Senate passes bills array of health care bills
The Georgia Senate passed key health care legislation, which will now move into the House. This includes…
– S.B. 103 by Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), which would give the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) the authority to 1) investigate pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) and 2) prevent PBM/insurers from requiring the use of a mail-order pharmacy or from requiring an insured patient to pay a different copay for using his/her pharmacy of choice and 3) prohibit PBM from prohibiting pharmacies from providing information about prescription drugs, offering delivery services, or advocating on behalf of an insured to the PBM. This legislation has been assigned to the House Insurance Committee.
– S.B. 121 by Sen. Butch Miller (R-Gainesville), which would codify Gov. Nathan Deal’s executive order to make naloxone available in the state on an over-the-counter basis. MAG supports this legislation, which will go to the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.
– S.B. 153 by Sen. Matt Brass (R-Newnan), which would allow the sale of certain over-the-counter hearing aids to people who are 18 or older who have had an audiogram within six months. MAG opposes this legislation, which has not yet been assigned to a committee in the House.
– S.B. 164 by Sen. Fran Millar (R-Atlanta), which would limit copay, coinsurance, and deductibles for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and chiropractic visits to what patients pay for primary care visits. MAG opposes this legislation, which has a House committee assignment pending.
– S.B. 166 by Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), which would establish a multi-state licensure compact for nurses. MAG is watching this legislation, which has been assigned to the House Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee.
– S.B. 180 Sen. Dean Burke, M.D. (R-Bainbridge), which would 1) require rural hospitals to report payments to consultants to qualify for the state’s tax credit for rural hospitals and 2) increase the amount of tax-deductible donations individuals and married couples can make to rural hospitals and 3) allow IRS “S” corporation-eligible members to make tax-deductible donations to rural hospitals. MAG is watching this legislation, which has not yet received a committee assignment in the House.
– S.B. 193 by Sen. Unterman, which would eliminate a requirement for women to be medically indigent to receive services from the state’s ‘Positive Alternatives for Pregnancy and Parenting Grant Program.’ The measure would also prohibit the program’s contract management agencies from “referring, encouraging or affirmatively counseling” a person to have an abortion unless their physician diagnoses them with a condition that makes the procedure necessary to prevent the person’s death. MAG is watching this legislation, which has a committee assignment pending in the House.
– S.B. 200 by Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome), which would require insurers to cover prescriptions that are for less than 30 days at a “prorated daily cost-sharing rate” when it is in the best interest of the patient or when it is for the purpose of synchronizing the insured patient's medications for chronic conditions. MAG has not taken a position on this legislation, which is waiting on committee assignment in the House.
– S.B. 201 by Sen. Unterman, which would require employers to allow employees to use sick leave to care for immediate family members. MAG is watching this legislation, which has been assigned to the House Industry and Labor Committee.
– S.B. 206 by Sen. P. K. Martin (R-Lawrenceville), which would require health insurers to cover billed charges of up to one hearing aid per impaired ear not to exceed $3,000 per hearing aid every 48 months for covered patients who are 18 or younger. MAG is watching this legislation, which has not yet received a committee assignment in the House.
– S.B. 221 by Sen. Unterman, which would expand 1) the number of medications that optometrists are allowed to prescribe and 2) the pharmaceutical agents optometrists are allowed to administer around the eye – excluding sub-tenon, retrobulbar, peribulbar, intraorbital nerve block, intraocular, or botulinum toxin injections. The bill was amended to require that 1) 30 hours of required training be performed by a board-certified ophthalmologist and approved by the Georgia Composite Medical Board before an optometrist could administer injections and 2) to add facial nerve block, subconjunctival anesthetic, dermal filler, intravenous injections, and intramuscular injections to the list of pharmaceutical agents that an optometrist is not allowed to administer. MAG opposes this legislation, which has a House committee assignment pending.
– S.B. 241 by Sen. Unterman, which would move the administration of the Georgia Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) from the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency to the Georgia Department of Public Health. The bill was also amended to create a disposal program for controlled substances in hospice programs. MAG supports this bill, which has not yet received a committee assignment. MAG remains focused on improving the PDMP’s use, reliability, and accessibility.
– S.B. 242 by Sen. Unterman, which would increase the number of advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) that a physician can delegate their authority to from four to 10 – including no more than four at any single point in time. This measure would also add county and municipal emergency medical services that have a full-time medical director to the list of organizations that are exempt from limiting the number of APRN their physicians can supervise. MAG opposes this legislation, though it does support a new provision that would require the patient and the patient’s primary care physician to be provided with the name of the APRN’s supervising physician. The bill has not yet been assigned to a committee in the House.