Key bills pass Senate with session’s end in sight 
Keeping in mind that the state legislative session is scheduled to end next Wednesday, the Georgia Senate passed…
H.B. 34 by Rep. Dave Belton (R-Buckhead), a bill that would allow Georgia to join the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compacts. MAG is neutral on this legislation.
H.B. 119 by Rep. Karen Mathiak (R-Griffin), a bill that would allow chiropractors to own professional corporations with physicians. MAG is neutral on this legislation.
H.B. 234 by Rep. Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville), a bill 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.
H.B. 395 by Rep. Belton, a bill that would allow Georgia to join the Professional Counselors Licensure Compact. MAG is neutral on this legislation.
H.B. 567 by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), a bill that would create the Newborn Screening and Genetics Advisory Committee to make recommendations to the Georgia Department of Public Health when a new disorder is added to the federal Recommended Uniform Screening PanelMAG is neutral on this legislation.
The Senate also agreed to clarifying changes that the House made to two bills that were introduced by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, M.D. (R-Marietta). The first is S.B. 4, a bill 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). The second is S.B. 5, legislation 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 both bills.  
These bills will all now be sent to Gov. Brian Kemp.
House passes key prior authorization, medical cannabis bills
Two noteworthy bills that the Georgia House of Representatives passed this week include…
S.B. 80, a bill 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 physicians and health care providers when they change their prior authorization process or requirements and 2) requiring physicians to have a chance to speak to a physician or other health care provider who works for the utilization review entity and who is in the same or similar specialty that typically manages the condition or disease in question and who has knowledge providing the service or treatment under review before prior authorization determinations and appeals decisions are made and 3) requiring insurers to respond to prior authorization requests within 15 calendar days between January 1, 2022 and January 1, 2023 and within seven days after January 1, 2023 for non-urgent care and within 72 hours for urgent care and 4) preventing insurers and PBMs from revoking, denying or changing a prior authorization approval for 45 days unless the prior authorization is for a Schedule II controlled substance and requiring payment when a prior authorization is granted. Failure to comply with the deadlines in this legislation would result in automatic authorization. MAG supports this legislation.
S.B. 195 by Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), which was amended to include the provisions of a bill (H.B. 645) that was introduced by Rep. Micah Gravely (R-Douglasville) that would update certain provisions in the state’s medical cannabis laws, including those related to retail dispensaries. The MAG Institute for Excellence in Medicine Medical Cannabis Task Force supports the H.B. 645 provisions because they believe it will result in a better distribution infrastructure and enhance patient safety. S.B. 195 also now includes the provisions of a bill (H.B. 601) that was introduced by Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) that would 1) clarify that low THC oil, marijuana, and tetrahydrocannabinols do not include certain federally approved products and 2) remove EPIDIOLEX® as a Schedule V controlled substance.
The Senate must now agree to the changes that were made in the House before these two bills can be sent to Gov Kemp.  
In other important developments…
The Senate Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee passed…
H.B. 117 by Rep. Mike Wilensky (D-Dunwoody), a bill that was stripped of its original language and replaced with the provisions of a bill (S.B. 92) that would prohibit the sale to minors of drug products containing dextromethorphan. MAG supports this legislation.
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 neutral on this bill.
H.B. 290 by Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth), legislation requiring hospitals and long-term care facilities to institute visitor policies that are appropriate for their clinical and residential settings that are no more restrictive than the minimum standards that are promulgated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This bill was stripped of a lot of its original provisions. MAG is monitoring this bill.
H.B. 369 by Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell), a bill that would 1) allow APRNs and PAs who are acting under a protocol agreement or a job description to sign the affidavit for parking permits for persons with disabilities and 2) have nurse protocol agreements and job descriptions deemed approved by the Georgia Composite Medical Board (GCMB) if a supervising physician submits a protocol agreement or job description for a new APRN or PA and the protocol agreement or job description is identical to a protocol agreement or job description that was previously submitted by the supervising physician for another APRN or PA and was approved by GCMB if GCMB does not respond to the request within 10 days and 3) allow APRNs and PAs with two years of experience who are acting under a protocol agreement or a job description to prescribe a three-day supply of hydrocodone to individuals who are 18 years old or older as long as the APRN or PA notifies the supervising physician within 72 hours and 4) require APRNs and PAs to notify their supervising physician within 72 hours of placing a radiographic imaging order. MAG opposes this legislation.
