MAG 2015 Legislative Update
This week we continued our ongoing series with Medical Association of Georgia to get the MAG 2015 legislative update. MAG CEO, Donald Palmisano, Jr. and Director of Government Relations, Marcus Downs came by with Georgia Representative, Rick Jasperse. We talked about several of the health-related issues Rick and his colleagues have been and continue to work on in the Georgia legislature to promote and protect the health outcomes, safety, and access to care for the citizens of our state.
Rep. Rick Jasperse represents Georgia’s 11th district, which includes all of Pickens and parts of Gordon and Bartow counties. He serves on a number of committees in the House of Representatives – and he is the vice chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee. Rep. Jasperse graduated from UGA with a degree in food science. He retired in 2009 after 29 years as a county agriculture agent.
H.B. 416 by Rep. Carl Rogers (R-Gainesville) will require licensed health care practitioners to wear an ID on their “lab coats or similar distinguishing clothing or uniforms” that states their name and license or educational degree. The only exceptions include optometrists, dentists and chiropractors – except those who practice in hospitals and nursing homes. This has been one of MAG’s legislative priorities for the last two years as voted on by MAG’s Board of Directors. A number of other groups also supported the bill, including speech language pathologists, audiologists, respiratory therapists, marriage and family therapists, ophthalmic technicians, registered dieticians, and APRNs.
The FY 2016 budget (H.B. 76) includes some $23 million in additional funds to increase the reimbursement rate for select Medicaid primary care and OB-GYN codes. This included $17.1 million for primary care physicians (i.e., 90 percent of the 2014 Medicare fee schedule for the applicable codes) and $5.9 million for OB/GYN physicians (90 percent of the 2014 Medicare fee schedule for the applicable codes).
The FY 2016 budget also includes $199,000 to maintain the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program in the state.
H.B. 504 by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta) extends the flu vaccine protocol that is in place between physicians and pharmacists and nurses for adults to pneumococcal, shingles, and meningitis. MAG’s Board Directors voted to support this kind of measure given strict limits and notification requirements. MAG worked with Rep. Cooper to ensure that appropriate sanctions are in place for any violations.
S.B. 158 by Sen. Dean Burke, M.D. (R-Bainbridge) would have addressed rental networks, all-products clauses, and other key issues. MAG’s Board of Directors voted to support this measure. The bill evolved into S.R. 561, which is a “study bill” – which means that a group of legislators will develop a report for the General Assembly’s consideration in 2016.
Donald Palmisano, CEO, Executive Director of Medical Association of Georgia
- JD Law, Loyola School of Law
- Board of Directors, Physician Advocacy Institute
- Medical Payment Subcommitte Member, State Board of Workers’ Compensation
- Treasurer, Board of Directors, Physicians’ Institute for Excellence in Medicine
- Former Director, Government Relations/General Counsel/Director, GAMPAC
Marcus Downs, Director of Government Relations, MAG
- Recipient, 2012, Outstanding Advocate Award, National Association of School Psychologists
- National Institutes of Health Research Fellow, 2000
- Former Director, Government Relations/External Coalitions/Research, Georgia Association of Educators
Representative Rick Jasperse, Georgia 11th District
- BS, Food Science, University of Georgia School of Agriculture
- Member, House Committees: Agriculture & Consumer Affairs, Appropriations, Human Relations & Aging, Public Safety and Homeland Security
- Vice Chair, Health & Human Services Committee
- Served on numerous boards: Mountain Conservation Trust Board, Chattahoochee Technical Collegeand Appalachian Cattlemen’s Association’s Board