Georgia OBGyn Society 2024 Legislative Update

Winnie Soufi, MD, PhD Legislative Committee Co-Chair

The 157th Georgia General Assembly Legislative Session concluded on March 28th. During the session, 2,102 bills and 2,437 resolutions were introduced. Bills approved by the House and Senate now await Governor Brian Kemp’s signature or veto. The Governor has 40 days from the last day of the session to sign bills into law, veto them, or allow them to become law without his signature (May 7, 2024.) Legislation that did not pass this session will not carry over to the next session, as we will begin a new biennial session in 2025.

GOGS collaborates with various stakeholders during the legislative session, such as The Patient-Centered Physicians Group. Together, we address a wide range of issues, including budgetary concerns. This group comprises primary care entities such as Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, and Osteopaths, fostering a comprehensive approach to advocacy and healthcare initiatives.  Some highlights from the fiscal year 2025 budget are mentioned below:


The following is a list of funding allocations for various healthcare initiatives:

  • Increase funding for select primary care and OB/GYN codes. The total state/federal funds for this initiative in the LIM program is $29,380,608.
  • Increase funding for select primary care and OB/GYN codes in the ABD program. The total state/federal funds for this initiative is $7,954,159.
  • $200,000 in funds to establish the Comprehensive Health Coverage Commission under HB 1339 to study the possible implementation of a private option or Medicaid expansion in the future in the off-season.
  • Expand the pilot program to provide home visiting in at-risk and underserved rural communities during pregnancy and early childhood to improve birth outcomes, reduce preterm deliveries, and decrease infant and maternal mortality. Utilize existing funds ($685,903) and increase funds for this initiative. The total new funds allotted for the Infant and Child Essential Health Treatment Services program at DPH is $1,000,000, totaling $1,752,000.
  • $750,000 as one-time start-up funds for OB/GYN service expansion.
  • $50,000 as one-time start-up funds for developing a Pediatric Rural Training Track.
  • Evaluate and, where appropriate, implement a process to allow reimbursement for blood and biomarker testing when clinically indicated to provide enhanced surveillance for inpatient pregnant patients between 23 and 34 weeks with hypertensive disorder of pregnancy. The House and Senate feel that DCH can do some of this with existing funds but have provided an additional $283,995, which equates to $835,280 with the federal match.
  • Two crisis pregnancy centers were prevented from receiving funding in the budget, and instead proposed additional funds for the maternal care pilot run by DCH and DPH.

Certificate of Need

After years of negotiation, the Georgia legislature approved HB 1339, a Certificate of Need (CON) reform bill, sponsored by Rep. Butch Parrish. The bill seeks to ease regulations to permit more healthcare centers to open and operate in the state, particularly in rural areas. Additionally, the bill includes provisions for exploring Medicaid expansion in Georgia. The Society had initially raised some safety concerns over free-standing birthing centers, but the bill’s final version included considerably tightened language.

Medicaid Expansion 

The Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee held a much-anticipated hearing on Medicaid expansion (the first real hearing on the issue during a legislative session), which would allow the state to draw down on a federal waiver for additional Georgians to have access to healthcare coverage.

Although the legislation did not move forward during the 2024 session, the discussion about Medicaid expansion is ongoing. The Comprehensive Health Coverage Commission, included in HB 1339, will be attached to the Department of Community Health, which is Georgia’s Medicaid agency. It will consist of nine appointed members, who will examine the options available to the state for expanding healthcare coverage for Georgians. The commission will also review reimbursement opportunities and funding for healthcare providers, quality improvement for uninsured Georgians, and ways to enhance service delivery among providers and community-based organizations.

Puberty Blockers

HB 1170 by Rep. Lee Hawkins initially required specific locations to maintain opioid agonists accessible in case of suspected overdose. However, Section 2 of the legislation was later amended in committee to ban minors in Georgia from using puberty blockers and seeking other gender-affirming care. The bill outlines various treatments minors may not be prescribed or administered. Fortunately, this measure did not pass on Sine Die, as the House did not take it up for an agree motion.

Career Fatigue and Physician Wellness

HB 455 by Rep. John LaHood establishes professional programs to address career fatigue and wellness in healthcare professionals without obligation to report to licensing boards except in certain circumstances.

Preceptor Credit

Chairman Mark Newton (R-Augusta) introduced HB 308 to change the structure of tax credits given to physicians for medical preceptor rotations. The previous structure offered a $500 credit for the first three rotations and a $1,000 credit for the 4th through 10th rotations in a calendar year. The new structure proposed a $1,000 credit for every medical preceptor rotation up to 10 in a calendar year. This bill was substituted in the Senate and needed more votes in the House to receive final passage.

