For 10 years, Georgia state leaders have blocked access to affordable health coverage via Medicaid to almost 600,000 Georgians, Knetta Adkins with Georgians for a Healthy Future said last month.
Since our founding in 2008, Georgians for a Healthy Future has worked tirelessly to provide a strong voice for health care consumers in the policy sphere. One of the most important ways we advocate on behalf of consumers is by engaging with state policymakers to bring important health care challenges and barriers to light and work collaboratively to address them. While this is a year-round endeavor, the 40-day Legislative Session is when the rubber really meets the road.
This year, improving provider directories was our top legislative priority. Over the past three years, we have heard time and again that these directories, intended to inform patients and consumers about which doctors are in their plan, were error-ridden. A secret shopper survey we conducted earlier this year confirmed this: one in five health care providers listed in the directories we reviewed weren’t even in the network, and three-quarters of directory listings contained at least one error. This was unacceptable. Consumers need and deserve an accurate and functional tool that can help them make the best health care choices for themselves and their families.
Throughout the Legislative Session, we have asked you to contact your legislators in support of SB 302, legislation to improve the accuracy and usability of provider directories. Last night at 11:23pm, SB 302 cleared its final hurdle by receiving a favorable Senate “agree” vote to the modest changes made to the bill in the House of Representatives! This means the legislation has successfully passed the General Assembly and now heads to the Governor for his signature.
I also hope that you will continue to engage with Georgians for a Healthy Future. We deeply value your support, whether it be as avolunteer, community partner, or donor. And while we’ll be taking a breather this weekend to celebrate this legislative victory, we also remain vigilant. There are still too many Georgians who can’t access the care they need, and our work to get Georgians covered, ensure access to care, enhance value for consumers, and build a healthier Georgia continues.