Gov. Kemp to get COVID liability protections bill 
The Senate passed H.B. 112 by Rep. Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown), a bill that would extend the COVID-19 liability protections that were enacted by the state in 2020 by one year (i.e., until July 14, 2022). MAG supports this measure, which will go to Gov. Brian Kemp as a final step in the legislative process.   

Noteworthy bills that the House passed this week include…

S.B. 5 by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, M.D. (R-Marietta), which would 1) require the Georgia Composite Medical Board to establish rules and regulations for the in-office use of sedation in “MediSpas” and 2) prohibit anyone who doesn’t have a license to practice dentistry to administer conscious sedation in a dental facility or during the practice of dentistry in a MediSpa. MAG supports this legislation. 

S.B. 43 by Sen. Matt Brass (R-Newnan), which would eliminate the need for an in-person examination to write a valid contact lens prescription and allow Georgians to use online vision testing services that are outside of their ophthalmologist or optometrist’s office. MAG is neutral on this legislation.

The Senate will need to agree to some minor changes that were made in the House before these two bills can be sent to Gov. Kemp.  

In other noteworthy developments…
The Senate Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee passed…

H.B. 307 by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), a bill that would codify the "Georgia Telehealth Act" to mimic the current public health emergency executive orders. This includes 1) authorizing health care providers to provide telemedicine services from home and 2) authorizing patients to receive telemedicine services from their home, workplace or school and 3) allowing for audio-only care under certain circumstances and 4) prohibiting insurers from requiring patients to have an in-person consultation before they receive telemedicine services and 5) prohibiting more stringent utilization review requirements. MAG supports this legislation, which has been sent to the Senate Rules Committee.

H.B. 567 by Rep. Cooper, a bill that would create the Newborn Screening and Genetics Advisory Committee to make recommendations to the Georgia Department of Public Health when a new disorder is added to the federal Recommended Uniform Screening Panel. MAG is monitoring this legislation, which is also on its way to the Senate Rules Committee. 

The Senate Insurance and Labor Health and Workers’ Compensation Subcommittee passed a bill (H.B. 454) by Rep. Mark Newton, M.D. (R-Augusta) that would require insurers who advertise a provider as a participating provider in their provider directory when a person selects his or her health benefit plan to cover the provider charges at in-network rates for 180 days after the contract has ended for that covered person, regardless of whether the provider continues to participate in the insurer’s network. Under this measure, a covered patient would not have to pay more than they would if the services been delivered by an in-network provider, although this would not apply when 1) the provider is removed from the network due to suspension, expiration, or revocation of their license or if they unilaterally opt out of the insurer’s network for reasons other than default or breach of contract or 2) the insurer terminates the contract for cause for fraud, misrepresentation, or other actions constituting a termination for cause under such provider's contract or 3) an insurer notes that a provider will not out-of-network a specific date in its provider directory if the directory is posted on its website 15 days before the patient’s open enrollment date. MAG supports this legislation, which will now go to the full Senate Insurance and Labor Committee.

The House HHS passed…

S.B. 164 by Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome), a bill that would modernize Georgia’s 1980s-era HIV laws by 1) aligning services and policies with best public health practices and 2) making certain high-risk conduct by individuals who have HIV unlawful. It would also reconcile some statutory conflicts with the “needle exchange” law that passed in 2019. MAG is watching this measure, which is headed to the House Rules Committee. 

S.B. 256 by Sen. Dean Burke, M.D. (R-Bainbridge), a bill that would give the Georgia Commissioner of Public Health the sole authority to hire district public health directors in the state. MAG is tracking this legislation, which is also being sent to the House Rules Committee.  

The House “recommitted” (i.e., an additional opportunity for a committee to debate and amend a measure) a bill by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, M.D. (R-Marietta) that is designed to streamline the prior authorization process to the House Insurance Committee. S.B. 80 would 1) establish timelines for insurers to respond to prior authorization requests and 2) establish requirements for the insurer representatives that physicians or dentists discuss a procedure’s medical necessity with prior to or during the appeals process and 3) require prior authorization approvals to remain in effect for 45 days. MAG Government Relations Director Derek Norton explains that, “We will continue to work with Senator Kirkpatrick to ensure that the final legislation improves the prior authorization process in meaningful ways.”  

The House Insurance Committee passed a bill (S.B. 82) by Sen. Michelle Au, M.D. (D-Duluth) that would prohibit insurers from denying coverage for emergency care based solely on the final diagnosis. MAG supports this measure, which is moving into the House Rules Committee.

The 2021 state legislative session is scheduled to end on March 31.

MAG thanks & applauds this week's ‘Doctor of the Day’ volunteers
MAG is thanking and applauding the physicians who served as its ‘Doctor of the Day’ volunteers for the week of March 15, which include…
Misty Caudell, M.D.
Brett Cannon, M.D.
Rasean Hodge, M.D.
Victor Leslie, M.D.

MAG Doctor of the Day volunteers work in the Medical Aid Station at the state Capitol. They provide free minor medical care to legislators and their staff.
Go to for additional information on the MAG ‘Doctor of the Day’ program, including logistical details and FAQ. 
MAG’s 2021 legislative education seminar canceled
The Medical Association of Georgia’s 2021 Legislative Education Seminar – which was scheduled to take place at the Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa in Young Harris on May 14-16 – has been canceled as a result of ongoing concerns surrounding COVID-19 and the lack of hotel/venue space availability in the second half of the year.
MAG is making plans to hold next year’s event at Brasstown in May.
Contact Derek Norton at with questions.
MAG’s 2021 legislative priorities

COVID-19 Relief

– Providing relief and assistance for Georgia’s physicians and patients during the COVID-19 pandemic
Health Insurance

– Streamlining and improving the prior authorization process

– Promoting insurance coverage of non-narcotic alternative therapies

– Ensuring that patients have access to every physician who is advertised as “in network” for the duration of a contract year to ensure continuity of care

Tax Credits for Uncompensated Care

– Creating tax credits for physicians who provide uncompensated care

Public Health

– Increasing Georgia’s tobacco tax to improve public health


– Continuing to support the process to ensure coverage of the uninsured
Scope of Practice

– Addressing scope of practice issues that undermine patient safety

Tort Reform

– Addressing Georgia’s tort environment, including exploring CANDOR (Communication and Optimal Resolution)
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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