Key health care bills pass House & Senate before end of ‘Crossover Day’ 
Keeping in mind that Wednesday was ‘Crossover Day’ – the last day a bill could move from one chamber to the other and still have a clear path to becoming law in 2018 – the Georgia House of Representatives passed a number of health care bills this week, including… 
– H.B. 519 by Rep. Cooper (R-Marietta), which would add four exemptions to the state’s step therapy statute. MAG supports this measure, which has been assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee.
– H.B. 636 by Rep. Deborah Silcox (R-Sandy Springs), which would create a licensure requirement for genetic counselors. MAG is watching this legislation, which is headed to the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee.
– H.B. 647 by Rep. Katie Dempsey (R-Rome), which would create a pilot program for members of the State Health Benefit Plan for the treatment and management of obesity, including medications and counseling. MAG is tracking this legislation, which has been assigned to the Senate HHS Committee.
– H.B. 673 by Rep. John Carson (R-Marietta), which would make it illegal for drivers to use a cell phone on anything other than a hands-free basis. MAG supports this legislation, which is going to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
– H.B. 818 by Rep. Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville), which would prohibit insurers from restricting how health care providers get reimbursed (e.g., requiring credit card payment). MAG supports this bill, which has been assigned to the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee.
– H.B. 909 by Rep. Deborah Silcox (R-Sandy Springs), which would task the Georgia Department of Public Health with creating a state designation system – comparable to ones for strokes, trauma, and cardiac care – for perinatal facilities. MAG is watching this legislation, which is on its way to the Senate HHS Committee.
A number of important bills also passed the Georgia Senate this week, including…  
– S.B. 325 by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, M.D. (R-Marietta), which 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 bill, which has been assigned to the House HHS Committee.
– S.B. 334 by Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), which would move the administration of the Georgia Board of Nursing from the Secretary of State’s office to the Georgia Department of Community Health. This board would operate on an independent basis – much like the Georgia Composite Medical Board does. MAG is watching this legislation, another bill that has been assigned to the House HHS Committee.
– S.B. 351 by Sen. Unterman, which would 1) increase the number of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) a physician can oversee with a protocol agreement at one time from four to eight and 2) allow physicians to delegate the ordering of radiographic images to APRNs. MAG is opposing to this legislation, which has been assigned to the House HHS Committee as well.
– S.B. 422 by Sen. Unterman, which would allow pharmacists to help patients perform and interpret any over-the-counter tests. MAG is watching this legislation, which is headed to the House HHS Committee.
– S.B. 434 by Sen. Unterman, which would 1) change the name of the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce to the Georgia Board for Health Care Workforce and 2) add a Georgia Nursing Leadership Coalition representative to the Board. MAG is keeping a close eye on this legislation, which has been assigned to the House HHS Committee.
– S.B. 359 by Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome), which would 1) result in greater transparency for elective procedures and 2) establish a patient/physician arbitration process for “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 bill, which is on its way to the House Insurance Committee.
– S.B. 382 by Sen. P.K. Martin (R-Lawrenceville), which would require the Georgia Department of Public Health to oversee any Georgia Board of Optometry-approved training programs that would allow optometrists to inject pharmaceutical agents. MAG continues to track this measure, which has been assigned to the House HHS Committee.
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 26, which include… 
Todd Schmidt, M.D.
Snehal Dalal, M.D.
Ammar Divan, 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 – Legislative Assistant or 678.303.9271
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