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  • Tuesday, July 23, 2024 12:59 PM | Jennifer Casasanta (Administrator)

    Rochester, NY, July 23,2024 - The Monroe County Medical Society has recognized Michael Nazar, MD and Janice Harbin, DDS with its 2024 Edward Mott Moore Physician and Layperson Awards. This award recognizes individuals whose dedication to the community goes above and beyond the usual call of duty.

    2024 Edward Mott Moore Physician Award
    Michael Nazar, MD, University of Rochester

    Michael Nazar, MD, is a retired Family Medicine physician and Physician Executive. A graduate of Amherst College and the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and Dentistry, Nazar has lived in Rochester since 1982. He completed his Family Medicine residency at the University of Rochester/ Highland Hospital training program. He is Board Certified in Family Medicine and Geriatric Medicine. He was a Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical School.

    Dr. Nazar held several administrative roles at Rochester Regional Health and its legacy institutions. This included Chair of Family Medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital, Senior Vice President, Unity Medical Group at Unity Hospital and Executive Vice President, Chief of Medical Groups at Rochester Regional Health. He left his administrative roles in 2017.

    Dr Nazar has been active in several community and healthcare focused entities. He is a past Chair of The Finger Lakes HSA (now Common Ground Health). He remains on the Board of FLPPS (Finger Lakes Preferred Provider System) and is Co-Chair of its Clinical Quality Committee. He is Vice President of the Rochester Regional Physicians Organization and serves on the GRIPA Board

    Dr Nazar lives in the City of Rochester with his wife, Kate Callery. He has two adult children, William Nazar of Miami and Alice Nazar of Denver.

    2024 Edward Mott Moore Layperson Award

    Janice Harbin, DDS

    A 1979 graduate of Howard University College of Dentistry and a 2014 Healthcare Business Fellow, Dr. Janice Harbin’s extensive community health career has been dedicated to serving racially, socially and economically diverse populations for over 40 years. Dr. Harbin moved to Rochester, New York July, 2012 to take a position with Anthony L. Jordan Health Corporation, a multi-site Federally Qualified Health Center in western New York, as their Dental Director, before becoming their Interim CEO, November 2012. She assumed the position as their President and CEO in October 2013 and remained there until 2023. That November, she served as the consultant to the incoming CEO and continued serving as a dentist until her retirement December 31, 2023.

    As a public health dentist since 1979, she headed the Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion Adult Dental department, as well as served as Adjunct Faculty for the University Of Detroit Mercy School Of Dentistry, prior to relocating to New York. She served as Dental Director for Detroit Health Care for the Homeless (Advantage Health Centers), while improving operational efficiency and creating productive and sustainable dental teams and departments. From 1999 - 2003, she was professionally engaged as a community organizer with Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength (MOSES), Detroit, Michigan; providing training in leadership development and problem solving, for city and suburban faith-based Christian, Jewish and Muslim organizations. In 1999, representing the grassroots community, she worked on the national planning committee for the “President’s Council of Sustainable America”, chaired by Vice President Al Gore. She is the proud mother of three sons, Dane, Spencer, Elliott and niece, Carrie.

    About Monroe County Medical Society

    Over 1,200 physicians are members of the Monroe County Medical Society/7th District Branch. The Monroe County Medical Society is a non-profit organization formed to extend medical knowledge and to advance medical science, to elevate the standards of medicine, to promote reforms and to enlighten and direct public opinion in regard to the problems of health and medicine for the best interests of the people of Monroe County. For more information visit www.mcms.org or email mcms@mcms.org.

  • Thursday, June 13, 2024 12:57 PM | Jennifer Casasanta (Administrator)

    Recently, MCMS teamed with Fidelis to create marketing materials to get the word out on the importance of Vaccinations. Feel free to use them in your offices or on social media this summer! 

    Printable Flyer links:

    Vaccine Hesitation

    Wellness Visit One

    Wellness Visit Two

    Downloadable Images for Social Media or Website:

  • Thursday, June 13, 2024 9:34 AM | Jennifer Casasanta (Administrator)

    A Message from MCMS President, Dr. Janine Fogarty

    In light of the recent announcement by Lifetime Healthcare Companies, parent company of Excellus BCBS and Univera Healthcare, regarding their merger with CDPHP, we at the Monroe County Medical Society (MCMS) wish to address our community with a cautious perspective.

    The stated goals of this merger include the promise of enhanced quality, experience, and affordability of healthcare for residents across New York State. While these intentions are commendable, it is our responsibility to scrutinize the potential impacts of such a significant consolidation in the healthcare market.

