislative Counsel, discusses the issues with the bill and the urgent physician actions that are required.
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Tuesday, October 10, 2023, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Surviving Litigation Seminar: The Doctors Company invites you to attend their virtual Surviving Litigation Seminar, providing constructive ways to deal with the stress of malpractice litigation. Acquire expert advice for becoming a strong, active participant in your own defense — now or in the future. This online seminar is approved for 2 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Register HERE
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Today’s Medical Students and Young Doctors Face Extra Challenges: A “2023 Survey of American Physicians” from the Physicians Foundation, including practicing physicians, residents, and students, says: The state of physician well–being — for both current and future physicians — remains low, and medical students’ overall well–being is lower than that of both residents and physicians. Current and future physicians alike report that stigma and structural barriers negatively affect their overall well–being and mental health; burnout is leading to tragic outcomes. However, a generational shift is happening: medical students are seeking mental health care, and are talking about it with peers and in classes. Both current and future physicians say that there is a need for systems and workplaces to prioritize physician well–being and perspectives. See the attached to this email for the full report. _________________________________________________________________

More Events

Wednesday, September 27, at 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY presents a CME webinar, “MPox 2023 Update: An Evolving Story.” Register now. MPox, formerly known as monkeypox, remains a threat in New York State and globally. In this session you can learn more about identifying and treating this disease, and increasing vaccine uptake. Faculty: William Valenti, MD chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Diseases Committee, and Erick Eiting, MD, MPH, Immediate Past President, NYCMS. Educational objectives: To describe signs and symptoms of MPox infection; to outline treatment options, including available vaccines and vaccine schedules; and to identify at–risk populations. For more information or help with registration, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Wednesday, September 27, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: You are invited to join a conference, “Lung Cancer Screening in New York State,” with the New York State Consortium’s Lung Cancer Screening Action Team. Register Here. Explore the current status of screening in our State, and avenues that may increase screening.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023: Golf Outing and Fundraiser, hosted by Westchester Academy of Medicine at Westchester Country Club, 99 Biltmore Avenue Rye, NY 10580. All are welcome. Check it out HERE.

Attend the Women Physicians Leadership Academy: The virtual programs are all valuable, but don’t miss the October 28 session on advocacy featuring powerhouse women legislators, including Assembly Health Chair Amy Paulin. Pass it on to your medical students and residents as well and sign up for any or all of the fall sessions — Saturday morning from 7:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on October 21, October 28, and November 4. MSSNY and the Medical, Education and Science Foundation are pleased to bring these special programs vital for women physicians facing leadership challenges. Register HERE.

 

September 15, 2023

Thursday, September 21, 2023, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.: CME Webinar from TDC, “Shift from a Burnout Crisis to Collective Action for a Clinician Well-Being Movement.” Register HERE! Burnout, as well as hurting physicians, can be harmful to patients — in fact, to the entire public. This session focuses on system–level factors and evidence–informed strategies to reduce burnout, enhance physician well–being, and strengthen our systems of care. Topics include the perspectives of the different stakeholders; priorities set by the National Academy of Medicine and the U.S. Surgeon General; signs of progress; and resources to help make clinician well–being a core value and a strategic organizational priority. Presenter: Robert Morton, MAS, CPPS, CPHRM, ARM, Assistant Vice President, The Doctors Company. Learning objectives: Physicians will be able to (1) Identify system drivers of burnout in their own practice; (2) implement at least one strategy to reduce one of these system drivers; and (3) implement constructive strategies with team members, to boost healthcare workers’ well–being.
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A Second NYCMS Event: Tuesday, October 10, 2023, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The Doctors Company invites you to attend their virtual Surviving Litigation Seminar, a complimentary workshop that provides constructive ways to deal with the stress of malpractice litigation. Acquire expert advice for becoming a strong, active participant in your own defense—now or in the future. This online seminar is approved for 2 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. For more information, Angie Summers, (800) 421–2368, extension 5115, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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EHR–Related Medical Liability: Here are five steps to help you limit errors, and help make sure crucial flags are noted. (1) Dropdown menus are a high–error feature — be particularly careful with them. (2) Don’t rely on your EHR notes to convey information to other healthcare professionals — try to communicate directly as well. (3) Be sure your “Auto–Fill” settings are in line with your clinical practices. (4) Don’t copy and paste notes from previous visits, no matter how handy that approach might be. (5) When you’re interacting with patients, make sure they really “get heard” — prioritize listening over typing. For more about protecting yourself from EHR–related legal challenges, see Rachael Ellis, 5 Ways to Avert a Malpractice Lawsuit with Better EHR Techniques, in Medscape, September 1, 2023.
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Thinking About Integrating Behavioral Health in Your Practice? The umbrella term “behavioral health” includes many conditions that could affect medical illnesses, including substance abuse, mental illness, life stressors and crises, stress–related physical symptoms and health behaviors; in a primary care practice, an integrated team might deliver care for those conditions as well as for actual medical illnesses. To inform you about this approach, the AMA is offering two multiweek learning sessions: BHI in Private Practice (October 10 – November 7), and Intro to Psychopharmacology (Oct. 31 – Dec. 5). There’s also a live webinar on October 26 at 12:00 noon Central Time (1:00 p.m. Eastern Time), “How to Financially Sustain Behavioral Health Integration in Your Practice.” Register now.
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From the Health Insurance Front: In the battle to keep insurance workable for both patients and physicians, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has announced that for 2024, premiums will increase by an average of 12.4 percent for individual plans and 7.4 percent for small group plans — significantly less than the 22.1 percent/15.3 percent that insurers had originally requested. However, the Federal Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR) process remains temporarily suspended. The legal reasons are complex – see US Departments Suspend Federal IDR Process (natlawreview.com)
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Events:
Tuesday, September 19, 2:00 p.m.: Telehealth Licensure — Emerging State Models of Physician Licensure Flexibility for Telehealth. COVID–19 greatly accelerated the adoption of telehealth, and now three years later, states are exploring new policies to expand or streamline the state licensure process for physicians while ensuring continued authority to regulate and oversee the practice of medicine. Hear about some of the latest approaches being considered and implemented in states—and what physicians are experiencing from the AMA at this virtual webinar. Learn more HERE.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.: Come to a fascinating aerospace museum, the “Cradle of Aviation,” for the Nassau County Medical Society and Nassau Academy of Medicine’s fall membership meeting in Uniondale, Long Island, with guest speaker Nassau County Commissioner of Health Doctor Irina Gelman. Enjoy drinks, dinner, and a chance to meet like–minded people. Register HERE.

Wednesday, September 27, at 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY presents a CME webinar, “MPox 2023 Update: An Evolving Story.” Register now. MPox, formerly known as monkeypox, remains a threat in New York State and globally. In this session you can learn more about identifying and treating this disease, and increasing vaccine uptake. Faculty: William Valenti, MD chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Diseases Committee, and Erick Eiting, MD, MPH, Immediate Past President, NYCMS. Educational objectives: (1) To describe signs and symptoms of MPox infection; (2) to outline treatment options, including available vaccines and vaccine schedules; and (3), to identify at–risk populations. For more information or help with registration, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tuesday, October 24, 2023: Golf Outing and Fundraiser, hosted by Westchester Academy of Medicine at Westchester Country Club, 99 Biltmore Avenue Rye, NY 10580. All are welcome. Check it out HERE.

Thursday, October 26, 2023: Veterans Matters Collaborative Teaching Day, hosted by MSSNY, Crouse Health and Syracuse University. This event will be held in person in Syracuse, NY, but there will also be the option to attend virtually, and participants can earn up to 8 hours of CME credit free of charge. To sign up, click on: View the flyer and preregister. Programs: TBI in Returning Veterans, with David Podwall, MD; PTSD in Returning Veterans, with Frank Dowling, MD; The Special Mental Health Needs of Women Veterans, with Maria Basile, MD, and Sharran Chambers–Murphy; Burn Pits: Psychological and Physical Impact on Veterans, with Mary Lee–Wong, MD; Military Culture: Everything Physicians Need to Know About Veterans as Patients, with Lt. Col. Lance Allen Wang and Adolf Meyer, MD; Suicide in Veterans, with John McIntyre, MD; The Impact of Military Sexual Trauma on Veterans, with Janine Fogarty, MD, and Sharran Chambers–Murphy; and Substance Use Disorders in Veterans, with Thomas Madejski, MD.
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Women Physicians, Here’s a Great Chance to Attend Women Physicians Leadership Academy: The virtual programs are all valuable, but don’t miss the October 28 session on advocacy featuring powerhouse women legislators, including Assembly Health Chair Amy Paulin. Pass it on to your medical students and residents as well and sign up for any or all of the fall sessions — Saturday morning from 7:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. October 21, October 28, and November 4. MSSNY and the Medical, Education and Science Foundation are pleased to bring these special programs vital for women physicians facing leadership challenges. Register at: MESF/MSSNY Women Physicians Leadership Academy Registration (google.com). Leading the fall session: Patrice Harris, MD, Past AMA. For further information, click on More Details.
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New and Early–Career Physicians: The September 19 sign–up deadline is coming up for a Physicians Foundation fellowship program on social determinants of health (“drivers of health,” or DOH). (For details and the application, click on: Fellowship Program | The Physicians Foundation.) Each fellow will develop and implement a project to help physicians understand the DOH concept and how it can be integrated into medical practices; the program aims to enhance fellows’ leadership skills so that they can help physicians focus on the physician–patient relationship, support their practices’ sustainability, and navigate the changing healthcare system. Applicants must demonstrate experience with and/or interest in DOH, physician leadership, health policy, health equity and clinical/care delivery innovation; they must submit an application with a current resume/CV, and a statement of intent that briefly describes how participating will help them make positive, constructive contributions to the medical profession in the future. They must include two letters of recommendation, one of which is recommended to be from the fellow's state or county medical society. The Physicians Foundation was set up in 2003 after 19 state medical societies (including MSSNY) and others won a class–action suit against private third–party payers resulted in a significant monetary settlement.

 

 

September 8, 2023

 

Your “To Do” List: Make sure to send an instant message to Urge Governor to Veto Wrongful Death Liability Expansion! (A.6698/S.6636) (p2a.co). Don’t let up on the messaging.
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Fantastic Opportunity to Attend the Women Physicians Leadership Academy: The virtual programs are all valuable, but don’t miss the October 28 session on advocacy featuring powerhouse women legislators, including Assembly Health Chair Amy Paulin. Pass it on to your medical students and residents as well and sign up for any or all of the fall sessions — Saturday morning from 7:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. October 21, October 28, and November 4. MSSNY and the Medical, Education and Science Foundation are pleased to bring these special programs vital for women physicians facing leadership challenges. Register at: MESF/MSSNY Women Physicians Leadership Academy Registration (google.com). Leading the fall session: Patrice Harris, MD, Past AMA. For further information, click on More Details.
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New Fellowship Program Through The Physicians Foundation – September 19 Deadline: New and early–career physicians, you’re invited to start your sign–up process for a new fellowship program with the Physicians Foundation, focusing on the social determinants of health (“drivers of health,” or DOH). (For details and the application, click on: Fellowship Program | The Physicians Foundation.) Each fellow will develop and implement a project to help physicians understand the DOH concept and how it can be integrated into medical practices; the program aims to enhance fellows’ leadership skills so that they can help physicians focus on the physician-patient relationship, support their practices’ sustainability, and navigate the changing healthcare system. Applicants must demonstrate experience with and/or interest in DOH, physician leadership, health policy, health equity and clinical/care delivery innovation; they must submit an application with a current resume/CV, and a statement of intent that briefly describes how participating will help them make positive, constructive contributions to the medical profession in the future. They must include two letters of recommendation, one of which is recommended to be from the fellow's state or county medical society. The Physicians Foundation was set up in 2003 after 19 state medical societies (including MSSNY) and others won a class–action suit against private third–party payers resulted in a significant monetary settlement.
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NYCMS Event

Thursday, September 21, 2023, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.: CME Webinar from TDC, “Shift from a Burnout Crisis to Collective Action for a Clinician Well-Being Movement.” Register HERE! Burnout, as well as hurting physicians, can be harmful to patients – in fact, to the entire public. This session focuses on system-level factors and evidence-informed strategies to reduce burnout, enhance physician well-being, and strengthen our systems of care. Topics include the perspectives of the different stakeholders; priorities set by the National Academy of Medicine and the U.S. Surgeon General; signs of progress; and resources to help make clinician well-being a core value and a strategic organizational priority. Presenter: Robert Morton, MAS, CPPS, CPHRM, ARM, Assistant Vice President, The Doctors Company. Learning objectives: Physicians will be able to (1) Identify system drivers of burnout in their own practice; (2) implement at least one strategy to reduce one of these system drivers; and (3) implement constructive strategies with team members, to boost healthcare workers’ well–being.
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Other Events

Telehealth Licensure — Emerging State Models of Physician Licensure Flexibility for Telehealth, on September 19, 2:00 p.m.: COVID–19 greatly accelerated the adoption of telehealth, and now three years later, states are exploring new policies to expand or streamline the state licensure process for physicians while ensuring continued authority to regulate and oversee the practice of medicine. Hear about some of the latest approaches being considered and implemented in states—and what physicians are experiencing from the AMA at this virtual webinar. Learn more HERE.

Wednesday, September 27, at 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY presents a CME webinar, “MPox 2023 Update: An Evolving Story.” Register now. MPox, formerly known as monkeypox, remains a threat in New York State and globally. In this session you can learn more about identifying and treating this disease, and increasing vaccine uptake. Faculty: William Valenti, MD chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Diseases Committee, and Erick Eiting, MD, MPH, Immediate Past President, NYCMS. Educational objectives: (1) To describe signs and symptoms of MPox infection; (2) to outline treatment options, including available vaccines and vaccine schedules; and (3), to identify at–risk populations. For more information or help with registration, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tuesday, September 19, 2023, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.: Come to a fascinating aerospace museum, the “Cradle of Aviation,” for the Nassau County Medical Society and Nassau Academy of Medicine’s fall membership meeting in Uniondale, Long Island, with guest speaker Nassau County Commissioner of Health Doctor Irina Gelman. Enjoy drinks, dinner, and a chance to meet like–minded people. Register HERE.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023: Golf Outing and Fundraiser, hosted by Westchester Academy of Medicine at Westchester Country Club, 99 Biltmore Avenue Rye, NY 10580. All are welcome. Check it out HERE.

Thursday, October 26, 2023: Veterans Matters Collaborative Teaching Day, hosted by MSSNY, Crouse Health and Syracuse University. This event will be held in person in Syracuse, NY, but there will also be the option to attend virtually, and participants can earn up to 8 hours of CME credit free of charge. To sign up, click on: View the flyer and preregister. Programs: TBI in Returning Veterans, with David Podwall, MD; PTSD in Returning Veterans, with Frank Dowling, MD; The Special Mental Health Needs of Women Veterans, with Maria Basile, MD, and Sharran Chambers–Murphy; Burn Pits: Psychological and Physical Impact on Veterans, with Mary Lee-Wong, MD; Military Culture: Everything Physicians Need to Know About Veterans as Patients, with Lt. Col. Lance Allen Wang and Adolf Meyer, MD; Suicide in Veterans, with John McIntyre, MD; The Impact of Military Sexual Trauma on Veterans, with Janine Fogarty, MD, and Sharran Chambers–Murphy; and Substance Use Disorders in Veterans, with Thomas Madejski, MD.

 

September 1, 2023

Don’t Let Up — Keep Communicating with Governor Hochul on Wrongful Death (A.6698/S.6636): This bill would greatly expand liability since more categories of people could receive awards, and as a result premiums could go up 40 percent, with a huge impact on such specialties as OB/GYN. As MSSNY President Paul Pipia, MD recently said, the bill “would ultimately undermine access to care, especially when it comes to maternal and reproductive healthcare; medical students already cite high liability costs and fear of being sued as reasons for not training as OB-GYNs . . . For OB/GYNs and other physician specialists, New York is already home to the highest medical professional liability premiums. That isn’t good for attracting more doctors to practice here.” Even if you’ve done this before, please repeat and send an instant message from Urge Governor to Veto Wrongful Death Liability Expansion! (A.6698/S.6636) (p2a.co).
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Some Good News on Prior Authorizations: CIGNA is removing prior authorizations for more than 100 surgical codes and nearly 200 genetic testing codes, plus many codes for durable medical equipment, orthoses and prosthetics, leaving fewer than 4% of procedures subject to prior authorization for CIGNA’s commercial policyholders. Last year, Aetna (owned by CVS) rolled back prior authorization requirements on cataract surgeries, video EEGs and home infusion for some drugs, and in March, UnitedHealthcare said it planned to remove nearly 20% of prior authorizations. (See Cigna removes prior authorizations for 25% of services | Healthcare Dive.) Congress has been pushing insurers to streamline prior authorizations, and the federal government has proposed changes, to be implemented in 2026, requiring insurers to provide more transparency about denials and speed up response times. But those rules would only apply to some categories of health insurance, including Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid plans – not to employer–sponsored health plans. About half of all Americans wouldn't benefit. The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act prohibits insurers from denying or canceling coverage to patients due to their preexisting conditions, but “some patient advocates and health policy experts question whether insurers are using prior authorization as ‘a possible loophole’ to this prohibition, as a way of denying care to patients with the highest healthcare costs (Kaye Pestaina, a vice president of KFF (the Kaiser Family Foundation) and the co–director of its Program on Patient and Consumer Protections, quoted in Doctors, Patients Try to Shame Insurers to Reverse Prior Auth Denials | MedPage Today. )
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Help Fight Abusive Prior Authorization Requirements: As we all know, insurers’ delays in authorizing prescriptions, tests or procedures can cause patients stress and their conditions may actually worsen. MSSNY is asking you to take a survey to gauge prior authorizations’ impact in New York State. Please click HERE.
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Application Deadline September 19: New and early–career physicians, you’re invited to start your sign-up process for a new fellowship program with the Physicians Foundation, focusing on the social determinants of health (“drivers of health,” or DOH). (For details and the application, click on: Fellowship Program | The Physicians Foundation.) Each fellow will develop and implement a project to help physicians understand the DOH concept and how it can be integrated into medical practices; the program aims to enhance fellows’ leadership skills so that they can help physicians focus on the physician-patient relationship, support their practices’ sustainability, and navigate the changing healthcare system. Applicants must demonstrate experience with and/or interest in DOH, physician leadership, health policy, health equity and clinical/care delivery innovation; they must submit an application with a current resume/CV, and a statement of intent that briefly describes how participating will help them make positive, constructive contributions to the medical profession in the future. They must include two letters of recommendation, one of which is recommended to be from the fellow's state or county medical society. The Physicians Foundation was set up in 2003 after 19 state medical societies (including MSSNY) and others won a class–action suit against private third–party payers resulted in a significant monetary settlement.
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Employed Physicians, Ask Yourself “Should I Renegotiate Your Employment Contract?” Resolve, a physician–founded and physician–driven company, is bringing change to physicians’ employment contracts by providing data and transparency. Using the most accurate data on compensation and other contract terms from actual contracts, Resolve delivers the insights and expertise to help physicians negotiate for what they truly deserve, and take control of their careers. As a valued MSSNY member, you receive 10% off any of the Resolve packages. (At checkout, use code MSSNY10.) In addition to paid packages, you can set up a FREE account and access these tools: rData, which lets you view salaries, signing bonuses, and other key points from real physician contracts in your specialty and location; Contract Scorecard, which lets you see how your contract stacks up against market data for your specialty; and more. (To see all of the Resolve packages, click on: Physician Contract Review and Physician Compensation Data packages - Resolve.com.)
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NYCMS Event

Thursday, September 21, 2023, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.: CME Webinar from TDC, “Shift from a Burnout Crisis to Collective Action for a Clinician Well-Being Movement.” Register HERE! Burnout, as well as hurting physicians, can be harmful to patients – in fact, to the entire public. This session focuses on system-level factors and evidence-informed strategies to reduce burnout, enhance physician well-being, and strengthen our systems of care. Topics include the perspectives of the different stakeholders; priorities set by the National Academy of Medicine and the U.S. Surgeon General; signs of progress; and resources to help make clinician well-being a core value and a strategic organizational priority. Presenter: Robert Morton, MAS, CPPS, CPHRM, ARM, Assistant Vice President, The Doctors Company. Learning objectives: Physicians will be able to (1) Identify system drivers of burnout in their own practice; (2) implement at least one strategy to reduce one of these system drivers; and (3) implement constructive strategies with team members, to boost healthcare workers’ well–being.
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Other Events

Wednesday, September 6, 2023, 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m., “Workers’ Compensation — Protecting Yourself and Your Team: Coverage Essentials for Businesses.” This session covers the basics of the workers’ compensation system, including insurance types, coverage requirements, and employers’ obligations under the law; who needs coverage and who does not; how and when to report an injury or illness (including COVID–19); considerations when hiring independent contractors, laborers, and domestic workers; how to lower premiums; and penalties. The session is free, and there will be time at the end for questions. Registration is not required. When the day arrives and you’re ready to join, just click on: Join webinar.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.: Come to a fascinating aerospace museum, the “Cradle of Aviation,” for the Nassau County Medical Society and Nassau Academy of Medicine’s fall membership meeting in Uniondale, Long Island, with guest speaker Nassau County Commissioner of Health Doctor Irina Gelman. Enjoy drinks, dinner, and a chance to meet like–minded people. Register HERE.

Wednesday, September 27, at 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY presents a CME webinar, “MPox 2023 Update: An Evolving Story.” Register now. MPox, formerly known as monkeypox, remains a threat in New York State and globally. In this session you can learn more about identifying and treating this disease, and increasing vaccine uptake. Faculty: William Valenti, MD chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Diseases Committee, and Erick Eiting, MD, MPH, Immediate Past President, NYCMS. Educational objectives: (1) To describe signs and symptoms of MPox infection; (2) to outline treatment options, including available vaccines and vaccine schedules; and (3), to identify at–risk populations. For more information or help with registration, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

August 25, 2023

Help Fight Abusive Prior Authorization Requirements: As we all know, insurers’ delays in authorizing prescriptions, tests, or procedures can cause patients stress and their conditions may actually worsen. MSSNY is asking you to take a survey to gauge prior authorizations’ impact in New York State. Please click HERE to help build our case.
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Keep Those Cards and Letters Coming — Two “Live” Issues Still On Deck:
We need to keep warning Governor Kathy Hochul about the potential consequences of the “Wrongful Death” bill. Not only could this measure jeopardize our New York State healthcare delivery system (medical liability premiums could go up 40%), it could create problems for businesses and municipalities (general liability premiums could go up 11%) as well as problems for New Yorkers who drive (auto insurance premiums could go up 6%). Please send an instant message from Urge Governor to Veto Wrongful Death Liability Expansion! (A.6698/S.6636) (p2a.co). Note: If you think that because you are not in private practice, you are immune to the consequences of this legislation, think again and see above!

Congress needs to fix the Medicare physician payment system. With yet another cut planned for 2024, we need to keep urging Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as our US Representatives, to pass HR 2474, which would require inflation–based increases in Medicare physician payment. This legislation currently has 33 co–sponsors, including New York representatives Dan Goldman (D–NYC), Jerrold Nadler (D–NYC) and Brandon Williams (R–Central New York). Just click on Please urge your member of Congress to co-sponsor this bill today! Scroll down to “Take Action Now” and follow the prompts.
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Hot Weather and Health: Society Immediate Past President Erick Eiting, MD, MPH, was interviewed by Channel 7 (ABC) on effects of this hot summer and New Yorkers’ health. Click on The case for building green spaces in under-represented communities amid extreme heat - ABC7 New York (abc7ny.com).
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Thursday, September 21, 2023, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.: CME Webinar from TDC, “Shift from a Burnout Crisis to Collective Action for a Clinician Well-Being Movement.” Register HERE! Burnout, as well as hurting physicians, can be harmful to patients – in fact, to the entire public. This session focuses on system-level factors and evidence-informed strategies to reduce burnout, enhance physician well-being, and strengthen our systems of care. Topics include the perspectives of the different stakeholders; priorities set by the National Academy of Medicine and the U.S. Surgeon General; signs of progress; and resources to help make clinician well-being a core value and a strategic organizational priority. Presenter: Robert Morton, MAS, CPPS, CPHRM, ARM, Assistant Vice President, The Doctors Company. Learning objectives: Physicians will be able to (1) Identify system drivers of burnout in their own practice; (2) implement at least one strategy to reduce one of these system drivers; and (3) implement constructive strategies with team members, to boost healthcare workers’ well-being.
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Other Events:

Tuesday, September 19, 2023, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.: Come to a fascinating aerospace museum, the “Cradle of Aviation,” for the Nassau County Medical Society and Nassau Academy of Medicine’s fall membership meeting in Uniondale, Long Island, with guest speaker Nassau County Commissioner of Health Doctor Irina Gelman. Enjoy drinks, dinner, and a chance to meet like–minded people. Register HERE.

Wednesday, September 27, at 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY presents a CME webinar, “MPox 2023 Update: An Evolving Story.” Register now. MPox, formerly known as monkeypox, remains a threat in New York State and globally. In this session you can learn more about identifying and treating this disease, and increasing vaccine uptake. Faculty: William Valenti, MD chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Diseases Committee, and Erick Eiting, MD, MPH, Immediate Past President, NYCMS. Educational objectives: (1) To describe signs and symptoms of MPox infection; (2) to outline treatment options, including available vaccines and vaccine schedules; and (3), to identify at–risk populations. For more information or help with registration, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tuesday, October 24, 2023: Golf Outing and Fundraiser, hosted by Westchester Academy of Medicine at Westchester Country Club, 99 Biltmore Avenue Rye, NY 10580. All are welcome. RSVP Form HERE. Details: For golf, the individual charge is $600. Tee times begin at 1:00 p.m., but why not come for registration, driving range and Halfway House lunch at 12:00 noon. (Golf reservations are limited—please RSVP today, by using the form or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..) After golf: Cocktails are at 6:00 p.m., and dinner and raffles are at 7:00 p.m. ($150 per person.) All proceeds will benefit the Westchester Academy of Medicine.
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Workers Compensation Programs on Coping with the MTGs (Medical Treatment Guidelines): The Workers’ Compensation Board offers you a special, specific “training” for each of the 16 MTGs, and once again you can get CME credit. Each training provides an overview of the General Guideline Principles, conditions associated with the body part or disease, and treatment recommendations. You can view the trainings and related guidance HERE. There’s also an easy–to–use MTG Lookup Tool, available via the Board’s Medical Portal. You enter the medical condition and the treatment (including tests) you want to search, and the Lookup Tool tells you whether that condition or treatment combination is "Recommended," "Not Recommended" or "Conditional." It also gives you the full MTG reference to the condition and treatment. View a tutorial on the Lookup Tool HERE or go HERE.

 

 

August 18, 2023

NYCMS CME Program: Thursday, September 21, 2023, 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.: CME Webinar from The Doctors Company, “Shift from a Burnout Crisis to Collective Action for a Clinician Well–Being Movement.” Register HERE! Burnout, as well as hurting physicians, can be harmful to patients — in fact, to the entire public. This session focuses on system–level factors and evidence–informed strategies to reduce burnout, enhance physician well–being, and strengthen our systems of care. Topics include the perspectives of the different stakeholders; priorities set by the National Academy of Medicine and the U.S. Surgeon General; signs of progress; and resources to help make clinician well–being a core value and a strategic organizational priority. Presenter: Robert Morton, MAS, CPPS, CPHRM, ARM, Assistant Vice President, The Doctors Company. Learning objectives: Physicians will be able to (1) identify system drivers of burnout in their own practice; (2) implement at least one strategy to reduce one of these system drivers; and (3) implement constructive strategies with team members, to boost healthcare workers’ well–being.
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Good news! Once Again, Court Says “No” to NYC’s Planned Medicare Advantage Switch for Retirees: On August 11, Judge Lyle Frank wr ote in a decision and order that the City is permanently enjoined from requiring any City retirees and their dependents to be removed from their current health insurance plan(s). Said Marianne Pizzitola, president of the New York City Organization of Public Service Retirees, “NYC retirees earned their right to federal Medicare, and we relied on the promise we would have this benefit through our lifetime . . . We hope this decision will help retirees nationwide stop their former unions and employers from privatizing the Federal Public Health Benefit of Medicare.” The City plans to appeal the ruling despite the judge’s order, but there was bipartisan praise from New York City Council members.
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Congestion Pricing Latest: The MTA’s Traffic Mobility Review Board (TRMB) is working on a final fee structure with all final discounts, exemptions, and rates for the program — a tolling zone that will extend south from 60th Street, except for vehicles driving through via the FDR Drive, the West Side Highway and the Battery Park underpass. The law itself only requires three exemptions — emergency vehicles, vehicles transporting people with disabilities, and residents of the congestion pricing zone who earn less than $60,000 per year. Many issues are still unresolved. There are calls for taxi and hire–car exemptions, passing the fee along to the rider. The New York County Medical Society also is still in the discussion, asking the TMRB and the City Council to consider exemptions for hospital workers (including physicians), and for vulnerable patients. New Jersey is still suing, saying the plan would divert extra traffic to New Jersey, harm that state’s environment and raise costs for the 400,000 New Jersey residents who commute into Manhattan every day. But if you’re at West 60th Street and Broadway, or West 61st Street and West End Avenue, you’ll see early signs. Vehicle–identifying scanners have been installed — E–Z Pass readers and license plate–scanning cameras similar to those already in use at approaches to the MTA’s nine bridges and tunnels.
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Thanks for the Assist on Scope–of–Practice Issues: Thanks go to all of our members who contacted legislators and Governor Kathy Hochul on the slew of scope–of–practice issues that come up this legislative session. We also appreciate the efforts of the AMA and other organizations working together on the SOPP (Scope of Practice Partnership) grant. The SOPP includes the AMA, the American Osteopathic Association, 18 national specialty societies, 50 state medical associations and 39 state osteopathic medical associations; MSSNY is among the 14 state medical societies that received SOPP funding to support state–level scope of practice advocacy during the 2023 legislative session. This year, numerous scope expansions were included in New York’s Executive Budget and at least 15 were introduced in the legislature, including one proposal to let physician assistants practice independently and another to let pharmacists test for (and treat) potentially serious illnesses over the pharmacy counter. MSSNY used SOPP funds for radio ads about physicians’ many years of education and training; MSSNY also communicated via social media on the harm to patients when physicians are removed from the health care team. Also defeated were a bill letting psychologists prescribe powerful psychotropic medications; multiple bills expanding the scope of certified registered nurse anesthetists; and a bill creating a license for naturopaths and others. Only one bill expanding scope did pass which lets pharmacists dispense contraceptives per a prescriber’s global order.
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Another Victory: MSSNY has made a tough law easier for smaller practices. There is a new law, effective August 1, that requires a physician practice (or other healthcare entity) to notify the New York State Department of Health (DOH) of any merger, acquisition, contract, or similar transaction that will increase the practice’s in–state revenues. Thanks to MSSNY’s advocacy, there is a lower limit than originally proposed in the legislation. The only transactions requiring DOH approval will be those that will increase in–state revenues by more than $25 million. DOH is closely watching purchases of medical practices by private equity companies, but it does not need information on small–practice deals.

However, if you still need the DOH’s Material Transactions notification form (to be posted shortly), note that it must be submitted to the email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at least 30 days before the transaction closes. For more information, go to Required Reporting of Material Transactions (ny.gov). If you need help with the new law, please contact Moe Auster, MSSNY’s Senior Vice–President & Chief Legislative Counsel, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Public Listening Sessions on Telemedicine Regulations: The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is hosting public listening sessions September 12 – 13, at DEA Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. On March 1, 2023, the DEA and the Department of Health and Human Services issued notices of proposed rulemakings HERE to allow for the prescribing of certain controlled medications via telemedicine without an in–person patient evaluation, and on May 9 the two agencies announced the extension of COVID–19 telemedicine flexibility for an additional six months while considering the more than 38,000 comments from the public. In September, the agency will host public listening sessions on telemedicine regulations, with time for limited oral presentations by attendees. To attend in person, register HERE by August 21, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. (The listening sessions will also be live streamed online with remote participation available; we’ll let you know as soon as we receive the link and the hours of the sessions.)
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Wednesday, August 23, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time: AMA Webinar, “Healing the Healer: Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy to Support Physician Wellness.” Register now at Personal Information - Healing the healer: Legislative and regulatory advocacy to support physician wellness (cvent.com). Physicians’ problems require individual support, but they also require system–level solutions. A number of state medical associations have successfully enacted laws providing confidentiality protections for physicians seeking help for burnout, and the AMA and state medical associations have urged state medical boards to eliminate or revise stigmatizing mental–health–related questions on licensing applications. Willie Underwood III, MD, MSc, MPH (Chair, AMA Board of Trustees and MSSNY member) talks with expert panelists from the Federation of State Medical Boards, the South Dakota State Medical Association, the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, and Sentara Healthcare.
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September 19, 2023, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.: Come to a fascinating aerospace museum, the “Cradle of Aviation” for the Nassau County Medical Society and Nassau Academy of Medicine’s fall membership meeting in Uniondale, Long Island with guest speaker is Nassau County Commissioner of Health Doctor Irina Gelman. Come and enjoy drinks, dinner, and a chance to meet like–minded people. Register HERE.

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Have You Updated Your New MSSNY Profile? Your own special data is ready to be updated in MSSNY’s new database system. You will receive an email telling you the steps. When you receive that email click on your unique link, provided in your email, to directly access your profile. Your username for login is the email address through which you receive MSSNY communications. When you log in, you will be prompted to set your new password. Please update your profile information in the Account Tab under Personal Information. If you would like to upload a recent headshot, click the Add Image button (200x200 pixels or square images preferred). Thanks to its new database, members will be able to handle changes to your own information!

 

August 11, 2023

 

Thursday, September 21, 2023, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.:  CME Webinar from TDC, “Shift from a Burnout Crisis to Collective Action.”   Register HERE!   Burnout, as well as hurting physicians, can be harmful  to patients – in fact, to the entire public.  This session focuses on system-level factors and evidence-informed strategies to reduce burnout, enhance physician well-being, and strengthen our systems of care.  Topics include the perspectives of the different stakeholders; priorities set by the National Academy of Medicine and the U.S. Surgeon General; signs of progress; and resources to help make clinician well-being a core value and a strategic organizational priority.  Presenter:  Robert Morton, MAS, CPPS, CPHRM, ARM, Assistant Vice President, The Doctors Company.  Learning objectives:  Physicians will be able to (1) identify system drivers of burnout in their own practice; (2) implement at least one strategy to reduce one of these system drivers; and (3) implement constructive strategies with team members, to boost healthcare workers’ well-being. 

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Via remote patient monitoring (RPM) systems, some patients may be able to receive hospital-level care in their own homes.  Certain patients (such as those with chronic illness) can be monitored remotely via advanced sensors that follow vital signs and other critical data; this information is transmitted to cloud-based platforms, and the system can alert the clinician early, when vitals exceed certain thresholds or indicate abnormal trends.  As a result, treatment may possibly start sooner, potentially mitigating conditions that could otherwise require hospital admission.  At this point, what’s the downside?   Physicians worry about being burdened by the sheer volume of data that the home monitoring devices might generate.  Typically, a doctor is already treating 10 to 15 patients in the hospital, and “the ability to digitally monitor an additional load of at-home patients, streaming data 24/7,” could be overwhelming.  How could these problems be dealt with?  Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) might be used to weed through the massive quantities of data, alerting the physician only to those cases that require an action or a decision.  Eventually, the integrated systems might move from just collecting data to helping with treatment decisions.  (Charbel Rizkallah, in HealthITAnswers, August 7, 2023:  How Remote Patient Monitoring Brings the Hospital to the Home - Health IT Answers.)   

 

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Question about credit-card surcharges:  We asked Heather Lopez, MSSNY’s Vice President for Physician Payment & Practice.  One of our NYCMS members writes, “Are doctors allowed to charge a credit-card surcharge for their patients insured by plans with which we participate?  So many shops and companies now charge an extra 3 to 5% when you purchase items with a credit card, and I understand why.”  Heather says:  “This is not recommended; physicians are not allowed to charge more than what contracts allow.” However, if physicians do not have a contract with that insurance, they are allowed to impose a credit-card surcharge if the patient is informed in advance of the arrangement and signs off on it.  If you have Qs about coding, billing, health insurance, etc., email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 518-328-3532. 

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Building and running your practice:  Are you taking these important steps?  (1) Are you reaching out frequently to colleagues and other healthcare facilities? (2) Setting hours that work well for your community?  (3) Attending to referrals right away?  (4) Hiring staffers whose personalities fit their roles?  (5) Being supportive with staff – but also, respectful and professional? (6) Monitoring outsourced billers closely, making sure they report to you regularly, and that they vigorously pursue denials? See Amanda Loudin’s “5 Daily Mistakes that Can Sabotage Your Medical Practice,” Medscape, April 19, 2023 (https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/990960?form=fpf). 

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Financial management for physicians:  MSSNY invites you to tune in on these interesting webinars from Altfest Personal Wealth Management (just click on the link):   

Real Estate Investing for Physicians
Behavioral Psychology & Economics - How to get out of your own way
The Realities of Retirement Planning 
How to Reduce Your Tax Bill

 

 

August 4, 2023

 

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) vaccination update:  In June 2023, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices endorsed the use of RSV vaccines for older adults, recommending that adults aged 60 years or older receive a single dose of RSV vaccine.  The CDC stresses shared clinical decision-making:  In addition to the physician’s clinical discretion, the decision should involve a patient/physician discussion that takes into account the patient’s values and preferences as well as the risk of severe disease.  For details, see the New York State Department of Health Release.

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Beware of scammers impersonating DEA agents!  The Drug Enforcement Administration says there’s a widespread fraud scheme in which telephone scammers impersonate DEA agents in an attempt to extort money or steal personal identifiable information. (In reality, DEA will never phone you demanding money or asking for personal information.)  Some of these scammers claim that the target’s name was used to rent a vehicle which was stopped at the border and contained a large quantity of drugs; the scammer asks the target to verify a social security number, or claims that a bank account has been compromised.  Other scammers spoof legitimate DEA phone numbers to convince their target that the call is legitimate, or text photos of what appears to be a legitimate law-enforcement credential.  What you should do:  If you get a call from a person claiming to be with DEA, report the incident to the FBI at www.ic3.gov.  Also, go to the Federal Trade Commission’s site (reportfraud.ftc.gov) – they will take your report, list recovery steps and share the information with more than 3,000 law-enforcement agencies. And if you have given the caller personally identifiable information such as a social security number, find out how to protect against identity theft at www.identitytheft.gov.  For more information, see the DEA’s public service announcement; also, see their press release, at https://www.dea.gov/press-releases/2021/03/03/dea-warning-scammers-impersonating-dea-agents-0

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EHR exhaustion:  Does your system have features that could be simplified, streamlined or just cut out?  “Stop doing unnecessary work so you can get back to doctoring,” says internist Marie Brown, MD, the AMA’s director of practice redesign.  The AMA has developed a de-implementation checklist pointing out processes or requirements that add little value to patients and care teams, but place unintended burdens on clinicians.  On the list are some tasks that don’t have to be done by an MD or DO (they could be done by other staff); some tasks that add no value and could be eliminated entirely; and some items that, by being simplified, could save time and aggravation.  For example, here are some strategies for:  Passwords, login/logout, etc.:  Extend the time before auto-logout; extend the intervals for password reset requirements; don’t require a physician who has already signed into the EHR, to re-enter a username and password when sending certain noncontrolled-substance prescriptions.  Ordering tests:  Cut down requirements for inputting excessive clinical data before ordering a test; set up the technology to auto-populate necessary discrete data fields if the information already exists in the EHR (e.g., if a medical assistant has completed a discrete field for “last menstrual period,” optimize your technology so no one has to reenter that data into the order for a pap smear).  Reduce “note bloat”:  Cut down on links embedded in visit-note templates that automatically pull in data from other parts of the EHR, adding little clinical value.  For more details, go to:  De-implementation Checklist | AMA (ama-assn.org)

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Staffing your practice:  Do you need an office manager, a biller/coder, a certified medical assistant – or one of the many other valuable health professionals?  Get help from Winston, the endorsed medical staffing firm for the New York County Medical Society.  Winston, which has been Joint Commission certified since 2009, offers Society members discounted rates on both temporary and direct-hire staffing needs. For immediate personal attention from a trained professional who understands your situation, contact Ivy Kramer, MSW, CSW - email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 212-687-4667. 

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Can a doctor’s office be converted to a residence?  In some cases, this conversion may not be barred by New York City’s zoning laws - but it may still be difficult.  It’s true that there are doctors’ offices not only in NYC’s Commercial (C) zoning districts, but also in the Residence (R) districts - in buildings that are primarily residential.  (Offices in those residential buildings are classified as “community facilities,” rather than as regular commercial enterprises.)  But the laws and regulations have become stricter and more complicated over the years.  One recently retired NYCMS member says, “My office co-op is in a residential building on East 62nd St. in Manhattan and was originally a residence. In trying to sell my office, I have had more residential interest, but have been informed by my building’s attorney that Manhattan restricts this medical office conversion to residential use due to a belief that there are excessive residences in some areas of Manhattan.  This restriction is in place at the same time that there are public plans for supporting the needed conversion of ENTIRE office buildings into residential buildings!”  This member, Dr. Harvey Jay, urges a change in the rules; he would welcome information and anecdotes from fellow physicians who have run into a similar problem.  You can email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 914-552-5563.

 

July 28, 2023

 

Our President Continues Wrongful Death Fight: Society President Thomas Sterry, MD was interviewed in a piece on ABC–TV News on why physicians were concerned about “Wrongful Death” legislation. Doctor Sterry talked about the consequences of increasing medical liability costs (estimated to be near 40 % if this legislation passes) on the health care system and especially in underserved communities. Help with this fight (even if you have done it before) by sending a letter on the issue to Governor Kathy Hochul HERE.
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We Must Keep Fighting Medicare Cuts: Medicare has released its proposed 2024 Medicare Physician Payment rule, with a drastic 3.36% cut to the Medicare conversion factor. Once again physicians must urge their Representative and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to enact HR 2474, which would instead provide annual positive updates in Medicare payment. Please click on Take Action | Fix Medicare Now to communicate with the lawmakers. (Use the quick message system on the right–hand side of that web page.)

Medicare physician pay has fallen 26% since 2001. How did we get here? Doctors’ payments have been partially tied to the Medicare Economic Index (MEI), an inflation index that has two categories (practice costs and physician compensation) and is adjusted to reflect the productivity of the whole U.S. economy; but between 1992 and 2015, the MEI’s role in shaping payment diminished dramatically. New factors came in, namely, prospective expenditure targets (first, MVPS, the Medicare Volume Performance Standards, and then SGR, the sustainable–growth rate). Those targets kept the growth of overall Medicare physician spending low — in fact, so low that the payment cuts were unsustainable. So Congress tried applying short–term payment “patches” that were subtracted from projected updates later in the budget window. But those patches didn’t completely work either, and by 2015 physicians were facing a payment cut of 21%.

The next development was MACRA, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. MACRA did change the payment system significantly: It eliminated the SGR and the “debt” that had accumulated over ten–plus years of payment patches. However, the problems were still unsolved: MACRA’s updates were required to be set at below–inflation numbers that, even at the beginning, experts knew would be unsustainable. Thus, it comes as no surprise that when adjusted for inflation, physician payment has effectively declined 26% from 2001 to 2023. And it is widely recognized that chronically inadequate payment rates will affect access to care.

For more information about the 2024 rule, see the CMS Press release, Fact sheet, and the other notable Medicare proposals for 2024 reported by the AMA.
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AMA Practice Expenses Survey Going Out: Soon, thousands of randomly selected individual physicians will be receiving a short survey about direct patient care hours (a critical component of the Medicare payment methodology). The Medicare physician payment schedule is out of date: It relies on 2006 cost information, but since then the U.S. economy and health care system have undergone substantial changes— inflation, the adoption of EHRs and more. The AMA needs accurate financial information to communicate effectively with CMS, Congress and other policymakers. For details, go to Physician Practice Information (PPI) Survey.
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Does Medicare Cover This? Have you ever searched to see if Medicare covers a certain CPT/HCPC code in the (POS) Place of Service 11? Some insurers are rejecting codes that indicate non–coverage by Medicare for office–based procedures. Medicare has designed a quick lookup tool for this where you can go and check the codes for coverage and reimbursement rates. Try this lookup tool today, and save it in your shortcuts! If you have questions about this or any other insurance concern, contact Heather Lopez, MSSNY’s Director of Physician Payment and Practice, at (518) 328–3532.
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Wednesday, August 2, 12:00 Noon to 1:00 p.m.: Physicians who are employers, you’re invited to take part in the Workers Compensation Board’s free monthly “Lunch and Learn with the Office of the Advocate for Business.” This webinar will discuss the basics of the Workers’ Compensation system, including insurance types, coverage requirements and employers’ obligations under the law; who needs coverage and who does not; how and when to report an injury or illness, including COVID–19; what you should bear in mind when hiring independent contractors, laborers and domestic workers; penalties and where to get help with them; and more. There will be time at the end for questions, and registration is not required. To join, on August 2 at noon, please click on Join webinar. (Note: The next monthly session is on Wednesday, September 6, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. To enter that session, just click on that same link, Join webinar.)
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Latest Vaccine News: Find out the latest about vaccines from MSSNY’s updated podcasts, with Doctor Bill Valenti, chair of MSSNY’s Committee on Infectious Diseases. The COVID pandemic has affected everyone’s life, and one of the most significant and devastating impacts has been the lapse in routine childhood vaccines. Click on the podcast topic to hear Doctor Valenti discuss the following:

· Hepatitis B
· Hepatitis B (extended version)
· Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
· Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR)
· Respiratory Viruses (Influenza, COVID & RSV)
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Flushing Bank Offering for NYCMS Members: Flushing Bank, the Society’s endorsed bank, is now offering a line of credit up to $2,500,000 at prime minus 1.00%; and, a line of credit from $550,000 to $2,500,000 with special NYCMS member pricing. Key points: Floor rate 4.00%; 30–day cleanup required; requires a Flushing Bank business checking account for the medical practice; free checking and dedicated relationship manager; and, for medical practice startups and practices less than one year old, an SBA Express loan is available at preferred NYCMS member pricing. It’s easy to apply for a Flushing Bank Line of Credit — simply call Denis Healy at (646) 923–9525, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

July 21, 2023

 

Warning: UnitedHealthcare Unilaterally Cutting Physician Fees: UnitedHealthcare recently notified participating physicians that as of October 1, 2023, it will switch its commercial rates to 100% of 2020 Medicare for most services except for Radiology, Laboratory, Physical Medicine, DME and Immunization Administration. (Fees for those services will range from 42% to 95% of 2020 Medicare.) This change will be effected through a unilateral amendment which does not require the practice’s acceptance or acknowledgment. If you received and reviewed the proposed fee changes and do not agree with the changes, you must submit written notification of the termination of your UHC agreement in its entirety within 30 days of the date of UHC’s letter to you. (Most of those letters were dated June 30, 2023.) You should send this notification to the address in the specific letter that you received, or to the following address: UnitedHealth Care Contract Support, Attention Imaging Center, 2300 W. Plano Parkway, #C1E105, Plano, TX 75075-8427.

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The New York Health Act (“Single Payer”) Under Discussion Again: Even though the state legislative session has officially ended, new proposals are still being introduced. This bill, first introduced in 1992 by now–retired Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, has seen some changes; the current version addresses public–sector unions’ fears that the new system might take away hard–fought benefits from their members. The new Assembly sponsor, Amy Paulin, says, “We’ve added language to ensure that they would get 100% of the benefits that they currently have” and also keep their current cost–sharing structure. “New Yorkers,” she says, “are overly burdened by rising premiums, changing deductibles, co–pays, restrictive provider networks, out–of–network charges, coverage gaps, and denials of coverage . . . We can’t continue with the status quo.” Insurers and the business community say a single–payer program would be expensive, and would “restrict health care choices for New Yorkers, diminish the quality of health care in the State, increase the tax burden for every working New Yorker in almost unimaginable and staggering ways and make the New York the least attractive place to do business on the continent." (NY Business Council, quoted in Single-payer health care supporters signal new effort (nystateofpolitics.com).) Supporters say the current system already costs far too much; “single payer” could save money in the long run. We will continue to watch this legislation and make sure that physicians are included in the discussion of how health care in New York works.
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Events: Thursday, July 27, 8:00 a.m., the AMA invites you to a webinar: “August Recess Campaign — Fix Medicare Now.” (Go to: Webinar Registration - Zoom.) This session, on the problems of Medicare’s physician payment system, tells how you can help right now. Jason Marino, AMA Director of Congressional Affairs, will talk about current Medicare legislation and what lies ahead during the 118th Congress; advocacy expert David Lusk will discuss best practices for engaging our members of Congress in–district and via social media. Space is limited, so please be sure to register early.
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New Federal Targets — Cybercrooks: The Office of the National Cyber Director has released a National Cybersecurity Strategy Implementation Plan with nearly 70 initiatives, including use of the False Claims Act “to pursue civil actions against government grantees and contractors who fail to meet cybersecurity obligations.” Healthcare–related financial abuses are also part of the focus. The Feds are warning the public about risky medical credit cards, telling providers not to use contractual loopholes that allow surprise bills, and discouraging providers from charging facility fees for care outside the hospital. (Read details at: FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces New Actions to Lower Health Care Costs and Protect Consumers from Scam Insurance Plans and Junk Fees as Part of “Bidenomics” Push | The White House).
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Do You Have “Long COVID” Patients Filing Social Security Disability Claims: Are your Long COVID patients asking you for medical evidence when they file for disability? You may want to look at the Social Security Agency’s helpful fact sheet HERE. If you have questions, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Flushing Bank Offering for NYCMS Members: Flushing Bank, the Society’s endorsed bank, is now offering a line of credit up to $2,500,000 at prime minus 1.00%; and, a line of credit from $550,000 to $2,500,000 with special NYCMS member pricing. Key points: Floor rate 4.00%; 30–day cleanup required; requires a Flushing Bank business checking account for the medical practice; free checking and dedicated relationship manager; and, for medical practice startups and practices less than one year old, an SBA Express loan is available at preferred NYCMS member pricing. It’s easy to apply for a Flushing Bank Line of Credit — simply call Denis Healy at (646) 923–9525, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

July 14, 2023

 

If Running for Political Office Intrigues You, Check THIS Out: Registration is now open for the AMA’s October 12 – 15 campaign school, at the AMA’s offices in Washington, DC. You can register HERE. You’ll gain a new understanding of how campaigns are run: Participants will run a simulated congressional campaign, using what they’ve learned during group sessions on strategy, vote targeting, social media, advertising and more. Attendees include physicians, spouses of physicians, residents and students, and state medical society staff. Space is limited, and the deadline to register is September 18 (or sooner if maximum capacity is reached). Registration fee is $350 for AMA Member/$1,000 for non–AMA members (waived for AMA residents and students). For more information, go to 2023 Campaign School or contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Medicare Advantage and the NYC Retirees – the Fight Isn’t Over Yet: On July 7, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Lyle Frank temporarily blocked the City’s move to switch retired New York City employees to a privatized Aetna plan, automatically. (As of now, the City’s Administrative Code does not allow retirees to keep an option to pay $191 per month and stay with their current health insurance.) Justice Frank wrote, “The retirees would likely find success on the merits of their [late–May] suit, in which they argued that the switch would force them to accept an inferior plan and that they had been promised the supplemental Medicare coverage they currently receive.” ( What you need to know about NYC retirees’ health care fight - City & State New York (cityandstateny.com)). Stay tuned as this story continues.
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Don’t Panic About Information Blocking Penalties: You may have heard that the Office of the Inspector General (Department of Health and Human Services) has now posted Information Blocking penalties, but you can relax — the penalties are for health IT developers, etc., and not for providers. Physicians will get a different approach (“disincentives”); HHS is in the process of developing a separate rule for them. We will keep you posted.
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MSSNY’s Library of Member Benefits Webinars Available: MSSNY’s Webinar Library contains interesting and useful information for your practice. To go to the Library (recordings – video with sound), click on: Webinars – MEDICAL SOCIETY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK ORGANIZED 1807 (mssny.org). Scroll down to the list of webinars; to see one of them, you won’t need an additional link – the initial screen is already displayed, with a triangle you can click on to start the recording. Topics include Medicare (MIPS, E/M coding), billing laws & regulations, cybersecurity, employment contracts, and more; there’s even our own NYCMS Board Member Doctor Purvi Parikh presenting “How to Give a Medical Media Interview.”
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Flushing Bank Offering for NYCMS Members: Flushing Bank, the Society’s endorsed bank, is now offering a line of credit up to $2,500,000 at prime minus 1.00%; and, a line of credit from $550,000 to $2,500,000 with special NYCMS member pricing. Key points: Floor rate 4.00%; 30–day cleanup required; requires a Flushing Bank business checking account for the medical practice; free checking and dedicated relationship manager; and, for medical practice startups and practices less than one year old, an SBA Express loan is available at preferred NYCMS member pricing. It’s easy to apply for a Flushing Bank Line of Credit — simply call Denis Healy at (646) 923–9525, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

July 7, 2023

 

NYCMS Leaders Quoted on Medicare “Disadvantage” Plans: President Thomas Sterry, MD, and Board Member Loren Wissner Greene were interviewed in an article in Gothamist on “What 250K NYC Retirees Can Expect from Medicare Advantage as Opt–Out Deadline Approaches.” Caroline Lewis interviewed Society members on how physicians feel about Medicare Advantage plans in her article and noted the following:

“Dr. Thomas Sterry, a plastic surgeon affiliated with Mount Sinai, said he often helps with ‘touching things up’ after a patient at the hospital gets a major surgery done, and those procedures can require inpatient rehab after the fact. Sterry said he can readily send patients to a rehab facility if they’re on regular Medicare, but that ‘the Advantage plans never approve it.’
He added that these denials even happen after multiple clinicians recommend the inpatient rehab. ‘They force us to send the patient home, and they expect the patient to get some in–home physical therapy twice a week or something like that,’ Sterry said. ‘It's just not even close to the same thing.’”

Doctor Loren Wissner Greene, on the Society’s Board of Directors labeled the problem with the plans. “‘We call it Medicare Disadvantage,’ Greene said. That's a common parlance in the medical community.’”

Read the whole article about New York City retirees and their fight to keep traditional Medicare HERE.

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Medicare’s Payment Problems Getting Worse: A solution has been introduced in Congress, and we want our lawmakers to support it. Representatives Ami Bera and Larry Buchshon, along with four original co–signers, have sent House Leaders a “Dear Colleague” and sign–on letter in support of Medicare physician payment reform. We are urging you to locate your Congressional Representative at https://www.ny.gov/new-york-state-congressional-delegation, go through the Contact Tab, and type in the following message: “Please sign on to the Bera–Bucshon letter to House leadership, urging the leaders to make reform of MACRA a priority.”

Why Is Medicare In Trouble? Regular fees are losing ground. Beyond already–scheduled cuts, an extra 4.5% cut was required last year — so that with inflation, the Medicare dollar’s actual usefulness has dropped by as much as 10%. MACRA hasn’t worked out either. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (2015), while guarding quality, was supposed to apply “value–based” approaches that would save money across the whole system, and yet not starve out individual physicians or provider organizations. However, MACRA has had problems with incentives: MIPS (MACRA’s program for individual doctors) has been required to be budget–neutral, so that if some physicians have gotten bonuses, others have gotten cuts. There also have been problems with cost savings: provider organizations were offered a number of cost–saving strategies, or “Alternative Payment Models,” they could adopt (the best known being Accountable Care Organizations, or ACOs), but as it turns out, only a few of these models have actually improved the bottom line.
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Get the Latest on Diabetes: You can still see and hear Cornell expert Gwendolyne Jack, MD, who gave us a fascinating, fact–packed presentation on June 28. For a recap of “Diabetes 2023: Classic Concepts and New Developments” go to https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/bBGAM4D5SHIUzAoY5CyvnNNUwFNG6jpu6yfGjelCktBdv2HAck9k5S2lpgxc_kFY.mPKsCeyFGH9uuE0Q, and use passcode: ^!JDRa%9.
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Heather’s Second Tuesday Call Upcoming: On July 11, at 6:00 p.m., you can take part in the monthly open–agenda call with Heather Lopez, MSSNY Vice President for Physician Payment and Practice. It is the monthly meeting with representatives from CMS and NGS (National Government Services), where you can connect with the experts and get your questions answered. On July 11 at 6:00 p.m. go directly into the session by clicking on: https://cms.zoomgov.com/j/1601009631?pwd=WEZnZXJ0eEN5QzNlK1JkWG9IZEcxZz09#success.
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Wednesday, July 12, at 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY presents “The Business of Medicine, Part 2,” with Heather Lopez, MSSNY’s Vice President for Physician Payment & Practice. Hear the answers to key questions, including: Contracts with payors (which are incredibly one–sided); how to negotiate fees, handle assignment provisions, indemnity and more. Learn about credit–card processing fees (e.g., under what circumstances are you permitted to charge patients for these). Register HERE.
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NYCMS Shines Harsh Light on Retail Pharmacies: Our members’ responses to our recent survey have exposed problems from bottom to top — all the way from repeat errors with specific items (e.g., “lancets that don’t work with the dispensed glucometer”) to structural issues with the entire system (e.g., “The treating of medical services as if [the system were] an industrial assembly line with the lowest possible labor costs, so they hire high–school graduates, call them pharmacy techs, and then poorly train them and supervise them”).

We’re still working on shaping this information into messages we would like legislators to hear. In the meantime, here are some comments that may sound familiar to you:

“Our office has to call about prescriptions”
“We’ve frequently waited on the phone for over 15 minutes.”
“We have problems especially with psychostimulant medications.”
“The need to preauthorize any generic medication is a waste of time for physicians and their office!!!”
“Cough syrups with Codeine: Once, I could not get through at all by telephone to multiple pharmacies to check supply.”
“They do not honor 1 yr Rx, e.g. 90d x3 refills.
“Make up their own policies independent of state law — As a surgeon, we have to give pain meds to post–op patients, [who] may need [the meds] for a couple of weeks; they make draconian rules”
“Pharmacy chains are making their own rules about how frequently and recently in–office visits [are required] before dispensing Adderall and other stimulants”).
“When contacted by a pharmacy, I have no idea if the patient needs the Rx or if the pharmacy just needs to fill a quota or make money. I turned off my fax because of constant faxes for refills that weren't needed.”
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MSSNY’s Newest Benefit for You: The “Connecteam” member benefit is an employee management app that offers time–clock tracking, seamless communication, task management, training programs, digital forms, an employee directory and more. As a MSSNY member, you can enjoy free access for practices with up to ten employees and a 10% discount for larger teams. To find out more, visit Connecteam - The Best Home Care App for Your Team. You’ll be able to sign up, providing your membership details, and bring Connecteam into your practice.
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Flushing Bank Offering for NYCMS Members: Flushing Bank, the Society’s endorsed bank, is now offering a line of credit up to $2,500,000 at prime minus 1.00%; and, a line of credit from $550,000 to $2,500,000 with special NYCMS member pricing. Key points: Floor rate 4.00%; 30–day cleanup required; requires a Flushing Bank business checking account for the medical practice; free checking and dedicated relationship manager; and, for medical practice startups and practices less than one year old, an SBA Express loan is available at preferred NYCMS member pricing. It’s easy to apply for a Flushing Bank Line of Credit — simply call Denis Healy at (646) 923–9525, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

June 30, 2023

 

You Should Have Been There! A good time really was had by all at the Society’ Annual Meeting on June 26, with sliders, cocktails, and a chance for new and old friends and colleagues to meet up. We thanked Doctor Erick Eiting on the conclusion of his presidency (look for his speech to be sent out soon). We honored Joshua M. Cohen, MD, MPH, as the inaugural winner of the Heroes in Medicine Award. We presented the Nicolas Romayne, MD Recognition Award to Malcolm D. Reid, MD, MPP. Thanks to vendors present: The Doctors Company, Flushing Bank, Winston Health Care Staffing, and Storage Quarters. Each awarded a $25 American Express Gift Card to a lucky attendee. The program for the event is attached — next year come and experience it for yourself!

