MAG has high expectations for 2018 General Assembly
Dear MAG members,
I am genuinely excited to represent you and your patients during the 2018 state legislative session – which will get underway next Monday, January 8. This is my second year as the Medical Assocation of Georgia’s (MAG) chief lobbyist, but you should have great peace of mind knowing that MAG has been the leading advocate for physicians in the state since 1849.
The legislative process is the single most important way we can improve Georgia’s practice environment and protect and preserve your autonomy as a physician – as well as your relationship with your patients.
MAG’s Government Relations team has been busy meeting with lawmakers and other important stakeholders since the legislative session ended in 2017, and I truly believe that we are in a great position to enhance Georgia’s heath care system in 2018.
Based on the direction that we received from MAG’s Council on Legislation, MAG’s Board of Directors, and MAG’s House of Delegates, our legislative priorities for the year will be related to out-of-network billing, insurance reform, patient safety, and exploring ways to draw down federal funds to cover uninsured Georgians. We will also continue to take steps to address the state’s prescription drug abuse epidemic by seeking full funding for the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). And, of course, we will be ready to address any scope of practice battles that come up during this year’s General Assembly. I encourage you to take a few moments to review the article below, which details MAG’s legislative priorities for the year.
MAG has enjoyed some great success in the legislative arena in recent years. For example, in 2017 MAG helped defeat legislation that would have required physicians to participate in every health plan at all hospitals where they have privileges. MAG also heavily influenced opioid prescribing legislation (H.B. 249), and we successfully removed criminal penalties and significant fines for physicians relating to checking the PDMP. MAG also played a key role in the passage of maintenance of certification legislation, which was one of our priorities for 2017. And MAG was instrumental in securing additional pay for Medicaid primary care and OB-GYN physicians in Georgia in both FY 2016 and FY 2017.
My expectation is that MAG will enjoy the same kind of success in 2018.
I encourage you to read this e-News from the Capitol report, which MAG will distribute on Fridays during the legislative session. I also encourage you to share this report with your colleagues and applicable practice staff.
I cannot overstate the importance of MAG’s political action committee, and so I hope that you will join GAMPAC in 2018. I also encourage you to join us at the ‘Physician’s Day at the Capitol’ in Atlanta on January 31, I hope that you will attend MAG’s ‘Legislative Education Seminar’ at the Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris on June 1-3, and I hope that you will sign up to be a MAG ‘Doctor of the Day’ in 2018 (see the articles below for details).
My thanks go out to MAG’s Council on Legislation and its chair, W. Scott Bohlke, M.D., as well as our legislative allies – including the county medical societies and the state specialty societies – for their ongoing support.
Finally, I would like to thank the individual physicians who support MAG’s advocacy efforts, whether that’s making a phone call, sending an email, attending an event, or meeting with legislators. Our grassroots efforts in 2017 were a huge part of our success under the Gold Dome.
Please reach out to me or any member of MAG’s Government Relations team any time you have comments or questions during this year’s legislative session.
We sincerely value your perspective – and know that we are here to serve you.
Director, Government Relations
Medical Association of Georgia