Steven Berkowitz, MD, PA, FACS, FAAOS, CIME Installed as 223rd President of the Medical Society of New Jersey


Steven Berkowitz, MD, PA, FACS, FAAOS, CIME, the newly installed 223rd President of the Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ)

Lawrenceville, N.J. – Steven Berkowitz, MD, PA, FACS, FAAOS, CIME was recently installed as the 223rd President of the Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) at its annual meeting. He has served as a member of MSNJ’s Board of Trustees since 2004.

Dr. Berkowitz is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon and clinical instructor with more than 35 years of experience. He co-founded and currently practices at Seaview Orthopaedic and Medical Associates, with six office locations in New Jersey from Barnegat to Monroe. Additionally, he has served as the clinical instructor for the orthopaedic rotation at the Jersey Shore Medical Center for the past 20 years. He is currently certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and American Board of Independent Medical Examiners.

Last year, Dr. Berkowitz was appointed to the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners, a position he will hold until 2017. A recognized leader in a number of medical associations and organizations, Dr. Berkowitz served as past president of the New Jersey Orthopaedic Society and currently serves on its Board of Directors as the legislative chairman. Additionally, he is the past president of the Monmouth County Medical Society and now serves as a member of the executive committee. Dr. Berkowitz is also a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American College of Surgeons, Arthroscopy Association of North America, and the Eastern Orthopaedic Association.

“Dr. Berkowitz’s experience as a top orthopaedic surgeon and clinical instructor, as well as his involvement in various respected medical organizations makes him exactly the type of president MSNJ needs,” said Larry Downs, CEO of MSNJ. “We are honored to welcome him as our new President. He brings great leadership, guidance and expertise to our organization.”

Dr. Berkowitz graduated with honors from The Cooper Union – Albert Nerken School of Engineering and obtained his medical degree at SUNY Downstate College of in Brooklyn, New York, graduating cum laude. He completed his residency at Maimonides Medical Center and the NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, both located in New York City.

He currently resides in Wayside, New Jersey with his wife Pamela. The couple has four adult children, and is expecting their seventh grandchild.

The Medical Society of New Jersey Hosts 2nd Annual Physicians’ Advocacy Conference and House of Delegates Meeting

On Friday, May 1, MSNJ hosted its 2nd Annual 2015 Physicians’ Advocacy Conference and House of Delegates Meeting from 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., at the Crowne Plaza in Princeton, NJ. This year’s conference, sponsored by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield New Jersey and Kern Augustine Conroy & Schoppmann, P.C., was a huge success with 150 registered attendees and a total of 40 sponsors and exhibitors.

Our unique, interactive conference is designed to connect and engage New Jersey’s physicians and review the overall impact of the practice of medicine within the state. As an added benefit to our physician attendees, the conference fulfills AMA continuing medical education credits (4 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™).

This year’s conference included a number of workshops that focused on a variety of advocacy topics, including: Legislative Advocacy 101; Regulatory Advocacy 101; Everything You Need to Know About ERISA-Regulated Health Plans; and The Future of Maintenance of Certification.

Additionally, the conference featured a number of highly-respected speakers, panelists and moderators from diverse professional backgrounds and expertise.

“We were proud to offer such a stellar line-up of notable speakers, panel members and moderators at this year’s conference,” said Larry Downs, CEO of the Medical Society of New Jersey. “We carefully selected these professionals, all subject matter experts in their respected fields, knowing that they would thoroughly address a number of issues of importance to the physician community.”

Robert E. Andrews, Esq. – former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and former chairman of the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce – delivered the keynote address.

Other speakers, panelists and moderators included six sitting legislators, like Assemblyman Herb Conaway, MD, Esq. (D-District 7), Chairman of the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee and the only physician in legislature – and Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick; and two of the most highly respected contract lobbyists in Trenton, Paul N. Bontempo, President and Co-Founder of MBI Gluckshaw, Democratic State Committeeman and former Democratic National Committeeman and AJ Sabath, Partner and Co-Founder of Advocacy and Management Group.

The day ended with a well-attended reception, featuring networking opportunities and delicious food and drink for attendees.