Lastly, we were able to welcome our new President, Thomas P. Sterry, MD. Doctor Sterry is a graduate of the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, New York. He trained at Mount Sinai in both general and plastic surgery. The first three years of practice were spent as an employee of Mount Sinai, and the last 16 have been in solo private practice on the Upper East Side. He is board certified in plastic surgery.

Doctor Sterry is Past President, New York State Society of Plastic Surgeons (NYSSPS — an advocacy group). He recently finished a term as President of the New York Regional Society of Plastic Surgeons (NYRSPS — a separate, educational entity) and during the pandemic created a seven–state coalition of State Societies to come up with guidelines for restarting elective surgery in our regions. He is a delegate to the MSSNY House of Delegates, serving on HOD Reference Committees and on the MSSNY Interspecialty Committee.
Doctor Sterry is especially passionate about advocacy. We are very much looking forward to his presidency this year. __________________________________________________________

It’s Official: Congratulations to the Society’s newly–elected Board of Directors and this year’s slate of delegates to MSSNY below:

Jessica J. Krant, MD, MPH, President–Elect
Richard Schutzer, MD, Vice President
Mark Milstein, MD, Secretary
Ksenija Belsley, MD, Assistant Secretary
Jill Baron, MD, Treasurer
Stuart Gitlow, MD, Assistant Treasurer
Erick Eiting, MD, MPH, Trustee

Board Members At Large
Clifford Bassett, MD
Michael Borecky, MD
Connie DiMari, MD
Loren Wissner Greene, MD
Aaron Kithcart, MD
Maria LoTempio, MD
Henry Magliato, MD
Purvi Parikh, MD
Ami Shah, MD
Richard Silvera, MD

Delegates to the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY)
Arthur Cooper, MD
Paul Orloff, MD
Edward Powers, III, MD
Richard Schutzer, MD
Thomas Sterry, MD

Alternate Delegates to MSSNY
Jill Baron, MD
Michael Borecky, MD
Connie DiMari, MD
Maria LoTempio, MD
Richard Silvera, MD
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Rewind: The Society’s presentation of “Diabetes 2023: Classic Concepts and New Developments” with Gwendolyne Jack, MD, had the latest on this disease. You can check it out on this recording HERE, using passcode ^!JDRa%9
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“Session After the Session” Results: When the Assembly reconvened after the formal close of this year’s legislative session, two healthcare–related bills passed. S.3100–A/A.1278–A prohibits the use of non–compete agreements in employment contracts in New York State. (This measure would go farther than the proposed Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rule by also applying to non–profit entities, including large health care systems in New York State.) S.1066B/A. 1709B would include telehealth services for reproductive healthcare in our state’s safeguards for reproductive health services. Following the Dobbs decision, many states across the United States have enacted abortion bans and reproductive rights restrictions; this bill fills an important gap by safeguarding healthcare practitioners here in New York from out–of–state activities that could jeopardize their ability to provide patients with necessary reproductive health services. Both bills will now go to Governor Kathy Hochul for her signature.
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The Success Clock Continues to Tick: Over the last two years, MSSNY’s Division of Physician Payment and Practice, headed up by Vice President Heather Lopez, has dealt with over 1,000 different issues (including many prior authorization matters), recouping over $7.5 million from insurers for MSSNY members. Heather works closely with insurance companies and often goes directly to the appropriate regulator, including the Department of Financial Services, the Department of Labor or the Department of Health. Society members, this is one of your great benefits — just reach out to Heather for her assistance in practice management, CPT/ICD10 coding, contract negotiation, billing, insurance barriers, and reimbursement methodology.
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Events: Wednesday, July 12, at 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY Presents “The Business of Medicine, Part 2,” with Heather Lopez, MSSNY’s Vice President for Physician Payment & Practice. Hear the answers to key questions, including: Contracts with payors (which are incredibly one–sided): How can you negotiate fees, assignment provisions, indemnity and more? Credit–card processing fees: Under what circumstances are you permitted to charge patients for these? And, deductions from your employee’s paycheck: Which ones are you permitted to make? Register HERE. __________________________________________________________________

Last Chance to Tell Us About Your Frustrations with Pharmacies: We are looking for information from our members on a problem that has raised concerns — experiences with pharmacies. Take this brief survey HERE. Tell us about unanswered calls to the pharmacy, long wait times on the phone, and lack of response to patients’ problems with prescriptions. Our survey will help us determine the extent of any issues in order to share with regulators and legislators.
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Flushing Bank Offering for Members: Flushing Bank, the Society’s endorsed bank, is now offering a line of credit up to $2,500,000 at prime minus 1.00%; and, a line of credit from $550,000 to $2,500,000 with special NYCMS member pricing. Key points: Floor rate 4.00%; 30–day cleanup required; requires a Flushing Bank business checking account for the medical practice; free checking and dedicated relationship manager; and, for medical practice startups and practices less than one year old, an SBA Express loan is available at preferred NYCMS member pricing. It’s easy to apply for a Flushing Bank Line of Credit — simply call Denis Healy at (646) 923–9525, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

June 23, 2023

 

NYCMS Events This Week

Monday, June 26, 2023, 6:00 p.m., the New York County Medical Society’s Annual Meeting and Networking Reception, in person at Connolly’s Pub, 14 East 47th Street (between 5th and Madison Avenues). Come for drinks, appetizers, and a wonderful chance to meet your fellow Society members, thank outgoing NYCMS President Erick Eiting, MD, and welcome incoming President Thomas Sterry, MD. No charge, but advance registration required. Register HERE.

CME, Wednesday, June 28, at 6:00 p.m. “Diabetes 2023: Classic Concepts and New Developments (a Zoom CME conference): Register HERE. Over 10 percent of Americans actually have diabetes and are at risk for its serious complications. Hear about new thinking, new medications, and new technology. Faculty: Gwendolyne Jack, MD is an endocrinologist in New York, NY and is affiliated with New York–Presbyterian Hospital. Learning Objectives: Attendees will be able to understand the person–centered and tailored approach to diabetes care; discuss updates in diabetes standards of care; understand the team–based approach to diabetes care; and discuss barriers and practical considerations for providing comprehensive diabetes care.

Accreditation Statement: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Accreditation Requirements and Policies of the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) through the joint providership of the Westchester Academy of Medicine and the New York County Medical Society. The Westchester Academy of Medicine is accredited by MSSNY to provide Continuing Medical Education for physicians. The Westchester Academy of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category I Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
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Tell Your Story on Wrongful Death Implications: The New York State legislative session has ended, and unfortunately, the legislature did pass a new version of the “Grieving Families Act,” a.k.a “Wrongful Death.” But this fight is not over. Once again, we are asking Governor Kathy Hochul to veto the bill. In January, when she vetoed an earlier version of this bill at our urging, she accurately described the bill as over broad and under researched. This time, with only minor changes, we hope that she still recognizes that this legislation threatens businesses, municipalities, physician practices, hospitals and the whole statewide health care safety net. We have strong allies, including the Business Council and various municipal associations, but even more important, we have grassroots efforts by physicians like you. Even if you did it before, even if you wonder if it will help, PLEASE act again. We still have a chance, and the number of responses received (even multiple ones from you) can make the difference in the next step the Governor takes – whether it is reaching out to the legislature for changes OR refusing to accept a problematic bill.

Here are steps you, colleagues, staff, and family can take:

MSSNY’s Grassroots Action Center makes it easy. Please use this link Grieving Families Act Alert to send the Governor an instant, pre–written message.

CALL the Governor at (518) 474-8390 (press #3 and then #2 to speak to an operator live) and give your name and zip code, and say: “Veto or remove medical liability from Wrongful Death Liability Expansion! (A.6698/S.6636)”

TELL your story. MSSNY is looking for stories from physicians around the State about the impact the bill will have on their practices AND consequently patients. Examples: Younger physician, just coming out of training: “I will have to leave New York and go to a state with a less difficult liability climate.” Experienced, well–established physician: “I will shift my practice to stop doing certain procedures that are relatively high–risk.” Or “I may have to retire early.” What do these things mean to your patient — especially underserved groups. Will patients have to settle for “second tier” care when doctors aren’t available or change their practices. Share YOUR story by emailing Michael Bartlett at MSSNY: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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New York State’s Prevention of Sexual Harassment Requirements: Since 2018, New York State has required all employers to have a sexual harassment prevention policy and provide annual employee training on that issue. If you have one or more employees, this law applies to you. You need to keep your materials and procedures up to date; you must provide your employee(s) with training each October, and new employees should receive the training when they start. Taking these steps is essential for compliance, and is also an important strategy for mitigating risk. There is heightened awareness of this issue today, with increased scrutiny of sexual harassment claims by law enforcement, human resources departments and administrative agencies.

New York State provides model materials you can pick up or adapt, and has recently updated these items with three new topics: “Telework” (remote work settings), gender identity, and ways for bystanders to intervene in problem situations. You should review the New York State updates, and either make changes in your existing materials or replace your materials with new ones.

Why not take care of this now? The State makes it easy for you. All the needed information and materials are available on the state’s web page, Sexual Harassment Prevention Model Policy and Training (ny.gov). You can use or modify these items, or develop your own. (You must meet certain standards, which are also on the web page.)

Look for an email blast from us soon with more details.
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MSSNY Presents “The Business of Medicine, Part 2:” Wednesday, July 12, at 7:30 a.m.: with Heather Lopez, MSSNY’s Vice President for Physician Payment & Practice. In this useful program you’ll learn about issues including:

— Permissible employee payroll deductions: Which deductions an employer is permitted to make from an employee’s paycheck – including (but not limited to) costs related to non–required education and training.

— Charging insured patients a credit–card processing fee (it is not always permitted). Payor contracts have very stringent terms with regard to fees that can be charged to beneficiaries.

— The importance of negotiating payor contracts: Payor contracts are incredibly one–sided. This program will address the importance of negotiating a contract’s terms and conditions — fees, assignment provisions, indemnity and more.


Register HERE.
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Tell Us About Your Frustrations with Pharmacies: We are looking for information from our members on a problem that has raised concerns — experiences with pharmacies. Take this brief survey HERE. Tell us about unanswered calls to the pharmacy, long wait times on the phone, and lack of response to patients’ problems with prescriptions. Our survey will help us determine the extent of any issues in order to share with regulators and legislators.
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Are You Having Workers’ Comp Difficulties with the NYC Law Department? The NYC Law Department is a Workers’ Compensation self–insurer for many New York City employees. Problems with payment and large amounts owed have surfaced in Nassau County. Are you experiencing problems? If you have an example of an issue with this company, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. _________________________________________________________________

Patients Fighting Insurance Denials: You can help them get ammunition — suggest that they request the claim file. It may contain reasons the claim was denied, plus other revealing details; for example, it may show that the claim has been routed to a special program designed to cut costs, such as a Cigna cost-saving program that’s been associated with a number of denials. The Content: The patient should ask for case management information, medical utilization information, telephone logs and call summaries, recordings of telephone conversations, medical records and assessments, and all other correspondence and records related to the unique claim number(s). Other key items are the request date; the patient’s name, address and phone number; the patient’s Plan ID and unique Member ID (often listed below the patient’s name on the health insurance card); the unique case number(s) (or “service reference number,” or a similar term) associated with the denied claim; the dollar amount of the claim; the dates of the appointments, procedures or other services in question; the date the patient received notice of the denial; and a copy of the plan’s denial letter, or letter stating how much the patient owed for the treatment or service. The format: Some insurers have their own forms for this, but they may not contain enough space for the crucial information. Patients might take a look at a template provided by the independent journalism source ProPublica, at Claim File Request Template (propublica.org); this template lists all the needed records. Where to send the request: There may be an address on an insurer’s claim request form, and/or on any denial letters or explanation of benefit letters the patient has received. Most plans ask that the forms be mailed or faxed to a physical location. (Some legal advocates say they send these requests to the “appeals and member request” departments; employees in those departments often understand the process best.)

 

 

June 16, 2023

 

We Are Not Stopping on Wrongful Death — Steps to Take: The New York State legislative session has ended, and unfortunately, the legislature did pass a new version of the “Grieving Families Act,” a.k.a “Wrongful Death.” Once again, we are asking Governor Kathy Hochul to veto the bill. In January, when she vetoed an earlier version of this bill at our urging, she accurately described the bill as over broad and under researched. This time, with only minor changes, we hope that she still recognizes that this legislation threatens businesses, municipalities, physician practices, hospitals and the whole statewide health care safety net. Even if you did it before, even if you wonder if it will help, PLEASE act again. We still have a chance, and the number of responses received (even multiple ones from you) can make the difference in the next step the Governor takes – whether it is reaching out to the legislature for changes OR refusing to accept a problematic bill.

1. MSSNY’s Grassroots Action Center makes it easy. Please use this link Grieving Families Act Alert to send the Governor an instant, pre–written message.

2. CALL the Governor at (518) 474-8390 (press #3 and then #2 to speak to an operator live) and give your name and zip code, and say: “Veto or remove medical liability from Wrongful Death Liability Expansion! (A.6698/S.6636)”

3. TELL your story. MSSNY is looking for stories from physicians around the State about the impact the bill will have on their practices AND consequently patients. Examples: Younger physician, just coming out of training: “I will have to leave New York and go to a state with a less difficult liability climate.” Experienced, well–established physician: “I will shift my practice to stop doing certain procedures that are relatively high–risk.” Or “I may have to retire early.” What do these things mean to your patient — especially underserved groups. Will patients have to settle for “second tier” care when doctors aren’t available or change their practices. Share YOUR story by emailing Michael Bartlett at MSSNY: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Legislative Results: Two health insurance reform bills were passed. A.463–A/S.2677–A would require insurers to provide more detailed information and appeal rights when they have denied requests for step–therapy overrides; A.1673–A/S.1196–A would require insurers to cover biomarker tests that are supported by medical and scientific evidence. We will be urging Governor Kathy Hochul to sign these bills into law — watch for message and contact information.

Luckily, the legislators did not pass Scope of Practice bills we opposed. Those bills would have expanded scope for nurse anesthetists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and more, letting them practice with less (in some instances, no) physician supervision. We thank the many physicians who urged their legislators to oppose these proposals; there was also help from an AMA grant that MSSNY used for radio ads about crucial patient safety concerns.
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Gender–Affirming Care Protection for Doctors: The Senate and Assembly have passed S.2475–B/A.6046–B, protecting against out–of–state arrests. This bill would protect parents and guardians who come to New York so their children can receive gender–affirming care from being subjected to legal action from other states; it would also protect the physicians and other practitioners who provide gender–affirming care, from being subjected to such action. The bill would prohibit New York law enforcement entities from cooperating with, or providing information to, out–of–state agencies regarding gender–affirming care provided in New York State. It would also prohibit: (1) The extradition of gender–affirming care providers; (2) the arrest of individuals for performing gender–affirming care in New York State, or aiding in the provision of that care; and (3) the issuance of a subpoena for out–of–state proceedings related to individuals who had come to New York State seeking gender–affirming care. In addition, the bill would prohibit insurers from taking adverse action against healthcare providers for providing gender–affirming care.
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Medicare Physician Payment Continues To Be a Battlefield: Did you know that physicians are the only providers whose Medicare payments do not automatically receive an annual inflationary update? Medicare physician payments have lagged 26% behind the rate of inflation growth since 2001, and this statutory flaw amplifies the impact of ‟budget neutrality” adjustments and other policy changes — especially now, just after the pandemic, when we’re dealing with record inflation. A bipartisan group of physician members of Congress have introduced H.R. 2474, which would address these problems. Please contact your legislators today — urge them to help fix the Medicare physician payment system by supporting H.R. 2474. For a pre–written, instantly sendable message, just go to fixmedicarenow.org.
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Pharmacy Frustrations — Tell Us: We are seeking information from our members on a problem that has raised concerns — experiences with pharmacies. Take this brief survey HERE. Tell us about unanswered calls to the pharmacy, long wait times on the phone, and lack of response to patients’ problems with prescriptions. Our survey will help us determine the extent of any issues in order to share with regulators and legislators.
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Update on Medicare Advantage Plan for NYC Retirees: Aetna, hoping to intervene in the retirees’ suit against the City and Mayor Eric Adams, has released data about the 82 million–plus Medicare Advantage claims it received in 2022. It says its track record on prior authorizations was good: Only 3.4% of those claims were subject to prior approval, and only 0.49% were denied. Meanwhile, City Comptroller Brad Lander has declined to register the City’s Medicare Advantage contract for municipal retirees, saying, “I am seriously concerned about the privatization of Medicare plans, overbilling by insurance companies, and barriers to care under Medicare Advantage . . . Pending litigation calls into question the legality of this procurement.” Mayor Adams has the power to register the contract himself, so more to come.


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Great Membership Benefit — Medical Audit Protective Shield (MAPS): Health insurer audits and OPMC problems are only two of the many issues physicians face, and it is crucial that you speak right away with experienced counsel and make sure your initial response and all subsequent responses are exactly right. (Like an IRS audit, a carrier audit can mean a six– or seven–figure refund demand; an OPMC investigation, which will NOT be covered by your medical liability carrier, can jeopardize your medical license.) MAPS is a pre–emptive remedy for legal troubles. Pricing begins at $500 a year for the basic plan – group practice rates also available. To learn more and set up your protection, call Scott Einiger, Esq., at (516) 477–7909.
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Events

New York County Medical Society Presents Monday, June 26, 2023, 6:00 p.m., the New York County Medical Society’s Annual Meeting and Networking Reception, in person at Connolly’s Pub, 14 East 47th Street (between 5th and Madison Avenues). Come for drinks, appetizers, and a wonderful chance to meet your fellow Society members, thank outgoing NYCMS President Erick Eiting, MD, and welcome incoming President Thomas Sterry, MD. No charge, but advance registration required. Register HERE.

New York County Medical Society Presents Wednesday, June 28, 2023, 6:00 p.m., “Diabetes: 2023,” a Zoom conference on classic concepts and new developments. Over 10 percent of Americans have diabetes, and there are new issues to discuss, plus new medications and new technology. Endocrinologist Gwendolyne Jack, MD is affiliated with New York–Presbyterian Hospital. She received her medical degree from Thomas Jefferson University, and did her internship and residence at Johns Hopkins. She is board–certified in Medicine, and in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. REGISTER HERE!

MSSNY Presents Wednesday, June 21, at 7:30 a.m.: “Vector Borne Diseases: Prevention, Identification & Treatment,” part of MSSNY’s “Medical Matters” series. Faculty: William Valenti, MD, chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Diseases Committee. Register HERE.

Columbia University Presents Wednesday, June 21, 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. “ChatGPT, Knowledge, and Misinformation: Technology and Its Many Impacts on Health, Wellness, and Society.” In this free program, AI ethicist and criminologist Renée Cummings and researcher Michael Scroggins will discuss AI and other technologies that are changing the landscape of society, health, wellness, and scientific research. Register HERE.

MSSNY Presents on Thursday, June 22, 2023, at 12:00 noon (EST): How Do I Know If I Should Renegotiate My Employment Contract? Do I need to wait until the end of the term? How do I know if compensation rates have changed? Kyle Claussen, CEO of Resolve, will talk about these questions and provide insights on what to expect during a contract renegotiation and how you can prepare for it. Register HERE.

 

 

June 9, 2023

Before Your Next DEA Registration: As of June 27, 2023, the next time you send in your registration or, if this is your first registration, you will be required to have completed eight hours of training in the treatment of opioid or other substance use disorders. You may already have taken MSSNY’s three–hour pain management, palliative care and addiction course to meet the New York State requirement, and those three hours would count toward this one–time federal requirement. The MSSNY course is available at MSSNY’s CME website, https://cme.mssny.org/. Attached to this email, you will find information on how you can fulfill the other five hours or if you are exempt.
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Update on the Wrongful Death Legislation: Unfortunately, this past week the New York State Senate passed the new version of the Grieving Families Act by a 55 – 7 vote. The Assembly passed it last week by 131 – 12 vote. So, once again we will need to urge Governor Kathy Hochul to veto the bill; look for the next step in our campaign soon.

In the meantime, if you have a personal testimonial or story that indicates how higher liability costs will affect you and your ability to take care of patients, send the story to Michael Bartlett at MSSNY at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Pharmacy Frustrations — Tell Us: We are seeking information from our members on a problem that has raised concerns — experiences with pharmacies. Take this brief survey HERE. Tell us about unanswered calls to the pharmacy, long wait times on the phone, and lack of response to patients’ problems with prescriptions. Our survey will help us determine the extent of any issues in order to share with regulators and legislators.
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Updates on Insurance Sore Spots: We were successful in fighting Cigna’s unpopular requirement that medical records be sent when Modifier 25 was used. Heather Lopez, MSSNY’s Vice President for Physician Payment & Practice, was instrumental in taking this fight to the AMA and leading the charge against it. In addition, there is a temporary stay on United Health Care’s prior authorization program for endoscopies. We will keep you updated on these and other insurance issues.
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Did You Miss the NYRx Webinar? MSSNY’s June 7 webinar on NYRx, the Medicaid Pharmacy program, is still available with information on the Preferred Drug Program and how to obtain a 72–hour emergency supply. Check it out HERE.
Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions.
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Events

New York County Medical Society Presents Monday, June 26, 2023, 6:00 p.m., the New York County Medical Society’s Annual Meeting and Networking Reception, in person at Connolly’s Pub, 14 East 47th Street (between 5th and Madison Avenues). Come for drinks, appetizers, and a wonderful chance to meet your fellow Society members, thank outgoing NYCMS President Erick Eiting, MD, and welcome incoming President Thomas Sterry, MD. No charge, but advance registration required. Register HERE.

New York County Medical Society Presents Wednesday, June 28, 2023, 6:00 p.m., “Diabetes: 2023,” a Zoom conference on classic concepts and new developments. Over 10 percent of Americans have diabetes, and there are new issues to discuss, plus new medications and new technology. Endocrinologist Gwendolyne Jack, MD is affiliated with New York–Presbyterian Hospital. She received her medical degree from Thomas Jefferson University, and did her internship and residence at Johns Hopkins. She is board–certified in Medicine, and in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. REGISTER HERE!

MSSNY Presents Heather Lopez’s Monthly “Second Tuesday” Meeting: Tuesday, June 13, 6:00 p.m., you can take part in MSSNY’s monthly open–agenda call with representatives of CMS and NGS (National Government Services). Connect with the experts and get your questions answered. Heather Lopez holds this helpful meeting, in which members enjoy a direct communication line with policymakers who otherwise can be difficult to reach. When the date/time arrives, you can go right into the meeting — just click HERE on June 13, 6:00 p.m.

MSSNY Presents Wednesday, June 21, at 7:30 a.m.: “Vector Borne Diseases: Prevention, Identification & Treatment,” part of MSSNY’s “Medical Matters” series. Faculty: William Valenti, MD, chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Diseases Committee. Register HERE.

Columbia University Presents Wednesday, June 21, 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. “ChatGPT, Knowledge, and Misinformation: Technology and Its Many Impacts on Health, Wellness, and Society.” In this free program, AI ethicist and criminologist Renée Cummings and researcher Michael Scroggins will discuss AI and other technologies that are changing the landscape of society, health, wellness, and scientific research. Register HERE.

MSSNY Presents on Thursday, June 22, 2023, at 12:00 noon (EST): How Do I Know If I Should Renegotiate My Employment Contract? Do I need to wait until the end of the term? How do I know if compensation rates have changed? Kyle Claussen, CEO of Resolve, will talk about these questions and provide insights on what to expect during a contract renegotiation and how you can prepare for it. Register HERE.

 

 

 

June 2, 2023 

MSSNYPAC! Doctor Edward W. Powers, III was one of our members who attended a fundraiser for the Democratic Senate last Thursday through MSSNYPAC. Doctor Powers is a member of MSSNYPAC. You should join too. Make a donation HERE and amplify physicians’ voices.
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Wrongful Death Crisis Continues: We need you to make calls to your legislators before the Legislative Session ends. The revised Wrongful Death bill has been reintroduced and has now passed the Assembly. We need you to call Senate Leadership TODAY. Hearing from physicians can affect how this legislation progresses. We were able to achieve a veto last term because of your efforts. Now it is necessary to act again.

Call Andrea Stewart–Cousins, Senate Majority Leader: (518) 455–2585 or 2715.

Call Michael Gianaris, Deputy Majority Leader at (518) 455–3486.

Even if you’ve done this before, send a pre–written letter NOW by clicking HERE. NUMBERS COUNT, EVEN IF YOU DID IT YESTERDAY.

Remember, this law affects you, no matter how you practice. More money spent on medical liability means less money in the health care system for other things. Even if your employer pays your medical liability premium, you WILL end up paying in the end.

What’s the Message?
— We are AGAINST S.6636 (Senate) and A.6698 (Assembly).

— Despite revisions from last year, this bill would still expand the legal cause of action to include “emotional damages,” which means many more people could sue.

— The annual cost of claims could increase by $600 million; liability premiums could go up almost 40 PERCENT.

— Additional suits (higher costs) would hit businesses and municipalities, as well as healthcare providers.

— Among the most severely affected providers: Those needed by underserved communities.

— Our statewide “safety net” of hospitals could be destroyed.

— This year’s New York State Budget strongly supported more access to health care, but this bill could greatly decrease health care access.

— We sympathize with those bearing the burden of grief, and are sorry for lives lost in gun violence, drunk-driving incidents and more. However, our State’s tort system needs holistic change. Let’s work on it together.
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Red Hot Legislative Session: Other proposals are also advancing in the Legislature. Prior authorization reform (A.7268/S.3400) would (1) require health plans to use evidence–based, peer–reviewed criteria for utilization review; (2) reduce plans’ time frame for reviewing PA requests; and (3) limit when they would be able to withdraw or repeat previously granted PAs. Send a letter to your legislators by clicking HERE. Ban on non–compete agreements (S.3100–A/A.1278–A) would bar non–compete agreements in employment contracts in New York State. (It would even apply to non–profit entities such as large healthcare system, making it tougher than the Federal Trade Commission’s US–level proposal.) Collective negotiation (A.6019/S.4785) would permit collective negotiation by independently practicing physicians, under specific circumstances. Physician due process in contract non–renewals (A.1777/S.3282) would create a new process whereby a contract could be unilaterally extended, and would modify the current process when a physician was terminated for cause under the contract. Step therapy overrides (A.463 /S.2677) would require plans to be more transparent regarding their denials of requests for step therapy protocol overrides. Biomarker testing (A.167/S.1196) would require health insurers to cover this testing. Audit look back periods (A.7590/S.7076) would limit insurers’ look back periods for audits to three months post–payment, down from the current 24–month period. Use of the IDR system for NYSHIP disputes (A7120/S.5638) would preserve the ability of physicians treating NYSHIP insureds to submit disputes to New York’s Independent Dispute Resolution System.
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New NYCMS Survey on Issues with Pharmacies: We’re interested in your experiences with pharmacies, including unanswered calls, long wait times on the phone, and responses to patients’ difficulties with prescriptions. Please take this very brief survey so we can determine the extent of any problems to share with regulators and legislators. Click HERE.
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Did you Miss The Doctors Company (TDC) Wrongful Death CME Program May 23? You can access the recording HERE and apply for CME until June 23. (Note: Use passcode z9%KvA55.) TDC’s expert panel gives you helpful detail on legal issues and also talks about what to explain if you’re named in a wrongful death claim, plus ways you can engage with patients that can strengthen trust and help to minimize the risk of litigation. By clicking the link below, you certify that you listened to this one–hour program in its entirety. Click HERE for CME. _________________________________________________________

Update on the Proposed Medicare Advantage Switch for NY City Employees: New York City retirees have now filed a class action suit. They allege that Mayor Eric Adams’ new plan violates (1) an administrative law that requires the city to provide its retired workers with premium–free health insurance for life; (2) State and City Human Rights Laws, which prohibit discrimination against disabled people; and (3), the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires the municipal government to go through certain transparency steps when developing new policies. As of now, the automatic enrollment in Medicare Advantage is to start on September 1, but the retirees are asking a judge to issue a temporary restraining order delaying implementation. Stay tuned.
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Events

Monday, June 26, 2023, at 6:00 p.m., join us in person at the New York County Medical Society Annual Meeting and Networking Reception, at Connolly’s Pub, 14 East 47th Street (between 5th and Madison Avenues). Come for drinks, appetizers, and a wonderful chance to meet your fellow Society members, thank outgoing NYCMS President Erick Eiting, MD, and welcome incoming President Thomas Sterry, MD. No charge, but advance registration required. Register HERE.

Wednesday, June 7, at 7:30 a.m., “Training for NYRx,” the new Medicaid Pharmacy Program. There will be an overview and plenty of time for Q&A, and you’ll find out about the Preferred Drug Program, the “Brand Less Than Generic” Program, and how to access a 72–hour emergency supply. You don’t have to pre–register. At 7:30 a.m. on June 7, just click HERE. (Note: Use Password 662055.) If you have questions, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Wednesday, June 21, at 7:30 a.m.: “Vector Borne Diseases: Prevention, Identification & Treatment,” part of MSSNY’s “Medical Matters” series. Faculty: William Valenti, MD, chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Diseases Committee. Register HERE.

Wednesday, June 21, 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.: Columbia University is hosting “ChatGPT, Knowledge, and Misinformation: Technology and Its Many Impacts on Health, Wellness, and Society.” In this free program, AI ethicist and criminologist Renée Cummings and researcher Michael Scroggins will discuss AI and other technologies that are changing the landscape of society, health, wellness, and scientific research. Register for the webinar HERE.

Thursday, June 22, 2023, at 12:00 noon, MSSNY presents “How Do You Know If I Should Renegotiate My Employment Contract?.” Do I need to wait until the end of the term? How do I know if compensation rates have changed? Kyle Claussen, CEO of Resolve, will talk about these questions and provide insights on what to expect during a contract renegotiation and how you can prepare for it. Sign up HERE.
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Parking Card Renewal Time: One of the unique services offered to you as a Society member is access to the Society’s “Doctor on Medical Call” card program. It’s time for renewal; the new card is valid from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024. To order your “Doctor on Medical Call” card, send your check for $50.00, made payable to the New York County Medical Society, and this form to: Parking Renewal Program, New York Medical Society, 246 West 38th Street, Room 501, New York, NY 10018-9089. If you have questions, call (212) 684–4698. ___________________________________________________________________

 

 

May 26, 2023

Wrongful Death Legislation Is Back: As noted previously, we won a brief respite after Governor Kathy Hochul vetoed wrongful death legislation last year, but the bill (A.6698/S.6636) is back, and despite minor changes it poses the same threat to the fragile health care delivery system. More people could bring lawsuits, not just for economic damages, but also for emotional damages (“grief, sympathy and loss of consortium”). We are all sympathetic to grieving families, especially related to a number of painful events including the mass shooting in Buffalo a year ago. However, the proposed solution here is so broad that the number of troublesome consequences is massive. Healthcare providers, businesses and municipalities could see huge increases in potential liability. Physicians’ premiums could go up (by 40%), and our healthcare safety net could be destroyed. You are going to see this message over and over until the session ends. We need a volume of responses to remind our legislators and the Governor why this law hurts health care. So no matter how many times you click this link to contact legislators — do it again! even if you’ve done it before. Send an instant message HERE. Look for more calls to action as we coordinate with MSSNY, other counties, and specialty societies, as well as other members of a coalition to fight this legislation.
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No Better Time to Give to MSSNYPAC: One good way to help fight regressive legislation is with a contribution to MSSNYPAC, the political voice of New York State physicians. Trial lawyers, dentists, allied professionals, hospitals, union workers — all make sure to support their PACs. Doctors should make sure that they are heard. Make a donation HERE.
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Repeal of Mandatory Health Care Worker Immunizations for COVID: The New York State Department of Health has announced that it has asked for repeal of the mandatory health care COVID–19 immunizations for health care workers. The DOH has requested that the New York State Public Health and Planning Council take this action. For the DOH letter with details, see attached.
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Federal Level: Prior Authorization (PA) Reform and Medicare Advantage Plans: Last year the House of Representatives passed the Improving Seniors’ Access to Timely Care Act, which required Medicare Advantage plans to (1) explain their denials, (2) identify and issue real–time decisions for routinely approved services, (3) adopt standardized electronic PA processes, and (4) provide greater transparency with regard to utilization management guidelines. The bill didn’t get to a floor vote in the Senate, but CMS has now proposed new, similar rules and House and Senate champions are asking lawmakers to support them. Please add your voice - just click on: Urge your legislators to sign the #FixPriorAuth "Dear Colleague" letter today!
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Don’t Forget PA Reform in New York State: S.3400/A.7268, strongly supported by MSSNY, would (1) require that plans’ utilization review criteria be evidence–based and peer reviewed; (2) reduce the insurer time frame for reviewing PA requests; and (3) limit the period in which an insurer could withdraw or repeat a previously granted PA. Add your voice here too – click on: Urge Your Legislators to Support Prior Authorization Reform! (p2a.co).
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Victory on CIGNA Modifier 25 Policy: After hearing from members, MSSNY’s Payment and Practice Division brought to the AMA a number of concerns about CIGNA’s new policy about accompanying medical records whenever modifier 25 is used. Working with the AMA and other concerned organization’s, CIGNA was persuaded to not put the new policy into effect. If you need evidence about how organized medicine works for the profession, just bookmark this note. Thanks to Heather Lopez, MSSNY’s Vice President of Payment and Practice Division, for leading the charge on this issue.
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Biomarker Testing Bill Moves in the NYS Legislature: New bill A.1673/S.1196 would require insurance coverage for biomarker testing, an approach that’s often used to help determine the best treatment for cancer patients. (A ‟biomarker” is a sign of disease or abnormal function that can be measured in blood, tissue, or bodily fluid.) Insurers and Medicaid would be required to cover biomarker testing for diagnosis, treatment, appropriate management, or ongoing monitoring of a person’s disease or condition when the test was supported by medical and scientific evidence.
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Parking Card Renewal Time: One of the unique services offered to you as a Society member is access to the Society’s “Doctor on Medical Call” card program. It’s time for renewal; the new card is valid from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024. To order your “Doctor on Medical Call” card, send your check for $50.00, made payable to the New York County Medical Society, and this form to: Parking Renewal Program, New York Medical Society, 246 West 38th Street, Room 501, New York, NY 10018-9089. If you have questions, call (212) 684–4698.
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Mpox Still in Picture: The New York City Health Department reports that a group of mpox cases has been detected in Chicago; the majority were among individuals who had previously received two doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine. Since February 1, 2023, there have been 20 cases in New York City (two cases in the last 30 days), as well as an additional five in New York State outside New York City (none in the last 30 days). For more information, go to: han-advisory-8.pdf (nyc.gov)
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NYCMS Events: Monday, June 26, 2023, at 6:00 p.m., join us in person at the New York County Medical Society Annual Meeting and Networking Reception, at Connolly’s Pub, 14 East 47th Street (between 5th and Madison Avenues). Come for drinks, appetizers, and a wonderful chance to meet your fellow Society members, thank outgoing NYCMS President Erick Eiting, MD, and welcome incoming President Thomas Sterry, MD. No charge, but advance registration required. Register HERE.
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MSSNY Events: How Do You Know If I Should Renegotiate My Employment Contract? Thursday, June 22, 2023, at 12:00 noon. Do I need to wait until the end of the term? How do I know if compensation rates have changed? Kyle Claussen, CEO of Resolve, will talk about these questions and provide insights on what to expect during a contract renegotiation and how you can prepare for it. Sign up HERE.
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Congestion Pricing Update: The MTA’s plan to toll motorists who drive in Manhattan south of 60th Street has been approved by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). A 30–day review period is still required, but no further public hearings are scheduled, and the plan is expected to go into effect in summer of 2024. How much will the tolls be? The MTA is considering a number of scenarios that could lead to charges from $5 to $23, depending on the time of the day and the type of vehicle. Key points include: (1) Drivers would not be charged if they remained on the FDR Drive or West Side Highway; (2) for–hire vehicles (taxis, Ubers, Lyfts) would only be charged a toll once per day, no matter how many times they crossed in and out of the zone; (3) the price of overnight tolls would be at least 50% less than the cost to enter the zone during peak hours; and (4), there would be a low–income discount so drivers who made $50,000 per year or less would get a 25% discount if they crossed into the zone more than ten times in a calendar month. The toll revenue is to be used for mass transit improvements and $207.5 million will go to reduce pollution. New Jersey Congressman Josh Gottheimer says his state will send the FWHA a formal complaint during the review period. New York County testified on concerns for health care workers and patients and the effects on them. For more information, go HERE.

 

 

May 19, 2023

Scam Alert: Physicians report getting calls from companies offering botox and filler at deep discount via the "grey market." When one doctor questioned as to whether these are FDA–approved, the caller hung up instead. Remember, that patients can be hurt and doctors can be liable for using non–approved medications/processes. Be very careful with anything too good to be true.
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“Wrongful Death” Legislation Is Back: Earlier this year, due in large part to your overwhelming grassroots response, Governor Kathy Hochul vetoed a bill that would have greatly expanded awardable damages in wrongful death actions. Now, a new version (A.6698/S.6636) of that bill has been introduced; and again, more people could bring lawsuits, not just for economic damages, but also for emotional damages (“grief, sympathy and loss of consortium”).
Healthcare providers and businesses — even municipalities — could be threatened with steep increases in potential liability. Physicians’ premiums could go up (by 40%), and our healthcare safety net could be in jeopardy.

What to do: First: Right now, contact legislators — even if you’ve done it before. (Numbers count. Multiple efforts mean multiple concern.) The Bill is moving through committees now. It is time NOW to let legislators know how it affects you and your patients. Send an instant message at: Take Action to Prevent Untenable Increases in Malpractice Premiums in New York.

Second: This Tuesday, May 23: Join us in a 6:00 p.m. CME Web meeting, “Wrongful Death Legislation: Special Risks for Physicians.” This meeting, hosted by the Society and The Doctors Company (TDC), will discuss what is troubling in the legislation, what you should expect in a wrongful death claim, how you can strengthen relationships and minimize chances of litigation, and how we can work toward better laws. Peter A. Kolbert, JD, is Senior Vice President for Claim & Litigation Services for Healthcare Risk Advisors (a hospital insurance company, part of the TDC Group of companies); Remi Stone, JD, is TDC’s Regional Director for Government Relations, covering public policy in the Northeast, Midwest, and the Federal Government; and Lisa M. McCorkle, MSN, MBA, RN, is Senior Patient Safety Risk Manager, Region II, The Doctors Company.

Third: Help support the fight via a contribution to MSSNYPAC, the political voice of New York State physicians. MSSNYPAC will be a crucial element in the battle against the “Wrongful Death” proposal. Make a donation now HERE. Your contribution need not be large; what matters is that you’re part of the battle.
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Replay: If you missed our fascinating May 17 program, ‟Imposter Syndrome: New Developments in Burnout,” the recording is available. Here’s the link to the recording: Grand Rounds Program Video. (Note: Use Passcode Vy#r+10E.) You can also access a brief PowerPoint introduction by our Moderator, Dr. Steven Mandel (click on Imposter and Burnout), plus the PowerPoint presentations by each of our three speakers – click on Imposter Syndrome Dr Villwock, Imposter Syndrome Dr Gazelle and Imposter Syndrome Dr Bellehsen.
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NYCMS Events

Monday, June 26, 2023, at 6:00 p.m., join us (in person) at the New York County Medical Society Annual Meeting and Networking Reception, at Connolly’s Pub, 14 East 47th Street (between 5th and Madison Avenues). Come for drinks, appetizers, and a wonderful chance to meet your fellow Society members, thank outgoing NYCMS President Erick Eiting, MD, and welcome incoming President Thomas Sterry, MD. No charge, but advance registration required. Register HERE !
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Scope Issues Back: Scope expansion bills could threaten patient safety. Even though some scope expansion proposals were voted down in the state budget, the issue is still with us as we move into the final weeks of the legislative session. We’re facing “stand–alone” bills:

— S.66–A/A.1262–A grants prescribing rights to psychologists, similar to the rights of psychiatrists. Please click on: Oppose Legislation Granting Prescriptive Authority to Psychologists! (p2a.co)

— A.5012/S.5520 allows Physician Assistants (PAs) to practice independently without physician oversight once they had had 3,600 hours of practice. Click on: Please Preserve Physician-Led Team Care! (p2a.co)

— A.2217/S.2254 would significantly expand podiatrists’ scope to treat conditions of the ankle and leg. S.2126 would let Physician Assistants perform fluoroscopy without adequate physician supervision. A.6958/S.769 would let Nurse Anesthetists administer anesthesia with reduced physician oversight.
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Reminder One–Time Training Requirement for DEA–Registered Prescribers: Are you scheduled to submit your next DEA registration on June 27, 2023, or thereafter? At that time you’ll be required to attest that you have completed eight hours of training on the treatment and management of patients with opioid or other substance use disorders. Bear in mind that:

— Your three–hour, NYS–required training can count as three of those eight hours. You may already have taken MSSNY’s three one–hour courses on pain management, palliative care and addiction. Those courses are currently available at the MSSNY CME site at: https://cme.mssny.org/, and are free of charge to all MSSNY members.

— MSSNY also offers a program titled “Substance Use Disorders in Veterans,” which can count as your fourth hour. (Go to https://cme.mssny.org/.)

— Courses are also available from other medical organizations; you can use them to fill in however many hours you still need. Check out the course offerings of: The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP), the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) click HERE.

— Certain physicians are exempt from this DEA requirement. They include:
those MDs/DOs who have board certification in addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry from the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Board of Addiction Medicine, or the American Osteopathic Association; and those who graduated within five years of June 27, 2023, having successfully completed a comprehensive curriculum that included at least eight hours of training on treating and managing patients with opioid or other substance use disorders (including the appropriate clinical use of all drugs approved by the FDA for the treatment of a substance use disorder); or safe pharmacological management of dental pain and screening, brief intervention, and referral for appropriate treatment of patients with or at risk of developing opioid and other substance use disorders.
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What Does the End of the COVID–19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) Mean for Telehealth: On the New York level, several years ago New York enacted a law to require insurance coverage by state–regulated plans and Medicaid for services delivered by telehealth, and last year, MSSNY and local societies successfully advocated for a law requiring that these services be paid at the same rates as comparable in–person services. That law expires in April, 2024, but MSSNY is working with allies for legislation (A.4940/S.2776) that would make this requirement permanent. On the federal level, last December, Congress passed provisions to extend many Medicare telehealth coverage flexibilities through the end of 2024, (1) permitting Medicare beneficiaries in any geographic area to receive telehealth services (not just those beneficiaries living in rural areas); and, (2) permanently waiving “originating site” geographic restrictions for behavioral/mental telehealth services.

In addition, the DEA (the Drug Enforcement Administration) and SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) have issued a temporary rule that would (1) extend through November 11, 2023, all the telemedicine flexibilities regarding the prescription of controlled medications that were in place during the COVID–19 PHE, including prescribing controlled substance without an in–person visit; and (2) for any practitioner/patient telemedicine relationship established on or before November 11, 2023, assuring a one–year grace period through November 11, 2024. (If a patient and a practitioner have established a telemedicine relationship on or before November 11, 2023, the same telemedicine flexibilities that governed the relationship up to that point are permitted until November 11, 2024.)

For more information see MSSNY’s “Brief Summary,” HERE.

 

 

May 12, 2023

Telemedicine Flexibilities Extended Six Months: Telemedicine flexibility for prescribing controlled substances (schedule II – V) will continue, even though the COVID–19 public health emergency (PHE) ended on May 11. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) have issued a “Temporary Extension of COVID–19 Telemedicine Flexibilities for Prescription of Controlled Medications,” a temporary rule that extends the full set of telemedicine flexibilities adopted during the COVID–19 public health emergency through November 11, 2023. Moreover, for any practitioner–patient telemedicine relationships that have been or will be established up to November 11, 2023, the full set of telemedicine flexibilities regarding prescription of controlled medications established during the COVID–19 PHE will be extended for one more year through November 11, 2024. (This added provision will provide a much–needed grace period, to help with situations — e.g., with buprenorphine prescriptions or in rural areas — where the initial prescription may be issued without an in–person visit and then a period of time elapses before an in–person visit is possible.) See the SAMSHA web page HERE. See the Federal Register page HERE.
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Wrongful Death Proposal Returns: A.6696/S.6636 is back for this legislative session. Please contact legislators by clicking HERE. Once again, the New York State Legislature is considering legislation that would hugely expand damages awardable in wrongful death lawsuits. There have been some technical adjustments. The new bill clarifies when the provision would retroactively take effect, limits damages that can be recovered, creates a shorter statute of limitations and provides a clearer definition of who is eligible to bring wrongful death claims. But last session’s bill passed without a serious evaluation of its potential impact on the economy, small businesses, individuals, and the health care system, and the new bill does not address those concerns either. It would open up new categories of damages (“grief and anguish”), which, studies show, will lead to a nearly 40% growth in liability costs.
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Nominated! The following members of the Society were nominated for office in the New York County Medical Society in the 2023 election.

Officers
Jessica J. Krant, MD, MPH, President–Elect
Richard Schutzer, MD, Vice President
Mark Milstein, MD, Secretary
Ksenija Belsley, MD, Assistant Secretary
Jill Baron, MD, Treasurer
Stuart Gitlow, MD, Assistant Treasurer
Erick Eiting, MD, MPH, Trustee

Board Members At Large
Clifford Bassett, MD
Michael Borecky, MD
Connie DiMari, MD
Loren Wissner Greene, MD
Aaron Kithcart, MD
Maria LoTempio, MD
Henry Magliato, MD
Purvi Parikh, MD
Ami Shah, MD
Richard Silvera, MD

Delegates to the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY)
Arthur Cooper, MD
Paul Orloff, MD
Edward Powers, III, MD
Richard Schutzer, MD
Thomas Sterry, MD

Alternate Delegates to MSSNY
Jill Baron, MD
Michael Borecky, MD
Connie DiMari, MD
Maria LoTempio, MD
Richard Silvera, MD
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NYCMS Events

Wednesday, May 17, 6:00 p.m.: CME web conference: “Imposter Syndrome: New Developments in Burnout.” REGISTER HERE. Imposter Syndrome is a constellation of difficulties that many physicians, physicians–in–training and students experience: Having a hard time recognizing one’s accomplishments … Feeling like a fraud for not knowing everything … Feeling insecure, doubting oneself … and more. It all leads to stress, emotional exhaustion, high depersonalization and a low sense of personal accomplishment. We’ll have a panel of experts who will talk about how Imposter Syndrome develops, which personality types are most prone to it, and what can be done to deal with it. We’ll also discuss how Imposter Syndrome fits into the larger picture of today’s healthcare environment, with widespread burnout, high pressure and conflicting organizational goals; and how addressing this syndrome and other “systemic symptoms” can help to improve patients’ experience, improve care and reduce healthcare disparities. Speakers: Mayer Bellehson, PhD, founding director of the Center for Traumatic Stress, Resilience and Recovery at Northwell Health in Glen Oaks (Queens), NY; Gail Gazelle, MD, internist, Harvard Medical School faculty member, and a physician coach focusing on mindfulness, neuroscience, emotional intelligence, and decision–making; and Jennifer Villwock, MD, otolaryngologist at University of Kansas Hospital, and author of a study of impostor syndrome and burnout among American medical students. Steven Mandel, MD, Program Chair, is Clinical Professor of Neurology at Hofstra/Northwell and Adjunct Professor of Medicine at New York Medical College. Jill Baron, MD, Chair of the NYCMS Committee on Physician Wellness, is a Visiting Attending Physician at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

The Westchester Academy of Medicine and the New York County Medical Society gratefully acknowledge the Clifford L. Spingarn, MD Educational Memorial Fund for the support of this CME activity.

Accreditation Statement
This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Accreditation Requirements and Policies of the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) through the joint providership of the Westchester Academy of Medicine and the New York County Medical Society. The Westchester Academy of Medicine is accredited by MSSNY to provide Continuing Medical Education for physicians. The Westchester Academy of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category I Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023, 6:00 p.m.: The Society and The Doctors Company (TDC) will host “Wrongful Death Legislation: Special Risks for Physicians.” The 2022 Grieving Families Act did not get the Governor’s signature, but an equally troublesome legislative proposal has reappeared, and will be worrisome. The State’s “wrongful death” statue has known limits now, but this bill will expand those limits and introduce more uncertainty into the law. More people will be able to bring lawsuits — and not just for economic damages, but also for emotional damages (“grief, sympathy and loss of consortium”). Physicians, businesses, even municipalities will face a steep increase in potential liability. What should we know, so we can advocate strongly against this? What was in the 2022 legislation that made it so particularly troubling for physicians, and what we are seeing in the 2023 version? In addition, we will discuss what should you expect if you’re named in a wrongful death claim and, proactively, what ways of engaging with patients can you develop, to strengthen trust and minimize the chance that someone might pursue litigation against you? TDC legal experts will explore these questions with us in this Web event. More details are coming soon. Register NOW.


Monday, June 26, 2023, 6:00 p.m.: Join us at the New York County Medical Society Annual Meeting and Networking Reception, at Connolly’s Pub, 14 East 47th Street (between 5th and Madison Avenues). Drinks, appetizers, and a wonderful chance to meet your fellow Society members, thank outgoing NYCMS President Erick Eiting, MD, and welcome incoming President Thomas Sterry, MD. No charge, but advance registration required — register HERE !
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MSSNY Events

Wednesday, May 17, 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY Medical Matters CME Webinar, “The Lasting Mental Health Impacts of COVID on Children & Adolescents.” It may be some time before the full mental–health impacts caused by the COVID–19 pandemic are known, but experts agree that the impacts experienced by children and adolescents are large. In webinar, with faculty Linda Chokroverty, MD (a child and adolescent psychiatrist), you’ll find out what is known so far about the mental– health impact of COVID–19 on children and teens; identify normal stressors that affect children and teens, and learn to distinguish them from stressors that have resulted from the COVID–19 pandemic; and, describe resources to assist children and teens and help them develop resiliency as the COVID emergency lessens. Register HERE.
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Worst Problems with Insurance? Take MSSNY’s brief survey HERE It probes frustrating issues including prior authorizations, excessive medical record requests, payment problems, special staffing needs, and more; and it encourages you to provide additional information or examples at the end if you wish. The more you say about your own worst difficulties, the more MSSNY will be able to help everyone. Questions? Call Heather Lopez, MSSNY Vice President for Physician Payment & Practice, at (518) 328–3532 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

May 5, 2023

State Budget Finalized: How did we make out? For the full rundown, see attachment (2023 NYS Budget Outcomes). Among the positive aspects for physicians and patients, the final budget supports the Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance Program, MSSNY’s Committee for Physicians Health, the Health Insurance Guarantee Fund, the Doctors Across New York program and the Veterans Mental Health Training Initiative — and raises cigarette taxes by $1per pack.
Furthermore, we are happy that the budget rejects several scope of practice expansions, elimination of “Prescriber Prevails” and implementation of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, and prohibits insurers from denying claims unless the reviewer is of the same or similar specialty as the treating physician. Unfortunately, the Budget also contains two new requirements for physicians: primary care providers must offer a Hep C test to every patient aged 18 and over; and with certain private–practice acquisitions, the parties are required to report to the New York State Department of Health.
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New York State Has Switched to a Single State Formulary for Medicaid Prescriptions: With the new Medicaid Pharmacy program (known as NYRx), utilization management protocols are standardized, negotiating power is centralized, prescription drug costs can be seen in full view, and prior authorization requirements may in some instances be reduced. For information on specific outpatient drugs and whether prior authorization is required, look on the eMedNY website, https://www.emedny.org/. Note, too: New York State Department of Health will use clinical editing criteria – so, members may continue to receive certain non–formulary/non–preferred medications. (The formulary is attached – see “NYRx.”) _________________________________________________________________

Be Sure to Take Our Survey on Value–Based Payment Models: The survey’s goal is to assess the impact on physicians of value–based payment programs (i.e MIPS, Capitation) and what it portends for the future of healthcare. The questions focus on four dimensions: quality of care (four questions), patient access (three questions), physician professionalism (three questions), and physician careers (five questions). An overview of value–based payment programs is attached. An Overview of Value–Based Payment Programs is attached. ANSWERS ANONYMOUS! Takes approximately 10 minutes. PLEASE RESPOND, even if you are NOT impacted! Concierge physicians, retirees, and medical students, your answers are valuable. Click on the link below to access the survey, hosted by Qualtrics. For any questions, clarifications, or comments, please call Connie DiMari, MD, at (917) 579–0197. We are thankful to have you as a member of the NYCMS and so grateful for your time and consideration in completing this survey.
Take Survey HERE.
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Keep Up the Heat on the Federal Level: Bipartisan legislation (HR 2474) has been introduced in Congress requiring automatic Medicare payment increases each year. Physicians are again urged ask Congressional Representatives to support this bill, which would require an annual inflationary update to Medicare physician payments. Unlike hospitals, health plans, long–term care facilities and most other health care providers, physicians do not automatically receive an annual inflationary update to their Medicare payments. Medicare physician payments have lagged 26% behind the rate of inflation since 2001. Between the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2023, Medicare physician payments were cut, in real dollars, by 4 percent! It’s time to do something about this. Send a letter HERE.
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NYCMS Events

Wednesday, May 17, 6:00 p.m.: CME web conference: “Imposter Syndrome: New Developments in Burnout.” REGISTER HERE. Imposter Syndrome is a constellation of difficulties that many physicians, physicians–in–training and students experience: Having a hard time recognizing one’s accomplishments … Feeling like a fraud for not knowing everything … Feeling insecure, doubting oneself … and more. It all leads to stress, emotional exhaustion, high depersonalization and a low sense of personal accomplishment. We’ll have a panel of experts who will talk about how Imposter Syndrome develops, which personality types are most prone to it, and what can be done to deal with it. We’ll also discuss how Imposter Syndrome fits into the larger picture of today’s healthcare environment, with widespread burnout, high pressure and conflicting organizational goals; and how addressing this syndrome and other “systemic symptoms” can help to improve patients’ experience, improve care and reduce healthcare disparities. Speakers: Mayer Bellehson, PhD, founding director of the Center for Traumatic Stress, Resilience and Recovery at Northwell Health in Glen Oaks (Queens), NY; Gail Gazelle, MD, internist, Harvard Medical School faculty member, and a physician coach focusing on mindfulness, neuroscience, emotional intelligence, and decision–making; and Jennifer Villwock, MD, otolaryngologist at University of Kansas Hospital, and author of a study of impostor syndrome and burnout among American medical students. Steven Mandel, MD, Program Chair, is Clinical Professor of Neurology at Hofstra/Northwell and Adjunct Professor of Medicine at New York Medical College. Jill Baron, MD, Chair of the NYCMS Committee on Physician Wellness, is a Visiting Attending Physician at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

The Westchester Academy of Medicine and the New York County Medical Society gratefully acknowledge the Clifford L. Spingarn, MD Educational Memorial Fund for the support of this CME activity.

Accreditation Statement
This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Accreditation Requirements and Policies of the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) through the joint providership of the Westchester Academy of Medicine and the New York County Medical Society. The Westchester Academy of Medicine is accredited by MSSNY to provide Continuing Medical Education for physicians. The Westchester Academy of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category I Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023, 6:00 p.m.: The Society and The Doctors Company (TDC) will host “Wrongful Death Legislation: Special Risks for Physicians.” The 2022 Grieving Families Act did not get the Governor’s signature, but that same legislative proposal (or something similar) will soon reappear, and it will be worrisome. “Wrongful death” (the proposal’s legal territory) has limits now, but this bill will hugely widen those limits. More family members will be able to recover — and not just for economic damages, but also for emotional damages (“grief, sympathy and loss of consortium”). Physicians, businesses, even municipalities will face a steep increase in potential liability. What should we know, so we can advocate strongly against this? What was in the 2022 legislation that made it so particularly troubling for physicians, and what are we likely to see in the 2023 version? What should you expect if you’re named in a wrongful death claim? Currently, what defense tactics are used in suits of this sort and, proactively, what ways of engaging with patients can you develop, to strengthen trust and minimize the chance that a patient or family might pursue litigation? TDC legal experts will explore these questions with us in this Web event. More details are coming soon, but REGISTER NOW.

Monday, June 26, 2023, 6:00 p.m.: Join us at the New York County Medical Society Annual Meeting and Networking Reception, at Connolly’s Pub, 14 East 47th Street (between 5th and Madison Avenues). Drinks, appetizers, and a wonderful chance to meet your fellow Society members, thank outgoing NYCMS President Erick Eiting, MD, and welcome incoming President Thomas Sterry, MD. No charge, but advance registration required — register HERE !
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MSSNY Events

Wednesday, May 10, 7:30 a.m.:“The Business of Medicine.” Register now at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7301632848912592480. When you started your practice, you likely didn’t realize you were actually opening a business. Many physicians just set up the office, hire a few staff, start scheduling patients and anticipate that it will all work out with a reasonable quality of life. Boy, did you think wrong! Running a medical practice requires not only traditional business skills, but also an up–to–date knowledge of such topics as Reimbursement Models, Anti–Trust and Stark, Accountable Care Organizations, RVUs, Risk Mitigation and CMS Compliance. Plus, you have to be an expert in human resources, employee benefits, accounting and finance, vendor contracts, commercial general liability and OSHA. All this while you’re taking care of the health of patients, which is why you wanted to be a physician to begin with! Don’t lose hope. Attend this webinar! You’ll learn: Practicing Medicine is not just about treating patients; business principles — both traditional and healthcare–specific; risks you must avoid and consequential actions; when to seek the right help from the right people; and more.

Wednesday, May 17, 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY Medical Matters CME Webinar, “The Lasting Mental Health Impacts of COVID on Children & Adolescents.” It may be some time before the full mental–health impacts caused by the COVID–19 pandemic are known, but experts agree that the impacts experienced by children and adolescents are large. In webinar, with faculty Linda Chokroverty, MD (a child and adolescent psychiatrist), you’ll find out what is known so far about the mental– health impact of COVID–19 on children and teens; identify normal stressors that affect children and teens, and learn to distinguish them from stressors that have resulted from the COVID–19 pandemic; and, describe resources to assist children and teens and help them develop resiliency as the COVID emergency lessens.
Register at https://mssny.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_a2dScSLvRay8GaKZbGQs3g#/registration.

 

 

April 21, 2023

 

NYCMS Events

Wednesday, May 17, at 6:00 p.m. FOR CME “Imposter Syndrome: New Developments in Burnout.” REGISTER HERE! Imposter Syndrome is a constellation of difficulties that many physicians, physicians–in–training and students experience: Having a hard time recognizing one’s accomplishments … Feeling like a fraud for not knowing everything … Feeling insecure, doubting oneself … and more. It all leads to stress, emotional exhaustion, high depersonalization and a low sense of personal accomplishment. We’ll have a panel of experts who will talk about how Imposter Syndrome develops, which personality types are most prone to it, and what can be done to deal with it. We’ll also discuss how Imposter Syndrome fits into the larger picture of today’s healthcare environment, with widespread burnout, high pressure and conflicting organizational goals; and how addressing this syndrome and other “systemic symptoms” can help to improve patients’ experience, improve care and reduce healthcare disparities. Speakers: Mayer Bellehson, PhD, founding director of the Center for Traumatic Stress, Resilience and Recovery at Northwell Health in Glen Oaks (Queens), NY; Gail Gazelle, MD, internist, Harvard Medical School faculty member, and a physician coach focusing on mindfulness, neuroscience, emotional intelligence, and decision–making; and Jennifer Villwock, MD, otolaryngologist at University of Kansas Hospital, and author of a study of impostor syndrome and burnout among American medical students.

The Westchester Academy of Medicine and the New York County Medical Society gratefully acknowledge the Clifford L. Spingarn, MD Educational Memorial Fund for the support of this CME activity.

