Message from the Chair: Alexander S. Gross, MD
It is hard to believe that my year as Chairperson of the Georgia Composite Medical Board has come to an end. Your Board works diligently to fulfill its mandate to ensure quality health care for all Georgians by licensing and providing oversight of medical providers. From July 2010 to June 2011, we issued 2,920 new licenses (including 1,710 physician licenses), reviewed 2,165 complaints, and conducted 252 investigative interviews. I am extremely proud of the Board’s ability to fairly and expediently discharge its duties, given our large monthly work volume.
I am pleased to report on the progress of several new policies and programs on which the Board has been working.
We recently completed writing Rules for the Professional Wellness Program, which will provide assistance to medical professionals dealing with substance abuse, psychological problems, and personal boundary issues. Compared to states in which initial identification of practitioners with these issues leads to automatic sanction, the states that employ wellness programs service three times as many practitioners in need. Instead of potentially endangering patients while hiding in the shadows, health care providers needing treatment of their own will have the opportunity to be monitored confidentially by professionals who will determine who is and is not safe to practice. We anticipate our program will go into effect during our next session.
During the 2009/2010 legislative session, the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate each passed resolutions asking the Board to create guidelines for office based anesthesia and surgery. The writing of these guidelines was completed in June, and we anticipate publishing them at the end of the summer. I would like to personally thank the Georgia Society of Anesthesiologists for its help and guidance.
The Board also promoted the passage of Senate Bill 36, which authorized the creation of a Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) for Georgia. The program will help us identify and discipline licensees who overprescribe narcotics in “pill mills” which have become a large problem in Georgia. Oversight of the PMP will be a function of the Pharmacy Board, and we are looking forward to working together to support the efforts of law enforcement to curtail illegal drug trafficking in our state.
Finally, I would like to thank my fellow Board members and our dedicated staff for their hard work and support during the past year. It is an honor and a pleasure to work with this conscientious group. I am proud to pass the gavel to Dr. Charles White, who will serve as the Board’s chairperson during the next year and will undoubtedly provide excellent leadership. The Board exists to serve the citizen of Georgia, and to that end, we continue to work for you.
Click Here to view the entire Georgia Composite Medical Board June 2011 Newsletter