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Representative Sharon Cooper Talks Georgia Healthcare


Sharon Cooper

Georgia State Representative, Dist. 43, Sharon Cooper

Representative Sharon Cooper Talks Georgia Healthcare

The legislative process is an important way to improve Georgia’s health care system and the practice environment. MAG spent a lot of time reaching out to lawmakers and other important stakeholders after the General Assembly ended in 2015 to ensure that it would be in a good position to effect pro-physician and pro-patient change during this year’s legislative session. MAG is focused on several key areas in 2016, including physician autonomy, Medicaid, health insurance, tort reform, and prescription drugs.

Representative Sharon Cooper is the chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee. She has been a champion for key legislation for patients and physicians in Georgia, including an HIV screening bill for pregnant women, Georgia’s Smoke Free Air Act, and the Health Share Volunteers in Medicine Act. She is known for being one of the hardest working and most honest and straightforward legislators in the state. It is also worth noting that she was married to the late Dr. Tom Cooper, who co-founded MAG’s Doctor of the Day program at the State Capitol.

Special Guest:

Sharon Cooper, Georgia House of Representatives Distric 43, Chairman-House Health & Human Services Committee

Sharon Cooper

Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta, GA District 43


Telemedicine in Neurology and Beyond


Tanya Mack


Dr. Gregory Esper

Telemedicine in Neurology and Beyond

Womens Telehealth CEO, Tanya Mack sat down with Emory Healthcare’s Dr. Gregory Esper.  Gregory Esper, MD, MBA is currently Associate Professor and Vice Chairman of Clinical Affairs for the Department of Neurology, and he also is Director of General Neurology and Neuromuscular Diseases. He serves Emory Healthcare in the capacity as the Director of New Care Models.

Dr. Esper shared his perspective of the role of telemedicine in neurology, as well as how Emory Healthcare is evaluating other areas of need for access to care where telemedicine can be deployed to simultaneously provide greater efficiency for patient and care provider, as well as improving the health of the population served.


We talked about how patient information is protected while using this technology, as well as some of the current limitations that confound expansion of telemedicine to the patient’s home on a larger scale.

Throughout the world and US, there is a shortage of neurologists, which is expected to worse, not improve in the coming years. The access is outstripped by the demand, especially in rural areas, where
geographical disparities exist. Georgia has over 100 counties that have no neurologist.

Telemedicine improvements and patient and provider adoption, especially over recent years, has proven that in many cases, reliable remote diagnosis can be made, patient outcomes are positive and costs can be saved.

Treatment of stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, epilepsy and some urgent neuro problems can be
managed via telestroke medicine. In 2016, Emory University opened a remote telemedicine service.
Listen in as Dr. Greg Esper updates us on new developments in telestroke and Emory’s new program.

MAG’s 2017 Legislative Priorities



MAG’s 2017 Legislative Priorities

Out-of- Network Billing & Network Adequacy: MAG will 1) support reforms that will require appropriate

network adequacy standards for health insurers and 2) call for health insurers to be more transparent in

their contracts with physicians’ practices and 3) support legislation that will result in physician payment

methodologies that are adequate and sustainable for out-of- network emergency care.

Medicaid Payment Parity: MAG will be an advocate for the General Assembly to continue to fund the

Medicaid parity payment program for all areas of primary care.

Maintenance of Certification: MAG will 1) work to ensure that MOC is not a condition of licensure or a

condition of hospital credentialing and 2) support efforts that will alleviate the costly and burdensome

aspects of MOC for physicians.

Patient Safety: MAG will be an advocate for legislation that improves patient safety.

Opioid Abuse

One of the MAG Foundation’s key programs is the ‘Think About It’ campaign to reduce prescription drug

abuse. The MAG Foundation has 1) funded 18 prescription drug disposal boxes, which allows Georgians to

dispose of their unneeded or expired prescription drugs in safe and anonymous and secure manner and 2)

distributed more than one million educational leaflets in the state and 3) given presentations at more than

50 town halls and 20 physician education events and 4) established social media and/or other educational

campaigns on 10 college campuses as part of its ‘Higher Education TAKE-BACK Initiative.’ The MAG

Foundation is also managing ‘Project DAN’ (Deaths Avoided by Naloxone), which has provided first

responders in 13 counties in Northeast Georgia with more than 1,300 doses of naloxone – which can be

used to save patients who are suffering from a drug overdose. This effort has already been credited with

saving 18 lives in northeast Georgia. It’s also worth noting that Georgia DPH Commissioner Dr. Brenda

Fitzgerald recently issued a standing order that authorizes pharmacies to dispense naloxone.


HealtheParadigm is a new, physician-led health IT solution that enables physicians to generate

sophisticated patient data reports that they can use to improve patient outcomes and fulfill the new quality-

based payer metrics. HealtheParadigm will enable physicians to improve care coordination, establish better

relationships with their patients, fulfill the new payer performance metrics, and reduce the administrative

burden for them and their staff.