Accreditation Statement
This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Accreditation Requirements and Policies of the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) through the joint providership of the Westchester Academy of Medicine and the New York County Medical Society. The Westchester Academy of Medicine is accredited by MSSNY to provide Continuing Medical Education for physicians. The Westchester Academy of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category I Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023, at 6:00 p.m.: The Society and The Doctors Company (TDC) will host “Wrongful Death Legislation: Special Risks for Physicians.” The 2022 “Grieving Families Act” did not get the Governor’s signature, but that same legislative proposal (or something similar) will soon reappear, and it will be worrisome. “Wrongful death” (the proposal’s legal territory) has limits now, but this bill will hugely widen those limits. More family members will be able to recover — and not just for economic damages, but also for emotional damages (“grief, sympathy and loss of consortium”). Physicians, businesses, even municipalities will face a steep increase in potential liability. What should we know, so we can advocate strongly against this? What was in the 2022 legislation that made it so particularly troubling for physicians, and what are we likely to see in the 2023 version? What should you expect if you’re named in a wrongful death claim? Currently, what defense tactics are used in suits of this sort — and, proactively, what ways of engaging with patients can you develop, to strengthen trust and minimize the chance that a patient or family might pursue litigation? TDC legal experts will explore these questions with us in this Web event. More details are coming soon, but why not REGISTER NOW!
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Replay!: If you missed the April 4 presentation on Physician Loans for Mortgages that we hosted with the Carbon Team at CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC, you can still “attend” via the video. Learn about the special benefits that are offered just for you! No down payment is required for a purchase price up to $1,500,000 (minimum $500,000 loan amount); closing costs can be financed; and no mortgage insurance is required. Presenters: David Ostrowsky, Senior Loan Officer at CrossCountry Mortgage, and Samantha Bhatty, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson at Douglas Elliman. Click on: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/a37nY2KuT2QsKt5LUKdDsBa0yutduaihWQSgmvsCusmAicY53icqc4VvcXXlr3cQ.otsdz9rthkItUiKe . Use this passcode: ^cXxA6^J.
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Are All EHR Problems Insoluble? The AMA offers food for thought, in three EHR–related resources. First: Taming the EHR Playbook: A system-level approach to EHR inbox reduction: Physicians from three organizations draw from their own experiences with eliminating unnecessary burdens and improving EHR workflows, providing a 9-step process (PDF) and checklist (PDF) that can be used to reduce EHR inboxes at the system level. Second: Digital Minimalism — An Rx for Clinician Burnout: This New England Journal of Medicine commentary weighs the cost–benefit balance for technology, and urges clear boundary–setting for longer periods of uninterrupted work and better patient care. Third: Can physicians openly discuss EHR issues? The latest entry in the AMA Debunking Regulatory Myths series addresses EHR gag clauses.
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Private Practices Can Survive and Thrive: The AMA offers resources. Their new (free CME) podcast mini–series, Private Practice: Attending to Business, helps you navigate business operations and efficiency solutions for a growing, satisfying business. And their eight–week series of learning sessions, Introduction to Marketing and Branding for Private Practices, brings you experts from Springboard Brand and Creative Strategy to address common issues that private practices encounter with basic marketing strategies. The series of sessions launches on May 23 at 11:15 a.m. EDT. Register Now.
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MIPS Participants: Based On Your 2023 Performance, Will You Still Need the Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Hardship Exception to Avoid Up to a -9% Penalty in 2025? In response to advocacy from AMA and organized medicine about the ongoing impacts of the COVID–19 public health emergency (PHE), CMS has announced that it will continue to allow physicians and group practices to apply for this hardship exception. This is a big relief for physicians and their patients; CMS has estimated that up to one–third of MIPS–eligible clinicians would have received a penalty due to the increasingly stringent requirements for participation in MIPS in 2023. Note: The exception will not be automatic — you must actively request reweighting of the MIPS categories. CMS expects to release the hardship exception application in spring 2023.
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50 Years On: Congratulations to these members celebrating the 50th anniversary of their graduation from medical school.

Michael Steven Brodherson, MD
Barry L. Brown, MD
Shun Chang, MD
Nga Chang, MD
David Tak Wai Chiu, MD
Albert M. DeFabritus, MD
Leon K. Demar, MD
Richard A. Dundy, MD
Ilene Fennoy, MD
David H. Fields, MD
Donald R. Fishman, MD
B. David Gorman, MD
Michael Gribetz, MD
Barry Jay Hartman, MD
Gerard C. Hellman, MD
George J. Kessler, DO
Ilana Kochen, MD
Roy Gerald Kulick, MD
Robert J. Kurtz, MD
Marjorie Lee, MD
Beth Lieberman, MD
John W. Lombardo, MD
Harriet E. Mc Gurk, MD
Navin C. Mehta, MD
Jerry Nagler, MD
Sudha P. Patel, MD
Robert A. Press, MD
Richard Julian Radna, MD
Ronald R. Rawitt, MD
John Francis Romano, MD
William B. Rosenblatt, MD
Jesse Samuel Rosenthal, MD
Michael Schmerin, MD
Neal Bruce Schultz, MD
David Seinfeld, MD
Wei–Yuan Shieh, MD
Stanford Norman Sullum, MD
Robert Raymond Walther, MD
Brighita Weinberg, MD
Richard Marc Wind, MD
David J. Wolf, MD

 

April 14, 2023

Push Flavored Tobacco Ban: With the budget unresolved and negotiations continuing, we must keep pushing to get the flavored tobacco ban in the final State budget, along with the increased cigarette tax. Please send legislators a message — click on Support Governor Hochul’s Plan to Create a Tobacco-Free Generation in New York! (p2a.co).

— Ending the sale of all flavored tobacco is necessary to eliminate the appeal to youth. Flavors like menthol make it easier to start using tobacco products, and also make it much harder to quit.

— Big Tobacco uses flavors like menthol cigarettes to target communities of color, LGBTQ individuals, and people with lower levels of income — so these groups are disproportionately affected by tobacco–related diseases.

— New York has a historic opportunity and obligation to protect our children from a lifetime of addiction and suffering from the leading cause of preventable death: tobacco use.
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Federal–Level Legislative Alert: Physicians’ Medicare payments have declined relative to inflation, and they will continue to do so unless Congress acts to fix flawed and outdated payment rules. Please: Tell your legislators to cosponsor H.R. 2474 to provide annual MEI updates to physician payment. Physicians are the only providers whose Medicare payments do not automatically receive an annual inflationary update. Medicare physician payments have lagged 26% behind the rate of inflation growth since 2001. During this current period of record inflation and coming right after the pandemic, this statutory flaw often amplifies the impact of such other payment policy changes as “budget neutrality” adjustments and performance incentives. A bipartisan group of physician members of Congress have introduced H.R. 2474, legislation that would reform this flawed system and provide annual inflationary updates for Medicare physician services, similar to updates received by other healthcare providers. This legislation is a great first step toward fixing payment inequities and injecting more financial stability into physician practices, allowing them to invest in new ways of providing care and helping to assure that Medicare beneficiaries have access to high–quality care.
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NYCMS Events

Wednesday, May 17, at 6:00 p.m. FOR CME “Imposter Syndrome: New Developments in Burnout.” REGISTER HERE! Imposter Syndrome is a constellation of difficulties that many physicians, physicians–in–training and students experience: Having a hard time recognizing one’s accomplishments … Feeling like a fraud for not knowing everything … Feeling insecure, doubting oneself … and more. It all leads to stress, emotional exhaustion, high depersonalization and a low sense of personal accomplishment. We’ll have a panel of experts who will talk about how Imposter Syndrome develops, which personality types are most prone to it, and what can be done to deal with it. We’ll also discuss how Imposter Syndrome fits into the larger picture of today’s healthcare environment, with widespread burnout, high pressure and conflicting organizational goals; and how addressing this syndrome and other “systemic symptoms” can help to improve patients’ experience, improve care and reduce healthcare disparities. Speakers: Mayer Bellehson, PhD, founding director of the Center for Traumatic Stress, Resilience and Recovery at Northwell Health in Glen Oaks (Queens), NY; Gail Gazelle, MD, internist, Harvard Medical School faculty member, and a physician coach focusing on mindfulness, neuroscience, emotional intelligence, and decision–making; and Jennifer Villwock, MD, otolaryngologist at University of Kansas Hospital, and author of a study of impostor syndrome and burnout among American medical students.

The Westchester Academy of Medicine and the New York County Medical Society gratefully acknowledge the Clifford L. Spingarn, MD Educational Memorial Fund for the support of this CME activity.

Accreditation Statement
This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Accreditation Requirements and Policies of the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) through the joint providership of the Westchester Academy of Medicine and the New York County Medical Society. The Westchester Academy of Medicine is accredited by MSSNY to provide Continuing Medical Education for physicians. The Westchester Academy of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category I Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023, at 6:00 p.m.: The Society and The Doctors Company (TDC) will host “Wrongful Death Legislation: Special Risks for Physicians.” The 2022 “Grieving Families Act” did not get the Governor’s signature, but that same legislative proposal (or something similar) will soon reappear, and it will be worrisome. “Wrongful death” (the proposal’s legal territory) has limits now, but this bill will hugely widen those limits. More family members will be able to recover — and not just for economic damages, but also for emotional damages (“grief, sympathy and loss of consortium”). Physicians, businesses, even municipalities will face a steep increase in potential liability. What should we know, so we can advocate strongly against this? What was in the 2022 legislation that made it so particularly troubling for physicians, and what are we likely to see in the 2023 version? What should you expect if you’re named in a wrongful death claim? Currently, what defense tactics are used in suits of this sort — and, proactively, what ways of engaging with patients can you develop, to strengthen trust and minimize the chance that a patient or family might pursue litigation? TDC legal experts will explore these questions with us in this Web event. More details are coming soon, but why not REGISTER NOW!
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CME Webinars Through MSSNY HOD — Open to All

Friday, April 21, Four interesting CME webinars, offered to everyone during MSSNY’s House of Delegates:

— 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on April 21, “Public Health Challenges of Three Respiratory Illnesses,” with William Valenti, MD. Register at: https://mssny.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Jb_aMV_jQja4V7Kr7q49Mg#/registration. Objectives: Describe testing, treatment and prevention options for COVID, influenza and RSV; outline public health efforts to mitigate the burden of three respiratory illnesses spreading concurrently; and identify the particular challenges that arose when dealing with three respiratory illnesses at the same time.

— 8:40 a.m. to 9:40 a.m., “The Sum of Us: How Inequities in Health, Wealth, and Education Negatively Impact All of Us,” with Willie Underwood, MD. Register at: https://mssny.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-MTnN26MSO69PRr1zDlpHA#/registration. Objectives: Describe strategies used in a community effort that resulted in a reduction of COVID mortalities; outline strategies used in five Buffalo zip codes to improve poor health outcomes; and identify ways in which attendees can contribute to the improvement of population health in their local communities.

— 9:50 a.m. to 10:50 a.m., “MSSNY Peer–2–Peer,” with Bonnie Litvack, MD, Frank Dowling, MD, and Charles Rothberg, MD. Register at: https://mssny.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_pIBCoU13TniaYzChwxVrOQ#/registration. Objectives: Explain why physician wellness is important for the organization; recognize and promote the concept that it is okay to not be okay; and identify the tools and resources to encourage resiliency and wellness within the physician and institution.

— 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, “The Impact of Military Sexual Trauma on Veterans” (a Veterans Matters program), with Janine Fogarty, MD. Register at: https://mssny.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_PT-wjI0bRv2K4uvriJfa7g#/registration. Objectives: Define military sexual trauma (MST), identify some of the residual effects MST can have on patients, and prepare providers to treat patients with MST.
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Other Events

Saturday, April 22, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.: Complimentary CME Breakfast Meeting, “The DETECT Initiative in Early Alzheimer’s Disease: ? Optimizing Collaboration and Multi–Disciplinary Care to Facilitate Timely Diagnosis.” This in–person meeting, hosted by the Public Health Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Association and Caring Kind, will take place at the Westin New York Hotel in Times Square (270 West 43rd Street). You can learn more and register now at: www.AD-DETECT.com. Speakers: Alireza Atri, MD, PhD, Director, Banner Sun Health Research Institute (Sun City, AZ), and Lecturer on Neurology, Center for Brain/Mind Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School; and David Roane, MD, Chair, Department of Psychiatry, Lenox Hill Hospital, and Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology, Hofstra/Northwell School of Medicine, Uniondale, NY. Learning objectives: Evaluate the burden of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), including the process of prolonged decline in cognitive function; provide an accurate and timely diagnosis of AD to allow for early disease management and/or referral to specialists; use cognitive assessments, biomarkers and imaging in distinguishing between normal aging and cognitive impairment; select and use the best therapeutic options for patients with AD, based on up–to–date clinical data on established and emerging disease modifying therapies; and employ best practices for multi–disciplinary care coordination, workflows, and best practices for referral of patients.

Thursday and Friday, May 18 and 19: Free Web Conference (CME), “Inflammatory Brain Disorders,” hosted by the Neuroimmune Foundation and fearing speakers from Mayo Clinic, Stanford, Yale, Columbia, NIH, UCSF, Duke, and other institutions. The link to register and request the fee be waived can be found on the Foundation’s website. For the fascinating flyer with a long list of speakers, see Attached (“2023 Neuroimmune Conference”).
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April Is National Stress Awareness Month: Dr. Neha Sangwan, founder of Intuitive Intelligence, joins the AMA STEPS Forward® podcast for two episodes on how to navigate conflict and challenging emotions: How to Master Communicating with the Most Challenging Personalities in Your Life (Apple Podcasts | Spotify) , and How to Handle Challenging Emotions—in Ourselves, Patients, and Those We Lead (Apple Podcasts | Spotify). You may also be interested in a new Journal of General Internal Medicine study, which showed that perceived work overload was associated with burnout and intent to leave across all health care roles, including physicians, nurses, and other clinical and non–clinical staff. Click on: The Association of Work Overload with Burnout and Intent to Leave the Job Across the Healthcare Workforce During COVID-19
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What is the Employee Retention Credit (ERC)?: The ERC is a retroactive credit that compensates U.S. businesses that weathered COVID and kept at least two employees on the payroll. The ERC is not a loan — it does not need to be repaid. It is a tax credit, so funds won’t run out. But there is a filing deadline to access the funds that your business may be eligible for.

— Up to $26,000 per W2 employee;
— No restrictions on how the money can be used;
— All businesses that took PPP funds may be eligible for an ERC for 2020 and 2021;
— The average ERC for a business is $150,000.

ERC Advisors USA team are tax experts who will ensure your claim is compliant with the latest IRS guidance. Learn more about maximizing your refund by completing this short form and we'll be back in touch quickly. Click Here to check it out.

 

 

April 7, 2023

State Budget at Critical Juncture: There are many issues on which we need to keep pressing legislators as the State’s budget negotiations continue. One of the toughest is the enormous number of scope of practice expansions contained in Part W of the Governor’s own proposal (rejected by both Houses in their “one–House” budgets, but still an idea that might come back in the course of the negotiations). Please send a letter from: Oppose Part W of Heath Executive Budget Bill – Preserve Physician-Led Team Care (p2a.co). Both the Senate and Assembly “one–house” budgets also rejected new regulations that could hobble private practice; in addition, they would both continue MSSNY’s Committee for Physicians Health and the Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance Program, and would expand funding for the Doctors Across New York student loan repayment program. The Senate’s proposal also includes further funding for the Veterans Mental Health Training Initiative; it would also bar insurers’ denials unless the case had been reviewed by a physician in the same or similar specialty as the physician providing the care.
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Telehealth Payment Parity for Mental Health and Substance Use Care: The New York State Senate has passed S.2776–Rivera/A.4940–Woerner, which would ensure that those telehealth treatments are reimbursed at the same level as comparable in–office visits, and would eliminate the sunset clause on last year’s parity law (in the 2021 – 2022 budget). Included are telehealth services for patients with developmental disabilities, mental health problems and substance use disorders; right now, the in–person rate for a service in one of those areas only applies with explicit authorization by the relevant New York State agency. A December 2022 Fair Health study showed that in the Northeast, use of the telehealth modality has risen to 6.3% of overall claims; top–using specialties are psychiatrists and primary care physicians, and most–frequent diagnoses are mental health conditions, acute respiratory infections, COVID–19, and substance use disorders. The bill now moves to the Assembly Health Committee for consideration.
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United Healthcare, Cigna and Aetna Are Planning to Reduce Prior Authorization (PA) Protocols for Many Procedures and Medical Devices: United proposes to eliminate some PA requirements specific physicians and hospitals with good PA “track records.” This news appears to be a positive development, but it may not be a comprehensive or permanent solution. MSSNY and specialty societies will continue pushing for a number of PA reforms, including “gold card” legislation (S.2680–Breslin/A.859–McDonald) designed to lift burdensome PA requirements from specific physicians whose requests are regularly approved.
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Value–Based Payment — What Do You Think? Take this quick survey! (Answers Anonymous – The survey takes approximately 10 Minutes.) Please respond, even if you are NOT directly affected! Concierge physicians, retirees and medical students, your answers are valuable. Value–based payment’s goal is to shift away from fee–for–service payments (which reward volume), to models that reward “value,” that is, high–quality care delivered cost–efficiently. (For a quick summary, click HERE. We would like to assess the impact on physicians of such value–based payment programs as MIPS and capitation, and think about the implications for the future of healthcare. Our questions look at four dimensions: Quality of care (four questions), patient access (three questions), physician professionalism (three questions), and physician careers (five questions). Click on the link below to access the survey (hosted by Qualtrics). For any questions, clarifications, or comments, please call Connie DiMari, MD, at (917) 579–0197. Click HERE for the survey.
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Events

Tuesday, April 11, at 6:00 p.m.: “Second Tuesday” with Heather Lopez, MSSNY Vice President for Physician Payment and Practice. This is the monthly open–agenda call with representatives from CMS and NGS (National Government Services). You’ll be able to connect with the experts and get your questions answered! You can go directly into the session by clicking on: https://cms.zoomgov.com/j/1601009631?pwd=WEZnZXJ0eEN5QzNlK1JkWG9IZEcxZz09#success

Wednesday, April 12, 2023, 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY Webinar, “MIPS Changes for 2023,” with STI Computer Services, Inc. Sign up HERE. Practice expenses are going up. To help ease the situation, why not work toward incentives with CMS’s Merit–Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)? MIPS–eligible clinicians can collect and report data in four categories: Quality, Improvement Activities, Promoting Interoperability, and Cost. In this webinar, you’ll get a better understanding of the MIPS incentives and penalties, learn eligibility requirements (your practice must exceed a low–volume threshold), identify important dates and reporting timelines, know the differences among the four MIPS categories, understand the Key Elements, and see how easy it is to use federal web sites to verify your status.

 

 

March 31, 2023

New DEA Training Requirement: If you have a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) license, you’re subject to a new one–time eight–hour training requirement on the treatment and management of patients with opioid or other substance use disorders. The full letter is HERE. Here are initial questions (we’ll revisit this issue as more information develops):

What’s the deadline for satisfying this requirement? It’s the date of your next scheduled DEA registration submission, if that date falls on or after June 27, 2023 — either an initial registration or a renewal registration.

Are any physicians exempt? Physicians who are board–certified in addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry from the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Board of Addiction Medicine, or the American Osteopathic Association; and, MDs and DOs who graduated from a U.S. school within five years of June 27, 2023, with a curriculum including at least eight hours of training on treating and managing patients with opioid or other substance use disorders (including the appropriate clinical use of all drugs approved by the FDA for the treatment of a substance use disorder); or safe pharmacological management of dental pain and screening, brief intervention, and referral for appropriate treatment of patients with or at risk of developing opioid and other substance use disorders.

If you’re not exempt: Where can you get this training? One valid source is MSSNY’s series of three one–hour pain management courses, available at the MSSNY CME site at: https://cme.mssny.org/ and free of charge to all MSSNY members. To find out when you last received the Pain Management education certificate, log into MSSNY’S CME website (https://cme.mssny.org) and go to “My CME Programs.” Click on the “certificate column” to see when you last received the certificate.

What about the remaining hours? MSSNY and the AMA are working on this question. The AMA is creating a dedicated web page, drawing on the AMA’s Opioid Therapy and Pain Management CME course and other AMA resources. You might also get the training from: The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), or the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Another valid source: Training you took to get the DEA’s waiver to prescribe buprenorphine. (For a list with other appropriate sources, click on: DEA Letter outlining training requirements for Medication Assistant Treatment.)

How will you indicate that you have satisfied the requirement? Effective June 27, 2023, you’ll be able to simply check a box on your DEA registration application or renewal form indicating that you have satisfied it. Will you be required to take another eight hours of training the next time you renew your DEA registration? This is a one–time requirement. What’s the origin of this requirement? At the end of December, 2022, Congress passed an Omnibus Bill, one of whose components was the Medication Access and Training Expansion (MATE) Act. Included in the MATE Act were these training requirements.
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Keep Fighting for Physician–Led, Team–Based Care: We must continue to speak out against Part W of the Governor's proposals, which would significantly expand the scope of practice of non–physicians — permitting some physician assistants to practice without physician oversight, and permitting pharmacists to order numerous lab tests without physician coordination. We must keep telling our legislators that these scope expansions could jeopardize patient safety, and could also drive up healthcare costs by increasing utilization of healthcare services. Please thank the Senate and Assembly for keeping this proposal out of their “one–House” Budgets, and urge them to stick with their position as the Budget is negotiated. Click HERE to send a letter.

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Unprompt Payers to Pay More: In 2022, the New York State Department of Financial Services increased recoveries for insurers’ violations of the New York State Prompt Pay Law to $80 million, twice as much as in any of the last several years. However, more needs to be done. MSSNY has thanked the DFS for its diligent enforcement, and is asking for increased funding so the agency can hire even more enforcement staff. For more details, click on read full press release.
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Check the Replay: You can revisit “Helping Patients With Hearing Issues: What Every Physician Should Know,” with Dr. Ed Bravo, Au.D. For the video, click HERE. Use passcode: +4s.G0X+.
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Events

Tuesday, April 4, 2023, at 8:00 p.m.: You can attend a presentation telling you all about the Physician Loans for Mortgages offered by the Carbon Team at CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC. Register by clicking HERE. Learn about the special benefits that are offered just for you! No down payment is required for a purchase price up to $1,500,000 (minimum $500,000 loan amount); closing costs can be financed; and no mortgage insurance is required. Presenters: David Ostrowsky, Senior Loan Officer at CrossCountry Mortgage, and Samantha Bhatty, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson at Douglas Elliman.

Tuesday, April 11, at 6:00 p.m.:Second Tuesday” with Heather Lopez, MSSNY Vice President for Physician Payment and Practice. This is the monthly open–agenda call with representatives from CMS and NGS (National Government Services). You’ll be able to connect with the experts and get your questions answered! You can go directly into the session by clicking
on: https://cms.zoomgov.com/j/1601009631?pwd=WEZnZXJ0eEN5QzNlK1JkWG9IZEcxZz09#success

Wednesday, April 12, 2023, 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY Webinar, “MIPS Changes for 2023,” with STI Computer Services, Inc. Sign up HERE. Practice expenses are going up. To help ease the situation, why not work toward incentives with CMS’s Merit–Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)? MIPS–eligible clinicians can collect and report data in four categories: Quality, Improvement Activities, Promoting Interoperability, and Cost. In this webinar, you’ll get a better understanding of the MIPS incentives and penalties, learn eligibility requirements (your practice must exceed a low–volume threshold), identify important dates and reporting timelines, know the differences among the four MIPS categories, understand the Key Elements, and see how easy it is to use federal web sites to verify your status.

 

March 24, 2023

One House Budgets Are Out: The New York State Senate and Assembly have advanced their “one–House” budgets in preparation for three–way negotiations. Both Houses would support: Continuing the MSSNY Committee for Physicians’ Health, the Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance Program and the expanded funding for the Doctors Across New York medical student loan repayment program; creating a Health Insurance Guarantee Fund; and increasing cigarette taxes by $1/pack (however, both Houses would reject banning the sale of menthol–flavored cigarettes). Also favorable, both Houses would oppose: Eliminating the “prescriber prevails” protections for Medicaid prescriptions; requiring private practices to get NYS DOH approval for “material transactions” (please keep sending letters, via Protect Private Practice In New York! (p2a.co)); and implementing the many scope of practice expansions the Governor proposed, including permitting certain PAs to practice independently, permitting pharmacists to prescribe and order lab tests, and expanding the collaborative drug therapy program to nurse practitioners. (Keep sending letters, via: Oppose Part W of Governor’s Health Budget Bill – Preserve Physician-Led Team Care (p2a.co).) In addition, the Senate’s “one–House” Budget added MSSNY–supported language to: Provide funding for the Veterans Mental Health Training Initiative, and prohibit health insurers from denying medical necessity for patient care unless the issue is reviewed by a physician in the same or specialty as the physician providing the care. Stay tuned for further updates on negotiations on the State Budget.
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Do I Really Need to Keep Sending Letters on the Budget? Some ask, “do we still need to keep sending letters on budget issues that look good in the two–house budgets? We won, right?” KEEP sending letters. Negotiations do not end until the budget is final, and things that look settled can resurface. Stay vigilant and keep responding.
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NYC Retirees and the Shift Into a Medicare Advantage Plan: Mayor Eric Adams is digging in his heels on the battle to switch all New York City retirees into Medicare Advantage plans, but the battle continues. The Mayor has refused to authorize a proposed implementation structure that would have given retirees the option to stay on traditional Medicare at no extra cost. (As you remember, the City Council voted against his plan to let retirees keep their existing care for a fee.) Now, UFT members are demanding a unionwide referendum on any changes to healthcare plans for retirees or any union members; this is the first time current city workers have challenged union leadership over the issue. For more information, click HERE.
(A resolution introduced by New York County will be discussed at the upcoming House of Delegates calling for transparency so that patients understand what signing up for Medicare Advantage means for their healthcare.)
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Society Events

Tuesday, March 28, 6:00 p.m.: The Society hosts a CME webinar, “Helping Patients With Hearing Issues: What Every Physician Should Know.” In this program you’ll find out about symptoms of hearing loss; research showing connections between hearing loss and such conditions as dementia, Alzheimer’s and depression (plus, the increased risk of balance problems and falls); how to administer a brief in–office questionnaire to probe for hearing problems, and a simple screening test; and how to address patients’ fears and doubts. In addition, you’ll find out about modern hearing aids (types and technology), and how the new OTC hearing aids compare with prescription hearing aids. Dr. Ed Bravo, Au. D., founder of Audio Help (a chain of hearing centers), has served as Director of the Speech and Hearing Department at Brookdale Hospital and as a consultant to St. Vincent’s Hospital, Manhattan Eye and Ear Infirmary and Lenox Hill Hospital. Register HERE
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Are You a Medicaid Provider? By April 1, you need to have enrolled in NYRx, the Medicaid pharmacy program, if you have patients who are enrolled in Medicaid managed care plans, Health and Recovery Plans, and/or HIV Special Needs Plans. What is this all about? Beginning April 1, 2023, all Medicaid members enrolled these plans will receive their prescription drugs through NYRx, which allows the State to pay pharmacies directly for drugs and supplies. The New York State Department of Health says that moving all Medicaid members under the NYRx Program is designed to allow for a single, uniform list of covered drugs and standardized, consistent rules and regulations; Medicaid members will have comprehensive drug coverage and equitable access to an extensive network of over 5,000 pharmacy providers. You must enroll either as an Individual Billing Medicaid Provider, or as an Ordering, Prescribing, Referring, Attending (OPRA) provider. (If you wish to receive payment for covered services, you’re an “Individual Biller”; if not, you’re OPRA — the shorter pathway). You can find more details at Medicaid Pharmacy Program (NYRx), and check provider enrollment instructions at eMedNY.org.
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Thursday, March 30, at 1:00 p.m.: CME presentation: “Documentation Fundamentals: Strategies to Avoid Malpractice Claims and Improve the Physician-Patient Relationship.” (To register, click right on that link!) This session, hosted by MSSNY will describe how appropriate documentation can improve the provider–patient relationship and enhance reimbursement; documentation can also be a key factor in determining whether a plaintiff’s attorney will pursue a potential claim of medical malpractice.
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They’re Here! 2023 New Members: Congratulations to these new members who have joined the Society for 2023.

Iqra Arshad, MD
Peter Ashman, MD
Jade Avery, MD
Oladapo M. Babatunde, MD
Kerem H. Bortecen, MD
Darryl Brown, MD
Liboria Buscemi, MD
Libby R. Copeland–Halperin, MD
Michael Coplin, MD
Gary Esses, MD
Samantha Lauren Estevez, MD
Giovanni Gagliardo, MD
Anne Goldring, MD
Dennis George Grech, MD
Lawrence Marc Jacobson, MD
Daniel Kanzer, MD
Amel Komic, MD
Paul Sung–Chul Lee, MD
Sweta Maddipudi, MD
James Mc Neil Mumford, MD
Marc A. Nolan, MD
Brianna Olamiju, MD
So Youn Park, MD
Keval Ray, MD
Michael Seth Rosman, MD
Daniel Ross Schecter, MD
Asad Shakikh, MD
Min Ye Shen, MD
Richard Jason Silvera, MD
Ashley Simela, DO
Mansher Singh, MD
Dan Inder Sraow, MD
Alisa Turok, MD
Emily Wolters, MD
George Wanna, MD
Siyu Xiao, MD
Dana Zappetti, MD
Benjamin Zhang, MD

 

March 17, 2023

Neither Storm Nor Sleet Nor Power Outages Stops Physician Advocacy Day: Physicians, medical students and allies from around the state made time in busy schedules to hear from legislative leaders of important committees (Health and Insurance), and to meet with local legislators to discuss NYS budget items that could significantly affect healthcare delivery in our state. A March snowstorm in Albany saw us pivoting to virtual legislative visits. The Society met with Assemblymembers Linda Rosenthal and Tony Simone, and with legislative staff to Senator Brad Hoylman–Sigal, Senator Brian Kavanagh, and Assemblymembers Eddie Gibbs and Rebecca Seawright. One crucial issue: A push by Governor Kathy Hochul to extend practice scope for pharmacists, physician assistants and others — potentially jeopardizing patients’ safety, eliminating important physician oversight and guidance, and creating healthcare “silos” that don’t communicate with each other.
Also crucial: A costly, burdensome requirement that private practices get the Health Department’s approval if they are contemplating acquiring or merging with other practices.

Our political involvement will go on. Remember, supporting MSSNYPAC helps us to increase our access to and build relationships with the legislative leaders who make policy decisions affecting our patients’ access to medical care and the medical practice environment in New York State. If we are to have a strong voice in the policy–making arena, collective political action by physicians and our allies is vital. Donate to MSSNYPAC today! You can also text MSSNY to 52886 to subscribe to MSSNY’s web–based Grassroots Action Center, which lets you send instant messages to legislators about urgent issues. And you can become even more involved, as a Physician Advocacy Liaison – meeting personally with legislators through the year. Once the State’s budget is ironed out, there will be a number of bills to address. We will keep you informed and ask you to keep reaching out to legislators so they know that physicians are not stepping back from the discussion.
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What’s Happening With Congestion Pricing? Congestion pricing is the plan to toll motorists who drive south of 60th Street in Manhattan. This program, designed to help fund upgrades in the mass transit system, is in the final stages of approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation, but four members of Congress from New York and New Jersey have formed a “Bipartisan Congressional Anti–Congestion Tax Caucus,” hoping to stop it or at least slow it down. They want a federal audit of how the MTA spent the roughly $15 billion in federal COVID–19 relief funds it received in 2020 and 2021. (Those funds were used to offset losses to fare and toll revenue during the pandemic, the MTA's budget shows.) And they want the MTA itself to conduct another environmental study; an MTA report last year found that Staten Island traffic would increase, and that parts of New Jersey might also see changing traffic patterns as more drivers avoided Manhattan. The Society weighed in during hearings last year, concerned about patients traveling to New York hospitals who would be hit with fees, as well as effects on health care workers, already bombarded by working through a pandemic. For more information, click HERE.
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CMS Increases Some E/M Payments — What Does It Mean for You? An article in RevCycle Intelligence says, “Medicare payment policies have historically undervalued E/M visits — which are common in primary care settings, leading to lower reimbursement for primary care physicians compared to specialists.” In January 2021, CMS increased Medicare reimbursement for E/M services by all physicians, and at the same time reduced the conversion factor, cutting reimbursements for non–E/M services. Meanwhile, E/M documentation requirements were eased and the time–based billing guidelines were modified, making it easier to bill higher–intensity, more profitable E/M codes. So, what happened? “The largest gains relative to pre–period payments [were in] primary care — family practice (11 percent) and internal medicine (10.8 percent).” Among specialties, certain ones did well, particularly psychiatry (9.2 percent), neurology (5.7 percent) and obstetrics/gynecology (4.6 percent). However, reimbursements were decreased for radiology (–3.3 percent), ophthalmology (–2.8 percent) and general surgery (–0.1 percent). What about the primary–versus–specialty differential? “Between July and December 2020, the reimbursement gap between primary care physicians and specialists was $40,259.8. After pre–period services [were re–priced] at 2021 rates, the gap narrowed slightly to $37,759.5.” For more information, click HERE.
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NYCMS Events

Tuesday, March 28, 6:00 p.m.: NYCMS is hosting a fascinating CME webinar, “Helping Patients With Hearing Issues: What Every Physician Should Know.” In this program you’ll find out about symptoms of hearing loss; research showing connections between hearing loss and such conditions as dementia, Alzheimer’s and depression (plus, the increased risk of balance problems and falls); how to administer a brief in–office questionnaire to probe for hearing problems, and a simple screening test; and how to address patients’ fears and doubts. In addition, you’ll find out about modern hearing aids (types and technology), and how the new OTC hearing aids compare with prescription hearing aids. Dr. Ed Bravo, Au. D., founder of Audio Help (a chain of hearing centers), has served as Director of the Speech and Hearing Department at Brookdale Hospital and as a consultant to St. Vincent’s Hospital, Manhattan Eye and Ear Infirmary and Lenox Hill Hospital. Register HERE.
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Nominations Open: Any active member who wishes to make a nomination for elective office in the New York County Medical Society may do so now by alerting the Nominating Committee. In addition, nominations for officers and delegates to be elected at the next annual election may be made in writing by no fewer than 10 active members in good standing between April 1 and May 1. (Members must have paid 2023 dues. Names must be printed next to signatures.) These positions are open for 2023 – 2024: President–Elect, Vice President, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, and one Trustee. In addition, there will be between six and twelve at–large seats on the Board. Elections will also be held to fill spots for five delegates and alternate delegates to the Medical Society of the State of New York. Direct nominations to Richard Schutzer, Secretary, New York County Medical Society, care of This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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MSSNY Events

March 22, 2023, at 12:00 noon: MSSNY Presents “Protect Your Practice with Cyber Insurance.” Find out why your practice needs cyber insurance, what to look for in a high-quality cyber insurance policy, what preventative services are provided by cyber insurers, and how best to position yourself when applying for coverage. With Kate Sellers, JD, CLU, Vice President for Sales at Sellers Insurance, Inc. Register HERE.

Thursday, March 23, at 7:00 p.m.: MSSNY Webinar: How to Participate in a Media Interview. Register here. Do you have medical expertise to share with the public? Learn how to prepare for television, radio and print Interviews with an expert. Doctor Purvi Parikh (a member of the Board of Directors of New York County Medical Society) will share clips and slides as she walks physicians through the process, from how to begin your preparation to how to answer questions succinctly, and will conduct mock interviews with interested participants. Purvi Parikh, MD, FACAAI, FACP, is an Allergist and Immunologist at Allergy and Asthma Associates of Murray Hill in NYC, and is Clinical Assistant Professor in New York University’s Department of Medicine and Department of Pediatrics. A national media spokesperson for the Allergy and Asthma Network, she frequently makes appearances on CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN and CNBC, and also contributes to print publications as a medical expert. She has conducted media training for the American College of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, and has a weekly Health Watch segment on Fox 5 NY.
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In Memoriam

Manfred Blum, MD died July 19, 2022. Doctor Blum received his MD degree from New York University School of Medicine in 1957.

Pilar Gloria Carbajal, MD died July 3, 2022. Doctor Carbajal received her MD degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1957.

Ingram Cohen, MD died November 3, 2020. Doctor Cohen received his MD degree from New York University School of Medicine in 1956.

John M. Daly, MD died March 26, 2021. Doctor Daly received his MD degree from Temple University School of Medicine in 1973.

Richard Dubin, MD died August 14, 2021. Doctor Dubin received his MD degree from Cornell University College of Medicine in 1951.

Robert Charles Eberle, MD died May 30, 2021. Doctor Eberle received his MD degree from Northwestern University School of Medicine in 1954.

Martin Finkel, MD died October 11, 2022. Doctor Finkel received his MD degree from New York University School of Medicine in 1956.

Bruce M. Henry, MD died December 23, 2022. Doctor Henry received his MD degree from State University of New York, Upstate in 1961.

Julius H. Jacobson, MD died December 4, 2022. Doctor Jacobson received his MD degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1952.

Harvey Klein, MD died August 12, 2020. Doctor Klein received his MD degree from Harvard Medical School in 1963.

Lonnie Mac Donald, MD died August 10, 2022. Doctor Mac Donald received his MD degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1954.

Martin Nydick, MD died June 28, 2021. Doctor Nydick received his MD degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1957.

Neil Patel, MD died January 6, 2022. Doctor Patel received his MD degree from State University of New York, Downstate in 2005.

Herbert S. Rubinowitz, MD died August 22, 2021. Doctor Rubinowitz received his MD degree from New York University School of Medicine in 1959.

Peter H. Schween, MD died June 12, 2022. Doctor Schween received his MD degree from University of Hamburg in 1955.

Alan Harvey Seplowitz, MD. Doctor Seplowitz received his MD degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1972.

Hiromi Shinya, MD died January 23, 2022. Doctor Shinya received his MD degree from University of Tokyo in 1960.

Hampson A. Sisler, MD died May 25, 2020. Doctor Sisler received his MD degree from New York University School of Medicine in 1957.

Peter M. Som, MD died September 19, 2022. Doctor Som received his MD degree from New York University School of Medicine in 1967.

Mark Sorensen, MD died January 16, 2023. Doctor Sorensen received his MD degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1984.

William T. Stubenford, MD died September 18, 2022. Doctor Stubenford received his MD degree from Cornell University School of Medicine in 1962.

N. Noel Testa, MD died June 29, 2022. Doctor Testa received his MD degree from New York Medical College in 1966.

Filippo Vita, MD, died September 19, 2020. Doctor Vita received his MD degree from Univ Degli Studi di Catania in 1954.

Henry Weinstein, MD died May 17, 2022. Doctor Weinstein received his MD degree from New York University School of Medicine in 1965.

 

March 10, 2023

NYCMS Events

Register Last Chance for Tuesday, March 14, 2023, Bus Trip to Albany: MSSNY is holding its annual Physician Advocacy Day LIVE on Tuesday, March 14. Join us on the New York County bus. Once in Albany, there will be speeches by top lawmakers and MSSNY experts in the morning and small–group meetings with our own Manhattan delegation in the afternoon. On the bus we’ll have information and a chance to meet interesting colleagues. We’ll have breakfast as we roll along; afternoon snacks as we unwind, homeward bound. Lunch will be provided by MSSNY. In our pre–arranged afternoon meetings, we’ll tell legislators our top concerns: non–physician practitioners’ efforts to increase their scope; New York State’s tough medical liability climate; controversies over opioid prescribing and harm reduction strategies; the changing landscape for reproductive health; and new funding and services for the mentally ill. You register with us (we will register you with MSSNY). Let us know if you’ll be part of our bus–riding team. You’re also welcome to travel to Albany on your own — just let us know so we can place you in our appointment groups with legislators. Bus riders: $50.00. (No charge for medical students and residents.) Sign up HERE.

Tuesday, March 28, 6:00 p.m.: NYCMS is hosting a fascinating CME webinar, “Helping Patients With Hearing Issues: What Every Physician Should Know.” In this program you’ll find out about symptoms of hearing loss; research showing connections between hearing loss and such conditions as dementia, Alzheimer’s and depression (plus, the increased risk of balance problems and falls); how to administer a brief in–office questionnaire to probe for hearing problems, and a simple screening test; and how to address patients’ fears and doubts. In addition, you’ll find out about modern hearing aids (types and technology), and how the new OTC hearing aids compare with prescription hearing aids. Dr. Ed Bravo, Au. D., founder of Audio Help (a chain of hearing centers), has served as Director of the Speech and Hearing Department at Brookdale Hospital and as a consultant to St. Vincent’s Hospital, Manhattan Eye and Ear Infirmary and Lenox Hill Hospital. Register HERE.
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What’s an Intrapreneur? According to Wikipedia, “intrapreneurship” has to do with “behaving like an entrepreneur while working within a large organization.” On Thursday, March 16, at 12:00 noon, you can hear a live panel of physician entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs discuss their journey towards building the future of health “as we continue to see the development and implementation of digitally-enabled technologies and new modes of care delivery.” (And you can decide for yourself what’s just jargon and what might actually help.) Presented by the Future of Health Immersion Program and AMA STEPS Forward® Innovation Academy. Register Now. For more information, click on: Exploring Physician-led Innovation through Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship
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Did You Miss It? You have until March 16 to view the video and still get CME for last month’s program from the Doctors Company, High Reliability in Ambulatory Practice: Driving Improvement in Test and Contact Management.
In the ambulatory environment of a physician office or clinic, the test and consult management processes are at risk of gaps at any time, resulting in potential patient harm and potential allegation of negligence. Learn what it means to be a high reliability office practice or clinic, where specific process risks exist in test and consult management. Learn what has occurred in review of cases of negligence when factors related to test and consult management failures impact patient care.
Watch this Video Passcode: %4E&e*r7 — Then click on the “Obtain CME Credit” below. Check in to register your attendance. A CME certificate will be issued within 5 business days. Please claim credit by March 16, 2023. Click Here to Obtain CME Credits
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Check Out The Replay: If you missed the March 2 presentation, “Payment & Practice Breakdown: The How, Where, What, When and Why” with Heather Lopez, MSSNY’s Director of Physician Payment & Practice, don’t worry! Check out the replay HERE. Passcode is ZSw3=!VV
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Nominations Open: Any active member who wishes to make a nomination for elective office in the New York County Medical Society may do so now by alerting the Nominating Committee. In addition, nominations for officers and delegates to be elected at the next annual election may be made in writing by no fewer than 10 active members in good standing between April 1 and May 1. (Members must have paid 2023 dues. Names must be printed next to signatures.) These positions are open for 2023 – 2024: President–Elect, Vice President, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, and one Trustee. In addition, there will be between six and twelve at–large seats on the Board. Elections will also be held to fill spots for five delegates and alternate delegates to the Medical Society of the State of New York. Direct nominations to Richard Schutzer, Secretary, New York County Medical Society, care of This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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MSSNY Events

March 15, 2023, at 6:00 p.m.: “Virtual Drill 2023: Incident Command System & Public Health Reporting and Messaging,” a live CME webinar from MSSNY with William Valenti, MD, and logistics engineer Tom Henery. In a public health emergency, how does information reach the public and how do people plan and prepare? Learning objectives: Attendees will be able to outline information about the local, state and national chain of command in a public health emergency; they will learn how to access resources, analyze a scenario in which the incident command system plays a critical role, recognize the importance of planning and preparation for public health emergencies, and distinguish best practices for reporting and messaging. To register, click HERE.

March 22, 2023, at 12:00 noon: MSSNY Presents “Protect Your Practice with Cyber Insurance.” Find out why your practice needs cyber insurance, what to look for in a high-quality cyber insurance policy, what preventative services are provided by cyber insurers, and how best to position yourself when applying for coverage. With Kate Sellers, JD, CLU, Vice President for Sales at Sellers Insurance, Inc. Register at: https://mssny.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_YKJ3XNAAS12zRu76TXfCQA .

Thursday, March 23, at 7:00 p.m.: MSSNY Webinar: How to Participate in a Media Interview. Register here. Do you have medical expertise to share with the public? Learn how to prepare for television, radio and print Interviews with an expert. Doctor Purvi Parikh (a member of the Board of Directors of New York County Medical Society) will share clips and slides as she walks physicians through the process, from how to begin your preparation to how to answer questions succinctly, and will conduct mock interviews with interested participants. Purvi Parikh, MD, FACAAI, FACP, is an Allergist and Immunologist at Allergy and Asthma Associates of Murray Hill in NYC, and is Clinical Assistant Professor in New York University’s Department of Medicine and Department of Pediatrics. A national media spokesperson for the Allergy and Asthma Network, she frequently makes appearances on CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN and CNBC, and also contributes to print publications as a medical expert. She has conducted media training for the American College of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, and has a weekly Health Watch segment on Fox 5 NY.

 

March 3, 2023

NYCMS Events

Register Now for Tuesday, March 14, 2023, Bus Trip to Albany: MSSNY is holding its annual Physician Advocacy Day LIVE on Tuesday, March 14. Join us on the New York County bus. Once in Albany, there will be speeches by top lawmakers and MSSNY experts in the morning and small–group meetings with our own Manhattan delegation in the afternoon. On the bus we’ll have information and a chance to meet interesting colleagues. We’ll have breakfast as we roll along; afternoon snacks as we unwind, homeward bound. Lunch will be provided by MSSNY. In our pre–arranged afternoon meetings, we’ll tell legislators our top concerns: non–physician practitioners’ efforts to increase their scope; New York State’s tough medical liability climate; controversies over opioid prescribing and harm reduction strategies; the changing landscape for reproductive health; and new funding and services for the mentally ill. You register with us (we will register you with MSSNY). Let us know if you’ll be part of our bus–riding team. You’re also welcome to travel to Albany on your own — just let us know so we can place you in our appointment groups with legislators. Bus riders: $50.00. (No charge for medical students and residents.) Sign up HERE.

Tuesday, March 28, 6:00 p.m.: NYCMS is hosting a fascinating virtual event, “Helping Patients With Hearing Issues: What Every Physician Should Know.”
In this program you’ll find out about symptoms of hearing loss; research showing connections between hearing loss and such conditions as dementia, Alzheimer’s and depression (plus, the increased risk of balance problems and falls); how to administer a brief in–office questionnaire to probe for hearing problems, and a simple screening test; and how to address patients’ fears and doubts. In addition, you’ll find out about modern hearing aids (types and technology), and how the new OTC hearing aids compare with prescription hearing aids. Dr. Ed Bravo, Au. D., founder of Audio Help (a chain of hearing centers), has served as Director of the Speech and Hearing Department at Brookdale Hospital and as a consultant to St. Vincent’s Hospital, Manhattan Eye and Ear Infirmary and Lenox Hill Hospital.
Register HERE.

Did You Miss It? You have until March 16 to view the video and still get CME for last month’s program from the Doctors Company, High Reliability in Ambulatory Practice: Driving Improvement in Test and Contact Management.
In the ambulatory environment of a physician office or clinic, the test and consult management processes are at risk of gaps at any time, resulting in potential patient harm and potential allegation of negligence. Learn what it means to be a high reliability office practice or clinic, where specific process risks exist in test and consult management. Learn what has occurred in review of cases of negligence when factors related to test and consult management failures impact patient care.
Watch this Video Passcode: %4E&e*r7 — Then click on the “Obtain CME Credit” below. Check in to register your attendance. A CME certificate will be issued within 5 business days. Please claim credit by March 16, 2023.
Click Here to Obtain CME Credits

Did You Miss Last Night’s Presentation? If you missed last night’s presentation, “Payment & Practice Breakdown: The How, Where, What, When and Why” with Heather Lopez, MSSNY’s Director of Physician Payment & Practice, don’t worry! Check out the replay HERE.
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Nominations Open: Any active member who wishes to make a nomination for elective office in the New York County Medical Society may do so now by alerting the Nominating Committee. In addition, nominations for officers and delegates to be elected at the next annual election may be made in writing by no fewer than 10 active members in good standing between April 1 and May 1. (Members must have paid 2023 dues. Names must be printed next to signatures.) These positions are open for 2023 – 2024: President–Elect, Vice President, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, and one Trustee. In addition, there will be between six and twelve at–large seats on the Board. Elections will also be held to fill spots for five delegates and alternate delegates to the Medical Society of the State of New York. Direct nominations to Richard Schutzer, Secretary, New York County Medical Society, care of This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Update on NYS Proposed $227 Billion Budget: Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed 2023 Budget (the Health & Mental Hygiene Budget bill, A.3007/S.4007) contains some items that are positive for the physician community, but also numerous items that could jeopardize patient care — limiting treatment options, promoting uncoordinated care, imposing new bureaucratic hassles and limiting patients’ choices for their care settings. You can download a summary of these key Budget items here: Oppose.jpeg (mssny.org)

We Support Proposals That Would:
— Help offset the enormous cost of liability coverage in New York by extending the Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance program for another policy year. (The Excess Program has nearly 16,000 physician enrollees!)

— Extend the MSSNY Committee for Physicians’ Health for an additional ten years. (Otherwise, the program will “sunset” this June.)

— Increase Medicaid’s currently inadequate E&M code payments to 80% of Medicare, and increase reimbursements for care provided under the State’s Essential Plan.

— Require insurers to pay towards a Health Insurance Guaranty Fund, to make sure that medical claims will be paid in the event of a health–plan insolvency.

— Maintain increased appropriation levels for the physician loan repayment program that is part of Doctors Across NY.

— Raise the cigarette tax by $1 per pack, and prohibit all flavored tobacco products. (On this item, a letter in support can be sent from here: https://p2a.co/aMMeSON.)

We Have Concerns About:

— Part W of the Budget bill contains dozens of new measures expanding the services that could be delivered by non-physicians. These measures could lead to disjointed and non–coordinated care; worse, they could fundamentally restructure New York’s healthcare delivery system. Please urge your legislators to oppose these provisions by clicking here: https://p2a.co/9FcKLg2 MSSNY and thirteen specialty medical societies have sent the entire State Legislature a joint letter warning that these proposals could compromise patient care by completely removing the important oversight and coordination role that a physician plays — particularly in regard to ordering diagnostic tests, evaluating the effectiveness of prescription medications and treatments, and assessing the patient’s ongoing response to treatment.

— Permitting independent practice for physician assistants if they have practiced for 8,000 hours under supervision, and are now practicing (1) in primary care or (2) as employees in a hospital.

— Permitting pharmacists to prescribe and order opioid antagonists and medications to treat nicotine dependence.

— Permitting pharmacists to execute a non-patient–specific order to dispense pre–exposure HIV prophylaxis.

— Permitting pharmacists to order all of the limited–service laboratory tests that the FDA authorizes, not just tests for COVID and flu.

— Permitting pharmacists to prescribe self–administered hormonal contraceptives.

— Permitting dentists to order diagnostic tests for HIV or hepatitis C.

— Permitting nurse practitioners and pharmacists to participate in collaborative drug therapy management programs, and to expand those programs outside of Article 28 settings.

— Overbroad regulation of private practice which we and several other groups are opposing Budget proposals that would require approvals from the New York State Department of Health for private–practice mergers and acquisitions, including approvals for some transactions involving private equity. Please urge your legislators to oppose this measure here: https://p2a.co/gD4eaG2 These proposed measures might create new, burdensome and prohibitively expensive bureaucratic requirements in a number of situations – for example, when one independent private practice seeks to acquire another private practice (some physician practices have sought to enhance their capital footing by acquiring smaller practices); or, when a practice seeks to strengthen its “back office” administration by involving a management services organization, or MSO. (MSOs have provided one pathway for physicians to remain in independent practice, rather than, for economic reasons, having to work for large health systems — where physicians might have clinical decisions dictated by the central employer, and might also be bound by excessive post–employment “non–compete” clauses.) The terminology in the budget is so vague that unintended consequences might result, and the measures should at least be more narrowly tailored, or better yet, completely removed from the Budget.
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Hats Off: At its February 16 meeting, the American Psychiatric Association counted up the results of its 2023 National Election and elected Doctor Gabrielle Shapiro as the APA’s new Secretary. Doctor Shapiro is a member of the Board of Trustees of the New York County Medical Society and a delegate to the MSSNY House of Delegates. Doctor Shapiro (MD, New York Medical College/Albert Einstein) is a general, child and adolescent psychiatrist; she is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, and has also served on the faculty at UCSD, NYU and Bellevue Hospital. She practices in Harlem and the Bronx, in settlement houses and collaborative care settings; she also provides care to immigrants in New York and California. In addition to New York County, she has held leadership roles both locally and nationally for the NY County Medical Society Executive Council Board of Trustees, NY County Psychiatric Society, NY Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Political Action Committee and the Sweet Institute. She is former President of the California Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the San Diego Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
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MSSNY Events

Thursday, March 23, at 7:00 p.m.: MSSNY Webinar: How to Participate in a Media Interview. Register here. Do you have medical expertise to share with the public? Learn how to prepare for television, radio and print Interviews with an expert. Doctor Purvi Parikh (a member of the Board of Directors of New York County Medical Society) will share clips and slides as she walks physicians through the process, from how to begin your preparation to how to answer questions succinctly, and will conduct mock interviews with interested participants. Purvi Parikh, MD, FACAAI, FACP, is an Allergist and Immunologist at Allergy and Asthma Associates of Murray Hill in NYC, and is Clinical Assistant Professor in New York University’s Department of Medicine and Department of Pediatrics. A national media spokesperson for the Allergy and Asthma Network, she frequently makes appearances on CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN and CNBC, and also contributes to print publications as a medical expert. She has conducted media training for the American College of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, and has a weekly Health Watch segment on Fox 5 NY.
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Beware of Scammers Impersonating DEA Agents: Recently, a number of members have received phone calls from individuals identifying themselves as DEA agents. This scam was prevalent a few years ago and seems to be resurfacing again lately. DEA personnel will never contact members of the public or medical practitioners by telephone to demand money or any other form of payment, will never request personal or sensitive information over the phone, and will only notify people of a legitimate investigation or legal action in person or by official letter. Anyone receiving a call from a person claiming to be with DEA should report the incident to the FBI at www.ic3.gov. The Federal Trade Commission provides recovery steps, shares information with more than 3,000 law enforcement agencies, and takes reports at reportfraud.ftc.gov. For any victims who have given personally identifiable information like a social security number to the caller, learn how to protect against identity theft at www.identitytheft.gov.” More information is in the official DEA press release regarding this scam.
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Register now for the AMPAC Candidate Workshop in person in Washington D.C., March 31 through April 2! Registration now OPEN. Ever wonder how doctors get elected to Congress or the state legislature? Are you considering a run for office yourself? The AMPAC Candidate Workshop will teach you how to run a winning political campaign. Learn the importance of a disciplined campaign plan and message, the secrets of effective fundraising, what kinds of advertising may be right for your campaign, how to work with the media, how to build your campaign team, and how to build a successful grassroots organization. The Candidate Workshop is open to AMA physician members, member spouses, residents, medical students and state medical society staff. The registration fee is $250 for AMA Member/$1000 for non–AMA members. Faculty, materials and all meals during the meeting are covered by the AMA; participants are responsible for their registration fee, travel to/from Washington, D.C., and hotel accommodations.
Space is limited, and the deadline to register is March 17, 2023 (or sooner if the maximum capacity is reached). For more information, please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Incorporating Collaborative Care Model In Residency: The Collaborative Care Model, a tested way of integrating behavioral health and general medical services, will be the topic of a Washington, DC, conference held by the APA (American Psychiatric Association) April 24 – 25, focusing on how to teach this model in residency programs in psychiatry and primary care. From each given residency program, one training director or faculty member is invited to attend, plus, one resident. The APA will cover travel/housing/per diem expenses; in return, the residency program will be asked to incorporate the Collaborative Care Model into its curriculum. To apply for this opportunity, please fill out the form HERE by Friday, March 17. If you have questions, please contact Agathe Farrage at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

February 3, 2023

We Did It! Your Advocacy Works: Governor Kathy Hochul has vetoed the Wrongful Death bill, acknowledging that it could have “unintended consequences on the economy.” Calls from physicians played a big part. This bill had a near unanimous passage through the State Legislature, and the issue is a sensitive one. However, the community of organized medicine and a number of other allies worked together to urge the Governor to consider a more measured approach to the real problems of liability. The Medical Society of the State of New York saw members like you across the State send nearly 14,000 emails and over 1,400 tweets. Physicians and their families and staffs made thousands of calls in an organized campaign across the State.

We all know that this does not end the discussion. However, doctors are telling the Governor and our elected representatives that we need to balance the rights of grieving families with the need to protect our already stretched healthcare system. Why don’t you tell them yourself? Join us on Physician Advocacy Day on March 14. (See the next story for more details.)
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Save Tuesday, March 14, 2023, for Our Bus Trip to Albany: MSSNY is holding its annual Physician Advocacy Day LIVE on Tuesday, March 14. Join us on the New York County bus. Once in Albany, there will be speeches by top lawmakers and MSSNY experts in the morning and small–group meetings with our own Manhattan delegation in the afternoon. On the bus we’ll have information and a chance to meet interesting colleagues. We’ll have breakfast as we roll along; afternoon snacks as we unwind, homeward bound. Lunch will be provided by MSSNY. In our pre–arranged afternoon meetings, we’ll tell legislators our top concerns: non–physician practitioners’ efforts to increase their scope; New York State’s tough medical liability climate; controversies over opioid prescribing and harm reduction strategies; the changing landscape for reproductive health; and new funding and services for the mentally ill. You register with us (we will register you with MSSNY). Let us know if you’ll be part of our bus–riding team. You’re also welcome to travel to Albany on your own — just let us know so we can place you in our appointment groups with legislators. Bus riders: $50.00. (No charge for medical students and residents.) Sign up HERE.
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NYCMS CME Event on Thursday, February 16, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. How Tests and Consults Are Managed in Your Practice: The Doctors Company (TDC), the Society’s endorsed medical liability insurance carrier, will present a zoom conference, “High Reliability in Ambulatory Practice: Driving Improvement in Test and Consult Management.” How do you handle tests and consults in your practice? Think about it for a moment. There could be gaps any time; patients could be harmed, and there could be allegations of negligence. What to do? You can take specific “high reliability” steps: (1) looking for safety concerns before harm occurs; (2) reporting on those concerns; and (3), correcting them. The Doctors Company has reviewed a wealth of data on cases of negligence, when patient care has been jeopardized by test and consult management failures. You’ll hear what has happened in these situations, and how you can work to avoid similar problems. Presenter Lisa McCorkle, MSN, MBA, RN, CPHQ, CPPS, CPHRM, is Senior Patient Safety Risk Manager for The Doctors Company. Register at: High Reliability in Ambulatory Practice: Driving Improvement in Test & Consult Management (constantcontact.com).
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Thursday, March 2, at 6:00 p.m., Heather Lopez, MSSNY’s Director of Physician Payment & Practice, will give us a wonderful presentation, “Payment & Practice Breakdown: The How, Where, What, When and Why.” Ms. Lopez has a track record of taking care of many practice difficulties – this list of current “front-burner” projects gives you the picture: A insurer’s attempt to take back $5.9 million, reduced to zero (case closed, thanks to Heather). A contract negotiated (successfully). A dispute over a dense breast NCD (national coverage determination – re-evaluation pending). A question about cost–sharing for COVID office visits (pending.) Heather will explain, in detail, how you can approach common issues in your practice: How you can identify the type of insurance, gather information to submit a complaint, and determine which agencies and entities to complain to. Some of this preparation you’ll be able to do in advance – you may even solve some problems right away. But if your issue is more complicated, Heather will assist you. Come to this in–person meeting at the Society’s office, 246 West 38 Street, Room 501. Limited space, but a great opportunity to get hands on help. (Your staff is invited.) Look for registration information in the next week.
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The Budget Is Out: Governor Kathy Hochul has released her proposal for the 2023 New York State Budget. What does it mean for physicians and health care? Many good points, including: increased Medicaid payments; expanded insurance coverage for mental health services; investment in new psychiatric beds; a $1/pack increase in the cigarette tax; a ban on all flavored tobacco products including menthol, and more. Many not–so–good points, including: eliminating “prescriber prevails” on Medicaid prescriptions; permitting independent practice for PAs under certain circumstances; permitting pharmacists to prescribe self–administered hormonal contraceptives, and widen their scope in numerous other ways, and more. Points of concern, including: letting New York join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. (The worry is that insurers might create cheap out–of–state networks, undercutting New York physicians.) See the attached summary, “Governor’s Preliminary Budget Proposal.”
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Telehealth Bill Introduced: Senate Health Committee Chair Gustavo Rivera, who successfully championed passage of telehealth payment parity legislation last year, has introduced a bill (S.2776) that would remove the law’s “sunset,” currently scheduled for 2024. Eliminating this provision will help to ensure that patients continue to have access to their regular physician and the best care. Watch for further developments on this issue.
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X–Waiver No Longer Required for Buprenorphine Prescribing: Congress has now eliminated the requirement for physicians to obtain a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s “X–waiver,” to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment. The X–waiver requirements have been a significant barrier to expanding access to this highly effective treatment for OUD, and this is a major advance for patients with OUD. For more information, click HERE.
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How Was Breakfast (Legislatively Speaking . . . ): A major theme at our January 29 legislative breakfast was our healthcare system’s increasing corporatization and profit orientation. For example, in a follow–up letter to Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chair of the Senate Health Committee, member David Brody, MD zeros in on the problem of chain pharmacies (e.g., CVS) that save money by skimping on personnel. Doctor Brody warns of endless lines at the counter and long phone waits — particularly tough on older patients, who aren’t comfortable with websites and smartphone apps. Pharmacy staff are usually “entirely professional and patient,” Doctor Brody says, but “I could only imagine how overwhelmed they felt, especially if they also had vaccinations to administer.”

