Sen. Renee Unterman Appointed as Chair of Three Senate Study Committees

ATLANTA (July 6, 2016)  |  Sen. Renee Unterman (R– Buford) was selected by Lt .Gov. Casey Cagle to serve as Co-Chair of the Georgia Pallative Care and Quality of Life Advisory Council and as Chair of the Surprise Billing Practices and the Opioid Abuse Senate Study Committees.

“Access to palliative care is critical to every community in the state and finding solutions to improve availability is critical,” said Sen. Unterman. “Along with access to care, we must address the widespread abuse of opioids. This issue affects people from all walks of life, social classes and areas in the state. We must do all we can to educate, rehabilitate and save lives.”

“Also, I look forward to addressing the issues with surprise billing for patients for out of pocket procedures. Medical bankruptcy has become a new social phenomenon due to the current state of the healthcare crisis which our country is now experiencing. Patients cannot afford to pay bills that are out of network. Solutions must be examined and proposed to save consumers who are hit with high bills and expectations to pay them.”

“Sen. Renee Unterman has a proven track record in addressing the needs of our citizens and will be an invaluable resource as Co-Chair of the Georgia Pallative Care and Quality of Life Advisory Council and as Chair of the Surprise Billing Practices and the Opioid Abuse Senate Study Committees,” said Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. “I’m confident she will examine the issues at hand and provide new legislative recommendations to the General Assembly as we prepare for the 2017 Legislative Session.”

The Georgia Pallative Care and Quality of Life Advisory Council was created by the passage of House Bill 509 during the 2016 legislative session. As stated in the legislation, the committee shall be comprised of three members of the Senate, three members of the House and three members appointed by the Governor. The council is charged with finding solutions that will improve quality and delivery of patient centered and family focused palliative care throughout Georgia. Palliative care is intended to alleviate suffering and to achieve relief from certain conditions. The council is responsible for submitting a report of findings and recommendations, including proposed legislation, by June 30, 2017.

Senate Resolution 1165 created the Senate Opioid Abuse Study Committee during the 2016 legislative session. The President of the Senate will appoint seven members to serve on this study committee. Opioid abuse is on the rise nationally and within the state. This committee will conduct the important task of investigating what needs to be done to prevent future abuse and overdoses. The study committee is responsible for submitting a report of findings and recommendation, including proposed legislation, by December 1, 2016.

The Senate Surprise Billing Practices Study Committee was created by the passage of Senate Resolution 974 during the 2016 legislative session. As stated in the resolution, the committee shall be comprised of four members of the Senate. This study committee will review how surprise billing laws are working in other states and how these laws may be beneficial to Georgia citizens. The study committee is responsible for submitting a report of findings and recommendations, including proposed legislation, by December 1, 2016.