Update March 2012

ACOG District II Update
Update, March 2012                                        Vol. 27, No. 3
IN THIS ISSUE:                                                  FOLLOW US:
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Ob-Gyn Coding in New York
Action Needed: ACOG D2 Lobby Day 
Short Cervix Provider Survey
Call for Nominations
Young Physicians at ACM
For Junior Fellows

Eva Chalas, MD, FACOG, FACS

Feedback Needed on Patients' First

The Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) is seeking a letter of support from ACOG District II to advance the application of a newly formed "health insurance" entitled, Patients’ First, Inc. MSSNY believes Patients’ First, a health plan created by physicians, is uniquely positioned to address the coverage and access needs of eligible insured's. The thinking is that physicians are better positioned to administratively oversee the efficient delivery of high quality care because they understand the coverage needs of patients.

Patients’ First is in the process of securing start up and solvency loans from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). If its application is approved, Patients’ First would become an insurer which competes with other health insurers in New York State for the individual and small group market. Physicians would create the insurer and establish its operational policies and payment methodologies. It is believed that Patients’ First, as a physician created insurer, would be sensitive to the need for and knowledgeable about how to create physician-friendly administrative efficiencies and a more competitive payment methodology for participating physicians.

Within eighteen months or so after the issuance of the first policy, the Patients’ First Board must be dominated by consumers. Physicians who purchase insurance for their employees from the plan would be eligible for Board membership. While Patients' First would begin by soliciting physician participation in the New York City and downstate region of New York, it is intended to expand its operation statewide by 2020.

Please let me know if you think this is an effort we should support. Click Here to leave comments. Your thoughts are always welcome.


Forget What I Said
A few weeks ago I saw a quote at the bottom of someone’s email signature line that read:

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou, Professor of English Literature, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC

Last week I had the unfortunate experience of having to drive at 4am through a horrific blizzard on an unplowed highway, with only guardrails to mark my way. I had been excited about this trip for a long time as ACOG was about to finalize a new business venture that would be cutting edge, the envy of many other associations and most importantly our members would receive a tool that would help their practice and their patients for years to come. However, as much as I love working at ACOG, leaving my safe, sleeping boys at home to drive 35 miles in a blinding snow storm…well, the meeting just didn’t seem that exciting to me anymore!

After many hours of travel, the meeting began and ended just as planned. The meeting was not only professionally fulfilling – but emotionally fulfilling as well. The meeting content and the idea exchange was incredible and the business venture and final product is going to be amazing. However, it was the compassion, warmth and human interaction that I will always remember. Dr. Angelou is exactly right. In the midst of our hectic, busy lives, how we make people feel, can leave meaningful impressions that last an eternity.


Ob-Gyn Coding in New York:
What You Need To Know

April 20, 2012 | Queens, NY
April 27, 2012 | Syracuse, NY

 Click Here for more information and to REGISTER


Action Needed: ACOG District II Lobby Day
On Tuesday, May, 15, 2012 ACOG District II will hold its annual Lobby Day. Support your practice by coming to Albany to speak in favor of the bill that will allow you to collectively negotiate contract provisions with managed care plans and other insurance entities. The Health Care Consumer and Provider Protection Act will help restore fairness to the contracting process in New York State. District II needs you to tell legislators that this legislation is crucial to keep ob-gyn practices open for business in New York State. 
Register Here to meet face to face with legislative leadership, the Commissioner of Health Dr. Nirav Shah and the Governor’s office to discuss medical liability premium rate reductions, comprehensive tort reform and CAPs.

New York State's Excess Liability Pool Coverage Changes in Governor Cuomo's Budget
Governor Cuomo submitted 30 Day Amendments to the Health Budget bill S.6256/A.9056 last week which would consolidate the Excess Liability Pool. The legislation directs the pool to be overseen by both the Superintendent of Financial Services and the Commissioner of Health.

The excess insurance money provided by the state will continue to be used to purchase a medical malpractice insurance policy equal to $1 million for each claimant and $3 million for all claimants. This money is in "excess" of the physicians primary coverage – (primary coverage is $1.3 million for each claimant and $3.9 million for all claimants). The significant change to the program is a new definition of eligibility requirements for physicians. ACOG has some serious concerns regarding who will be eligible for the excess program going forward.