That wasn’t the only topic people were discussing — value-based payment (VBP) models (a “cure” for US healthcare spending that may be worse than the disease) was another matter of concern. The VBP approach is an invitation to include financial considerations in medical decision–making, potentially putting patients at a disadvantage. Board member Connie DiMari, MD, an ophthalmologist, made this point vividly in her follow–up letter to our legislative guests citing real world examples of the unintended negative consequences of VBP models:

— A hospitalist is under pressure to either discharge or perform a procedure the next day for a 90–year–old. A physician family member knew enough to refuse the procedure, and the patient did well without it.

— A primary care physician under pressure of financial penalties to cut medication costs has a patient with chronic cough due to her anti–hypertensive medication. He observes that the cost of the new prescription “is coming out of my pocket.”

— Under the pressure of outcome scores, surgeons on Long Island refuse hip replacements for a higher–risk 40–year-old with congenital hip dysplasia. Eventually, the patient got treatment and had an excellent surgical result with an uneventful course, but he had to travel to Manhattan for care.

Other topics on the table were pre–authorizations and the new “Gold Card” law, wrongful death, mental health and emergency rooms, and the New York Health Act. Next year, maybe you can be the one asking questions. In fact, don’t wait. Join us on March 14 for Physician Advocacy Day in Albany. We have a seat on the bus for you!

 

January 27, 2023

 

Even If You Called, Call AGAIN: Our Wrongful Death veto campaign continues to the last hour on Monday, January 30, and every call counts! Even if you’ve called before, pick up the phone again. The Governor needs to hear that we are NOT backing away. S.74–A/A.6770 (the Grieving Family Act) is legislation that would harm not only physician practices, but also hospitals, other businesses and even municipalities. This bill would greatly expand the possible damages in a wrongful death action, and make liability insurance premiums even higher than they are now. The end of the window is no time to let up! When you call (518) 474-8390 (press #3 and then #1 to leave a message) and you’ve given your name and zip code, say:

— You’re urging the Governor to veto S.74–A/A.6770, or at least remove medical liability from it.

— The term “family member” in the bill is extremely vague – it needs to be defined and limited.

— Other states with this type of law also have caps on awards, and that’s what New York needs too.

Keep up the fight!
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Save Tuesday, March 14, 2023, for Our Bus Trip to Albany: MSSNY is holding its annual Physician Advocacy Day LIVE on Tuesday, March 14. Join us on the New York County bus. Once in Albany, there will be speeches by top lawmakers and MSSNY experts in the morning and small–group meetings with our own Manhattan delegation in the afternoon. On the bus we’ll have intros and explanations, “chalk talks” on the issues, and a chance to meet interesting colleagues. We’ll have breakfast as we roll along; afternoon snacks as we unwind, homeward bound. Lunch will be provided by MSSNY. In our pre–arranged afternoon meetings, we’ll tell legislators our top concerns. We’ll get into difficult issues with no easy answers: non–physician practitioners’ efforts to increase their scope; New York State’s tough medical liability climate; controversies over opioid prescribing and harm reduction strategies; the changing landscape for reproductive health; and new funding and services for the mentally ill. You register with us (we register you with MSSNY). Let us know if you’ll be part of our bus–riding team. You’re also welcome to travel to Albany on your own — just let us know. Bus riders: $50.00. (No charge for medical students and residents.) Sign up HERE.
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New Amendments to State Constitution: The New York State Legislature has approved an amendment to the State constitution codifying abortion rights and the right to seek gender–affirming care. The amendment would add to the state constitution’s Equal Protection Clause and protect against discrimination based on a number of factors, including ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, reproductive health care including “pregnancy outcomes,” and “gender expression.” The Legislative initially approved this amendment in a special session last summer, after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. That was the first step in the amendment process; lawmakers have to pass a resolution twice in order to send it to voters. There will be a statewide ratification referendum in 2024, probably on the same ballot as the votes for the next U.S. President. The measure will not need Governor Hochul’s signature to become law, but the Governor has advocated for its passage.
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Allowing Non–Patient–Specific Prescriptions for Contraceptives: S.1043 has now advanced from the Senate Higher Education Committee to the Senate Rules Committee. This bill would authorize a licensed physician or a certified nurse practitioner to prescribe and order a non–patient–specific regimen on behalf of a pharmacist, for the dispensing of self–administered hormonal contraceptives.
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“Non–Compete” Clauses: The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has proposed a regulation to ban these clauses in all employment contracts (including health care), and a proposal has also been introduced in the New York State Legislature (A.1278, Joyner) that would prohibit restrictive covenants. The FTC says its rule “is based on a preliminary finding that non–compete clauses constitute an unfair method of competition and therefore violate Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.” As more and more physicians move from a private practice setting to an employed status, a growing number are affected by such clauses; many health–system–employed physicians have complained to MSSNY regarding excessive duration/distance restrictive covenants, which would limit their ability to continue delivering care in their community if they were to leave employment. MSSNY’s current policy calls for prohibiting these clauses in contracts with health systems and management services organizations (MSOs), but is silent as to other healthcare employment arrangements.
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National Government Services Offers Weekly Training Sessions: Here are upcoming topics. To register, just click on the session(s) you’re interested in:

— January 30, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., Preventative Services: Flu and PPV Vaccine, HERE.

— January 30, 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., 2023 E&M Updates, HERE.

— January 31, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Counseling to Prevent Tobacco Use, HERE.

— February 1, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., Submitting Part B Medicare Secondary Payer Claims Appropriately, HERE.

— February 2, 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy Billing, HERE.

 

 

 January 20, 2023

 

Coming Soon

Our Legislative Breakfast, Sunday, January 29, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue in New York City. This in–person event has three co–hosts (New York County Medical Society, New York County Psychiatric Society and New York Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry). Our guests will include: New York State Senators Gustavo Rivera (Chair, Senate Health Committee), Senator Brad Hoylman–Sigal; and Assemblymembers Inez Dickens, Alex Bores (who is now in the Dan Quart seat), Tony Simone (who is now in the Richard Gottfried seat) and more! We’ll talk about what’s urgent now — Mayor Adams’ plan to transport mentally ill homeless people to hospital emergency rooms; the push to shunt New York City retirees into a Medicare managed care plan; “Wrongful Death” (the “Grieving Families Act”) and other trial–bar moves that could make New York’s medical liability climate even worse; bids for practice scope expansion by NPs, PAs, psychologists, pharmacists and other non–physicians; and the new landscape for reproductive health care. Our legislative guests will give their own brief presentations, then join in a debate, and we’ll open the floor to everyone. Register HERE.
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Save Tuesday, March 14, 2023, for Our Bus Trip to Albany: MSSNY will hold its annual Physician Advocacy Day in Albany LIVE. Travel with us on our bus! The bus journey features introductions and explanations, “chalk talks” on the issues, breakfast on the bus, afternoon snacks, and a chance for you to get to know nice colleagues of all ages. Arriving, we’ll be joining hundreds of other MSSNY members from around the State. In the morning we’ll hear from New York Senate and Assembly leaders; in the afternoon, we’ll talk with our own Manhattan legislators in meetings we’ve prearranged. We’ll discuss public health threats, barriers to care, prior authorization delays and claim payment hassles; and we’ll be speaking out against policies that will increase medical liability insurance costs and inappropriately expand the scope of practice for non–physicians. Look for registration information soon.
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YES, You CAN Still Call the Governor on Wrongful Death: Governor Kathy Hochul has not yet signed the Wrongful Death legislation, in part because so many of our members and MSSNY members across the State are urging her to mitigate the damages this bill will do. EVEN if you called before, call the Governor’s office at (518) 474–8390, then option 3 and then option 1. Tell the Governor to veto S.74–A/A.6770, which would greatly expand the possible damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death action and dramatically increase our already outrageously high liability insurance premiums. Ask your staff and family to make calls too! It does not matter if you called previously; the volume of calls is making a difference.
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Governor Hochul’s State of the State Message: Governor Kathy Hochul’s State of the State message included two healthcare items of concern. She would like to (1) expand various health care ancillary practitioners’ scope of practice, and (2) bring New York State into the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. It is true that bringing New York State into the Compact would make it easier for individual New York physicians to get licenses in other states. However, there is also a catch. It might help insurers create outside–of–New York State networks that would undercut New York State physicians.

The Governor also has a number of items that we favor, starting with a new one billion dollar investment in New York’s mental health care infrastructure, including adding 1,000 beds for psychiatric hospitals and expanding coverage for mental–health services (including for school–aged children). Other positive items: Increasing rates for childhood vaccine administration, increasing Medicaid reimbursement for primary care and reproductive health care providers, creating a Medical Guaranty fund to cover claims in the event of a health–insurer insolvency, increasing cigarette taxes by $1/pack, banning flavored tobacco products and more.
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Reintroduced: The “Gold Card” bill, has been reintroduced. It would reduce insurers’ excessive prior authorization Organized medicine is working with physician and patient advocacy groups in support of A.859, which would establish a “Gold Card” program, exempting physicians and other providers from prior authorization (PA) requirements for a specific treatment if they had in the past received at least 90% PA approvals for that treatment. Send an email in support now! Just click on: https://p2a.co/IwPiiFK.
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Accessing the 2023 Medicare Fee Schedule: To access the 2023 Medicare Fee Schedule, go to the Fee Schedule Lookup screen HERE. Or, depending on the situation, you may need to start at the www.ngsmedicare.com home page, click through the Attestation page, identify yourself as a Part B provider in New York, and then choose Fee Schedules at the upper right.) Then you “select a Fee Schedule” (enter Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Pricing) and choose “Full Fee Schedule,” enter a date of service using the little calendar, and then “Select Region” (important, it has to be New York Area 01). Then you press “Search,” and you are given a choice between an Excel file and a CSV file. You hit “Excel File.” On the lower left corner of the screen, you see the little grey “Portal Tools” rectangle, that announces the Excel file. You go down and hit that little grey rectangle, and the Excel file comes up. Any problems, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Office Temps: Staff up now and save! Take advantage of this special January–only offer from Winston. Save 10% off bill rate for any new administrative/clerical temps. Order by February 1. Call Ivy Kramer at (212) 687–4667/(917) 744–1265, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Events

Tuesday, January 24, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.: CMS invites you to a “National Stakeholder Call” with CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks–LaSure and her team, to discuss CMS’ 2022 accomplishments and see how the 2023 priorities will advance the CMS Strategic Plan. RSVP HERE. These stakeholders calls will be held quarterly.

Wednesday, January 25, at 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY Medical Matters Webinar, COVID Q & A: Pandemic vs. Endemic? Future of COVID? Long COVID? Faculty for this webinar are William Valenti, MD, chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Diseases Committee, and Bonnie Litvack, MD, past MSSNY president, serving as moderator. Learning objectives: Define the difference between pandemic and endemic; outline COVID treatment and vaccine procedures moving forward; recognize the impact of long COVID; and identify specific features of concurrent respiratory viruses. Register here: Webinar Registration - Zoom. For more information or help with registration, email Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

February 23 – 25: Healthcare Burnout Symposium, held by the Los Angeles County Medical Association: At this CME event, healthcare leaders from around the country will address the multiple facets of the burnout crisis and share how to increase the well–being of physicians, nurses and administrators. HHS Secretary Becerra is keynote, California Surgeon General Dr. Diana Ramos is luncheon speaker, and there will be over 35 breakout sessions, plus a panel discussion on gun violence and its impact on physicians. Educational objectives: Understand the far–reaching consequences of burnout; discover strategies for burnout prevention and mitigation; and identify burnout in yourself and others. For more information, go to: https://www.stophealthcareburnout.com/. Note: The conference will be held in person.

 

January 6, 2023

Alert: Telephone Campaign Asking for Wrongful Death Veto!
Governor Kathy Hochul may yet sign the Wrongful Death legislation, and we have to urge her to veto it. Join in a telephone campaign on Wednesday, January 11, between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. During that time, call the Governor’s office at (518) 474–8390. Tell the Governor to veto S.74–A/A.6770, which would greatly expand the possible damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death action and dramatically increase our already outrageously high liability insurance premiums. The plan is to inundate the Governor’s office with calls. Ask your staff and family to make calls too! Please take a stand and make sure the Governor hears your voice on January 11.
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City Council Debates Medicaid Managed Care for New York City Retirees: On Monday, January 9, 2023, at 9:30 a.m., there will be a meeting of the New York City Council Committee on Civil Service and Labor, in the Council Chambers at City Hall. The public is welcome to attend. (See The New York City Council - Meeting of Committee on Civil Service and Labor on 1/9/2023 at 9:30 AM (nyc.gov) . This meeting will cover the ongoing push to move New York City government retirees into a Medicare managed care plan. The Society has supported the retirees in their push against this change, which would unilaterally impose Medicare Advantage Plans on Retirees. Anyone interested can attend (and the retirees love physician support). If you are visiting City Hall to attend the hearing, please come prepared to enter through NYPD security and metal detectors. When you arrive, let the NYPD know you are attending the Committee on Civil Service and Labor Hearing. City Hall is located downtown in City Hall Park between Park Row, Chambers, and Broadway For more information on the issue check out Chris Sommerfeldt: NY Daily News, Jan. 3, 2023, NYC Council to consider paving way for Mayor Adams’ controversial Medicare plan (nydailynews.com) and Bob Hennelly: Work Bites, Jan. 3, 2023, NYC Speaker Says Medicare Advantage ‘Moving Forward’ — Retirees Jeer ‘Scare Tactics’ And Press Alternatives”
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Your Social Media Moment! The AMA says: If you happen to be passing through Times Square, take a quick picture or video of their new billboard (“The AMA is #FightingForDocs”) and share it on your social media accounts. Pose and take a selfie with the new sign HERE.
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Our Legislative Breakfast Back In Person: Plan to join us on Sunday, January 29, 2023, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., when we will hold our 2023 Legislative Breakfast with lawmakers from Manhattan and around the region. This live event, with three co–hosts (New York County Medical Society, New York County Psychiatric Society and New York Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry), will take place at the New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue in New York City. We’ll talk about what’s urgent now: Mayor Adams’ plan to transport mentally ill homeless people to hospital emergency rooms; the push to shunt New York City retirees into a Medicare managed care plan; “Wrongful Death” (the “Grieving Families Act”) and other moves by the trial bar that could make New York’s medical liability climate even worse; bids for practice scope expansion by NPs, PAs, psychologists, pharmacists and other non–physicians; the new landscape for reproductive health care, and more! Our legislative guests will give their own brief presentations, then join in a debate, and we’ll open the floor to everyone. Signup information and more details coming soon.
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More Political Happenings: On Tuesday, March 14, 2023, MSSNY will hold its annual Physician Advocacy Day in Albany LIVE. Join hundreds of your colleagues from around the State. In the morning (7:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.) we’ll hear from New York Senate and Assembly leaders; in the afternoon, we’ll meet with our own Manhattan legislators in meetings we’ve prearranged. We’ll talk about public health threats, barriers to care, prior authorization delays and claim payment hassles; and we’ll be particularly speaking out against policies that will increase medical liability insurance costs and inappropriately expand the scope of practice for non–physicians.
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The Governor’s Desk Starts to Clear: Governor Kathy Hochul has signed into law these bills supported by the Medical Society: A1741/S5299 — Bars insurers’ “co–pay” accumulator policies, that had kept patients from using prescription drug discount cards to help meet deductibles; A2085/S906 — Lowers the age to 45 for required coverage of colo–rectal cancer screening tests; A5411/S4620 — Requires insurers to give network physicians more efficient “point of care” formulary and co–pay information; A289/S2121 — Improves required coverage for the care of medically fragile children; and A372/S5690 — Bars insurers from imposing co–pays at opioid treatment programs.

Unfortunately, she has also signed two bills that are problematic. A273/S4640 (in effect as of December 23, 2022) — Requires prescribers, before an initial opioid prescription for neuromusculoskeletal pain, to consider and discuss non–opioid treatment alternatives. (Exceptions: For post–surgical or cancer pain, or for patients in hospice or receiving emergency care.) This bill does harmonize with the updated CDC guidelines (Guidelines| Opioids |CDC), but clearly the issues here are complex. A3470/S2521 — Requires providers to disclose facility fees not covered by their patients’ insurance.

She also has vetoed two bills we supported. One bill (S5909) would have eliminated unnecessary medication “fail first” protocols for mental health medications, and the second (A879/S8113) would have prohibited insurers from denying a claim submission or preauthorization request unless the reviewing physician was in the same or similar specialty as the treating physician.

We are still extremely worried that she may yet sign the Wrongful Death legislation. Even if you previously sent a letter or email or called, we NEED you to do it again. Ask Governor Hochul to veto the wrongful death bill that could raise doctors' medical liability premiums by 40 percent. Your sending an instant message to ask her to veto the Wrongful Death bill can help. Right now doctors around the State are inundating the Governor’s office asking her to veto this dangerous legislation. Even if you have responded before, PLEASE, send your protest AGAIN by clicking HERE. Act NOW!”
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NYCMS Events:

Wednesday, January 18, 2023, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.: Medicare Part B 2023 Update. Our presenter is James Bavoso, Manager, Provider Outreach and Education, National Government Services (NGS). Register HERE. Find out about the 2023 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, final policy changes to the fee schedule for Calendar Year 2023, CY2023 changes in Telehealth/Evaluation & Management/Behavioral Health, and much more.
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More Events:

January 10, 2023, at 8:00 p.m.: Free CME Webinar, “Basics of Head and Neck Cancers,” offered by NYP Queens. Register HERE. The presenter: Baoqing Li, MD, PhD, Clinical Director, Radiation Oncology at NY Presbyterian Queens, and Assistant Professor of Clinical Radiation Oncology at Weill Cornell Medicine. The information in this webinar will be consistent with national clinical guidelines. Attendees will understand: The biology, genetics and epidemiology of this area; advances and updates in disease management; interventional and current medical treatment options; and, future direction and upcoming therapeutics.

January 11, 2023, at 12:00 noon: Free MSSNY Webinar, “Be Prepared: Changes in 2023 Medical Evaluation and Management Coding.” Register Now. Learn about procedure codes that have been added, deleted and revised; the documentation updates; and the needed requirements to support levels of service. Best of all, you’ll learn how not to waste your time on inconsequential notes, as the 1995 and 1997 CMS Guidelines become obsolete! Jennifer Roth, CPC, of STI Computer Inc., has been in the medical billing and coding field for 18 years and has extensive knowledge of the revenue cycle process.


Wednesday, January 18, 2023, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.: AMA Webinar on the origins, development and future of Current Procedural Terminology (CPT ®). Register Here. It’s important that physicians’ experience and voices remain at the center of the codes used to characterize and describe their work. In this presentation you’ll learn how the CPT process works, step by step from the CPT Editorial Panel through the participation of specialty societies and workgroups; and how you and your medical society can get involved to strengthen the collective voice of the CPT code set and its development process, now and in the future. Mark Synovec, MD, is President, Topeka Pathology Group and Chair, AMA CPT Editorial Panel; Christopher Jagmin, MD, is Vice President, Clinical Policy, Aetna, and Vice Chair, AMA CPT Editorial Panel; Kenyetta Jackson, MPH, is Health Equity Director, Health Solutions, American Medical Association; and Leslie Prellwitz, MBA, CCS, CCS–P , is Director, CPT Content Management & Development, American Medical Association.

Wednesday, January 25, at 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY Medical Matters Webinar, COVID Q & A: Pandemic vs. Endemic? Future of COVID? Long COVID? Faculty for this webinar are William Valenti, MD, chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Diseases Committee, and Bonnie Litvack, MD, past MSSNY president, serving as moderator. Learning objectives: Define the difference between pandemic and endemic; outline COVID treatment and vaccine procedures moving forward; recognize the impact of long COVID; and identify specific features of concurrent respiratory viruses. Register here: Webinar Registration - Zoom. For more information or help with registration, email Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

December 23, 2022

Continue to Tell the Governor: The Grieving Families Act will expand recovery rights of a decedent’s surviving “close family” in a wrongful death case and significantly increase monetary sums awarded. It has the potential to affect the availability and affordability of medical professional liability insurance in New York State and drive dedicated healthcare professionals away. Send the Governor a letter right now – just click on: Urge Governor to Veto Wrongful Death Liability Expansion (p2a.co).
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Guidance on Ordering Pfizer 12+ Bivalent Single Dose Vials: New York State has received a limited allocation of Pfizer 12+ bivalent single dose vials (SDVs). The introduction of single dose vials is designed to improve vaccine access and equity; providers unable to use the larger multi–dose vials can offer bivalent boosters. The minimum ordering quantity is 50 doses (50 vials). Since supply is limited, providers approved to receive SDVs will have their orders capped at 50 doses. For more info, please see the NYSDOH letter to providers.
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New Year, New Political Happenings: On Sunday, January 29, 2023, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., New York County Medical Society will hold our Legislative Breakfast with lawmakers from Manhattan and around the region IN PERSON once again. This event, with co–hosts including the New York County Psychiatric Society and New York Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, has been an interesting one each year, and it will be particularly enjoyable this time since we are holding it “live.” Coming soon: information on issues, legislative invitees, location and signup. That’s only the beginning. On Tuesday, March 14, 2023, MSSNY will hold its Annual Physician Advocacy Day in Albany, also LIVE. Join hundreds of your colleagues from around the State. In the morning we’ll hear from NYS Senate and Assembly leaders; in the afternoon, our members will go in groups to meet with our own Manhattan legislators. We will be speaking out in favor of ways to deal with public health threats, barriers to care, prior authorization delays and claim payment hassles; and we’ll be speaking out against policies that will increase medical liability insurance costs and inappropriately expand the scope of practice for non–physicians. Look for more information in 2023.
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Visit MSSNY’s New Website: MSSNY.org’s new design has new navigation and search functions. MSSNY has also redesigned its newsletter and has an enhanced social media presence – the better to address members’ needs and highlight members’ successes and contributions. Please send news of any recent awards or other successes to Matt Brown at MSSNY and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at NYCMS so that you can be featured in publications and on the new website.
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Virtual Credit Cards? Know Your Rights! For years, Insurance companies have been trying to use virtual credit cards as payments – but some fees are involved. What does the law say? Among an insurer’s options for delivering payment, there must be an option that’s free. (View the information provided by the AMA as a reference.) If you have questions about this issue or are struggling with an insurance company, you can get help from MSSNY’s Director of Physician Payment and Practice, Heather Lopez. Call (518) 465–8085, ext. 332.
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The Doctors Company New Lecture Series: Check out “Financial and Workplace Well-Being for Doctors: Lessons for Life After Medical School,” from Ronald H. Wender, MD, FACA, Chairman Emeritus and Professor of Anesthesiology at Cedars–Sinai Medical Center and member of The Doctors Company Board of Governors. This 23–part video series is free of charge; it provides renowned experts’ advice about the realities of financial planning, medical malpractice, and hospital economics encountered upon graduating medical school. The average medical school graduate owes $241,600 in total student loan debt—six times as much as the average college graduate. “When you leave medical school, you need to be prepared for managing debt, finances, and patients who may sue you; we want medical providers to be ready for these harsh realities,” said Doctor Wender. “In my forty–six years of practice, I saw many healthcare providers overwhelmed with life challenges. I hope this will be a useful resource for new physicians in their future endeavors.” Find this valuable resource at thedoctors.com/aftermedschool.
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NYCMS Events

Wednesday, January 18, 2023, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.: Medicare Part B 2023 Update: Join James Bavoso, Manager, Provider Outreach and Education, National Government Services (NGS). Register HERE. Learn about 2023 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, final policy changes to the fee schedule for Calendar Year 2023, CY2023 changes in Telehealth/Evaluation & Management/Behavioral Health, and much more.
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Do Patients Always Understand What You’re Saying? A new study looks at patients’ comprehension, or lack of comprehension, of medical lingo. “Among 215 adults surveyed outside the medical setting, most knew ‘negative’ cancer screening results meant not having cancer (96%), but fewer understood that the phrase ‘your tumor is progressing’ was bad news (79%) or that having positive lymph nodes meant the cancer has spread (67%).” Read an interesting article (Zaina Hamza, “Still Using Medical Jargon? Prepare to Be Misunderstood,” MedPage, December 1, 2022) HERE.

 

December 16, 2022

Let the Buyer Beware: Patients sees tempting ads with some of their favorite TV stars from their youth, and consequently sign up for a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan that sounds too good to be true — and that’s when problems begin. To learn more, check out this piece in the December 8, 2022, MedPage Today — Cheryl Clark, “Should Doctors Warn Patients About the Downsides of Medicare Advantage Plans?” https://www.medpagetoday.com/special-reports/exclusives/102143 Today, an increasing percentage of Medicare–eligible patients (roughly 48% of 58 million beneficiaries) are enrolled in MA plans and are subject to common MA problems: Narrow networks, prior authorization requirements, scant or nonexistent hospital coverage. How can you help your patients so they are not surprised to find their doctors no longer in their networks or their important medical benefits curtailed. Can patients make intelligent plan to plan comparisons? It is difficult, but New York State’s Health Insurance Assistance Program, at https://www.shiphelp.org/about-medicare/regional-ship-location/new-york, is one place to start and a good referral for you to give patients when they approach 65.

The New York County Medical Society has long been a supporter of this policy and submitted resolutions to the MSSNY House of Delegates calling for scrutiny of MA plans. Now, the AMA House of Delegates recently passed a resolution calling for "Uniformity and Enforcement of Medicare Advantage Plans and Regulations." The AMA will urge CMS to publish an “accurate, up–to–date list of physicians" in each plan network (specifying whether each physician is taking new patients), and will push CMS to hold the plans accountable for abiding by network adequacy standards.
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Tripledemic Alert: Once again, the CDC is urging Americans to wear masks in indoor public settings. The “tripledemic” of influenza, RSV, and COVID–19 continues to spread across the US. According to the CDC’s December 8 report, “13.7 percent of Americans now live in communities now rated ‘high’ on the COVID–19 Community Levels [scale],” up from 4.9 percent of the population the preceding week. New York City is one of those communities.
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Be Prepared and Get CME Too: If you missed The Doctors Company’s Surviving Litigation Seminar last month, you can now access it on demand for CME credit until December 31, 2022. You’ll learn constructive ways to deal with the stress of malpractice litigation (including being in a deposition), and acquire expert advice for becoming a strong, active participant in your own defense — now or in the future. This on–demand webinar is available to Society members until December 31, 2022, and is approved for 2.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.* Go to https://www.thedoctors.com/agent-broker-area/new-york-surviving-litigation-on-demand-webinar/ and click on “Watch Now.” For more information call Sunshine Ayers, (800) 421–2368, extension 1375, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Wednesday, January 18, 2023, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.: Medicare Part B 2023 Update: Join James Bavoso, Manager, Provider Outreach and Education, National Government Services (NGS). Register HERE. Learn about 2023 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, final policy changes to the fee schedule for Calendar Year 2023, CY2023 changes in Telehealth/Evaluation & Management/Behavioral Health, and much more.
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Annual Poster Symposium for Medical Students, Residents, Fellows: Start thinking up ideas for MSSNY’s 16th Annual Poster Symposium, Friday, April 21, 2023. Deadline for abstract submission is Monday, January 9, 2023. Your poster can be about clinical medicine (clinical research, health policy, quality improvement, medical education); it can contain clinical vignettes; it can contain medical student research vignettes. For more information call Kathy Rohrer at MSSNY, (516) 488–6100, ext. 396, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Physicians are also needed to review abstracts, between January 20 and February 20. Please call Kathy Rohrer, (516) 488–6100, ext. 396.

 

December 9, 2022

 

“Physician Addiction: A Health Care Crisis:” On December 6, the Society held a fascinating CME panel discussion on Physician Addiction. Substance abuse and addiction are serious issues for 10 to 12 percent of physicians. How can these physicians be helped? How do state Physician Health Programs (PHPs) assist the affected professional in returning safely to work? What ethical and confidentiality issues are involved? You can watch and listen to the program by clicking on this Video. In addition, Presentation 1 contains overview slides by program creator Doctor Steven Mandel; Presentation 2 and Presentation 3 contain slides with PHP information from experts Doctor Chris Bundy, Doctor Paul Earley and Doctor Jeff Selzer. Doctor Stuart Gitlow also outlined challenging legal issues, and Doctor Harris Stratyner talked about the need to treat the affected physician as a “whole person.” Thanks to the Society leaders who put the progam together, Doctor Mandel and Jill Baron, MD, Chair of the Society’s Physician Wellness Committee.
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Attacking Prior Authorization Problem: CMS is proposing a new Advancing Interoperability and Improving Prior Authorization Processes Proposed Rule, streamlining prior authorization (PA) processes to reduce physicians’ practice burdens and prevent care delays. The proposed rule would require payers to share prior authorization decisions within 72 hours for expedited requests and within 7 calendar days for “non–urgent” requests; payers would also have to include specific reasons for denials. The rule would apply to Medicare Advantage plans, Medicaid and CHIP managed care and fee–for–service plans, and Qualified Health Plans. The AMA says the rule will bring much–needed transparency to plans’ PA requirements and also to program metrics, such as approval/denial rates and average PA processing time. A 90–day comment period has begun. Meanwhile, the House has passed H.R. 3173, the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2022; Congressional leaders are working to lower a high Congressional Budget Office score, in hopes that the Senate will also pass the Act. For details, see CMS Proposes Major Changes to Prior Authorization | MedPage Today.
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New Warning About Treating COVID With Bebtelovimab: The New York State Department of Health has issued an announcement with updates to COVID–19 treatment recommendations, noting particularly that emerging omicron subvariants (e.g., BQ.1 and BQ.1.1) are resistant to the monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) Bebtelovimab and Evusheld (authorized for pre–exposure prophylaxis). On November 30, 2022, the FDA updated the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) fact sheet for Bebtelovimab. Due to the prevalence of Omicron sub–variants such as BQ.1/BQ.1.1, Bebtelovimab is not currently authorized for emergency use in the U.S.
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Government Economizes: Governor Kathy Hochul has vetoed nearly 40 bills that would have created Task Forces and Commissions, including some relating to healthcare. She said the bills “would collectively cost the State approximately forty million dollars, [not] accounted for in the State Financial Plan,” and that “a number of the proposals would result in duplication and unnecessary bureaucracy.” Among those vetoed were bills concerning: maternal mental health, fentanyl abuse/overdose prevention, sickle–cell disease detection and education, and more.
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New Physician Mandate Concerning Cytomegalovirus (CMV): Governor Kathy Hochul has signed into law legislation (6287–B, Mannion) requiring OB/GYNs and midwives to inform pregnant patients about CMV risks, transmission and prevention, on their first visit during the pregnancy. The educational materials will be developed by the New York State Department of Health. The requirement will take effect on May 22, 2023.
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New Limit on Tactics for Collecting Medical Debts: Governor Kathy Hochul has signed into law legislation (A7363–A, Gottfried) that prohibits a hospital, physician, or any other healthcare provider from placing a lien on the patient’s home, or garnishing wages, to collect a medical debt. The law took effect on November 23, 2022. “No one,” the Governor said, “should face the threat of losing their home or falling into further debt after seeking medical care.” The bill’s sponsors noted that “Over 50,000 New York patients have been sued for medical debt by non–profit hospitals in the past five years — 4,000 [of them] during the COVID–19 pandemic.”
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Sign Up Now

Wednesday, January 18, 2023, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.: Medicare Part B 2023 Update, with James Bavoso, Manager, Provider Outreach and Education, National Government Services (NGS). Register HERE. Learn about 2023 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, final policy changes to the fee schedule for Calendar Year 2023, CY2023 changes in Telehealth/Evaluation & Management/Behavioral Health, and much more.
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Did You Miss MSSNY’s 11/30/22 Webinar on the No Surprises Act? No problem — the recording is ready for you. Just click on No Surprises Act Webinar 11.30.2022 - YouTube. A CMS team addresses the formal processes that have been clarified since the law went into effect on January 1, 2022, and there’s also a lengthy Q&A with many provider–specific questions.
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MSSNY Events

Wednesday, December 14, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: CME Webinar, “Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) — An Evolving Story.” Like influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) began to surge unseasonably in 2022. Learn more about the current RSV outbreak and hear why experts are concerned about a “tripledemic.” Faculty: Edward Walsh, MD, Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester and Head of Infectious Diseases at the Rochester General Hospital; and William Valenti, MD, chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Diseases Committee. Educational objectives: Describe the 2022 – 2023 RSV season; outline the history and epidemiology of RSV infection; and identify strategies for prevention and treatment, including prospects for a vaccine. For more information or help with registration, email Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Annual Poster Symposium for Medical Students, Residents, Fellows: Start thinking up ideas for MSSNY’s 16th Annual Poster Symposium, Friday, April 21, 2023. Deadline for abstract submission is Monday, January 9, 2023. Your poster can be about clinical medicine (clinical research, health policy, quality improvement, medical education); it can contain clinical vignettes; it can contain medical student research vignettes. For more information call Kathy Rohrer at MSSNY, (516) 488–6100, ext. 396, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Physicians are also needed to review abstracts, between January 20 and February 20. Please call Kathy Rohrer, (516) 488–6100, ext. 396.

 

 

 

November 25, 2022

 

 

NYCMS Invites You to Two Big Events!

Tuesday, December 6, 2022, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: NYCMS Grand Rounds Series will present CME: “Physician Addiction — A Health Care Crisis.” Register HERE. Addiction in physicians is an extremely serious problem. It is estimated that up to 15% of physicians will develop a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) during their lifetime; a patient has a significant chance of being treated by a physician who has an SUD (which includes illicit drugs and prescription drugs such as Adderall, cough suppressants, and tranquilizers) — or who suffers from alcoholism. Job stress and comorbidities, especially post–COVID symptoms, have led many to turn to drugs and other substances to alleviate their anxiety. This program aims to provide education and a safe platform for physicians who may be struggling with substance use and to educate our physician members about the signs and symptoms for substance use and addiction, so they can better identify patients with these conditions. The program is the work of Steven Mandel, MD, and is supported through the Physician Wellness Committee, with Jill Baron, MD. Other participants include Harris Stratyner, MD; Stuart Gitlow, MD; Paul Earley, MD; Jeffrey Selzer, MD; and Chris Bundy, MD.

Accreditation Statement: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Accreditation Requirements and Policies of the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) through the joint providership of the Westchester Academy of Medicine and the New York County Medical Society. The Westchester Academy of Medicine is accredited by MSSNY to provide Continuing Medical Education for physicians.

The Westchester Academy of Medicine designates this live webinar activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category I Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. The Society thanks the Clifford L. Spingarn, MD, Memorial Education Fund for support of this program.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.: Medicare Part B 2023 Update, with James Bavoso, Manager, Provider Outreach and Education, National Government Services (NGS). Register HERE. Learn about 2023 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, final policy changes to the fee schedule for Calendar Year 2023, CY2023 changes in Telehealth/Evaluation & Management/Behavioral Health, and much more.
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SUDEP Mandate on Hold: New legislation from Governor Kathy Hochul required physician to provide patients with New York State Department of Health (DOH) written materials about Sudden Unexpected Death Due to Epilepsy (SUDEP). Epilepsy patients who are at risk of SUDEP (sudden unexpected death due to epilepsy). Technically, the physician mandate concerning these particular patients took effect on November 15, 2022, but that mandate is temporarily “on hold.” The DOH has not yet developed those materials, so enforcement of the law is being delayed. The DOH recently met with MSSNY and physician neurology/epilepsy experts to help develop the materials.
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CMS Final Rule Update: CMS has finalized the 2023 Medicare payment rule, which incorporates a 4.5% cut to the conversion factor. MSSNY and the AMA are urging Congress to prevent these cuts, and you can help by sending a letter from this link: Stop Exorbitant and Unsustainable Cuts to Medicare Payments. Attached (“MPFS Summary”) is an overview of the Final Rule. Note these interesting details:

Telehealth: CMS is adding several more services to the 2023 Telehealth Services List on a Category 3 basis — services that likely have a clinical benefit when furnished via telehealth, but lack sufficient evidence to justify permanent coverage. Certain Category 3 services were temporarily added to the Telehealth Services List in the wake of the COVID–19 pandemic.

Chronic Pain Management & Treatment Bundles: Separate coding and payment rules have been established for Chronic Pain Management and Treatment (CPM) services beginning January 1, 2023.

Caregiver Behavior Management Training: There are new Caregiver Training codes, for reporting the total face–to–face time that providers spend on group training for patients’ guardians and caregivers.

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How Long Has It Been? If it has been over a year since you or your staff reviewed your insurance contracts, now is the time to review and decide whether anything needs to be updated or has potentially expired. Many contracts are “evergreen contracts,” meaning they will renew yearly until either party would like to amend, but this arrangement could be holding back your reimbursement, and you could lose additional dollars. A good practice is to take a random sample of your claims and compare them to the contract, checking the accuracy of contract rates versus actual rates to make sure everything is correct. If you notice problems, contact your provider relations manager. If you do not know who your provider relations representative is, contact Heather Lopez, MSSNY’s Director of Physician Payment & Practice, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Short Takes — Have You Been Wondering What’s Happening With …

The Plan to Shift NYC Retirees into a Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan? The Adams administration has said it may “unilaterally” enroll all retirees in yet another MA plan — unless the City Council permits the plan on which the Municipal Labor Council and then–Mayor de Blasio agreed in 2018. The City Council remains undecided at present. Find interesting pros and cons HERE and HERE.

Information Blocking Requirements? Despite provider organizations’ request for a one–year postponement, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is sticking with the deadline of October 6, 2022 for new information blocking requirements, but HHS is not yet enforcing the rules for providers found in violation. The agency is in the process of planning civil monetary penalties for non–compliant health IT developers and health information networks, but has not yet set up “appropriate disencentives” for healthcare providers. Says an article in Health IT Answers (What You Need to Know About the October 6 Information Blocking Deadline - Health IT Answers), “We still don’t know how (or when) HHS will establish these disincentives and begin enforcing the information blocking rules.”
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MSSNY Events

Wednesday, November 30, 2022, 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY invites you to a CMS Webinar, “Spoil the No Surprise Act,” with expert Eyne Zephirin. Register today. The No Surprises Act went into effect on January 1, 2022, and the Federal IDR program is now being implemented, but some disputes are taking longer than expected to process. This session will provide the information you need to be at ease with IDR situations, with no surprises.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022, 12:00 Noon: “Salary Data and Contract Review: What You Need to Know.” Register Today! Kyle Claussen, one of the leading experts in physician employment agreements and a partner in the law firm of Morgan Theeler, LLP, is also the CEO of Resolve, Inc., which has empowered over 10,000 physicians in their employment agreements and is recognized by many state and national physician societies.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: Cybersecurity Webinar, “Locking the Back Door”: Register Today. STIComputer, Inc., will discuss cybersecurity trends that are affecting the healthcare industry. The cybersecurity landscape keeps evolving as bad characters continue to get more creative: Over the last year they have come up with new attack vectors, and have adjusted their tactics to circumvent strategies that used to ward them off in the past. Al Toper, STI’s Director of Technical Services, is an Air Force veteran with over 40 years in the technology field. Please join him as he shows you things you can do to help prevent you from being the next victim.

 

November 4, 2022

 

CMS Releases the 2023 Medicare Physician Payment Schedule Final Rule: Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services has adopted revised CPT guidelines and codes for additional E/M visit code “families,” including hospital visits, emergency department visits, home visits and nursing facility visits. For those visits, providers will be able to use time or medical decision–making to select the E/M visit level. Note a drop in the conversion factor. The 2023 Medicare conversion factor is $33.06, a decrease of $1.55 or 4.5% from the 2022 conversion factor of $34.61. Why? Budget–neutrality rules require a 1.6 percent decrease due to the E/M changes — plus, we’re seeing the end of the 3% increase that Congress funded through 2022. The AMA and the Federation are strongly advocating that Congress take a series of steps to stave off financial disaster: (1) avert the 4.5% conversion factor cut; (2) implement an inflationary update for physicians; (3) extend the 5% Advanced APM (Alternative Payment Model) incentive; and (4) waive the 4% PAYGO sequester.

The Final Rule also contains an five–month extension for certain telehealth codes — the codes that were only going to be on the telehealth list through the end of the Public Health Emergency. This way, thanks to the Final Rule, patients will be able to continue receiving telehealth services in their homes for five months (151 days) after the PHE ends. (The PHE has been extended to January 11, 2023.)
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Free Info on Public Health Issues: You may want to sign up for an interesting newsletter on HIV, HCV, STIs, drug user health, and emerging health issues. This resource comes from the New York State Clinical Education Initiative (CEI), a program of the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute. CEI makes available a wide range of live, online, and on–demand training, tools, and resources to build provider capacity; the CEI newsletter is sent to New York State and local health departments, community–based organizations, family health centers, hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare professionals’ private practices, and to the CEI member listserv. We encourage you to share it with your contacts too! Subscribe to CEI newsletter CEI Newsletter October 25, 2022 Issue
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Keep Up the Call for Veto on Wrongful Death Issue! Contact Governor Hochul at https://p2a.co/xhzKZZL — urge her to veto legislation (A.6770/S.74–A) that could significantly increase medical liability premiums by expanding the types of damages awardable in a wrongful death action. This bill would increase costs not only for physicians in private practice but also for employed physicians and for other areas of the economy. In a hard–hitting Crain’s New York Business op–ed, Kenneth Thomas, of the Minority and Women Contractors and Developers Association, wrote about the potential harm the wrongful death bill would cause: "Governor Kathy Hochul recently signed legislation to strengthen New York's minority– and women–owned business enterprises (MWBEs) — welcome news for small–business owners across the state. Unfortunately, another bill under consideration by the Hochul administration threatens to dramatically raise the cost of doing business, especially for MWBEs in a higher–risk and capital–intensive industry, such as construction. Earlier this year the state Legislature passed S.74–A, which will expand the scope of wrongful death lawsuits, leading to a massive increase in the cost of insurance for businesses of all sizes. But as we have seen time and again, small businesses and historically underrepresented entrepreneurs will be the most affected by unintended consequences — notably, MWBEs." (See Op-ed: Wrongful Death Lawsuit Bill Will Hurt Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses , cited by Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, October 31, 2022.)
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National Government Services (NGS) Presents “Care Management for Medicare Beneficiaries with Chronic Conditions:” According to the CDC, six in ten adults in the U.S. have a chronic disease and four in ten adults have two or more. NGS is now offering a series of webinars addressing specific topics, services available, and how to bill for them. Topics: Transitional Care Management (November 15, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon), Cognitive Assessment (November 15, 2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.), Psychiatric Collaborative Care Management and Behavioral Health Integration (November 16, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon), Chronic Care Management Services (November 16, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.), Principal Care Management Services (November 17, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon), and Advanced Care Planning (November 17, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.). You
may attend as many sessions as you would like; as the date you are interested in approaches, register on NGS’s Events page HERE.
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Check Out NYCMS Events!

“Navigating Healthcare in a Post–Roe World:” The Doctors Company (TDC), the Society’s endorsed medical liability provider, offers an on–demand webinar — watch and listen any time you wish. Just click HERE. Healthcare professionals are now navigating the post–Roe, volatile landscape of reproductive healthcare. The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, repealing Roe v. Wade and permitting states to determine access to reproductive healthcare, has placed unprecedented pressure on clinicians in various states. The session is moderated by David L. Feldman, MD, MBA, FACS, Chief Medical Officer of The Doctors Company and TDC Group. It features Daniel Grossman, MD, Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) Director, University of California San Francisco (UCSF); Ghazaleh Moayedi, DO, MPH, FACOG, Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Pegasus Health Justice Center; and Sheila Dejbakhsh, MD, MPH, OB/GYN, from Orange Coast Women’s Medical Group. Topics include the implications of the Dobbs ruling for telehealth, issues that come up when patients cross state lines for reproductive care, the effects of the Dobbs ruling on the patient–physician relationship, and many more.

Thursday, November 10, 2022, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.: “Learn How to Survive a Malpractice Lawsuit,” a free CME webinar and workshop from The Doctors Company (TDC). Gain tools and knowledge to prepare for a malpractice lawsuit; learn constructive ways to deal with the stress of malpractice litigation; get expert advice for becoming a strong, active participant in your own defense—now or in the future. With Paul Nagle, TDC’s Assistant Vice President for Patient Safety and Risk Management; P.J. Malnar, TDC’s Assistant Vice President for Claims; Shelley Spiecker, PhD, of Persuasion Strategies; and John Barker, Esq., of Vigorito, Barker, Patterson, Nichols & Porter, LLP. This online seminar is approved for 2 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.* To register, go HERE.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022, at 6:00 p.m.: NYCMS Grand Rounds Series Will Present a Virtual Panel Discussion Titled “Physician Addiction — A Health Care Crisis.” Addiction in physicians is an extremely serious problem. It is estimated that up to 15% of physicians will develop a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) during their lifetime; a patient has a significant chance of being treated by a physician who has an SUD (which includes illicit drugs and prescription drugs such as Adderall, cough suppressants, and tranquilizers) — or who suffers from alcoholism. Job stress and comorbidities, especially post–COVID symptoms, have led many to turn to drugs and other substances to alleviate their anxiety. This program aims to provide education and a safe platform for physicians who may be struggling with substance use and to educate our physician members about the signs and symptoms for substance use and addiction, so they can better identify patients with these conditions. The program is the work of Steven Mandel, MD, and is supported through the Physician Wellness Committee, with Jill Baron, MD. Other participants include Harris Stratyner, MD; Stuart Gitlow, MD; Paul Earley, MD; Jeffrey Selzer, MD; and Chris Bundy, MD. Register HERE.
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Other Events

Saturday, November 12, 2022, 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18 Street, New York, NY, join the New York State Neurological Society at its Annual Winter Meeting. 7.5 Category 1 CME credits. Hear updates on headache management, epilepsy, movement disorders, MS, and more. Learn more and register HERE.

The Great American Smokeout Is Coming: National Government Services (NGS) invites you to its weekly webinar series on Medicare’s preventative service, Counseling to Prevent Tobacco Use. NGS says “Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States; cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year. The majority of people who use tobacco want to quit. Even brief advice from health care providers can make it much more likely patients will try to quit — and ultimately succeed. These webinars focus on Medicare coverage, coding, billing and documentation guidelines for tobacco use counseling. There are sessions on 11/15, 11/17, 11/22, and 11/30; as the date you are interested in approaches, you can register on NGS’s Events HERE. Attend as many sessions as you would like.
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MSSNY Events!

Wednesday, November 9, 2022, at 7:30 a.m. (EST): MSSNY Webinar, “Credentialing and Maintenance Options,” with Matthew J. Ross, President of STI Computer Services’ Maintenance and Credentialing Division. Did you know that over 54% of denials are related to provider credentialing? Credentialing is a regulated process whereby healthcare professionals show they have the proper education, training and licenses to care for patients. Insurance revalidation is no longer just a Medicare issue; it’s now required for commercial payers too. Per NYS and federal law, you must maintain and update your insurance demographics — if you don’t, you risk penalties, fines and having your participation status revoked. Register HERE

Wednesday, November 16, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: “What’s Your Diagnosis?” An Interactive Webinar on Psychological First Aid. The COVID pandemic has had a devastating effect on mental health. Learn about psychological first aid by registering now for this webinar, part of MSSNY’s Medical Matters series. View the flyer. The program, with case studies, involves interaction with participants: You’ll answer questions to diagnose the condition. Faculty will be Craig Katz, MD, vice chair of MSSNY’s Emergency Preparedness and Disaster/Terrorism Response Committee. Educational objectives: To describe the basic tenets of psychological first aid (PFA); identify resources to assist patients during and after trauma; examine the effects the COVID pandemic has had on mental health; and describe a scenario and review questions and answers.

Thursday, November 17, 2022, at 7:00 p.m.: MSSNY Presentation, “Less Stress, More Success: Overcoming and Preventing Healthcare Burnout.” Register Today. Doctor David Geier is an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist, and an expert in anti–aging and regenerative medicine. Not only has the coronavirus created our generation’s biggest health crisis, it has destroyed the stability of the healthcare system; many healthcare professionals are now battling the same issues that Doctor Geier experienced during an episode of burnout early in his career. He tells his story and the stories of others who have overcome tremendous obstacles, inspiring audiences to use burnout, COVID–19 and other adversities to emerge stronger and better than ever.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022, at 12:00 Noon: MSSNY invites you to “Salary Data and Contract Review: What you need to know.” Register Today! Kyle Claussen, one of the leading experts in physician employment agreements and a partner in the law firm of Morgan Theeler, LLP, is also the CEO of Resolve, Inc., which has empowered over 10,000 physicians in their employment agreements and is recognized by many state and national physician societies.

 

 

October 28, 2022

 

Does Your Office Struggle with E/M Downcoding? Health plans are increasingly implementing E/M downcoding programs that inappropriately reduce payment for claims billed. To help you navigate these programs, the AMA has created a series of educational resources, including an overview, sample letters for two different problems, and a physician survey to help the AMA help physicians.

Payer evaluation and management (E/M) downcoding programs—what you need to know (PDF)

E/M downcoding letter (DOC)

Procedure downcoding letter (DOC)

Physician Survey: Experience with Private Payer Downcoding
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National Government Services (NGS) Presents “Care Management for Medicare Beneficiaries with Chronic Conditions.” According to the CDC, six in ten adults in the U.S. have a chronic disease and four in ten adults have two or more. NGS is now offering a series of webinars addressing specific topics, services available, and how to bill for them. Topics: Transitional Care Management (November 15, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon), Cognitive Assessment (November 15, 2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.), Psychiatric Collaborative Care Management and Behavioral Health Integration (November 16, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon), Chronic Care Management Services (November 16, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.), Principal Care Management Services (November 17, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon), and Advanced Care Planning (November 17, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.). You may attend as many sessions as you would like; as the date you are interested in approaches, register on NGS’s Events page HERE.

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“Navigating Healthcare in a Post–Roe World”: The Doctors Company (TDC), the Society’s endorsed medical liability provider, offers an on–demand webinar — watch and listen any time you wish. Just click HERE. Healthcare professionals are now navigating the post–Roe, volatile landscape of reproductive healthcare. The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, repealing Roe v. Wade and permitting states to determine access to reproductive healthcare, has placed unprecedented pressure on clinicians in various states. The session is moderated by David L. Feldman, MD, MBA, FACS, Chief Medical Officer of The Doctors Company and TDC Group. It features Daniel Grossman, MD, Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) Director, University of California San Francisco (UCSF); Ghazaleh Moayedi, DO, MPH, FACOG, Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Pegasus Health Justice Center; and Sheila Dejbakhsh, MD, MPH, OB/GYN, from Orange Coast Women’s Medical Group. Topics include the implications of the Dobbs ruling for telehealth, issues that come up when patients cross state lines for reproductive care, the effects of the Dobbs ruling on the patient–physician relationship, and many more.

Upcoming NYCMS Events!

Thursday, November 10, 2022, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.: “Learn How to Survive a Malpractice Lawsuit,” a free CME webinar and workshop from The Doctors Company (TDC). Gain tools and knowledge to prepare for a malpractice lawsuit; learn constructive ways to deal with the stress of malpractice litigation; get expert advice for becoming a strong, active participant in your own defense—now or in the future. With Paul Nagle, TDC’s Assistant Vice President for Patient Safety and Risk Management; P.J. Malnar, TDC’s Assistant Vice President for Claims; Shelley Spiecker, PhD, of Persuasion Strategies; and John Barker, Esq., of Vigorito, Barker, Patterson, Nichols & Porter, LLP. This online seminar is approved for 2 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.* To register, go HERE.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022, at 6:00 p.m.: NYCMS Grand Rounds series will present a virtual panel discussion titled “Physician Addiction — A Health Care Crisis.” Addiction in physicians is an extremely serious problem. It is estimated that up to 15% of physicians will develop a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) during their lifetime; a patient has a significant chance of being treated by a physician who has an SUD (which includes illicit drugs and prescription drugs such as Adderall, cough suppressants, and tranquilizers) — or who suffers from alcoholism. Job stress and comorbidities, especially post–COVID symptoms, have led many to turn to drugs and other substances to alleviate their anxiety. This program aims to provide education and a safe platform for physicians who may be struggling with substance use and to educate our physician members about the signs and symptoms for substance use and addiction, so they can better identify patients with these conditions. The program is the work of Steven Mandel, MD, and is supported through the Physician Wellness Committee, with Jill Baron, MD. Other participants include Harris Stratyner, MD; Stuart Gitlow, MD; Paul Earley, MD; and Chris Bundy, MD. Register HERE.
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Other Events!

The Great American Smokeout is coming: National Government Services (NGS) invites you to its weekly webinar series on Medicare’s preventative service, Counseling to Prevent Tobacco Use. NGS says “Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States; cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year. The majority of people who use tobacco want to quit. Even brief advice from health care providers can make it much more likely patients will try to quit — and ultimately succeed. These webinars focus on Medicare coverage, coding, billing and documentation guidelines for tobacco use counseling. There are sessions on 11/1, 11/3, 11/8, 11/10, 11/15, 11/17, 11/22, and 11/30; as the date you are interested in approaches, you can register on NGS’s Events page HERE. Attend as many sessions as you would like.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022, 9:00 to 10:00 am ET: “Diabetes Education and Support: Keys to Living Well” – a webcast presented by the SUNY Albany School of Public Health. Part of the “Public Health Live!” Series, this webcast focuses on two programs: “Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support” (a clinical intervention), and the Diabetes Self-Management Program (a peer support program). Register HERE.

Wednesday, November 2, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.: The Workers’ Compensation Board invites you to a “Lunch and Learn” webinar that looks at key aspects of the system. This webinar covers points that employers need to know, but physicians may find it useful too (and, of course, many physicians are employers). Find out about insurance types, coverage requirements and employers’ obligations under the law; who needs coverage and who does not need it; how and when employers should report an injury or illness (including COVID–19). The sessions is free, and there will be time at the end for questions. Registration is not required; at the time of the session, just click HERE.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022, at 7:30 a.m. (EST): MSSNY Webinar, “Credentialing and Maintenance Options,” with Matthew J. Ross, President of STI Computer Services’ Maintenance and Credentialing Division. Did you know that over 54% of denials are related to provider credentialing? Credentialing is a regulated process whereby healthcare professionals show they have the proper education, training and licenses to care for patients. Insurance revalidation is no longer just a Medicare issue; it’s now required for commercial payers too. Per NYS and federal law, you must maintain and update your insurance demographics — if you don’t, you risk penalties, fines and having your participation status revoked. Register HERE

Saturday, November 12, 2022, 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18 Street, New York, NY, join the New York State Neurological Society at its Annual Winter Meeting. 7.5 Category 1 CME credits. Hear updates on headache management, epilepsy, movement disorders, MS, and more. Learn more and register HERE.

 

October 21, 2022

 

Upcoming NYCMS Events!

Thursday, October 27, 2022, 7:00 to 7:50 p.m.: “Healthcare Provider Wellness Program through Transcendental Meditation® (TM®),” with Stuart Rothenberg, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Center for Resilience at the David Lynch Foundation; plus comments by TM Teacher Cheryl Smith Alvarez. The New York County Medical Society is partnering with the national “Heal the Healers Now” initiative through the David Lynch Foundation to bring our members an evidence–based wellness program, offering instruction in Transcendental Meditation (TM); the “Heal the Healers Now” initiative addresses burnout, depression, insomnia and post-traumatic stress symptoms experienced by healthcare providers. The David Lynch Foundation has generously provided a grant for one hundred of our NYCMS members to learn TM at a significant discount. (There are a few free scholarship slots ALSO available.) Find out more about this opportunity! Click HERE to join the meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 27.

Thursday, November 10, 2022, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.: “Learn How to Survive a Malpractice Lawsuit,” a free CME webinar and workshop from The Doctors Company (TDC). Gain tools and knowledge to prepare for a malpractice lawsuit; learn constructive ways to deal with the stress of malpractice litigation; get expert advice for becoming a strong, active participant in your own defense—now or in the future. With Paul Nagle, TDC’s Assistant Vice President for Patient Safety and Risk Management; P.J. Malnar, TDC’s Assistant Vice President for Claims; Shelley Spiecker, PhD, of Persuasion Strategies; and John Barker, Esq., of Vigorito, Barker, Patterson, Nichols & Porter, LLP. This online seminar is approved for 2 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.* To register, go HERE.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022, at 6:00 p.m.: NYCMS Grand Rounds series will present a virtual panel discussion titled “Physician Addiction — A Health Care Crisis.” Addiction in physicians is an extremely serious problem. It is estimated that up to 15% of physicians will develop a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) during their lifetime; a patient has a significant chance of being treated by a physician who has an SUD (which includes illicit drugs and prescription drugs such as Adderall, cough suppressants, and tranquilizers) — or who suffers from alcoholism. Job stress and comorbidities, especially post–COVID symptoms, have led many to turn to drugs and other substances to alleviate their anxiety. This program aims to provide education and a safe platform for physicians who may be struggling with substance use and to educate our physician members about the signs and symptoms for substance use and addiction, so they can better identify patients with these conditions. The program is the work of Steven Mandel, MD, and is supported through the Physician Wellness Committee, with Jill Baron, MD. Other participants include Harris Stratyner, MD; Stuart Gitlow, MD; Paul Earley, MD; and Chris Bundy, MD. Registration information coming soon.
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Do You Participate in a Medicaid Health Plan? By November 1, 2022, you must complete the first (three–hour) part of a Cultural Competency training course. As healthcare disparities among cultural minority groups persist in our country, culturally and linguistically appropriate services are increasingly recognized as needed for improving quality of care to diverse populations. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has developed an e–learning program, approved by the New York State Health Department, that will give you the knowledge, skills, and awareness to best serve all patients, regardless of cultural or linguistic background. You can take the free online “Think Cultural Health” course at: Education - Think Cultural Health (hhs.gov). Each year, do another three–hour section until you have completed the entire nine–hour sequence. You will get CME credits. Each health plan has its own Cultural Competency Attestation Form. If you participate with Fidelis, use the following Cultural Competency Attestation Form. If you participate with another insurer, check with that company.
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Threatened Medicare Cuts: The AMA continues to urge Congress to provide relief from the 4.42% budget neutrality cut, end the statutory annual freeze and waive the 4 percent PAYGO sequester. Another goal is to encourage more physicians to transition from fee–for–service into APMs (alternative payment models); the AMA is urging Congress to extend the 5 percent Advanced Alternative Payment Model participation incentive, and to call a five–year halt to the impossible–to–meet revenue threshold increase. Send your own letter HERE.
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When You Appeal Claims With United Health Care: Have you found yourself frustrated — especially by receiving multiple responses when you are appealing a claim with ? Here’s a hint: When your office appeals, or sends the requested information (e.g., medical records or additional information), DO NOT send another copy of the 1500 claim form. It will create a new claim, duplicating the original claim and leading to confusion. You should only resubmit a 1500 form if there has been an actual change in coding or procedures.
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Medicare New Payment Policy on Biosimilars: Biosimilars are manufactured from living cells; they are “highly similar” to an original biologic therapy and are very effective for many patients. For qualifying biosimilar medications used to treat such conditions as diabetes, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, CMS has announced a temporary increase in the add–on physician payment for biosimilars whose average sales price doesn’t exceed the price of the associated reference biological product. The goal is to encourage the creation and use of biosimilars to compete with original biologic products and to encourage innovation for less costly access to these important therapies.
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Events!

