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January ‘06
Volume 2 No.1
By David A. Cook
Executive Director
Medical Association of Georgia
MAG and its partners had a tremendous victory last year with the enactment of SB 3, one of the most comprehensive tort reform packages in the nation. As we gear up for the start of the 2006 Legislative Session, we are in a posture of fending off several bills that would weaken SB 3. In addition, several scope of practice bills that have been dormant for the past year or two show signs of momentum and will undoubtedly require signifanct grassroots opposition to stop. Finally, MAG has been able to generate a fair degree of interest among legislators interested in prohibiting onerous contract clauses foist upon physicians as well as UHIRUPRIFHUWL¿FDWHRIQHHGODZVUHODWHGWRJHQHUDOVXUJHRQV Georgia Society of Plastic Surgeons • Officers
Tort Reform:
GSPS’s New Website
After Georgia adopted civil justice reform last year, the following bills designed to modify or dismantle portions of SB 3 were introduced. MAG opposes these pending Vice President
measures during the 2006 session of the Georgia General Assembly.
ƒSenate Bill 232 (SB 232) reduces the degree of negligence that must be found to establish emergency care Secretary-Treasurer
liability, making it easier for a plaintiff to successfully obtain a judgment against a physician.
the 90-day period the defendant must conduct an investigation, including reviews by a claims adjuster and/or a medical screening panel that includes an attorney. Additionally, a copy of a complaint for medical negligence must be forwarded to the Composite State Board of Medical Examiners for a determination of whether a licensee is subject to disciplinary action. Such a result is counter-productive to the goal of Civil Justice Reform.
ƒHouse Bill 572 (HB 572) requires expert witnesses to have spent “75% of his or her professional time during the ODVW¿YH\HDUV´LQWKHVSHFLDOW\DWLVVXH7KLVZRXOGRSHQXSWKHH[SHUWZLWQHVVSURYLVLRQIRUDPHQGPHQW ƒHouse Bill 573 (HB 573) provides that if all defendants elect in writing the county and court in which the case shall be tried, the election will stand even if all resident defendants are discharged from liability or dismissed Welcome New Members:
As they do every legislative session, mid-level practitioners seek prescribing privileges and scope of practice expansion. Prescriptive authority and scope bills for Optometrists, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), Chiropractors, Physicians’ Assistants and Psychologists were introduced or were eligible for consideration and action in the 2005 session. Although none of the bills were adopted during the 2005 session, scope of practice will continue to be a much-publicized issue, especially amongst APRNs and optometrists.
Nurse Prescribing: Last year, APRNs led a heavily publicized campaign to convince legislators for the ‘right to write’ prescriptions. Under current State law, APRNs are allowed to phone-in prescriptions pursuant to a protocol of the SB 313 would permit APRNS to prescribe controlled Another problem has come with the advent of integrators substances and dangerous drugs pursuant to a protocol. RU UHSULFHUV  7KHVH FRPSDQLHV KDYH WKH DELOLW\ WR MAG supports alternative language that makes it load discounted fee schedules and apply sophisticated If you have not already done so, mark your calendars for Thursday, January 19, 2006. clear that the APRN is transmitting the physician’s computer programs to determine a physician’s lowest This is the date for our annual GSPS meeting. Our meeting will take place in the prescriptive order and that the physician remains rate for a particular service and apply that discount for a Grand Hyatt Buckhead. This luxury hotel provides an ideal location for our meeting. ultimately responsible for the care of the patient.
SD\RU7KHVHFRPSDQLHVPDUNHWLQJPDWHULDOVDGYHUWLVH We will have several exhibitors this year, helping to offset the meeting expenses WKDWWKH\ZLOO¿QGWKHGHHSHVWGLVFRXQWDYDLODEOH,Q while providing you with the opportunity to speak with the individual vendors about Optometrist Prescribing: Bills expanding the authority essence, a physician’s lowest rate becomes the only rate their products. As this helps to cover the meeting costs, please take the time to visit of optometrists to prescribe have been introduced in both with them at the breaks and during lunch. Beginning one day before the SESPRS the House of Representatives and the Senate. In the breast symposium, this gives ample opportunity to maximize your CME experience Senate, SB 211 would allow optometrists to prescribe With the recent problems seen in the SHBP contract, by combining two meetings into one continuous experience. Since the SESPRS oral antibiotics limited to tetracycline, doxycycline, MAG will remain a diligent advocate for fair contracting meeting will focus on breast surgery, we will concentrate on other areas of Plastic Surgery.
