MAG reminding members to register for virtual ‘Day at the Capitol’
The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is reminding its members to register for the 2021 ‘Physicians’ Day at the Capitol,’ which will be a virtual event that takes from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. this Wednesday, February 17.
The free event will feature key leaders from the Georgia House and Senate.
“In addition to giving physicians a unique opportunity to cultivate relationships with their hometown legislators, this year’s event will feature some regional breakout sessions,” says MAG Government Relations Director Derek Norton. “Physicians will have a chance to educate legislators on the best ways to enhance the state’s health care system.”
The breakout sessions will cover a variety of key topics, including COVID-19 relief, vaccines, health insurance reform, and rural health care.
Click here to log into your MAG membership account to register for this event.
Registrants will receive a Zoom meeting link on February 16 – the day before the event.
Contact Christiana Craddock at 404.421.0912 or with questions about the event.
Contact Dawn Williams at 678.303.9261 or for help using MAG’s membership system.
House passes bill to extend COVID-19 liability protections 
The Georgia House of Representatives passed a bill (H.B. 112) by Rep. Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown) that would extend the COVID-19 liability protections that were enacted by the state in 2020 by one year (i.e., until July 14, 2022). MAG supports this legislation, which was assigned to the Senate Judiciary as a next step. 
The House Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee passed two bills by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta). H.B. 93 would eliminate duplicative state licensure and regulation of clinical laboratories. MAG is watching this legislation, which is has moved into the House Rules Committee. H.B. 163 would require the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) to submit a plan to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to get approval to implement an “express lane” enrollment feature for Medicaid and direct the Georgia Department of Human Services to automatically enroll and renew eligible children in Medicaid based on application data it receives for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. MAG supports this legislation, which will now go to the House Rules Committee. 
The House Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care passed a bill (H.B. 234) by Rep. Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville) that would allow self-funded health care plans – which are exempt from state regulations as a result of federal law – to opt into Georgia’s Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Act (2020’s H.B. 888). MAG supports this legislation, which has moved into the House Rules Committee. 
Senate passes two bills by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, M.D. 
The Georgia Senate passed a bill (S.B. 4) by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, M.D., that would 1) “prohibit kickbacks, commissions, bribes, benefits, rebates, and bonuses by substance abuse care providers or solicited by substance abuse care providers to induce referral of a patient and outlaws fraudulent marketing techniques designed to deceive individuals into expensive long term recovery facilities” and 2) prohibit “high-tech drug testing” (i.e., testing an individual’s specimen for numerous substances and billing and receiving payment separately for each substance that is tested). MAG is neutral on this legislation, which is headed to the House Insurance Committee.
The Senate also passed another measure by Sen. Kirkpatrick (S.B. 5) that would 1) require the Georgia Composite Medical Board to establish rules and regulations for the in-office use of sedation in “MediSpas” and 2) prohibit anyone who doesn’t have a license to practice dentistry to administer conscious sedation in a dental facility or during the practice of dentistry in a MediSpa. MAG supports this legislation, which has moved into the House Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee.
The Senate HHS Committee passed a bill (S.B. 46) by Sen. Dean Burke, M.D. (R-Bainbridge) that would allow pharmacists to administer all Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended adult vaccines under a protocol with a physician. Pharmacists would be required to check the Georgia Immunization Registry (GRITS) for the patient’s immunization status before they administer these vaccines, and they would have to notify the patient’s primary care physician and record the vaccination in the GRITS system. MAG Government Relations Director Derek Norton explains that, “This bill also cleans up other language in the vaccine protocol law as it relates to public health emergencies.” MAG supports this legislation, which is consistent with MAG policy (HOD Resolution 304C.20). The bill is now headed to the Senate Rules Committee.
The Senate Insurance and Labor Committee’s Health and Workman’s Comp Subcommittee passed legislation (S.B. 82) by Sen. Michelle Au, M.D. (D-Duluth) that would prohibit insurers from denying coverage for emergency care based solely on the final diagnosis. MAG supports this measure, which is going to the full Senate Insurance and Labor Committee. 
Week sees lawmakers introduce array of health care bills
The noteworthy health care bills that were introduced in the Georgia General Assembly this week include…
S.B. 92, a bill by Sen. Randy Robertson (R-Cataula) that would prohibit the sale to and by minors of drug products containing dextromethorphan. MAG supports this legislation, which was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
S.B. 103, a measure by Sen. Donzella James (D-Atlanta) that would require insurers to treat diagnostic examinations for breast cancer no less favorably than screening examinations for breast cancer with respect to cost-sharing requirements and treatment limitations. MAG is reviewing this legislation, which was referred to the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee.
S.B. 111, a bill by Sen. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah) that would create a licensure and regulatory framework for community midwives. MAG opposes this legislation, which was assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee.
H.B. 304, legislation by Rep. Jodi Lott (R-Evans) that would create a tax credit for medical equipment and supplies manufacturers and pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturers. MAG is watching this bill, which is in the House Ways and Means Committee.