The Great American Smokeout is Coming: National Government Services (NGS) invites you to its weekly webinar series on Medicare’s preventative service, Counseling to Prevent Tobacco Use. NGS says “Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States; cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year. The majority of people who use tobacco want to quit. Even brief advice from health care providers can make it much more likely patients will try to quit — and ultimately succeed. These webinars focus on Medicare coverage, coding, billing and documentation guidelines for tobacco use counseling. Sessions are held on 10/25, 10/26, 11/1, 11/3, 11/8, 11/10, 11/15, 11/17, 11/22, and 11/30; as the date you are interested in approaches, register on NGS’s Events page, HERE. You may attend as many sessions as you would like.

October 25, 2022, at 7:00 p.m.: Webinar, “Life Long Learning: A Look in the Rear View Mirror and a Peek Ahead” Check out a fascinating talk about major discoveries in the last few decades, and revolutionary changes in medicine that may enhance wellness and longevity in the future. MSSNY’s IMG and Ethnic Medical Association Sections will host Harvard Medical School Professor Sanjiv Chopra, MD, MACP, FRCP London. Doctor Chopra is Editor–in–Chief of the Gastroenterology and Hepatology section at UpToDate, and is the Marshall Wolf Distinguished Clinician Educator at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. This webinar, part of the David B.L. Meza, III, MD, Lecture Series, is sponsored by the Medical, Educational & Scientific Foundation of New York with a grant from the Empire State Medical, Scientific & Educational Foundation. For this free webinar, Register now.

Wednesday, November 2, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.: The Workers’ Compensation Board invites you to a “Lunch and Learn” webinar that looks at key aspects of the system. This webinar covers points that employers need to know, but physicians may find it useful too (and, of course, many physicians are employers). Find out about insurance types, coverage requirements and employers’ obligations under the law; who needs coverage and who does not need it; how and when employers should report an injury or illness (including COVID–19). The sessions is free, and there will be time at the end for questions. Registration is not required; at the time of the session, just click HERE.

Saturday, November 12, 2022, 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18 Street, New York, NY, join the New York State Neurological Society at its Annual Winter Meeting. 7.5 Category 1 CME credits. Hear updates on headache management, epilepsy, movement disorders, MS, and more. Learn more and register HERE.

 

 

October 14, 2022

Representing Doctors: Society leaders were busy this week attending events for the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly. Above pictured is Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie with our Board member Connie DiMari. Center top is Paul Orloff, Keith LaScalea, Thomas Sterry, and Erick Eiting with Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart–Cousins. Bottom center shows Senator Brad Hoylman (second from left) with Doctors Sterry, LaScalea, Orloff, and Eiting. On the right is Edward Powers, III, MD pictured with Assemblymember Amy Paulin. (Look for more pictures by following the NYCMS on Instagram at Nycountymedicalsociety.)
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Scam Alerts: Time–honored advice used to be “Get it in writing” but now, says AARP senior scam expert Doug Shadel, that precaution is no longer recommended. Fraudsters can easily create fake letterheads and mastheads; you should avoid responding to their letters, and instead, just contact the supposed place of origin directly. Want to hear about some of the bad guys’ latest maneuvers, from requests for genetic testing to fake arrest warrants? See the AARP’s article, “7 Scams Reported on AARP’s Fraud Watch Network Helpline?,” HERE.

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Events!

Wednesday, October 19, 2022, 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY webinar, “Influenza 2022 – 2023: Focusing on When the Flu is Not the Flu.” Register now. Annual flu season is upon us, and based on flu season in Australia, concerns about a potential “twindemic” have arisen. Learn more about causes for this concern and best practices on recognizing flu and other viral infections, with speaker William Valenti, MD, chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Diseases Committee. For more information or help with registration, contact Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thursday, October 20, 2022, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time): “Addiction in the Workplace,” free CME presentation to members and non–members of the host, ACOEM (American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine). Returning people to work is often more challenging when addiction is driving mental–health issues, or preventing long–term recovery from an injury or illness. In this webinar, occupational health experts will present a brief scope of the problem, an outline of evidence–based treatment options, mental health considerations, and case studies. Learn more and register HERE.

Wednesday, November 2, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.: The Workers’ Compensation Board invites you to a “Lunch and Learn” webinar that looks at key aspects of the system. This webinar covers points that employers need to know, but physicians may find it useful too (and, of course, many physicians are employers). Find out about insurance types, coverage requirements and employers’ obligations under the law; who needs coverage and who does not need it; how and when employers should report an injury or illness (including COVID–19). The sessions is free, and there will be time at the end for questions. Registration is not required; at the time of the session, just click HERE.

Thursday, November 10, 2022, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.: “Learn How to Survive a Malpractice Lawsuit,” a free CME webinar and workshop from The Doctors Company (TDC). Gain tools and knowledge to prepare for a malpractice lawsuit; learn constructive ways to deal with the stress of malpractice litigation; get expert advice for becoming a strong, active participant in your own defense—now or in the future. With Paul Nagle, TDC’s Assistant Vice President for Patient Safety and Risk Management; P.J. Malnar, TDC’s Assistant Vice President for Claims; Shelley Spiecker, PhD, of Persuasion Strategies; and John Barker, Esq., of Vigorito, Barker, Patterson, Nichols & Porter, LLP. This online seminar is approved for 2 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.* To register, go HERE.

Saturday, November 12, 2022, 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Metropolitan Pavilion, join the New York State Neurological Society at its Annual Winter Meeting. 7.5 Category 1 CME credits. Hear updates on headache management, epilepsy, movement disorders, MS, and more. Learn more and register HERE.
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Save the Date! Tuesday, December 6, 2022, at 6:00 p.m., NYCMS Grand Rounds series will present a virtual panel discussion titled “Physician Addiction – A Health Care Crisis.” Addiction in physicians is an extremely serious problem. It is estimated that up to 15% of physicians will develop a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) during their lifetime; a patient has a significant chance of being treated by a physician who has an SUD (which includes illicit drugs and prescription drugs such as Adderall, cough suppressants, and tranquilizers) — or who suffers from alcoholism. Job stress and comorbidities, especially post–COVID symptoms, have led many to turn to drugs and other substances to alleviate their anxiety. Our December 6 program has two aims: First, to provide education and a safe platform for physicians who may be struggling with substance use; and second, to educate our physician members about the signs and symptoms for substance use and addiction, so they can better identify patients with these conditions. Our panelists: Dr. Harris Stratyner, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Dr. Stuart Gitlow, general, forensic, and addiction psychiatrist, and Past President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM); Dr. Paul Earley, Medical Director of the Georgia Professionals Health Program, Inc. (the Physicians Health Program for the state of Georgia in the U.S.), and Immediate Past President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine; and Dr. Chris Bundy, Executive Medical Director of the Washington Physicians Health Program); Immediate Past President, Federation of State Physician Health Programs; and Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Washington School of Medicine and Washington State University, Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. Registration information coming soon.

 

October 7, 2022

Hurricane Relief: The Lee County Medical Society in Florida is helping its physicians who have lost homes and offices because of Hurricane Ian. If you would like to make a contribution, you can do so to the Lee County Medical Society’s Foundation. Donations are 501–C3 eligible and can be used for deductions. All donations will be used to aid their physicians impacted by Hurricane Ian in Lee County. To help, go HERE.
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COVID Questions Continue: After a positive rapid antigen test, how long is the period of contagion? William Valenti, MD, chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Diseases Committee, recommends continuing isolation “until the rapid antigen test is negative on two occasions, 24 hours apart.” He explains: “A positive rapid test correlates with viral shedding and contagion. People generally shed virus and have a positive rapid antigen test for around 7 days, but shedding may be longer depending on the age of the patient, and whether or not they were treated.” (Treatment with COVID antivirals may shorten the period of contagion.) On the other hand, what about the PCR test? Doctor Valenti says it’s best as a diagnostic test only. “The PCR test performs differently than the rapid antigen test — it remains positive for much longer because it measures virus genetic material that often represents virus fragments that are not contagious. So the PCR is not useful to manage isolation.”
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Do You Still Have Questions about the NYS Healthcare Worker Bonus Program? If your practice has 20% or more Medicaid patients, the Application Portal has been reopened, and the NYSDOH has updated its Frequently Asked Questions (ny.gov) to help you navigate. Be aware that the “20% Medicaid” threshold includes not only patients enrolled in Medicaid fee for service, but also those enrolled in Medicaid Managed Care. And don’t forget, those practices that are eligible to participate must participate.
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Is It Soup YET? The “Open Notes” deadline was Thursday, October 6 — all of a patient’s electronic health information were to be made available to the patient — but not all vendors were ready. Society members have asked, “will we be penalized if we can’t comply?” No! Penalties have been established for software designers, etc., but no penalties have yet been imposed on information blocking “actors,” who include physicians. We’re watching this situation and will let you know immediately if it changes.
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Help MSSNY Develop New Website. MSSNY says: “We are building a brand new website and want it to meet your needs. To help us make the new website the best it can be, please take the Survey HERE by October 15. (It will take two minutes of your time, and will guarantee that the site suits your needs.)
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Events!

Wednesday, October 19, 2022, 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY webinar, “Influenza 2022 – 2023: Focusing on When the Flu is Not the Flu.” Register now. Annual flu season is upon us, and based on flu season in Australia, concerns about a potential “twindemic” have arisen. Learn more about causes for this concern and best practices on recognizing flu and other viral infections, with speaker William Valenti, MD, chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Diseases Committee. For more information or help with registration, contact Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thursday, October 20, 2022, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time): “Addiction in the Workplace,” free CME presentation to members and non–members of the host, ACOEM (American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine). Returning people to work is often more challenging when addiction is driving mental–health issues, or preventing long–term recovery from an injury or illness. In this webinar, occupational health experts will present a brief scope of the problem, an outline of evidence–based treatment options, mental health considerations, and case studies. Learn more and register HERE.

Wednesday, November 2, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.: The Workers’ Compensation Board invites you to a “Lunch and Learn” webinar that looks at key aspects of the system. This webinar covers points that employers need to know, but physicians may find it useful too (and, of course, many physicians are employers). Find out about insurance types, coverage requirements and employers’ obligations under the law; who needs coverage and who does not need it; how and when employers should report an injury or illness (including COVID–19). The sessions is free, and there will be time at the end for questions. Registration is not required. Check it out HERE.

 

September 30, 2022

 

Letter to The Times: Society Board member Connie DiMari, MD was one of the readers who reacted to the recent New York Times article about the physician whose heart literally “broke” under the stress of today’s extra practice requirements. Doctor DiMari’s letter appeared on September 29. She wrote:

“Do we need to add to physician stress and burnout the reporting requirements of meaningless quality measures, and expect nearly impossible score improvement? Or do we rely on physicians’ intrinsic motivation to improve the health of their patients? After reading about Dr. Kimberly Becher, I think the answer is easy. How many more physicians will we lose to administrative or other nonclinical fields, only exacerbating the crisis in the availability of primary care? It is no wonder that many medical students shun primary care.”

The Society and MSSNY has options for physician wellness, including participation on the Society’s Wellness Committee and MSSNY’s Peer2Peer Program. Please email Susan Tucker (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) if you would like information on our committees and other projects.
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Robocall Warning from NGS: Do you use an outsource company for your Medicare billing and account receivables? Do you know who is using your data, how they’re using it and how much this is costing you? NGS (National Government Services) has experienced a large increase in unnecessary, “robocall” telephone calls from outsource agencies, asking for claim information that NGS has already sent to the billing provider. The outsource company uses these calls simply to get certification that they have contacted NGS, which in turn allows them to pass additional administrative costs onto you, the service provider. Do you know if your billing company uses an outsourced entity for any reason? Do you use an outside agency to reconcile your accounts receivables? How is the charge structure set up — do they charge you for the number of calls they make to an insurer? NGS says the following calls are likely to be “legit”: Complex questions to help get payment on a claim, queries to resolve claim problems that can’t be handled through self–service, and other issues that need actual human intervention from NGS’s Provider Call Center. Be suspicious about: Questions that don’t pertain to the provider’s actual claim but instead are generic scripted questions, asked over and over with the same exact response each time. Also, be suspicious about questions the billing company could easily have answered by reviewing the Remittance Advice, the NGSConnex Portal, the IVR and/or the NGS website.
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Fight Medicare Cuts: If Congress doesn’t act by the end of the year, physicians face Medicare payment cuts adding up to 8.42%. Please send a message immediately — click on Tell Congress to protect America’s Medicare patients and stop the cuts! CMS has proposed a 4.42% cut to offset certain fee–schedule improvements while at the same time, it happens that “Pay–As–You–Go” rules (unrelated to physicians) have been triggered that require an additional 4% cut. Worse, physicians don’t get an annual inflationary update, even though other providers do. Representatives Ami Bera, MD (D–CA) and Larry Bucshon, MD (R–IN) recently addressed the flawed payment system by introducing H.R. 8800, the “Supporting Medicare Providers Act,” which is a great first step. We need action right now. Contact your Senators and Representative to tell them to cancel the cuts!

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New MSSNY Podcast on Polio: On September 9, Governor Kathy Hochul
declared a State Disaster Emergency in response to a case of paralytic polio that was found in Rockland County on July 21, 2022. Subsequent wastewater testing has discovered polio in five counties in New York State. For information about polio, listen to MSSNY’s newest podcast, Polio 2022: A Discussion with Dr. William Valenti.
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Medicare and Non–Covered Services and the “Dense Breast” Issue: Many experts say that when a woman is diagnosed with dense breasts based on mammography, she should receive supplemental screening (most commonly with breast ultrasound) in addition to annual mammograms. Recently, MSSNY members and Heather Lopez (MSSNY Director of Physician Payment and Practice) met with top CMS staff on this issue.
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Saturday, October 1, 2022, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.: Joint meeting of MSSNY’s Young Physicians Section, Residents/Fellows Section and Medical Students Section. Go To register.Included in this informative virtual program: 10:00 AM: Introduction to Advocacy/MSSNY/Organized Medicine; 10:30 AM: MSSNY Updates/Important NY Legislation/MSSNY Actions Update; 11:00 AM: Diversity in Medicine; 12:00 Noon: Breakout Lunch/Networking; 12:30 PM: Resolution Writing Basics; 1:00 p.m.: What Options Are There For Physicians in Private vs Academics vs Locums? Learn more. If you have questions, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Wednesday, October 5, 2022, at 7:30 p.m.: MSSNY webinar, “What Physicians Need to Know When Treating Patients With FDA–Approved ‘Biosimilar’ Therapies.” Register Now. In recent years, patients with chronic or complex diseases have benefited from innovative biological medicines, commonly known as “Biosimilars,” which are manufactured from living cells and are often highly effective. Biosimilars are approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as “highly similar” to an original biologic therapy. Like many states, New York has enacted a law that permits a pharmacist to substitute an FDA–approved biosimilar for an original biologic therapy, provided there is notice to the prescribing physician within five days of the substitution. This webinar is designed to help physicians better understand what biosimilars are, how the law works and what it means for patients. The speakers, health policy experts, will answer physicians’ questions about the potential impact on their patients.
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Thursday, October 20, 2022, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time): CME webinar, “Addiction in the Workplace” free to members and non–members of the host, ACOEM (American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine). Returning people to work is often more challenging when addiction is driving mental–health issues, or preventing long–term recovery from an injury or illness. In this webinar, occupational health experts will present a brief scope of the problem, an outline of evidence–based treatment options, mental health considerations, and case studies. Learn more and register HERE.

 

September 16, 2022

 

Company! See above as Society President Erick Eiting, MD drops by the office to check out the new space at 246 West 38 Street, Ste. 501, New York, NY 10018, and visit your Society staff — Cheryl Malone, CAE, Executive Director and staff members Sony Hilado and Lisa Joseph. 

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MSSNYPAC Releases End of Session Report: With the summer primaries behind us and the midterm elections coming in November, MSSNYPAC has released its end of session report, with details on our wins in the $220 billion state budget for fiscal year 2022 – 2023, plus our wins and losses in this year’s legislative session. You can view the report here.

Victories

— The budget that Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature put together included Telehealth Payment Parity, which requires insurers to pay the same amount for telehealth services as they would for comparable in–person services. Other wins included a straight one–year extension of the Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance Program; Increased Physician Loan Repayment; and Increased Medicaid Payments (a restoration of the 2020 1.5% cut to Medicaid payments, and an across–the–board 1% payment increase).

— In the legislature, we saw victories that need to be completed by having Governor Hochul sign bills. You can help by going to the grass roots sites and sending a letter. It only takes a minute or two to put in your information to direct your letter to the Governor. Tell the Governor to sign: Same–Specialty Peer Review by Health Plans — click HERE
Limit Health Insurer “Copay Accumulators” — click HERE.
Limit Mental Health Step Therapy — click HERE.

Still Fighting

— In spite of our efforts, some “mandate” bills passed. We have long maintained that lawmakers must not legislate the practice of medicine, but both houses passed bills requiring physicians to take specific actions in certain care situations — Facility Fee Disclosure, Opioid Alternatives, SUDEP Warnings. Because physicians are already drowning in paperwork, MSSNY has asked that chapter amendments be added to reduce these bills’ documentation requirements.

— The Wrongful Death Liability Expansion bill has not been signed yet. Organized medicine is part of a large coalition asking the Governor to veto this harmful legislation. You can add your voice by sending a letter HERE.
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Medicare: The U.S. House has passed a bill (HR 3173, the Improving Seniors’ Access to Timely Care Act), to reduce Medicare Advantage claim hassles. We must urge Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to pass this bipartisan legislation before the end of the year. The bill would require Medicare Advantage plans to adopt transparent prior authorization programs adhering evidence–based medical guidelines; it would also hold plans accountable for making timely prior authorization determinations, and for providing rationales for denials.
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Scam Alert: In March 2021, as reported in News Capsules, The Drug Enforcement Administration warned of a fraud scheme in which telephone scammers impersonate DEA agents in an attempt to extort money or steal personal identifiable information. This scam has not gone away. Remember, DEA personnel will never contact members of the public or medical practitioners by telephone to demand money or any other form of payment. They will never request personal or sensitive information over the phone, and will only notify people of a legitimate investigation or legal action in person or by official letter. In fact, no legitimate federal law enforcement officer will demand cash or gift cards from a member of the public. For more information, view the public service announcement on these scams, and check out this DEA Warning: Scammers Impersonating DEA Agents.
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National Physician Suicide Awareness Day (NPSADay) : In September we recognize National Physician Suicide Awareness Day. Remember that physicians’ struggles don’t have to become mental health emergencies. MSSNY’s Peer-to-Peer Program provides physicians, residents, and medical students an opportunity to talk with a peer about their life stressors. Check out the NPSADay.org website. It outlines six actions that can help as well as resources to help create a culture of well-being. If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, call or text 988 or chat on the new National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 988lifeline.org.
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Doctors Without Borders Is Recruiting: Doctors Without Borders provides emergency medical aid to people caught in crisis in more than 60 countries around the world. Attend a Recruitment Information Session to learn more. Tuesday, September 27, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., 180 West 135th Street in Harlem, N.Y. To register, go HERE.
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Events

Wednesday, October 5, 2022, at 7:30 p.m.: MSSNY webinar, “What Physicians Need to Know When Treating Patients With FDA-Approved ‘Biosimilar’ Therapies.” Register Now. In recent years, patients with chronic or complex diseases have benefited from innovative biological medicines, commonly known as “Biosimilars,” which are manufactured from living cells and are often highly effective. Biosimilars are approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as “highly similar” to an original biologic therapy. Like many states, New York has enacted a law that permits a pharmacist to substitute an FDA-approved biosimilar for an original biologic therapy, provided there is notice to the prescribing physician within five days of the substitution. This webinar is designed to help physicians better understand what biosimilars are, how the law works and what it means for patients. The speakers, health policy experts, will answer physicians’ questions about the potential impact on their patients.

Thursday, October 20, 2022, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time): CME webinar, “Addiction in the Workplace” – free to members and non–members of the host, ACOEM (American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine). Returning people to work is often more challenging when addiction is driving mental–health issues, or preventing long–term recovery from an injury or illness. In this webinar, occupational health experts will present a brief scope of the problem, an outline of evidence–based treatment options, mental health considerations, and case studies. Learn more and register HERE.

 

 

September 16, 2022

In Person! At a Meeting of the First District Branch (FDB) of the Medical Society of the State of New York, Society leaders were glad to be in person with leadership of the five boroughs — shown from left to right: Past Society and MSSNY President William Rosenblatt, MD and President Erick Eiting, MD. Next is Society Trustee and President–Elect of the FDB, Paul N. Orloff. Past Society and MSSNY Presidents Malcolm D. Reid, MD and Stuart Orsher, MD, JD share a moment, as do Doctor Eiting and Past President Joshua M. Cohen, MD.

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We Share Our Opinion on Congestion Pricing and Health Care: New York County Medical Society is weighing in with testimony on the MTA’s proposed Central Business District (CBD) Tolling Program. The Society urges that there be an exemption for vulnerable patients as well as for healthcare workers. We believe the plan would burden the many hospital patients who come from throughout the five boroughs; the cost of their car (or cab) trips would go up, creating special problems for those who have disabilities or are immuno–compromised, and cannot reasonably use public transportation as an alternative. We also have concerns about equity, given the many people of color who often have to travel greater distances and often reside in more marginalized areas. Do we really want to penalize these patients for their extra difficulties?

We also have deep concerns that this plan might affect hospitals financially, and might cause them to lose needed employees. Key members of our teams, including doctors and nurses, often come to the hospital early and/or leave late, including weekends, when delays in public transportation are often greatest. Our fear is that healthcare workers might leave positions in our hospitals in favor of work environments that are more accessible, with commuting expenses that are more affordable.

What should be done? The proposal currently states that the toll prices might vary depending on the density of traffic, the time of day, and the particular location where the vehicle had entered the CBD; the question is, could those prices also vary with the type of traveler — perhaps identifying those who were recent hospital patients or had other urgent needs? We believe that an exemption for vulnerable patients, and for healthcare workers, is the best solution. For information about the program, go HERE.
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Need An Owner–Occupied Commercial Mortgage? Flushing Bank has a special offer for Society members. Society members seeking to refinance, or nearing contract to purchase, a Commercial Condo or COOP unit for their practices, should take advantage of this opportunity. The bank origination fee has been reduced from .5 point to .25 point, exclusively for Society members. There are two possibilities: 5.45 % 10–year term, 25–year amortization, .25 point bank origination fee; or 5.35% 5–year term, 25–year amortization, .25 point bank origination fee. Loan amounts can range from $1 million to $10 million. The full application and credit package need to be received by September 30, 2022, and the closing must take place by December 15, 2022. For information, call Denis Healy at (646) 923–9525, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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It’s Not Just Your Imagination: United Healthcare’s Modifier 25 really is delaying. When you submit an e–claim that contains Modifier 25, you receive an “edit,” which holds the claim for five days before it starts processing. That doesn’t make sense since Modifier 25’s sole purpose is to identify another CPT code on the claim that is separate and distinct from the E/M code. MSSNY’s Heather Lopez, Director of Physician Payment & Practice, has raised concerns with UHC over this issue, pointing out that the edit is ultimately a payment delay and proposing a “smart edit” that will not delay the claim but simply provide information. For more information, here is an article on modifier 25 from Physicians Practice. If you have questions about this or any other insurance concern, call Ms. Lopez at (518) 465–8085, ext. 332, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Is E/M Coding Wasting Staff Time: The AMA offers a new, free STEPS Forward® toolkit, Simplified Outpatient E/M Documentation and Coding, that can reduce workload and practice burdens. This toolkit has suggestions for how you can apply new time–saving E/M documentation and coding changes in just four steps. The AMA also offers free STEPS Forward® Private Practice Playbook highlights benefits and challenges of private practice. Check out this Watch a Brief Overview and then Download the Playbook.
Share with your residents!
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Job Opportunities with OPMC: The OPMC is recruiting retired physicians who are interested in contributing to physician peer review. Positions available include: (1) Executive Secretary to the Board for Professional Medical Conduct, (2) Medical Director (to perform quality assurance), and (3) Medical Director to the Physician Monitoring Program. Both full–time and part–time candidates will be considered. See the attached listings. For more information, call Lindsay DeMarco, (518) 486–1812, or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Wednesday, September 21, at 7:30 a.m.: CME Webinar, “Vaccines for Adults and Children,” with William Valenti, MD, chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Diseases Committee. Register now; you can also view the flyer for this “Medical Matters” webinar here. Global and U.S. studies have shown that during the COVID pandemic, routine vaccinations have declined for both children and adults. What are possible causes of this decline, and how can vaccine uptake and messaging be improved? This program’s educational objectives: Examine the decline in childhood and adult vaccines during the COVID–19 pandemic; outline childhood and adult vaccine and booster recommendations; and relate effective vaccine messaging priorities for pediatric, adolescent, and adult patients. For more information or help with registration, contact Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Wednesday, September 21, 2022, at 3:00 p.m.: The Doctors Company (TDC) invites you to attend a free CME webinar, “Teaching Quality and Safety to Reduce Patient Harm.” Hospitals and healthcare professionals still struggle with advancing their institutions’ safety and quality agenda, even though those issues have been a national focus for more than 20 years. This webinar will explore how best to teach the science of quality and safety throughout the entire continuum of education to reduce medical errors. The moderator will be David L. Feldman, MD, MBA, FACS, Chief Medical Officer of TDC Group; speakers will include Brijen J. Shah, MD, AGAF, Associate Dean for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety for Graduate Medical Education and Vice President of Medical Affairs for the Mount Sinai Hospital Health System; and James Bagian, MD, PE, a NASA astronaut for over 15 years and a veteran of two Space Shuttle missions. Dr. Bagian is known for bringing his systems safety insights from aerospace engineering into the patient safety arena. Topics will include: Defining the scope of what we are teaching; skills and attitudes; tools of reflection; independence vs. interdependence; integration into a “system”; and the C–suite response.
Register HERE.
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Wednesday, October 5, 2022, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.: Media Training 101 For Medical Professionals. Onondaga County invites you to attend this program. Onondaga Executive Director Julie Panna, with over 20 years strategic communications and media experience, will present tips on how to prepare for and successfully deliver your message during television interviews. This introductory session will also provide an overview on tips to address public policy issues during a media interview. Please RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by September 25, and you will receive confirmation of registration and the zoom link.
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Wednesday, October 19, Westchester Academy of Medicine 2022 Golf Outing & Fundraiser, at Westchester County Club, 99 Biltmore Avenue, Rye, NY 10580. Registration, driving range and halfway house lunch. Tee times begin at 12:00 noon. Cocktails 6:00 p.m.; dinner and raffles 7:00 p.m. Charge per individual for the full event: $600/person (dinner only $150/person). RSVP to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

September 9, 2022

Your Staff at Our New Offices! Cheryl, Sony, and Lisa are showing off our new offices. The New York County Medical Society is at 246 West 38th Street, Room 501, New York, NY 10018–9089. Our phone numbers, fax number and email addresses remain the same.
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Scam Alert: Beware of this scam — faxes are being sent to physician offices on behalf of CVS or other pharmacies requesting patient information, physician stamps, and signatures to complete prescriptions. In one case, the patient was called directly, after the physician’s office replied to the fax, and then was harassed for information. When the patient asked if this was a scam, the caller hung up. When the patient checked the Caller ID, it indicated that the call was coming from the doctor’s office number. The doctor never called. CVS was also called, and they had no knowledge of this request. Be aware.

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How Did We Do? 2022 NYS Legislative Report Card: MSSNY’s just–released Legislator Scorecard lets us check how each of our Manhattan legislators voted on seven bills we supported — A879/S8113 (Same Specialty Review By Health Plan), A1741/S5299 (Limits Copay Accumulators), A3276/S5909 (Limits Mental Health Step Therapy), A9687/S9079 (Protects Physicians Who Provide Reproductive Care), A10502/S9113 (Expands Red Flags & Background Checks), A6256/S5055 (Telehealth Payment Parity), and A9908/S8299 (Gold Card Bill). You can also check how our legislators voted on four bills we did not support — A6770/S74 (Wrongful Death Expansion), A3470C/S2521C (Facility Fee Disclosure), A273/S4640 (Opioid Prescribing Alternatives), and A6008–E/S9449 (Mental Health Counselors Diagnosis). For descriptions of the bills and a chart of our Manhattan legislators’ votes, go HERE.
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Reach Legislators Through MSSNYPAC: Please urge support the ongoing efforts of MSSNYPAC to make New York a more physician–friendly state! Contribute HERE.
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Check Out the Member Benefits: Attached find a list of member benefits. Keep them handy for you and your office staff.
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Join In and Talk About What’s Important. Join a Society Committee (virtually). Our committees bring our members together and provide a forum for all perspectives. Consider these committees:

— CME
— Diversity, Equality, Inclusiveness
— Employed Physicians
— Government Affairs
— Public Health
— Public Relations and Social Media
— Wellness
— Women’s Health

Just send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and tell us what sounds right for you.
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What We’re Telling Legislators: A New York County Medical Society resolution passed at the 2022 MSSNY House of Delegates focuses on removing one big expense of opening a medical practice. We are working to eliminate the requirement that a costly legal notice be published in print upon formation of a PLLC (professional limited liability company) or a partnership. NYCMS will be urging the bill’s sponsors to support it again in the next session so we can cut down on at least one unnecessary and outmoded expense for people starting a practice.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2022, at 3:00 p.m.: The Doctors Company (TDC) invites you to attend a free CME webinar, “Teaching Quality and Safety to Reduce Patient Harm.” Hospitals and healthcare professionals still struggle with advancing their institutions’ safety and quality agenda, even though those issues have been a national focus for more than 20 years. This webinar will explore how best to teach the science of quality and safety throughout the entire continuum of education to reduce medical errors. The moderator will be David L. Feldman, MD, MBA, FACS, Chief Medical Officer of TDC Group; speakers will include Brijen J. Shah, MD, AGAF, Associate Dean for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety for Graduate Medical Education and Vice President of Medical Affairs for the Mount Sinai Hospital Health System; and James Bagian, MD, PE, a NASA astronaut for over 15 years and a veteran of two Space Shuttle missions. Dr. Bagian is known for bringing his systems safety insights from aerospace engineering into the patient safety arena. Topics will include: Defining the scope of what we are teaching; skills and attitudes; tools of reflection; independence vs. interdependence; integration into a “system”; and the C–suite response.
Register HERE.
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More Events to Check Out!

Tuesday, September 13, 2022, at 12:00 noon: Update on Tecoviramat (“TPOXX”) for Treatment of Monkeypox: Join experts from the AMA, FDA and CDC for a discussion about tecovirimat, or TPOXX, for the treatment of monkeypox in infected individuals. The discussion will provide background on tecovirimat, including its current status, availability and access while the drug is under an investigational new drug application. A moderated question and answer session will be held at the end of the discussion to help address any confusion or misinformation about patient access to TPOXX. With host Sandra Fryhofer, MD, Chair, AMA Board of Trustees; and guests Adam Sherwat, MD, Deputy Director, Office of Infectious Disease at FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, and Brett W. Petersen, MD, MPH, Deputy Chief, Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, CDC’s Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology. Register now and submit your questions, at https://login.ama-assn.org/account/login.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 6:00 p.m.: MSSNY’s monthly open–agenda call with representatives from CMS and NGS (National Government Services) will help you get your questions answered. Join Heather Lopez, MSSNY’s Director of Physician Payment & Practice, for this interesting meeting, scheduled for the second Tuesday of each month. Members are encouraged to participate and open a direct communication line with policymakers who otherwise can be difficult to reach. Here’s a Zoom link that will work at every meeting: https://cms.zoomgov.com/j/1601009631?pwd=WEZnZXJ0eEN5QzNlK1JkWG9IZEcxZz09

Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 8:00 p.m.: NYP Queens is offering “An Update on PSA Screening for Early Detection of Prostate Cancer,” a CME webinar with David Green, MD, who is Associate Chief at NYPQ Urology and Assistant Professor of Clinical Urology at Weill Cornell Medical College. The information in this webinar will be consistent with national clinical guidelines, and will cover: Prevention and detection of prostate cancer, screening modalities, and risks for prostate cancer. Register at: Webinar Registration - Zoom

Thursday, September 15, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.: Kings County Legislative Day. The Executive Committee of the Medical Society of the County of Kings and the Board of Trustees of the Academy of Medicine of Brooklyn invite you to participate in our 2022 Legislative Day during our Bicentennial Year Celebrations. Location: Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. RSVP by Sunday, September 11, to Joselin Lajara, MSCK Executive Director: (718) 745–5800 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. New York State COVID regulation is strictly enforced. Proof of COVID vaccination or negative test 48 hours prior is required.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.: Media Training 101 For Medical Professionals. Onondaga County invites you to attend this program. Onondaga Executive Director Julie Panna, with over 20 years strategic communications and media experience, will present tips on how to prepare for and successfully deliver your message during television interviews. This introductory session will also provide an overview on tips to address public policy issues during a media interview. Please RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by September 25, and you will receive confirmation of registration and the zoom link.

Wednesday, October 19: Westchester Academy of Medicine is holding its 2022 Golf Outing & Fundraiser, at Westchester County Club, 99 Biltmore Avenue, Rye, NY 10580. Registration, driving range and halfway house lunch: Tee times begin at 12:00 noon. Cocktails 6:00 p.m.; dinner and raffles 7:00 p.m. Charge per individual for the full event: $600/person (dinner only, $150/person). Please RSVP to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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You Can Still Get Your NYCMS Parking Card: One of the unique services offered to you as a Society member is access to the Society’s parking renewal program and the “Doctor–on–Medical Call” card. This is still a good month for you to renew; the new card is valid from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023. To order your card, send your check for $50.00, made payable to the New York County Medical Society, and this FORM to: Parking Renewal Program, New York Medical Society, 246 West 38 Street, Suite 501, New York, NY 10018. If you have questions, call (212) 684-4698.

 

September 2, 2022

 

Don’t Forget to Note New Address for The New York County Medical Society: We’re now at 246 West 38th Street, Room 501, New York, NY 10018–9089. Our phone numbers, fax number and email addresses remain the same.

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Masks in Private Physicians’ Offices? It’s true that masks may now be less needed in general public settings; there is a medium risk of community infection in New York County, and the CDC has said that the fairly widespread immunity in the U.S., “combined with the availability of tests and treatments, has greatly reduced the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID–19 for many people.” (See https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html.) However, healthcare settings are different. The New York State Health Department has not rescinded its requirement for healthcare workers to wear masks in long–term care facilities, hospitals, and all Article 28 facilities. Requiring masks in private offices continues to be sound public health and infection control policy. Obviously, a private practice is not going to want to expose its employees and physicians to COVID; plus, there is the special concern of immunosuppressed patients, who would be exposed to other patients and workers.
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Health Care Workers Bonus Program and Private Practice: In August, when the New York State Department of Health (DOH) announced a new program of COVID–Benefit pay (designed to support recruitment and retention), it said that participation was required in Article 28 facilities and other settings with at least 20% Medicaid patients, but it didn’t include physician practices. However, now physician practices will definitely be included if they meet the requirements for Medicaid patient population. For general information on the program, go to Health Care and Mental Hygiene Worker Bonus program. For a DOH FAQ with details about how the employer is to proceed, go here.
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Yankees Healthcare Worker Ticket Discount: The New York Yankees are offering a discount to healthcare workers for the final homestand before the playoffs. Watch the Yankees fend off the AL East rivals, the Baltimore Orioles, from Wild Card contention, and create lifelong memories here.
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Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 6:00 p.m.: MSSNY’s monthly open–agenda call with representatives from CMS and NGS (National Government Services) will help you get your questions answered. Join Heather Lopez, MSSNY’s Director of Physician Payment & Practice, for this interesting meeting, scheduled for the second Tuesday of each month. Members are encouraged to participate and open a direct communication line with policymakers who otherwise can be difficult to reach. Here’s a Zoom link that will work at every meeting: https://cms.zoomgov.com/j/1601009631?pwd=WEZnZXJ0eEN5QzNlK1JkWG9IZEcxZz09.
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Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 8:00 p.m.: NYP Queens is offering “An Update on PSA Screening for Early Detection of Prostate Cancer,” a CME webinar with David Green, MD, who is Associate Chief at NYPQ Urology and Assistant Professor of Clinical Urology at Weill Cornell Medical College. The information in this webinar will be consistent with national clinical guidelines, and will cover: Prevention and detection of prostate cancer, screening modalities, and risks for prostate cancer. Register at: Webinar Registration - Zoom
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Thursday, September 15, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.: Kings County Legislative Day. The Executive Committee of the Medical Society of the County of Kings and the Board of Trustees of the Academy of Medicine of Brooklyn invite you to participate in our 2022 Legislative Day during our Bicentennial Year Celebrations. Location: Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. RSVP by Sunday, September 11, to Joselin Lajara, MSCK Executive Director: (718) 745–5800 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. New York State COVID regulation is strictly enforced. Proof of COVID vaccination or negative test 48 hours prior is required.
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You Can Still Get Your NYCMS Parking Card: One of the unique services offered to you as a Society member is access to the Society’s parking renewal program and the “Doctor–on–Medical Call” card. This is still a good month for you to renew; the new card is valid from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023. To order your card, send your check for $50.00, made payable to the New York County Medical Society, and this FORM to: Parking Renewal Program, New York Medical Society, 246 West 38 Street, Suite 501, New York, NY 10018. If you have questions, call (212) 684-4698.

 

 

August 26, 2022

 

New Address for The New York County Medical Society: We’re now at 246 West 38th Street, Room 501, New York, NY 10018–9089. Our phone numbers, fax number and email addresses remain the same. Look for Before and After photos on our Instagram account.
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Tell Congress: We need to tell Congress to prevent the 8% Medicare storm that is coming if Congress does not take action by the end of the year. You can send an instant message from: Physician Medicare payment cuts. In addition, ask them to vote for H.R. 8487, the Seniors' Timely Access to Care Act — an important prior authorization bill. This bill would require Medicare Advantage plans to adopt transparent prior authorization programs that adhere to evidence–based medical guidelines, and hold plans accountable for making timely prior authorization determinations, and for providing rationales for denials. Please send an instant message from Prior Authorization.
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Job Opportunity for a Public Health Physician: The New York State Department of Health is seeking a NYS–licensed, board–certified physician to serve as the Medical Director for the OPMC’s Physician Monitoring Program. This interesting role would include working with the Committee for Physicians’ Health, the Impaired Physicians Program, the Physician Retraining Program, and much more. Contact Lindsay DeMarco: (518) 486–1812, or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. (See attachment.)
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New CPT Codes for Monkeypox: There are two new codes for vaccines, describing the two currently available smallpox and monkeypox virus products. The first code, 90622, describes the existing FDA–approved ACAM2000 vaccine (Sanofi Pasteur), for active immunization against smallpox [–type] disease for persons determined to be at high risk for smallpox infection. (This vaccine has been made available for the prevention of monkeypox disease under an Expanded Access Investigational New Drug application). The second code, 90611, describes the FDA–approved JYNNEOS vaccine (Bavarian Nordic,) for prevention of smallpox and monkeypox disease in adults 18 years or age and older at high risk for smallpox or monkeypox infection. There’s also a new code for lab tests, 87593 — infectious agent detection by nucleic acid (DNA or RNA). For more information, go HERE.
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Is Your Office Having Difficulties with Medical Records Requests from United/Optum? Has United/Optum denied claims (while requesting medical records), and then alleged that the records were never received? If so, please get in touch with Heather Lopez today. MSSNY is working on a unique project to get to the bottom of this issue. In some cases, offices will send the records multiple times only to have the insurer respond with a recoupment demand, claiming that records are missing. This insurer ploy is time–consuming and cumbersome and needs to stop. To be a part of this project, contact Heather Lopez to work on getting your examples reviewed. For this and other practice help, including practice management, CPT/ICD10 coding, contract negotiation, billing, insurance barriers, and reimbursement methodology, contact Heather Call (518) 465–8085, ext. 332, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Beware of Tempting Telemedicine Company Offers: The Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has published a Special Fraud Alert regarding schemes by telemedicine companies, in which they use kickbacks to aggressively recruit and reward practitioners for their participation. “In many of these arrangements,” the Alert says, “telemedicine companies pay practitioners in exchange for ordering or prescribing items or services: (1) for purported patients with whom the practitioners have limited, if any, interaction; and (2) without regard to medical necessity. Such payments are sometimes described as payment per review, audit, consult, or assessment of medical charts.” You can view the Alert HERE.
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New Law on Sudden Unexpected Death Due to Epilepsy (SUDEP): Governor Hochul has signed into law a bill (S.67–A/A.3298–A) requiring that these patients be given written materials about the risk of SUDEP. The law will be applicable on or about October 15. MSSNY and the New York State Neurological Society (NYSNS), concerned about this practice mandate, fought for and secured important changes in the legislation’s final version: Emergency care is now exempt, the patient cohort is narrower, penalties have been eliminated for any initial, non–willful violation of the requirement, and the patient materials are to be developed by nonprofit organizations with expertise in neurology and epilepsy. (MSSNY and the Neurological Society will work with the New York State Department of Health on the materials.)
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Thursday, September 15, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.: Kings County Legislative Day. The Executive Committee of the Medical Society of the County of Kings and the Board of Trustees of the Academy of Medicine of Brooklyn invite you to participate in our 2022 Legislative Day during our Bicentennial Year Celebrations. Location: Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. RSVP by Sunday, September 11, to Joselin Lajara, MSCK Executive Director: (718) 745–5800 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. New York State COVID regulation is strictly enforced. Proof of COVID vaccination or negative test 48 hours prior is required.
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You Can Still Get Your NYCMS Parking Card: One of the unique services offered to you as a Society member is access to the Society’s parking renewal program and the “Doctor–on–Medical Call” card. This is still a good month for you to renew; the new card is valid from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023. To order your card, send your check for $50.00, made payable to the New York County Medical Society, and this FORM to: Parking Renewal Program, New York Medical Society, 246 West 38 Street, Suite 501, New York, NY 10018. If you have questions, call (212) 684-4698.
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IMG looking for Scholarly, Research and Volunteer Opportunities in Psychiatry: IMG from the Philippines is looking for observership, scholarly, and volunteer opportunities in psychiatry. If you can help, contact Kate Navarro at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

August 19, 2022

 

We’re On the Move: The Society will be in new quarters as of August 24, 2022. Look for us at 246 West 38 Street, Ste. 501, New York, NY 10018–9089. Same phone numbers and same e–mails. See you down the street . . . .
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You Can Still Get Your NYCMS Parking Card: One of the unique services offered to you as a Society member is access to the Society’s parking renewal program and the “Doctor–on–Medical Call” card. This is still a good month for you to renew; the new card is valid from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023. To order your card, send your check for $50.00, made payable to the New York County Medical Society, and this FORM to: Parking Renewal Program, New York Medical Society, 246 West 38 Street, Suite 501, New York, NY 10018. If you have questions, call (212) 684-4698.
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New COVID–19 Recommendations from the CDC: The CDC has recently eased some of its recommendations for battling COVID–19, putting more of the responsibility for limiting viral spread on individuals (rather than on schools, businesses and other institutions). The CDC’s focus is now on highly vulnerable populations and how to protect them, rather than on the majority of people who have some immunity against the virus and are unlikely to become severely ill. The new guidelines say: Regardless of their vaccination status, those exposed to the virus no longer need to quarantine at home, although they should wear a mask for 10 days and get tested for the virus on day 5. If you test negative, continue taking precautions through day 10. If you test positive, isolate immediately. Check out what the CDC says HERE.
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New Recommendations Regarding At–Home Antigen Tests: Once the infection has started, the viral load goes up over time; so, to avoid false negatives, the FDA recommends repeat testing following a negative result whether or not you have COVID–19 symptoms. Asymptomatic people should take at least three tests, each 48 hours apart, and people with symptoms should take at least two tests, 48 hours apart. (If the result is positive, recommendations have not changed: Isolate at home at least five days, and keep distant from other people in the household.) Find out more HERE.
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Keep Pushing Congress to Prevent Steep Medicare Cuts: Send a letter now — just click on Be Heard | Physicians Grassroots Network. Because of provisions due to expire at the end of this year, physicians face an over 8% cut in their Medicare payments for 2023 unless Congress again takes action. Late last year, MSSNY, the AMA and state and specialty societies persuaded Congress to delay a “perfect storm” of payment cuts that would have totaled 10%. Now, the struggle begins again. Before 2022 ends, we are asking Congress to do the following: Extend last year’s 3% temporary increase in the physician fee schedule; provide relief for a planned, additional 2023 budget neutrality cut (1.5%); end the statutory annual freeze; provide an inflation–based update for the coming year; and waive the 4% sequester that’s required due to the other, non–Medicare-related legislation.
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Don’t Forget NYS Pain Management Course Requirement Every Three Years: New York State requires every DEA–licensed prescriber to take a three–hour continuing medical education (CME) program in Pain Management, Palliative Care, and Addiction medicine every three years. MSSNY provides this course to members, free of charge. You can access and complete this course for FREE through your MSSNY membership.
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Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September: The AMA is offering two webinars on this suicide: “Addressing Adult Suicidal Ideation in the Primary Care Setting” (Monday, September 1, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time) will be a prerecorded session on how primary care practices can address suicidal ideation within their adult patient population. (REGISTER NOW.) “Dismantling Stigma for All: Addressing Physician and Patient Mental Health and Suicide Risk” (Monday, Sept. 8, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time) will be a live, interactive forum. Attendees will be able to talk with professionals with suicidal ideation expertise, and with physicians who have their own lived experience, about coping with the stigma and seeking mental health treatment. (REGISTER NOW.)

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Healthcare Worker Bonus (HWB) Program Town Hall Stakeholder Webinar: Thanks to efforts by organized medicine in New York State, medical residents and fellows are included as qualified healthcare workers for the New York State Healthcare Worker Bonus program. Learn about the program HERE. The qualifying resident/fellow must work for a qualified employer, be in an eligible title listed, and receive an annual base salary of $125,000 or less (excluding any bonus or overtime pay paid by the employer). There are other qualifications too. There is also an email address (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and call center at (866) 682–0077. Review the Frequently Asked Questions regarding the HWB Program for the latest information.
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IMG looking for Scholarly, Research and Volunteer Opportunities in Psychiatry: IMG from the Philippines is looking for observership, scholarly, and volunteer opportunities in psychiatry. If you can help, contact Kate Navarro at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

August 12, 2022

 

Practice difficulties:  The AMA is planning a strategy to “strengthen our physician workforce, recover from the trauma of this pandemic, and improve health care delivery by eliminating some of the most common pain points that threaten to drive physicians from practice.”  In the attached “RecovPlan,” the AMA says it will work to support telehealth, stop “scope creep,” ease prior authorization obstacles, reduce physician burnout - and reform the Medicare payment system, which desperately needs improvement.  “Taking inflation in practice costs into account, Medicare physician payment plunged 20% from 2001 to 2021”; CMS’s current Medicare fee schedule proposal could “undermine the long-term sustainability of physician practices.”  The current payment system is particularly unfair in that although “other Medicare providers benefit from built-in updates (such as a medical economic index or an inflationary growth factor) that help offset increases in the cost of providing services, no such offset exists for physicians.”  Read more in the attached “AMA Medicare Issues.”   

 

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Urge Governor Hochul to sign managed care reform bills into law!  We need her help with insurance barriers and hassles.  The first of these reform bills, A.879/S.8113, would require that insurer employees who make medical necessity determinations be qualified to make those decisions – that they be board-certified or board eligible in the same or similar specialty, and have a New York license to practice medicine.  Please send an instant message – just click on contact.  To learn more, read this excellent Newsday editorial.  Also, MSSNY is looking for physicians’ examples and stories about the impact on patients whose care has been delayed or denied, because of a clinical review conducted by a physician or other insurer employee who was not trained, experienced or board-certified in the relevant specialty.  Please help provide the Governor with additional information – take this brief survey on how these problems affect access to care. 

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The second managed care bill, A1741-A/S.5299-A, would help patients by ending “co-pay accumulator” rules – a ploy whereby the insurer declines to let any payment (such as an assistance coupon) that a third party sends directly to the plan, count towards the patient’s maximum out-of-pocket limit.  These rules can create special problems for patients who have high deductibles or copays. Please take a moment to send the Governor a letter.   The third bill, A.3276/S.5909, would ban insurance companies from applying step therapy (“fail first”) protocols to mental-health medications.  Please send Governor Hochul a letter about this measure too – it would help decrease unnecessary and time-consuming pre-authorization burdens.

 

 

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New Health Care Workers Bonus Pool is designed to support recruitment and retention:   New York State has now launched its $1.3 billion Health Care and Mental Hygiene Worker Bonus program – and, thanks to advocacy by MSSNY, specialty societies and medical residents, eligibility for these bonuses will include medical residents and fellows.  Bonuses for up to $3,000 per employee will be awarded to eligible workers who make less than $125,000 annually and remain in their positions for at least 6 months.  Employers required to participate will include not only Article 28 facilities, but also certain other providers with at least 20% Medicaid patients.  This last category may possibly include certain physician practices; MSSNY is asking the DOH how a particular practice will be able to determine whether it is required to participate.  For more information on this program, including a very helpful DOH FAQ with details about how the employer is to proceed, go here.

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The AMA’s STEPS Forward® program has podcasts that may interest you.  Episode 29, “Electronic Health Record Optimization,” tells how eliminating unnecessary EHR clicks can decrease physician burnout and free up care teams to focus on patient care. To hear this speaker (Dr. Daniel Dunham, Chairman of Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital), LISTEN HERE: (Apple Podcasts | Spotify).  Episode 30, “Small Interventions Matter,” tells how you can minimize unnecessary patient transfers using digital technology, and how small interventions can lead to big improvements. To hear this speaker (Dr. Alfred Atanda, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and Director of Clinician Well-Being at Nemours Children’s Hospital), LISTEN HERE: (Apple Podcasts | Spotify). 

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August 16, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: CME Webinar, “Monkeypox: An Evolving Story.” Register now. Monkeypox has been spreading globally in non-endemic countries. Learn more about this outbreak from William Valenti, MD, chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Diseases Committee, and New York County Medical Society President Erick Eiting, MD, MPH, co–chair of MSSNY’s Health Equity Committee. Educational objectives: To identify monkeypox epidemiology and its presentation; to outline testing, treatment and vaccine options for monkeypox; to discuss New York State and New York City guidelines. Contact Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for additional information or assistance with registration.

 

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August 16, 17, 18:  NGS (National Government Services) is offering webinars on chronic care management (CCM) services - non-face-to-face services to Medicare beneficiaries who have multiple (two or more) chronic conditions expected to last at least 12 months, or until the death of the patient.  According to Center for Disease Control (CDC), six in ten adults in the U.S. have a chronic disease, and four in ten adults have two or more.  The NGS webinars, most of which are one hour long, discuss specific CCM services and how you can bill them properly.  Topics include Cognitive Assessment, Transitional Care Management, Advanced Care Planning, Behavioral Health Integration, the comprehensive care plan, and more.  To see the full list of webinars and to register, click on:  National Government Services: Raising Awareness about Care Management.  You can sign up for as many sessions as you wish; simply click on each session you’re interested in, and complete the registration form for that session. 

 

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September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.  The AMA is offering two webinars on this topic.  “Addressing Adult Suicidal Ideation in the Primary Care Setting” (Monday, September 1, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time) will be a prerecorded session on how primary care practices can address suicidal ideation within their adult patient population.  (REGISTER NOW.) “Dismantling Stigma for All: Addressing Physician and Patient Mental Health and Suicide Risk” (Monday, Sept. 8, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time) will be a live, interactive forum:  Attendees will be able to talk with professionals with suicidal ideation expertise, and with physicians who have their own lived experience, about coping with the stigma and seeking mental health treatment.  (REGISTER NOW.)

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September 21 and 22, 2022, Mount Sinai Health System will be offering a two-day virtual conference, “The Next Stage in Hepatitis C and Drug User Health Care: New Approaches for New York State Providers.” This free conference is for NYS providers including physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, certified nurse midwives, dentists and pharmacists. Registration will be available soon; meanwhile, if you need more information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

August 5, 2022

The Biden administration has declared a public health emergency (PHE) for monkeypox, and now we hope the FDA will quickly ease protocols for trying the antiviral TPOXX (tecovirimat) with an individual patient.  Currently, the provider must get special approval from the CDC, requiring hours of paperwork plus a one- or two-day wait while the drug is delivered.  Said NYCMS President Erick Eiting, MD, who is vice chair of operations for emergency medicine at Mount Sinai Downtown, “There have been times when I've seen patients where I wish that there weren't these barriers in place and that I could just give them the medication.”  Read more at NY doctors, legislators call on Biden to make monkeypox drug TPOXX easier to access - Gothamist

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The wrongful death bill continues to be of great concern.  Says MSSNY President Parag Mehta, MD:  “As New York physicians, we are facing an unprecedented crisis with the possibility of an increase in malpractice premiums by 40%. The wrongful death lawsuit expansion bill that was passed by the legislature and will be considered by Governor Hochul will affect all businesses, municipalities, hospitals, and physicians—and it will cripple the entire healthcare system of New York. It will disproportionately impact safety-net hospitals and underserved communities, creating a further chasm in disparity. Businesses will leave NY or go out of business, and those who remain will face no choice but to pass on the increased cost of care to consumers. As we all know, healthcare does not have the option to pass on increased costs. To address this crisis we must stay united and engaged, and communicate effectively. Please urge Governor Hochul to veto S.74-A/A.6770 here.

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And, please contact your Members of Congress to prevent steep Medicare cuts for 2023.  Due to a series of provisions that will expire at the end of 2022, physicians face an over 8% cut in their 2023 Medicare payments unless the U.S. Congress again acts to prevent these cuts.  Send a message by clicking on Be Heard | Physicians Grassroots Network.  Late last year, we persuaded Congress to delay a “perfect storm” of Medicare payment cuts totaling 10%.  Now, we are asking Congress to take these steps:  Extend the Congressionally enacted 3% temporary increase in the Medicare physician fee schedule; provide relief for an additional 1.5% budget-neutrality cut, planned for 2023; end the statutory annual freeze and provide an inflation-based update for the coming year; and waive the 4% PAYGO sequester necessitated by passage of legislation unrelated to Medicare.  Clearly, Congress must work with the physician community to develop long-term solutions to the Medicare physician payment system’s systemic problems, but meanwhile, policymakers need to address the immediate problem.

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AMA offers helps for private practice: 

 Private Practice Playbook:  This new, free addition to the AMA’s list of STEPS Forward® resources helps physicians determine whether opening a private practice is the right move for them.  The Playbook includes guidelines for running a private practice, and strategies for growing a practice into a successful healthcare facility. LEARN MORE, and then DOWNLOAD THE PLAYBOOK.

AMA Private Practice Simple Solutions:  This series of rapid learning cycles, designed to increase efficiency in your private practice, is free and open to all. Each 8-week learning session focuses on one topic area; busy physicians can access pre-recorded content at a pace that works best for them. LEARN MORE.

Documenting time for each task during outpatient visits:  This item, the most recent addition to the AMA’s Debunking Regulatory Myths Series, focuses on the outpatient visit and the question of whether physicians must really document the time spent on each specific task. LEARN MORE HERE. 

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August 9, 2022, 6:00 p.m.:  MSSNY’s Monthly Open-Agenda Call With CMS and NGS: As a member, you will be able to connect with experts at Medicare and National Government Services to get your questions answered. Join Heather Lopez, MSSNY’s Director of Physician Payment & Practice, an expert in practice management, billing, and reimbursement, for this interesting meeting, scheduled for the second Tuesday of each month. Members are encouraged to participate and open a direct communication line with policymakers who otherwise can be difficult to reach. Here’s a Zoom link that will work at every meeting: https://cms.zoomgov.com/j/1601009631?pwd=WEZnZXJ0eEN5QzNlK1JkWG9IZEcxZz09.

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Would you like to file a complaint about an insurance problem?  If you’ve exhausted your avenues with claim appeals and are wondering which government regulatory agency is the appropriate one for you to submit to, check this tool, which will help you identify the agency. If you have questions about this or any other insurance concern, contact Heather Lopez, at 518.465.8085 X332, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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August 16, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: CME Webinar, “Monkeypox: An Evolving Story.” Register now. Monkeypox has been spreading globally in non-endemic countries. Learn more about this outbreak from William Valenti, MD, chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Diseases Committee, and New York County Medical Society President Erick Eiting, MD, MPH, co–chair of MSSNY’s Health Equity Committee. Educational objectives: To identify monkeypox epidemiology and its presentation; to outline testing, treatment and vaccine options for monkeypox; to discuss New York State and New York City guidelines. Contact Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for additional information or assistance with registration.

September 21 and 22, 2022, Mount Sinai Health System will be offering a two-day virtual conference, “The Next Stage in Hepatitis C and Drug User Health Care: New Approaches for New York State Providers.” This free conference is for NYS providers including physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, certified nurse midwives, dentists and pharmacists. Registration will be available soon; meanwhile, if you need more information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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September 23, 2022, at 7:00 p.m.:  Young Physicians/Residents will host a Social Meet Up at Cooper Bluff Waterfront Bar, Oyster Bay Marine Center, 5 Bay Avenue, Oyster Bay, NY 11771 (https://www.cooperbluff.com).  Meet and mingle, make contacts – enjoy the sounds of the Blue Roots band.  Don’t miss it!  This is an informal event – drinks and food are on your own.  For more info/RSVP, contact Kathy Rohrer at:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 516-488-6100 x 396.  

