Your Daily COVID-19 News & Updates
MSNJ Member COVID-19 Update
April 20, 2020
A Message from MSNJ President, Marc J. Levine, MD
Dear Colleagues:

On behalf of the MSNJ Executive Committee, Board, and Administrative Team, I hope this message finds you well.

Curve flattening optimism is spreading in our region as we listen to daily reports.  However, flattening curves do not treat COVID patients nor do they allow one to see a ventilator being removed from a COVID patient who has succumbed to this disease.

Our physicians continue to work feverishly caring for these critically ill individuals that have taken over our hospitals and healthcare system. Make no mistake; physicians are leading these efforts and are getting tremendous support from other healthcare professionals, hospital administrators, and government officials. 

MSNJ has met the challenge in bringing the full weight of the healthcare profession together. MSNJ has led focus groups that allow critical specialists and pulmonologists to speak in virtual meetings. These specialists share treatment regimens and provide information regarding PPE needs. We are in contact with the many medical specialty societies and coordinating how these groups can work together and prioritize needs.

In times of challenge, communication and information is critical. The MSNJ website  is updated daily. Economic resources and medical literature as well as pertinent links can be found. If you have a colleague who is not a member feel free to forward them a newsletter. Hopefully, we can help all physicians.

On a state level, Larry Downs, Esq. and myself continue to serve on the New Jersey Department of Health COVID-19 Professional Advisory Committee which is Chaired by the Commissioner of Health. These meetings clearly illustrate the commitment we are getting from the government and the entire healthcare system. 

On a federal level, MSNJ has had recent phone calls with Congressman Pallone -Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. In addition, we have spoken with the office of Senator Menendez. Both legislators are empathetic to physicians in NJ who are at the epicenter of this COVID challenge. MSNJ was able to articulate many of our immediate as well as future concerns. 

Yes, we should be optimistic about curve flattening, but we need to run through the finish line. We need and are part of conversations as to how to open up the healthcare system. To that end, we will write the script that others will follow. But, at this time, we need get the PPEs and COVID tests to protect our physicians and to paraphrase… “Leave no physician behind.”

As always, please Be Well, Be Safe and Be Proud as we defeat this healthcare challenge together.

Marc J. Levine, MD
MSNJ President
COVID-19 Updates & Resources
CMS Issues Recommendations to Re-Open Health Care Systems in Areas with Low Incidence of COVID-19
CMS issued updated guidance to physicians “on providing essential non-COVID-19 care to patients without symptoms of COVID-19 in regions with low and stable incidence of COVID-19.” This is part of Phase 1 in the transition to re-open healthcare systems and the economy.

The guidelines “recommend a gradual transition and encourage health care providers to coordinate with local and state public health officials, and to review the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies, workforce availability, facility readiness, and testing capacity when making the decision to re-start or increase in-person care.” Before entering Phase 1, CMS indicates that “states or regions need to pass gating criteria regarding symptoms, cases, and hospitals.”

CMS encourages physicians and patients to continue to use telemedicine when services can be managed via remote appointments, to limit the risk of exposure and spread of the virus. Read the press release and updated recommendations .
Read a COVID-19 testing update by the Wall Street Journal.
Rutgers, University Hospital treat COVID-19 with plasma. Read more .
Antibody Test, Seen as Key to Reopening Country, Does Not Yet Deliver. Read more .
Telehealth Grant Programs Available
FCC Telehealth Pilot Program
The Federal Communications Commission provides grants for providers for telehealth equipment; a total of $200 million. This grant will be available until funds run out. The program includes immediate reimbursement for telehealth equipment and services. See slides on the program and more information .
HRSA Telehealth Network Grant Program
United States Department of Health and Human Services provides grants to promote rural tele-emergency services with an emphasis on tele-stroke, tele-behavioral health, and Tele-Emergency Medical Services. The application process will close on June 15. More information .
Telemedicine Grant Program
USDA Rural Development offers support to help rural communities use the unique capabilities of telecommunications to connect to each other and to the world, overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density. The application deadline is July 13. View the application Guide. More information .
PHYSICIAN SURVEY: COVID-19 Impact on your Practice – Present your Needs to the Government
MSNJ along with Rockpointe and other state medical societies are conducting a short survey to determine the impact of COVID-19 on physician practices. Answer survey questions regarding the impact of COVID-19 on staff reductions, the need for PPE, education, and telemedicine issues so it can be brought up with legislators and government administrators and used to help us get medical practices reopened. MSNJ urges you to complete this survey!
PRACTICE MANAGER SURVEY: COVID-19 Impact on the Healthcare Workplace
In addition to the physician survey as mentioned above, we are asking practice managers to provide input on the impact of COVID-19 from the practice administrator perspective . This will help governors and policy makers determine the specific needs of practices in your states. Please pass along.
MSNJ Medical Student Section Update - COVID-19
Neil Jain, Immediate-Past Chair of the MSNJ Medical Student Section (MSS), started a Medical Student Coalition to collect medical supplies such as N95/99 masks, face shields, sterile gloves, latex gloves, protective eye wear, as well as other necessary supplies for NJ hospitals state wide. They have partnered with MSNJ and MSNJ-MSS on this initiative. We applaud them on their outstanding efforts! Check out their website for more information and to donate. Watch their video below:
COVID-19 Education
MSNJ Member Discount: Endocannabinoid Educational Learning System
Medical Cannabis Deemed “Essential” and “Life-Sustaining”
In the current COVID-19 environment, state governments recognize medical cannabis as essential and life sustaining for many different qualifying medical conditions reinforcing the need for essential ECS knowledge. MSNJ has partnered with Havas ECS to give MSNJ members a 10% discount on their Educational Learning System which offers a 12 CME Credit Certification in Endocannabinoid Medicine.

When purchasing these modules, please register using the email address that MSNJ has on file.
Quality Institute Webinar: Using Telehealth to Maintain Primary Care for Patients
Wednesday, April 22, 2020 from 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Essential Healthcare Worker Support Group, Sponsored by Harmony Bay Wellness
  • Every Tuesday at 9:00am
  • Every Thursday at 8:00pm
  • Join Zoom Meeting 
  • Meeting ID: 707 535 492              
  • Password: 707535492
  • To access this meeting by phone without video, dial 646-558-8656.
Harvard Medical School COVID-19 CME Video Series
Recorded Videos:
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