Georgia Senate & House pass key health care bills
The Georgia Senate passed three key health care bills this week, including…
– S.B. 43 by Sen. Matt Brass (R-Newnan), a bill that would eliminate the need for an in-person examination to write a valid contact lens prescription and allow Georgians to use online vision testing services that are outside of their ophthalmologist or optometrist’s office. MAG is neutral on this legislation, which has been sent to the House Insurance Committee.
– S.B. 45 by Sen. Bruce Thompson (R-White), a bill that would allow health care licensure by endorsement for individuals. It is worth noting that this legislation was amended to exempt dentists and physicians from this process. MAG is watching this legislation, which will now go to the House Regulated Industries Committee.
– S.B. 46 by Sen. Dean Burke, M.D. (R-Bainbridge), a bill 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). This legislation is headed to the House, although it has not yet been assigned to a committee.
The Georgia House of Representatives passed…
– H.B. 93 by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), a bill that would eliminate duplicative state licensure and regulation of clinical laboratories. MAG is watching this legislation, which has been assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee.
– H.B. 163 by Rep. Cooper, a bill that would require the Georgia Department of Community Health to submit a plan to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 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 is headed to the Senate HHS Committee.
– H.B. 128 by Rep. Rick Williams (R-Milledgeville), a bill that would prohibit providers from discriminating against potential organ transplant recipients due solely to the physical or mental disability of the potential recipient. MAG is watching this legislation, which has been assigned to the Senate HHS Committee.
– H.B. 212 by Rep. Kasey Carpenter (R-Dalton), a bill that would revise the parental requirement for consent for an order not to resuscitate to provide greater clarity as to who may consent to such an order. MAG is watching this legislation, which is also going to the Senate HHS Committee.
– H.B. 287 by Rep. Bonnie Rich (R-Suwanee), a bill that would add tobacco and vapor products to the course on alcohol and drugs that is required for every K-12 student in the state each year. MAG supports this legislation, which has been assigned to the Senate Education and Youth Committee.
In other important developments…
The Senate Insurance and Labor Committee passed a bill (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 will move into the Senate Rules Committee.
The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee passed a bill (S.B. 92) 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 now goes to the full Senate Judiciary Committee.
The Senate Insurance and Labor Subcommittee on Workers’ Compensation and Health held a hearing on a bill (S.B. 80) by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, M.D. (R-Marietta) that would improve the prior authorization process by 1) requiring insurers and PBMs to be more transparent about the prior authorization process and requiring them to notify the applicable stakeholders when they change their prior authorization process or requirements and 2) requiring prior authorization determinations and appeals decisions to be made by a physician who is in the same specialty and 3) requiring insurers to respond to prior authorization requests within two business days for non-urgent care and within 24 hours for urgent care and 4) preventing insurers and PBMs from revoking, denying, or changing a prior authorization approval for 45 days and requiring payment when a prior authorization is granted and 5) keeping prior authorization approvals for chronic/long-term care in place for one year. MAG supports this legislation, which is still in the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee.
The House Regulated Committee also took action this week, passing the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact (H.B. 34) by Rep. Dave Belton (R-Buckhead), the Occupational Therapy Licensure Compact (H.B. 268) by Rep. Bill Werkheiser (R-Glennville), and the Professional Counselors Licensure Compact (H.B. 395) by Rep. Belton. The committee also passed a measure (H.B. 119) by Rep. Karen Mathiak (R-Griffin) that would allow chiropractors to own professional corporations with physicians. MAG is watching these bills, which are all headed to the House Rules Committee.
The House Human Relations and Aging Committee heard a bill (H.B. 290) by Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) that would prevent hospitals and long-term care facilities from instituting any policies that would limit a patient or resident’s access to in-person physical contact with their designated representative for less than one hour per day during any period of hospitalization, treatment, or residence that lasts for a period exceeding 12 hours. Under this bill, long-term care facilities would also 1) not be permitted to institute a policy limiting a resident’s access to in-person physical contact with an essential caregiver for any period of treatment or residence that lasts for a period exceeding 24 hours and 2) not be allowed to prevent access to less than two representatives or essential caregivers for less than two hours per day. Hospitals and long-term care facilities would be permitted to impose “reasonable safety requirements relating to the in-person physical contact of representatives or caregivers.” The legislation “authorizes a patient, representative, or essential caregiver to bring a civil action in court for failure of a hospital or long-term care facility to comply with the provisions of this law.” And, the facility would have immunity for “injuries or deaths arising from the compliance with the provisions unless the hospital or long-term care facility showed gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm.” MAG will continue to track this legislation, which remains in this committee.