Gov. Kemp to get bills on Interstate Compact, direct PC agreements 
The Georgia House of Representatives passed two important bills that were introduced by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, M.D. (R-Marietta). One (S.B. 16) would clear the way for Georgia to join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact – making it easier for physicians to obtain licenses in other participating states. The other (S.B. 18) would clarify that when physicians enter into direct primary care agreements with their patients, those contracts would not be subject to state health insurance regulations. MAG supports both bills, which will now go to Gov. Brian Kemp.  
Senate passes bill to have GCMB license genetic counselors
The Georgia Senate passed a bill (H.B. 166) by Rep. Deborah Silcox (R-Sandy Springs) to have genetic counselors licensed by the Georgia Composite Medical Board (GCMB). Before this bill can be sent to Gov. Kemp, the House would have to agree to the changes that were made in the Senate. MAG will continue to track this legislation. 
House committee holds hearings on two of MAG’s 2019 priorities
The House Insurance Life and Health Committee held a hearing on two of MAG’s priorities for this year’s legislative session. This includes…
S.B. 195 by Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome), a bill that would 1) establish transparency standards for formularies and 2) streamline the prior authorization process by requiring the use of a standard form, setting timelines for insurers to respond to the form, and ensuring the continuity of care when a patient switches health insurance plans
S.B. 56 by Sen. Hufstetler, a bill that would 1) result in greater transparency for elective procedures and 2) establish a patient/physician mediation process for bills that are related to “unexpected events” that take place during elective medical procedures and 3) establish a standard physician payment model for out-of-network emergency care – a blended rate that encompasses the average of the 80th percentile of charges and the 95th percentile of allowed amounts from an independent, non-profit database. 
The committee did not take any action on these bills, though MAG will continue to work with legislators to explore ways to pass these bills this year
Senate Insurance passes step therapy & high-low med-mal bills
The Senate Insurance Committee passed two key health care bills. The first was legislation (H.B. 63) by Rep. Sharon Cooper that would establish exceptions to health insurer step therapy protocols. The second was a measure (H.B. 128) by Rep. Silcox that would exempt “low” payments under high-low agreements in medical malpractice cases from the requirement to report settlements to GCMB. MAG supports both bills, which have moved into the Senate Rules Committee. 
Senate committee hears bill to ban abortions under certain circumstances
The Senate Science and Technology Committee heard a bill (H.B. 481) by Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Marietta) that would outlaw abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected unless the pregnancy is the result of rape (with a police report) or incest, the abortion is necessary to avert death or serious bodily harm to the mother, it is necessary to preserve the life of an unborn child, or the pregnancy is deemed medically futile. This measure would also create a civil cause of action for a woman upon whom an abortion is performed against the physician who performs it. Georgia obstetricians and gynecologists’ advocacy organizations have been taking the lead on this legislation. MAG is opposing this bill because it would criminalize physicians practicing within their standard of care, creates a new civil cause of action against physicians, and could undermine efforts to recruit and retain OB-GYN in Georgia. The committee is expected to vote on this measure sometime next week. 
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 11, which include…
Chad Ray, M.D.
Ranna Munna, M.D.
Randy Rizor, 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.
Don’t forget to register & get discounted room for MAG’s legislative seminar 

The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is reminding members to register and to reserve a room for MAG's 2019 ‘Legislative Education Seminar’ meeting, which will take place at the Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa in Young Harris on May 31-June 2. 

Call 800.201.3205 and mention the “MAG Legislative Education Seminar” or click here 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. 

The seminar costs $100 per person, which includes a breakfast, a lunch, and two dinners.

Click here to register for the seminar and to select your meal choice for the plated dinner that will take place on Friday, May 31 – keeping in mind that the dinner on Saturday, June 1 will be a buffet. 

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 2019 state legislative priorities 

Health Insurance

– Developing a solution for the “surprise health insurance coverage gap”

– Streamlining and improving the prior authorization process

– Promoting more and better coverage options for pain therapy

– Ensuring patients have access to every “in-network” physician for the duration of their contract year

– Requiring insurers to be transparent about their networks, standards of participation, and process for selecting/de-selecting physicians

– Allowing patients to make health care decisions based on the best treatment options, their medical history, and the advice they receive from their physicians vs. an insurers' step therapy protocols

– Continuing to oppose insurers' retrospective ER claims review policies

Rural Health Care

– Recruiting and retaining an adequate physician work force

– Improving the accessibility of health care in rural areas

Patient Safety

– Working with allied stakeholders (e.g., MagMutual) on key patient safety initiatives, including cancer screening and treatment for substance abuse (e.g., detoxification units and “Casey’s Law”)

– Exploring a waiver option to access federal funds to expand the state’s Medicaid program

Scope of Practice

– Addressing scope of practice issues that undermine patient safety

Contact MAG Government Relations Director Derek Norton at or 678.303.9280 with questions related to MAG’s legislative priorities for 2019.
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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