 

 

 

July 29, 2022

Urge Governor to Help Lower Insurance Barriers: MSSNY and 30 patient advocacy organizations are asking Governor Kathy Hochul to sign A.879/S.8113, which would prohibit an insurer from denying a claim or pre–approval request unless the reviewing physician was board–certified or board eligible in the same or similar specialty as the physician recommending the treatment or managing the condition. The reviewing physician would also have to have a New York license to practice medicine. Send the Governor your own instant message: Click on Require Health Insurers to Use Appropriately Trained Reviewers (p2a.co). You can also help MSSNY gather evidence to show the impact on patients who have been delayed or denied care because of a health plan’s clinical review performed by a physician outside the specialty area of care. Take this quick survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RGXTCWT)
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Ask the Governor to Sign This Legislation:

1741–A/S.5299–A would bar insurers from preventing patients from using co–pay cards or coupons to help meet their often enormous deductibles. Click on: End Copay Accumulators (p2a.co)

3276/S.5909 would prevent insurers from imposing step therapy or “fail first” protocols on prescription drugs for mental health conditions. Click on: Urge Governor to Sign A.3276/S.5909 (p2a.co)
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CMS Releases Proposed Final Rule for the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule:
The proposed final rule for the Medicare Fee Schedule has a proposed cut of 8% which includes a $1.53 conversion factor decrease, lowering the 2023 conversion factor to $33.08 — plus a separate decrease mandated by PAYGO (“pay as you go”), the budget rule that requires that tax cuts and increases in mandatory spending be offset by tax increases or decreases in mandatory spending. Congress had temporarily boosted physician reimbursement by 3% to mitigate the impact of pandemic–related expenses, but that 3% increase has now expired. We anticipate a large–scale grassroots push by the AMA, the national specialty societies and the state medical associations to urge Congress to prevent these disastrous cuts.
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Prior Authorization Problems in the Spotlight: The AMA has sent the House Ways and Means Committee a letter supporting the bipartisan H.R. 8487 (the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2022), which would require Medicare Advantage plans to make faster prior authorization decisions. On the state level MSSNY and organizations representing consumers, health plans and hospitals have been working with New York State’s DFS (Department of Financial Services) concerning utilization review (UR) laws and best practices. The DFS has issued a Circular Letter reminding insurers that, at least yearly, they should consider eliminating “repeat” pre–authorizations, and should also consider eliminating requirements for services the insurer generally approves. Read the Administrative Simplification Workgroup report, on which the DFS’s Circular Letter is based.
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Mercer Now AMBA: The Society’s insurance broker, Mercer, has announced that its association business has been acquired by AMBA (Association Member Benefits Advisors). As part of the acquisition, Society insurance benefits will now be administered through AMBA — but the only change you will see is the AMBA name and logo appearing in materials regarding your benefits. The same health insurance broker team you know and trust will continue to serve you, and your benefits and services will continue without interruption. Just remember that Mercer is now AMBA. Use the same phone number as always to reach our endorsed insurance brokers, at (800) 888–6926, and tell them you are a Society member.
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AMA Offers Live Webinar, Tuesday, August 2, 2022, 1:00 p.m. EDT: Accelerating and Enhancing Behavioral Health Integration through Digitally Enabled Care. “Behavioral health” (BHI) is an umbrella term that includes mental health and substance abuse conditions, life stressors and crises, stress–related physical symptoms, and health behaviors. “Integrated behavioral health care” is a practice configuration that blends care in one setting for medical conditions and related behavioral health factors. This session discusses practical approaches for adopting BHI in a practice. REGISTER HERE.
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August 9, 2022, 6:00 p.m., MSSNY’s Monthly Open–Agenda Call With CMS and NGS: As a member, you will be able to connect with experts at Medicare and National Government Services to get your questions answered. Join Heather Lopez, MSSNY’s Director of Physician Payment & Practice, an expert in practice management, billing, and reimbursement, for this interesting meeting, scheduled for the second Tuesday of each month. Members are encouraged to participate and open a direct communication line with policymakers who otherwise can be difficult to reach. Here’s a Zoom link that will work at every meeting: https://cms.zoomgov.com/j/1601009631?pwd=WEZnZXJ0eEN5QzNlK1JkWG9IZEcxZz09.
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August 16, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: CME Webinar, “Monkeypox: An Evolving Story.” Register now. Monkeypox has been spreading globally in non–endemic countries. Learn more about this outbreak from William Valenti, MD, chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Diseases Committee, and New York County Medical Society President Erick Eiting, MD, MPH, co–chair of MSSNY’s Health Equity Committee. Educational objectives: To identify monkeypox epidemiology and its presentation; to outline testing, treatment and vaccine options for monkeypox; to discuss New York State and New York City guidelines. Contact Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for additional information or assistance with registration.
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September 21 and 22, 2022, Mount Sinai Health System will be offering a two–day virtual conference, “The Next Stage in Hepatitis C and Drug User Health Care: New Approaches for New York State Providers.” This free conference is for NYS providers including physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, certified nurse midwives, dentists and pharmacists. Registration will be available soon; meanwhile, if you need more information, please contact Lauren Walker.
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Useful Resources for Talking to Patients About Difficult Topics: There are tools to help doctors talk to patients about difficult topics.

COVID Conversations: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has launched a public health education campaign with a new Pediatricians and Family Physicians Toolkit HERE, designed to help physicians increase confidence in and uptake of COVID–19 vaccines among patients and in the community.

End–of–Life Decisions: Intensive care is a stressful environment in which team–family conflicts commonly occur. A recent study, How doctors manage conflicts with families of critically ill patients during conversations about end-of-life decisions in neonatal, pediatric, and adult intensive care (Intensive Care Med, 6/30, Spijkers), provides ideas on how physicians can adjust their communication strategies to fit the situation.

 

July 22, 2022

Take a Minute: Browse the NYCMS Classifieds — jobs, spaces, professional services. You never know what you’ll find at the Classifieds.
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Ask Governor Hochul to Veto Wrongful Death Bill: You can send an instant message to ask Governor Kathy Hochul to veto the Wrongful Death bill. Click on https://p2a.co/xhzKZZL. In a July 19, 2022, Op–Ed in the Albany Times Union, MSSNY President Parag Mehta, MD wrote:

“Not very long ago, New York’s physicians and other health care workers were cheered as heroes for their efforts to combat the COVID–19 pandemic. They risked their lives for their patients. They risked the lives of their loved ones as they provided this care. Many physicians were sickened, and some died. Countless physicians continue to wear the emotional scars from these overwhelming circumstances.

However, the cheers are long forgotten. Now the physicians of New York face a potential new disaster, due to a well-intentioned — but egregiously harmful — bill recently passed by the New York State Legislature. The recent legislation would exponentially increase the damages that are awardable under New York’s wrongful–death statute. One actuarial study concluded the increased damages and the new lawsuits this bill would trigger would increase liability insurance costs for New York’s doctors and hospitals by nearly 40 percent.”

You can read Dr. Mehta’s complete letter HERE.
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Prior Authorization Amicus Brief: MSSNY has joined AMA and two other state medical societies in an amicus brief on a prior authorization issue. Patient Kathleen Valentini was a patient who lost her leg and eventually her life, due to GHI prior authorization delays. (Memorial Sloan Kettering physicians said that if she had come to them a month sooner, oncologists could have proceeded with chemo alone.) The amicus brief offers an alternative “duty” argument — even though Valentini did not have a physician–patient relationship with GHI or eviCore (GHI’s utilization review company), eviCore’s website had indicated that the company would act on the patient’s behalf to make sure he or she would receive proper medical care. “Because eviCore held itself out as holding patients' interests paramount,” says the brief, “it owed Mrs. Valentini and other insureds a duty to prioritize their medical needs, not to set up roadblocks by scouring their insurance policies for loopholes under which the insurer could deny benefits. Its duty included the canonical healthcare obligation: First, do no harm.” If the Valentini family wins this case (expected to be heard in fall/winter 2022), insurers will be compelled to use greater care in rejecting or delaying payment for medical care through the prior authorization process, and will be held more accountable if their prior authorization processes have delayed or impeded diagnoses and treatment. Read more in the Medscape article, “Insurer Delays Prior Authorization, Patient Loses Leg and Pelvis, Then Dies.”
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Public Health Emergency Extended: The U.S. Public Health Emergency (PHE) has been extended through October 13, 2022. CDC data shows that more than half of the country's population lives in a county with a high COVID–19 Community Level, where the health care system is at risk of becoming overburdened and universal indoor masking is recommended. (The CDC categorizes Community Levels as low, medium, and high based on the number of COVID–19 cases in a given community, and the impact of severe disease on community–based healthcare systems.) Continuing the PHE supports wide access to free COVID–19 testing, therapeutic treatment and vaccines; without the PHE, a Biden administration official said, “We would be limited in our ability to provide broad and equitable access to lifesaving treatments through our ‘Test to Treat’ initiative, which relies on flexibility for telehealth and operations.” (Deirdre McPhillips, CNN Health, “COVID–19 Public Health Emergency Extended in the US,” CNN Health, July 15, 2022, at Covid-19 public health emergency extended in the US - CNN)
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Retired NYC Employees Continue to Fight for Traditional Medicare Coverage: “Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield has backed out of the city’s plan to privatize health insurance for 250,000 retired municipal workers . . . this decision is the latest installment in a battle involving the city, unions, retirees and other insurance providers to decide whether the city can switch municipal retirees from Medicare supplemental insurance plans to Medicare Advantage Plus plans. The city says making the switch could save as much as $600 million per year because the federal government would then cover retirees’ insurance. [But] the city did not provide BCBS with exact plan benefit details by the date requested. This timeline was important because delaying any further would not give retirees enough time to fully understand their options, benefits and coverage in advance of open enrollment prior to Jan. 1, 2023.” (Jacqueline Neber, “Empire Backs out of New York City’s Plan to Privatize Health Insurance for Retirees,” in Modern Healthcare, July 19, 2022, at (Empire BlueCross BlueShield backs out of NYC's plan to switch retirees to Medicare Advantage | Modern Healthcare)
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Free CME Webinar, Thursday, July 28, 2022, at 12:00 p.m.: The Doctors Company (TDC) invites you to “Engaging the C–Suite to Advance Safety and Quality.” Many hospitals and healthcare professionals have struggled to get senior managers’ commitment to advancing safety and quality in their institutions. This talk, part of TDC’s Leading Voices in Healthcare series, will discuss the role of the board of trustees, culture of ownership, structure around safety and quality, leadership versus management, and responsibility versus accountability. The session will be moderated by David Feldman, MD, TDC’s Chief Medical Officer, and will feature Rosanne Raso, DNP, Chief Nursing Officer for New York–Presbyterian’s Weill Cornell campus, and James Bagian, MD, founding Director of the Center for Risk Analysis Informed Decision Engineering and the Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety. Doctor Bagian, a NASA astronaut for over 15 years and a veteran of two Space Shuttle missions, is known for bringing systems safety insights from aerospace engineering into the patient safety arena. Register at https://registration.socio.events/e/csuite. For more information, contact Gladys Soupionis, (212) 891-0896, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
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Treating Workers' Comp Patients? Include These Items on Your Medical Reports: Make sure to include these items on your medical reports for Workers' Compensation patients. Otherwise, your notes will not meet the “lost wage benefits” threshold and you may not get paid. Your Medical Reports need to include:

Causality: You must state whether you believe the patient had become injured or ill while in the scope of employment or while performing duties related to the job, and what happened at work to make the patient injured or ill.

Work Status: You must indicate whether the patient is currently working.

Temporary Impairment: You must indicate the percentage (0 – 100%) of the patient’s temporary impairment due to the work–related injury or illness. This is also known as a degree of disability.

You can use the Workers’ Compensation Board’s Medical Narrative Template,
which has prominent fields for each element (to which you append your treatment notes). You also can use your own template or electronic medical record but make sure to incorporate the three elements and label them at the top of your medical narrative. For additional information, visit the Provider page of the Board’s website at wcb.ny.gov/provider/. If you have questions, contact the Board’s Medical Director’s Office by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or by phone at (800) 781–2362.
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In Memoriam

Richard D. Amelar, MD, died September 22, 2020. Doctor Amelar received his MD degree from New York University School of Medicine in 1950.

Joel Strom Archer, MD, died November 11, 2021. Doctor Archer received his MD degree from University of Lausanne School of Medicine in 1954.

Robert Bernot, MD, died February 19, 2021. Doctor Bernot received his MD degree from University of Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine in 1960.

Howard Raymond Brown, MD, died August 25, 2021. Doctor Brown received his MD degree from New York University School of Medicine in 1959.

Eric Jonathan Cassell, MD, died September 24, 2021. Doctor Cassell received his MD degree from New York University School of Medicine in 1954.

Frances Bernard Cohen, MD, died October 1, 2021. Doctor Cohen received her MD degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1975.

George Dermksian, MD, died January 14, 2021. Doctor Dermksian received his MD degree from Cornell University Medical College in 1954.

Joseph F. Dursi, MD, died February 6, 2022. Doctor Dursi received his MD degree from New York Medical College in 1959.

Robert J. Friedman, MD, died June 10, 2021. Doctor Friedman received his MD degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1978.

Selig M. Ginsburg, MD, died August 1, 2021. Doctor Ginsburg received his MD degree from Cornell University Medical College in 1950.

Robert S. Goldstein, MD, died August 16, 2021. Doctor Goldstein received his MD degree from New York Medical College in 1962.

Lawrence Horowitz, MD, died January 16, 2021. Doctor Horowitz received his MD degree from State University of New York Downstate in 1955.

Josef Emil Jelinek, MD, died December 15, 2021. Doctor Jelinek received his MD degree from University of London in 1951.

Bernard Kabakow, MD, died June 8, 2021. Doctor Kabakow received his MD degree from University of Vermont School of Medicine in 1953.

Gerald Harvey Klingon, MD, died October 31, 2021. Doctor Klingon received his MD degree from Cornell University Medical College in 1945.

Burton I. Korelitz, MD, died January 8, 2022. Doctor Korelitz received his MD degree from Boston University School of Medicine in 1951.

Naomi Leiter, MD, died May 25, 2021. Doctor Leiter received her MD degree from State University of New York, Buffalo in 1960.

Emanuel Leventhal, MD. Doctor Leventhal received his MD degree from State University of New York Downstate in 1953.

Martin Lipkin, MD. Doctor Lipkin received his MD degree from New York University School of Medicine in 1950.

Samuel H. Madell, MD, died June 2, 2021. Doctor Madell received his MD degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1951. He was a past president of New York County Medical Society, and past MSSNY Councilor.

Samuel S. Mandel, MD, died October 6, 2021. Doctor Mandel received his MD degree from Chicago Medical School in 1958.

Ivan Jay Meltzer, MD, died July 3, 2021. Doctor Meltzer received his MD degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1953.

Richard P. Orphanos, MD, died August 14, 2021. Doctor Orphanos received his MD degree from New York Medical College in 1959.

Hector Pachas, MD, died October 30, 2020. Doctor Pachas recived his MD degree from University Mayor San Marcos in 1959.

Jadwiga H. Pawloski, MD, died January 15, 2021. Doctor Pawloski received her MD degree from Jagiellonian Medical College in 1960.

Francis S. Perrone, MD, died August 14, 2021. Doctor Perrone received his MD degree from Cornell University Medical College in 1950.

J. H. Thomas Rambo, MD, died May 13, 2016. Doctor Rambo received his MD degree from Emory University School of Medicine in 1940.

Thomas Nelson Roberts, MD, died August 15, 2021. Doctor Roberts received his MD degree from Harvard Medical School in 1948.

Michael A. Rosenbluth, MD, died September 14, 2020. Doctor Rosenbluth received his MD degree from New York University School of Medicine in 1956.

Miguel Antonio Saez, MD, died January 14, 2021. Doctor Saez received his MD degree Universidad de Grenada, Spain in 1957.

George Satran, MD, died December 27, 2020. Doctor Satran received his MD degree from New York University School of Medicine in 1956.

Daniel Edward Schapiro, MD, died November 10, 2021. Doctor Schapiro received his MD degree from New York University School of Medicine in 1961.

Arthur Howard Schore, MD, died December 17, 2021. Doctor Schore received his MD degree from Chicago Medical School in 1965.

Ronald Earl Sherman, MD. Doctor Sherman received his MD degree from New York University in 1962.

Herman Steinberg, MD, died April 17, 2020. Doctor Steinberg received his MD degree from Albany Medical College in 1945.

Allen Michael Terdiman, MD. Doctor Terdiman received his MD degree from State University of New York Downstate in 1958.

Martin S. Tesher, MD, died April 27, 2020. Doctor Tesher received his MD degree from Queens University, Kingston, Canada in 1962.

Ann Ruth Turkel, MD. Doctor Turkel received her MD degree from Albany Medical College in 1952.

Aino Tuul, MD, died January 12, 2020. Doctor Tuul received his MD degree from De L’Univ De Tartu in 1942.

Franklin S. Ward, MD, died April 4, 2020. Doctor Ward received his MD degree from New York University School of Medicine in 1960.

Leonard Maurice Wolf, MD. Doctor Wolf received his MD degree from Queens University, Belfast in 1949.

 

July 8, 2022

Your Frustrations with Insurance: Just about every Society member has experienced insurer delays and denials with carriers. We all know how they waste staff time, ruin everyone’s mood, and threaten the bottom line! Luckily, there’s an excellent resource to whom members can turn: Heather Lopez, MSSNY’s Director of Physician Payment and Practice, (518) 465–8085, X332, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Heather’s expertise is included in the cost of your membership and is available to any member; she can help with practice management, CPT/ICD10 coding, contract negotiation, billing, insurance barriers and reimbursement methodology. She came to MSSNY after a long career in the St. Mary’s Hospital healthcare system, Amsterdam, New York, where she honed her skills in practice management, billing, reimbursement and administration. Recently, she successfully recouped a $5,936,939.42 insurance takeback for the practice of a MSSNY member. Contact Heather at (518) 465–8085, X332, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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For Your Medical Students: Monday, July 18, 2022, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EDT) attend the webinar, “Residency Application Process: What’s New for the 2022 – 2023 Cycle?” This presentation, part of the AMA’s “Innovations in Medical Education” series, will cover upcoming changes to the 2022 – 2023 residency application cycle. Many specialties have been innovating and implementing changes to improve residency selection, and to promote diversity, equity and belonging throughout the process. Approaches include: establishing standards for the interview offer and acceptance process, using standardized letters of evaluation, and expanding the use of program signaling. Many organizations continue to recommend virtual interviews, which were widely implemented in response to the COVID–19 pandemic. This webinar will enable viewers to recognize the challenges associated with the residency application process, describe changes to the 2022 – 2023 residency application process, and discuss these changes’ effects on residency applicants and programs. Register HERE.
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Thursday, July 19, at 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY is hosting a free webinar, titled “Introduction to Unconscious Bias for the Health Professions.” (Register now.) Presenter Penny Stern, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACOEM, will address these objectives: Understand the science of unconscious bias, and identify how bias and the processes of the unconscious mind can impact critical decisions; become aware of your own background and its impact on your perceptions, so you are better able to advocate for inclusion on your team; and apply new strategies for practicing conscious awareness individually and organizationally.
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MSSNY Podcast on Monkeypox: Doctor William Valenti, chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Diseases Committee, has recorded a podcast on the infectious outbreak that is currently spreading globally. Listen here to hear about this disease, and be sure to stay posted for more information.

 

July 1, 2022

Speeches from the Annual Meeting: The Annual Meeting featured talks from the incoming and outgoing president. New President Erick Eiting, MD, noted: “As I start my presidency, I would like to focus on three main areas: recognizing physicians as the heroes we are, building strategic partnerships, and advancing health equity. Two years ago, we were just winding down from the first wave of the COVID–19 pandemic. While New York City was not the first place to be impacted, we were clearly the epicenter. As an emergency physician encountering a new disease for which there was no play book, I remember having to answer difficult questions. How long can we re–use the same N95 mask if we can’t get any more? What do we do if we run out of ventilators? How can we tap into the skill set that is uniquely held by physicians to assist in a crisis, even if it means taking on roles beyond their traditional duties, where surgeons became hospitalists and cardiologists became intensivists.” Read more HERE.

In his remarks as he concluded his presidency, Keith LaScalea, MD, said:

“Over my time on the Board of the New York County Medical Society, I have had many feelings that have helped me to grow in this role and as a physician. As I conclude my Presidency, I would like to share some of them with you. I have been challenged. The forces impacting healthcare are myriad. No longer is the sanctity of the doctor–patient relationship the primary influence in our daily lives. I have witnessed you all, however, working to preserve this sacred tradition. We fought unjust pharmaceutical benefit manager programs; worked with our elected leaders to safeguard the interests of doctors and patients in a potential single payor healthcare system; developed resolutions to improve the public health (like making sure we don’t get run over by an electric bike when we exit this building) and worked against scope–creep that would endanger patient safety. We continue to work towards common ground on the even bigger issue at the interface of public health and gun control. We are also helping to preserve a woman’s right to choose — an issue that should never by dictated by anyone outside her clinical realm.” Read more HERE.
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Position on Women’s Health: The New York County Medical Society has issued the following statement on Women’s Health:

On behalf of our members and our patients, the New York County Medical Society will continue its advocacy to support women’s rights, oppose the intrusion of government into medical practice, and protect all physicians from the criminalization of quality, evidence–based medical care.
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Our Legislative Battles Are Not Over: On Governor Kathy Hochul’s desk is a bill that could affect physicians’ finances, by greatly increasing medical liability premiums by over 30%. Please urge her to veto it the bill by clicking on Reject Expansion of Liability (p2a.co). This destabilizing bill (S.74–A/A.6770) would expand the types of damages awardable in a wrongful death action, to include compensation for grief or anguish, the loss of love and companionship, loss of services and support, and the loss of nurture and guidance. It was passed over the strenuous opposition of many groups, including MSSNY, specialty societies, hospital associations, FQHCs (federally qualified health centers), the Business Council of New York, medical liability insurers, property & casualty insurers, The New York State Association of Counties and the New York Conference of Mayors. We believe that legislation like this should only be considered as part of a comprehensive effort to address New York’s excessive liability costs. Some advocates claim that over 40 states have laws that permit recoveries similar to what is proposed in this legislation, but they do not mention that most of these other states have adopted provisions to contain excessive medical liability insurance costs, including limits on damages. New York has no such law, which is why our medical liability insurance and payout costs far exceed every other state in the country.
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Integrated Behavioral Health Care (BHI) Initiative: Integrated Behavioral HealthCare is a way of configuring a medical practice that provides care for medical conditions and related behavioral health factors in one setting. The BHI Collaborative, a partnership between the AMA and seven other leading physician organizations, is launching a new, free initiative — The BHI Immersion Program — to help physician practices implement this new approach. Why not learn more and apply to see if your practice qualifies? The application process closes on Friday, August 5th. At no cost, selected practices will participate in a 12–month curriculum preparing them to:

• Identify the approaches for delivering integrated care that are best for their practice and patients, including telehealth;

• Determine internal staffing needs and needs for outside partnerships;

• Design workflow(s) with processes and protocols;

• Bill and receive payment to sustain delivery of integrated care services; and

• Establish short– and long–term goals, including measurable improvement targets and indicators.
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Workers’ Compensation Latest: You’re now required to use the CMS-1500 form for all WC billing. This new process will streamline billing and reduce paperwork. (Note: In the medical narrative attachment, be sure to include the injured worker’s temporary impairment percentage and work status, and the causal relationship of the injury; use the Board’s new Medical Narrative Template.) Electronic submission is not required, but it’s strongly encouraged: Payment arrives faster, you get 7–day confirmation that the payer has accepted or rejected the bill, and technical errors are quickly identified so that you can correct bills and resubmit them. You’ve probably signed up to use the Medical Portal already, but if not, be sure to register now so as to take advantage of all the portal’s online services, including registering for electronic submission. Instructions for registering for the Medical Portal HERE.
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For Your Medical Students: Monday, July 18, 2022, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EDT) attend the webinar, “Residency Application Process: What’s New for the 2022 – 2023 Cycle?” This presentation, part of the AMA’s “Innovations in Medical Education” series, will cover upcoming changes to the 2022 – 2023 residency application cycle. Many specialties have been innovating and implementing changes to improve residency selection, and to promote diversity, equity and belonging throughout the process. Approaches include: establishing standards for the interview offer and acceptance process, using standardized letters of evaluation, and expanding the use of program signaling. Many organizations continue to recommend virtual interviews, which were widely implemented in response to the COVID–19 pandemic. This webinar will enable viewers to recognize the challenges associated with the residency application process, describe changes to the 2022 – 2023 residency application process, and discuss these changes’ effects on residency applicants and programs.
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Financial Planning Educational Seminar for Physicians and Medical Professionals: Wednesday, September 14, 7:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. on Zoom and available for replay. Wharton Wealth Planning. Review some favorite retirement savings and personal finance strategies for physicians and medical professionals. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the Zoom link.
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MSSNY Podcast on Monkeypox: Doctor William Valenti, chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Diseases Committee, has recorded a podcast on the infectious outbreak that is currently spreading globally. Listen here to hear about this disease, and be sure to stay posted for more information.

 

June 24, 2022

Romayne Award Presented to Marlin Mattson, MD: Marlin Mattson, MD, Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College, was presented the Nicholas Romayne, MD Lifetime Achievement Award by President Keith LaScalea at the Society’s Annual Meeting on June 22. Named for the Society’s first President, it is presented to a physician for dedication to the Society. Doctor Mattson is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Medicine and spent his entire career at New York–Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. He has been actively involved with quality
assurance, peer review, teaching, and more. He has provided long years of service on the Society's Board of Directors, serving as a delegate to MSSNY, as a stalwart representative during Society lobbying efforts, and always a calm voice of reason, whether it be at the Society, MSSNY, or the New York County Psychiatric Society or American Psychiatric Association. Congratulations to Doctor Mattson!
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Congratulations and Thanks: The Society thanked Doctor Keith LaScalea, our outgoing President, as he concluded his presidency at the Society’s Annual Meeting on June 22. At the same time, we welcome incoming President Erick Eiting, MD. Doctor Eiting is a graduate of the SUNY Downstate College of Medicine, Brooklyn, NY. He holds two masters degrees – Columbia University, Masters in Public Health, and University of Southern California, Masters in Medical Management. He is Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at New York University School of Medicine. Doctor Eiting is the Director of Quality, Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery, Mount Sinai Health, System, and Vice Chair/Medical Director, Emergency Medicine at Mount Sinai Downtown. In 2020, he was listed among Notable LGBTQ Leaders and Executives by Crain’s New York. He holds numerous leadership roles at New York County, MSSNY, the AMA, and the American College of Emergency Physicians.
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Welcome to the New Board: The Society’s 2022 – 2023 Board of Directors, as of June 22, 2022, is:

Erick Eiting, MD, President
Thomas Sterry, MD, President–Elect
Jessica J. Krant, MD, MPH, Vice President
Richard Schutzer, MD, Secretary
Mark Milstein, MD, Assistant Secretary
Jill R. Baron, MD, Treasurer
Stuart Gitlow, MD, Assistant Treasurer
Clifford Bassett, MD
Ksenija Belsley, MD
Michael Borecky, MD
Connie DiMari, MD
Loren Wissner Greene, MD
Aaron Kithkart, MD
Maria LoTempio, MD
Henry Magliato, MD
Purvi Parikh, MD
Ami Shah, MD

The 2022 – 2023 Board of Trustees is:
Scot B. Glasberg, MD, Chair
Paul N. Orloff, MD
Gabrielle Shapiro, MD
Arthur Cooper, MD
Keith LaScalea, MD

Thanks to those leaving the Board upon completion of their term:
Michelle Kim, MD
Michael Goldstein, MD, Esq., Chair, Board of Trustees
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New Mandate to Co–Prescribe Naloxone Takes Effect June 27: This law, signed at the end of 2021, requires that naloxone be co–prescribed for the patient’s first opioid prescription of the year, if the patient (1) has a history of substance abuse disorder, and/or (2) has concurrent use of a benzodiazepine or non–benzodiazepine sedative hypnotic, and/or (3) is taking at least 90 MME per day in prescribed opioids. The requirement does not apply to patients in a hospital, nursing home, mental health facility or hospice.
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Tell the Governor to Sign “Clinical Peer Review” Into Law: Urge Governor Kathy Hochul to sign into law A.879/S.8113 to make sure that the insurance company employees who make “medical necessity” determinations are appropriately qualified. Under current law, the only qualification required for a plan employee who is permitted to contradict the treatment recommendation of the patient’s treating physician, is that the employee be a licensed physician. There is no requirement that the reviewing physician have the same qualifications as a physician who would typically render or facilitate the treatment that is being recommended for the patient; in fact, the physician does not even need to be licensed to practice in New York State. This bill would require that the reviewing physician be board–certified or board eligible in that same or similar specialty, and have a New York license. Send a letter HERE.

Urge the Governor to Sign the Co–Pay Accumulator Bill: A1741–A/S.5299–A will prohibit health plans from using “co–pay accumulator” rules to prevent patients from applying third–party payments (such as coupons) toward their deductibles if those third–party payments go directly to the health plan — obviously a particular challenge for patients whose plans have high cost–sharing requirements. This bill would help patients by ending that insurer ploy. Send a letter HERE.

MSSNY Podcast on Monkeypox: Doctor William Valenti, chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Diseases Committee, has recorded a podcast on the infectious outbreak that is currently spreading globally. Listen here to hear about this disease, and be sure to stay posted for more information.

 

June 17, 2022

Join Us at The New York County Medical Society’s Annual Meeting and Networking Reception: Wednesday, June 22, 2022, 6:00 p.m. Meeting Followed by Reception, at The Doctors Company, 111 West 33rd Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10120 (between 6th and 7th Avenues). No charge, but advance registration required — register HERE. We’ll thank outgoing President Keith LaScalea, MD, welcome incoming President Erick Eiting, MD, see fellow NYCMS members, and enjoy a lovely reception courtesy of our friends at The Doctors Company. There will be a Zoom component for the meeting portion only (please mark accordingly when you register). COVID policy is attached.
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Take a Moment to Ask Governor Kathy Hochul to Veto Destabilizing Expansion of Wrongful Death Awards: Send the message at Reject Expansion of Liability p2a.co. The Wrongful Death legislation (S.74–A/A.6770) could greatly increase physicians’ medical liability premiums by significantly expanding the types of damages awardable in a wrongful death action. This bill was passed over the strenuous opposition of numerous groups, including MSSNY, specialty societies, hospital associations, FQHCs (federally qualified health centers), the Business Council of New York, medical liability insurers, property & casualty insurers, the New York State Association of Counties and the New York Conference of Mayors. It would increase the already expansive damages awardable in wrongful death actions, to include compensation for grief or anguish, the loss of love and companionship, loss of services and support, and the loss of nurture and guidance. According to one actuarial study, this measure could increase New York’s already outrageously high medical liability premiums by nearly 40%. MSSNY has argued that legislation like this should only be considered in the context of a comprehensive effort to address New York’s excessive liability costs.
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NYCMS Speaks out Against Abusive Practices by PBMs: The New York State Department of Financial Services has set up a new Pharmacy Benefits Bureau, and has invited public comments on Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). Society President Keith LaScalea, MD, sent a statement that “not only patients and physicians, but all New Yorkers, will be helped if strong measures are taken to control pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).” PBMs are middlemen that negotiate prescription drug benefits for health insurers, large employers, Medicare Part D plans, and other payers; originally, their services — developing formularies, negotiating rebates, reimbursing individual pharmacies’ drug costs, and so on – were designed to be useful, but in a recent U.S. Senate hearing, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D–Conn) accused the PBMs of anti–competitive practices that actually drive up health care costs. Three huge PBMs — Express Scripts (owned by Cigna), CVS Caremark (part of CVS Health), and OptumRX (owned by UnitedHealth Group) — have been able to dominate the market and take advantage of vertical integration with insurance companies and large pharmacy chains; they now control 85% of prescription drug benefits in the U.S., and many independently owned pharmacies have been driven out of business. See Attached for full NYCMS statement.
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New CPT Codes Added to the Prior Authorization Lists of Oxford HealthPlan: Starting September 1, certain Oxford Health plans will require prior authorization for the following additional codes: https://www.uhcprovider.com/en/resource-library/news/2022/codes-prior-auth-commercial.html. Make sure your staff is aware of this update!
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Wednesday, June 22, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: CME Webinar, “Nuclear Radiation & Chemical Agents: An Update.” Did you know that effects of radiation exposure can show up within a few hours or within a few months, depending on the extent of exposure? Although treaties are in place prohibiting the use of chemical weapons and calling for the destruction of stockpiles, it is unknown how many of these weapons of mass destruction remain. Register now. New York County Medical Society Trustee Arthur Cooper, MD, will serve as faculty for this webinar. For more information or help with registration, contact Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Commercial Real Estate Mortgage Loans Available by Acting NOW: Flushing Bank offers a professional lending solution for Society members. You can get either a 5–year or 10–year term mortgage amortized over 25 years. The rate for a 10–year loan is 3.75%; the rate for a 5–year loan is 3.55%. Call Denis Healy at (646) 923–9525 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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David N. Vozza, of Norris McLaughlin, P.A., has joined MSSNY as Outside General Counsel: Society members are entitled to discounted The relationship with the Norris firm will serve as an exclusive benefit to MSSNY and its physician members, offering significantly discounted rates, free consultations, free coding reviews, and more. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (917) 369–8867.

 

 

June 10, 2022 

Join Us at The New York County Medical Society’s Annual Meeting and Networking Reception: Wednesday, June 22, 2022, 6:00 p.m. Meeting Followed by Reception, at The Doctors Company, 111 West 33rd Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10120 (between 6th and 7th Avenues). No charge, but advance registration required — register HERE. We’ll thank outgoing President Keith LaScalea, MD, welcome incoming President Erick Eiting, MD, see fellow NYCMS members, and enjoy a lovely reception courtesy of our friends at The Doctors Company. There will be a Zoom component for the meeting portion only (please mark accordingly when you register). COVID policy for this meeting will be released shortly.
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Wrongful Death Expansion Bill Would Destabilize New York’s Liability System: Urge Governor Kathy Hochul to veto legislation (S.74–A/A.6770) which expands wrongful death damages. (Send a letter from: Reject Expansion of Liability (p2a.co)). Despite strenuous opposition from organized medicine (MSSNY, New York County Medical Society, specialty societies), hospital associations, federally qualified health centers, counties, mayors, medical liability insurers and property & casualty insurers, the Senate and Assembly passed legislation that would significantly expand the types of damages awardable in a wrongful death action and expand the list of individuals who could bring such actions. Included would be compensation for grief or anguish, the loss of love and companionship, loss of services and support, and the loss of nurture and guidance.

Actuarial studies project this legislation could increase our state’s already outrageously high medical liability premiums by nearly 40%. We are urging the Governor to veto it. MSSNY has argued that such measures should only be considered in the context of a comprehensive effort to address New York’s excessive liability costs. Some advocates claim that New York’s existing wrongful death law is an outlier compared to other states, but fail to mention that most of those other states have provisions to contain excessive medical liability insurance costs, including limits on damages. New York has no such law, which is why our medical liability insurance and payout costs far exceed those of every other state in the country.
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Check Out Our Program on Diagnostic Errors in a Replay: The Doctors Company (TDC) brought to us this great program on Monday, June 6. Attached you’ll find the slide set for “Diagnostic Error Analysis and Safety Steps to Mitigate,” with speaker Lisa McCorkle, RN, MBA, TDC’s Senior Patient Safety and Risk Manager. Diagnostic errors are the most common, catastrophic and costly of all medical errors. An incomplete patient history, lack of establishment of a differential diagnosis, failure to perform an ordered test, test results not reviewed by the ordering physician, communication failures – these are just a few of the potential pitfalls in the diagnostic process. Check out the recording HERE.
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2022 Legislative Session Recap: During the closing days of the 2022 session, the New York State Legislature passed many significant measures including:

— Bills Limiting Insurers’ Interference with Patient Care: We are urging Governor Hochul to sign bills into law — the limit on step–therapy requirements for mental health prescriptions, the limit on insurers’ ploys to keep financially strapped patients from using co–pay cards/coupons toward their deductibles and cost-sharing, and legislation which would bar an insurer from denying a claim or pre–approval request unless the reviewing physician were board–certified (or board–eligible) in the same or similar specialty as the physician who recommended the treatment or managed the condition, and had a New York medical license.

— Health Care Mandate Bills: Despite MSSNY’s strong belief that the Assembly and Senate should not legislate the practice of medicine, both houses have passed bills requiring physicians and other providers to provide patients with certain types of information, including on hospital billing, cytomegalovirus risks and non–opioid pain control, and sudden unexpected death due to epilepsy. We will urge the Governor to veto these bills, or at least reduce the extra documentation burdens they impose, as the legislature practices “cookie cutter” medicine.

— Women’s Reproductive Rights Package: These bills are aimed at protecting women’s reproductive freedom and physicians from some of the consequences of providing services that are legal in New York but could become illegal in other states (based upon potential future Supreme Court decisions). These measures now go to Governor Kathy Hochul for her signature:

— Freedom from Interference with Reproductive Health Advocacy and Travel Exercise: S.9039A/A.10094–A would protect the rights of individuals seeking abortion care or gender–affirming care in New York. (In the bill’s title, the word “exercise” refers to individuals’ freedom to exercise their rights.)

— Extradition and Discovery Non–Cooperation: S.9077/A.10372 forbids New York from cooperating with out–of–state legal cases involving abortion, except in limited circumstances.

— Prohibiting Medical Misconduct Charges for Performing Reproductive Health Care: S.9079A/A.9687 prohibits professional misconduct charges against licensed medical professionals, for providing legal abortion and reproductive health services to patients who reside in states where those services are illegal.

— Protection of Malpractice Coverage: S.9080B/A.9718 B prohibits medical liability insurers from taking adverse action against a healthcare provider in New York, for (1) performing legal healthcare reproductive services, (2) protecting providers of these services, or (3) ensuring that people can safely access abortion and other related services in New York.

— Address Confidentiality Program: S.9384A/A.9818A would expand the eligibility rules of the Address Confidentiality Program, to cover individuals connected or involved with reproductive health care services, including providers, employees, volunteers, patients and immediate family members.

— Study of the Impact of Limited–Service Pregnancy Centers: S.470/A.5499 directs the Health Commissioner to create a temporary task force to study the unmet health and resource needs that pregnant people in New York face, as well as the impact of limited–service pregnancy centers on the access and quality of care that pregnant people receive.

— Firearm Safety Package: In recognition of the mass shooting in Buffalo that killed 10 people and the Uvalde, Texas, shooting that killed 19 children and 2 teachers, the legislature took action to tighten certain provisions of the state’s gun laws, and to focus on provisions relating to health care providers. The measures now go to the Governor for signature. They include:

— A.1023–A/S.4970–A would require all state and local law enforcement agencies to (1) report seized or recovered guns to the criminal gun clearinghouse; (2) participate in the collective data-sharing program of the ATF (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives); (3) test–fire seized or recovered guns for the national integrated Ballistic Information Network; and (4) enter the gun’s make, model, caliber and serial number into the national crime information center. Gun dealers would be required to: Secure firearms, rifles and shotguns; bar persons under 18, not accompanied by a parent, from certain parts of the gun dealer’s premises; train all employees on how to conduct firearm, rifle, and shotgun transfers, including how to identify and respond to illegal purchases; and adhere to record–keeping requirements. In addition, the state police would be required to inspect gun dealers every three years.

— A.6716–A/S.89–B makes it a criminal offense to threaten mass harm.

— A.7926–A/S.4116–A requires the DCJS (Division of Criminal Justice Services) to certify (or decline to certify) that microstamping–enabled pistols are technologically viable; and if the Division certifies this technology, it must develop programs for implementing it. The bill also establishes a new crime – the unlawful sale of a firearm that is not microstamping–enabled.
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Wednesday, June 15, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: CME Webinar, “The Relationship Between Medicine and Government During a Public Health Emergency.” The COVID–19 pandemic has illuminated many intricacies in this area; this session will focus on executive orders, emergency use authorizations and the Incident Command System (ICS). Sign up at: registration. Wajiha Kazmi, Esq., attorney at the NYS Department of Health, will serve as faculty. For more information or help registering, contact Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Wednesday, June 22, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: CME Webinar, “Nuclear Radiation & Chemical Agents: An Update.” Did you know that effects of radiation exposure can show up within a few hours or within a few months, depending on the extent of exposure? Although treaties are in place prohibiting the use of chemical weapons and calling for the destruction of stockpiles, it is unknown how many of these weapons of mass destruction remain. Register now. Arthur Cooper, MD, will serve as faculty for this webinar. For more information or help with registration, contact Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

June 3, 2022

 

Congratulations to Our President: The Society congratulates its President, Keith LaScalea, MD, who has been named Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Student Life, Weill Cornell Medical College (WCM). Doctor LaScalea is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at WCM where he has been on faculty in the Department of Medicine for nearly two decades. A dedicated educator and administrator, he most recently served as Associate Director of the Margaret and Ian Smith Clinical Skills Center. Doctor LaScalea has served in numerous educational leadership roles as Director of the LEAP program (Longitudinal Educational Experience Advancing Patient Partnerships), Director of the Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Foundation Curriculum in Metabolic Diseases, and Patient Care and Physicianship Unit Leader of the first–year foundational Essential Principles of Medicine (EPOM) course. He has also taught in sessions across the curriculum for which he was recognized with multiple medical education teaching awards. Hats off to Doctor LaScalea!
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Join Us at The New York County Medical Society’s Annual Meeting and Networking Reception: Wednesday, June 22, 2022, 6:00 p.m. Meeting Followed by Reception, at The Doctors Company, 111 West 33rd Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10120 (between 6th and 7th Avenues). No charge, but advance registration required — register HERE. We’ll thank outgoing President Keith LaScalea, MD, welcome incoming President Erick Eiting, MD, see fellow NYCMS members, and enjoy a lovely reception courtesy of our friends at The Doctors Company. There will be a Zoom component for the meeting portion only (please mark accordingly when you register). COVID policy for this meeting will be released shortly.
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Act NOW: Urge Governor Kathy Hochul to reject a drastic liability expansion bill that could drive up your premiums by over 40 percent. Right now, send a message from Don’t Chase Physicians out of NY! (p2a.co). Tell the Governor to reject legislation (S.74–A/A.6770) that would boost New York’s already gargantuan medical liability insurance costs, by exponentially increasing the types of damages awardable in all wrongful death actions — including actions against physicians. At any time, these increases would be unsustainable and could hugely affect patients’ access to care. Now, while physician practices are being pounded by ongoing COVID, with its blows to staff, revenue and morale, this legislation would be unconscionable.

Some say New York is an outlier compared to other states by not having this type of law. What they don’t mention is that most of these other states have also enacted comprehensive medical liability insurance reform, including limits on damages, which would contain the enormous costs of proposals like this one. New York has no such reform laws; that is why our medical liability insurance and payout costs far exceed those of every other state in the country. New York is regularly ranked as one of the worst states in the country to be a physician. So, please tell legislators “What we need is comprehensive legislation to bring down New York’s excessively high medical liability premiums. What we don’t need is stand–alone bills that would drive these costs even higher.”
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Passed — Two Bills to Limit Insurers’ Interference with Medications: A.1741/S.5299, would bar insurers from keeping patients from using co–pay cards or coupons toward their deductibles and cost–sharing requirements. This legislation would help patients, particularly those on chronic medication therapies, to realize the full benefit of these discount cards, and would help the patients meet their (often huge) deductibles earlier in the year. MSSNY, the American Cancer Society, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Bleeding Disorders Coalition and other advocacy groups have issued a joint press release, at Joint Press Release (fightcancer.org).

The second bill, A.3276/S.5909, would bar insurers from applying step therapy (“fail first”) requirements to prescriptions for mental health conditions. In 2016, MSSNY and coalition partners secured passage of a law making it easier for a physician to override an insurer’s step therapy rule on a patient’s behalf. This year’s bill, going further, would completely bar step therapy requirements for mental–health
medications. Read MSSNY’s memo in support: S5909-A3276 support (mssny.org).
Both bills still need to be signed by the Governor.

Health Care Mandate Bills Passed: Despite MSSNY’s strong belief that the Assembly and Senate should not legislate the practice of medicine, both houses have passed bills requiring physicians and other providers to take certain actions in specific situations. MSSNY will urge the Governor to veto these bills or, at least, to allow chapter amendments that will reduce the documentation burdens connected with the bills. The following practice mandate bills have been passed:

2521–C/A.3470–C would require hospitals and other providers to more clearly disclose facility fees not covered by insurance. (Included: A requirement that hospital–employed providers — including physicians — disclose to patients, in advance, if the hospital is charging a facility fee.)

4640/A.273 would require physicians and other providers, before initially prescribing an opioid medication for neuromusculoskeletal pain, to consider non–opioid treatment alternatives and discuss them with the patient. These alternatives include, but are not limited to, non–opioid medications, physical therapy, massage therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture and exercise. The requirement does not apply in an emergency; nor does it apply to end–of–life care, cancer treatment or post–surgical pain management.

6287–B/A.7560–A would require OB/GYNs and midwives to inform their pregnant patients, during the first pregnancy visit, about the risks of cytomegalovirus (CMV). The educational materials would be developed by the New York State Department of Health.
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New Protections Applying to Audits by the Office of Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG): The Senate and Assembly have passed A.7889–A/S.4486–B, which would:

— require the OMIG before starting a recovery action on any overpayment to wait at least 60 days after a final audit report, and to give the provider at least 10 days’ written notice;

— prohibit the OMIG from making a recovery based solely on an administrative or technical defect, if the provider had no intent to falsify or defraud;

— require the OMIG to grant the provider an exit conference, or a detailed written explanation of any draft audit findings;

— in audits where extrapolation is permitted, require the OMIG to use only methods that are statistically reasonable and valid;

— bar the OMIG from repeating a review or audit of the same contracts, cost reports, claims, bills, or expenditures unless the agency has new information, good cause to believe the previous audit was erroneous, or a significantly different scope of investigation; and

— require the OMIG to apply all laws, regulations, policies, guidelines, standards, and interpretations that were in place at the time the claim or conduct occurred.

Insurers Required to Cover Colorectal Cancer Screening: A20985A/S906 — supported by MSSNY, public health organizations and specialty societies — would require insurers to cover colorectal cancer screening, in accordance with the American Cancer Society guidelines for average–risk individuals. Those guidelines (updated May 2021) recommend that screening for those individuals begin at age 45. The bill will now go to the Governor for signature.

Monday, June 6, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. “Diagnostic Error Analysis and Safety Steps to Mitigate,” a CME program offered by The Doctors Company. Diagnostic errors are the most common, catastrophic and costly of all medical errors; these errors affect an estimated 12 million Americans each year, and may harm patients more than all other medical errors combined. In this fascinating presentation with Lisa McCorkle, RN, MPH, Senior Patient Safety Risk Manager for The Doctors Company, you will look at:

— The top 10 diagnostic error myths;

— The “Big 3” areas where Dx errors are most common;

— Potential breakdowns in the diagnostic process that can lead to diagnostic error;

— From claims review data: The top 6 rankings of most frequent physician specialties with Dx–related claims;

— Why patients do not disclose information — and how to address this issue;

— Physicians’ cognitive responses that may lead to Dx error; and

— Physician strategies to reduce Dx error.

Register HERE.
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Tuesday, June 7, 2022, 12:00 noon: Understanding and Preventing Adverse Events, part of the Doctors Company series Leading Voices in Healthcare, approved for 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.* Despite more than 20 years of focusing on patient safety, many hospitals and healthcare professionals continue to struggle with advancing their institution’s safety and quality programs. This webinar, moderated by David Feldman, MD, Chief Medical Officer of The Doctors Company and TDC Group, features Rohit Bhalla, MD, MPH, Chief Clinical and Quality Officer, Stamford Hospital. They will be joined by James Bagian, MD, PE, founding Director of the Center for Risk Analysis Informed Decision Engineering and the Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety. Doctor Bagian, a NASA astronaut for over 15 years and a veteran of two Space Shuttle missions, is well known for bringing systems safety insights from aerospace engineering into the patient safety arena. To register, go HERE
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Wednesday, June 8, 2022, at 7:45 a.m.,“The Crisis in Health and Health Care: The Case for Single Payer Reform:” The NYU Department of Medicine presents Dr. David Himmelstein (Hunter College, City University of New York) on Single Payer. Zoom link is: https://nyulangone.zoom.us/j/95669176645?pwd=QkVZRWQwMXd3dHUrbXhNRXhPRlpSQT09. The Zoom Meeting ID is: 956 6917 6645. The Zoom Passcode is: 836107. If you are having any difficulties registering, please reach out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Wednesday, June 15, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: CME Webinar, “The Relationship Between Medicine and Government During a Public Health Emergency.” The COVID–19 pandemic has illuminated many intricacies in this area; this session will focus on executive orders, emergency use authorizations and the Incident Command System (ICS). Sign up at: registration. Wajiha Kazmi, Esq., attorney at the NYS Department of Health, will serve as faculty. For more information or help registering, contact Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

May 20, 2022

 

Parking Card Renewal Time: One of the unique services offered to you as a Society member is access to the Society’s parking renewal program and the “Doctor on Medical Call” card. It’s time for renewal; the new card is valid from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. To order your “Doctor on Medical Call” card, send your check for $50.00, made payable to the New York County Medical Society, and this form to: Parking Renewal Program, New York Medical Society, 261 West 35 Street, Suite 504, New York, NY 10001. If you have questions, call (212) 684-4698.
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New York County Participates in MSSNY HOD This Weekend: The Society’s Delegation to the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) will be participating in the 2022 House of Delegates starting on Saturday. If you are interested in see the reports our delegates will be debating, go HERE.
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Latest COVID Science: On May 17, Doctor William Valenti, Chair of MSSNY’s Infectious Disease Committee, talked to us about testing, vaccines, treatments, relapses/reinfections, and where we’re going with this pandemic. You can watch and listen right now - go HERE. In this CME session, part of our NYCMS Grand Rounds – Special Updates for Non–Specialists series, Doctor Valenti discussed a huge range of topics including PCR tests versus rapid antigen tests; vaccinations an children, and treatments. Perhaps most unsettling topic — What COVID is not. It’s not yet in an “endemic” phase. It’s not a seasonal virus like flu. It’s not self–limiting – new variants will keep emerging. Check out the recording.
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Bills to Protect Physicians Who Provide Legal Reproductive Services: With uncertainty regarding the legality of providing reproductive services in several U.S. states, the New York State Legislature is advancing two proposals to protect physicians and other providers that provide these services. The first proposal, S.9709/A.9687, would prohibit disciplinary actions against licensed medical professionals for providing abortion and reproductive health services for patients who reside in states where those services are illegal. The second proposal, S.9080/A. 9718, would bar malpractice insurers from any adverse action against a provider who provides reproductive health. MSSNY opposes legislative proposals that use federal or state health care funding mechanisms to deny established and accepted medical care to any segment of the population, and opposes any legislation that criminalizes the exercise of clinical judgment in the delivery of medical care.
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Legislature Passes Limiting Liens/Garnishments for Medical Debt Judgments: The State Senate and Assembly have both passed S.6522–A/A.7363–A, to bar a hospital or health care provider from garnishing wages or placing a lien against a person’s primary residence in an action arising from medical debt judgments. The Community Service Society of NY has stated that between 2015 and 2019, 139 New York State hospitals filed nearly 31,000 lawsuits against patients for outstanding payments owed to the hospital. The bill has not yet been delivered to Governor Kathy Hochul for her consideration.
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Coming Soon — New CMS–1500 Form for Workers’ Compensation: Look for July 1, 2022, implementation of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board’s CMS-1500 form, designed to reduce paperwork and streamline the billing process. Workers’ compensation providers will be required to use the CMS-1500 form for all Workers’ compensation medical billing. This is mandatory! You won’t be able to use Form C–4 (Doctor’s Initial Report), or other forms you’ve been accustomed to. However, switching over may not be too difficult. The Workers’ Compensation Board has developed a medical narrative template you can use for your report. Is electronic submission required? No, but it’s strongly encouraged — you’ll usually get paid faster. Chances are you’ve already signed up to use the Medical Portal; if not, register now so you can prepare for electronic submission, including connecting with an approved XML Submission Partner (also known as a clearinghouse). If you need instructions for registering for the Medical Portal, go HERE. For clinical feedback and questions, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Open Your Doors to a Summer Intern: LaGuardia Community College (part of CUNY) has students who are healthcare majors who can learn a lot from working in your practice. The CUNY Career Launch 2022 Summer Internship program invites you to check its website, https://www.cuny.edu/current-students/student-affairs/student-services/career-success-initiatives/hirecuny/, and register so that a student can be matched with you. Act now – matching is about to begin. If you have questions, contact James Park, Career Launch Student and Partnership Manager, at LaGuardia’s Center for Career & Professional Development. If you have question, call James J. Park, Career Launch Student and Partnership Manager (Healthcare Hub) Center for Career & Professional Development, LaGuardia Community College – CUNY, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Before You Hire Someone, Check Fraud Records! A Connecticut eye care practice omitted this step and it cost them $192,000. Between February 2010 and May 2021, the practice employed a practice administrator who — unbeknownst to them — had been convicted of health care fraud and had been excluded from all federal health care programs. The practice billed for and received reimbursements from federal programs including Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE, but those program payments were actually illegal. The Office of Inspector General (from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) investigated, and the practice had to enter into a civil settlement agreement with the federal and state governments. Don’t let this happen to you. To avoid potential liability, check the List of Excluded Individuals/Entities on the HHS–OIG web site (http://oig.hhs.gov/exclusions).
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Monday, June 6, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. “Diagnostic Error Analysis and Safety Steps to Mitigate,” a CME program offered by The Doctors Company. Diagnostic errors are the most common, catastrophic and costly of all medical errors; these errors affect an estimated 12 million Americans each year, and may harm patients more than all other medical errors combined. In this fascinating presentation with Lisa McCorkle, RN, MPH, Senior Patient Safety Risk Manager for The Doctors Company, you will look at:

— The top 10 diagnostic error myths
— The “Big 3” areas where Dx errors are most common
— Potential breakdowns in the diagnostic process that can lead to diagnostic error
— From claims review data: The top 6 rankings of most frequent physician specialties with Dx-related claims
— Why patients do not disclose information – and how to address this issue
— Physicians’ cognitive responses that may lead to Dx error
— Physician strategies to reduce Dx error

Learning objectives for this CME program: Examine the need to make diagnostic improvement a strategic priority in your practice; educate others about where and why errors occur, and what mitigation strategies to use; and take action to mitigate risks based on an assessment of vulnerabilities in your practice, related to diagnostic failures. Register HERE.
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Coming Up, In Person After Two Long Years: Join us for the Society’s Annual Meeting, on Wednesday, June 22. We’ll thank outgoing President Keith LaScalea, MD, welcome incoming President Erick Eiting, MD, see fellow NYCMS members, and enjoy a lovely reception courtesy of our friends at The Doctors Company. Put it on your calendar and look for sign up information soon.

 

May 13, 2022

 

Push for Prior Authorization Reform: MSSNY has been working with the New York State Radiological Society, the New York Cancer & Blood Specialists, and other specialty societies on two big prior authorization (PA) bills. The first bill, S.8299/A.9908-A (the “Gold Card” bill), is designed to help physicians who have good PA “track records.” If a physician has received at least 90% approval on PAs for a specific treatment, he or she would be exempt from the insurer’s PA requirements for that treatment. The second bill, A.7129-A/S.6435-B, would bar an insurer from imposing repeat PA requirements, and would require the insurer to use peer-reviewed, evidence-based review criteria. Send a letter from MSSNY’s Grassroots Action Center HERE.
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Support Co–Pay Accumulator Legislation (S.5299/A.1741): Per this bill, insurers would have to let patients use a co–pay card or coupon to count towards their out–of–pocket deductibles (which are enormous these days). Many patients, particularly those on long–term therapies, rely on financial assistance programs such as co–pay coupons or cards to reduce the cost of their medication. But insurers have been undermining these programs, keeping patients from applying the coupons or cards toward their deductibles. Go to https://p2a.co/mMRuJkx and send an instant message.
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Urge Legislators to Reject Regressive Medical Liability Bill: S.74A/A.6770 would greatly expand the types of damages that could be awarded in wrongful death actions, potentially boosting liability premiums by more than 40%. New York — unlike many other states — does not have comprehensive provisions to limit excessive medical liability insurance costs, including limits on damages. Our medical liability insurance and payout costs far exceed those of every other state in the U.S. already. Send a message at https://p2a.co/KodDdyJ.
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Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at 6:00 p.m.: CME webinar from NYCMS, “COVID 2022: Vaccine, Test & Treat,” with William Valenti, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Register HERE. This virtual presentation, part of our Grand Rounds Specialty Updates for Non–Specialists, will discuss COVID testing options, examine antiviral treatments for COVID, and investigate best practices for monoclonal antibodies in treating COVID. Doctor William Valenti is Chair of MSSNY’s Committee on Infectious Diseases, and Member of the NYS Health Department Task Force to End the HIV Epidemic.
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Friday, May 20, 8:40 a.m. to 9:40 a.m. CME Webinar from MSSNY, “Women in Medicine 2022: Up the Down Staircase,” with faculty Carol Bernstein, MD. Register now! Educational objectives: To Identify significant stressors contributing to burnout as they specifically affect women physicians in the era of Covid; to Increase knowledge of potential strategies that can be used to support women physicians, especially when these physicians are working in dynamically changing and stressful clinical environments; and to Identify potential systemic solutions as well as practical techniques that promote growth and resilience in women physicians. For more information or help with registration, email Cayla Lauder, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Save the Date: Monday, June 6, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. “Diagnostic Error Analysis and Safety Steps to Mitigate,” offered by The Doctors Company. This program will help you to: Examine the need to make diagnostic improvement a strategic priority in your practice; educate others about where and why errors occur, and what mitigation strategies to use; and take action to mitigate risks based on an assessment of vulnerabilities in your practice, related to diagnostic failures. Sign up information for this CME program coming soon.
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Coming Up, In Person After Two Long Years! Join us for the Society’s Annual Meeting, on Wednesday, June 22. We’ll thank outgoing President Keith LaScalea, MD, welcome incoming President Erick Eiting, MD, see fellow NYCMS members, and enjoy a lovely reception courtesy of our friends at The Doctors Company. Put it on your calendar and look for sign up information soon.

 

May 6, 2022

 

Heading into the last five weeks of the legislative session, we are concerned about a series of “physician mandate” bills – whereby physicians and other providers would have to provide patients with certain specific information.  Their licenses could be in jeopardy if they failed to document that they had done so!  These bills are well intentioned, but they place considerable burdens on physicians.  They include: 

  • 67/A.3298 – Would require physicians treating patients for epilepsy to provide information the risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy.
  • 213/A.1615 – Would require physicians treating pediatric patients to ascertain (and document) the school the patient attends. 
  • 2521-C/A.3470-C – Would require employed health care providers to state whether their employer health system charges a facility fee (see article below). 
  • 2736/A.217 – Would requirephysicians and other maternal care providers to provide patients planning a cesarean section, with information risks
  • 4640/A.273 – Would require physicians and other providers, before writing an opioid prescription, to document that they had talked to the patient about certain alternatives to opioid treatment. 
  • 6287-B/A.7560-A – Would require OB-GYNs to provide pregnant patients with information on the risks of cytomegalovirus (CMV).
  • 7865/A.5976-A – Would require physicians and otherproviders furnishing pre- and post-natal or pediatric care, to invite the mother to fill out a screening questionnaire for maternal depression. 
  • 8455/A.9380 – Would requirephysicians and other maternal care providers tthe potential consequences of an episiotomy.

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MSSNY and Family Physicians oppose allowing physician assistants to bill Medicaid Managed Care directly:  Please send a letter by clicking on Preserve Physician-led, Team-based Healthcare (p2a.co).  MSSNY, the NYS Academy of Family Physicians, and the NY Chapter of the American College of Physicians strongly object to legislation (A.6056/S.5956) allowing PAs to be designated as primary care practitioners under Medicaid Managed Care.  This bill does not change statutory supervision requirements for PAs, but it could enable the PAs to bill insurers directly for services, even though they typically practice as employees in hospitals or in physician practices.  MSSNY warns that this legislation could create a potential pathway for PAs to practice independently without physician oversight.  Current executive orders have provided for a temporary waiver of some supervision requirements, but that waiver was only designed to help hospitals manage excess patient load due to COVID-19, not to make PAs independent on a permanent basis.  While PAs are essential components of the health care team, numerous states have declined to let them practice independently, because of the need to protect physician-led team-based care for patients.  Furthermore, numerous studies have shown that advanced care practitioners provide more costly care. 

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Senate Insurance Committee advances three bills to increase patient access:  MSSNY is strongly supporting three bills that would remove barriers and increase patients’ access to the most appropriate treatment.  The first bill, S.8299/A.9908-A, establishes a “Gold Card” program exempting physicians and other providers from an insurer’s Prior Authorization requirements for a specific health care treatment if they have a “track record” of at least 90% prior authorization approvals for that treatment. Please send a letter in support here: Take Action (p2a.co). This legislation is similar to a law enacted last year in Texas, to prevent unnecessary roadblocks to patient care and reward the following of evidence-based treatment guidelines.  The second bill, S.5299/A.1741, requires insurers to let patients use copay cards or coupons towards their out-of-pocket deductibles.  Send a letter in support here: Take action!  Many patients rely on financial assistance programs, such as a copay coupon or card, to reduce the cost of their medication.  However, insurers are using this new tactic to undermine these programs, which help patients meet today’s enormous deductibles. The third bill, S.5909/A.3276, would exempt mental health medications from insurers’ step therapy requirements.