H.B. 458 by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), which would 1) require GCMB members to participate in training and education that addresses sexual misconduct, sexual boundaries, and the impacts of trauma and implicit bias within three months of being appointed and 2) expand GCMB’s licensure and disciplinary authority in matters related to a licensee sexually assaulting a patient and 3) require physicians to take continuing education on professional boundaries and physician sexual misconduct and 4) require GCMB to develop and identify educational resources and materials for physicians, GCMB members, and GCMB staff to support a greater understanding of sexual misconduct, sexual boundaries, and impacts of trauma and implicit bias and 5) require every medical and osteopathic medical school in the state to include education and training that addresses professional boundaries and physician sexual misconduct and 6) require physicians, APRNs, and PAs to file a report with GCMB if they become aware of a physician who commits a sexual assault on a patient – and subjecting those who knowingly and willfully fail to do so to a fine of no less than $1,000 or greater than $5,000 and disciplinary action and 7) require GCMB’s annual report to include the number of physicians it investigates for sexual assault and the outcomes of those investigations, including whether GCMB refused, revoked, or suspended the physicians’ licenses or issued a private or public disciplinary order. MAG is monitoring this legislation.
H.B. 539 by Rep. Cooper, which, having been stripped of its original language, would require judges to bifurcate trials in medical malpractice cases (i.e., there would be separate trials to consider liability and damages). MAG supports this legislation.
H.B. 653 by Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper), which would allow pharmacists to administer and interpret the results of COVID-19 antigen and serology tests for a one-year period after the conclusion of the federal public health emergency. MAG will continue to monitor this bill.
These bills are set for a vote in the Senate next week.  
The Senate Insurance Committee passed a bill (H.B. 454) by Rep. Mark Newton, M.D. (R-Augusta) that would require insurers who advertise a provider as a participating provider in their provider directory when a person selects his or her health benefit plan to cover the provider charges at in-network rates for 180 days after the contract has ended for that covered person, regardless of whether the provider continues to participate in the insurer’s network. Under this measure, a covered patient would not have to pay more than they would if the services been delivered by an in-network provider, although this would not apply when 1) the provider is removed from the network due to suspension, expiration, or revocation of their license or if they unilaterally opt out of the insurer’s network for reasons other than default or breach of contract or 2) the insurer terminates the contract for cause for fraud, misrepresentation, or other actions constituting a termination for cause under such provider's contract or 3) an insurer notes that a provider will not out-of-network a specific date in its provider directory if the directory is posted on its website 15 days before the patient’s open enrollment date. An amendment that was added in the Senate Rules Committee would prohibit insurers from canceling contracts during or immediately following a public health emergency. MAG supports this legislation, which is set for a vote in the Senate next week.
Finally, the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee passed a bill (S.B. 92) by Sen. Randy Robertson (R-Cataula) that was amended to include language from H.B. 369 to allow APRNs and PAs who are working under a protocol agreement or a job description to prescribe a three-day supply of Schedule II substances. These APRNs and PAs would be required to obtain one hour of continuing education on the appropriate ordering and use of Schedule II controlled substances each year. MAG opposes this legislation, which is also on its way to the House Rules Committee.
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 March 22, which include…
Gary Bernstein, M.D.
Walter McClelland, 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 education seminar canceled
The Medical Association of Georgia’s 2021 Legislative Education Seminar – which was scheduled to take place at the Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa in Young Harris on May 14-16 – has been canceled as a result of ongoing concerns surrounding COVID-19 and the lack of hotel/venue space availability in the second half of the year.
MAG is making plans to hold next year’s event at Brasstown in May.
Contact Derek Norton at with questions.
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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