District II's Top Three Legislative Priorities - An Update
Governor Cuomo wants to get out of Albany in record time this year. The budget is expected to pass a week early, and the legislative session is rumored to be ending soon. District II is in regular contact with members of the New York State Legislature and state health officials to discuss our top three issues:

  1. The Health Care Consumer and Provider Protection Act – This bill would allow physicians to collectively negotiate their contracts with health care plans. The proposed legislation has passed out of the Assembly Health Committee. Once the budget is final, it is expected to move out of the Ways and Means Committee and pass the Senate again this year.

  2. The Homebirth Legislative Proposal – A draft proposal is in the final stages. It addresses accountability of homebirth midwives, vicarious liability for physicians delivering emergency homebirths, patient informed consent and peer review.

  3. Maternal Mortality Reviews – The Department of Health will be discussing the findings from recent maternal mortality reviews on May 3rd in Albany. District II has been advocating for such reviews since funding was cut for the Safe Motherhood Initiative (SMI) a few years ago.

2012 Congressional Leadership Conference
by Leah Kaufman, MD, FACOG
Legislative Committee Chair

ACOG District II Update
Left to right: Kimberley Thornton, MD, Richard Waldman, MD, Randi Leigh, MD, Scott Hayworth, MD, Hartaj Powell, MD, Congresswoman Nan Hayworth, MD, Sherman Dunn, DO, MaryAnn Millar, MD, Mary Rosser, MD, Leah Kaufman, MD, Kristen Whitaker, MD

We recently returned from the 30th Annual ACOG Congressional Leadership Conference with a delegation representing the regional diversity of our District. Fellows, for whom attendance is an annual commitment, enjoyed presentations from political experts, ACOG leaders, and congressional representatives that outlined the political landscape for the future of healthcare in this election year. Junior Fellows and first time attendees had the option of attending "Lobbying 101" where they learned the basics of our federal legislative process. During state caucuses we learned from the experiences of other states as they encounter political battles we are now facing in New York, such as the implementation of nonpayment for Medicaid elective deliveries less than 39 weeks gestation. Texas adopted this legislation last year. Click Here to read more...

Funding Available: Physicians Loan Repayment and Practice Support
New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Offers Financial Assistance to Doctors Across New York (DANY)

Application Deadline for both programs: 3/30/12
The Department has announced the Doctors Across New York Practice Support and Loan Repayment application process.

Under the New York State Department of Health’s (NYSDOH) Doctors Across New York (DANY) program, significant funding is available to physicians and residents in search of financial assistance who will commit to:

  • Establish Practices in Underserved Areas
  • Repay Medical School Loans
  • Recruit New Physicians
  • Physician Loan Forgiveness

The DANY Physician Practice Support will provide up to $100,000 over two years or the DANY Physician Loan Forgiveness program offers $150,000 over a 5 year period. Click Here for additional details.

NYS Medical Liability Reform - Gone with the Wind? 
With the introduction of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s first budget last year, there was much promise in true medical liability reform for New York State. Remember - $250,000 CAP, peer review legislation, MRT work group focusing only on medical liability reform, Commissioner of Health Nirav Shah assuring our ob-gyns personally that medical liability reform was a priority for the Governor...coalitions were brought together to help pass the Governor’s budget, only to realize that everything proposed was eliminated in the final budget that was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor. And in the end, anti-physician and pro trial-lawyer legislation moved  in the legislature, the focus then became to stop the failed tort system from becoming even more fractured. This fight we won, but only in stopping bad policies, not enacting good policies. 

Please join District II this year on Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at Lobby Day to let Governor Cuomo and the legislature know that ob-gyns will not stop fighting for meaningful tort reform...

Med Mal Legislation A.673 (Lancman) S.5373 (DeFrancisco) pulled OFF Assembly Codes Committee Agenda
District II lobbied Senators and Assembly Members with a coalition of business leaders, doctor and hospital partnerships and tort reform alliances asking that this legislation NOT pass out of the committee. The bill would allow videography during the independent medical examination. Successfully, the bill was pulled from the Assembly Codes Committee this week.

The Senate Judiciary Committee did pass S.3296 (DeFrancisco) / A.694 (Lancman) that would eliminate the ability of the defendant to speak to a later-treating physician to determine the extent and causation of the plaintiff’s injuries. Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) states that this bill will increase medical malpractice premiums by 6%.

ACOG District II strongly opposes legislation that further erodes the already broken tort system in New York State.

Legislation to Think About
Over 10,000 pieces of legislation are introduced every year in New York State. District II monitors these bills on a daily basis watching for policy that could drastically benefit or possibly devastate the practice of obstetrics and gynecology. The Legislative Committee for ACOG District II studies many of these legislative policies every year. Here is new legislation proposed in New York State. What do you think?