    Both the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) and MCMS share concerns about the broader implications of merging two of the largest non-profit healthcare organizations in our region. Dr. Jerome Cohen, President of MSSNY, has articulated several key issues that we echo:

    · Potential for Higher Premiums: With reduced competition in the market, there is a legitimate concern that insurance premiums could rise, placing a greater financial burden on our patients. In fact, in May 2024, Excellus BCBS started to send out “Notice of Premium Rate Change” to its members, including private, independent clinicians and their medical practices. They have submitted a proposal to the Department of Financial Services (DFS) seeking approval to increase premium rates in the double-digit range (upwards of 24-26%).

    MCMS encourages any of its members to submit their concerns about the proposed 2025 premium rate increase directly to the Department of Financial Services (DFS) at: https://www.dfs.ny.gov/complaint

    · Reduction in Choices: Fewer independent health care clinicians could lead to limited options for patients, affecting their ability to select plans that best meet their needs.

    · Customer Service Concerns: Larger, merged entities may struggle to maintain high levels of customer service, potentially leading to dissatisfaction among patients.

    · Impact on Medical Innovation: A less competitive environment could stifle innovation, slowing the advancement of medical practices and technologies.

    · Access to Care: Further restrictions on patient access to care could result from diminished collaboration between healthcare plans and physicians.

    While we recognize the potential benefits that Lifetime Healthcare Companies and CDPHP aim to achieve, we urge all stakeholders to carefully consider these possible drawbacks. The MCMS is committed to advocating for a healthcare system that maintains robust competition, fosters innovation, and prioritizes patient access and choice.

    We will continue to monitor the situation closely and work alongside our colleagues at MSSNY to ensure that the interests of our patients and the medical community are protected throughout this transition.


    Janine L. Fogarty, MD President, Monroe County Medical Society

    200 Canal View Blvd. – Suite 202

    Rochester, NY 14623

  • Tuesday, May 28, 2024 4:15 PM | Jennifer Casasanta (Administrator)

    Additional Market Concentration Could Spell New Hassles for Patients and Physicians

    “We urge great caution by the various regulatory authorities charged with review of the proposed takeover of CDPHP by Lifetime, already the parent company of Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield and Univera. Both CDPHP and Excellus have long maintained generally collaborative relationships with the physicians and other care providers in the regions of the State they serve, as evidenced by their lower complaint rankings as compared to the health insurance industry behemoths serving much of the State. In the experience of physicians, bigger is often not better, resulting in companies becoming less receptive to the needs of the communities they serve, and more likely to initiate procedures that ultimately make it more difficult for patients to have coverage for the care they need.

    “We further note that, if this takeover is permitted, it would mean that a Blues plan would be one of the dominant insurers in 12 out of New York’s 13 Metropolitan Statistical Areas, according to data from the AMA’s most recent Competition in Health Insurance Report.

    “The Federal Trade Commission recently announced that it was investigating the increasing level of corporate ownership in healthcare. The FTC review should also be expanded to examine why this is happening, as likely one of the major drivers is the increasing consolidation within the health insurance industry, as demonstrated by this proposed Lifetime acquisition of CDPHP, but also CVS’ recent purchase of Aetna and United’s diversification into medical practice ownership with Optum. Many would question whether this enormous consolidation within the health insurance sector has served patients well.

    "In sum, MSSNY is very concerned with the significant potential adverse consequences for patients and employers with this consolidation. Fewer health insurance companies will lead to a lack of market competition. This has the potential to lead to higher premiums, fewer choices, poorer customer service, stifling of medical innovation, and further restrictions in patient access to care.”

    Statement attributable to:

    Jerome Cohen, MD


    Medical Society of the State of New York

  • Tuesday, May 07, 2024 9:50 AM | Jennifer Casasanta (Administrator)

    On Wednesday, May 1st, there was a virtual "changing of the officers" via ZOOM and we celebrated the occasion on Thursday, May 2nd at Wegman's Next Door Bar & Grill. We enjoyed the 'Sommelier Experience' with wine and food pairings from around the world. The event was hosted by our friends at the Alliance Advisory Group. For photos of the event, click here! 

