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.
Director, Government Relations
Medical Association of Georgia