In both legislation and in the state budget, health and human services continue to grow as the state reacts to a wide array of needs and a growing senior population in the state. In addition to serving the needs of the elderly, Human Services touch the disabled, women, children and services that reach many who can’t speak for themselves. Legislation that came through the Health and Human Services Committee affects every Georgian.
Legislation involving health and human services
➤ HB 62 — “Margie’s Law” would require health care facilities conducting mammograms to notify patients when results show dense breast tissue. Standard in 36 other states.
➤ HB 217 — Exempts syringe services programs from civil and criminal liability for possession/exchange of hypodermic needles.
➤ SB 106 — Governor Kemp’s bill to start process to request 1115 and 1332 waivers from the federal government for expansion of medical services
➤ HB 26 — Would allow Georgia to enter into the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact that would allow applicants with a satisfactory background check to practice telepsychology in the state. Should improve access in rural Georgia.
➤ SB 16 — Authorizes the Ga. Composite Medical Board to administer the Interstate Licensure Compact. Also allows doctors with a clean disciplinary record to be eligible for an expedited licensure process to practice medicine in Ga. SB 16 also allows compact members to share doctor’s disciplinary information and record.
➤ HB 37 — Would authorize trained medication aides to administer liquid morphine to hospice residents in certain circumstances and limits the amount of morphine that could be stored in a hospice facility
➤ HB 551 — Prohibits the selling of kratom to anyone under 18 and provides package and labeling requirements for kratom products. Kratom comes from the tropical leaves of the Mitragyna Speciosa plant. It is used medicinally to manage pain, diarrhea and coughing.
➤ SB 115 — Allows the Ga. Composite Medical Board to issue telemedicine licenses to doctors with a clean disciplinary record who do not reside in the state. The doctors still report to the Ga. Board on patient confidentially and patient record laws.
➤ SR 202 — Joint Study Committee on Evaluating and Simplifying Physician Oversight of Midlevel Providers
➤ SR 371 — Senate Protections from Sexual Predators Study Committee
Budget items affecting health and human services
➤ $2.0 million for 1,053 additional slots for non-Medicaid home and community-based services
➤ $4.9 million to Behavioral Health for residential treatment of addictive diseases
➤ $7.9 million to BH /DDS to annualize 125 New Options Waiver and Comprehensive Supports Waiver Program and to add 125 additional slots for the intellectually and developmentally disabled
➤ $737,000 to DCH for 4 positions, training and operations for increased background checks for owners and employees of long-term care facilities
➤ $6.0 million in federal and state funds for the SHINES information Technology project following the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA)
➤ $1.3 million to DHS for 17 adult protective services caseworkers
➤ $366,000 to DHS for five public guardianship caseworkers to prevent elder abuse
➤ $1.4 million to DHS for home-delivered and congregate meals to reduce the wait list in each Area Aging Agency (Meals on Wheels)
➤ $18.1 million in total funds to DCH to provide coverage for gene therapy drugs
➤ $28.4 million total funds to DCH for revision of hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System reimbursement
➤ $1.0 million to Public Health for Maternal Health to screen, refer and treat maternal depression and related behavioral disorders in rural and underserved areas
➤ $200,000 to Public Health for the Maternal Mortality Review Committee
➤ $300,000 to Public Health for regional cancer coalitions to enhance screening
➤ $150,000 to Public Health for the Sickle Cell Foundation for sickle cell screening
➤ $500,000 to Public Health for feminine hygiene products for low-income clients administered by county health departments
➤ $9.7 million in total funds to DCH Aged, Blind and Disabled to include seven long term acute hospitals and three additional intermediate rehabilitation facilities as Medicaid providers
➤ $1.2 million to DCH for a $5 increase in the personal needs allowance for nursing home residents to meet the requirement of $20 per month called for by HB 206 (2017)
➤ $335,000 total funds to DCH for a 3% increase in the nursing home ventilator reimbursement rate