    Our new slate of officers include:

    President: Janine Fogarty, MD

    President-Elect: Scott Hartman, MD

    Secretary: Sahar Elezabi, MD

    Treasurer: Timothy Holahan, DO

    Member-at-Large: Balazs Zsenits, MD

    Immediate Past President: Hemant Kalia, MD


    Jane Bennett, MD

    Cathy Goodfellow, MD

    Kristen Walker, MD

    Madonna Tomani, MD

    Ralph Pennino, MD

    Delegates to MSSNY:

    Jack McIntyre, MD

    Stephen H. Schultz, MD

    Matthew Witmer, MD

    Rachael Wojtovich, MD

    Hospital Representatives:

    Highland Hospital: Ruth Odoi, MD

    Rochester Regional Health: Robert Mayo, MD

    Strong Memorial Health: Michael Apostolakos, MD

    Unity Health: Manuel Matos, MD

    Golisano Children’s Hospital: Elise van der Jagt, MD

  • Tuesday, March 12, 2024 8:32 AM | Jennifer Casasanta (Administrator)

    Challenges for private practice doctors in the Rochester area are prompting some to think about leaving the field.

    It’s a move, they say, that could negatively impact the local business community who may see rising employee healthcare costs and limited choices for care as a result.

    According to a report from the American Medical Association, the number of physicians working in private practices decreased by 13 percent between 2012 and 2022.

    And the numbers continue to fall locally.

    “It’s a plight that’s getting worse,” said Lucia Castillejo, CEO of the Monroe County Medical Society.

    Challenges for primary care providers range from raising administrative burdens and low and falling payment rates to challenging and costly recruitment efforts and feelings of professional isolation.

    Douglas Bennett, MD, has been in private practice at Irondequoit Pediatrics since 2005 and has been a practicing pediatrician for over 25 years.

    In addition to the administration challenges, overhead costs and inadequate insurance reimbursements for patient care, Bennett has been dealing with the aftermath of the Change Healthcare cyberattack that prevented his office from filing any claims, impacting his cash flow and hurting the practice.

    “It’s the patients who suffer,” he said.

    Despite the challenges, Bennett prefers private practice, because it gives him increased freedom and autonomy and a greater focus on patient care.

    It can also improve patient care, added Judy Dambrose, office manager at Rochester Community Orthopaedics, noting that private practice providers often have more time to spend with patients because they aren’t pressured to meet certain daily benchmarks.

    “In private practice, the biggest goal is to take care of the patient,” Dambrose said.

    Private practices can also cost patients less. That’s because they don’t charge as much as physicians affiliated with a large healthcare organization, which have high operating costs that get passed through to patients as hospital or facility fees, she explained.

    Further complicating the matter is insurance reimbursement rates the private practitioners say are far from fair and equitable.

    The private practice providers — who negotiate reimbursement rates separately — say it has been several years since they have received a substantial increase in those reimbursement rates.

    There is also a general misconception as to where the annual increases in health insurance premiums go, Dambrose said.

    “They aren’t going to the physicians,” she said.

    With all the challenges, a 2023 MCMS Physician Survey found that Rochester area doctors are facing burnout.

    The survey — taken by 142 area doctors — found that if no changes are made to the current system, many would consider cutting back hours or leaving primary care entirely.

    Monroe County Medical Society Board President Hemant Kalia, MD, said the burnout rates for doctors in the Rochester area are higher than those seen nationally.

    Part of the reason for that is the healthcare landscape seen locally, with only two health systems in the region: Rochester Regional Health and UR Medicine, and one insurance payer, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, that has roughly 80 percent of the market.

    Both impact the negotiating ability of private practitioners, Kalia said, and contribute to the multiple stressors on physicians.

    “Rochester is a case study in the delivery of health care,” he said, noting that other cities have more choices for insurance, which can increase competitive rates, and more private practice providers who are able to collectively bargain for better rates.

    Prior authorization is a big part of the problem, as well, he noted.

    Prior authorization — sometimes called preauthorization or precertification — is a health plan cost-control process by which physicians and other health care providers must obtain advance approval from a health plan before a specific service is delivered to the patient to qualify for payment coverage.

    Of the survey respondents, 92.12 percent answered that prior authorization often and sometimes delays access to necessary care which can result in poorer health results, and even death, the survey noted.

    Kalia believes it is important to get the word out about the issue in hopes it will decrease the burdens on physicians and make sure patients are getting access to care.

    In addition to increasing public awareness, the MCMS is seeking support from area legislators, noting the private practice doctors’ offices not only provide patient care they also serve as a regional economic driver, Kalia said.

