Lawmakers remain focused on budget process
Legislative developments were limited this week as a result of the winter storm. 
The House and Senate held joint appropriations meetings to discuss Gov. Nathan Deal’s budget recommendations. Lawmakers heard presentations by representatives from various state agencies and departments.
Gov. Deal’s AFY 2018 budget proposal includes…
– $23 million to cover the federal Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program funds that were eliminated by the Affordable Care Act (i.e., funds that will be used to pay for indigent care at private hospitals)
– $20.6 million for baseline expense growth for the DSH
– $5.4 million for the Georgia Trauma Care Network Commission for safety-net hospitals
–  $583,000 for the Georgia Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)
– $2.4 million for “crisis services and operational capacity” to help care for patients who are younger than 21 who are autistic
Gov. Deal’s FY 2019 budget proposal includes…
Department of Community Health
– $32.2 million to reinstatement the “Health Insurance Provider Fee”
– $1.7 million for direct graduate medical education (GME) expansion programs
– $1.9 million for additional GME slots
Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities
– $3 million for a behavioral health crisis center for patients who have mental illnesses
– $5.9 for crisis services for patients who are younger than 21 who are autistic
– $20.6 million for behavioral health services – as recommended by the Commission on Children’s Mental Health – including $10.4 million for crisis services, $4.3 million for Apex school-based mental health services, $3 million for supported employment and education, $1.1 million for suicide prevention, $1 million for provider training and telehealth, and $791,000 for opioid prevention and intervention
Department of Public Health
– $627,000 for the PDMP, $355,000 to establish an office of cardiac care, and $100,000 to provide screening and therapy for patients who are younger than 21 who are autistic
The final FY 2018 budget is expected to be passed by the House by the end of January; it will then go the Senate. 
MAG reminding members to register for ‘PhysiciansDay at the Capitol’ 
The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is reminding its members to register for the 2018 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, January 31. 

“This is going to be a great experience, and it is an effective way for physicians across specialties and practice settings to have meaningful, face-to-face conversations with the state lawmakers who will be considering important health care legislation that will affect our patients and our profession during this year’s legislative session,” says MAG President Frank McDonald, M.D., M.B.A.      

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. Nathan Deal 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 as soon as the General Assembly adjourns. 

In addition to MAG, the event is being sponsored by Resurgens Orthopaedics, the Georgia Society of Ophthalmology, the Georgia Society of the American College of Surgeons, the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association, the American College of Cardiology, The Georgia Orthopaedic Society, Hall County Medical Society, the Georgia Society of Ambulatory Surgery Centers, the Georgia Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, and the Georgia Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery. 

Contact Bethany Sherrer at or 404.354.1863 with questions. 
Make a difference as MAG’s ‘Doctor of the Day’ 
The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is encouraging physicians in the state to serve as a MAG ‘Doctor of the Day’ program volunteer during this year’s legislative session, which is expected to run through the end of March.  
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. 
As a MAG Doctor of the Day, you will…
– Be introduced in the House and Senate chambers by your state representative and senator
– Have your photo taken with the Gov. Nathan Deal (contingent on his availability)
– Have a reserved parking place
– Be assisted by a nurse
– Be protected by the state’s ‘Good Samaritan Law’
The MAG Doctor of the Day program is a non-political service. Physicians do not serve as lobbyists when they serve as a MAG Doctor of the Day volunteer.
If you are interested in serving as a MAG Doctor of the Day volunteer, click here for a form that you can print, complete and submit to Christiana Craddock at You can also simply call Craddock at 678.303.9273.
Go to for additional information on the MAG ‘Doctor of the Day’ program, including logistical details and FAQ summary. 
MAG thanks, applauds its ‘Doctor of the Day’ volunteers
MAG is thanking and applauding its ‘Doctor of the Day’ volunteers for the weeks of January 8 and January 15, which include…
Robert S. Kaufmann, M.D.
James Smith Jr., M.D.
Shamie Das, M.D.
Carmen Sulton, M.D.
Stephanie Williams, M.D.
John V. Spence, 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.
Early bird discount available for MAG’s annual legislative seminar
The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is encouraging member physicians to reserve a room for MAG's 2018 ‘Legislative Education Seminar’ meeting, which will take place at the Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris on June 1-3. 
Call 800.201.3205 and mention the “MAG Legislative Education Seminar” or click here to receive a discounted room rate of $189 per night plus taxes and fees. The discount will be available until May 2 or until MAG’s block of rooms sells out. Contact Anita Amin 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 other questions related to the seminar.  
MAG’s 2018 state legislative priorities 
The Medical Association of Georgia’s (MAG) priorities for the 2018 state legislative session include…
Health Insurance
– Developing a solution for the “surprise health insurance coverage gap.”
– Streamlining and improving the prior authorization process.
– Promoting more and better health insurance coverage options for pain therapy.
– Ensuring that patients have access to every physician insurers advertise as “in-network” for the duration of the contract year to ensure the continuity of care.
– Requiring insurers to be transparent about how they develop their networks, their standards of participation, and the process they use to select and de-select physicians for their networks.
– Allowing patients to make their own health care decisions based on the best treatment options, their medical history, and the advice they receive from their physician rather than an insurer’s step therapy protocols.
Patient Safety
– Working with allied stakeholders (e.g., MagMutual) on key patient safety initiatives, including distracted driving.
– 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 2018. 
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 – Associate, Legal Counsel & GAMPAC Manager or 404.354.1863  
Christiana Craddock – Administrative Assistant or 678.303.9271
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