Take Action!

All NYSPA members should contact their state Senator as soon as possible to urge them to oppose S.7488, a bill that would grant prescribing privileges to psychologists licensed in New York State. This legislation dangerously encroaches on the practice of medicine and would compromise patient safety by permitting psychologists to prescribe psychotropic medications without adequate medical education and training. Please use the link to the right where it says “take action” to send a message about this extremely important issue to your Senator today.

Seeth Vivek, M.D.
Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D.
Vice President
Ramaswamy Viswanathan, M.D.
Russell Denea, M.D.
Vivian Pender, M.D.
Area II Trustee
Jose Vito, M.D.
ECP Representative
Kandace Licciardi, M.D.
RFM Representative



Earlier this month, State Senator Catharine Young (R – Olean) introduced S.7488, a bill that would grant prescribing privileges to psychologists licensed in New York State. A companion bill has not yet been introduced in the Assembly.

NYSPA urgently needs your support to oppose this bill and any related bills that would grant prescribing privileges to psychologists licensed in New York State. Please act NOW by writing to your State Senator to urge him or her to oppose the bill and vote “No” if it comes before them for a vote.

Early next week you will be receiving a Cap Wiz Alert from the APA, which will enable you to send a message directly to your State Senator regarding S. 7488 and its dangerous encroachment on the practice of medicine. The Cap Wiz Alert will be sent to the email address you have on file with the APA.

If a companion bill is introduced in the State Assembly, we will issue a second Cap Wiz Alert for letters to Assembly members.

Back in 2002, NYSPA worked strenuously to secure an explicit statutory ban on psychology prescribing in New York State. Thank you for your support as we work together to ensure that the ability to prescribe psychotropic medications is limited only to those individuals who possess the requisite education, training and experience to safely do so.

A copy of the bill may be viewed here.

APA Advocacy Leads to Changes in MOC Program


NYSPA is pleased to report that American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) recently revised its Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program to adopt the following changes:

1) Patient survey is no longer mandatory and will now be listed as one of several options in the category of assessment of practice.

2) Lifetime Certificate holders will no longer be referred to as “not participating in MOC.” Instead, ABPN will utilize the phrase “not required to participate in MOC.”

Qualifying Quality Improvement projects will now satisfy Performance in Practice requirements for chart review.

These changes to the MOC program are a direct result of the advocacy of the APA and the Assembly Work Group on MOC, which worked closely with ABPN to make these necessary clarifications. Special thanks and recognition to Ramaswamy Viswanathan, M.D., Brooklyn DB Representative and newly elected NYSPA Secretary, for his leadership in this area.

PQRS UPDATE FOR 2014 Webinar

Presented by:
Rachel A. Fernbach, Esq.
NYSPA Deputy Director and Assistant General Counsel
Monday – March 31, 2014
8:00pm – 10:00pm

This Webinar will cover the following topics:

Overview of the PQRS program for 2014 and new quality reporting requirements imposed on providers who treat Medicare beneficiaries.

Highlight differences between 2013 program and 2014 program

How to avoid the 2.0% payment reduction slated for 2016

How to become a satisfactory reporter for 2014 and earn a 0.5% incentive payment

Detailed analysis of quality measures relevant to psychiatry

Examples of documentation of quality measures in the treatment record

If you have specific questions, please send them to in advance of the webinar to give us an opportunity to address these questions during the Webinar presentation.

Please register for this Webinar, by clicking on the link provided below:


Once registration is approved, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the Webinar.


For those who are unable to attend the live Webinar, we will send a follow-up E-Bulletin to members to let them know when a copy of the Webinar is available on the website.

Webinar is free to members of the
New York State Psychiatric Association

Non-Member fee $250 – Payment must be received before registration (check only)

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us in the NYSPA office at (516) 542-0077 or by email

System Requirements

PC-Based attendees
Required: Windows7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Mac-Based attendees
Required: Mac OSX 10.5 or newer

Video portion of the webinar will be on your computer, the audio portion will be available by either computer or telephone (dial-in number will be included in your confirmation e-mail)

NYSPA Election Results

Dr. Ramaswamy Viswanathan has been elected Secretary of the New York State Psychiatric Association.

