Gold Dome Report

The Georgia General Assembly was in session for two days this week, with Monday marking Crossover Day (Day 30). Any bill that did not pass through its chamber of origin on this day is not eligible to move through the legislative process in 2016. Below you will find some additional highlights from this week. Please note that there are nine legislative days left in the 2016 Legislative Session.

CALENDAR

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

GHCA TORT REFORM INITIATIVE SET TO BE HEARD IN SENATE HEALTH COMMITTEE NEXT WEEK

After passing overwhelmingly out of the full House of Representatives last week, HB 920, authored by Rep. Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown), is set to be heard either Wednesday or Friday in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee (HHS).  Chairing Senate HHS is longtime GHCA supporter, Senator Renee Unterman (R-Buford).  GHCA Staff and leadership will continue to work with Rep. Kelley and speak with key members of the HHS committee prior to its midweek hearing.

FY2017 BUDGET EXPECTED ON SENATE FLOOR EARLY NEXT WEEK

Senate leaders and budget staff are expected to meet over the weekend in order to present the FY2017 budget to the full Senate body either Monday or Tuesday of next week.  Over the course of this week, GHCA staff and leadership continued to meet with appropriators and budget staff regarding the proposal set forth by the House of Representatives earlier in the session.  The House added funding to allow for a “3% inflation adjustment on the 2012 nursing home cost reports”.  Considering the federal share, this state funding would equate to an overall increase of $35.1 million to the ABD budget.

GHCA Government Affairs staff will send out immediate notice to the membership when the Senate budget is made available.

CERTIFICATE OF NEED PROPOSALS

As reported last week, a controversial CON repeal bill offered by House Judiciary Chairman Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) still appears to be headed for a study committee over the course of the summer.  In the event a workgroup or study committee is put into motion, GHCA will fully engage to have long term care interests represented in all phases of the appointment process.

LEGISLATION

The House and Senate passed the following pieces of legislation on Crossover Day:

HB 722 – sponsored by Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), this bill allows for manufacturers of low THC oil to ship low THC oil to a person properly registered with the Department of Public Health. It also expands the list of conditions for which low THC oil can be administered by including autism, epidermolysis bullosa, HIV, peripheral neuropathy, tourette’s syndrome, terminal illness, and post traumatic stress disorder.

HB 934 – sponsored by Rep. Tom Kirby (R-Loganville), this piece of legislation authorizes the Department of Human Services to provide for a separate link or portal on its website specifically for kinship caregivers in order to provide information on public assistance benefits.

HB1037 – authored by Rep. Valerie Clark (R-Lawrenceville), this piece of legislation expands the certified nurse aide registry to nurse aids who provide services in private residences.

HB 1043 – sponsored by Rep. Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown), this bill exempts activities conducted by a hospital or health system with respect to influenza vaccinations from certain requirements.

SB 385 – authored by Sen. Judson Hill (R-Marietta), this piece of legislation relates to medical practice relative to physicians, assistants, and others, so as to provide for certain requirements for advertisement or publication of representations of board certification by physicians.