The Georgia Ortho - PACThe Political Action Committee of the Georgia Orthopaedic Society
The Georgia Orthopaedic Society Political Action Committee is a registered State of Georgia PAC and can accept corporate and personal contributions. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our state lobbyist Don Bolia at firstname.lastname@example.org or on his cell phone at 404-314-4844.
The “Georgia Ortho-PAC”, is the Political Action Arm of the Georgia Orthopaedic Society. It is your voice, your strength, your access to the State Capitol. All funds collected are used to support state candidates seeking state or administrative office.
• To financially support state candidates for public office who understand medical issues and are aligned with the legislative positions of the Georgia Orthopaedic Society
• To educate state candidates who are running for political office on issues affecting physicians in Georgia
• Assist and encourage orthopaedic surgeons to individually participate in campaign efforts and establish a relationship with local elected officials
• Assist and encourage orthopaedic surgeons to understand the nature of the legislative and political process
• Encourage and support medical doctors to run for state office
One goal of the Georgia Ortho-PAC is to create opportunities for GOS members to interact with their legislators and elected officials. When contributions are presented, we work to arrange a direct presentation between our members and the candidate or elected official. This allows our members the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with them and to let them know that physicians remain dedicated to the preservation and advancement of quality patient care in Georgia.
The 2022 legislative session was a successful one for doctors. The following is an outline of the different bills that were passed supporting the medical community in 2022.
This bill was a keynote piece of the 2022 legislative session. Improving access to mental health care was the Speaker’s top priority. The Speaker authored HB 1013 known as the Mental Health Parity Act. The bill does a number of things outlined below.
The bill includes the following:
These and additional provisions in the omnibus bill provide Georgia with great tools to improve the state of mental health care in Georgia. While most officials recognize there is more work to be done, this was an applauded first step.
Improving the prior authorization process is an ongoing legislative initiative. This year, Senator Kay Kirkpatrick, dropped SB 341 which provides for guidelines for the prior authorization of a prescribed medication for chronic conditions.
The bill empowers patients to receive prior authorization for up to a year, cutting red tape for those receiving treatment.
Scope of Practice
A recurring effort at the General Assembly is the expansion of the scope of practice for non-physician healthcare providers. This year was no different! We remain vigilant and were able to maintain scope of practice for physicians in 2022.
HB 369 by Representative Alan Powell included numerous scope expansions for APRNs and PAs and pushes were made to include independent practice for CRNAs. This bill did not pass despite many efforts to pass it through other bills and conference committees at the last minute.
HB 430 also by Representative Alan Powell would have updated the nurse licensure code to allow for PAs to fill out documentation for a patient to apply for disabled license plates and parking permits. While not an egregious expansion of scope in itself, this was a bill used as a vehicle for CRNA independent practice and it ultimately failed to pass.
We expect scope of practice to be a key issue in 2023 – we have heard from physicians assistants, CRNAs, chiropractors, optometrists and others that are planning to bring forward bills affecting their scope of practice.
Tort reform will continue to be a focus of the legislature in Georgia. Georgia is consistently rated as one of the worst states for tort environment for physicians. In 2022, there were no omnibus tort reform packages as we have seen in the previous two sessions but there were small gains.
HB 961 by Representative Chuck Efstration allows for evidence of a non-party’s fault and authorizes apportionment of damages in a single-defendant lawsuit. We hope to see additional tort reform bills in 2023.
Workforce and Rural Hospital Support
With the challenges that have faced the healthcare workforce the last two years, it is important that the legislature support efforts to maintain, increase and incentivize workforce.
SB 340 by Senator Kay Kirkpatrick creates a new accreditation organization for residency programs and removes the 50-resident cap on designated teaching hospitals. The bill passed and was signed by the Governor.
HB 1041 by Representative Clay Pirkle raises the cap on income tax credits for contributions to rural hospital organizations to $75 million per year.
With a successful Legislative Session in 2022 we have momentum. There are more issues that we will be facing in 2023 including additional insurance reform, protecting scope of practice for patient safety and making changes to tort reform laws to improve the physician climate in Georgia and continue to raise the bar.
Why We Do It – Results Matter!!
Your contributions to the GOS PAC are leveraged to make sure that member physicians have a true voice in government. It allows GOS to provide non-partisan support to key policy makers that are vital to making decisions on how your practice is governed and allowed to operate.
In 2022, 90% of the candidates that GOS – PAC supported won their elections.
This is a significant number in an election year where we saw a 23% turnover in the General Assembly. Additionally, a number of the candidates we chose to support have ended up in higher leadership roles. Examples of this include our new Speaker Jon Burns and our new Lt. Governor Burt Jones. We lost one doctor in Dean Burke being appointed to the position of CMO of the State of Georgia but we maintain four doctors in the General Assembly and we welcome back physician spouse and supporter Deb Silcox. Having medical experts in the assembly gives doctors an opportunity to directly communicate with their peers.
As listed above, you can see that we have had a number of wins at the state capitol in the last couple years. Much of this success can be attributed to our GOS – PAC activity and the relationships generated.
The GOS PAC handles these donations with the highest moral and ethical standards. Policy makers are vetted by the Board of Directors and our members are directly involved in the distribution of the contributions to key elected officials. This ensures that your hard-earned dollars have the maximum impact. We hope you will consider making a contribution to the PAC today. It is vital to our cause and vital to the continued success the Society has experienced in the public policy arena.
If you have any questions, I encourage you to reach out to your board members and feel free to contact our lobbyist, Don Bolia at 404-314-4844.