Author Archive

Survey for Family Physicians on Disabilities Act – Amazon Gift Card for Participants

The Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University is doing a study to understand more about Georgia healthcare providers’ knowledge about the Americans With Disabilities Act and caring for patients with disabilities. 

If you are a credentialed primary care clinician (MD, DO, PA, NP, RN, LPN, or other) who works in Georgia, you are eligible to take the survey. The survey will take no more than 15 minutes.  Everyone who completes the survey will receive a $5 gift card via email.

Link to survey:

For additional information, please contact:

Erin Vinoski Thomas, PhD, MPH
Research Assistant Professor
Associate Director, Center for Leadership in Disability
School of Public Health
Georgia State University

Georgia Academy Delegation Shines and Wins National Recognition

At the AAFP Annual Chapter Leadership Forum and the National Conference of Constituency Leaders, the Georgia Chapter was recognized for winning second place for the largest increase in active membership for 2021.

The meetings are held concurrently and were back in person this year after a two-year in-person “pause” because of the pandemic.  These conferences are the AAFP’s leadership development event that empowers a select group of change makers to catalyze positive change in family medicine. ACLF and NCCL bring together chapter leaders from all over the nation to leadership skills and create lasting relationships with other family physician leaders

The Georgia delegation included the following leaders and staff:

  • Susana Alfonso, MD – Chapter President – Atlanta
  • Michael Satchell, MD – Albany
  • John Gerguis, MD – Statesboro
  • Angela Gerguis, MD – Statesboro – (NCCL Representative)
  • Le Church, MD, MPH – Hiawassee
  • Mike Busman, MD – Americus
  • Christina Kelly, MD – Ft. Benning – (NCCL Representative)
  • Monique Davis-Smith, MD – Macon
  • John Vu, MD – Griffin
  • Ali Bohannon – GAFP Manager of Operations and Membership
  • Kamela Boyd – GAFP Director of Communications and Marketing
  • Alesa McArthur – Deputy Executive Vice President
  • Fay Fulton – Executive Vice President


2022 AAFP Member Satisfaction Study Launches April 27 – We Want to Hear from You

Thank you for being a member of the Georgia Academy and the American Academy of Family Physicians. You want up-to-date information, substantial support, and essential resources to help you in your day-to-day practice. The AAFP wants to provide all of that and more.

Tell us what’s important to you and how we can better meet your needs as a family physician by completing the 2022 Member Satisfaction Survey. Plus, this year’s survey will take only 5 minutes to complete.

All members should have received an email from the AAFP on April 27 with a link to the survey.

All individual responses will be kept confidential and only reported in the aggregate. Thank you for your time and feedback.  Contact Kathy Reid at or 913.906.6352 with questions.


ABFM Certification Extension Ends June 30

ABFM provided a deadline extension to all physicians who had a three-year certification stage ending in 2020 or 2021. The extension, implemented to ease their burden during the Covid-19 pandemic, will conclude for both groups of physicians on June 30, 2022. To learn about what provisions ABFM has offered to help physicians maintain their certification during the pandemic, visit

Many new resources are also available to help physicians meet their certification requirements. For a complete summary of what’s new with certification and tips to help physicians complete their current stage, review our new handout

It’s important to note that the current stage extension overlaps with the physician’s next stage. The sooner they complete their current stage requirements, the more time these physicians will have to complete their new stage that will end in 2023 or 2024, respectively.

Please encourage your members to look at their requirements soon, especially if they have a June 30, 2022 deadline. If they have questions or need help, please refer them to the ABFM Support Center at 877-223-7437 or

AAFP National Conference for Residents and Medical Students Early Bird Registration Ends June 17

Join us for National Conference July 28–30 in Kansas City, Missouri. This is the only event focused on bringing together family medicine residents and medical students. Regardless of where you’re at in your medical journey, there is something for everyone at National Conference—including hands-on learning, educational sessions, and inspiring Main Stage presentations.

This three-day event is the perfect opportunity to delve deep into the family medicine specialty.  Shake the hands of future employers or residency program directors who are excited to connect with you. Meet like-minded peers and focus on the next step of your journey toward family medicine.

Come experience all that family medicine has to offer and discover what makes this specialty so impactful.

Save $50 when you register by June 17.

Register Now

Members in the News

Congratulations to Amy Bailey, MD of Gainesville for receiving the Exemplary Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching in Undergraduate Medical Education from the Medical College of Georgia!