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Requiring health care employees to disclose health systems’ facility fees:  Last year saw the defeat of “single bill” legislation that would have required hospitals and hospital-based physicians to submit consolidated bills. At that time, MSSNY and several specialty societies warned the Senate and Assembly that the joint billing requirement would put non-employed physicians at the mercy of the hospitals, since it was not clear how payments to hospitals from the “single bill” would be distributed to these physicians.  Now, one worrisome provision has re-surfaced as S.2521-C/A.3470-C; it would require a provider who enters into “a business relationship with a hospital or health system that will result in the provider’s patients being subject to facility fees,” to notify patients that this new relationship had been created, and that facility fees would be applicable to services received from the provider. MSSNY and the specialty societies insist that this disclosure requirement should be imposed on the health system that charges the facility fee, not the physician who provides the service.  Often, a physician employee does not even know about the health system’s facility fees.   

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Medical residents and fellows should be eligible for bonuses: MSSNY, several specialty societies, and several thousand medical residents are urging the Commissioner of Health to ensure that physician residents and fellows be deemed eligible for the frontline health care worker bonuses in the recently enacted State Budget.  Please send a letter in support from: Allow Residents and Fellows to be Eligible for Frontline Healthcare Worker Bonuses (p2a.co).  The State Budget funded one-time bonus payments of up to $3,000 for front-line health care workers employed by hospitals and certain other Medicaid-enrolled providers, who have a base salary of less than $125,000 and have worked for one employer for six months straight.  MSSNY and the specialty societies pointed out that the lack of express inclusion of residents and fellows in the bonus pool is inconsistent with the stated goal of the bonuses.  The Legislature intended that the bonuses apply generally to all members of the health care workforce who “…have seen us through a once–in–a–century public health crisis and turned our state into a model for battling and beating COVID–19.  To attract talented people into the profession at a time of such significant strain while also retaining those who have been working so tirelessly these past two years, we must recognize the efforts of our health care and mental hygiene workforce and reward them financially for their service…”

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Monday, May 9, 2022, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.:  NYS DOH is offering an arthritis webinar (CME), “Prescribing Physical Activity to Improve Arthritis Management,” at https://livestream.com/wmht/phl0509.  For handouts and the link for the evaluation and post-test for CME credits, go to the School of Public Health website.  For assistance, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 518-402-0330. 

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Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at 6:00 p.m.:  CME webinar, “COVID 2022:  Vaccine, Test & Treat,” with William Valenti, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.  Register at:  https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ej5oyieq7431c562&oseq=&c=&ch= .  This virtual presentation, part of our NYCMS Grand Rounds Specialty Updates for Non-Specialists, will discuss COVID testing options, examine antiviral treatments for COVID, and investigate best practices for monoclonal antibodies in treating COVID.  Dr. William Valenti is Chair of MSSNY’s Committee on Infectious Diseases, and Member of the NYS Health Department Task Force to End the HIV Epidemic. 

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May 21, 8:40 to 9:40 a.m.  CME Webinar, “Women in Medicine 2022: Up the Down Staircase,” with faculty Carol Bernstein, MD. Register now!  Educational objectives: To identify significant stressors contributing to burnout as they specifically affect women physicians in the era of Covid; to increase knowledge of potential strategies that can be used to support women physicians, especially when these physicians are working in dynamically changing and stressful clinical environments; and to identify potential systemic solutions as well as practical techniques that promote growth and resilience in women physicians.  For more information or help with registration, email Cayla Lauder, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

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NYCMS Annual Meeting:  Be sure to mark Wednesday, June 22, on your calendar!   It’s not far away!  We’ll thank outgoing President Keith LaScalea, MD, welcome incoming President Erick Eiting, MD, see fellow NYCMS members, and rejoice in having gotten through two tough years. 

 

April 29, 2022 

Society Leader In WSJ Discussing Standard of Care: Michael Goldstein, MD, JD, Chair, New York County Medical Society Board of Trustees, appeared in letters to the editor in the Wall Street Journal on April 25, 2022, writing about treatments that are not “standard of care” in response to the April 21 op–ed, “California’s Medical ‘Misinformation’ Crusade Could Cost Lives,” about a pending bill in the California legislature that would penalize physicians for disagreeing with non–standard–of–care treatments. Doctor Goldstein writes, “Every innovation in medicine goes against existing standards of care. Today’s standard becomes substandard as new treatments develop. Medicine progresses when doctors have the freedom to practice their profession without interference from political agendas. In my field of ophthalmology, millions of patients undergo the implantation of an intraocular lens. These surgeries often result in better vision than patients had before developing their cataracts. Yet until the mid-1970s, inserting a foreign body inside the human eye was considered well outside the standard of care. Without innovative surgeons willing to go against accepted thinking, patients would not have benefited from these lenses…What happens in California can happen here!” Doctor Goldstein is running for Congress in Connecticut. (See https://goldsteinforcongress.com/.)
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Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at 6:00 p.m.: CME Grand Rounds – Specialty Updates for Non–Specialists. Join us for the next in our Grand Round Series, “COVID 2022: Vaccine, Test & Treat,” with William Valenti, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. This virtual presentation will discuss COVID testing options, examine antiviral treatments for COVID, and investigate best practices for monoclonal antibodies in treating COVID. Dr. William Valenti is Chair of MSSNY’s Committee on Infectious Diseases, and Member of the NYS Health Department Task Force to End the HIV Epidemic. Register HERE.
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Recognize House Staff Contributions During COVID: The new State Budget has bonuses for just about all frontline health care workers — but what about physician residents and fellows? Please click HERE to send a letter that MSSNY and specialty societies have developed to send to the Governor, the New York State Health Commissioner, and the legislators, urging them to ensure that physician residents and fellows be deemed eligible for the frontline health care worker bonuses established as part of the recently enacted State Budget. The lack of express inclusion of residents and fellows is inconsistent with the bonuses’ stated goal, particularly since the residents and fellows have been integral to the State’s response to the COVID–19 pandemic since the beginning of the public health crisis.

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Limits on Prior Authorizations: Please contact our legislators — click on Take Action “Gold Card” legislation (A.9908–A, McDonald/S.8299) would require insurers to exempt physicians from prior authorization requirements for a specific treatment, if those physicians had a past “track record” of at least 90% prior authorization approvals (for that treatment). We know how prior authorization hassles can impede care. In a recent AMA survey, more than 93% of physicians reported care delays while waiting for insurers to authorize necessary care, and 82% said that patients abandon treatment due to authorization struggles. More than half (51%) of physicians reported that prior authorizations had interfered with a patient’s job responsibilities, and more than one–third (34%) reported that prior authorization problems had led to a serious adverse event — hospitalization, disability, or even death.
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Masks in Doctors’ Offices: COVID is still a concern, and masks should still be used in health care settings, including private physicians’ offices. New York State is following is the CDC Guidance, which applies to all U.S. settings where healthcare is delivered, even home health care. OSHA has guidance protecting health care employees. The following links have information:

Mask Wearing in New York State

CDC Recommendations

OSHA COVID
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Online Patient Reviews: You’ve seen the websites with user–submitted reviews, and you know how negative and inflammatory those reviews can sometimes be — sometimes even false. Will you violate the law if you respond? The AMA has a helpful article about this question, at https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/sustainability/are-physicians-prohibited-responding-online-patient-reviews. There are no federal laws or regulations prohibiting physicians or practices from responding to online patient reviews; however, physicians are limited in what and how they can communicate with a patient reviewer in a public forum. Acknowledging a patient’s relationship with the provider might risk violating HIPAA and applicable state laws, and you must not disclose any patient–specific health information. However, you do have the option of contacting the review sites directly to dispute false or inflammatory reviews, especially if you believe the reviews violate the site’s community standards.
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Check Out Our Program on “Open Notes” Provisions in the CURES Act: See the Society’s April 19 program on the CURES Act with The Doctors Company
HERE. In addition, the AMA is looking for your feedback on“Information Blocking” requirements and how EHR vendors are doing with them. By May 16, please send your comments, stories, etc., to Ela Cameron This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; the AMA will de–identify them and share them with HHS officials. What are your top three concerns or challenges complying with HHS’ Info Blocking regulations? What are the top three issues you have experienced when requesting patients’ electronic health information from your EHR vendor, a local hospital, a laboratory/pharmacy, or another medical practice? What are the top three features/functions you wish your EHR had to help you comply with HHS’ Info Blocking regulations? What other Info Blocking issues or experiences would you like the AMA to share with HHS?
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May 21, 8:40 to 9:40 a.m. CME Webinar, “Women in Medicine 2022: Up the Down Staircase,” with faculty Carol Bernstein, MD. Register now! Educational objectives: identify significant stressors contributing to burnout as they specifically affect women physicians in the era of COVID; increase knowledge of potential strategies that can be used to support women physicians, especially when these physicians are working in dynamically changing and stressful clinical environments; and identify potential systemic solutions as well as practical techniques that promote growth and resilience in women physicians. For more information or help with registration, email Cayla Lauder, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Save the Date for the NYCMS Annual Meeting: Please mark Wednesday, June 22, on your calendar! We’ll thank outgoing President Keith LaScalea, MD, welcome incoming President Erick Eiting, MD, see fellow NYCMS members, and rejoice in having gotten through two tough years.

 

 

April 22, 2022

CMS Has New Portal for Resolving Surprise Bill Disputes: Under the No Surprises Act, the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS) has now opened an Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR) portal, at Home (cms.gov), where physicians can start the federal IDR process for claims that cannot be brought to the State IDR process (for example, if the patient is covered through a self–insured employer health plan). What time considerations apply? That depends on the “open negotiations period” for the particular claim. The AMA says: For claims whose open negotiations period expired before the portal opened, physicians have until May 6, 2022, to start the IDR process. For claims that are currently in the open negotiations period, the standard timelines will apply — specifically, the IDR process must be initiated within four business days of the end of the open negotiations period.
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COVID Numbers Are Rising Again: With the U.S. in the midst of a medical staffing crisis, how do you provide non–essential care? The AMA is offering new guidance, stressing such questions as, What are your area’s COVID numbers, PPE supplies, testing capabilities? How high risk are your patients? How urgent are their care needs? For the AMA’s comments plus links to more resources, go HERE.
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Don’t Miss Key Points From Our April 19 “Open Notes” CME Talk:
Since April 5, 2021, the CURES Act (the “Open Notes” law) has required physician practices with EHRs to allow patients ready access to eight types of chart notes: Consultation notes, discharge summary notes, history and physical, imaging narratives, laboratory report narratives, pathology report narratives, procedure notes and progress notes. You need to (1) make sure your system has all these capabilities (check with your vendor); (2) be prepared for patients’ questions, and think about modifying your chart “style”; (3) be prepared for requests for changes (you must at least consider each request); (4) know the exceptions to the rules – and more. For details, see the attached PowerPoint. Thanks to The Doctors Company, the Society’s endorsed Medical Liability Insurance Company for putting together this great program.
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NYCMS Grand Rounds, Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at 6:00 p.m.: “COVID 2022: Vaccine, Test & Treat,” with William Valenti, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Register HERE. This virtual presentation will discuss COVID testing options, examine antiviral treatments for COVID, and investigate best practices for monoclonal antibodies in treating COVID. Doctor William Valenti is Chair of MSSNY’s Committee on Infectious Diseases, and Member of the New York State Health Department Task Force to End the HIV Epidemic.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY Webinar: Improving Well–Being and Reducing Burnout Among Healthcare Workers. Register now! The COVID–19 pandemic has exacerbated burnout among healthcare workers. This webinar, with faculty Michael Privitera, MD and Arthur Hengerer, MD, will discuss steps systems and healthcare workers can take to strengthen “wellness culture” and decrease rates of burnout. For more information or help with registering, email Cayla Lauder at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Wednesday, May 11 and Thursday, May 12: National Government Services Presents “Medicare For You.” This free two full–day virtual conference offers sessions on a variety of Part A, Part B, and FQHC–RHC topics — E/M, NGSConnex, common billing errors and many more. Each session will begin with a presentation, and then the NGS Provider Outreach and Education Team will address your questions. This is your opportunity to hear about the latest Medicare issues AND ask your questions immediately following. The link HERE will take you to a chart showing all the sessions; when you see a session you like on the chart, click again on that session and you’re registered for that session. (Note: All times listed are Eastern Standard Time – be sure to add an hour for Eastern Daylight Time.) You or someone in your office needs to attend these!
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May 21, 8:40 a.m. to 9:40 a.m. CME Webinar, “Women in Medicine 2022: Up the Down Staircase,” with faculty Carol Bernstein, MD. Register now! Educational objectives: To identify significant stressors contributing to burnout as they specifically impact women physicians in the era of COVID; to increase knowledge of potential strategies that can be used to support women physicians, especially when they are working in dynamically changing and stressful clinical environments; and to identify potential systemic solutions as well as practical techniques that promote growth and resilience in women physicians. For more information or help with registration, email Cayla Lauder, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

April 15, 2022

Public Health Emergency Continues: The Federal Public Health Emergency has now been extended again for an additional 90 days, effective April 16th. This is the ninth such extension since the original declaration.
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State Legislature Passes $220 Billion Budget Package: Provisions that are positive, from physicians’ point of view includes:

Telehealth Payment Parity: After months of strong advocacy by organized medicine, the final budget requires health insurers to pay for telehealth services on par with in–person services. The requirement covers all modalities of telehealth. Since these provisions are scheduled to sunset in two years, the budget bill also calls for the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Department of Financial Services to study payment parity’s impact, using utilization data from health insurers. We will need to advocate vigorously again in two years, but this is a very significant first step.

Increasing Physician Loan Repayment: A 75% increase in funding (to nearly $16 million) for the Doctors Across New York student loan repayment program, whereby physicians can receive up to $120,000 in student loan relief for providing care for at least three years, in an underserved area.

Medicaid Payment Increases: A restoration of 2020’s 1.5% cut to Medicaid payments, and a further across–the–board 1% payment increase. Moreover, effective April 1, E/M and Medicine codes in Medicaid fee for service are being increased to 70% of Medicare. (Currently, they are at only 45% or 58% of Medicare.)

Med Mal Excess Program Restored: A straight one–year extension of the Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance program. (MSSNY and specialty societies successfully fought back against a Governor Hochul proposal that would have required physicians to pay for this very expensive coverage up front, and then be reimbursed.)

NYS–Regulated Health Insurers: Targeted reforms, requiring the insurers to (1) complete credentialing review within 60 days of a physician’s network participation application, and (2) comply with limits on excessive medical records requests.

Insurance Coverage Expansion: Eliminating CHIP premiums for families up to 223% of the federal poverty level (FPL); establishing Medicaid coverage one year post–partum; and increasing New Yorkers’ Essential Plan eligibility, to include those New Yorkers with incomes up to 250% of the FPL.

Bonuses for Health Care Employees: The Budget allocates a pool of Department of Health funds to provide bonuses for health care employees who make less than $125,000 per year. This provision applies to Article 28 facilities and facilities that have at least 20% of their patients covered under Medicaid. Over a six–month period, the bonuses range from $500 for a part–time worker to $3,000 for a full–time worker.

The following negative provisions were not in the final bill:

Rx Prior Authorization: Fortunately, the final bill did not impose new prior authorization requirements for prescriptions, for Medicaid and Medicaid Managed Care patients.

Interstate Compact: The final bill did not include language that would have allowed New York to join the Interstate Medical Licensure compact.

Unfortunately, the following elements were included in the final bill, despite strong opposition by organized medicine:

Nurse practitioners (NPs): The final bill extends in statute, for two years, the current Executive Order provision that exempts NPs with more than 3,600 hours experience from maintaining proof of collaborative relationships with same–specialty physicians.

Additional Criteria for IDR (Independent Dispute Resolution): Among other provisions to conform New York’s No Surprises law to the federal law, the final budget bill includes median in–network payment data as one of the criteria the IDR entity must consider, in addition to physicians’ usual and customary charges and the expertise of that particular physician. (However, on the plus side, the bill did eliminate the requirement for a patient to execute an Assignment of Benefits.)
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Fighting Use of Step Therapy Protocols for Mental Health: Legislation (A.3276) has passed the Assembly that would prevent insurers from using step therapy protocols for coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions, including prescription drug coverage. Identical legislation (S.5909) is before the Senate Insurance Committee. Step therapy (“Fail First”) policies force patients to try treatments that insurers deem less costly in place of the physicians’ originally prescribed therapy, and require the patient to “fail first” before the insurer will cover the original treatment. Too often, patients end up having to take medications they have previously tried without success; having to wait months for approval to switch to another option after failing with a given drug; and, frequently, suffering adverse effects from taking an inferior medication. Studies have found that step therapy policies can increase total health care costs in the long run, by increasing emergency room visits and hospitalizations when patients have taken the wrong medication. These policies are particularly dangerous for patients with mental health conditions, since those patients have a higher risk of abandoning their treatment and often end up homeless or incarcerated. In 2016, MSSNY and patient advocacy groups strongly supported New York’s current, far–reaching step therapy law, which allows a physician to override an insurer’s step therapy protocol under certain circumstances.
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Keep Your Workers’ Compensation Information Up to Date: Now that the Workers’ Compensation Board’s new online claims system (OnBoard: Limited Release) is here, the Board reminds you to keep your Workers’ Compensation Board authorization and information current. You must renew your authorization every two or three years, concurrent with the timeline of your New York State Education Department license renewal/registration or if your practice and other contact information may have changed during that period. For your update(s), please log in to the Medical Portal. Under the Medical Providers section, select one of the following:

New Provider Authorization Request — to initially become Board Authorized. You can apply to become a treating provider, an independent medical examiner, or both.

Authorization Renewal — to renew Board Authorization every two or three years.

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“Shared Clinical Notes and Documentation: The CURES Act,” Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.: The Society invites you to this program offered by The Doctors Company (TDC),with Lisa McCorkle, RN, MBA, Senior Patient Safety Risk Manager for TDC, and Richard Cahill, Esq., Vice President and Associate General Counsel, TDC. Register HERE. The Federal 21st Century Cures Act, effective April 5, 2021, included a requirement for eight types of clinical notes that must not be blocked and must be open to patients via open notes in electronic health records (EHRs). As patients access open notes, it is important for physicians and health care staff to understand the requirements and specific exceptions of the Act. This presentation will review how to avoid information blocking and how to avoid clinical notes that may lead the patient to request amendments or redactions in the EHR — and will discuss overall documentation strategies for success. Compliance with open notes is not optional; failure to comply with the Act may result in fines, penalties, and sanctions against a physician's medical license.
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Wednesday, April 20, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY Medical Matters CME Webinar, “Stresses & Distresses in the Time of COVID–19”: As we enter the third year of the COVID–19 pandemic, we need to understand the mental health challenges this pandemic has presented. Craig Katz, MD, Vice–Chair, MSSNY’s Emergency Preparedness and Disaster/Terrorism Response Committee, will serve as faculty. For more information or help with registration, contact Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Register HERE.
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Wednesday, April 20, 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.: CME “Hand Lecture: Examining Upper Extremity Numbness,” offered free of charge by New York–Presbyterian Queens Hospital’s Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation. Learn more HERE. Register HERE.
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Thursday, April 21, 2022, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.: “Why is Digital Marketing Your Key to Attracting New Patients?:” Practice Builders, endorsed by the New York County Medical Society, invites you to learn how digital marketing can be used to attract and convert new patients to your practice. Marketing expert Steve Mintz will discuss questions such as “Where should I invest my resources?” “ What elements does my website need to compete successfully in 2022?” “What’s the secret to web, blog and social media content that engages my readers’ attention?” Register for this free program HERE
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Tuesday, April 26, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY Webinar: Improving Well–Being and Reducing Burnout Among Healthcare Workers. Register now! The COVID–19 pandemic has exacerbated burnout among healthcare workers. This webinar, with faculty Michael Privitera, MD and Arthur Hengerer, MD, will discuss steps systems and healthcare workers can take to strengthen “wellness culture” and decrease rates of burnout. For more information or help with registering, email Cayla Lauder at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Wednesday, May 11 and Thursday, May 12: National Government Services Presents “Medicare For You.” This free two full–day virtual conference offers sessions on a variety of Part A, Part B, and FQHC–RHC topics — E/M, NGSConnex, common billing errors and many more. Each session will begin with a presentation, and then the NGS Provider Outreach and Education Team will address your questions. This is your opportunity to hear about the latest Medicare issues AND ask your questions immediately following. The link HERE will take you to a chart showing all the sessions; when you see a session you like on the chart, click again on that session and you’re registered for that session. (Note: All times listed are Eastern Standard Time – be sure to add an hour for Eastern Daylight Time.) You or someone in your office needs to attend these!
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Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at 6:00 p.m.: “COVID 2022: Vaccine, Test & Treat,” with William Valenti, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Save the date for this virtual presentation which will discuss COVID testing options, examine antiviral treatments for COVID, and investigate best practices for monoclonal antibodies in treating COVID. Doctor Valenti is Chair, MSSNY Committee on Infectious Diseases, and Member, NYS Health Department Task Force to End the HIV Epidemic.
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May 21, 8:40 a.m. to 9:40 a.m. CME Webinar, “Women in Medicine 2022: Up the Down Staircase,” with faculty Carol Bernstein, MD. Register now! Educational objectives: To identify significant stressors contributing to burnout as they specifically impact women physicians in the era of COVID; to increase knowledge of potential strategies that can be used to support women physicians, especially when they are working in dynamically changing and stressful clinical environments; and to identify potential systemic solutions as well as practical techniques that promote growth and resilience in women physicians. For more information or help with registration, email Cayla Lauder, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

April 8, 2022

Physician Extenders — Can They Really Save Money for a Practice? An investigation by a Mississippi accountable care organization (ACO) illustrates the power of data analysis — and the vital importance of physician–led team–based care. The ACO at Hattiesburg Clinic in South Mississippi examined cost data and found that care provided by non–physician providers working on their own patient panels was more expensive than care delivered by doctors. The ACO’s report, “Targeting Value-based Care with Physician-led Care Teams” (Journal of the Mississippi State Medical Association, January, 2022), said: “Focusing specifically on primary care, because our shortage of physicians there was so dire — due to retirements, massive panel sizes and lack of medical students entering primary care residencies — we allowed APPs [advanced practice providers] to function with separate primary care panels, side by side with their collaborating physicians…” With “cost data on more than 33,000 patients enrolled in Medicare, the results are consistent and clear: By allowing APPs to function with independent panels under physician supervision, we failed to meet our goals in the primary care setting of providing patients with an equivalent value–based experience.” The 2017 – 2019 CMS cost data on Medicare patients who did not have end-stage renal disease and were not in a nursing home showed that per–member, per–month spending was $43 higher for patients whose primary health professional was a non–physician instead of a doctor. This could translate to $10.3 million more in spending annually if all patients were followed by APPs, says the analysis. When risk–adjusted for patient complexity, the difference was $119 per member, per month, or $28.5 million annually. Read the fascinating AMA article on this topic, at https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/scope-practice/amid-doctor-shortage-nps-and-pas-seemed-fix-data-s-nope.
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Payment Ploys by Insurers: The Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS) has released new guidance on Virtual Credit Cards (VCC) and electronic funds transfer (EFT)/electronic remittance advice (ERA) payment transactions, and on business associate compliance with HIPAA’s Administrative Simplification requirements. About virtual credit cards, the new guidance notes that though health plans can use these modalities for payment, they can’t force physicians to accept them. About EFT “value–add” services (such as customer service hotlines), the guidance says payment vendors must follow the rules of the HIPAA–mandated transaction sets. Some vendors may try to get practices to accept (and pay for) EFT value–add services as a condition of receiving electronic payments, but that’s illegal. (CMS says the value–add services may “adversely affect” the HIPAA–mandated standard transaction.) So, physicians should talk to their health plans about any such unwanted services they’re being made to pay for, and should also file Administrative Simplification Enforcement and Testing Tool (ASETT) complaints, naming the health plan in the complaint. (The health plan is ultimately responsible for HIPAA compliance.) Last fall, MSSNY joined with the AMA and other medical societies in a sign-on letter to CMS about these We will continue to monitor this issue, and will work to make sure non–compliant insurers are investigated by enforcement agencies.
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The 1% Medicare Sequestration Cut Is Back:. At the end of 2021, MSSNY worked with the AMA and other medical societies in support of Congressional legislation that prevented a cumulative 10% Medicare payment cut, granting full relief from the 2% Medicare sequester cut until March 31, 2022. But now there will be only partial relief from Medicare sequestration. For the next three months there will be a 1% sequester, and on July 1 there will be a return of the full 2% sequester. The AMA and other stakeholders recently sent Congress a letter asking that sequestration relief be extended through the end of the public health emergency, but there was little support in Congress to prevent further sequestration cuts. The AMA will continue to work with Congress to create a fair Medicare physician payment system.
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Physician Payments Drop After the State Health Plan Upends Surprise–Billing Process: MSSNY, the New York State Society of Anesthesiologists and the New York State Society of Plastic Surgeons are deeply concerned about the New York Civil Service Department’s recent statement about how NYSHIP/Empire Plan is to handle out–of–network claims. The Civil Service Department has said that when the Empire Plan reimburses out–of–network physicians, the plan is no longer subject to New York insurance law regulations, and hence is not subject to the New York State IDR process for resolving disputes. If this worrisome decision is not addressed promptly, surgical and medical specialty practices could suffer irreparable long–term harm that could drastically reduce their services or even drive them out of business, and patients could see the availability of high–quality medical services significantly reduced. Several physician groups, together with NYSHIP/Empire Plan enrollees, have filed a lawsuit against the Civil Service Department and United Healthcare arguing that the Empire Plan is subject to New York State law, including the surprise bill law.

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What’s Your Status on Provider Relief Funds Reporting: Physicians who received more than $10,000 in provider relief funds should have already submitted their Period 1 Report. Some practices may have been unaware of the deadline, but you still have recourse if you act immediately. The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has re–opened the reporting window. Between Monday, April 11, and Friday, April 22 (11:59 pm ET), providers who have not submitted their Period 1 report may submit a late Reporting Period 1 report request. HRSA will then send you an email telling you how to submit a request directly. (If that email doesn’t arrive, call (866) 569–3522.) You must identify an extenuating circumstance(s) that kept you from complying with the original deadline; beyond that, no supporting document or proof is required. If your “extenuating circumstances” form is approved, you’ll receive a notification giving you 10 days to complete and submit your late Reporting Period 1 report via the PRF Reporting __________________________________________________________________

NYCMS CME Program — “Shared Clinical Notes and Documentation: The CURES Act,” Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.: The Society invites you to a CME program offered by The Doctors Company (TDC),with Lisa McCorkle, RN, MBA, Senior Patient Safety Risk Manager for TDC, and Richard Cahill, Esq., Vice President and Associate General Counsel, TDC. Register HERE. The federal 21st Century Cures Act, effective April 5, 2021, included a requirement for eight types of clinical notes that must not be blocked and must be open to patients via open notes in electronic health records (EHRs). As patients access open notes, it is important for physicians and health care staff to understand the requirements and specific exceptions of the Act. This presentation will review how to avoid information blocking and how to avoid clinical notes that may lead the patient to request amendments or redactions in the EHR — and will discuss overall documentation strategies for success. Compliance with open notes is not optional; failure to comply with the Act may result in fines, penalties, and sanctions against a physician's medical license. Join us at this important CME event.
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Wednesday, April 20, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY Medical Matters CME Webinar, “Stresses & Distresses in the Time of COVID–19”: Register now. As we enter the third year of the COVID–19 pandemic, we need to understand the mental health challenges this pandemic has presented. Craig Katz, MD, Vice–Chair, MSSNY’s Emergency Preparedness and Disaster/Terrorism Response Committee, will serve as faculty. For more information or help with registration, contact Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Wednesday, April 20, 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.: CME “Hand Lecture: Examining Upper Extremity Numbness,” offered free of charge by New York–Presbyterian Queens Hospital’s Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation. Learn more HERE. To register, go HERE.

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Thursday, April 21, 2022, 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.: “Why is Digital Marketing Your Key to Attracting New Patients?:” Practice Builders, endorsed by the New York County Medical Society invites you to learn how digital marketing can be used to attract and convert new patients to your practice. Marketing exper Steve Mintz will discuss questions such as “Where should I invest my resources?” “ What elements does my website need to compete successfully in 2022?” “What’s the secret to web, blog and social media content that engages my readers’ attention?”
Register for this free program HERE.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY Webinar: Improving Well–Being and Reducing Burnout Among Healthcare Workers. Register now! The COVID–19 pandemic has exacerbated burnout among healthcare workers. This webinar, with faculty Michael Privitera, MD and Arthur Hengerer, MD, will discuss steps systems and healthcare workers can take to strengthen “wellness culture” and decrease rates of burnout. For more information or help with registering, email Cayla Lauder at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Wednesday, May 11, and Thursday, May 12: National Government Services Presents “Medicare For You.” This free two full–day virtual conference offers sessions on a variety of Part A, Part B, and FQHC–RHC topics — E/M, NGSConnex, common billing errors and many more. Each session will begin with a presentation, and then the NGS Provider Outreach and Education Team will address your questions. This is your opportunity to hear about the latest Medicare issues AND ask your questions immediately following. The following link - news article details - NGSMEDICARE – will take you to a chart showing all the sessions; when you see a session you like on the chart, click again on that session and you’re registered for that session. (Note: All times listed are Eastern Standard Time – be sure to add an hour for Eastern Daylight Time.) You or someone in your office needs to attend these!

 

 

April 1, 2022

Final Chance to Take Our Single Payer Survey: Take our very brief survey about your concerns on Single Payer and the New York Health Act sent out to you today. Go HERE to take the survey.

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Nominated! Congratulations to the following members nominated for office by the 2022 Nominating Committee. They will be formally elected at the Annual Meeting on June 22, 2022.

At that meeting, Doctor Erick Eiting will become president of the Society. The following members were nominated.

Thomas Sterry, MD, President–Elect
Jessica J. Krant, MD, MPH, Vice President
Richard Schutzer, MD, Secretary
Mark Milstein, MD, Assistant Secretary
Jill Baron, MD, Treasurer
Stuart Gitlow, MD, Assistant Treasurer
Keith LaScalea, MD, Trustee

Board Members At Large
Clifford Bassett, MD
Ksenija Belsley, MD
Michael Borecky, MD
Connie DiMari, MD
Loren Wissner Greene, MD
Aaron Kithcart, MD
Maria LoTempio, MD
Henry Magliato, MD
Purvi Parikh, MD
Ami Shah, MD

Delegates to MSSNY
Erick Eiting, MD
Stuart Gitlow, MD
Scot B. Glasberg, MD
Michael T. Goldstein, MD, JD
Loren Wissner Greene, MD
Keith LaScalea, MD
Mark Milstein, MD
Gabrielle Shapiro, MD
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The Legislature and the Governor Still Negotiating over the State Budget: Among the issues:

Telehealth Payment Parity: The Senate agreed with Governor Kathy Hochul’s preliminary proposals that health insurers be required to pay telehealth services at levels equal to in–person services. The Assembly did not include this requirement, but negotiations are ongoing. Please send a letter in support here: Support Payment Parity for Telehealth Services (p2a.co).

Public Health Investments: Both Houses and the Governor agreed to significantly increase funding for the Doctors Across New York student loan repayment program, implement a 1% across–the–board Medicaid payment increase, increase the upper income threshold eligibility for the State’s Essential Plan health insurance program, and eliminate premium requirements for eligibility for the CHIP program for families at less than 223% of the federal poverty level.

The Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance Program: Fortunately, neither of the one–House proposals included language the Governor had originally proposed, requiring that the Excess Liability insurers be paid in two annual installments. But discussions are continuing to make sure physicians don’t end up with any cost–share responsibility.

Scope of Practice: Physicians have warned against creating further healthcare “silos,” and neither House agreed with initial Governor Hochul proposals that would have done that. The Assembly and Senate did not recommend letting pharmacists perform numerous lab tests without physician coordination; nor did they recommend releasing all nurse practitioners (NPs) from the existing requirement that the NPs maintain collaborative relationships with physicians. In fact, the Assembly’s proposal would permanently extend the existing law that applies to NPs with more than 3,600 hours experience. Even though these NPs do not have to have a written practice agreement, they are still required to have collaborative relationships with a same–specialty physicians. Please send a letter in support. Just click on: Protect Physician-Led Team-Based Care (p2a.co)

Licensing/Oversight Proposals: The Senate included a proposal to permit New York to join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact; the Assembly did not. Neither House included a proposal to transfer oversight of the several health professions from the Department of Education to the Department of Health.

Surprise Bill Law Changes: Although the Governor had proposed changes in New York’s Surprise Bill law to make it harmonize with Congress’s recently passed No Surprises Act (NSA), neither House said these changes were necessary. After all, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) had already implemented most of those changes via Circular Letters last December. MSSNY has objected to one provision that would have required the Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR) entity to take into consideration the insurers’ self–determined median in–network payment amounts. The DFS’s Circular Letters didn’t address this provision, and recent lawsuits have stressed that it is not required by the NSA.
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Support Reduction of Prior Authorizations: Organized medicine continues to pursue state legislation to reduce prior authorization (PA) hassles, including legislation (A.7129/S.6435) that would prevent insurers from requiring repeat prior authorizations after initial approval, and legislation (S.8299, Breslin) whereby physicians who are regularly approved for their PAs could be exempted by health plans from the PA process. Please send a letter in support here: Prior Authorizations (p2a.co). Recently, the Physicians Advocacy Institute (in which MSSNY participates) wrote to the US Department of Health & Human Services about standards for electronic prior authorization, highlighting the need for:

— clearly identifying all missing and/or necessary documentation at the onset of denying a prior authorization;

— allowing any required additional documentation to be sent electronically, not just via paper/fax;

— providing notice of PA decisions no later than 24 hours after receiving a request for an expedited, urgent decision, and no later than three calendar days for a standard decision;
— adopting streamlined electronic PA processes based on national, clinical standards that promote greater transparency, to help physicians understand the clinical bases for PA determinations;

— requiring health IT developers to develop ways of automating PA using standard electronic transactions, and to construct user–friendly modules/tutorials for physicians making the transition from manual to electronic PA; and

— collecting data on electronic PA systems, including the list of services requiring prior authorization, the percent of requests approved, the percent denied (or denied and later approved), and the length of time it takes to get final approval.
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Debunking Regulatory Myths: Can physicians bill for both preventive and E/M services in the same visit? The AMA has an interesting series on regulatory myths, designed to help physicians and their staff reduce guesswork and administrative burdens so they can focus on streamlining clinical workflow and improving outcomes. The latest myth in the series: Whether physicians can bill for both preventive and E/M services in the same visit. The answer: Yes! Click on that link to learn when and how to appropriately handle this common situation. 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, ext. 332 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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“Shared Clinical Notes and Documentation: The CURES Act,” Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.: The Society invites you to a CME program offered by The Doctors Company (TDC),with Lisa McCorkle, RN, MBA, Senior Patient Safety Risk Manager for TDC, and Richard Cahill, Esq., Vice President and Associate General Counsel, TDC. To register click HERE. The federal 21st Century Cures Act, effective April 5, 2021, included a requirement for eight types of clinical notes that must not be blocked and must be open to patients via open notes in electronic health records (EHRs). As patients access open notes, it is important for physicians and health care staff to understand the requirements and specific exceptions of the Act. This presentation will review how to avoid information blocking and how to avoid clinical notes that may lead the patient to request amendments or redactions in the EHR — and will discuss overall documentation strategies for success. Compliance with open notes is not optional; failure to comply with the Act may result in fines, penalties, and sanctions against a physician's medical license.
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Wednesday, April 20, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY Medical Matters CME Webinar, “Stresses & Distresses in the Time of COVID–19”: Register now. As we enter the third year of the COVID–19 pandemic, we need to understand the mental health challenges this pandemic has presented. Craig Katz, MD, Vice–Chair, MSSNY’s Emergency Preparedness and Disaster/Terrorism Response Committee, will serve as faculty. For more information or help with registration, contact Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

 

March 25, 2022

 

Take Our Single Payer Survey. Take our very brief survey about your concerns on Single Payer and the New York Health Act sent out to you today. Go HERE to take the survey. __________________________________________________________________

Limited Free NYCMS Scholarships Available for Transcendental Meditation: The David Lynch Foundation has generously given tuition–free scholarships to the first seven members of the New York County Medical Society who register for TM training. The scholarships are independent of financial need and have no strings attached. The grant is part of the Heal the Healers Now program of the David Lynch Foundation. If you are interested in receiving one of these free scholarships to learn TM, please contact Cheryl Malone at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as soon as possible. (After the seven slots are taken, the fee to learn TM for 100 more of our members will be $400, reduced from the regular $980 fee, courtesy of the David Lynch Foundation.) Act now!
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One–House Budgets Out: The New York State Senate and Assembly have released their one–house Budget priority documents in response to Governor Kathy Hochul’s recommendations, and the next step will be three–way negotiations aiming at a final Budget by April 1. Both Houses agreed on the Governor’s proposals for public health investments — to implement a one percent across–the–board Medicaid payment increase, to eliminate some CHIP (Child Health Plus) program eligibility requirements, to increase the upper income threshold eligibility for the State’s Essential Plan health insurance program, and to increase funding for the Doctors Across New York student loan repayment program.

What Happened With the Scope of Practice Proposals? We want legislators to support physician–led team care and oppose inappropriate scope expansion, not create further health care “silos.” Send the legislators a letter by clicking on: Protect Physician-Led Team-Based Care for Patients (p2a.co). What the two Houses said — Pharmacists: Neither house agreed with the Governor’s proposal to allow pharmacists to perform numerous lab tests without coordinating with physicians. Nurse Practitioners (NPs): Neither House agreed with her proposal to eliminate requirements that all NPs maintain collaborative relationship with physicians. The Assembly said even NPs who have more than 3,600 hours experience, and so aren’t required to have a written practice agreement, must still maintain collaborative relationships with a same–specialty physician, so the existing requirement concerning those NPs should be made permanent. (The Senate just said: “Each scope of practice deserves a robust conversation outside the context of the Executive Budget.”)

What Happened With the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact? The Legislature is divided on the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. Although the Senate included a proposal to permit New York to join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, the Assembly did not. This is a complicated issue. MSSNY has opposed New York’s joining the Compact, for fear insurers might take advantage of the Compact to form cheap networks outside of the State and potentially undercut local New York physicians.

What Happened with the Governor’s Recommended Changes in the New York State Surprise Bill Law? Neither House proposal included the Governor’s recommended changes in the New York State law so as to “conform” to Congress’s No Surprises Act (NSA). Most of that “conforming” has already been done, via circular letters from the New York Department of Financial Services last December. Note: The DFS’s circular letters did not include a requirement that the Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR) entity take into consideration the median in–network payment amount — an insurer–controlled factor that might have slanted IDR decisions in the insurers’ favor. Recent lawsuits have spotlighted the fact that this requirement was not part of the NSA.

Also Not Included in the Proposals — Changes in the Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance Program: Neither of the Houses agreed with the Governor’s recommendation that the excess liability insurers be paid in two annual installments. Licensing/Oversight Proposals: Neither House agreed with her recommendation that oversight of several health professions be transferred from the Department of Education to the Department of Health.Here is a chart comparing various budget proposals of interest to physicians.
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Telehealth — The Legislature Divided: The Senate’s Budget proposal included language requiring health insurers to pay for telehealth services at a level similar to comparable in–person services, but the Assembly did not include this provision. As we move into the final days of negotiations for the Fiscal Year 2022 – 2023 budget, MSSNY will continue its efforts in Albany to pass policy requiring telehealth parity: talking with key lawmakers at the Capitol, amplifying the issue in the media and on social media platforms, and working through the grassroots network. All members are urged to reach out to their Assemblymember and State Senator and ask them to speak to their leadership about telehealth parity. Send a letter of support here.

Telehealth on the National Level: A recent AMA survey shows that physicians have enthusiastically embraced telehealth and expect to use it even more in the future. Nearly 85% of physician respondents said they are currently using telehealth to care for patients, and nearly 70% report that their organization is motivated to continue using telehealth in their practice. Many physicians foresee providing telehealth services for chronic disease management and ongoing medical management, care coordination, mental/behavioral health, and specialty care — and say that telehealth via audio–only/telephone is an important part of the picture. However, widespread adoption hinges on preventing insurers from returning to their previous pattern of providing little or no telehealth coverage and little to no telehealth reimbursement. Payers should continue to evaluate and improve policies, coverage, and payment rates for services provided via telehealth.

Medicare and Telehealth: Congress has now extended telehealth’s availability for Medicare patients beyond the current COVID–19 public health emergency, and the AMA will continue to urge Congress to make this policy permanent. The temporary extension in the omnibus bill will allow patients with Medicare to receive telehealth services anywhere they are located, including in their home. Allowing patients to be in their home is a key component of making telehealth more accessible; 95% of physicians surveyed report that patients are primarily located at their home at the time of the virtual visit. Before the pandemic, Medicare required that patients be physically located in a rural area to access telehealth services so that urban and suburban patients were shut out from receiving the benefits of virtual care. Before the pandemic, rural patients needed to travel to an “originating site” outside of their home — essentially another health care facility — to access telehealth services.
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Legislation to Prohibit Non–Restrictive Covenants: Assembly Labor Committee Chair Latoyna Joyner has introduced legislation (A.9591) prohibiting an employer from imposing a non–compete agreement on its employees. Identical legislation (S.6425, Ryan) has been introduced in the Senate and referred to the Senate Labor Committee. The Governor had recommended some limits on employers’ use of non–compete agreement; this legislation would go farther, by preventing excessive post–employment limits that could harm continuity of care for patients.
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NYS Guidance for COVID–19 Immunizations Updated: The New York State Department of Health has updated its guidance for the New York’s COVID–19 vaccination program for individuals 12 years and older. (See Guidance for the New York State COVID-19 Vaccination Program for Individuals 12 Years of Age and Older.) Updates include information on J&J extended shelf life, additional details on myocarditis, and options for extended intervals between doses of the mRNA primary series. This update follows the CDC’s revised clinical guidance on the COVID–19 vaccine.
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New Guide from the AMA on Your Practice: The American Medical Association (AMA) is excited to announce the revised “Physician Guide for Keeping Your Practice Open,” with updated help for you as you implement policies and procedures regarding staff and patient vaccines, as well as advice on staff burnout and workforce shortages related to the ongoing COVID–19 pandemic. Download the guide now and share this timely resource with your colleagues, peers and physician members.
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“Shared Clinical Notes and Documentation: The CURES Act,” Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.: NYCMS invites you to a CME program offered by The Doctors Company (TDC),with Lisa McCorkle, RN, MBA, Senior Patient Safety Risk Manager for TDC, and Richard Cahill, Esq., Vice President and Associate General Counsel, TDC. To register, Click Here. The federal 21st Century Cures Act, effective April 5, 2021, included a requirement for eight types of clinical notes that must not be blocked and must be open to patients via open notes in electronic health records (EHRs). As patients access open notes, it is important for physicians and health care staff to understand the requirements and specific exceptions of the Act. This presentation will review how to avoid information blocking and how to avoid clinical notes that may lead the patient to request amendments or redactions in the EHR — and will discuss overall documentation strategies for success. Compliance with open notes is not optional; failure to comply with the Act may result in fines, penalties, and sanctions against a physician's medical license. Learning objectives: To educate staff and colleagues regarding the 21st Century Cures Act’s requirements concerning patients’ access to open notes; to assess the physician practice for opportunities to improve documentation, and decrease potential requests for the redaction of medical records; and to develop an action plan to follow if a patient requests a redaction in the medical record. To register, Click Here
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Wednesday, April 20, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY Medical Matters CME Webinar, “Stresses & Distresses in the Time of COVID–19”: Register now. As we enter the third year of the COVID–19 pandemic, we need to understand the mental health challenges this pandemic has presented. Craig Katz, MD, Vice–Chair, MSSNY’s Emergency Preparedness and Disaster/Terrorism Response Committee, will serve as faculty. For more information or help with registration, contact Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Significant Savings on Medical Liability Insurance: New York County Medical Society’s exclusive endorsed medical professional liability carrier, The Doctors Company, now offers significant savings to Society members. You could qualify for low rates from the nations's largest physician–owned medical professional liability insurer, with more than 80,000 members and over $6.2 billion in assets. They are rated A by AM Best and Fitch Ratings, * which gives them the financial strength and stability to protect you now and well into the future. Request a quote from The Doctors Company and see how much you can save by choosing one of New York’s leading malpractice insurance carriers.
Request a quote HERE or to learn about The Doctors Company’s new lower rates for your specialty, contact Brian Dalton, our New York expert at (631) 248–2701 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

March 18, 2022

Take Our Single Payer Survey. Take our very brief survey about your concerns on Single Payer and the New York Health Act sent out to you today. Go HERE to take the survey.
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MSSNY and Specialty Societies Fight NYSHIP/Empire Issues on Out–of–Network Issue: New York State’s Department of Civil Service (DCS) has taken a position that the NYSHIP/Empire Plan is not subject to New York State insurance law regulations concerning out–of–network doctors. DCS has directed doctors to bring surprise billing issues to the federal dispute resolution process rather than the New York State resolution process. The results, as MSSNY, the New York State Society of Anesthesiologists, and the New York State Society of Plastic Surgery have described in a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul’s health care team, are “a drastic, unprecedented, and precipitous drop in reimbursement to out–of–network physicians. If not addressed, surgical and medical specialty practices will suffer long–term irreparable harm that will cause many of them to go out of business or drastically reduce their services.” The subsequent harm to patients, especially as out–of–network coverage for the NYSHIP/Empire Plan is one of the major selling points for public employees in New York, is considerable. Organized medicine is calling for immediate action by the Governor, as specialties are being targeted one by one by the Plan, and MSSNY has been meeting with New York State officials. Watch for more information as things develop.
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Is “Test to Treat” a Good Idea? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has begun a new nationwide “Test to Treat” program, through which people who test positive for COVID–19 will be able to visit local pharmacy–based clinics and federally qualified community health centers to receive antiviral pills right there on the spot. Debate is now going on about this initiative. Organized medicine agrees with the goal of expanding the availability of COVID–19 anti–viral treatment, but we are strongly concerned about the lack of involvement of community–based physicians to make the prescribing decisions and coordinate the patients’ care. The AMA has released a statement: “The AMA is pleased the administration is ramping up supply of antivirals so in the near future they will be broadly available. But, in the meantime, establishing pharmacy–based clinics as one–stop shopping for COVID–19 testing and treatments is extremely risky. Pharmacy–based clinics typically treat simple illnesses such as strep throat. Yet, COVID–19 is a complex disease and there are many issues to consider when prescribing COVID–19 antiviral medications. Leaving prescribing decisions this complex in the hands of people without knowledge of a patient’s medical history is dangerous in practice and precedent. We urge patients who test positive for COVID–19 to contact their physician to discuss treatment options. COVID–19 is not strep throat — it is a complicated disease that has killed nearly 1 million people in the United States.” Please remain alert for further updates on this program.
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NYS Budget Decisions Coming — Keep Contacting Legislators! The New York State Senate and Assembly have finalized their One–House Budget proposals, setting the stage for three–way negotiations with Governor Kathy Hochul towards enacting a budget by April 1.

— Click on Support Payment Parity to urge legislators to support a proposal ensuring payment parity for services delivered via telehealth.

— Click on Protect Physician-Led Care (opposing further “silos” in health care) to urge legislators not to vote for letting pharmacists perform certain lab tests without physician coordination, and not to vote for eliminating current statutory requirements for nurse practitioners to maintain collaborative relationship with physicians.

— Click on Support funding for veterans mental health to support funding for the Veterans’ Mental Health Initiative (an educational partnership between MSSNY, the NYS Psychiatric Association, and the National Association of Social Workers).

— Click on Prior Authorizations (p2a.co) to support legislation (S.8299) to exempt physicians from burdensome prior authorization (PA) requirements if those PA requests are regularly approved by health insurers. (This isn’t directly a budget issue, but it is one legislators are looking at right now.)
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Requirements Concerning the Physicians Whom Insurers Use as Reviewers. The Assembly has passed legislation (A.879, Gottfried) requiring insurers, before they deny payment or pre–authorization for a particular service, to make sure that the recommended treatment is reviewed by a New York–licensed physician in the same specialty as the providing physician. Identical legislation (S.8113, Cleare) is in the Senate Health Committee.
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Colorectal Cancer Screening Bill Passes Assembly. The Assembly has passed the Colorectal Cancer Screening Cost Sharing Removal Act (A.2085–A), requiring insurance plans to (1) cover colorectal cancer screening beginning at age 45, and (2) eliminate all patient cost–sharing for follow–up colonoscopies. Doctors are urging the Senate to follow the Assembly’s lead and pass the “same–as” bill (S.906–A).
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Phase One of Workers’ Comp’s New Online Claims System (OnBoard: Limited Release) Open for Business. The initial phase of the Workers’ Compensation Board’s OnBoard system allows you to submit “Requests for Decisions on Unpaid Medical Bills” (Form HP–1.0s), plus prior authorization requests (PARs) for medications. On April 4, the Workers’ Compensation Board will implement Phase Two for durable medical equipment (DME) PARs; on May 2, the Board will implement Phase Three, for Treatment and Testing PARs. Do you need training? There will be a Webinar about DME PARs on March 24, 2022, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.; you’ll be able to join the webinar directly at that time (just click on Join webinar). If you can’t attend then, there will be a recording on the Board’s YouTube Channel HERE and in the Training and Resources Section HERE.
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Staffing Crisis Thanks to COVID. Physician practices across the country continue to operate in an atmosphere of uncertainty, now compounded by a staffing crisis due to recent surges in COVID–19 cases. To help you with these problems, the AMA has released a new STEPS ForwardTM webinar, “Navigating the Current Healthcare Landscape: COVID-19, Staffing Crisis, and Administrative Burden,” which you can access at https://youtu.be/1RJHLNwjzrs. This webinar talks about the current health care workforce landscape, how to plan for workplace shortages, and best practices in workplace safety and efficiencies for staff; it also suggests practical resources to improve your practice.
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COVID Test Paybacks? If you received a letter from an insurance company asking you to refund payments for COVID tests that your office has performed over the past two years, and if the diagnosis code is for COVID exposure or COVID symptoms, please appeal these claims. If the claims are still denied, contact Heather Lopez. Use this letter to send with your appeal reminding the insurance company of what they must cover. 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, ext. 332; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

March 11, 2022

Come to Our Single Payer Town Hall: What’s In the New York Health Act and What Does It Mean for Doctors? On Monday, March 14, and Thursday, March 17, at 6:00 p.m., the Society will hold Town Hall Webinars about a big legislative issue — the “Single Payer” concept, which is embodied in a current proposal, the New York Health Act. (This bill, A.6058, is sponsored by Richard Gottfried and Gustavo Rivera, chairs of the New York State Assembly and New York Senate Health Committees.) What do New York County members think? Physicians across the State vary widely in their views about the Single Payer concept. Up to this point, the New York County Medical Society has been pointing out concerns and making suggestions, in an effort to ensure that if the legislation passes, there are protections for physicians. Come weigh in on the New York Health Act. Each webinar will have a brief (10 – 15 minute) initial presentation on the bill by Scot B. Glasberg, MD, NYCMS Trustee and Past President, followed by questions and answers. Choose one of two Town Hall dates (March 14 and March 17). For the Webinar on Monday, March 14, register HERE. For the Webinar on Thursday, March 17, register HERE.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2022, 7:00 to 7:50 p.m.: Online Introductory Talk: Healthcare Provider Wellness Program through Transcendental Meditation® (TM®). Stuart Rothenberg, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Center for Resilience at the David Lynch Foundation, will talk about TM, a mental technique for reducing stress and promoting mental well–being. The initiative addresses burnout, depression, insomnia, and post–traumatic stress symptoms being experienced by healthcare providers. The David Lynch Foundation has generously provided a grant for one hundred of our New York County Medical Society members to learn TM at a significant discount. (See details about the initiative at http://healthehealersnow.org.) To join on March 16th at 7:00 p.m. go here: https://davidlynchfoundation.zoom.us/j/87295701068?pwd=azZaRnRXZGxYVnNndGdMZTJIUXpIdz09 _________________________________________________________________

Another Update on “No Surprises:” Act Regulations: The U.S. Department of Labor will revise the “No Surprise” Act regulations, following a recent federal court decision. Last month, the Texas Federal District Court ruled that federal agencies had overstepped in their implementation of the “No Surprises” Act’s independent dispute resolution (IDR) process. The agencies should have required equal consideration for a whole range of factors in the IDR design, but failed to do so. Now the U.S. Department of Labor has issued a memo stating that it will be revising parts of the rules that the lawsuit recently “invalidated.” MSSNY joined an amicus brief in support of the Texas Medical Association’s action challenging the overreaching regulations, and a second amicus in support of a parallel action brought by the American Medical Association and American Hospital Association.
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Nurse Practitioners’ Scope of Practice: Please urge legislators to protect physician–led team care. Send a letter here. We don’t want uncoordinated, siloed care. We want the legislators to oppose the Executive Budget proposal that could eliminate statutory requirements for nurse practitioners (NPs) to maintain collaborative arrangements with a same–specialty physician, and we also want the legislators to oppose the stand–alone legislation (S.3056–A/A.1535–A) on the same topic.

Background: Last year’s Budget extended until June 30, 2022, the existing law that allows NPs with more than 3,600 hours of experience to practice without a written collaborative agreement, if they maintain evidence of “collaborative relationships” with a physician in the same specialty. This year, the Governor’s Budget proposal would remove that requirement as it applies to primary care NPs with more than 3,600 hours of practice, and the stand–alone legislation, S.3056––A/A.1535–A, goes even farther, removing the requirements for all NPs. MSSNY has warned that the “crisis standard of care” that led to the waiving of these very important patient protections during the height of the pandemic” should not become the general standard of care. During the Society’s local visits on Physician Advocacy Day, Society members reinforced the idea that they value NPs as part of the health care team, but their training is not sufficient to practice solo.
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Maintaining Telehealth— Take Action on the Federal Level: The success of telehealth during the pandemic makes it clear that Medicare telehealth benefits ought to remain available to patients permanently. But unless Congress acts, most Medicare beneficiaries will abruptly lose access to these services due to Medicare’s “originating site” and geographic restrictions that will immediately go back into effect when the public health emergency ends. If Congress doesn’t address this problem, the re–implementation of these outdated restrictions may have severe consequences for Medicare patients across the country. Please contact your Senators and member of Congress and ask them to support making expanded telehealth services permanent today.
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Circle Back for COVID and Dermatology: If you missed our fascinating Grand Rounds on COVID and Dermatology, which we hosted on March 2, 2022, check out Mark Lebwohl, MD, Chair of the Department of Dermatology at Mount Sinai, for our Grand Rounds Presentation.
Go HERE to view the program.
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Workers’ Compensation News — OnBoard (“Limited Release – Phase One”) is Now Live: OnBoard is the Workers’ Compensation Board’s new online claims system. In this first phase, you must use the OnBoard system to submit and respond to all prior authorization requests for medication (“medication PARs”), and all “Requests for Decision on Unpaid Medical Bill(s) — Form HP–1.0.” To use the OnBoard system for these functions, go to the Board’s Medical Portal under the “Prior Authorization Request (PAR)” link, or under the “Request for Decision on Unpaid Medical Bill(s) (Form HP–1.0)” link. For training and you can find useful information at Health Care Providers, and for assistance with Medical Portal registration, contact Customer Support at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Other Events:

Wednesday, March 16, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY CME Webinar, “Antivirals, Antibodies & Testing,” with William Valenti, MD, Chair, MSSNY Committee on Infectious Diseases. Register now. The landscape of treatment options for COVID–19 has been changing throughout the pandemic. Learn more about EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) approved antivirals, developments in monoclonal antibodies, and testing options. For more information or help with registration, contact Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Support High School Medical Research from the Comfort of Your Home: The NSPC Brain & Spine Surgery Health Science Competition (cstl.org/nspc/) is the first event of its kind in the nation and exclusively for Long Island students. 2021 alone saw almost 450 projects. With an entirely virtual process, supporting STEM has never been easier. The event depends on area medical professionals for the judging process. The NSPC Brain & Spine Surgery Health Science Competition is administered by local nonprofit the Center for Science Teaching & Learning (cstl.org). Judge volunteers will receive between 8 – 10 virtual projects by March 31 and have until April 18 to complete their assignments. Each project consists of an 8–minute video and slide show uploaded online. Judging focuses on scientific logic, but Judges will indicate their categories of preference. Scores are submitted through an online form. If you are interested in volunteering and encouraging tomorrow’s doctors, register HERE.
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Special Opportunity for Society Members from Flushing Bank: Society members get either a 5–year or 10–year term mortgage amortized over 25 years. The offer includes 3.55% fixed rate for 5 years with a 0.25% fee; 3.75% fixed rate for 10 years with a 0.25% fee; Mortgage Loan Amounts from $1,000,000 to $10,000,000; free checking for one year. Application requirements must be fully satisfied by March 31, 2022; closing must take place by June 30, 2022. Contact Denis Healy, (646) 923–9525 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and say you are a Society member. (See the flyer attached.)

 

 March 4, 2022

 

Join Us Tuesday, March 8 for Your Lobby Day! Register HERE for MSSNY’s morning legislative CME program. Register HERE for New York County’s own local visits with Manhattan legislators on Zoom, 12:00 noon to 2:30 p.m. Help us push for fair telehealth payment. Fight insurer abuses such as excessive prior authorization requirements. Guard patient safety (we’re against inappropriate scope expansions for non–physician practitioners). MSSNY’s Program – 8:00 to 11:00 a.m.: One–hour panel discussion (“Top Health Care Policy Issues”), with chairs of the Assembly and Senate Health and Insurance Committees – plus talks by MSSNY Government Affairs staff and more. Our NYCMS Program – 12:00 noon to 2:30 p.m. – Zoom “Open House” with our own Manhattan legislators. These are small group visits. Ask questions! Form your own impressions! We’ll have half hour visits, 12:00 noon to 2:30 p.m. You can come in at 12:00 noon or any time after. We’ll host NYS Senators Brad Hoylman, Liz Krueger, Brian Kavanagh and Jose Serrano; Assemblymembers Deborah Glick, Al Taylor, Yuh–Line Niou and Dan Quart; and more.

Note: you must register for the MSSNY portion AND the afternoon visits sessions to participate in both.
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Society Board of Trustee Chair Michael T. Goldstein, MD, JD Declares Congressional Bid: Doctor Michael Goldstein is the first candidate to declare his intention to seek the GOP nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, a Democrat from Greenwich who has represented the 4th District since defeating Republican Christopher Shays in 2008. Read all about it HERE and HERE.
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Court Win for Municipal Retirees on Medicare Advantage Issue: Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Lyle E. Frank ruled in favor of former New York City employees this week in a case regarding the right of the City to unilaterally change the current retiree health plan to a Medicare Advantage Plan. City officials were not only allegedly rushing the changeover, but there were many complaints that retirees found that their physicians were not participating in the new plan, despite assurances to the contrary. The City was going to allow the retirees to keep their current Medicare plan, but only by charging them an additional $191 a month in premium. The Court found the extra charge unlawful, and determined that the City was not following its own administrative code regarding circumstances in which an extra premium could be charged. The Society, as well as the First District Branch – representing the five county medical societies in New York City — have been supportive of the municipal retirees and speaking to legislators regarding this issue, as well as working on ways to help seniors understand both the pros and cons of Medicare Advantage plans. We do not know yet if the City will appeal the ruling. __________________________________________________________________

NYCMS invites you to attend “Religion, Spirituality and Healing: a Multi–Faith Panel Discussion on Understanding Patients’ Spiritual Needs and Integrating Spiritual Care into Medical Practice:” Join us on Thursday, March 10, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. Register HERE. We will look at Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist viewpoints on how spirituality benefits the doctor–patient relationship, when and how to take a spiritual history, how physicians and patients deal with loss — and more. Join moderators Steven Mandel, MD, Clinical Professor of Neurology, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, and Jill Baron, MD, Board Certified Family Physician, Integrative Medicine and Functional Medicine in New York City, and Chair of the Society’s Committee on Physician Wellness.
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Come to the Society’s Single Payer Town Hall: What’s In the New York Health Act and What Does It Mean for Doctors? Monday, March 14, and Thursday, March 17, at 6:00 p.m. NYCMS will hold Town Hall Webinars about a big legislative issue — the “Single Payer” concept, which is embodied in a current proposal, the New York Health Act. (This bill, A.6058, is sponsored by Richard Gottfried and Gustavo Rivera, chairs of the NYS Assembly and Senate Health Committees.) These Webinars will have a brief initial presentation on the bill by Scot B. Glasberg, MD, NYCMS Trustee and Past President, followed by questions and answers. We are offering two Town Hall dates (March 14 and March 17) for members’ convenience. For the Webinar on Monday, March 14, REGISTER HERE. For the Webinar on Thursday, March 17, REGISTER HERE.

