MSSNY Continues its Support of Moratorium on High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing

WESTBURY, NY (04/16/2013)(readMedia)-- The Medical Society of the State of New York continued to support a moratorium on high volume hydraulic fracturing at its House of Delegates, held in Tarrytown, NY April 12-14th.

MSSNY also adopted other provisions on hydraulic fracturing which includes the following: support the planning and implementation of a health impact assessment to be conducted by a New York State School of Public Health; advocate for the establishment of an industry-funded, independently-arbitrated state trust fund for people that may be harmed as a result of hydraulic fracturing, and that the MSSNY oppose any non-disclosure provisions related to the practice of hydraulic fracturing that interfere with any aspect of the patient-doctor relationship and/or the ready collection of epidemiological data for future health impact studies.

"The issue of high volume hydraulic fracturing in New York State is an important public health issue for physicians throughout the state. The Medical Society and its respective county medical societies want the state to determine the potential public health impact on the environment and ground water in those areas where high volume hydraulic fracturing is proposed, " said Sam Unterricht, MD, a Brooklyn ophthalmologist who became MSSNY's new President at this meeting.

MSSNY also supported a call to seek legislation to require insurance companies and other third party payers to pay for follow up exams for women who receive a report of dense breast tissue. In 2012, the NYS Legislature adopted notification legislation that required facilities to inform women that they had dense breast tissue. MSSNY has received anecdotal information from physicians that despite a physician recommendation, insurance companies are not providing insurance coverage for the follow-up test.

The MSSNY House of Delegates also supported a policy that calls for a temporary ban on the marketing of "high stimulant/caffeine drinks" to children/adolescents under the age of 18; and that the temporary marketing ban for children/adolescents under age 18 be kept in place until such time as the scientific evidence regarding the possible adverse medical affects that stimulant drinks may have on children and adolescents is determined. The FDA is currently investigating the health consequences of energy drinks.

MSSNY also expanded upon its policy on Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT) to support legislation that would allow physicians diagnosing a sexually transmitted infection (STIs) in an individual to prescribe or dispense antibiotics to that person's sex partner in instances where the CDC has recommended the use of EPT. Currently, New York State law allows for physicians to dispense EPT for Chlamydia trachomatis, however, the CDC has recently recommended its use for gonorrhea.

The closure of the radiological residency program at St. Barnabas Hospital also was a topic at the MSSNY HOD. MSSNY will ask the American Medical Association to work the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the American Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the AOL and the appropriate specialty societies to ensure that where a residency program is reduced or closed, that the funding and resources be made available for relocation of the residents into new programs, in a manner that is minimally disruptive to the residents' career and personal life.

The Medical Society also adopted policy that MSSNY reaffirms the process in which medications are regulated and approved by the FDA in the United States of America and not by state legislative action and that MSSNY opposes any process that entrusts the state legislature with the function of approving medications; and that MSSNY reaffirms the fact that medication preparation needs to be strictly regulated by the FDA to assure safety, purity and effectiveness; and that MSSNY opposes any smoking formulation for medical marijuana as a delivery system for a medication except for the terminally ill unless the FDA should approve that delivery system.

Founded in 1807, the Medical Society of the State of New York is the state's principal non-profit professional organization for physicians, residents and medical students of all specialties. Its mission is to represent the interests of patients and physicians to assure quality healthcare services for all.