“All those who attended – from physicians and medical students to practice managers and health care specialists – benefited from the information presented at this year’s conference,” stated Dr. Paul J. Carniol, 222nd President of the Medical Society of New Jersey. “We look forward to more successful conferences like this in the years to come.”

Check out the photos from the event!

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Doctor’s Day: N.J. Doctors Work to Keep Care Accessible – Urge New Jersey Senators to Vote in Favor of Legislation

By: Lawrence Downs, Esq.

Doctors want to help people. That’s what drives them; that’s what gives them satisfaction and purpose. And that’s what they spend their lives doing.

For more than a decade, however, physicians have faced rising barriers to caring for older patients. Due to flaws in the Medicare system – the federal health insurance program for seniors – growing numbers of physicians simply cannot afford to treat Medicare patients, and seniors are increasingly struggling to access medical care.

But across New Jersey and nationwide, caring doctors are stepping forward to help. They’re strongly supporting legislation that would ensure seniors access to physicians in their communities.

The problem is not new: Congress has enacted 17 temporary patches over the past 12 years to address Medicare’s faulty “Sustainable Growth Rate” (SGR) formula – which determines physician payment rates each year. (Ironically, the $170 billion price tag on these patches has already exceeded the cost of simply freezing payment rates for the next 10 years, estimated at $137 billion by the American Medical Association.)

But now, there’s a real chance for a permanent – and less costly – repair: Congress has introduced, and the House has already voted on groundbreaking legislation that would eliminate the SGR and provide real solutions to ensure seniors’ access to good care.

After many years with little consensus, we finally have a bipartisan, bicameral bill, and the vital support of key stakeholders including patient organizations, policy think tanks, and advocacy groups across the political spectrum.

The Medical Society of New Jersey is one of more than 600 national and state physician associations that vigorously support the legislation, known as the “SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014” (H.R. 1470 / S. 810).

Since the House has already taken historic action, we encourage New Jersey Senators Menendez and Booker to vote in favor of this legislation when the Senate returns on April 13, so it can be sent to the president’s desk for signature.

If nothing is done, the problem will only worsen. Today, with the baby boomers hitting retirement age, 10,000 Americans are enrolling in Medicare each day. In New Jersey, 1.4 million people currently rely on Medicare; nationally, the total is about 50 million.[i] The flawed SGR also affects the care of 10 million veterans and active-duty military personnel enrolled in Tricare, the health care program for armed-services members and their families.

Physician members of MSNJ urge everyone’s strong support of the SGR Repeal Act, to help ensure care for some of our most vulnerable citizens. For more information, including links to contact Congress, please visit, scroll to “News” and click on “SGR Repeal.”

Time is running out; please act now.

[i] Kaiser Family Foundation, Total Number of Medicare Beneficiaries (2012). Accessed March 24, 2015

Insurers Release Study on Out of Network Costs

Yesterday Horizon Blue Cross released the results of a study it paid for that concludes that insurers are paying too much to physicians and hospitals that don’t participate in its network. Horizon also suggested it could lower premiums if NJ’s important consumer protections were repealed.

Horizon is a financial juggernaut. The company made $214 million net of expenses in 2013 according to its published financial statements, that’s $10 million better than they did in 2012. The company (a non-profit) has reserves over $2.5 billion. It seems they have some room to lower premiums now.

What Horizon failed to say is that they have the ability to contract with all physicians and hospitals in the state, but they choose not to. New narrow network plans exclude physicians that want to treat patients. So in effect Horizon is contributing to the problem they seem so desperate to fix.

Dialog on the financing of healthcare in NJ is sorely needed. But the laser focus on out of network payments is unfounded.

Revolving Reference Committee to Hear Two Resolutions

On February 2 at 7:00pm, MSNJ’s Revolving Reference Committee (RRC) will hear two resolutions via webinar.

  1. Physician/Patient Relationship – Right to Continuity of Care, Admitting and Consultation Privileges for Family Physician and internist for their Hospitalized Patients – Camden County
  2. Recreational Use and Abuse of Prescription Drugs – Hudson County

Information on these resolutions may be found on MSNJ’s website and by taking the following steps:

  1. Log into the website;
  2. Click on “Communities” located in the main menu across the top of the screen;
  3. Then click on “Committees and Councils” from the menu on the left;
  4. Next click on “Revolving Reference Committee,” which is the 2nd option from the top

The web page will include information on the RRC as well as information on each resolution and submitted comments.

  • Webinar:  Audio Login Call 866.740.1260 Enter access code: 8961259
  • Web Login Enter access code: 8961259

MSNJ Weighs in on End-of-Life CME Requirement

In a meeting on December 7, the Board of Trustees of MSNJ considered the recommendation of the Revolving Reference Committee that it adopt a resolution that would require MSNJ to seek legislation to limit the end-of -life continuing medical educational requirement to a one-time two credit event. The law currently requires two credits of CME on end-of-life at each biennial license renewal. The Board voted to adopt the resolution which was brought forward by Union County and joined by 6 other counties.

In comments to the Board of Medical Examiners on December 5, MSNJ urged the BME to exercise its authority to allow the credits to be in either Category 1 or 2. MSNJ further urged the BME to convene the medical education advisory committee, on which MSNJ has a member, to consider the comments filed and how to best implement the statutory requirements. Finally, MSNJ encouraged the BME to carefully consider applications for waivers from the CME requirement since there are many licensed physicians in New Jersey who do not have patient contact or would not be in a position to either treat at end-of-life or counsel on end-of-life choices.


Wilmington, DE and Lawrenceville, NJ—December 17, 2014—First Healthcare Compliance (, a national provider of a comprehensive compliance solution to help healthcare providers save time and money by efficiently implementing an effective compliance program, announces the official launch of their affinity partnership with Medical Society of New Jersey (
The First Healthcare Compliance Affinity Partners program provides partners with an opportunity to refer members to First Healthcare Compliance, and for their members to receive a ‘members-only’ lifetime discount as a new subscriber. First Healthcare Compliance helps their members save time and money, mitigate risk and maintain focus on patient care by providing them with a comprehensive solution to implement and manage a compliance program that addresses HIPAA/HITECH, OSHA, the False Claims Act, the Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark in a simple, efficient and effective manner, in one place.
“As First Healthcare Compliance continues to grow nationally, we are committed to developing relationships with qualified Affinity Partners. It is a winning proposition for organizations interested in offering an innovative new service benefit to their members,” said Julie Sheppard, Founder and President of First Healthcare Compliance. “We are thrilled that such a well-respected organization as the Medical Society of New Jersey is also committed to providing the resources and tools for healthcare practitioners and professionals to better manage their practice. We are confident that this new partnership will help us better reach physicians and other healthcare providers in private practice, and healthcare networks or health systems in New Jersey.

“Like us, the Medical Society of New Jersey understands the pressing needs of this market for a comprehensive compliance program management solution,” continues Julie Sheppard. “They recognize the incredibly limited resources available and the void that the First Healthcare Compliance solution fills.”
For further information, please visit or contact First Healthcare Compliance at 888.54.FIRST.
About First Healthcare Compliance
First Healthcare Compliance provides solutions to address the needs of the physicians and healthcare providers and their staff in private practice, or those in hospital networks and health systems, to implement and maintain a high quality compliance program in a simple, effective and efficient manner. The new business model created by First Healthcare Compliance enables them to offer a comprehensive, single-source compliance solution.
A privately-owned women business enterprise founded in 2012 in Wilmington, DE by Julie Sheppard, First Healthcare Compliance was created from the rising concern Julie had in witnessing the increasing demands being placed on physicians and other healthcare providers in private practice and in hospital networks and health systems, to comply with the rules and regulations of the Affordable Care Act. As a nurse, an attorney, and a physician’s spouse, Julie identified a widening gap between the expectations of government and the reality of compliance for healthcare professionals. She recognized the opportunity available to fill the void of practical compliance resources and options to solve these needs; this became the impetus for the formation of First Healthcare Compliance.
Phone: 302-416-4329


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