cephalosporin, and dicloxacillin for treating ocular legislation which will require health plans to disclose surface and lid diseases. Current law allows optometrist leasing arrangements, allow physicians to opt out, and Our speaker panel is quite impressive. The meeting begins at 9 am with discussion on medical malpractice. to prescribe topical antibiotics. In the House, HB 515 require EOB’s to identify both the payor and the source I will review with you the Georgia experience through the MAG Mutual data. Dr Neal Reisman, MD, JD, would allow optometrists to prescribe and administer all from Houston, Texas, will discuss how to avoid the pitfalls in medical malpractice. Mr. Clyde Maxwell of the oral and topical pharmaceutical agents except schedule Medical Association of Georgia will discuss how to deal with insurance companies and their contracts to ,DQG,,FRQWUROOHGVXEVWDQFHV7KHVHGUXJVFRXOGEH Certificate of Need: Significant reform of the
enhance your practice reimbursements.
used for both diagnostics as well as treatment. MAG Certificate of Need (CON) laws is unlikely as the Commission appointed to study the issue recently Our luncheon speaker will be Dr Phil Gingrey, an OBG from Marietta, who is now in the U.S. House of passed a resolution asking the legislature to refrain from Representatives in Washington, D.C. With Dr Tom Price, we are fortunate to have two physicians in the Fair Contracting:
passing any legislation reforming CON laws until the congress from Georgia. Dr. Gingrey has been in the forefront of tort reform at a national level, and I am sure Commission has had an opportunity to study the issue his comments will be of interest to us all.
Health plans have found new and innovative ways to and make its recommendations to the General Assembly. lower payments to physicians by including innocuous 7KH&RPPLVVLRQ¶VUHFRPPHQGDWLRQVDUHGXHE\WKHHQG Our scientific session begins in the afternoon with a star-studded agenda. First, Dr Jim Baker of Orlando, and onerous contractual provisions in their participating of 2006 and hope to make its recommendations prior Florida will speak on facial rejuvenation. Then Dr Luis Vasconez of Birmingham, Alabama will speak on SK\VLFDQDJUHHPHQWV7KHIRFXVRI0$*¶VOHJLVODWLRQ to the 2007 legislative session. However, the “General avoiding complications in facial surgery. If you have not heard this talk, it will be a real treat. Dr Neal this year is on the contractual provisions that permit 6XUJHU\LVVXH´RQHRI0$*¶VWRSOHJLVODWLYHSULRULWLHV Reisman will speak again to discuss the art and science of injecting filling materials. Dr Dennis Hammond of health plans to lease or rent their networks, including the is likely to be introduced and has some momentum Grand Rapids, Michigan will speak on abdominal reconstruction. Our scientific session will conclude with a network discounts, to other payors without disclosure going into the 2006 session. MAG’s bill would repeal panel discussion by all presenters to take questions from the audience.
WRSK\VLFLDQV7KLVLVGRQHZLWKRXWWKHNQRZOHGJHRU DFXUUHQW5HJXODWLRQRIWKH'HSDUWPHQWRI&RPPXQLW\ consent of the physican and often creates problems when +HDOWK '&+  ZKLFK GHILQHV JHQHUDO VXUJHU\ DV D Following the formal portion of the meeting we will host a brief business meeting. This is very important, DSK\VLFLDQ¶VRI¿FHUHFHLYHVDQ(2%ZLWKSD\PHQWDWD ³PXOWLVSHFLDOW\´ WKHUHIRUH PDNLQJ JHQHUDO VXUJHRQV as we will be voting on new bylaws. Daniel, our exec, will be sending those out by mail within the next different rate than expected or from a payor with whom LQHOLJLEOH IRU WKH ³VLQJOH VSHFLDOW\´ H[HPSWLRQ XQGHU few days. Please read them carefully so that we can discuss any questions you may have. Our attorney &21ODZV7KLVHIIHFWLYHO\SUHYHQWVJHQHUDOVXUJHRQV has already reviewed and blessed them. We will also induct several new members and conduct any other for establishing an ambulatory surgery center unless Some health plan contracts contain clauses, which VSHFL¿FDOO\DXWKRUL]HWKHFRPSDQ\WR³VHOO´RU³UHQW´ Please complete the registration forms included in this newsletter and mail or fax it to Daniel. We do have their PPO networks to third parties. Other contracts As in any year, your support is needed to make the 2006 limited space and anticipate this to be a well-attended meeting, so make your reservations early. I look FRQWDLQ ³DOO SD\RU´ FODXVHV UHTXLULQJ SK\VLFLDQV WR session of the Georgia General Assembly a good one forward to seeing you in January in Atlanta.
accept the discounted fees agreed to in the contract for physicians. Be sure that your membership in MAG from any payor. Most recently, the United HealthCare and GAMPAC are current. Contribute to MAG’s tort 6WDWH +HDOWK %HQH¿W 3ODQ 6+%3  FRQWUDFW FRQWDLQHG reform fund. Stay in touch with local legislators by D ³SDUWLFLSDWLQJ HQWLW\´ FODXVH ZKLFK ZRXOG QRW using MAGs on-line grassroots page located at www.
have required United to notify physicians of leasing Remember, together we are stronger.



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