2022 Legislative Session Wrap Up

The Second Session of the 156th Georgia General Assembly gaveled the end of the session, Sine Die, on Monday, April 4.  All bills that did not pass both the House and Senate are dead. The bills that did pass both chambers now move to the Governor’s desk for his consideration and signature. The Governor has 40 days to sign or veto bills. We will continue to monitor these bills through the mid-May deadline. For the bills that become law, state agencies will then begin to issue regulations to support the new law.   A new legislative session (two-years/biennial) will start next year on Monday, January 9, 2023.

Session Wins – Key Initiatives:

  • $81 million added to the State Budget for Fiscal Year 2023 (begins July 1, 2022) to bring 108 codes (most commonly used by primary care physicians) up to 2018 Medicare rates. House Bill 911
  • Provide funds to increase select Obstetrical and Gynecological codes (59400, 59510, 59610, 59618) to 2020 Medicare reimbursement levels. House Bill 911
  • Mental Health Parity Act (House Bill 1013) – Includes sweeping reform for behavioral health including mental health insurance parity and loan forgiveness for primary care and psychiatric physicians. It will also mandate an 85 percent minimum medical loss ratio (MLR) requirement for Medicaid insurance plans. The bill was signed by Governor Kemp on April 4, 2022.
  • Expanding Medicaid Coverage for Post-Partum Women from Six Months to 12 Months –SB 338 The funding for this expansion of $28.2 million has been included in the 2023 budget.
  • Tort Reform – Allows for evidence of a non-party’s fault and authorize apportionment of damages in single-defendant lawsuits – House Bill 961
  • Scope of Practice- No advancement of independent practice by non-physician clinicians occurred during this session

Additional Bills We Supported/ Opposed:

House Bill 369 which included numerous expansions for APRNs, and PAs – did not pass.

House Bill 430 would have allowed APRNs and PAs to fill out documentation for a patient to apply for license plates and parking permits for those with disabilities – did not pass. 

Public Health – Include Vaping in State Indoor Smoking Act – House Bill 1348 House Bill 1348, which if passed, would add “vaping” as an additional smoking device that is outlawed in code from the 20005 Indoor Smoking Act.  This bill passed the House (149-12) on March 3rd and was one of the many bills left “on the table” on the last day of the session.  This bill, unfortunately, did not pass.

Administrative Relief – Removal of Prior Authorizations for Chronic Medications – Senate Bill 341 The Georgia Academy voted to support passage of Senate Bill 341, sponsored by Senator Kay Kirkpatrick, MD.  This will mandate insurance plans to forgo prior authorization for chronic medications.  This would be for non-ERISA (federally exempt) insurance plans as the State cannot enact changes to ERISA Insurance plans.  This bill did pass.

Medical Malpractice Legislative Relief Bills  – House Bill 807 and House Bill 961 House Bill 961, which the Academy supported, along with a large coalition, including the trial attorneys and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce would restore apportioning of damages to all responsible parties.  This bill passed and is pending the Governor’s signature. The Academy also supported House Bill 807 (CANDOR – Communication & Optimum Resolution).  This bill, if passed, would have allowed there to be pre-litigation between the medical community and patients if there has been a perceived harm during treatment.  This bill did not pass.

COVID Vaccine exemption (Senate Bill 345) prohibits state and local governments and their agencies from mandating COVID-19 vaccine passports for any services or access to any facility.  The law will cease to be in effect on June 30, 2023, and does not apply if compliance is required by CMS regulations.

Death Certificates (Senate Bill 496) requires a medical examiner’s inquiry after the death of a pregnant women or a women who has been pregnant within 365 days prior and would also define the term “unattended by a physician” for the purposes of a medical examiner’s inquiry as a patient who has not been seen by a physician within 180 days for a condition or illness likely to have cause or contributed to such individual’s death.  This bill passed and is pending the Governor’s review/signature. Health

Care Workers Wellness Program (House Bill 1533) would have provided confidentiality protections to participants in a wellness program for clinicians.  The Georgia Academy supported this measure, and it passed the House but died “on the table” in the Senate on Day 40.

Transgender High School Athletes (House Bill 1087) authorizes the Georgia High School Association to ban transgender girls to compete against other girls in public school sports.  This bill passed on the last day of the session and has been sent to the Governor for review/signature.

Lead Screening for Children (House Bill 1355) will lower the level of lead in children’s blood that would trigger state regulatory action, which includes testing, warning letters and required correction of the problem.  The new poisoning level threshold would be the CDC guideline of 3.5 micrograms per deciliter. That’s much lower than Georgia’s current 10 micrograms, a standard that experts say leaves many children at risk.  This bill passed on the last day of the session is pending review / signature by the Governor.

