MAG has high hopes for 2017 General Assembly 
Dear MAG members, 
I am genuinely excited to represent you and your patients during the 2017 state legislative session – which will get underway next Monday, January 9. This is my first year as MAG’s chief lobbyist, but you should have great peace of mind knowing that MAG has been the leading advocate for physicians in Georgia 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 and 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 2016 – and I truly believe that we are in a great position to enhance Georgia’s heath care system in 2017.
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 maintenance of certification (MOC), out-of-network billing, Medicaid pay, and patient safety. We will also continue to take steps to address the state’s prescription drug abuse epidemic. 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. In 2016, for example, MAG was the leading advocate for 1) S.B. 158, a health insurance rental networks bill that resulted in greater insurer disclosure and transparency and ensured physicians get paid their contracted rate in the event their network is leased and 2) S.B. 302, which requires health insurers to maintain more accurate provider directories and 3) H.B. 900, which enhanced the state’s prescription drug monitoring program. MAG was also instrumental in securing additional pay for Medicaid primary care and OB-GYN physicians in Georgia for the past two years.
My hope and expectation is that MAG will enjoy the same kind of success in 2017.    
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 it with your colleagues and applicable practice staff.
I also encourage you to join GAMPAC; join us at the ‘Physician’s Day at the Capitol’ event on January 25; make plans to attend MAG’s ‘Legislative Education Seminar’ at the Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris in June; and sign up to be a MAG ‘Doctor of the Day’ in 2017 (see the following articles for details). 
I would be remiss if I did not recognize Michael E. Greene, M.D., who recently stepped down as the chair of MAG’s Council on Legislation (COL) after 10 years of service. We owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his tireless efforts and vision and leadership. I also look forward to working with his predecessor, W. Scott Bohlke, M.D., and the rest of the COL.
Thanks, too, to 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.   
Please reach out to me or any member of MAG’s Government Relations team at any time if 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.
Derek Norton
Director, Government Relations
Medical Association of Georgia
Don’t forget to register for January 25 ‘Day at Capitol’
The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is reminding its members to register for the 2017 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 25.
“This is a unique opportunity for physicians in every specialty and practice setting to deliver some critical messages to state lawmakers – who will, over the next several months, be considering legislation that will undoubtedly have a profound effect on the medical profession in Georgia – in a very unified and powerful way,” says MAG President Steven M. Walsh, M.D. 
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, and the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association. 
Contact Bethany Sherrer at or 404.354.1863 with questions.
MAG CEO to address 2017 goals on ‘Top Docs Radio’
Donald J. Palmisano Jr. – the executive director and CEO of the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) – will discuss MAG’s goals for the 2017 state legislative session when he appears on the ‘Top Docs Radio’ program on the Business Radio-X Network at 12 p.m. next Tuesday, January 10.
MAG sponsors the ‘Top Docs’ program at 12 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. Between downloads and live listeners, MAG's ‘Top Docs’ show has reached more than 8,500 listeners – which includes people in all 50 states and 84 countries.
MAG’s ‘Top Docs Radio’ show is supported with a grant from Health Care Research, a subsidiary of Alliant Health Solutions.
MAG’s 2017 state legislative priorities 
Out-of-Network Billing & Network Adequacy
MAG will 1) support reforms that will require appropriate network adequacy standards for health insurers and 2) call for health insurers to be more transparent in their contracts with physicians’ practices and 3) support legislation that will result in physician payment methodologies that are adequate and sustainable for out-of-network emergency care.  
Medicaid Payment Parity
MAG will be an advocate for the General Assembly to continue to fund the Medicaid parity payment program for all areas of primary care.
Maintenance of Certification (MOC)
MAG will 1) work to ensure that MOC is not a condition of licensure or a condition of hospital credentialing and 2) support efforts that will alleviate the costly and burdensome aspects of MOC for physicians.
Patient Safety
MAG will be an advocate for legislation that improves patient safety.
Contact MAG Government Relations director Derek Norton at or 678.303.9280 with questions related to MAG’s legislative priorities for 2017.
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 middle of April. 
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 Liz Bullock at or simply call Bullock at 678.303.9271.
Go to for additional information on the MAG Doctor of the Day program, including logistical details and FAQ. 
Save June 23-25 for MAG’s ‘Legislative Education Seminar’
The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is encouraging member physicians to save June 23-25 for MAG's 2017 ‘Legislative Education Seminar’ meeting, which will take place at Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris. 
More than 50 physicians and 25 state leaders attended the event in 2016. 
Monitor for details – and contact Derek Norton at or 678.303.9280 with any questions.
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 or on Facebook at or by visiting
MAG’s Government Relations team
Derek Norton, Director – or 404.274.4210  
Bethany Sherrer, Government Relations Associate and GAMPAC Manager – or 404.354.1863
Liz Bullock, Administrative Assistant – or 678.303.9271
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