H.B. 307, a bill by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta) that would codify the "Georgia Telehealth Act" to mimic the current public health emergency executive orders. This includes 1) authorizing health care providers to provide telemedicine services from home and 2) authorizing patients to receive telemedicine services from their home, workplace, or school and 3) allowing for audio-only care under certain circumstances and 4) prohibiting any requirements for patients to have an in-person consultation before they receive telemedicine services and 5) prohibiting more stringent utilization review requirements. MAG supports this legislation, which was assigned to the House HHS Committee.
H.B. 316, a measure by Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) that would increase the pharmacist-to-pharmacy tech ratio from three to four for direct supervision in a pharmacy. MAG is reviewing this legislation, which was referred to the House HHS Committee.
H.B. 394, a bill by Rep. Stephens that would 1) raise the tax on cigarettes from 37 cents per pack to $1.87 per pack of 20 cigarettes and 2) tax cigars, loose or smokeless tobacco, and alternative nicotine products at a rate of 39 percent of the wholesale cost price (the current rate is 23 percent for cigars and 10 percent for loose or smokeless tobacco – while there is no tax on alternative nicotine products) and 3) raise the tax on consumable vapor products from seven percent to 39 percent of the wholesale cost price. MAG supports this legislation, which was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.
H.B. 321, a bill by Rep. Yasmin Neal (D-Jonesboro) that would require health care insurers to offer group health benefit plans to hospitals to provide health insurance coverage for uninsured hospital patients. MAG is reviewing this legislation, which was assigned to the House Insurance Committee.
H.B. 369, a measure by Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell) that would 1) make it unnecessary for job descriptions that are entered into between physicians and physician assistants (PAs) to be submitted to or approved by the Georgia Composite Medical Board and 2) authorize physicians to delegate their authority to prescribe Schedule II controlled substances in emergency situations for up to five days to PAs and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). The bill would also require PAs and APRNs to complete one hour of continuing education every two years in the areas of appropriate ordering and use of Schedule II controlled substances. MAG opposes this legislation, which was assigned to the House Regulated Industries Committee.
H.B. 381, legislation by Rep. Renitta Shannon (R-Decatur) that would require the Department of Community Health to allow mothers who give birth to retain their Medicaid eligibility for one year following the birth of their child. MAG supports this legislation, which was assigned to the House HHS Committee.
H.B. 395, a measure by Rep. Dave Belton (R-Buckhead) that would allow Georgia to join the Professional Counselors Licensure Compact. MAG is reviewing this legislation, which has been assigned to the House Regulated Industries Committee.
H.B. 401, a bill by Rep. Ginny Ehrhart (R-Marietta) that would make it a felony for any licensed medical professional to provide a minor with medications that induce transient or permanent infertility, including puberty suppressants, hormone therapy, and performing enumerated surgical procedures on minors (e.g., mastectomy, vasectomy, hysterectomy). Violating this law would result in a prison term of one to 10 years and the revocation of physician/provider’s license. This legislation would not apply to the medical decision of a parent or guardian of a minor who has external biological sex characteristics that are irresolvably ambiguous or who has been diagnosed with a sex development disorder by a physician who has determined through genetic testing that the minor does not have the normal XY sex chromosome structure for a male or XX sex chromosome structure for a female. MAG is opposing this legislation, which is headed to the House HHS Committee.
H.R. 131, a measure by Rep. Karen Bennett (D-Stone Mountain) that would create a House Study Committee on Health in Georgia to study various factors contributing to the health of Georgia citizens. MAG is watching this legislation, which was sent to the House HHS Committee. 
AMA releases ‘No Surprises Act’ summary 
The American Medical Association (AMA) has distributed an “initial” summary of the major provisions that are in the ‘No Surprises Act,’ the surprise billing legislation that was included in the ‘Consolidated Appropriations Act’ COVID-19 relief bill that was signed into law on December 27. 
AMA explains that, “The No Surprises Act allows for price transparency, provider directories, and patient financial protections that impact health plans, physicians, facilities, and other non-M.D./D.O. licensed health care professionals. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2022. The intent of the law is not to preempt state surprise billing laws. However, there is some ambiguity in the statutory language that will require further clarification before and during the rulemaking process, including when the surprise billing protections apply to patients in self-funded ERISA plans.”
AMA says that it will work with state medical associations and other stakeholders to address these ambiguities and update the guide as new information becomes available.
MAG thanks & applauds this week's ‘Doctor of the Day’ volunteers
MAG is thanking and applauding the physicians who served as its ‘Doctor of the Day’ volunteers for the week of February 8, which include…
George Nixon, M.D.
Frank McDonald, M.D.
Andrea Juliao, M.D.
Florence LeCraw, M.D.
MAG Doctor of the Day volunteers work in the Medical Aid Station at the state Capitol. They provide free minor medical care to legislators and their staff.

Go to for additional information on the MAG ‘Doctor of the Day’ program, including logistical details and FAQ. 
MAG’s 2021 legislative priorities

COVID-19 Relief

– Providing relief and assistance for Georgia’s physicians and patients during the COVID-19 pandemic
Health Insurance

– Streamlining and improving the prior authorization process

– Promoting insurance coverage of non-narcotic alternative therapies

– Ensuring that patients have access to every physician who is advertised as “in network” for the duration of a contract year to ensure continuity of care

Tax Credits for Uncompensated Care

– Creating tax credits for physicians who provide uncompensated care

Public Health

– Increasing Georgia’s tobacco tax to improve public health


– Continuing to support the process to ensure coverage of the uninsured
Scope of Practice

– Addressing scope of practice issues that undermine patient safety

Tort Reform

– Addressing Georgia’s tort environment, including exploring CANDOR (Communication and Optimal Resolution)
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
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