In our Legislative Update for Week 10, ending March 16, we’ve seen significant progress by bills representing the work of both House and Senate study committees on rural Georgia. The House passed SB 357 which creates the Health Coordination and Innovation Council to gather and process data to improve healthcare outcomes. The bill also calls for a Director of Healthcare Policy and Strategic Planning, appointed by and answering directly to the Governor.
The Senate passed HB 769, an omnibus bill designed to implement several study committee recommendations, including a research center based in the Office of Rural Health in the Department of Public Health. The bill would also:
- Allow for the creation of micro hospitals in counties with less than 50,000 population under the Certificate of Need law.
- Ease restrictions on remote order entry by hospital pharmacies when a pharmacist is not available on site.
- Direct the state Medicaid agency to streamline the provider credentialing and billing processes.
- Direct the state Medicaid agency to update payment policies for telehealth services.
- Create a new grant program for physicians who practice in underserved rural areas.
- Increase the rural hospital tax credit program to 100% and add S-Corporations to the list of eligible taxpayers.
For more information on these and other bills we’re following, click to view our Legislative Update for March 16, 2018.