2017 Legislative Updates from GNA
2017 Legislative Session Wrap Up Report
The General Assembly ended the 2017 legislative session on Friday morning, March 31st at 1 a.m. Looking back at the 2017 session, this year’s “do little,” as the AJC coined it, was primarily about guns on campus, immigrants and opioids.
House Bill 280 was this year’s version of Campus Carry. After being vetoed by Gov. Deal post 2016 Legislative Session, this proposed legislation was back. On the final legislative day, the House and Senate both passed a compromise version. House Bill 452 says the Georgia Bureau of Investigation will be required to share information it has been receiving from Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) on criminal aliens who have been released into Georgia instead of being deported as they were ordered under the Obama administration. House Bill 37 provides that private postsecondary institutions in this state shall not adopt sanctuary policies and provided penalties for those institutions that do violate those policies. All of these aforementioned bills now sit on Gov. Deal’s desk awaiting his consideration.
As far as bills directly impacting the healthcare profession, the following non-exhaustive list is a brief overview of what made it through both chambers during the ‘17 Session and now sits on Gov. Deal’s desk awaiting his final consideration:
- SB 16 adds six medical conditions to the list of ailments that can legally be treated with medical cannabis,
- SB 88 regulates narcotic treatment programs and limits to four the number of such programs located in 49 certain geographic areas,
- SB 206 mandates that health benefit plans include coverage for hearing aids for children,
- SB 70 extends the Medicaid provider fee paid by hospitals for another three years. It has already been signed into law,
- HB 154 will allow dental hygienists to provide cleaning services when a dentist is not present in safety net settings such as school health centers, long term care facilities, and charity clinics and sets the parameters for the scope of practice,
- HB 157 repeals a law passed in 2016 that changed the accrediting bodies for physician specialties that could be referenced for medical advertising,
- HB 165 mandates that a maintenance of certification for a specialty shall not be required as a condition of licensure to practice medicine,
- SB 47 exempts physicians traveling with visiting sports teams or invited for a national sporting event from state licensure requirements for up to 30 days,
- SB 52 repeals the sunset provision for licensed professional counselors to exercise 1013s (the involuntary commitment of patients for psychiatric reasons),
- SB 96 authorizes RNs, APRNs or PAs treating patients in nursing homes or hospice care to provide the pronouncement of death, even if the person is an organ donor,
- SB 106 allows RN anesthetists to continue practicing in a pain management clinic without a physician on-site, so long as the physician has previously examined the patient and written an order for the treatment to be provided,
- SB 125 authorizes a physician to delegate to a physician assistant the authority to prescribe hydrocodone compound products for no more than a 5-day supply, and requires continuing education for the PA,
- SB 153 was originally language regarding hearing aids, but that was stripped from the bill and replaced with language to allow optometrists to provide certain injectable treatments,
- SB 242 raises to eight, the number of nurse protocol agreements a physician may enter into under certain circumstances,
- HB 427 expands the service cancelable loan program for rural/underserved areas of the state to include dentists, PAs, and APRNs,
- HB 249 establishes new requirements for prescriber enrollment in the PDMP by Jan. 1, 2018 and for entering patient and drug information into the database, beginning July 1, 2018. The authority for ensuring the database is functioning properly will move to the Dept. of Public Health. Violations by prescribers will be handled administratively by the licensing boards for each provider; and
- SR 188 creates the Senate Study Committee on Barriers to Georgian’s Access to Adequate Healthcare. This will specifically look at how the role of APRNs has evolved and may continue to evolve to address patient access and care issues across the state.
Most importantly for GNA, SB 109 “Recognition of Emergency Medical Services Personnel Licensure Interstate Compact (‘REPLICA’), the measure that the House Floor amended by including SB 166 “Nurse Licensure Compact,” was agreed to on sine die by the Senate as amended by the House, i.e. with the inclusion of the NLC. This means that the NLC now sits on Gov. Deal’s desk awaiting his final consideration.
The General Assembly will not meet again until January 2018 for the second year of the legislative biennial. While most of the bills did not make it across the finish line, all of the bills from this year’s session will once again be available for consideration during next year’s legislative session.
The below bills being tracked by your dedicated legislative team did not pass both chambers and will now have to wait until the next session for consideration: