Our associates at Frogue Clark Public Affairs have provided the following update on healthcare legislation moving across the Gold Dome:

CALENDAR

Day 25-27 Monday, February 27 – Wednesday, March 1
Day 28 Friday, March 3
Day 29 Monday, March 6
Day 30-31 Thursday, March 9 – Friday, March 10
Day 32-35 Monday, March 13 – Thursday, March 16
Day 36 Monday, March 20
Day 37 Wednesday, March 22
Day 38 Friday, March 24
Day 39 Tuesday, March 28
Day 40 Thursday, March 30

 

FLOOR NOTES

Senate Chamber

The following pieces of legislation passed through the Senate Chamber this week:

SB 50 – Authored by Sen. Hunter Hill (R-Atlanta), this piece of legislation would allow for direct primary care agreements between physicians and patients. These agreements would not be considered insurance.

SB 71 – Authored by Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro), this piece of legislation would add assets in health savings accounts and medical savings accounts to the list of property that is exempt from bankruptcy.

SB 88 – Authored by Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), this piece of legislation relates to the regulation of narcotic treatment programs.

SB 96 – Sponsored by Sen. Ben Watson (R-Savannah), this piece of legislation would allow registered professional nurses, nurse practitioners or physician assistants to pronounce the death of patients in nursing homes even if the patient is an organ donor.

SB 106 – Authored by Sen. Greg Kirk (R-Americus), this bill would address the licensure requirements for pain management clinics and would remove the administration of anesthesia by a certified registered nurse anesthetist from current law.

SB 125 – Sponsored by Sen. Rick Jeffares (R-McDonough), this piece of legislation would authorize a physician to delegate to a physician assistant the authority to prescribe hydrocodone compound products.

The House Chamber also passed the following:

HB 174 – Authored by Rep. Eddie Lumsden (R-Armuchee), this bill would expand an insurer’s medium of payment of policy to include any other method of payment approved by the Commissioner.

HB 206 – Rep. Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown) authored this piece of legislation, which would remove an exception relating to certain audits conducted by the Department of Community Health relating to Medicaid, by providing that any clerical or record-keeping error not constitute fraud or constitute a basis to recoup full payments made by providers.

HB 210 – Authored by Rep. Jodi Lott (R-Evans), this bill would alter the current definition of ‘clinical laboratory’ so that it would exclude any specimen collection station that collects human blood for the manufacturing of biological products.

COMMITTEE NOTES

House Judiciary (Civil) Committee – Kelley Subcommittee

The House Judiciary (Civil) Kelley Subcommittee met on Monday morning and took up HB 192. Sponsored by Rep. Beth Beskin (D-Atlanta), this piece of legislation would change provisions relating to the responsibilities and standard of care of directors and officers of banks, trust companies, and corporations. The bill would also clarify and expand the ability of directors and officers to rely on other individuals in the performance of their duties. The bill was not voted on in the subcommittee.

House Judiciary Non-Civil Setzler Subcommittee

A meeting was held on the substitute to HB 249 in the House Judiciary Non-Civil Setzler Subcommittee on Tuesday. Authored by Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville), this bill would change the frequency of reporting Schedule II controlled substances. The prescriber would not have to check the PDMP if:

  • The prescription is for a three-day supply of such substance and less than 26 pills;
  • The patient is an inpatient in a hospital or health care facility, such as a nursing home;
  • The patient is in an outpatient hospice program; or
  • The patient is under long-term care for cancer.

Naloxone would be exempt from the definition of ‘dangerous drug.’ Additionally, physicians must sign up to use the database by January 2018 and must input information into the database every 24 hours. An amendment was offered and adopted to clarify language on lines 146, 152, 153 to read, “not more than a 3-day supply … and not more than 26 pills.”

House Health and Human Services Committee

The House Health and Human Services Committee also met on Tuesday afternoon and passed the following bills:

HB 161 – Authored by Rep. Betty Price (R-Roswell), this piece of legislation would provide that employees and agents of harm reduction organizations are not subject to certain offenses relating to hypodermic needles.

HB 360 – Sponsored by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), this piece of legislation would provide for expedited partner therapy for patients with chlamydia or gonorrhea.