Ga Commission on Maternal and Infant Health

HB1037, which proposed the establishment of the Georgia Commission on Maternal and Infant Health, was passed after receiving some modifications. The commission will function as an independent body under the Department of Public Health. It will seek the opinions of perinatal facilities, healthcare providers, and professional associations to discuss recommendations for perinatal care. The commission will evaluate the quality of care, funding streams, and patient outcomes to make statewide policy recommendations and issue a report by June 30, 2026. However, it seems that the DPH considers this commission duplicative and has not been actively involved in the discussions. This legislation is similar to HR 1231, a resolution by Rep. Mark Newton (R-Augusta) to create a House Study Committee on maternal, prenatal, and pediatric care, access, and funding. Due to some procedural deadlines, it was added to HB 1046 by Rep. David Clark.

CANDOR Act – After a year of dormancy, Chairman Sharon Cooper’s CANDOR Act was passed through the Senate Judiciary.  The CANDOR Act aims to provide secure avenues for patients and healthcare professionals to interact and communicate when medical errors occur voluntarily. This program is voluntary; three other states currently have these laws on the books (Utah, Colorado, and Utah). The legislation ultimately did not receive final passage.

Restrictive Covenants

Representative Mark Newton has proposed a new bill, HB 1490, to prevent the enforcement of certain covenants and restrictions on physician employment or partnership contracts. The legislation specifies the circumstances under which such restrictions will be considered void. Although it was introduced too late to be eligible for consideration, it is expected to be discussed during the next biennial session. Chairman Newton plans to work on the legislation during the off-season and seeks our assistance.

Maternal Health Screening

HB 1302 Sponsored by Rep. Karen Bennett (D-Stone Mountain) provides for mandatory maternal mental health screening for Medicaid recipients and mandatory education regarding postpartum depression to women after childbirth.  GOGS worked diligently with the bill sponsor and MAG to pull back the mandates contained in this bill.  – DID NOT PASS

Fertility Preservation

HB 1204, Sponsored by Rep. Eddie Lumsden (R-Armuchee), requires coverage for medically necessary expenses for fertility preservation services when treatment for cancer, sickle cell, or lupus may cause iatrogenic infertility. Rep. Kim Schofield’s HB 1066 was initially introduced for broader chronic conditions. That legislation did not pass through the committee in time.  – DID NOT PASS

Preeclampsia Screening

HB 1081, sponsored by Representative Darlene Taylor (R-Thomasville), requires all health benefit policies issued or renewed on or after July 1, 2024, to include coverage for biomarker testing for preeclampsia during the first prenatal visit for pregnant women. The House and Senate have determined that the Department of Community Health (DCH) can manage some of this with existing funds. Still, an additional $283,995 has been allocated, which amounts to $835,280 with the federal match.

Reproductive Battery

HB 1038 Sponsored by Rep. Lauren Daniel (R-Locust Grove, provides for the offense of reproductive battery, relating to the improper handling of reproductive material. Under this proposed law, it would be considered a felony for physicians to knowingly implant human reproductive material from a donor to a recipient who has not given consent for its use. We had some concerns about the wording of this bill, but we are aware that similar bills have been passed in other states. We have been working with fertility providers to ensure that the bill remains focused on its intended purpose and is not amended to include any other changes.DID NOT PASS


SB 546 Sponsored by Sen. James (D-Atlanta) would repeal provisions relating to midwifery practice to provide for the licensure and regulation of community midwives.DID NOT PASS

Pelvic and Rectal Examinations

HB1498 Rep. Teri Anulewicz (D-Smyrna) prohibits pelvic and rectal examinations on an anesthetized or unconscious patient without consent or a court order except in cases of emergency.  – DID NOT PASS

Reproductive Healthcare

We were fortunate this year to face minimal opposition against choice legislation, which allowed us to concentrate more effectively on advancing other legislative priorities. In an exciting turn of events, the House Majority sought to identify ways to support the use of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) in Georgia. Speaker Jon Burns signed a bipartisan resolution on the last day of the session indicating support for Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Procedures in Georgia. With concerns around Alabama’s Supreme Court ruling, we believe this will initiate discussions with Republican caucuses over enshrining access to those procedures. 

Click here to view information on additional reproductive health legislative items that did not pass this session.



For Hospitals

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Ectopic Pregnancy

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Fertility Care

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Information for Patients Seeking Abortion Care

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