Lawmakers address budget, PBMs, network pay & tort reform   
The Georgia House of Representatives and Senate spent much of the week in hearings to address the state budget. 
In terms of legislation, the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee held full committee and subcommittee hearings on a bill (S.B. 313) by Sen. Dean Burke, M.D. (R-Bainbridge) that would address pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) practices – such as “steering” (i.e., forcing patients to use PBM-owned pharmacies) and pharmaceutical manufacturers’ rebates. This measure includes language from a MAG 2019 House of Delegates resolution that calls for physicians to be involved with prior authorization and step therapy determinations, formulary development, and formulary management. These physicians would have to be licensed in Georgia, currently seeing patients, and focused on the disease or condition for which they’re providing advice. S.B. 313 would also require PBMs to file reports with the Georgia Composite Medical Board and the Georgia Board of Pharmacy when a prior authorization requirement delays a patient’s care and results in an adverse outcome. MAG testified in support of this bill, which remains in the aforementioned subcommittee. 
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing on a bill (S.B. 359) by Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome) that would 1) set the price that should be paid for out-of-network emergency care and unanticipated out-of-network non-emergency care at the 2017 median contracted rate, adjusted annually according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and paid without the need for prior authorization and without any retrospective payment denials and 2) allow a patient to choose out-of-network elective care by consenting in writing and orally at least 48 hours in advance with an estimate of the charges and 3) require an insurer to use the most recent in-network contract rates as the initial payment for a physician/provider when a contract is terminated without cause by the insurer or with cause by a physician/provider within one year of the effective date of the legislation and 4) establish a “baseball-style” arbitration system (i.e., the insurer and physician/provider would each submit a payment amount and an arbitrator would choose one of the numbers and the “loser” would pay the arbitration costs and the bundling or batching of claims would be allowed, with no thresholds).
MAG Government Relations Director Derek Norton reports that, “In our testimony before the committee, we said that MAG is encouraged by many of the changes that have been made to the legislation, but we remain concerned about the reliability of the data that would be used to establish the initial payment and provisions related to non-emergency care. MAG will continue to work with the bill’s sponsors and other stakeholders to enhance this legislation.”
MAG is also addressing an identical bill that has been introduced in the House, H.B. 888
Finally, Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon) introduced a bill (S.B. 374) that would limit the scope of what can be included in offer and acceptance demands by plaintiffs in lawsuits. This legislation is part of a larger push to reform the state’s tort environment by MAG and a broad stakeholder coalition. S.B. 374 has not yet been assigned to a committee.
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 February 10, which include…
Lee McClusky, M.D.
Michael Busch, M.D.
Jennifer Tucker, M.D.
Kelly Grow, M.D.
Parker Grow, 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 for next Wednesday's ‘Day at Capitol’
The Medical Association of Georgia is reminding its members in every specialty and practice setting to register for the 2020 ‘Physicians’ Day at the Capitol,’ which will take place at the State Capitol in Atlanta from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. next Wednesday, February 19.
Physicians and legislators will be invited to attend a lunch that will be served at a venue that is at or within walking distance of the Capitol as soon as the General Assembly adjourns – and keeping in mind that some 50 state lawmakers have already RSVP’d for this event.
Contact Christiana Craddock at or 678.303.9271 with questions.
Register for ‘Physicians’ Day at the Capitol’
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.
MAG encouraging members to register/reserve room for legislative seminar
The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is encouraging 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. 
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.  
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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