Family Physicians Leading in Advocacy

On February 28th over 200 physicians and medical students stormed the State Capitol to bring the Georgia Academy’s legislative priorities to the Georgia General Assembly.  Governor Brian Kemp made welcoming remarks and Medicaid Chief Blake Fulenwider gave the group an update on current state health policy initiatives.

GAFP’s current legislative priorities are listed below:

House Bill 287 (Sponsor Rep. Matt Dubnik – Gainesville)

Workforce – Preceptor Tax Credit – Support tax credits for community-based physician faculty to precept Georgia medical students, physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses.  (Pending House Ways and Means Committee – as of February 27)

Senate Bill 106 (Sponsor Senator Blake Tillery – Augusta)

Medicaid – Support Medicaid innovations (state waivers) to provide affordable access to health insurance for low income Georgians and stabilize the current insurance market for individuals and small businesses.  (Passed the Senate on February 26!!  Now heads to the House.)

House Bill 63 (Sponsor Rep. Sharon Cooper – Marietta)

Insurance – Step Therapy – Support legislation to require insurance (non-ERISA) and State Health Benefit Plans to have a process for step therapy exception protocols.  (Passed the House and now pending in the Senate Insurance Committee)

House Bill 409 (Sponsor Rep. Alan Powell – Hartwell/Senate Bill 109 (Sponsor Sen. Larry Walker – Perry)

Patient Safety – Oppose legislation that would allow APRN’s to order imaging without supervision of a physician and would also allow physicians to increase supervision from four to eight advance practice nurses at the same time in active practice.  The Georgia Academy has concerns about additional abundance of over-imaging of patients by allowing non-physicians to order screenings.  The GAFP also believes that increasing the number of active APRN’s working concurrently under a physician’s supervision diminishes the ability to provide accurate review of patient care. (Pending in the House Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care / Passed in Senate Health Committee)

House Bill 416 (Sponsor State Rep. Rick Williams – Milledgeville

Child Safety – Oppose legislation that would create a state vaccine board to allow easing of mandatory childhood vaccines.  This legislation would reduce Georgia’s child immunization rates.  It would also be duplicative of the federal National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.  Vaccines save lives by preventing disease. (Pending in the House Health & Human Services Committee.)

Thank you GAFP leaders who made the time to support our advocacy by connecting with our legislators.  Save the date for the 2020 Day at the Capitol – Thursday, March 5.

Sponsor of HB 287 (Tax Credit for Preceptor) State Rep Matt Dubnik – Gainesville joins Drs Monica Newton and Amy Bailey

Medical students at Capitol with past presidents’ Drs Mitch Cook and Mitzi Rubin

Georgia Academy Board-chair, Loy “Chip” Cowart, MD and President, Donald L. Fordham, MD pictured with State Representative Terry Bruce