    “Private practices are small businesses,” he said.

    adeckert@bridgetowermedia.com / (585) 653-4021


  • Wednesday, February 07, 2024 10:48 AM | Jennifer Casasanta (Administrator)

    Please join MSSNY for our annual Physician Advocacy Day, an educational program where physicians can hear from legislative leaders regarding key healthcare issues in New York State, and have the opportunity to pose questions to these leaders. At the conclusion of the program, physicians will join with their colleagues to encourage their senators and assembly members to support legislation that is crucial to their practice and oppose bills that place restrictions and add unreasonable burdens. This year’s event will be held in person at the Lewis Swyer Theater in The Egg (Empire State Plaza) in Albany, and will go from 7:45-11:00am. Breakfast and lunch will be served. We look forward to seeing you there! The Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The Medical Society of the State of New York designates this live activity for a maximum of 3.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Cr

    With February underway, we must get as many physicians as possible to sign up for MSSNY’s Physicians Advocacy Day. There will not be a remote option for this event. Being physically present in Albany will send a direct and impactful message that Zoom cannot achieve. Physicians Advocacy Day will occur Tuesday, March 12th, 2024, at the Empire State Plaza (The Egg) in Albany from 7:45-11:00 am. Physicians will hear from the NYS Health Commissioner, the Assembly and Senate Minority Leaders, and the Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Health and Insurance Committees, followed by an informal lunch attended by legislators from your area, followed by the opportunity for legislative visits in the afternoon.

    You may be aware of the many threats we face in the Governor's proposed Budget, including requiring physicians to pay 50% of the Excess Medical Malpractice coverage cost, repealing authorization for the MSSNY’s Committee for Physicians Health (CPH) program, expanding the scope of practice for physician assistants, pharmacists, and dentists, and prohibiting physicians from bringing Medicaid Managed Care claims disputes to Independent Dispute Resolution. Enactment of any of these measures would be a disaster. In addition to State Budget issues, we will advocate for policies that address public health threats, reduce medical liability costs, remove barriers to patients accessing needed care, and reduce prior authorization and claim payment hassles.

    Please use this link to register for MSSNY’s Physicians Advocacy Day https://forms.gle/o1fg1NBa8dC8a8E6A.


  • Friday, January 26, 2024 8:48 AM | Jennifer Casasanta (Administrator)

    Recently, a few members of MCMS had the opportunity to speak to Will Astor at the Rochester Beacon about the "Plight of Private Practices". Check out the article below:

    The Plight of Private Practice Doctors. Hear from a few of our member physicians...https://buff.ly/42ancQZ

  • Wednesday, January 17, 2024 1:21 PM | Jennifer Casasanta (Administrator)

    American Medical Association (AMA) recently conducted a study which validated the trend of disappearing private practitioners across the country. According to the study, between 2012 and 2022, the percentage of physicians working in private practices witnessed a remarkable decline, falling from 60.1 percent to 46.7 percent. Concurrently, the percentage of physicians directly employed by or contracting with hospitals grew, reaching 9.6 percent.

    Our Rochester community has gone through an even more drastic transformation.  Area private practices are being decimated by site-of-service differential payments and cost increases shuffled by insurance companies under the guise of the “post-pandemic cost of doing business”. This is causing serious damage to Rochester’s healthcare community, including significant strain, and possible closure, of multiple independent healthcare facilities, effectively decreasing the diversity and availability of quality healthcare for members of our community.  

    While the insurance companies are still able to get approval from the Department of Financial Services to raise their premiums, our community private practices are struggling to see any corresponding meaningful change in their reimbursements.  Since 2001, the cost of operating a medical practice has increased 47%, while economy-wide inflation has risen 73%.  During this time, Medicare hospital and nursing facility updates have increased by roughly 70%, significantly outpacing physician reimbursement.  When adjusted for inflation, Medicare's rates--on which insurance company’s rates are based--have actually dropped 26 percent over the past 22 years.  Exacerbating this reimbursement gap are ballooning pandemic and post-pandemic costs of providing healthcare services, particularly soaring supply costs and labor costs: wages are up nearly 20%.  On average, private practice payroll has increased by 50% over the past 5 years in our region, and these practices are continuously losing team members to the publicly supported entities surrounding us which have access to state and federal grants and tax exemption as they are able to charge twice as much for the same care provided due to their facility fees (site-of-service differential payment system).

    The consolidation of healthcare in our region has also created a duopolistic delivery system which is not conducive to innovative, patient-centered, private practice model.

    MCMS supports preservation of patient access to cost-effective, personalized health care and independent private practices play an integral part of healthcare delivery infrastructure in our region. We need legislative action through advocacy and policy reform to support this dying art of personalized, cost-effective healthcare delivery model.

  • Thursday, January 04, 2024 3:11 PM | Jennifer Casasanta (Administrator)

    Dear Members, 

    Due to recent updates, members have reported experiencing difficulties while attempting payment of membership dues on the MSSNY website. If you have not paid your 2024 MCMS membership dues, please email Susan Bartl Conley at  SBartl-Conley@mcms.org and she will be happy to assist you with your renewal. 

    Please do so before the 10th of January to avoid laps and additional requests from MSSNY. Thank you! 


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