2017 Archives

December 5--  State Representative Greg Morris of Vidalia reports "From the People's House."

Hurricane Irma. Estimates of the damage of Hurricane Irma, that hit Georgia as a tropical storm has reached 670 million according to the Department of Insurance. That figure comes from about 130,000 claims filed with insurance companies and could possibly go higher. None of that amount includes damaged property that was not covered by insurance. Despite the enormous damages Georgia incurred , Florida suffered much worse , topping 6 billion in damages. According to the National Hurricane Center one-fourth of all Category 5 hurricanes that hit landfall since 1851 occurred in 2017. While I certainly don’t want to minimize the damage Irma caused Georgia, we have historically been very blessed in avoiding the worst of these destructive hurricanes.

Nurses/Rural Healthcare. A State Senate study committee has recommended that advanced practice nurses (APRNs) in rural areas be given much broader medical authority when it comes to prescribing medications and ordering tests. The current law allows nurse practitioners to prescribe medications only under a collaborative agreement with a physician. The study committee proposes to allow these nurses the ability to prescribe medications on their own as well as order MRIs and CT scans in rural counties. The committee has stated this would help achieve the goal of recruiting advanced practice RNs to practice in underserved rural areas. The statistics on medical providers in rural Georgia are startling. 9 counties have no doctors at all. 63 counties have no pediatricians and 22 have no APRNs. An Advanced Practice Registered Nurse has a master’s degree in Nursing. Currently 22 states allow APRNs to prescribe medications independently.

The Medical Association of Georgia, the state’s leading physicians organization, has voiced opposition to the idea. They believe that nurses should continue to work under the direct supervision of a physician to ensure the safety of patients. I expect this legislation will be introduced in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. To say this bill will generate controversy is an understatement.

Identity Theft.   In light of a significant increase in identity theft in Georgia, Georgia Department of Revenue Commissioner Lynne Riley has warned holiday shoppers to be extra careful with their private information. While I was aware of the usual scams involving identity theft, such as opening up credit cards in the victim’s name, I wasn’t aware to the degree the criminals had perfected another avenue for fraud. The scam I am talking about is stealing someone’s identity and filing fraudulent tax returns to get refunds. Amazingly, the state has blocked 118 million in fraudulent refund claims so far this year. I commend Commissioner Riley and the Revenue Department for their diligence in protecting taxpayer


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