Key health care bills begin to work though legislative process 
A number of key health care bills began to work their way through the legislative process this week, as…
Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome) introduced legislation (S.B. 56) 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 – the 80th percentile of the independent/neutral ‘FAIR Health’ database. MAG supports this legislation, which would put an end to surprise medical bills. It has been assigned to the Senate Insurance Committee. 
Rep. John LaHood (R-Valdosta) introduced H.B. 112, which would prohibit the sale of drug products that contain dextromethorphan to minors. MAG supports this bill, which has been assigned to the House Juvenile Justice Committee. 
Rep. Deborah Silcox (R-Sandy Springs) introduced a bill (H.B. 128) that would exempt “low” payments under high-low agreements in medical malpractice agreements from the requirement to report settlements to the Georgia Composite Medical Board (GCMB). MAG supports this bill, which has been referred to the House Insurance Committee. 
Rep. Silcox also introduced H.B. 166, which would create a licensure requirement for genetic counselors under GCMB. MAG supports this legislation, which has been assigned to the House Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee. 
The Senate HHS Committee passed a bill (S.B. 16) by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, M.D. (R-Marietta) that 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. MAG supports this legislation, which will now go to the Senate Rules Committee.
The House HHS Committee passed a bill (S.B. 62) by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta) that would require health care facilities to notify a patient whenever dense breast tissue is detected in a mammogram. The bill includes specific language that must be included in the notification. MAG is watching this legislation, which now goes to the House Rules Committee. 
Rep. Katie Dempsey (R-Rome) introduced a bill (H.B. 160) that would extend the bariatric surgery pilot program for State Health Benefit Plan enrollees until 2024. MAG supports this legislation, which has been assigned to the House HHS Committee. 
The House Insurance Committee got an update on automobile insurance trends in Georgia since the state’s “hands-free” law went into effect in the middle of 2018. Robert Hartwig, Ph.D., an insurance expert from the University of South Carolina, told lawmakers that a number of key metrics – including bodily injuries, property damage, and fatalities – are all down since the law went into effect. The law made it illegal for anyone who is driving in the state to use a cell phone on anything other than a hands-free basis. 
CON bills introduced in House and Senate
Several certificate of need (CON) measures were introduced this week, including bills that would exempt “integrated surgery centers” from the state’s CON requirements by Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta) and Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell) – H.B. 89 and S.B. 61 – and bills that would replace the existing CON requirements (except for long-term care facilities) with a licensing program and that would increase transparency and bigger tax credits for rural hospitals – H.B. 198 by Rep. Matt Hatchett (R-Dublin) and S.B. 74 by Sen. Matt Brass (R-Newnan). The House bills were referred to the House Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care, while the Senate bills were referred to the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee.
Don't forget to register for ‘Physicians’ Day at Capitol’ – 12 days and counting
The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is reminding its members to register for the 2019 Georgia ‘Physicians' Day at the Capitol,’ which will take place at the State Capitol in Atlanta from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, February 20. 
“In addition to getting the chance to offer our perspectives on what’s best for our patients and our profession, Physicians Day at the Capitol is a fun and interesting experience,” says MAG President Rutledge Forney, M.D. “I can’t think of a better or more efficient way to build meaningful relationships with the state lawmakers who will consider important, consequential health care legislation in 2019 and beyond.”    
A continental breakfast will be available in Room 230 at the Capitol beginning at 8 a.m. The formal program will get underway with a briefing at 8:30 a.m. Physicians will then meet with legislators. A group photo with Gov. Brian Kemp is scheduled to take place in the Capitol rotunda at 10 a.m. And physicians and legislators will enjoy lunch in the Floyd Room on the 20th floor of the Sloppy Floyd Building – which is across the street from the Capitol – as soon as the General Assembly adjourns. 
In addition to MAG, the event is being sponsored by the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association, the Georgia Society of Ophthalmology, the Georgia Medical Directors Association, the Georgia Society of Anesthesiologists, the Georgia Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, the Georgia College of Emergency Physicians, the Georgia Radiological Society, the Medical Association of Atlanta, the Hall County Medical Society, the Georgia Orthopaedic Society, the Georgia Society of Dermatology and Dermatological Surgery, the Georgia Chapter of the American College of Cardiology, Physicians for Fair Coverage, Resurgens Orthopaedics, the Georgia Society of Ambulatory Surgery Centers, and the MAG Medical Reserve Corps.
Contact Christiana Craddock at or 678.303.9271 with questions. 
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 4, which include…
Ammar Divan, M.D.
Kelly DeGraffenreid, M.D.
Twiggy Harris, M.D.
Lateefah Watford, 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 get early bird discount for MAG’s legislative seminar 
The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is reminding members 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.
Contact Patrice Williams at with questions related to lodging. 
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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