Senate HHS acts on legislation addressing APRNs & PDMP
The Senate Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee passed a bill that was amended in significant ways – H.B. 927 by Rep. Chad Nimmer (R-Blackshear), which originally dealt with Georgia Department of Family & Children’s Services issues. Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), the Senate HHS chair, replaced that measure’s language with the provisions of a bill (S.B. 351) she introduced that would 1) increase the number of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) a physician can oversee with a protocol agreement at one time from four to eight and 2) allow physicians to delegate the ordering of radiographic images to APRNs. MAG opposes H.B. 927 in its current form. The bill will go to the Senate Rules Committee as a next step.
Sen. Unterman added key provisions of another bill she introduced (S.B. 352) to a measure (H.B. 782) by Rep. Trey Rhodes (R-Greensboro) that would 1) eliminate a requirement for non-licensed user delegates to register with Georgia’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) on an annual basis and 2) allow the Georgia Department of Public Health to share data from the Georgia PDMP with other states. The addition of the S.B. 352 language means that H.B. 782 would also now…
– Make it illegal for the “solicitation, acceptance of payment, or offer to pay a commission, benefit, bonus, rebate, kickback or bribe – directly or indirectly and on a cash or in kind basis – or to engage in any split-fee arrangement to induce the referral of a patient or for the acceptance or acknowledgment of treatment of a patient to another provider or health care facility for the purposes of obtaining mental health or substance abuse treatment.”
– Make it illegal to aid, abet, advise or otherwise participate in the conduct prohibited by this law.
– Create a director of Substance Abuse, Addiction, and Related Disorders who would report to the governor and lead a new Commission on Substance Abuse and Recovery.
– Prohibit physicians from billing a patient or insurer for excessive, high-tech (i.e., “where billing for drug tests is not limited and tests are ordered for a number of different substances whereby the health benefit plan is billed separately for each substance tested”) or fraudulent drug testing in the treatment of the elderly, the disabled, or any individual affected by pain, substance abuse, addiction, or any related disorder. This would include – but not be limited to – upcoding that results in billing for more expensive services or procedures than were actually provided or performed, unbundling of such billing whereby drug tests from a single blood sample that detect a variety of narcotics is separated into multiple tests and billed separately, or billing an individual for multiple co-pay amounts or for services that are covered by such individual's health benefit plan.
MAG is keeping a close eye on H.B. 782, which is in Senate Rules Committee.
And in a related development, Sen. Unterman added S.B. 352’s provisions to a bill (H.B. 161) that was introduced by Rep. Betty Price, M.D. (R-Roswell) that would authorize syringe needle exchange programs in the state – a provision MAG supports. MAG continues to track this bill, which is also in the Senate Rules Committee.