Gold Dome Report

Legislative Days

Day 30 Monday, February 29
Day 31 Wednesday, March 2
Days 32 – 35 Monday, March 7; Tues, March 8; Thursday, March 10; Friday, March 11
Days 36 – 38 Monday, March 14 – Wednesday, March 16
Day 39 Tuesday, March 22
Day 40 Thursday, March 24




HB 920, authored by Rep. Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown), was passed by the House of Representatives this afternoon with only 14 dissenting votes after having unanimously passed out of the influential House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.  The bill is GHCA’s effort to decrease litigation costs by limiting the parties that can initially be named in a lawsuit alleging direct or vicarious liability for the personal injury or death of a resident in a nursing center. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.



The Senate Appropriations Committee has begun its deliberations on the FY2017 budget.  Last week, as reported, the full House of Representatives passed their version of the budget that included $11.3 million in state funds to provide for a “3% inflation adjustment on the 2012 nursing home cost reports.” Considering the federal share, this state funding would equate to an overall $35.1 million appropriation to the ABD budget increasing nursing home rates on average slightly more than $4.00 per patient per day. During January’s meeting, the GHCA Board clearly directed the government affairs staff to continue a dialogue with appropriations leaders regarding the need to attain the most current cost report year possible. With that directive, GHCA staff, lobbyists and leadership has held multiple meetings with the Lt. Governor, and Senate Appropriations Chairmen Jack Hill and Dean Burke, among others, to continue to advocate for the most current cost report base year and to achieve the greatest increase in funding possible in the current political environment. Budget work will continue throughout the week ahead and GHCA staff will contnue to monitor all proposals coming forth.

The Community Health Subcommittee will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, March 1st  at 1:00pm in 341 CAP.


The House Governmental Affairs Committee met Wednesday afternoon to hear brief testimony on HB 1055, authored by Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs). This bill aims to eliminate Certificate of Need (CON) in favor of a new licensure/permit process. Based upon comments by Committee Chairman Ed Rynders (R-Albany) and others, it appears that a study committee will be created to discuss the proposed bill and look into CON issues.

GHCA staff and leadership have a full appreciation for what a dramatic policy issue this is for all members and providers and the negative impact of CON elimination. GHCA continues to stay in close dialogue with the legislative parties involved and our healthcare partners under the Gold Dome to insure that we are appropriately represented in the study process.   HOUSE HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES The House Health and Human Services Committee passed the following bills on Tuesday and Thursday: HB 926, authored by Rep. Bruce Broadrick (R-Dalton), this bill requires the third-party logistics providers to be licensed by the Georgia State Board of Pharmacy. HB 1037, sponsored by Rep. Valerie Clark (R-Lawrenceville), amends the nurse aid registry to include nurse aids who provide services in temporary or permanent private residences. HB 954, sponsored by Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula), creates the “Uniform Adult Guardianship and Conservatorship Proceedings Jurisdiction Act.” Under this bill, when an individual is involved in guardianship proceedings and conservatorship proceedings, courts in Georgia can compel courts in other states to facilitate the process of transferring guardianship or conservatorship.   HOUSE HEALTH BILLS THAT HAVE PASSED THE FULL HOUSE AND AWAIT ACTION IN THE SENATE HB 944, authored by Rep. Sheri Gilligan (R-Cumming), would allow a physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or a registered professional nurse to pronounce the death of a patient in a nursing home or hospice care if said patient dies of natural causes. HB 910, authored by Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens), relates to costs of copying and mailing health records by expanding the current Code to apply to psychiatric, psychological, and other mental health records of a patient. HB 900, sponsored by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), would allow the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency to retain aggregated prescription information for two years, instead of one year, from the date the information is received. HB 916, authored by Rep. Dustin Hightower (R-Carrollton), prevents the Department of Community Health from recouping full payment for medical assistance if the provider makes a clerical or record-keeping error in their reimbursement documentation. HB 897, sponsored by Rep. Betty Price (R-Roswell), this piece of legislation relates to the care and protection of indigent and elderly patients, so as to provide for the establishment and operation of a drug repository program to accept and dispense unused prescription drugs. HB 1085, sponsored by Rep. Katie Dempsey (R-Rome), would transfer the oversight of aging services to the Department of Community Health.   HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE The House Ways and Means Committee passed the substitute to HB 919, which is authored by Rep. Geoff Duncan (R-Cumming). This piece of legislation provides for tax credits to rural ‘health care organizations’ participating in both Medicaid and Medicare, providing health care to primarily indigent patients, is a non-profit entity with a board of directors, and receiving at least 10% of their gross net revenues from the treatment of indigent patients. The bill subsequently passed out of the House of Representatives on Thursday and now resides in the Senate for further action.