General Assembly suspended over COVID-19 concerns until further notice  
The Georgia General Assembly has been suspended “until further notice” as a result of the COVID-19 health care threat. 
MAG will resume its e-News from the Capitol report once the legislature resumes. 
Contact MAG Government Relations Director Derek Norton at with questions.   
Tort reform bill fails to pass Senate by end of ‘crossover day’
A bill (S.B. 415) by Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) that would have reformed the state’s tort system did not pass the Senate by the end of the day on Thursday, which was “crossover day” – which means that the measure will not have a chance to pass in 2020. MAG will explore other options to address the state’s declining tort environment during this year’s legislative session – especially when it comes to the elimination of “phantom damages,” which are the difference between what a patient is billed and what they pay for their care (and can translate into much higher medical malpractice awards). 
House passes array of key health care bills 
The Georgia House of Representatives passed a number of key health care bills this week, including…
H.B. 791, a bill by Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) that would allow pharmacists to convert a maintenance medication prescription from a 30-day supply to a 90-day supply up to the quantities that have been authorized through refills by the physician – although this would not be permitted on the initial fill of the prescription or whenever the physician specifies that the refills should not be combined. MAG will continue to track this legislation, which is headed to the Senate Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee. 
H.B. 991, a bill by Rep. Matt Hatchett (R-Dublin) that would create a ‘Healthcare Transparency and Accountability Oversight Committee,’ which would have the authority to review the performance and conduct of all state health care plan contractors, their affiliate subcontractors, and their subcontractor pharmacy benefits managers. MAG supports this legislation. The bill is pending a committee assignment in the Senate. 
H.B. 1092, a bill by Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell) that would 1) allow APRNs who are working under a protocol agreement with a physician to order radiographic imaging in non-life-threatening situations and 2) increase the APRN-to-physician ratio from 4:1 to 6:1. MAG opposes this legislation. The bill is pending a committee assignment in the Senate. 
H.B. 1114, a bill by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta) that would extend postpartum Medicaid coverage from two months to six months and require Medicaid to cover lactation care and services. MAG supports this legislation, which has been assigned to the Senate HHS Committee.
H.B. 1125, a bill by Rep. Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown) that would require the State Health Benefit Plan to cover breast cancer screening for individuals who have a high risk of breast cancer who are 30 years of age or older. MAG supports this legislation. The bill is pending a committee assignment in the Senate. 
Senate passes important health care bills before ‘crossover’
The Georgia Senate also passed important health care legislation this week before the “crossover” deadline, including…
S.B. 28, a bill by Sen. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah) that would require health insurance copays to be “reasonable in relation to covered benefits to which they apply” and would “require that copays be used as an incentive rather than a barrier to accessing appropriate care.” MAG supports this legislation, which has been assigned to the House Insurance Committee.
S.B. 311, a bill by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, M.D. (R-Marietta) that would prohibit kickbacks, commissions, bribes, benefits, rebates, and bonuses by substance abuse providers or solicited by substance abuse providers to induce referral of a patient and outlaws fraudulent marketing techniques designed to deceive individuals into expensive long term recovery facilities. This measure would also prohibit ‘high-tech drug testing’ (i.e., testing an individual’s specimen for a number of different substances and billing and receiving payment separately for each substance that's tested). MAG is watching this legislation, which has been assigned to the House Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care.
S.B. 321, a bill by Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome) that would increase the physician oversight ratio from 4:1 for APRNs and 2:1 for PAs (4:1 in certain locations) to 6:1 for all mid-level providers – giving physicians the freedom to choose the mix – although the ratio limit in hospitals, colleges or universities, the Georgia Department of Public Health, county boards of health, community service boards, free health clinics, birthing centers, or federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) would not change. This bill would also eliminate the requirements for PAs be “licensed to” a physician and for a physician to “regularly” see patients where their PA practices. MAG is watching this legislation, which has been assigned to the House Regulated Industries Committee.
S.B. 375, a bill by Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga) that would restrict the sale of cigarettes, tobacco products, tobacco related objects, alternative nicotine products, or vapor products to those 21 years of age and older. MAG supports this legislation, which has been assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee.
S.B. 391, a bill by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, M.D. (R-Marietta) that would allow pharmacists to fill a 30-day supply of a prescription medication early when a state of emergency has been declared or when a hurricane warning has been issued – Schedule II medications notwithstanding. This would only apply when a pharmacist determines that the prescription is 1) essential to the maintenance of life or the continuation of therapy for a chronic condition and 2) the interruption of such therapy might reasonably produce undesirable health consequences or cause physical or mental discomfort. Under S.B. 391, the pharmacist would have to let the prescriber know about the early prescription request within 48 hours. And, insurers would be required to cover these early prescriptions. MAG will continue to monitor this bill, which has been assigned to the House Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care.
S.B. 417, a bill by Sen. Kirkpatrick that would address problematic language that is related to background checks in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact bill that passed last year. MAG supports this legislation, which has been assigned to the House HHS Committee.
S.B. 484, a bill by Sen. Kirkpatrick that calls for Georgia to join a multistate compact that is will “incentivize the development of cures for diseases through substantial financial awards.” The compact states will “pay a financial award to someone who developed a cure for a disease by utilizing the money the state saves by utilizing the cure.” MAG is monitoring this legislation, which has been assigned to the House Health and Human Services Committee.
MAG develops ‘COVID-19 Resource Center’ 
The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) has developed a ‘COVID-19 Resource Center’ that highlights key resources and the latest information for physicians and practice staff and patients.
This includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) COVID-19 web pages, as well as a FAQ fact sheet that addresses some of the issues and questions that have been raised by MAG members and their practice staff. 
MAG President Andrew Reisman, M.D., stresses that, “MAG is in daily contact with the Georgia Department of Public Health, state leaders, and other key stakeholders to let them know what issues physicians and medical practices in the state are dealing with and what resources they need to care for their patients.”
Dr. Reisman adds that, “MAG is also working with DPH and others to get and disseminate the latest and most credible COVID-19 information so physicians and practice staff and patients in Georgia can make the best decisions.”  
MAG members and their practice staff can contact Ryan Larosa at to report any COVID-19 issues. 
MAG thanks & applauds this week's ‘Doctor of the Day’ volunteers
MAG is thanking and applauding its ‘Doctor of the Day’ volunteers for the week of March 9, which include…
Allan Peljovich, M.D.
Casey Henritz, D.O.
Steve Tuck, M.D.
Mark Huffman, M.D.

MAG Doctor of the Day volunteers work in the Medical Aid Station at the state Capitol, where they provide free minor medical care to legislators and their staff members.

Go to for additional information on the MAG ‘Doctor of the Day’ program, including logistical details and FAQ. 
MAG reminding members to register/reserve room for legislative seminar
The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is reminding its members to register and reserve a room for MAG's 2020 ‘Legislative Education Seminar’ meeting, which will take place at the Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa in Young Harris on May 15-17. 
To reserve your room, call 800.201.3205 and mention the “MAG Legislative Education Seminar” to receive a discounted room rate of $199 per night plus taxes and fees. The discount will be available until May 10 or until MAG’s block of rooms sells out. 
Contact Christiana Craddock at with questions related to lodging or registration.
Monitor MAG’s communications and for additional details, and contact Derek Norton at or 678.303.9280 with any questions related to the seminar.  
MAG’s 2020 state legislative priorities 
The Medical Association of Georgia’s (MAG) priorities for the 2020 state legislative session include… 
Tort Reform
– Addressing the states declining tort environment
Tax Credits for Uncompensated Care
– Creating tax credits for physicians who provide uncompensated care
– Continuing to support the waiver process to ensure Georgians have access to health insurance
Scope of Practice
– Addressing issues that undermine patient safety
Health Insurance
– Developing a solution for “surprise medical bills”        
– Streamlining and improving the prior authorization process
– Promoting insurance coverage for non-narcotic alternative therapies        
– Ensuring patients have access to every physician who is advertised as “in-network” for the duration of a contract year to ensure the continuity of care and requiring insurers to be transparent about how they develop their networks, their standards of participation, and the process they employ to select/de-select physicians for their networks
Contact MAG Government Relations Director Derek Norton at or 678.303.9280 with questions related to MAG’s legislative priorities for 2020.
Follow MAG at the Capitol 24/7 
Whether you are using a laptop or a tablet or a handheld device, you can always get the latest state legislative news in Georgia by following MAG on Twitter at, on Facebook at, or by visiting
MAG’s Government Relations Team 
Derek Norton – Director or 404.274.4210  
Bethany Sherrer – Legal Counsel & GAMPAC Manager or 404.354.1863  
Christiana Craddock – Legislative Assistant or 678.303.9271
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