Legislative Update: Week 5 (Feb. 13)
By Greg Reybold
Week 5 of Georgia’s 2018 legislative session saw several pharmacy-related bills introduced and others, previously introduced, begin to make their way through the legislative process. GPhA has had an active session already, supporting several bills and also offering feedback on bills that are problematic for pharmacists and/or patients.
Pharmacists at the Capitol
For our pharmacist members, our Pharmacists at the Capitol events are an opportunity for pharmacists themselves to get involved and be heard. With session moving quickly it is so important we have pharmacists in white coats walking the halls and having a continued presence.
When: Wednesday, February 28 – 10:00 a.m. to noon
We are also working on scheduling several more in the event February 28 does not work with your schedule.
Legislation introduced in week 5
Beyond advocating for GPhA’s legislative priorities, GPhA also monitors other legislation that impacts the practice of pharmacy. We not only want to keep you abreast of changes, we also want to be sure, when necessary, pharmacists are heard on these issues.
Introduced by Representative Lee Hawkins, this bill seeks to bring transparency to the insurance reimbursement process, and to give healthcare providers the ability to choose to be reimbursed via check as opposed to electronic credit cards.
This bill was heard in the insurance subcommittee and passed via substitute. GPhA testified in support of this bill; transparency and choice in the reimbursement process is a good thing for providers.
Introduced by our own Chairman Harden, this is the annual drug update bill that updates the Georgia code with regard to controlled substances and dangerous drugs.
Introduced by Chairman David Knight, this bill seeks to require insurers to develop selection standards for provider participation (including pharmacies), tiered network standards, insurer notifications prior to termination from a network, and a provider appeal process.
Also introduced by Chairman David Knight, the “Prescription Drug Benefits Freedom of Information and Consumer Protection Act” looks to bring transparency and efficiency to the prior authorization process. More specifically, this bill requires, amongst other things, PBMs to (1) provide formulary information on a public website available free to the general public; and (2) update their formulary information within seven days of a change.
It requires the commissioner of insurance to promulgate rules and regulations to promote consistency and clarity in connection with the disclosure of formularies, and to develop a standard form to be used when requesting prior authorizations.
It would also form an advisory committee on uniform prior authorizations (with a pharmacist member) and streamline the prior-authorization process by requiring, amongst other things, prior authorization request receipt within two calendar days, and a status update within four calendar days.
Finally, the bill would give oversight to the commissioner of insurance oversight, and allow that office to institute significant fines per occurrence of violations of the law.
Updates on legislation previously introduced
Representative Trey Rhodes’s bill making certain narrow changes to the PDMP (see week 4 update) passed out of the House HHS Committee.
Introduced by Senator Ligon in 2017, this resolution would create a study committee on prescribing patterns for anti-depressants that would include a pharmacist. It was favorably reported by the Rules Committee.
Senator Unterman’s opioid omnibus bill (see week 3 update) passed out of the Senate via substitute.
Senator Burke’s bill creating the Health Coordination & Innovation Council (see week 3 update) passed out of the Senate via substitute.