Keeping Current @ The Capitol: Week of March 4th


Week of March 4, 2019:
Thursday is Crossover Day!
Thursday, March 7, 2019, is Crossover Day! This is the last day that a bill originating in one chamber must pass so that it can go over to the other chamber for consideration. For example, a House bill must go through committee and be passed by the full House by Crossover Day in order to be considered in the Senate. If a bill doesn’t make it past its original chamber by Crossover Day, it is effectively dead for the year. You can expect a flurry of activity this week as legislators rush to get their bills passed, and Thursday meetings and votes will likely last well into the evening.

Legislative Updates (New Additions)

On Thursday of last week, Chairman Terry England (R-Auburn) presented the State Budget to full chambers. The budget was approved and is now moving on to the Senate Appropriations Committee and related sub-committees for review and changes. Of particular importance to maternal and infant health were the following line items:

  • $1,047,540 to establish a Maternal Mental Health Program at DPH (includes a telepsychiatry consult line, workforce development and data collection).
  • $200,000 for additional Abstractors for the Maternal Mortality Review Committee.
  • $2,349,649 for newborn screening to include four additional disorders that have been approved by the Georgia Newborn Screening Advisory Committee.
  • $500,000 to establish a Center of Excellence on Maternal Mortality at Morehouse School of Medicine.
  • $152,826 to provide funds for DPH to implement perinatal facility designation pursuant to the passage of HB 909 (2018 session)
  • $500,000 for HMHB to establish two perinatal support satellites in Wilcox and Jenkins Counties. HMHB requested for funds to support satellites in six counties, one for each perinatal region. The counties selected have consistently poorer than state average outcomes for infant mortality, low birthweight, prematurity and inadequate prenatal care access and have no prenatal services or education in existence. These counties are Randolph, Appling, Wilcox, Jenkins, Rabun & Meriwether.

HB 233Pharmacy Anti-Steering and Transparency Act
(David Knight, R-Griffin) would address referral practices that may limit or eliminate competitive alternatives in the healthcare services market and that may result in overutilization of health care services. Specifically addresses pharmacies that are an affiliate of the healthcare system where the patient has been prescribed medication to avoid conflicts of interest. Passed the House.

HB 514Mental Health Reform and Innovation Commission
(Kevin Tanner, D-Dawsonville) would create the Georgia Mental Health Reform and Innovation Commission, which would be responsible for conducting a comprehensive review of the mental health system in the state.

HB 521Temporary Licensure – Dentists
(Houston Gaines, R-Athens) would allow dentists who are licensed in other states to receive a temporary license in Georgia to perform services on low-income patients.

SB 228Statute of Limitations on Childhood Sexual Abuse
(Burt Jones, R-Jackson) would extend the statute of limitations for actions for childhood sexual abuse in certain circumstances.

Legislative Updates (Previously Reported – Senate)

SB 4Establish 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. We hope this legislation that uplifts the importance of supporting mothers and breastfeeding will get through the Senate for Crossover!

SB 16Interstate 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 18Direct 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. Passed Senate, assigned to Insurance in House.

SB 28Establish 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 36Authorizes 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 56Consumer 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 bill passed Insurance and Labor.

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

SB 106Patients 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. Assigned to Special Committee On Access to Quality Health Care in the House.

SB 115Telemedicine 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 and the Senate. Assigned to Health & Human Services in the House.

Legislative Updates (Previously Reported – House)

HB 345Dignity 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. David Dreyer, D-Atlanta, has also filed a dignity for incarcerated women bill – HB 475. HMHB strongly supports this legislation and thanks Chairwoman Cooper and Representative Dreyer for their leadership on this important issue. HB 345 passed unanimously out of HHS last week. We hope that HB 345 will make it through the House for Crossover Day!

HB 8Tax 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 10Education 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 12Quality 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. Passed House Education Committee.

HB 17Criminal 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. Assigned to Health & Human Services in the Senate.

HB 37Expand 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 62Margie’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 & Senate. Moves to Governor’s desk for signature.

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

HB 80Child 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 84Consumer Protections – Health Insurance
(Richard Smith, R-Columbus) Includes several provisions related to proactively informing consumers about out-of-network costs related to healthcare services. Passed Insurance Committee in House.

HB 133Quality 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 is determined by the State Board of Education.

HB 158HIV/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. Assigned to Health and Human Services in 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 187Obesity 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. Assigned to Health and Human Services in Senate.

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

HB 198Certificate of Need for Healthcare Facilities
(Matt Hatchett, R-Dublin) Would eliminate certificate of need requirements for all health care facilities except certain long-term care facilities and services. Substitute version 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 House. Assigned to Judiciary in Senate.

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

HB 324Georgia’s Hope Act
(Mandy Ballinger, R-Canton) Would edit 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. Substitute version passed Regulated Industries.