Dr. Subhash Chandra has been elected APA Area 2 RFM Representative and Chair, Committee on RFMS for the New York State Psychiatric Association.

A huge congratulations to them both!

Revised NYSPA Documentation Template

OPTUM Issues Provider Alert Addressing Documentation of Psychotherapy Combination Codes

United Behavioral Health (Optum) has issued a Provider Alert addressing documentation of the new psychotherapy combination codes (E/M plus Psychotherapy Add-on Code). You can read the Provider Alert by clicking here.

The Provider Alert reflects extensive feedback and suggestions from both the APA and NYSPA. The NYSPA template for psychotherapy combination codes, currently available in the CPT coding section of the NYSPA website (, includes all the clinical information required in the Optum Provider Alert. The only change is the addition of the requirement to document time spent providing psychotherapy. We have learned now that when CPT first developed the new combination codes, it was CPT’s intention that the time spent providing psychotherapy alone be documented. Therefore, we have modified our combination code template on the NYSPA website to replace “Start and Stop Time” with “Approximate Psychotherapy Time”. For 90833, the minimum psychotherapy time is 16 minutes and for 90836, the minimum psychotherapy time is 38 minutes.

We have elected to retain documentation of total face-to-face time (although not mandatory) to establish that there was sufficient total time to provide both an E/M service and a psychotherapy add-on service.

Optum has advised NYSPA that this new requirement will be enforced prospectively only. We also anticipate that Medicare will issue a similar advisory requiring documentation of psychotherapy time as well. NYSPA will be scheduling a webinar on the new documentation template shortly.

Nominations Being Accepted for Area II Resident-Fellow Member Deputy Representative to the APA

Nominations now being accepted for the position of:


Interested Candidates Must Submit:

* A letter of interest

* A Curriculum Vitae

* A letter of support from your Residency Training Director/Chair
indicating you will have time to serve

* Two letters from members of your local District Branch

Additional information is posted below.

See your Residency Training Director for more information


1. Represents Area II RFMs (New York State) in the Assembly of District Branches of the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

2. Represents interests of RFMs in the Assembly and the Area II Council.

3. Informs the Assembly and the New York State Psychiatric Association of issues of significance to RFMs.

4. Attends Assembly meetings in November and May.

5. Attends Area II Council meetings.

6. May serve on components (Task Force & Committees) of the Assembly and the New York State Psychiatric Association.

7. Is elected for a two year term with succession to RFM Representative in the second year. The two year term begins immediately after the APA Annual Meeting. In the second year, the RFM Deputy Representative succeeds to the position of RFM Representative.

8. Is available for at least six weekdays per year to fulfill these responsibilities.

9. Organizes and attends Area II RFM meetings.

Eligibility Criteria:

1. Candidates must have at least two years of training (including post residency fellowship) in Area II remaining at the time of election.

2. At the time of recommendation for nomination, a candidate must be either a Member in Training of the APA or have submitted an application. The successful candidate must be a Resident-Fellow Member when the term of office begins.

3. Candidates must submit Curriculum Vitae, a statement of interest and intent to fill the two year term of office and two letters of recommendation from local district branch members. The training director’s letter may count as one letter provided the director is a member of the local district branch.

4. Residency training directors or department chairpersons must write a letter stating that, if elected, the RFM will be excused from clinical responsibilities for at least six (6) weekdays per year and be allowed to honor this two year commitment as part of training.


Residents who wish to be recommended for nomination may recommend themselves or be recommended by a local district branch member, their training director or a residents’ group.

The following material must be submitted in the applications:

1. A statement of interest from the resident that includes a statement of intent to serve the two year term.

2. A letter of support from the training director or chair stating that the resident, if elected, will be allowed to honor this two year commitment as part of training and that the resident has at least two years remaining in training. (For the residents who are accepted into a fellowship, this letter is to come from the director of the fellowship.)