HB 427 – Authored by Rep. Mark Newton (R-Augusta), this piece of legislation would expand the service cancelable loan program for physicians in underserved areas to other health care practitioners. The bill substitute includes dentists, Pas, and APRNs.

Senate Health and Human Services Committee

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee held two full committee meetings this week. On Tuesday, the committee passed the following bills:

SB 31 – Authored by Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus), this piece of legislation would require that at least two members of the Department of Community Health board be members of the State Health Benefit Plan.

SB 121 – Sponsored by Sen. Butch Miller (R-Gainesville), this piece of legislation would allow for the state health officer to issue a standing order permitting certain persons and entities to obtain opioid antagonists (Narcan).

SB 166 – Sponsored by Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), this bill would create a “nurse Licensure Compact” and would provide for the establishment of the Interstate Commission of Nurse Licensure Compact Administrators. Language was added to the bill substitute to mandate that all nurses coming in to the state with an out of state license must meet the same licensing and credentialing requirements in Georgia to be able to practice.

On Thursday, the committee passed the following pieces of legislation:

SB 220 – Sponsored by Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), this piece of legislation would repeal requirements for advertising or publicizing of medical specialty certification.

SB 241 – Authored by Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), this piece of legislation would move the PDMP from the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency to the Department of Public Health. It would also provide for the department’s authority to continue the maintenance and development of the electronic data base of prescription information. An amendment was adopted to bring the members of the board from 10 to 11. Section 8 was also removed in the bill substitute, which was presented to the committee.

SB 221 – Authored by Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), this bill would authorize doctors of optometry to administer pharmaceutical agents by injection.

SB 202 – Sponsored by Sen. Michael Rhett (D-Marietta), this bill would provide for an increase in the personal needs allowance to be deducted from a nursing home resident’s income but only with corresponding funding through the appropriations process.

Senate Health and Human Services Subcommittee

The Senate Health and Human Services Scope of Practice Subcommittee met on Tuesday morning and took up two pieces of legislation:

SB 55 – Authored by Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus), this bill is known as the “Psychiatric Advance Directive Act.” The legislation would provide for a competent adult to express his or her mental health care treatment preferences and desires directly through instructions written in advance and indirectly through appointing an agent to make mental health care decisions on behalf of that person. The bill passed through the subcommittee but the language will be amended before the full committee to align with current law.

SB 153 – Sponsored by Sen. Matt Brass (R-Newnan), this piece of legislation would exempt certain activities of hearing aid dealers, hearing aid dispensers, and others related to the manufacture and sale of certain nonprescription hearing aids. The bill did not pass out of the subcommittee.

Senate Finance Subcommittee B

The Senate Finance Subcommittee B held a meeting and heard SB 180, yet no vote was taken. Authored by Sen. Dean Burke (R-Bainbridge), this piece of legislation relates to the Rural Hospital Tax Credit. The legislation would:

  • Increase the tax credit percentage from 70 percent for individuals and corporations to 90 percent. It would also standardize the aggregate amount of tax credits allowed from 2017 through 2019 to $60 million per year;
  • Clarify that the tax credit would be for $10,000 or 70 percent of the actual amount expended, whichever is less;
  • And exempt the identities of individuals and corporate donors to rural hospital organizations from public disclosure.

House Ways and Means Committee

HB 301 passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday afternoon. Authored by Rep. Jodi Lott (R-Evans), this piece of legislation would create a new income tax credit for taxpayers who are licensed physicians, advanced practice registered nurses, or physician assistants who provide uncompensated preceptorship training to medical students, advanced practice registered nurse students, or physician assistant students for certain periods of time. The bill would allow community-based faculty physician preceptors a tax credit of $500 for the first three preceptorship rotations and $1,000 for any further rotations up to ten.

Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee

The Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee held a brief hearing on SB 67. Authored by Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell), this bill would provide create advisory committees to correct and conform cross-references in legislation relating to health, insurance, state government, etc. It is known as the “Bring Small Businesses Back Georgia Regulatory Reform Act.” A hearing only, no action was taken on the bill.