S.6500 (Hannon) / A.9381 (Englebright) would require general hospitals treating newborns to offer parents, persons in parental relations and caregivers Bordetella pertussis (whooping cough) vaccinations (click here to view legislation).


Short Cervix Provider Survey
District II is asking members to complete a short provider survey on new preterm birth interventions. Data collected will help ACOG District II develop a resource guide on this issue which will be available in fall 2012 as part of its latest grant initiative. This initiative will complement the widely popular Preventing Preterm Birth resource guide that was disseminated in 2009. To proceed to the survey, click here.

<39 Weeks Grand Rounds Available
ACOG District II is happy to announce that it will be offering grand rounds presentations on the elimination of non-medically indicated deliveries prior to 39 weeks to all interested hospitals. These grand rounds are being offered as part of the joint ACOG District II initiative with the March of Dimes. The initiative’s goal is to focus not only on educating obstetric providers, but to build and sustain a culture change in the obstetric unit; provide clinical and technical support to help protocol adherence; provide recommendations to prevent recurrence; and outcomes monitoring. The project is currently operating in 11 hospital sites across New York.

If you are interested in scheduling a grand rounds presentation at your facility, please contact Kristin Zielinski, Medical Education Director at kzielinski@ny.acog.org.

Snuffing Out Casual Smoking
District II would like to say THANK YOU to five pilot sites that are participating in our Smoking Cessation Initiative. This in-office educational project, made possible through a grant from Pfizer, is designed to enhance early assessment, diagnosis and treatment of the occasional and casual smoker. The following sites have been instrumental in helping District II assess and identify casual smoking habits by surveying patients during their annual Well-Woman visits:

  • Mary Wilsch, MD, FACOG, Howard Weinstein, MD, FACOG, Edith Westpfal, MD, FACOG - (Syracuse)
  • Laura Costello, MD, FACOG - (Albany)
  • George Danakas, MD, FACOG - (Buffalo)
  • Ben Kohanim, MD, FACOG - (Long Island)
  • Iffath Abbasi Hoskins, MD, FACOG, Ralph Ruggerio, MD, FACOG - (Brooklyn)

Their work will play a major role in the development of an office based tool kit, patient education video and smartphone app in the coming months. Your patients can take the smoking survey at www.nywellwoman.org (it's located in the middle of the page under “In the Spotlight”).


Call for Nominations
We are currently accepting nominations for the positions of Chair and Vice Chair for the following District II Sections: Section 2 (Brooklyn/Staten Island), Section 5 (Syracuse/Utica), Section 8 (Bronx), and Section 9 (Albany). The terms of office are three years, beginning in November 2013 and ending October 2016.

To become a candidate for office, your official address must be within the section in which you are running for office. Interested Fellows must submit the following materials electronically to info@ny.acog.org by June 1, 2012:

  1. A letter from you stating the office or offices for which you would like to be a candidate
  2. A one-page, single-sided, summary statement of your CV
  3. A complete curriculum vitae

In addition, please remember that even if you are currently an officer, moving into another position is not automatic; therefore, you are required to submit candidate materials.


Young Physicians Meet at the 2012 Annual Clinical Meeting
The 8th Annual Young Physician Breakfast Forum is scheduled during this year's Annual Clinical Meeting (ACM) on Tuesday, May 8, 2012, 7:00 am - 8:30 am at the Bayfront Hilton HotelMichael Polcar, MD from USC will speak on Health Care Finance Reform. Be sure to register for this breakfast forum while you are registering for the ACM.
-- The breakfast forum is still an affordable $15 --


Junior Fellow District Officer Elections
District II is seeking interested and qualified Junior Fellows for Vice Chair and Secretary-Treasurer positions for the 2012-2013 term. The Junior Fellow Vice Chair serves a three-year term: one year as Vice Chair, one year as Chair, and one year as Immediate Past Chair. The Secretary-Treasurer serves a one-year term. Terms begin at the conclusion of the 2012 Annual District II Meeting. The deadline for submissions is June 1, 2012Click Here for more information.

Attention Medical Students
Interested in attending the 2012 Annual Clinical Meeting in San Diego? The John Gibbons Medical Student Travel Award is available to provide financial help for medical students to attend. Click Here for more information on the travel award.



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American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188 | Mailing Address: PO Box 70620, Washington, DC 20024-9998