Author Archive

Increase Immunization Rates for Georgia’s Medicare Population

There are over 1,500,000 Medicare recipients in Georgia. In the past two years, approximately 210,000 have received pneumococcal vaccines, though we know nearly all need the PCV13. There is a great opportunity for increasing the number of doses given either in your office or the local pharmacy.

Patients seeking the flu vaccine are great candidates to assess and provide other needed vaccines like pneumococcal, zoster and Tdap.Remember, failure to assess, recommend and immunize for all immunizations becomes a missed opportunity.    Alliant Quality, the Quality Improvement Organization for Georgia, is assisting clinicians improve immunization rates for Georgia’s Medicare population.  Please visit us at for free tools and resources.

PQRS: What You Need to Know

PQRS: What you need to know

Worried about pending Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) deadlines? Attend the live AAFP webinar, PQRS: Are You Ready?, and learn how to avoid a 2% Medicare payment cut.

What is PQRS? Why is it important to me? PQRS is the Medicare pay-for-reporting system requiring physicians to submit quality data to CMS. If you don’t report 2016 PQRS measures, you will be charged a 2% penalty to your 2018 Medicare Part B payments. Additionally, by reporting to PQRS you will avoid automatic downward payment adjustments under the Value-Based Payment Modifier program in 2018.

What can I do? If you haven’t reported, it’s not too late. Attend the AAFP’s live PQRS webinar  designed for family physicians like you.

PQRS: Are You Ready?

November 3, 12-1 p.m. CST

Register now

Attending the Medical Association’s House of Delegates? We Need Your Help!

Attending the Medical Association’s House of Delegates? We Need Your Help!

Following a directive from the Georgia Academy’s House of Delegates, we have submitted a resolution seeking the Medical Association to change their policy and advocate to allow international medical graduates to attain their Georgia medical license earlier in their training.  The Georgia Academy believes this will help us retain our residents and ease access in critical access shortage areas – especially in rural communities.  The Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics are co-sponsoring this resolution with us.

We are aware that many family physicians play a leadership role within your county medical societies and encourage you to actively support this resolution and encourage your delegation to vote in favor of the resolution.   Thanks for your assistance.


SUBJECT: Georgia Medical License for International Medical School Graduates
SUBMITTED BY: Georgia Academy of Family Physicians

Whereas, Georgia currently faces a primary care physician shortage especially in rural and inner city areas of the state as demonstrated by many studies; and

Whereas, the number of residency positions in primary care in Georgia is being increased; and

Whereas, it is important to retain as many of these residents trained in Georgia to remain in practice in Georgia to alleviate this shortage; and

Whereas, current statutes of the Georgia Composite Medical Board (GCMB) allow U.S. medical school graduates and international medical school graduates from a board approved list of international medical schools to apply for an unrestricted license following completion of their first year of post graduate training; and

Whereas, international medical students who graduate from medical schools not recognized by the current statutes of the GCMB must wait until completion of their residency to apply for an unrestricted medical license to practice in Georgia; and

Whereas, third year residents obtain experience in potential practice locations outside of their residency responsibilities, therefore medical graduates from non-board approved medical schools do not have these opportunities in Georgia; and

Whereas, this is an impediment to retaining these residents in Georgia and reducing the primary care physician shortage in Georgia; now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Medical Association of Georgia advocate allowing international medical school graduates not included in the current statutes of the Georgia Composite Medical Board to apply for an unrestricted medical license following completion of the second year of their residency program.


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MAG Policy

 255.999 IMG Licensing Standards

EC 11/1/1991 MAG opposes the lowering of IMG licensing standards. (Reaffirmed 05/2000;10/5/2008;


GAFP’s Congress of Delegates 2016 Resolutions and Information

The Georgia Academy of Family Physicians would like you to participate in the 48th Annual Congress of Delegates.  There will be a call on October 20 at 6 pm where all members are invited to listen in and discuss the policy deliberations.  Time and call in information will be announced in the next newsletter.  We would like for all members to participate.

