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.