Keeping Current @ The Capitol: Week of February 25th


Week of February 25, 2019:
Certificate of Need Reform Moves After Hearing Yesterday
HB 198 (Matt Hatchett, R-Dublin) was approved by a 10-4 vote in the special House committee on health care access yesterday. This was after contentious testimony from a number of healthcare groups last week on how dramatic changes to the Certificate of Need process might affect healthcare in Georgia. You can read the details in a recent article from Georgia Health News.

Legislative Updates (New Additions)

HB 133 – Quality Basic Education Act – Medically Accurate Sex Education
(Clark Jasmine, D-Tucker) Would require that any course of study in sex education and HIV, and AIDS prevention instruction is medically accurate for those grades and grades levels in public school systems which are determined by the State Board of Education.

HB 198– Certificate of Need for Healthcare Facilities
(Matt Hatchett, R-Dublin) Would eliminate the certificate of need requirements for all health care facilities except certain long-term care facilities and services. Passed the Special Committee On Access to Quality Health Care. Moves on to Rules.

HB 228 – Raise Minimum Age of Marriage
(Andrew Welch, R-McDonough) Would change the minimum age of marriage of a child from 16 to 17 years of age and to require any person who is 17 years of age to have been emancipated, correct a cross-reference cited in child custody proceedings laws, provide for requirements for filing a petition for emancipation for petitioners who desire to enter into a marriage, and repeal conflicting laws related to the issue with the aim of preventing forced or coerced marriages involving children. Passed Juvenile Justice.

SR 201 – Recognize February 27, 2019 as Rural Health Day
(Jack Hill, R-District 4) provided a resolution commending the Georgia Rural Health Association and recognizing February 27, 2019, as Rural Health Day at the state capitol because Georgia has 120 rural counties encompassing more than a million residents, with a continuing decline in the availability and quality of health care providers, specialists, nurses, and professional services; and these geographic areas have the highest cancer and cardiovascular mortality rates and infant mortality, child abuse, and teen pregnancy rates, and the growing uninsured population and elderly population with multiple diseases far exceed the area’s health care resources. Senate Read and Adopted.

Legislative Updates (Previously Reported- Senate)

SB 4 – Establish Private Lactation Room at the State Capitol
(Jen Jordan, D-North Atlanta) would establish a private lactation room open to the public in either the Capitol Building or the Paul D. Coverdell Legislative Office Building. Passed State Institutions and Property.

SB 16 – Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Act
(Kay Kirkpatrick, R-East Cobb) would authorize the Georgia Composite Medical Board to administer the compact in this state. Passed Senate Health and Human Services. Passed Senate, moves to House.

SB 18 – Direct Primary Care Act
(Kay Kirkpatrick, R-East Cobb) would ensure that providers who are giving care to patients for an agreed upon fee, and does not bill a third-party for services rendered, must inform the patient that the agreement is not the same as insurance. It also exempts primary care agreements from the same regulation as health insurance. Substitute version of bill passed Senate Health and Human Services. Now in Rules.

SB 28 – Establish Restrictions on Co-Payments and Co-Insurance
(Lester Jackson, D-Savannah) would prohibit certain insurers from imposing a copayment, coinsurance, or office visit charge in an amount greater than such charges imposed for physician or osteopath services to an insured for services rendered by a physical therapist, occupational therapist, or chiropractor.

SB 36 – Authorizes Funds for Medicaid Expansion
(Steve Henson, D-Stone Mountain) would authorize the appropriations for the purposes of obtaining federal financial participation for medical assistance payments to providers of Medicaid expansion under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act.

SB 56 – Consumer Coverage & Protection for Out-of-Network Medical Care Act
(Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome) Would establish standards for carriers and health care providers with regard to payment under a managed care plan in the provision of emergency medical care and increase transparency for consumers in said plans. Substitute version of the bill passed Insurance and Labor.

SB 85 – Early Childcare Scholarship
(Steve Henson, D-Stone Mountain) Would establish an early childcare scholarship program to be managed by the Department of Education.

SB 106 – Patients First Act
(Blake Tillery, R-Vidalia) Would allow the State to submit an 1115 Medicaid Demonstration Waiver to increase Medicaid coverage to those who are at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Line. Passed Senate Health and Human Services.

SB 115 – Telemedicine Practice
(Renee Unterman, R-Buford) Would allow physicians who are licensed to practice telemedicine in other states to practice telemedicine in Georgia. Passed Science and Technology.

Legislative Updates (Previously Reported- House)

HB 8– Tax Exemption for Menstrual Products 
(Debbie Buckner, D-Junction City) Would exempt sales tax for the sale or use of products with the primary purpose of absorbing or capturing menstrual flow, including but not limited to tampons, menstrual pads and sanitary napkins, panty liners, menstrual sponges, and menstrual cups. Assigned to Ways & Means Committee.