What do you, our members, think? Physicians across the state — in fact, across the U.S. — vary widely in their views about the Single Payer concept. Up to this point, the New York County Medical Society has been pointing out concerns and making suggestions, in an effort to ensure that if the legislation passes, there are protections for physicians. What do you need to know about the bill? Do you support Single Payer? Are there conditions under which you would support Single Payer? These questions will be addressed during the Town Hall sessions.
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Good News as Federal Court Rules that Federal Agencies Improperly Interpreted the “No Surprises” Act: A Federal District court in Texas has ruled that regulations for using the independent dispute resolution (IDR) process to resolve surprise medical billing payment disputes, through the Federal ‘No Surprises’ Act, “conflict with the law” and “must be set aside under the Administrative Procedures Act.” MSSNY had joined two amicus briefs in support of action challenging the overreaching regulations; one of these briefs was brought by the Texas Medical Association, the other by the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association. An important point: The Texas ruling did not set aside the “No Surprises” Act’s numerous patient protections. It only focused on the weight of one particular IDR decision factor that insurers can control, a factor known as the median payment. We have been concerned that HHS’s faulty interpretation of the law could lead to access problems for patients, in hospitals across New York and across the country (hospitals might have more difficulty having specialty care physicians on call), and this was a very important initial ruling. Stay tuned for further updates
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The Governor Amends Budget Proposal on Excess Liability Coverage: The 30–day amendments to the Governor’s Executive Budget have just been released, and the plan no longer contains the original requirement for the 17,000 physicians enrolled in the Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance program to pay up front for coverage and then be reimbursed in two yearly installments. However, payments to the carrier (MLMIC) would still be broken into two yearly installments (which could destabilize the program going forward). Medical liability verdicts grow each year, and New York’s medical liability insurance costs exceed all other states, so we need this program to continue “as is.”
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Urge Legislators to Protect Physician–Led Team Care. We want legislators to oppose the Executive Budget proposal that could eliminate statutory requirements for nurse practitioners (NPs) to maintain collaborative arrangements with a same–specialty physician, as well as stand–alone legislation (S.3056–A/A.1535–A) on the same topic. Stop uncoordinated, siloed care and send a letter HERE. In a recent MSSNY survey, nearly 2/3 of the physician respondents said advanced care practitioners working independently during the pandemic had committed an error while treating a patient, and 80% said the error could have been prevented with physician oversight.
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Take Action on Telehealth: The success of telehealth adoption during the pandemic makes it clear that Medicare telehealth benefits should remain available to patients after the current COVID–19 public health emergency ends. However, unless Congress acts, most Medicare beneficiaries will abruptly lose access to these services due to Medicare’s current “originating site” and geographic restrictions, that immediately snap back into effect upon conclusion of the public health emergency. If this problem is left unaddressed, the re–implementation of these outdated restrictions would have severe consequences for Medicare patients across the country. Please contact your Senators and member of Congress and ask them to support making expanded telehealth services permanent today!
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Check Out These Programs:

Wednesday, March 16, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: MSSNY CME Webinar, “Antivirals, Antibodies & Testing,” with Dr. William Valenti, Chair, MSSNY Committee on Infectious Diseases. Register now. The landscape of treatment options for COVID-19 has been changing throughout the pandemic. Learn more about EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) approved antivirals, developments in monoclonal antibodies, and testing options. For more information or help with registration, contact Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Friday, March 18, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: Webinar, “Building a Sustainable Telehealth Practice: Lessons from the Cloud,” presented by The Telehealth Initiative. Register now. Physicians’ and practices’ use of telehealth increased dramatically in the Covid pandemic, and some entities have already been using telehealth successfully for many years – among them the Hudson Headwaters Health Network (HHHN). Kevin Gallagher, M.D., and Sean Philpott–Jones, Ph.D., MSBe, from HHHN, will serve as faculty for this program, which is funded by the AMA and Physician’s Foundation, and is part of The Telehealth Initiative. For more information or help with registration, contact Cayla Lauder, MPH, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Free CME Offer: The Inflammatory Brain Disorders Conference, May 20 – May 21, 2022, is a virtual conference being offered free of charge. This CME event is sponsored by the Neuroimmune Foundation and the Wisconsin Medical Society. Learn more HERE.
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Support High School Medical Research from the Comfort of Your Home: The NSPC Brain & Spine Surgery Health Science Competition (cstl.org/nspc/) is the first event of its kind in the nation and exclusively for Long Island students. 2021 alone saw almost 450 projects. With an entirely virtual process, supporting STEM has never been easier. The event depends on area medical professionals for the judging process. The NSPC Brain & Spine Surgery Health Science Competition is administered by local nonprofit the Center for Science Teaching & Learning (cstl.org). Judge volunteers will receive between 8 – 10 virtual projects by March 31 and have until April 18 to complete their assignments. Each project consists of an 8–minute video and slide show uploaded online. Judging focuses on scientific logic, but Judges will indicate their categories of preference. Scores are submitted through an online form. If you are interested in volunteering and encouraging tomorrow’s doctors, register HERE.
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Special Opportunity for Society Members from Flushing Bank: Society members get either a 5–year or 10–year term mortgage amortized over 25 years. The offer includes 3.55% fixed rate for 5 years with a 0.25% fee; 3.75% fixed rate for 10 years with a 0.25% fee; Mortgage Loan Amounts from $1,000,000 to $10,000,000; free checking for one year. Application requirements must be fully satisfied by March 31, 2022; closing must take place by June 30, 2022. Contact Denis Healy, (646) 923–9525 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and say you are a Society member. (See the flyer attached.)

 

 

February 25, 2022

Weigh in!  CDC’s updated Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids is now open for public comment (https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2022/s0210-prescribing-opioids.html).  Per this draft guidance for acute, subacute, and chronic pain (part of a proposed update to the controversial 2016 CDC opioid guideline for chronic pain), there would no longer be “hard thresholds” on opioid prescribing.  The draft guidance is not intended to be applied as an inflexible standard.  It's also not intended to lead to rapid opioid tapering or discontinuation, and does not apply to sickle cell disease-related pain, cancer pain, and palliative or end-of-life care.  Says the CDC, “The public comment period will be open for 60 days,  through April 11, 2022. We encourage all patients, caregivers, providers, and others who care about safe, effective, and informed pain treatment options to submit their comments via the Federal Register docket.  To add your voice to the conversation, please go to: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection/2022-02802/proposed-2022-clinical-practice-guideline-for-prescribing-opioids.”

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NYS Empire Plan has been drastically cutting some payments – has this affected you?   Possibly in connection with Congress’s 01/01/22 No Surprises Act, the NYS Empire plan has recently made severe cuts in payments for certain out-of-network services delivered to state employee patients at in-network hospitals.  Some practices have been told they must wait 30 days to seek relief through New York’s Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR) process to appeal these low payments.  But the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) has confirmed that the statement about the 30 days’ wait is incorrect; New York law permits a physician to bring a health plan payment dispute to IDR immediately.  (You can bring a dispute to New York’s IDR process here.)  MSSNY will be grateful for further examples of these tactics – please contact MSSNY’s Director of Physician Payment and Practice, Heather Lopez, at 518.465.8085 X332 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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And speaking of which:  As you recall, we always have an item that ends, “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 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..”  Having access to Ms. Lopez is one of MSSNY members’ most important benefits!  Says a New York County Medical Society member, “I found Heather's contact information [in one of the the] weekly newsletters and decided that I had a few difficult insurance payments outstanding and decided to call her.  My skepticism preceded my call, but to the point, within just about three weeks, Heather was able to help me get paid on a major claim that was outstanding for about 14 months. And she is continuing to help me with others as well.”

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Events:  On Thursday, February 24, 2022, 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m., the Workers Comp Board is offering a webinar with advance information about their new “OnBoard” online claims system.  “OnBoard’s” first phase will be implemented March 7, 2022, and this webinar will tell you how to access and navigate the new system, how to draft and submit Requests for Decision on Unpaid Medical Bill(s) (Form HP-1.0), how to “escalate” medication prior authorization requests for further review, and how to review payers’ responses to medication prior authorization requests.  You don’t have to register in advance for the webinar.  On February 24, when the time approaches, just click on  Join webinarThe full session will also be recorded and made available on the Board's YouTube channel and resources page. 

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LISA, LET’S LEAVE THE FOLLOWING THREE WITHOUT “LINES” – THEY’RE SORT OF A UNIT -

And, sign up for these March events!  First:  Register HERE for “Dermatology in the COVID Era:  Skin Manifestations, Impact on Therapies, Vaccinations and More,” Thursday, March 2, 2022, at 6:00 p.m.  Dr. Mark Lebwohl, chair of the Department of Dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, will discuss skin manifestations of COVID-19 infection, the risk of using psoriasis and eczema therapies during COVID, and the impact of dermatology therapies on vaccination.  This talk is part of our “Specialty Updates for Non-Specialists” Grand Rounds series. 

Second:  “Lobby Day,” Tuesday, March 8, 2022.  In the morning (7:45 to 11:00 a.m.), MSSNY will present talks by key legislators and the Governor’s staff, and in the afternoon (12:00 noon to 2:30 p.m.), you can take part in our own small-group visits with Manhattan legislators.  To sign up for MSSNY’s morning program (with CME), click on  [MSSNY’S LINK HERE].  And, to sign up for our own NYCMS Zoom meetings with legislators, click on this separate link: [OUR OWN NYCMS LINK HERE].  We’re concerned about:   The possible loss of support for telehealth, even though it’s often the best modality; the unprecedented expansion of non-physician practitioners’ scope, even though patient safety could be jeopardized; the threatened burden on physicians who have Excess Layer liability coverage (they may have to buy it themselves and then seek state reimbursement), even though they’re already struggling with Covid-related financial losses; and a number of other serious issues.  Come and help us get our message across. 

Third:  “Religion, Spirituality and Healing,” Wednesday, March 10, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. [REGISTER HERE FOR…CAN WE PUT OUR SIGNUP INFORMATION HERE…] This panel discussion will feature five leaders of different faiths and philosophies (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu), all of whom work in hospital settings.  Sometimes – especially during the extended pandemic - patients are seen as diseases “to be fixed” rather than as human beings with complex needs, including spiritual needs. This discussion will ask how patients’ spirituality can be recognized in the doctor-patient relationship, in palliative care, in patient education for self-care (as an adjunct to diet, sleep, exercise and meditation), and in other aspects and phases of medical care – including, how this added dimension can strengthen physicians’ own inner resources. 

 

 

 February 18, 2022

Three virtual events are coming up!  First:  Register HERE for “Dermatology in the COVID Era:  Skin Manifestations, Impact on Therapies, Vaccinations and More,” Thursday, March 2, 2022, at 6:00 p.m.  Dr. Mark Lebwohl, chair of the Department of Dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, will discuss skin manifestations of COVID-19 infection, the risk of using psoriasis and eczema therapies during COVID, and the impact of dermatology therapies on vaccination.  This talk is part of our “Specialty Updates for Non-Specialists” Grand Rounds series. 

 

Second:  “Lobby Day,” Tuesday, March 8, 2022.  In the morning (7:45 to 11:00 a.m.), MSSNY will present talks by key legislators and the Governor’s staff, and in the afternoon (12:00 noon to 2:30 p.m.), you can take part in our own small-group visits with Manhattan legislators.  To sign up for MSSNY’s morning program with CME, click on  [MSSNY’S LINK HERE].  And, to sign up for our own afternoon Zoom meetings with legislators, click on this separate link: [OUR OWN NYCMS LINK HERE].  We need to talk to the legislators about:   The possible loss of support for telehealth (even though it’s often the best modality); the unprecedented expansion of the scope of practice of non-physician practitioners such as nurse practitioners and pharmacists (even though patient safety could be jeopardized); the threat that physicians who have Excess Layer liability coverage might have to buy it themselves and then seek state reimbursement (even though they’re already struggling with Covid-related financial losses); and a number of other serious issues.  Come and help us get our message across. 

Third:  “Religion, Spirituality and Healing,” Wednesday, March 10, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. [REGISTER HERE FOR…CAN WE PUT OUR SIGNUP INFORMATION HERE…] This panel discussion will feature five leaders of different faiths and philosophies (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu), all of whom work in hospital settings.  Sometimes – especially during the extended pandemic - patients are seen as diseases “to be fixed” rather than as human beings with complex needs, including spiritual needs. This discussion will ask how patients’ spirituality can be recognized in the doctor-patient relationship, in palliative care, in patient education for self-care (as an adjunct to diet, sleep, exercise and meditation), and in other aspects and phases of medical care – including, how this added dimension can strengthen physicians’ own inner resources. 

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The prior authorization problem:  New bill (A.8299) is aimed at creating a “Gold Card” Program to help set limits.  Per this proposal by Senate Insurance Committee Chair Neil Breslin, which MSSNY supports, insurers would exempt a physician or other provider from Prior Authorization (PA) requirements for a specific treatment - if he or she had a record of receiving PA approvals for that treatment at a rate of 90% or more. Last year, Texas was the first state in the country to establish a broad-based “Gold Card” program.

This legislation is another part of MSSNY’s efforts to challenge excessive prior authorization requirements.  The American Medical Association has released an updated survey which shows how seriously PA requirements can interfere with patient care delivery.  More than 9 in 10 physicians (93%) reported care delays while waiting for health insurers to authorize necessary care, and 82% said patients sometimes abandon treatment due to authorization struggles with health insurers.  Moreover, more than half (51%) of physicians reported that prior authorization had interfered with a patient’s job responsibilities, and more than one-third (34%) of physicians reported that prior authorization had led to a serious adverse event - such as hospitalization, disability, or even death - for a patient in their care.  MSSNY will continue to work with Senator Breslin and other legislators to advance this bill this session, in addition to other bills (such as A.7129/S.6435) that limit excessive and unnecessary prior authorizations.  Do you have stories about excessive and/or unnecessary prior authorization hassles?  MSSNY is interested - please e-mail your stories to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Thursday, February 24, 2022, 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.:  The Workers Comp Board is offering a webinar with advance information about their new “OnBoard” online claims system.  “OnBoard’s” first phase will be implemented March 7, 2022, and this webinar will tell you how to access and navigate the new system, how to draft and submit Requests for Decision on Unpaid Medical Bill(s) (Form HP-1.0), how to “escalate” medication prior authorization requests for further review, and how to review payers’ responses to medication prior authorization requests.  You don’t have to register in advance for the webinar.  On February 24, when the time approaches, just click on  Join webinarThe full session will also be recorded and made available on the Board's YouTube channel and resources page. 

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Trial has begun in federal court (Southern District of New York) in the MSSNY/Office-Based Surgery class action suit, regarding United’s failure to pay OBS facility fees.  The trial in the action Medical Society of the State of New York et al. v. UnitedHealth Group Inc. et al has begun with testimony from office-based surgery providers Dr. Wellington Tichenor and Dr. Darrick Antell, as well as from MSSNY Senior Vice-President Moe Auster.  The suit, originally filed in 2016, argues that United’s failure to pay facility fees to out-of-network office-based surgery providers is contrary to the terms of United’s health benefits plans and the requirements of ERISA.  MSSNY has long supported legislation or regulation requiring insurers to pay OBSs a separate facility fee reflecting the additional costs of accreditation and maintenance of an office-based surgical practice. 

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The Physicians Foundation’s Fellowship Program is now calling for applicants.  Applications are due Friday, March 25, 2022.  This program is designed to advance physicians’ leadership skills, in order to strengthen the physician-patient relationship, help make medical practices sustainable, and navigate the changing health care system. It’s open to physicians who are new or mid-career in their practice, and are interested in addressing social drivers of health (SDOH), improving physicians’ well-being, and bringing physician perspectives into discussions of health policy.  The program offers physicians the opportunity to contribute to research, education and innovative grant making; connect with SDOH experts; and engage in the ongoing media and policy discourse on how to improve health care delivery.  It lasts for 12 months beginning July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023, and participating fellows will receive a stipend of $24,000 as well as reimbursement for program-related travel and lodging expenses. This fellowship requires approximately 10 to 15 hours monthly for project development and implementation, along with external thought leadership activities.  Interested physicians must submit an application with a current resume/CV, two letters of recommendation and a statement of intent.  

 

 

February 11, 2022

Updated Return–to–Work Protocols for Healthcare Personnel with SARS–CoV–2 Infection or Exposure to SARS–CoV–2: The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has released updated guidance on return-to-work protocols for healthcare personnel, which supersedes the January 4, 2022 return–to–work guidance. Meanwhile, what about the CDC? Updated CDC guidance will be reviewed by NYSDOH as it is released and additional requirements may be added.
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Register Now for CME Grand Rounds: Specialty Updates for Non–Specialists –— COVID–19 & the Heart: The Spectrum of Cardiac Involvement, Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 6:00 p.m., with David Vorchheimer, MD, Director of Clinical Cardiology, Montefiore Medical Center. This virtual CME presentation will discuss syndromes of acute COVID–19 injury, late cardiac manifestations of COVID–19 infection, and cardiac implications of COVID–19 vaccination and therapies. One Category CME Credit. Register HERE.
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Register HERE to join us at MSSNY’s Virtual Lobby Day, March 8, 2022! In the morning: We’ll hear from key lawmakers from around the State. In the afternoon: We’ll have virtual small–group visits with our own legislators. (Quick and to the point! Let them see your face!) We need to speak against proposals that could be bad for physicians and patients. We will contact all registrants about the afternoon visits closer to the meeting day. Among the issues: Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed Budget for FY 2022 – 2023 includes a significant number of investments in New York’s health care system and its health care workforce, plus many other items that we and MSSNY support such as requiring health insurers to pay for telehealth services at a level similar to in–person services (please write to legislators here: Support Payment Parity for Telehealth Services) and also requiring the insurers to limit excessive medical records requests. However, the Governor’s proposal also includes a number of items we oppose — such as eliminating required nurse practitioner/physician collaboration (send a letter here: Protect Physician-Led Team-Based Care for Patients (p2a.co), and surprisingly imposing huge new costs on the 17,000 physicians with Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance Coverage by requiring them to purchase the coverage themselves, and then hope to be reimbursed by the State in two yearly installments (send a letter here: Keep Excess Medical Liability Insurance Intact. ) In addition, the dispute continues over how New York’s “Surprise Billing” law is to mesh with new federal law protections, particularly with regard to the Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR) process, and we must also speak with legislators about public health questions, prior authorization hassles, further scope of practice issues, the mental health crisis and more.
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Celebrate Black History Month with “Black Men in White Coats:” See a screening about the mission of Doctor Dale Okorodudu to strengthen diversity in the medical profession. Nassau County Medical Society is presenting a 6:00 p.m. screening on February 17; to RSVP, please visit HERE. Right now, as an introduction, you can watch the video at https://www.blackmeninwhitecoats.org/themission/.
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Thursday, February 24, 2020: Attend the AMA’s STEPS ForwardTM Webinar, “No One Should Care Alone — Creating Processes for Intentional Professional Connection.” Last year, Dr. Mark Greenawald launched the PeerRxMed program (www.PeerRxMed.org) to help healthcare professionals support each other as they move away from distress and toward thriving. On February 24, at 12:00 noon, the AMA is once again offering the “No One Should Care Alone” webinar, followed by a live Q&A session with Dr. Greenawald. To register, go HERE.
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NYCMS continues the Grand Rounds Series, “Specialty Updates for Non–Specialists.” Sign up information below for:

COVID and Dermatology Issues: Wednesday, March 2, 2022, at 6:00 p.m., with Mark Lebwohl, MD, Chair of the Department of Dermatology, Mount Sinai Medical Center. Register HERE.

Religion, Spirituality and Healing: Thursday, March 10, 2022, at 6:00 p.m.
A panel of hospital chaplains of all faiths — Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu — will discuss ways to help patients draw strength through spirituality as they cope with medical challenges. Register HERE.
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MSSNY Seeks NYS funding for the Veterans Mental Health Training Initiative: Please send a letter on the VMHTI to ensure that funding for this project is included in the State budget. This coalition project, with MSSNY, the NYS Psychiatric Association and the National Association of Workers–NYS, delivers free skills and education programs for those who work in the mental health field with service members and their families.
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Corporate Entities Involvement in Health Care — Comment and a Survey from The Doctors Company: According to The Doctors Company, the Society’s endorsed medical liability company, “Corporate entities have always been involved in healthcare, but now mega corporations from outside the medical space are entering the field . . . Similarly, there has been a massive expansion into traditional areas of physician practice, not only by urgent care clinics, but also by other retail entities including Walgreens, CVS, Amazon and more.” What steps has your practice or medical system already taken in response to these trends? Please answer our poll, and TDC will update you on responses.
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Coming Soon, the Workers’ Compensation Board’s New “On–Board” Web–Based Platform: The WCB is building a new online business information system, OnBoard, which will eventually replace the Board’s legacy paper–based claims systems and the eCase system with a single, web–based platform. Users will get increased accuracy, paperless transactions and an interface that’s easy to deal with. The first phase will be implemented on March 7, 2022; for an overview, go to OnBoard: Limited Release. And for additional information, with training webpages and webinar training links, click on: GovDelivery notification.
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For Members — MSSNY’s First Micro Masterclass, “Filing Formal Complaints with the Appropriate Agency.” These Micro Masterclasses are short educational sessions with focused content shared in 15 minutes or less. In this one — now available on the MSSNY website, under the “Resources” tab — Heather Lopez, MSSNY’s Director of Payment and Practice, describes the steps needed to file a formal complaint against an insurer, including the documentation needed for filing your complaint and how long you should wait for a response to your filing. For questions or comments about the Micro Masterclass sessions, please contact MSSNY at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

February 4, 2022

Register Now for CME Grand Rounds: Specialty Updates for Non–Specialists –— COVID–19 & the Heart: The Spectrum of Cardiac Involvement, Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 6:00 p.m., with David Vorchheimer, MD Director of Clinical Cardiology, Montefiore Medical Center. This virtual CME presentation will discuss syndromes of acute COVID–19 injury, late cardiac manifestations of COVID–19 infection, and cardiac implications of COVID–19 vaccination and therapies. One Category CME Credit. Register HERE.
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Nominations Open: Any active member who wishes to make a nomination for elective office in the New York County Medical Society may do so beginning February 1st, but no later than March 1st. Nominations for officers and delegates to be elected at the next annual election may be made in writing by no fewer than 10 active members in good standing. (Members must have paid 2022 dues. Names must be printed next to signatures.) These positions are open for 2022 – 2023: President–Elect, Vice President, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, and one Trustee. In addition, there will be ten at–large seats on the Board. Elections will also be held to fill spots for five delegates and alternate delegates to the Medical Society of the State of New York. Direct nominations to Jessica J. Krant, MD, MPH, Secretary, New York County Medical Society, care of This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Paxlovid Now Available for COVID–19 Treatment in New York City: In its 2022 Health Advisory #2 (issued February 1, 2022 – see attached), the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene states: Paxlovid is now in stock and available to treat mild–to–moderate COVID–19 in high–risk patients within five days of symptom onset. Physicians should take steps to ensure that people with risk factors for severe COVID–19 get tested and referred for treatment, as soon as possible after COVID–19 symptoms begin.

Paxlovid, an oral antiviral for treatment of symptomatic COVID–19, can be prescribed through Alto Pharmacy. Prescribers can call (800) 874–5881 to speak with an Alto pharmacist about medication interactions or other questions. For other information: Refer to the NYC Health Department’s COVID-19 Therapeutics Webpage for eligibility criteria, prescribing instructions, supply updates, clinical considerations and other resources. To check daily stock on hand, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) COVID-19 Therapeutics Locator.
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We Need Payment Parity for Telehealth: A new legislative proposal, A.6256/S.5505, will require fair payments to physicians for services provided virtually; please send a letter in support. Many steps have been taken to enhance patients’ access to telehealth services; but we’re still facing a gross disparity in payment for virtual care compared to payment for in–office visits. Governor Kathy Hochul, recognizing this problem, has also included telehealth payment parity in her proposed 2022 – 2023 Executive Budget.
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Pros and Cons in the Governor’s Proposed Budget: On the “pro” side: significant investments in our health care system and health care workers; restoring the 1% Medicaid cut for FY 2020–21 and establishing a 1% across–the–board increase; requiring New York health insurers to comply with the 60–day physician credentialing deadline; and limiting insurers’ requests for voluminous medical records.

On the con side:

— forcing 17,000 physicians to purchase their own Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance Coverage, with the hope to obtain reimbursement in two yearly installments from the State. This plan could load new costs on physician practices that are still recovering from the pandemic. Please send a letter in opposition here: Keep Excess Medical Liability Insurance Intact (p2a.co);

— eliminating the statutory requirement for primary–care nurse practitioners to practice in collaboration with a physician. Please send a letter: Protect Physician-Led Team-Based Care for Patients (p2a.co);

— allowing pharmacists to perform limited, FDA–authorized lab tests without coordinating with the patient’s physician; and

— eliminating “prescriber prevails” protections in Medicaid and Medicaid managed care.

We’re also concerned about proposals to:

— conform New York’s “Surprise Billing” law with new federal law protections. There’s good news: A physician would not have to obtain the patient’s Assignment of Benefits before proceeding to an Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR). But there’s also bad news: The IDR entity could take into consideration the insurer’s median payments, even though that step is not required by the federal law;

— add New York to the list of states who have joined the Interstate Medical
Licensure Compact;

— transfer to the New York State Department of Health, oversight of all health
care providers currently regulated under the Department of Education;

— permit EMTs to perform some non–emergency healthcare services. (The worrisome buzzword here is “community paramedicine.”); and

— limit employers’ use of Restrictive Covenants. (The Governor’s proposal is positive, but it may not be strong enough.)
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Talk to Legislators About These Budget Issues at MSSNY’s Virtual Lobby Day, March 8, 2022. Register Now! In the morning: We’ll hear from key lawmakers from around the State. In the afternoon: We’ll have virtual small–group visits (20 minutes) with our own legislators. (Quick and to the point! Let them see your face!) We need to speak against proposals that could be bad for physicians and patients. We will contact all registrants about the afternoon visits closer to the meeting day. The Governor’s $216 billion proposed budget will have a profound impact on all New York physicians, and we must speak with legislators about it. We must also speak with them about public health questions, prior authorization hassles, further scope of practice issues, the mental health crisis and more.
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COVID Home Test Kits: Exclusive Discount for Members: MSSNY is pleased to announce a new member benefit to help with the challenges of securing COVID–19 home tests. The Society has partnered with Mi Salud Medical Supplies to offer our members COVID–19 home test kits at a 20 percent discount. The three tests — Flowflex, iHealth, and Access Bio CareStart — are available now for bulk ordering; all three have received FDA Emergency Use–Authorization. Contact MemberResources@mssnyorg.
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Wednesday, February 16, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: “The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Racial and Ethnic Minorities,” a MSSNY Medical Matters CME Webinar. Register now. The COVID–19 pandemic has cast a spotlight on health inequities that lead to inequitable health outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities. Yvette Calderon, MD, MS, will serve as faculty. For more information or help with registration, contact Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Celebrate Black History Month With “Black Men in White Coats:” See a screening about the mission of Doctor Dale Okorodudu to strengthen diversity in the medical profession. Nassau County Medical Society is presenting a 6:00 p.m. screening on February 17; to RSVP, please visit HERE. Right now, as an introduction, you can watch the video at https://www.blackmeninwhitecoats.org/themission/.
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NYCMS Continues the Grand Rounds Series, “Specialty Updates for Non–Specialists.” Sign up information coming soon for:

Covid and Dermatology Issues: Wednesday, March 2, 2022, at 6:00 p.m., with Mark Lebwohl, MD, Chair of the Department of Dermatology, Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Religion, Spirituality and Healing: Thursday, March 10, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. A panel of hospital chaplains of all faiths — Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu — will discuss ways to help patients draw strength through spirituality as they cope with medical challenges.
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View this Webinar on Ongoing Physician Burnout from the AMA here, “Healing the healer: Making advocacy personal.” Before COVID, some physicians were already in crisis due to the ever–expanding demands of medical practice, and the pandemic has made these pressures worse. Faculty Corey Feist, JD, MBA, is the co–Founder of the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation, whose mission is to reduce burnout of health care professionals and safeguard their well–being and job satisfaction.
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Check out the Society’s January Grand Rounds Presentation, “Patient Engagement and Cultural Competence — The Common Thread,” a fascinating presentation that by Mauvareen Beverley, MD. physicians need to be alert for cues that are specific to each patient’s cultural background and/or personal circumstances. (For example: If the patient hasn’t been taking his or her medications, there could be a range of culture–specific reasons — and/or, patients may have problems with their daily routine that they haven’t told you about.) Go HERE to view.
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The New York County Medical Society Endorses The Doctors Company As Its Exclusively Endorsed Medical Liability Insurer: “The Doctors Company is the ideal choice for our endorsement, as they are founded and led by physicians and owned by members,” said Keith A. LaScalea, MD, FACP, president of NYCMS. Under the partnership, Society members:

— benefit from some of New York’s most competitive rates for medical malpractice insurance. (And if they’re affiliated with Hospitals Insurance Company, they have access to even more significant savings);

— receive numerous benefits from The Doctors Company, such as the State’s most aggressive defense, 24/7 patient safety and risk management services, free live and on–demand CME, and access to the Section 18 New York State excess risk management program; and

— participate in the Tribute® Plan, which rewards eligible doctors for their loyalty and commitment to superior patient care, and may receive dividends.

To learn more about what TDC can do for you and your practice, contact thedoctors.com or call (631) 248–2710.

 

 

January 28, 2022

COVID–19 Isolation and Quarantine Update: The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has now issued its “2022 Health Advisory #40” (see attachment, “HAN_Iso”). This important document contains guidance for New York State, plus specific Isolation and Quarantine Updates for New York City. The NYSDOH has shortened isolation and quarantine to five days for most people (exception is nursing homes or other congregate settings). The Department stresses that the risk of transmitting COVID–19 continues beyond day five; therefore, physicians should recommend that patients take enhanced precautions for 10 days following an exposure, or from when isolation begins. Those precautions includes wearing a well–fitting mask when one is around other people. For more information, see the New York City Health Department’s COVID-19 Guidance on Isolation, Quarantine and Transmission-Based Precautions on the COVID-19 Provider webpage.
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More Provider Relief Fund Payments Coming: HHS has announced that it will soon be disbursing an additional $2 billion in Provider Relief Fund Phase 4 payments. These new payments, like those allocated in December, will be based on lost revenues and increased expenses due to COVID–19, and will be made to physicians who previously applied for relief funds. For smaller providers, HHS will reimburse a larger share of losses and increased expenses. More information is available here.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2022, at 1:00 p.m.: The AMA will host a live webinar, “Web-side” Manner: Strategies to make the virtual visit a success,” with suggestions for how you can improve patient connection and communication when you deliver care remotely. Register here. This webinar will talk about pre–visit strategies for on boarding patients smoothly for their first virtual visit, ways to conduct a virtual physical exam, and best practices for patient communication over video.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022, 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m.: Join Garfunkel Wild for a free webinar, “Federal No Surprises Act — One Month In: What Have We Learned? What Questions Remain?” Click Here to register. One month after the January 1 effective date for the Federal No Surprises Act, physicians still have many unanswered questions. This webinar will update everyone on what the first month of living with the Act has revealed. You should also note the new page on the New York Department of Financial Services website detailing many of the new patient protections under the No Surprises Act, plus the Act’s requirements for health care providers and health insurers.

Nassau County Medical Society Hosting Two Screening of “Black Men in White Coats,” about the mission of Doctor Dale Okorodudu to strengthen diversity in the medical profession. The two online screening dates are February 3 and February 17, both at 6:00 p.m.; to RSVP, go HERE. Right now, as an introduction, you can watch the video at https://www.blackmeninwhitecoats.org/themission/.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: “The Impact of the COVID–19 Pandemic on Racial and Ethnic Minorities,” a MSSNY Medical Matters CME Webinar. Register now. The COVID–19 pandemic has cast a spotlight on health inequities that lead to inequitable health outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities. Yvette Calderon, MD, MS, will serve as faculty. For more information or help with registration, contact Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Save these dates! NYCMS is continuing its Grand Rounds Series, “Specialty Updates for Non–Specialists.” Sign up information coming soon!
— COVID and Cardiology: Wednesday, February 16, 2022, with Doctor David Vorchheimer, Director of Clinical Cardiology at Montefiore.
— COVID and Dermatology Issues: Wednesday, March 2, 2022, with Dr. Mark Lebwohl, Chair of the Department of Dermatology, Mount Sinai Medical Center.
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VA Supremacy Project: More than 100 national and state medical and specialty organizations have signed a letter of opposition to a new Supremacy Project that the Veterans’ Administration has launched, aiming to establish national standards of practice for 50 health care professions within the VA system. Such standards could have serious implications: They would override long–established state laws and statutes governing scope of practice, health professional licensure and discipline. More on this to come.
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New Cannabis Certification: The State Office of Cannabis Management has launched a new certification and registration system for New York’s medical marijuana program, expanding patient access and eligibility. Doctors and other eligible health professionals, such as dentists and nurse practitioners, now can use their discretion when determining whether marijuana would benefit a patient. Previously, medical marijuana was restricted to patients with a select list of health conditions, such as cancer or epilepsy. Watch for more on this topic too.
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Member Benefit: Storage Quarters is a full service, HIPAA–compliant records management, scanning, shredding and storage company. One of their specialties is helping doctors retire and make the process as easy as possible. For information, call Liz Geller at (516) 794–7300, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

January 21, 2022

Join the Discussion With New York State Legislators at Two Event: Our Tuesday, January 25, 7:30 p.m. Advocacy Hour will be virtual, and dynamic with your questions directing the conversation. This event will feature Senator Gustavo Rivera and Assemblymembers Richard Gottfried, Linda Rosenthal, and Rebecca Seawright, and will be co–hosted with The New York County Psychiatric Society and the New York Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Register HERE. MSSNY’s March 8 Virtual Lobby Day is coming up, with morning presentations and CME, and small–group virtual visits with New York County and our Manhattan legislators in the afternoon. More on Lobby Day soon.
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How Does the New York State Budget Look for Health Care? Governor Kathy Hochul has stated her initial priorities with this week’s budget announcement. Positive items for physicians include: requiring health insurers to pay for telehealth services at rates equal to comparable in–person services; expand who a physician can designate to take a COVID test of a patient; and more. Troublesome items include: elimination of statutory physician–collaborative requirements for primary–care nurse practitioners; letting pharmacists perform certain limited, FDA–authorized lab tests; elimination of “prescriber prevails” in Medicaid and Medicaid managed care; requiring physicians to buy their own Excess Layer policies and then be reimbursed by the liability carrier in two yearly installments; and more. Items needing more study include: finding a compromise position in the No Surprises Act Independent Dispute Resolution debate (somehow, spanning both the insurers’ and the out–of–network physicians’ positions); and having New York State join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (even though, as MSSNY warns, insurers might then be able to set up cheap out–of–state networks in competition with local physicians).
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Payment Parity for Telehealth Services: Please send a letter here and Urge Legislators to Support Payment Parity in Telehealth (p2a.co). We need to push for A.6256/S.5505, to make sure that payments to physicians for telehealth services, including video and audio–only visits, are equal to payments for in–office appointments. MSSNY and the county medical societies are working on this issue with several organizations including the New York State Psychiatric Association (NYSPA) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Division II.
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Past President Michael Goldstein, MD, JD in the News: Doctor Michael Goldstein, Chair, Board of Trustees and Congressional candidate in Connecticut, appeared in the Opinion section of the January 7, 2022, edition of the Wall Street Journal, as part of a series of letters, “Patients Lose As the Practice of Medicine Coarsens — Doctors Don’t Like the Assembly–Line Model Either.” Doctor Goldstein wrote: “The three factors most responsible for the decline of independent practice are burdensome regulations, obsolete antitrust laws and economic benefits of consolidation to hospital systems . . . Large healthcare systems . . .have been able to negotiate fees that are up to 300% higher than what independent practices get.”

Doctor Goldstein also had a letter published in Greenwich Time (January 11, 2022) opposing Governor Ned Lamont’s order that would send COVID–infected patients to nursing homes. In “Sending Covid Patients to Nursing Homes Repeats Bad Policy — Greenwich Doctor Points to ‘A Moral Responsibility to Our Seniors ’” Doctor Goldstein noted “We must protect our vulnerable seniors . . .People have forgotten that Gov. Ned Lamont’s initial policy of sending the infected to nursing homes resulted in one of the highest per capita nursing home death rates in the country . . . Now he wants to do it again.” (See the article HERE. )
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Did You Miss Our Excellent January 13 Medicare Update, Hosted by National Government Services’ James Bavoso: This session was recorded and is now available on YouTube. Listen and watch any time at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8k7KAFLivA.
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Are You a Social Media User? MSSNY is launching a Social Media Ambassador program to help spread the word about MSSNY’s work — important public health information, the benefits of membership, lobbying efforts, respective calls to action and MSSNY news. You’ll also be able to share important medical information with current and prospective patients. You’re invited to participate in this program; sign up by submitting this form.
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Public Health Emergency Extended: Governor Kathy Hochul has declared a new New York State public health emergency, and issued an executive order allowing New York State legislature to meet remotely in January. Meanwhile, on the national front U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Becerra has extended the federal Public Health Emergency determination for an additional 90 days, effective January 16. This is the eighth such extension since the original declaration, and is not expected to be the last.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2022, at 1:00 p.m.: The AMA will host a live webinar, “Web-side” Manner: Strategies to make the virtual visit a success,” with suggestions for how you can improve patient connection and communication when you deliver care remotely. Register here. This webinar will talk about pre–visit strategies for on boarding patients smoothly for their first virtual visit, ways to conduct a virtual physical exam, and best practices for patient communication over video.
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Wednesday, February 16, 2022, at 7:30 a.m.: “The Impact of the COVID–19 Pandemic on Racial and Ethnic Minorities,” a MSSNY Medical Matters CME Webinar. Register now. The COVID–19 pandemic has cast a spotlight on health inequities that lead to inequitable health outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities. Yvette Calderon, MD, MS, will serve as faculty for this program. Educational objectives: Outline some social determinants of health that put racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID–19; identify the ways in which racial and ethnic minority groups have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID–19 pandemic; and describe strategies to improve COVID–related health outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities. For more information or help with registration, contact Melissa Hoffman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Save These Dates: NYCMS is continuing its Grand Rounds CME Series, “Specialty Updates for Non–Specialists.” Sign up information coming soon.

COVID and Cardiology: Wednesday, February 16, 2022, with Doctor David Vorchheimer, Director of Clinical Cardiology at Montefiore.


COVID and Dermatology Issues: Wednesday, March 2, 2022, with Doctor Mark Lebwohl, Chair of the Department of Dermatology, Mount Sinai Medical Center.
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NY County Medical Society Membership Benefits: How do I protect my family, my finances, my future? Loans, legal advice, liability insurance…help with your real-state issues, your on–line reputation, your HIPAA questions…clues for storage, staffing…Just open up the attached sheet (“Keep Membership Benefits Handy”) and see what’s available to you. Keep a copy handy and share with your staff!

 

January 14, 2022 

Don’t Miss the Society’s 2022 Advocacy Hour, Tuesday, January 25, 2022, at 7:30 p.m.: This dynamic panel discussion, hosted by The New York County Medical Society, The New York County Psychiatric Society and the New York Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, will address health care problems in New York City and New York State. Our distinguished guests: Richard Gottfried, Chair of the NYS Assembly Health Committee; Gustavo Rivera, Chair of the NYS Senate Health Committee; Linda Rosenthal, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Social Services; and Rebecca Seawright, Chair of the Assembly Majority Steering Committee. Patients are changing (more are older, sicker, more disadvantaged). Providers are changing (many are burned out and some have dropped out). Care modalities are changing (more telehealth, more remote patient monitoring). Is care being “dumbed down,” with individual patients’ needs sidelined? Are there threats to physicians’ autonomous decision-making — what with more preauthorization requirements and more care by mid–level practitioners? Is the government abdicating its responsibilities and letting the insurance industry call the shots? Come and join the discussion about scope of practice, Medicare Advantage plans, the mental health crisis and many other hot The remote format will make it easy for you to ask questions right on the spot. [SIGNUP INFORMATION HERE?]
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Have You Worked Alongside Non–Physician Practitioners (NPPs) Practicing Independently During the Pandemic: Since COVID began, Governors Cuomo and Hochul have issued Executive Orders to help hospitals deal with COVID–related staffing problems, by waiving certain statutory physician supervision and collaboration requirements that apply to NPPs. MSSNY recognizes that NPPs have contributed extraordinarily in the crisis, but has warned that quality of care could be jeopardized if physicians’ skilled involvement were removed. For effective advocacy, MSSNY needs to hear directly from physicians about their experiences. Could you please take just a few minutes to complete this MSSNY survey.
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NYC Doctor Interested in Becoming a Vaccine Provider? Two steps to take:

— You must be registered with the CIR (New York’s online Citywide Immunization Registry). If you haven’t already registered with the CIR, or have not reported to the CIR in over a year, go to the NYC Health Department’s Online Service Registration page. After registering, you will receive the CIR facility code and will then need to set up a CIR account.

— Once you have gained access to the CIR, or if you already have access, log in to begin your COVID–19 Enrollment application. Once your COVID–19 enrollment application has been initiated in the CIR, you will be redirected to the Vaccine Provider Agreement System (VPAS) webpage. You’ll be automatically signed in and will be able to complete the agreement there. (Note: The VPAS webpage will only recognize the emails of providers who have initially signed in through CIR or have been invited as administrators through VPAS.)

For a helpful presentation on these steps, click on: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/covid/providers/covid-19-provider-presentation-vaccinations-123120.pdf.
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Thursday, January 20, at 1:00 p.m.: The American Medical Association’s “Implementing the No Surprises Act.” You can register here. The No Surprises Act, which aims to protect patients from the financial impact of surprise medical billing, became law on January 1. Learn what physicians need to do immediately to comply with the new law. This webinar will also address enforcement challenges and the interaction between state and federal surprise billing requirements. Here are three more resources to help you comply with the NSA. (Remember, both in–network and out–of–network physicians should know about the NSA’s requirements.) The AMA has developed a toolkit focusing on (1) non–emergency services at in–network facilities, (2) emergency services and post–stabilization care at hospitals or free–standing emergency departments, and (3) good faith estimates that must be provided to self–pay patients and uninsured patients. The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) has addressed questions about harmonizing the new federal requirements with existing New York State requirements — see MSSNY’s web page, Preparing for the No Surprises Act - (mssnyenews.org). The DFS has provided a state-developed model notice which you should post in your office and on your website, and provide to insured patients. This DFS notice reflects both the state and federal requirements.
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Events:

Wednesday, January 19, 2022, at 7:30 a.m. “Military Involvement in COVID Response & the Impact of COVID–19 on Veterans.” Register here; for the program flyer, click here. The Defense Department has contributed widely to COVID response throughout the pandemic, and COVID has had significant impacts on veteran populations. The speaker will be Frank Dowling, MD, MSSNY Secretary and a member of the Emergency Preparedness and Disaster/Terrorism Response. For more information or help with registration, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Wednesday, January 19, 2022, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.: Workers’ Compensation Board Webinar “What Health Care Providers Need to Know.” The Board is working on several initiatives to make things easier for WC providers. You don’t have to register for this webinar; on January 19, when 2:00 p.m. approaches, just click on Join webinar . Meanwhile, to find out what’s going on, visit the Board’s website and select the Provider Updates quick link on the Provider page.

Save the Dates: NYCMS is continuing its Grand Rounds CME Series, “Specialty Updates for Non–Specialists.” Sign–up information coming soon!

— COVID and Cardiology: Wednesday, February 16, 2022, with Doctor David Vorchheimer, Director of Clinical Cardiology at Montefiore.

COVID and Dermatology: Wednesday, March 2, 2022, with Doctor Mark Lebwohl, Chair of the Department of Dermatology, Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Three–day CME Conference on Inflammatory Brain Disorders, May 20 – 21, 2022. Admission free! The Neuroimmune Foundation (previously The Foundation For Children With Neuroimmune Disorders) is partnering with the Stanford University School of Medicine to host this event, focusing on both pediatric and adult patients. To sign up, go to Stanford’s registration page. The event will feature speakers from Mayo Clinic, Stanford, Columbia, Harvard, UCSF, Georgetown, Duke, Johns Hopkins, and other leading institutions. Take a look at the attached flyer, and if you have further questions, go to www.neuroimmune.org.
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Reduced pricing on N95 masks for NYCMS members: Members can take advantage of this offer for NIOSH–certified N–95 masks, at 20% off the reduced price offered to the public at large. Pure Environments by Shatkin FIRST, Inc., is providing N95 NIOSH–approved masks to our community with an extra 20% off for members of the Medical Society. Our thanks to the Erie County Medical Society for sharing this opportunity with New York County Medical Society. By clicking this link you will automatically get the discount and pay .80 (80 cents) per mask. Use promo code MEDICALSOCIETY at checkout. CLICK HERE FOR THE SPECIAL RATE.
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New Location Modifier for Audio–Only Telemedicine: From now on, be sure to use Modifier 93 for audio–only telemedicine, replacing modifier 95. The new Modifier 93 is for Synchronous Telemedicine Service Rendered Via Telephone or Other Real–Time Interactive Audio-Only Telecommunications System. “Synchronous telemedicine service” is defined as a real–time interaction between a physician or other qualified health care professional and a patient who is located away at a distant site from the physician or other professional. The information exchanged during the visit must be sufficient to meet the key components and/or requirements of the same service when rendered via a face–to–face interaction. If you have questions about this or any other insurance concern, contact MSSNY’s Director of Physician Payment and Practice, Heather Lopez. Call (518) 465–8085 ext. 332, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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The 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Available: You can access it via the website of National Government Services, www.ngsmedicare.com. NGS has streamlined its site, but the steps are still familiar — you start on the NGS home page, work with the very interactive Fee Schedule Lookup Page, and finally navigate to the fee schedule. See the attachment “How to Access the 2022 MC Fee Schedule.”
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2022 MSSNY Committee Appointment Process Opens: This spring, MSSNY President–Elect Parag Mehta, MD will be selecting members to serve on MSSNY committees in 2022. Each first–time nominee should submit a brief, focused CV to New York County Medical Society with a request for recommendation. Send your CV and request to Cheryl Malone at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Note: If you are already serving and wish to continue, you do not need to notify us. Your renewal is automatic. However, if you wish to step down from a MSSNY committee, please let us know that as well. Deadline is Wednesday, February 9, 2022. The list of available committee is attached.
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March 8, 2022, MSSNY’s Virtual Lobby Day. Set aside the day for morning sessions with three hours of CME, and then have virtual local visits with our New York County contingent in the afternoon. To view the flyer and register, click HERE. With COVID cases on the rise, we will be advocating for policies that encourage vaccination and support fair payment for telehealth care. We will also advocate for proposals that reduce prior authorization hassles. At the same time, we will voice our opposition to policies that would inappropriately expand the scope of practice for non–physicians and mandate how physicians provide care to their patients. Please plan to join hundreds of colleagues from around the state on March 8th! (And if you work with residents and medical students, get them registered as well.)
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Encourage a Future Doc: Hunter College has a spring 2022 program providing Federal Work Study–subsidized internships to its under grads. Several students in the program are pre–med and pre–nursing. Would your office be interested in reviewing candidate resumes, and potentially taking a subsidized intern for up to 15 hours/week in the spring? If so, please email Elise Harris at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. or call (917) 873–6517 with any questions.

 

January 7, 2022

The 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Now Available! You can access it via the website at National Government Services (NGS) www.ngsmedicare.com. NGS has streamlined its site, but the steps are still familiar. You start on the NGS home page, work with the very interactive Fee Schedule Lookup Page, and finally navigate to the fee schedule. See the attachment, “How to Access the 2022 MC Fee Schedule.”
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New York County Medical Society’s Grand Round Series resumes in January with a fascinating (remote) CME talk on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, at 6:00 p.m.: “Patient Engagement and Cultural Competence,” with Doctor Mauvareen Beverley, Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and past Assistant Vice President at New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. Sign up HERE.
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Don’t Miss the All Important Annual “NYCMS Medicare Part B 2022 Update,” Thursday, January 13, 2022, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Register HERE to hear speaker James Bavoso, NGS Manager for Provider Outreach & Education, on key topics including telehealth, the 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS), Final Policy Changes to the MPFS for Calendar Year 2022, the COVID–19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), 2022 Evaluation & Management (E/M) coding changes, and more. Once you have registered you will get a confirmation email; you’ll also get reminders the day before and one hour before the session.
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Be Sure to Attend Our 2022 Advocacy Hour, Tuesday, January 25, 2022, at 7:30 p.m. This dynamic panel discussion, hosted by The New York County Medical Society, The New York County Psychiatric Society and the New York Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, will address health care problems in New York City and New York State. Our distinguished guests: Richard Gottfried, Chair of the NYS Assembly Health Committee; Gustavo Rivera, Chair of the New York State Senate Health Committee; Linda Rosenthal, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Social Services; and Rebecca Seawright, Chair of the Assembly Majority Steering Committee. Patients are changing (more are older, sicker, more disadvantaged). Care modalities are changing (more telehealth, more remote patient monitoring). Is care being “dumbed down,” with individual patients’ needs sidelined? Are there threats to physicians’ autonomous decision–making — especially with more preauthorization requirements and more care by mid–level practitioners? Is the government abdicating its responsibilities and letting the insurance industry call the shots? Come and join the discussion about scope of practice, Medicare Advantage plans, the mental health crisis and many other hot topics. All are welcome! The remote format will make it easy for you to ask questions right on the spot. [SIGNUP INFORMATION HERE
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Reduced Pricing on N95 Masks for Members: New York County Medical Society members can take advantage of this offer for NIOSH–certified N–95 masks at 20% off the reduced price offered to the public at–large. Pure Environments by Shatkin FIRST, Inc. is providing N95 NIOSH–approved masks to our community with an extra 20% off for members of the Medical Society. Our thanks to the Erie County Medical Society for sharing this opportunity with New York County Medical Society. By clicking this link you will automatically get the discount and pay .80 per mask. Use promo code MEDICALSOCIETY at checkout.
CLICK HERE FOR THE SPECIAL RATE.
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Tools to Help You Comply With the No Surprises Act: The AMA has developed a toolkit to help physicians comply with the federal No Surprises Act (NSA). Per this new Act, which took effect on January 1, 2022, out–of–network health care providers and facilities are barred from balance–billing commercially insured patients in certain circumstances. The following circumstances are covered in the toolkit: (1) Non–emergency services at in–network facilities, (2) emergency services and post–stabilization care at hospitals or free–standing emergency departments, and (3) “good faith” estimates that must be provided to self–pay patients and uninsured patients. MSSNY and the DFS have discussed questions about whether the federal law will harmonize with our State’s 2014 surprise billing law. To clarify, the DFS has issued “circular letters” that physicians should look at:

— Implementing the NSA requirements for 90-day continuity of care for patients after a physician or hospital leaves a health plan network: Insurance Circular Letter No. 11 (2021): | Department of Financial Services (ny.gov)

— Provider Directory Update Requirements for Health Insurers and Health Care Providers: Insurance Circular Letter No. 12 (2021): Provider Directory and Health Insurance Identification Card Requirements under the No Surprises Act and State Law | Department of Financial Services (ny.gov)

— Implementing the NSA requirements for the Independent Dispute Resolution of out–of–-network surprise medical bills: Insurance Circular Letter No. 10 (2021): The No Surprises Act, Independent Dispute Resolution Process, and Disclosure of Protections from Balance Billing | Department of Financial Services (ny.gov). The NSA and its regulations set a method for determining the patient cost-sharing for out–of–network situations. When state law does not establish a payment methodology, the NSA establishes an independent dispute resolution (IDR) system to determine provider payment.

Remember, too, that you must give patients a one–page notice on your practice’s requirements and prohibitions relating to: (1) Balance billing for emergency services and surprise bills; (2) relevant New York State requirements; and how (3) patients can contact state and federal agencies if they believe state or federal balance–billing prohibitions have been violated. We recommend that you use the DFS’s state-developed model notice, which also adheres to the federal requirements. You should post this notice in your office and on your website, and provide it to insured patients.
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DFS Makes Audio–Only Telehealth Coverage Policy Permanent: After temporary (but ongoing) emergency regulations from the Department of Financial Services (DFS), the department has made permanent policy that requires commercial insurance plans to cover telehealth services delivered via audio-only. An insurer may still engage in reasonable efforts to detect fraud, waste and abuse, including preventing payments for services that do not warrant separate reimbursement. The new policy was adopted because telehealth has helped to minimize health and safety risks during the ongoing pandemic, and has proven effective in providing quality care for patients around the state. View the permanent regulations HERE. What about Medicaid? A 2020 statute requires Medicaid to cover audio–only telehealth services, and the New York State Department of Health (DOH) has also issued guidance for how Medicaid will continue to cover telehealth services, including audio–only services.
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Governor Identifies Legislative Priorities: In her first State of the State Address, Governor Kathy Hochul has presented her 2022 legislative priorities, including those for health care. Among many positive items:

— Requiring health insurers to reimburse Telehealth Services at the same levels as traditional services.

— Creating a new Pharmacy Benefits Bureau to begin licensing PBMs, and hiring a new compliance team to investigate PBMs’ business practices and review complaints of misconduct. This team will also help the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) investigate significant spikes in prescription drug prices, requiring drug manufacturers to show a reasonable justification for sudden increases.

— Advancing regulations to make sure New Yorkers are not charged surprise out–of–network costs, when an insurer (1) incorrectly lists a healthcare provider as in–network in the insurer’s provider directory, or (2) provides incorrect information about a provider’s network participation status in response to a consumer’s request, or (3) fails to respond to a consumer’s request for such information.

There are also items about which we are concerned, including:

— Eliminating remaining statutory written practice agreement requirements for nurse practitioners to practice in collaboration with a physician.

— Joining the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, to allow out-of-state physicians be licensed in New York, and to make it easier for New York physicians to be licensed in other states.

— Updating the definition of “emergency medical services” to include community paramedicine, which would let EMTs provide some non–emergency health care services.

Remember, these are only ideas at this stage! MSSNY and NYCMS will work to make sure the Governor knows our views. For more information, see her briefing– book, 2022StateoftheStateBook.pdf (ny.gov).
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Governor Hochul Takes Action on Trial Lawyer Bills: MSSNY thanks the many physicians who contacted Governor Hochul about three problematic pro–trial lawyer bills. She has vetoed one of these bills, signed the second, and reached an agreement with the Legislature on the third to limit its impact.

— She has vetoed S.2199/A.473, which would, in certain cases, have expanded the time period for the imposition of New York’s excessive 9% judgment interest. Her veto message talked about the “significant negative impact on defendants in litigation,” including health care providers and state and local governments, “all of which are already under a great amount of strain due to COVID–19.”

— She has signed S.7093/A.8040, which modifies NY’s current “hearsay” exception by permitting an employee’s “hearsay” statement to be introduced into evidence.

— She has signed S.7052/A.8041, which increases a defendant’s burdens regarding the insurance that is to pay a personal injury award. (She and the Legislature agreed to eliminate certain stiff insurance technicalities.)
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Governor Hochul Signs Important Bills on Pharma: Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation to increase PBM (Pharmacy Benefit Manager) Transparency, and to limit insurers’ ability to make mid–year formulary changes. In late December, Governor Hochul signed two bills to help patients access the medications they need and to ensure greater oversight of how PBMs develop their formularies.

A.1396/S.3762, signed at the 11th hour on New Year’s Eve, will provide greater accountability and transparency of the practices of PBMs. The bill requires that PBMs be licensed by the DFS and adhere to DFS standards. It also calls for disclosure of all possible revenue streams, terms, and conditions, that PBMs place on their networks of pharmacies. The bill was amended from the version that passed the Legislature in 2019, but was vetoed by Governor Cuomo, to address concerns raised in the Governor’s veto message two years ago.

A.4668/S.4111 will limit health insurers’ ability to move medications to higher cost–sharing tiers for their prescription drug formularies during a policy year. The bill was revised from the version that passed both the Assembly and the Senate two years ago, but was vetoed by then Governor Cuomo. To address concerns in his veto message, the new law will prohibit the applicability of a mid-–year formulary change to a patient who was on the medication at the beginning of the policy year, or for whose condition the medication is part of a treatment regimen. However, other mid–year formulary changes may still occur.
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Opioids, Substance Abuse Disorders Bills Signed: Governor Kathy Hochul has signed A.2030/S.649–A, eliminating prior authorizations for MAT for patients enrolled in Medicaid or Medicaid Managed Care plans, where the MAT is prescribed “in accordance with national professional guidelines for the treatment of substance use disorder.” (For commercial plans, similar legislation became law in 2019.) Governor Hochul also signed A.336–A/S.2966–A, requiring physicians and other health care practitioners to co–prescribe an opioid antagonist for the first opioid prescription of the year, where the patient (1) has a history of substance abuse disorder, or (2) has concurrent use of a benzodiazepine or non–benzodiazepine sedative hypnotics, or (3) is taking at least 90 MME per day in prescribed opioids. The requirement does not apply to patients in a hospital, nursing home, mental health facility, or hospice. MSSNY strongly supports ensuring that patients have easy access to opioid antagonists, but warned that the requirement might be too broad; so, the legislation’s sponsors amended the bill by significantly narrowing the patient cohort to whom the co-prescribing requirement applies. (Originally, it applied to patients taking at least 50 MME per day in prescribed opioids.)
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2022 MSSNY Committee Appointment Process Opens: This spring, MSSNY President–Elect Parag Mehta, MD will be selecting members to serve on MSSNY committees in 2022. Each first–time nominee should submit a brief, focused CV to New York County Medical Society with a request for recommendation. Send your CV and request to Cheryl Malone at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Note: If you are already serving and wish to continue, you do not need to notify us. Your renewal is automatic. However, if you wish to step down from a MSSNY committee, please let us know that as well. Deadline is Wednesday, February 9, 2022. The list of available committee is attached.
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March 8, 2022, MSSNY’s Virtual Lobby Day. Set aside the day for morning sessions with three hours of CME, and then have virtual local visits with our New York County contingent in the afternoon. To view the flyer and register, click HERE. With COVID cases on the rise, we will be advocating for policies that encourage vaccination and support fair payment for telehealth care. We will also advocate for proposals that reduce prior authorization hassles. At the same time, we will voice our opposition to policies that would inappropriately expand the scope of practice for non–physicians and mandate how physicians provide care to their patients. Please plan to join hundreds of colleagues from around the state on March 8th! (And if you work with residents and medical students, get them registered as well.)
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Encourage a Future Doc: Hunter College has a spring 2022 program providing Federal Work Study–subsidized internships to its under grads. Several students in the program are pre–med and pre–nursing. Would your office be interested in reviewing candidate resumes, and potentially taking a subsidized intern for up to 15 hours/week in the spring? If so, please email Elise Harris at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. or call (917) 873–6517 with any questions.

Members