January ‘06 Volume 2 No.1 PREVIEW OF THE 2006 SESSION 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 President 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
measures during the 2006 session of the Georgia General Assembly.
Senate Bill 232 (SB 232) reduces the degree of negligence that must be found to establish emergency care
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.
House Bill 572 (HB 572) requires expert witnesses to have spent “75% of his or her professional time during the
House 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:
3, and opens up the venue statute for amendment.
Scope of Practice:
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.
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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.
We will have several exhibitors this year, helping to offset the meeting expenses
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
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
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
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
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
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.
consent of the physican and often creates problems when
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Following the formal portion of the meeting we will host a brief business meeting. This is very important,
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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
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few days. Please read them carefully so that we can discuss any questions you may have. Our attorney
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
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
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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
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reform fund. Stay in touch with local legislators by
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using MAGs on-line grassroots page located at www.
have required United to notify physicians of leasing
mag.org. Remember, together we are stronger.
DUUDQJHPHQWV7KLVZDVUHPRYHGDVDUHVXOWRI0$*¶VDGYRFDF\DQGWKHLQYROYHPHQWRIWKH*RYHUQRU¶VRI¿FHand Georgia physicians.
Tobacco Cessation P A T I E N T E D U C A T I O N S E R I E S Is it worth quitting? Worried about weight gain? If you’re having trouble getting motivated, think Fear of weight gain prevents many people from quitting smoking. Nicotine suppresses normal • Within 20 minutes of your last cigarette, blood appetite signals, but you can relearn how to eat. Learn pressure, pulse a
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