As reported by the AJC: A bill to open up nonprofit hospitals to much greater competition from the private sector passed a Georgia legislative committee on Monday. The House Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care easily approved House Bill 198. It is the broadest of several bills under discussion in the Legislature this year to ease the regualation called Certificate of Need, or CON. CON tamps down competition, requiring anyone who wants to open or expand hospital-like services to prove that there’s really a need for the new facility. Hospitals see CON as protecting them from private health care businesses that want to cherry-pick their profitable services, and leave them with the money-losers. Health care entrepreneurs see CON as preventing competition and limiting consumer choice. Within the Atlanta region, HB 198 would eliminate CON except with some long-term care facilities. Outside the Atlanta region, the bill also eliminate CON, unless the proposed competitor was within 10 miles of an existing hospital....READ MORE
As reported by the AJC: A long-expected bill to lift restrictions on private competition for hospitals’ best customers has been filed in the state House. The measure, House Bill 198, was filed by state Rep. Matt Hatchett, R-Dublin, chairman of the House majority caucus. Following the lead of a House study committee, HB 198 takes a broad swipe at the restrictions known as certificate of need, or CON. Certificate of need is a regulation that is aimed at protecting the bottom lines of public hospitals. Such hospitals say private health businesses want to cherry-pick their profitable services, such as bone surgery or cancer treatment, and leave them with the money losers, including caring for those who can’t pay. CON regulations say that if someone wants to open a new medical facility, the state must first certify that there’s actually a need for it that isn’t already being served by other hospitals. Entrepreneurs say they’re blocked from innovation by CON, and that patients are...READ MORE
As reported in the Newnan Times-Herald Sen. Matt Brass (R – Newnan) was recently appointed to serve as Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries and Utilities and to serve on several influential committees for the 2019 Legislative Session by the Senate Committee on Assignments. “I am honored to be asked to serve as Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries and Utilities,” said Sen. Brass. “This committee is vital in overseeing some of our state’s most important resources such as telecommunications, gas and electricity. I look forward to working with members of all of the committees I serve on to ensure each piece of legislation receives the proper amount of time and attention.” In addition to serving as Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries and Utilities, Sen. Brass will serve as Chairman of the Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee, as Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Development and Tourism and as Secretary...READ MORE
As reported in the AJC: Medical marijuana: Legislation will be introduced to allow medical marijuana cultivation, manufacturing and distribution to registered medical marijuana patients. Georgia’s medical marijuana law has been in place since 2015, but it remains illegal for patients to buy or transport the drug. A state-run system to grow and sell medical marijuana would give patients a legal way to obtain a medicine they say helps treat severe seizures and deadly cancer. Key players: Sen. Matt Brass, R-Newnan; Rep. Micah Gravley, R-Douglasville; and Rep. Alan Powell, R-Hartwell. Prospects: Decent. A growing number of lawmakers in the Republican-led General Assembly support state controls for distribution of medical marijuana.
As reported on All on Georgia: After meeting a number of times around the state, a group of Georgia lawmakers have recommended steps to help Georgia students with dyslexia. The Senate Study Committee on Dyslexia released its final report ahead of the legislative session that is set to begin next week. On the committee were Senators Fran Millar, Gloria Butler, and Matt Brass as well as Dr. Leslie Stuart and Mr. Garry McGiboney. Students with dyslexia, teachers that work wtih dyslexic students, and other experts in the education field testified over the course of several months to offer related testimony to lawmakers. Ultimately, the committee made three recommendations. Develop a college curriculum for future teachers so they have more tools to help identify children with dyslexia and language disorders. Screening of kindergarten students in public schools in an effort to catch signs of dyslexia at an early age. Screening would continue through the second grade since Georgia schools don’t require attendance...READ MORE
As Published by the Newnan Times-Herald: Coweta County’s employment increased by more than 2 percent, adding 923 jobs since last year. Most of those job gains occurred in food, health care, retail trade and administrative support, according to an economic overview presented by the University of West Georgia’s Dr. William (Joey) Smith, chairman of the university’s economics department. Additional panelists included Chris Clark, Georgia Chamber of Commerce president and CEO and Sally Wallace, dean of the Andrew Young School of...READ MORE
As reported by the Macon Telegraph: MACON, GA  Leslie Johns waited 13 years to hear her son, Darrell, call her “Mama.” Darrell was born with hydrocephalus and epilepsy, two neurological conditions that have stunted his development and made it nearly impossible for him to get through the day without a seizure. When Georgia legalized some medical marijuana in 2015, Johns immediately applied for a medical card. Six days after Darrell’s first dose of the cannabis oil, he said “Mama” for the first...READ MORE
As reported in the Cobb Business Journal: Patients, parents and organizations on either side of the debate on expanding access to medical cannabis oil will be the first to testify for a legislative study committee Aug. 29 in Atlanta. The committee hearing will limit the subject to medical marijuana use and not consider the subject of marijuana for recreational use, said District 67 State Rep. Micah Gravley, R-Douglasville. Gravley, co-chairman of the Joint Study Commission on Low THC Medical Oil...READ MORE
As reported by the Cobb Business Journal: Cobb-based Delta Community Credit Union opened on Aug. 16 its 28th retail branch. The new branch is located at 90 Glenda Trace in Newnan in the Coweta Crossroads shopping center. It is the credit union’s second location in Coweta County. At a ribbon-cutting celebration, Georgia Sen. Matt Brass, Newnan-Coweta Chamber president Candace Boothby and others joined Delta Community CEO Hank Halter to formally open the branch, which is centrally located between the credit...READ MORE
As reported by the Newnan Times-Herald: Coweta State Sen. Matt Brass has been named co-chairman of the Joint Study Committee on Low THC Medical Oil Access. The committee, created by legislation that Brass, R-Newnan, shepherded through the Georgia Senate, is tasked with identifying ways to give access to medical cannabis oil to Georgians who have state-issued cards allowing them to possess the oil. Though the oil has been legal for certain conditions since 2015, there is no legal way for...READ MORE