Other bills in play going into the session’s final days
Other key health care bills that remain alive going into the final days of the 2017 legislative session include…
– H.B. 165 by Rep. Betty Price (R-Roswell), which would prevent the state’s Medical Practice Act from being used to require Maintenance of Certification (MOC) as a condition of licensure or to require MOC to be employed by a state medical facility or for the purposes of licensure, insurance panels, or malpractice insurance. The bill – which is one of MAG’s legislative priorities for 2017 – has moved into the Senate Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee.
– H.B. 427 by Rep. Mark Newton, M.D. (R-Augusta), the ‘Physicians and Health Care Practitioners for Rural Areas Assistance Act,’ which would add dentists, physician assistants, and advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) to the list of practitioners who are eligible for the service cancelable loan program that is administered by the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce. These funds are already in the budget for FY 2018. MAG is watching this legislation, which is in the Senate Rules Committee.
– H.R. 282 by Rep. John Carson (R-Marietta), which would create a House study committee on distracted driving – keeping in mind that in 2017, MAG has been promoting a priority patient safety bill (H.B. 163) that would require drivers who make phone calls while operating a motor vehicle to do so on a hands-free basis. MAG would ask to be included in any H.R. 282 study committee, which would meet during the summer months. H.R. 282 is in the House Rules Committee. H.B. 163 did not pass.
– S.B. 16 by Sen. Ben Watson, which would modify the state’s medical cannabis law. As it was originally written, S.B. 16 would have reduced the amount of THC that is allowed in the cannabinoid oil and it would have added autism to the list of qualifying conditions. However, a new House/Senate compromise would leave THC at its current 5.0 percent level and it would add six qualifying conditions to the law, including 1) “severe” autism for people who are under the age of 18 and 2) autism for people who are 18 or older and 3) severe or end-stage cases of Alzheimer's disease and 4) AIDS or peripheral neuropathy and 5) severe Tourette's syndrome and 6) any case of epidermolysis bullosa. S.B. 16 would also make the oil available to people who are in hospice programs. MAG policy does not support expanding the number of conditions that are covered by state law. S.B. 16 is in the House Rules Committee.
– S.B. 106 by Sen. Greg Kirk (R-Americus), which would allow certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA) to practice in pain clinics without direct supervision as long as 1) the patient has been examined by a physician who has issued a written order for the treatment or services and 2) the patient has given written consent to the treatment or services being provided by the CRNA. MAG opposes the legislation, which is in the House Rules 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 neutral on this legislation, which is in the House Rules Committee.
S.B. 193 by Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) 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. An amendment added H.B. 360 by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), which would allow antibiotic drugs to be prescribed or dispensed to the sexual partner or partners of a patient who is diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea without the need for a physical examination. While MAG is neutral on the original legislation, it does support the amendment. This bill is in the House Rules Committee.
– S.B. 125 by Sen. Rick Jeffares (R-McDonough), which would allow physician assistants to write hydrocodone prescriptions for up to five days. APRN asked to be removed from this legislation after it was amended to tie their prescriptive authority to the Georgia Composite Medical Board. MAG continues to monitor the legislation, which is in the House Rules Committee.
– H.R. 464 by Rep. Betty Price, M.D. (R-Roswell), which would create a House study committee to assess the state’s readiness to contend with infectious disease, such as the Zika virus, and propose possible legislation to increase the state’s readiness. MAG has not taken a position on this legislation, which is in the House Rules Committee.
– S.B. 106 by Sen. Greg Kirk (R-Americus) would allow a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) to practice in a pain clinic without direct supervision as long as the patient has been previously examined by the physician, the physician has issued a written order for the treatment or services, and the patient has given written consent to the treatment or services being provided by the CRNA. MAG opposes the legislation, which is in the House Rules Committee.
– H.R. 745 by Rep. Beth Beskin (R-Atlanta), which would create a House study committee on the surprise health insurance gap that leads to balance billing in emergency care settings. MAG supports this bill, which is pending a committee assignment.