Senate Insurance and Labor Committee

The following pieces of legislation passed out of the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee on Wednesday afternoon:

SB 201 – Authored by Sen. Butch Miller (R-Gainesville), this piece of legislation would allow employees to use their sick leave for the care of immediate family members. It is known as the Family Care Act.

SB 103 – Authored by Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), this bill would authorize the Commissioner of Insurance to promulgate certain rules and regulations and to examine and investigate certain matters with regard to pharmacy benefits managers. It would also prohibit pharmacy benefits managers from requiring the use of mail-order pharmacies under certain conditions.

SR 206 – Sponsored by Sen. Michael Williams (R-Cumming), this resolution would create the Senate Work and Save Study Committee.

SB 164 – Authored by Sen. Fran Millar (R-Atlanta), this piece of legislation would prohibit certain insurers from imposing a copayment, coinsurance, or office visit deductible amount greater than such charges imposed on a physician or an osteopath to an insured for services rendered by a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, or chiropractor. An amendment was passed to change “primary physician” to “primary care physician.”

SB 200 – This bill, authored by Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome), would provide for synchronizing patients’ chronic medications.

SB 173 – Sponsored by Sen. Burt Jones (R-Jackson), this bill would provide for scope of provisions and lines of businesses a captive insurance company may engage to add an agency captive insurance company with certain restrictions.

House Insurance

HB 276 passed out of the House Insurance Committee unanimously on Friday morning. Sponsored by Rep. David Knight (R-Griffin), this piece of legislation would authorize the Commissioner of Insurance to promulgate certain rules and regulations related to licensure of pharmacy benefits managers and would prohibit pharmacy benefits managers from requiring the use of mail-order pharmacies under certain conditions. It was noted that the Department of Community Health and the State Health Benefit Plan as well as Kaiser are carved out of the legislation.

 

NEW LEGISLATION

HB 416 – Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) authored this bill, which would authorize doctors of optometry to administer pharmaceutical agents by injection.

HB 426 – Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta) authored this bill, which would allow physicians to have more than 10 protocol agreements with an APRN at one time and may not supervise more than four APRNs at one time.

HB 427 – Authored by Rep. Mark Newton (R-Augusta), this piece of legislation would expand the service cancelable loan program for physicians in underserved areas to other health care practitioners.

HB 464 – Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) sponsored this piece of legislation, which would alter CON restrictions and provide for a five-year phase-in decrease in the percentage of out-of-state patients required to compose the patient base of the Cancer Treatment Center of America. The legislation would also eliminate the licensed bed capacity, and would raise the charity care requirements from 3 percent to 4 percent.

HB 486 – Authored by Rep. Tommy Benton (R-Jefferson), this piece of legislation would provide for select providers to train proxy caregivers in accordance with selected curriculum. The curriculum would be selected by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.

HR 354 – Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick (D-Lithonia) authored this resolution, which would urge the Department of Education and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities to develop and provide to local school systems a list of training materials that would serve to increase awareness of mental health issues and behavioral and learning disabilities.

HR 388 – Authored by Rep. Tom Kirby (R-Loganville), this resolution would create the House Study Committee on Meeting the Demand for Nursing Care in Georgia.

SB 206 – Authored by Sen. P.K. Martin (R-Lawrencevill), this piece of legislation would require health plans to provide coverage for hearing aids for certain individuals.

SB 220 – Sponsored by Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), this piece of legislation would repeal requirements for advertising or publicizing of medical specialty certification.

SB 232 – Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) authored this bill, which would enact the “Facilitating Internet Broadband Rural Expansion (FIBRE) Act.”

SB 233 – Sen. Marty Harbin (R-Tyrone) sponsored this piece of legislation, which would provide for the preservation of religious freedom.

SB 241 – Authored by Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), this piece of legislation would move the PDMP from the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency to the Department of Public Health. It would also provide for the department’s authority to continue the maintenance and development of the electronic data base of prescription information.

SB 242 – Sponsored by Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), this piece of legislation would provide for an exception to the number of advanced practice registered nurses with which a delegating physician can enter into a protocol agreement at any one time for nurses in certain locations.