Got Transition Webinar Available Now Focusing on Preventive Care for Adolescents

The Georgia Academy partners with the Department of Public Health’s Maternal and Child Division to educate family physicians and their clinical teams on an array of issues.  One key component is education related to transitioning the pediatric and adolescent patient population to the appropriate physician, if the patient is no longer able to be treated by the family physician (moved / college-bound, etc.).

Got Transition hosted a recent online seminar to discuss ways to incorporate health care transition into preventive care for adolescents. Learn how to align the transition and preventive care national performance measures and hear directly from the Title V team from Hawaii about their own experience, including examples of trainings and tools.

Click here to listen and learn:  New Webinar Recording: Incorporating HCT into Preventive Care (with Hawaii Title V)

Got Transition® is the federally funded national resource center on health care transition (HCT). Its aim is to improve the transition from pediatric to adult health care through the use of evidence-driven strategies for clinicians and other health care professionals; public health programs; payers and plans; youth and young adults; and parents and caregivers.

Got Transition is a program of The National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health and is funded through a cooperative agreement from the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration.

Working with a broad range of partners, our goals are to:

  • Establish a new network with the medical home and financing centers to coordinate efforts to achieve quality care, decrease costs, and improve experience of care.
  • Engage youth/young adults/families on the importance of a planned transition from pediatric to adult care.
  • Strengthen HCT evidence and policy analysis.
  • Increase practice/system adoption of evidence-informed practices.
  • Enhance engagement of key stakeholder organizations in HCT clinical, educational, and policy improvements.
  • Update and expand Got Transition’s website capability and communication strategies.

New Resource for Young Adults with Disabilities to Prepare for an Emergency

Young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) and their parents and/or support persons have unique needs during disasters and emergencies which require additional planning. Many look to their primary care teams to assist them in this planning and during such stressful times.

The National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health, with support from the WITH Foundation, has developed the Emergency Preparedness Toolkit for Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and their Primary Care Team. The toolkit includes two tip sheets to assist primary care teams and their young adult patients with ID/DD to plan for disasters and emergencies.

  • The first tip sheet is for primary care teams to use in assisting young adults with ID/DD and their parents and/or support persons to develop a disaster emergency care plan.
  • The second tip sheet is written for young adults with ID/DD and their parents and/or support persons. It contains questions for them to consider as they are creating their personalized disaster emergency care plan.

The full toolkit is available in both English and Spanish and can be downloaded.

For more information about the toolkit, please contact Daniel Beck at

Thrive Bootcamp 2022 Coding & Reimbursement Improvement Project – Apply Now to Receive Travel and Free Registration

The Georgia Academy of Family Physicians is launching a new, innovative, CME-approved practice transformation project that focuses on helping family medicine practices increase reimbursements by identifying under-used codes and procedures, and counts as an American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) Self-Directed Performance Improvement Activity where you earn up to 20 points towards your overall 50-point activity requirement.

Participants will attend two half-day workshops Friday, June 17 and Saturday, June 18  on Coding and Documentation and complete a rapid cycle improvement project related to workshop material. The sessions will be led by practice transformation experts from Leadership in Practice and longtime GAFP partner and coding expert Steve Adams.

Thrive Bootcamp faculty will contact you in late July/August to discuss your project, celebrate your improvements and help you work through your challenges.  The practices will be a part of a mainstage lecture at our Fall CME Annual Meeting (Friday, November 11) to give your “lessons learned” and best practices to the broader audience of Georgia Academy members.

Registration:  The registration fee for this pilot project is $500 per practice which includes registration to the Summer CME meeting.  Your fee will be reimbursed to you at the completion of the 3-month Thrive Project IF your practice team attends BOTH workshop days and the interim-consultative conference calls with the Thrive Team and at least one of the team members participates in the “Lessons Learned” lecture during the Annual CME Meeting.

Travel Stipend:  To offset the cost of bringing additional staff members to the Thrive Bootcamp (held in conjunction with our Summer CME Meeting in Destin), each approved practice will receive a travel stipend of up to $1,500 to attend the June meeting. Each practice team must consist of (at least) one physician and a staff member with billing/coding responsibilities.  We will accept up to three (maximum) participants from each practice. All family physicians in approved practices must be active AAFP/GAFP members.

This project is limited to six approved practices.  Final confirmation and registration information will be sent to accepted practice participants.

Please complete the brief application here: no later than close of business on April 20.  All applicants will be notified no later than April 27.