3. Letters of recommendation from two district branch members. (The training director’s letter may count as one letter provided the director is a member of the local district branch.)

Please send all material to:

Donna Gajda
New York State Psychiatric Association, Inc.
400 Garden City Plaza, Suite 202
Garden City, New York 11530

All material must be received by February 3, 2014
If you have any questions, please call:

Kendra Campbell, M.D.
RFM Representative to the Assembly 2013-2014

Kandace McAlister Licciardi, M.D.
RFM Deputy Representative to the Assembly 2013-2014

NYSPA Prescribing Update


Prescribing Update

NYS Medicaid has announced that practitioners must now be enrolled in Medicaid to enable them to continue to prescribe medication for Medicaid beneficiaries (dual eligible patients may also be affected).

Pharmacies will be unable to fill prescriptions written for Medicaid beneficiaries if the prescriber is not enrolled in NYS Medicaid FFS (fee for service). This applies to both new prescriptions and refills.

The enrollment requirement applies to all services, including prescription drugs, provided under the Medicaid state plan or under a waiver of the state plan (the Fee For Service Medicaid program). It does not apply to services paid through a Medicaid managed care plan.

Effective January 1, 2014, FFS Medicaid will implement new FFS claims editing requiring Medicaid FFS enrollment for ordering/prescribing/referring/attending (OPRA) physicians and other healthcare professionals. If the ordering professional is not enrolled, under federal law Medicaid must deny the claim for the ordered service.

Ordering professionals who have not yet submitted enrollment applications must do so immediately to avoid future interruption of the services they order for their patients.

OPRA professionals who submit an application between January 1, 2014 and March 31, 2014 will be given an enrollment effective date of January 1, 2014.

Enrolling as an Ordering/Prescribing/Referring/Attending Provider

If you are not currently enrolled in the Medicaid program, you can enroll as an Ordering/Prescribing/Referring/Attending (OPRA) provider by following the instructions on the eMedNY website at

Verification of Provider Enrollment

If you are unsure whether you are currently enrolled as a Medicaid provider, you can easily verify your enrollment status on the eMedNY website at

Additional information regarding enrollment as an OPRA provider can be found at:

For more updated FAQs on OPRA requirements, background, enrollment and claims editing, please visit the provider enrollment website.

NYS Justice Center Seeks Nominees for New Medical Review Board


NYSPA has been notified that the NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs is seeking potential candidates for its Medical Review Board. The NYS Justice Center, which began operations on June 30, 2013, was established to provide advocacy and incident investigation on behalf of individuals with special needs who receive services from a variety of state agencies and programs. The Justice Center operates a 24/7 hotline to report abuse, neglect and significant incidents and also maintains a staff exclusion list.

The formation of a new Medical Review Board is priority for the Justice Center. This core group of medical professionals will provide assistance in reviewing cases and formulating the policy and procedures necessary to ensure that New York State’s most vulnerable citizens are protected. The voluntary Medical Review Board is to be comprised of up to fifteen members who will be charged with the review of the circumstances surrounding the deaths and allegations of abuse or neglect reported to the Justice Center. The law requires inclusion of medical specialists in forensic pathology, psychiatry, internal medicine and addiction medicine. In addition to those specialists required by law, they are also interested in physicians with experience treating people with developmental disabilities and/or specialists in orthopedics, pediatrics, child psychiatry, cardiology, gastroenterology, radiology, and anesthesiology.

Please contact NYSPA Central Office no later than January 15, 2014, if you are interested or know anyone who might be interested in being nominated to the Medical Review Board. Please forward the nominee’s contact information and curriculum vitae to or via facsimile to 516-873-2010, Attn: Donna Gajda. Please note that under our current agreement with MSSNY, any psychiatrist nominee for a state board position will be proposed by both MSSNY and NYSPA and therefore, nominees must be members of both NYSPA and MSSNY at the time of their nomination.