Keeping Current @ The Capitol: Week of February 12, 2018

Author: Advocacy Committee

HB 382 – Place the Georgia Commission on Women Under Department of Public Health
(Jimmy Pruett, R-Eastman) This bill would place the Georgia Commission on Women (GCW) under the purview of the Department of Public Health. The Georgia General Assembly along with Gov. Zell Miller created the GCW in 1992. The mission of the Commission is to advise appointing officers and look at how laws affect women in Georgia and their families.


SB 344 – Legal Sale of Retail Marijuana
(Curt Thompson, D-Tucker) This bill would provide for the legal sale of retail marijuana in the state. The bill details the regulatory provisions for the sale, distribution, and cultivation of retail marijuana. NO UPDATE.

SB 357 – Health Coordination & Innovation Council
(Dean Burke, R-Bainbridge) This bill would create the Health Coordination and Innovation Council and establish the Health System Innovation Center, with the goal of figuring out how to ensure that more rural Georgians have access to quality health care. UPDATE: SB 357 Passed the Senate with only one no vote.

HB 747– Medications for Hemophilia Under Medicaid
(Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta) The bill would allow Medicaid recipients to receive unrestricted access to medications for hemophilia. NO UPDATE.

SB 352 – Commission on Substance Abuse & Recovery
(Renee Unterman, R-Buford) This bill would establish the Commission on Substance Abuse and Recovery and would create a director of Substance Abuse, Addiction, and Related Disorders. This bill is expected to receive its first hearing (and pass) in the coming week. UPDATE: SB 352 passed the Senate unanimously and now heads to the House.

HB 733– Including Psychiatrists in Loan Forgiveness for Underserved Areas
(Kimberly Alexander, D-Hiram) This bill would expand the service cancelable loan program for health professionals to include psychiatrists who practice in under-served, rural parts of the state. NO UPDATE.

HB 669 – Medicaid Expansion
(Bob Trammell, D-Luthersville) The Minority House Leader introduced a bill that would require Georgia to authorize state dollars to draw down additional federal dollars to expand Medicaid. When asked how the State would fund their portion of the expansion costs, estimated to be between $120-200 million, Rep. Sam Park (D-Lawrenceville) suggested a 50-cent tobacco increase. NO UPDATE.

SB 334 – Georgia Board of Nursing
(Renee Unterman, R-Buford) SB 334 would transfer the Georgia Board of Nursing from the Secretary of State’s office to the Department of Community Health. NO UPDATE.

SB 351 – Independent Practice Authority for APRNs
(Renee Unterman, R-Buford) This bill would make any advanced practice registered nurse eligible to engage as a licensed independent practitioner if they are primarily employed in a rural county. This would include the ability for APRNs to order computed tomography (CT) scans and to prescribe, procure, administer, dispense, and furnish pharmacological agents, including controlled substances. NO UPDATE.

Maternal Mortality
Citing consistently dismal rates in maternal mortality and considering recommendations from the Georgia OB/Gyn Society, House and Senate leaders have converged on addressing maternal mortality in conjunction with the Department of Public Health. Senate Heath leaders, led by Senator Renee Unterman (R-Buford), have signaled that they intend to direct appropriations towards research-based practices to address maternal mortality. NO UPDATE.

Group Prenatal Care
Group Prenatal Care (also referred to as ‘Centering Pregnancy’) is an evidence-based, patient-centered model of group prenatal care. It works to bring patients out of the exam room and into a group setting, helping to build their community of support. This model has gained traction in Georgia and is poised to receive additional funding and support during the 2018 legislative session. HMHB supports funding additional group prenatal care sites in Georgia and supports efforts led by the March of Dimes to make these access points available across the State. NO UPDATE.


CHIP and Title V (MIECHV) Funding Updates

Children’s Health Insurance Plan: During the first government shutdown, Congress approved a stopgap spending measure that extended the program by six years. In the latest two-year spending bill approved by Congress and signed by the President, CHIP will be re-authorized for an additional four years, renewing the program for a total of 10 years as recommended by the Congressional Budget Office.

Title V – MIECHV Home Visiting: Funding for the critical Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program had been left out of the initial budget stopgap measure in January. Through the recent budget approval, the program is now funded at level through 2022.

Flu As Bad as 2009 Swine Flu Epidemic, Says CDC

According to a report issued on Friday, 1 out of every 13 visits to providers across the US have been related to the flu and flu symptoms, the highest rate since the 2009 Swine Flu epidemic. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, there have been 1,027 hospitalizations due to influenza so far this season in the State. The Georgia flu-related death toll has risen to 66 total as of February 3, with two pediatric deaths.

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia urges everyone, young and old, and especially pregnant women, to get the flu shot as soon as possible.