HB 10 – Education on Risks Associated with Tampon Use
(Debra Bazemore, D-Riverdale) Would require sex education and AIDS education instruction to include information on the risks associated with tampon use. Would also encourage physicians and nurses providing a tampon for use by any female patient under his or her care to recite and provide certain written information to such female patient regarding the best practices for and risks associated with the use of tampons.

HB 12 – Quality Basic Education Act
(Rick Williams, R-Milledgeville) Would require every public school to post a sign containing the toll-free telephone number operated by the Division of Family and Children Services of the Department of Human Services to receive reports of child abuse or neglect.

HB 17 – Criminal Penalty for Smoking in Vehicle with Child Under 13
(Sandra Scott, D-Rex) Would make it a criminal offense to smoke inside a vehicle with any child under the age of 13. Assigned to Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

HB 26 – Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact
(Dave Belton, R-Buckhead) Would allow psychologists licensed in participating states to facilitate telehealth and temporary in-person, face-to-face practice of psychology across jurisdictional boundaries. Substitute version of bill passed Interstate Cooperation Committee. Passed the House on Monday.

HB 37 – Expand Medicaid Now Act
(Bob Trammell, D-Luthersville) Minority Leader, Representative Bob Trammell, introduced this legislation which would authorize appropriations to draw down federal dollars for Medicaid expansion in Georgia as defined under the Affordable Care Act. It would allow coverage for Georgians up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level. Assigned to Appropriations.

HB 62 – Margie’s Law
(Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta) Would require that if a patient’s mammogram demonstrates dense breast tissue, the health care facility that conducted the mammogram shall provide notification to the patient. Substitute version of bill passed House Health & Human Services. Passed House, moved to Senate. Passed Senate Health and Human Services.

HB 63 – Step Therapy Protocols
(Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta) Would require health benefit plans to establish step therapy protocols. Passed House Insurance Committee. Passed House, moves to Senate.

HB 80 – Child Support Cooperation Act of 2019
(Bill Werkheiser, R-Glennville) Would require individuals to cooperate with the child support enforcement program as a condition of eligibility for food stamps.

HB 84 – Consumer Protections – Health Insurance
(Richard Smith, R-Columbus) Includes several provisions related to proactively informing consumers about out-of-network costs related to healthcare services.

HB 158 – HIV/AIDS Program Access for Medicaid Recipients
(Debora Silcox, R-Sandy Springs) Would ensure that Medicaid recipients have the same access to antiretroviral regimens used to treat HIV and AIDS as to those included in the formulary established for the Georgia AIDS Drugs Assistance Programs. Passed House Health & Human Services. Passed House, moves to Senate.

HB 178 – Establish Assisted Outpatient Treatment Program
(Don Hogan, R-St. Simon’s Island) Would create a unit within the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities to support the coordination of procedures for an assisted outpatient treatment program (court-mandated).

HB 187 – Obesity Management Pilot Program
(Katie Dempsey, R-Rome) provide for a pilot program at the Department of Community Health to provide coverage for the treatment and management of obesity and related conditions. Passed House Health & Human Services.

HB 188 – Rescind ‘Positive Alternatives’ Grant Program
(Renitta Shannon, D-Decatur) would repeal the Positive Alternatives for Pregnancy and Parenting Grant Program.

HB 290 – PrEP Pilot Program at DPH
(Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta) Would create a three-year pilot program under the Department of Public Health that would provide pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drug assistance to people who are at risk of being infected with HIV. Substitute version of the bill passed House Health & Human Services.

HB 324 – Georgia’s Hope Act
(Micah Gravley, R-Douglasville) Would allow for the legal production, manufacturing, purchase, and sale of THC oil in Georgia. Certain individuals who suffer from a list of qualified disease may currently possess THC oil, but they cannot legally buy THC oil in the state – this bill would allow for that transaction.

HB 331 – Protective Orders and Intimate Partner Violence
(Mandy Ballinger, R-Canton) Would edit the current code to allow for those who live together or have lived together, and/or have had a past or current pregnancy to be able to file for an order of protection in the case of family violence.

HB 345– Dignity for Incarcerated Women
(Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta) Would ensure that no restraints of any kind are used on a woman who is in the second or third trimester of pregnancy, in labor, in delivery, or in the immediate postpartum period while incarcerated. Also ensures that no pregnant women would be subject to a squat and cough search or vaginal exam unless prescribed and performed by a licensed healthcare professional. HMHB strongly supports this legislation and thanks Chairwoman Cooper for her leadership on this important issue. This bill will be heard today in HHS at 2 PM.