 Please plan to be on this call as we would like for you to voice your opinion on the resolutions being presented.

The request for resolutions deadline has passed and therefore these are the final resolutions.


  1. Bylaws Revision

Submitted by: The Bylaws Committee

The GAFP Bylaws Committee met once this year at the March GAFP Committee Conclave in Pine Mountain because a resolution related to bylaws from the 2015 Congress of Delegates was referred to the GAFP Board of Directors.  The Board recommended forming a brief task force of the COD, which met by phone in January and recommended the following revision to the GAFP Bylaws:

CHAPTER 7, Section 6:

And, let it be resolved that, the Family Medicine Residency Programs consider a full delegation to be up to 3 resident members and 3 alternate resident members, each from different Georgia family medicine residency programs, with elections by resident members;

CHAPTER 7, Section 7:

And let it be Resolved that, the Family Medicine Interest Groups move to a full delegation of 2 medical student members and 3 alternate medical student members, each from different Georgia medical school campuses, with elections by student members;

And, let it be further Resolved that, this new Congress of Delegates composition be effective beginning the 2017 Congress of Delegates.

This update was approved by the Bylaws Committee as recommended from the Task Force and was sent to the Georgia Academy membership to review in advance of the 100 days’ deadline per Chapter 14 of the GAFP Bylaws where it states that notices must be given “at least one hundred (100) days prior to any regular or special meeting of the Congress of Delegates,” and will be included as a resolution to the 2016 Congress of Delegates.

The proposed changes were published in the August 15, 2016 issue of Briefly Stated and also uploaded on the website at


  1. Identification of the Entity initiating Prescription refill requests

Submitted by: Willard A. Snyder, Jr., MD

      Whereas, electronic prescriptions and reconciliation of medications have become the standard of care in order to prevent medical errors;

Whereas, auto-refills or robotic refill requests often present inappropriate requests, and potentially result in excessive refills, inappropriate refills of discontinued medications, or other mistakes;

Whereas, being able to identify the source of the request (patient, auto-refill, or pharmacy) will assist the physician in identifying the need for the refill;

Resolve that, the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians forward a resolution to the American Academy of Family Physicians to promote rules and regulations to assist physicians in identifying the initiator of refill requests, particularly web-renewals;

And be it further resolved, that the Georgia Academy forward a resolution to the American Academy to promote standardization of location of labeling of prescriptions, including font size, etc. to assist physicians in being able to gather important information from medicine bottles to appropriately determine need for refills.


  1. Education for Changes in payment models

Submitted by: Tammy Robinson, MD

Whereas, Family Physicians need training in new payment models;

Whereas, MIPS and MACRA are to go in effect in 2019 ;

Whereas, planning and preparation are needed to adopt these models;

Resolve that, The Georgia Academy of Family Physicians explore effective training sessions in these areas;

And, Resolve that, the Georgia Academy develop methods to educate its members on upcoming changes in payment models;

And, Be it further resolved, that the Georgia Academy be proactive in education of its members.

Hurricane Matthew- Disaster Relief for Your Office Available

To:  Georgia Academy of Family Physicians Colleagues

From: Loy D. “Chip” Cowart, III MD – President

Georgia Health Family Alliance


 RE:  Hurricane Matthew – Disaster Relief for Your Office Available

We are aware that Hurricane Matthew is bearing down on the low lying areas of the Georgia coasts.  Our thoughts and prayers are with those of you who must evacuate and head to dry land.

While our hope is that Matthew scoots by and causes minimal damage to our state – we wanted to let you know that the Georgia Academy’s Foundation (Georgia Healthy Family Alliance) has a Disaster Relief Fund to help our members who may experience damage to their practices.  We established this Fund in 2007 and were able to help two family physicians who lost their practices when a tornado ripped through downtown Americus.

We encourage everyone to be safe.  If you need assistance – don’t hesitate to contact either Kara Sinkule ( or Fay Fulton ( to fill out a simple grant application from the Disaster Relief Fund.

For state-related information on Hurricane Matthew – click here: