Lawmakers decide fate of key health care bills on session’s final day
Georgia’s 2018 General Assembly concluded yesterday, Thursday, March 29. 
The outcome of some of the Medical Association of Georgia’s (MAG) legislative priorities included…
Lawmakers passed a MAG priority bill (H.B. 673) that will make it illegal for drivers to use a cell phone on anything other than a hands-free basis – with escalating fines and “points” for multiple violations. This was one of MAG's top priorities for the 2018 legislative session.
Despite a strong and multi-stakeholder grassroots effort, lawmakers did not pass a bill (H.B. 314) that MAG supported that would have addressed “surprise medical bills.” MAG will continue to work with legislators to develop this kind of comprehensive pro-patient and physician solution for surprise medical bills. Lawmakers also did not pass S.B. 8, which was surprise medical bill legislation that MAG opposed.  
MAG played a key role in fending off a last-ditch effort to pass legislation (S.B. 351) that would have increased the number of APRNs a physician can oversee under a protocol agreement at one time from four to eight and allowed physicians to delegate the ordering of radiographic images to APRNs. In its original form, this bill would have allowed APRNs to practice independently in rural counties in Georgia.
Lawmakers passed a resolution (H.R. 1194) that will establish a House Study Committee to evaluate health insurer policies to review claims on a retrospective basis – like the one that Anthem/Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia now has in place for out-of-network ER care. 
And in a close vote, lawmakers did not pass a bill (H.B. 519) that would have would have added four exemptions to the state’s step therapy statute. Pro-patient and physician legislators made a number of attempts to reduce the step therapy burden in the state in several bills during this year’s session. 
Finally, it is worth noting that MAG was a leading advocate for securing state budget funds to improve Georgia’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
MAG will include a comprehensive summary of the key bills that were considered during the 2018 legislative session in the e-News from MAG newsletter that will be distributed next Monday, April 2. 
Contact MAG Government Relations Director Derek Norton at or 404.274.4210 with questions related to the legislative session.
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 March 26, which include… 
Patrick Kindregan, D.O.
James L. Smith, M.D.
Theodis Buggs, M.D.
Zoeb Bootwala, 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. 
MAG encouraging members to register for annual legislative seminar
The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is encouraging its member physicians to register for MAG's 2018 ‘Legislative Education Seminar’ meeting, which will take place at the Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris on June 1-3. 
The Brasstown Valley Resort is sold out for this event. Contact Anita Amin at for information on other lodging options in the area.  
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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