MAG has high expectations for 2019 General Assembly  
Dear MAG members,  
I am genuinely excited to represent you and your patients during the 2019 state legislative session – which will get underway next Monday, January 14. This is my third year as the Medical Association of Georgia’s (MAG) chief lobbyist, but you should have great peace of mind knowing that MAG has been the leading advocate for physicians in the state since 1849.  
The legislative process is the single most important way that we can improve Georgia’s practice environment and protect and preserve your autonomy as a physician – as well as your relationship with your patients. 
MAG’s Government Relations team has been actively involved in elections across the state and busy meeting with lawmakers and other important stakeholders since the legislative session ended in 2018. I truly believe that we are in a great position to enhance Georgia’s heath care system in 2019. 
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 out-of-network billing, health insurance reform, patient safety, improving health care in rural areas, and exploring ways to draw down federal funds to cover uninsured Georgians. We will also continue to take steps to address the state’s prescription drug abuse epidemic by seeking increased funding for the Georgia Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). 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 following article, which outlines MAG’s legislative priorities for the year.  
MAG has enjoyed some great success in the legislative arena in recent years. For example, in 2017 MAG helped defeat legislation that would have required physicians to participate in every health plan at every hospital where they have privileges. MAG heavily influenced opioid prescribing legislation (H.B. 249), and we successfully removed criminal penalties and significant fines for physicians who fail to check the PDMP. MAG also played a key role in the passage of maintenance of certification legislation, which was one of our priorities for 2017. And MAG was instrumental in securing additional pay for Medicaid primary care and OB-GYN physicians in Georgia in FY 2016, FY 2017 and FY 2018. 
In the politically-charged 2018 legislative session – and with elections in the state looming – very little health care legislation made it through both chambers, so our success was largely related to preventing legislation that would have been harmful to physicians and patients, as well as teeing-up key issues and bills for a successful run in the 2019 session. 
My expectation is that MAG will continue to succeed in 2019.    
I encourage you to read this e-News from the Capitol newsletter, which MAG will distribute on Fridays during the legislative session. I also encourage you to share this newsletter with your colleagues and applicable practice staff. 
I cannot overstate the importance of MAG’s political action committee, so I hope that you will join GAMPAC in 2019. I also encourage you to join us at ‘Physician’s Day at the Capitol’ in Atlanta on Wednesday, February 20 – and I hope that you will attend MAG’s ‘Legislative Education Seminar’ at the Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris on May 31-June 2 (see the articles below for details).  
My thanks go out to MAG’s Council on Legislation and its chair, W. Scott Bohlke, M.D., as well as our legislative allies – including Georgia's county medical societies and 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. Our grassroots efforts will continue to be a huge part of our success under the Gold Dome.
Please reach out to me or any member of MAG’s Government Relations team in the event 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
MAG encouraging members to register for ‘Physicians’ Day at Capitol’ 
The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is encouraging its members to register for the 2019 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, February 20. 
“In addition to getting the chance to offer our perspectives on what’s best for our patients and our profession, Physicians Day at the Capitol is a fun and interesting experience,” says MAG President Rutledge Forney, M.D. “I can’t think of a better or more efficient way to build meaningful relationships with the state lawmakers who will consider important, consequential health care legislation in 2019 and beyond.”    
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. Brian Kemp 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 – which is across the street from the Capitol – as soon as the General Assembly adjourns. 
In addition to MAG, the event is being sponsored by the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association, the Georgia Society of Ophthalmology, the Georgia Medical Directors Association, the Georgia Society of Anesthesiology, the Georgia Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, the Georgia College of Emergency Physicians, the Georgia Radiological Society, the Medical Association of Atlanta, the Hall County Medical Society, the Georgia Orthopaedic Society, the Georgia Society of Dermatology and Dermatological Surgery, the Georgia Chapter of the American College of Cardiology, Physicians for Fair Coverage, Resurgens Orthopaedics, the Georgia Society of Ambulatory Surgery Centers, and the MAG Medical Reserve Corps.
Contact Christiana Craddock at or 678.303.9271 with questions. 
MAG’s 2019 state legislative priorities 
The Medical Association of Georgia’s (MAG) priorities for the 2019 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 coverage options for pain therapy
– Ensuring patients have access to every “in-network” physician for the duration of their contract year
– Requiring insurers to be transparent about their networks, standards of participation, and process for selecting/de-selecting physicians
– Allowing patients to make health care decisions based on the best treatment options, their medical history, and the advice they receive from their physicians vs. an insurers' step therapy protocols
– Continuing to oppose insurers' retrospective ER claims review policies
Rural Health Care
– Recruiting and retaining an adequate physician work force
– Improving the accessibility of health care in rural areas
Patient Safety
– Working with allied stakeholders (e.g., MagMutual) on key patient safety initiatives, including cancer screening and treatment for substance abuse (e.g., detoxification units and “Casey’s Law”)
– 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 2019.
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 2019 ‘Legislative Education Seminar’ meeting, which will take place at the Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa in Young Harris on May 31-June 2. 
Call 800.201.3205 and mention the “MAG Legislative Education Seminar” or click here to receive a discounted room rate of $199 per night plus taxes and fees. The discount will be available until May 10 or until MAG’s block of rooms sells out. Contact Patrice Williams 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 questions related to the seminar.  
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
Twitter Facebook LinkedIn
powered by emma
Subscribe to our email list.