Health reform effort faces potentially formidable opposition at state Capitol

By David Pendered

The legislative effort to “revolutionize” the not-for-profit well being care supply system in Georgia is about to run head-on into entrenched hospital pursuits which have crowed victory in defending a regulation that dates to 1979 and protects the established order.

piedmont hospital, rendering

With 12 services listed as members of the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals, Piedmont Healthcare has the biggest presence in GACH. Piedmont is including 870,305 sq. ft of latest development and 45,583 sq. ft of renovation at its flagship facility in Atlanta. Credit:

A cornerstone of laws filed final week is the proposed elimination of the centerpiece of the legal guidelines relating to Georgia’s well being care supply system. The companion payments are Senate Bill 74 and House Bill 198.

This centerpiece is a certificates issued by the state. This certificates affirms the state has authorised a necessity that’s been said to justify development of a brand new hospital, the acquisition of main medical tools, or the renovation of an present facility. Thus the title – certificates of want.

The Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals is a number one defender of the prevailing certificates of want program. The alliance might have assist from lobbyists employed by particular person hospitals and medical facilities in defending the established order. The alliance’s information present it pays nice consideration, and sources, to the certificates of want program.

The alliance, primarily based in Tifton, is to not be taken flippantly – it represents a consortium of 88 hospitals or medical facilities in all areas of the state, in response to a report on its web site.

A central mission of the alliance seems to have turn out to be the blocking of proposed adjustments to the certificates of want regulation. The opposition is highlighted within the president/CEO message revealed within the newest and up to date annual studies:

  • 2017 – “We faced what has become an annual assault on Georgia’s Certificate of Need, laws [sic] were once again successful in our efforts to stop that legislation.”
  • 2016 – “A serious push to repeal the Certificate of Need law went nowhere last year, but, another attempt this year is likely. We must be prepared to face issues that continually come up – Certificate of Need and renewal of the provider fee.”
  • 2015 – “As we speculated last year, 2015 has been the year of Certificate of Need. We had a glimmer of hope that it wouldn’t be a significant battle in the short- term when the Legislature showed little interest this past session. However, multispecialty surgery centers continue wanting to enter the market, only to provide the services that are profitable….”

The alliance paid $774,962 for the entire compensation bundle for Monty Veazey, its president/CEO, and state lobbyist since at least 2006. This is in response to the newest tax return for the not-for-profit group that’s posted by, representing the tax yr that ended Sept. 30, 2016, and Veazey’s Georgia lobbyist report.

Veazey treats lawmakers to meals and journeys to resorts on behalf of the alliance. Recent occasions embrace:

  • On Jan. 28, Veazey handled 19 House members to a meal at an unspecified location to speak concerning the unspecified situation of “healthcare.” Each meal price $20, in response to the pertinent Lobbyist Report Form.
    Monty Veazey

    GACH President/CEO Monty Veazey speaks at one of many group’s occasions. Credit:

  • Veazey met individually with two senators in December 2018 to debate the unspecified situation of “healthcare.” On Dec. three, he spent $13.73 for the senator’s meal and,on Dec. 5, paid $13.48 for one more senator’s meal, in response to a Lobbyist Disclosure Form.
  • At a price of $663 per particular person, Veazey hosted two House members and one senator at what the disclosure describes as, “participation in education panel.” The Oct. 11, 2018 date coincides with the alliance’s annual assembly, carried out Oct. 10 by Oct. 12 at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, in response to a report revealed by the Greene County Chamber of Commerce.

The alliance doesn’t appear to have hassle discovering cash for its lobbying effort.

The complete income cited within the 2016 tax return was $2.5 million. Of this sum, $1.7 million got here from membership dues, almost $540,000 from particular assessments and $283,000 from assembly sponsorships.

The problem of defending the state’s certificates of want program and different problems with concern to the alliance doesn’t seem to eat all of Veazey’s time at the Capitol.

In addition to the alliance, Veazey has 5 different important shoppers this legislative session. Each pays $10,000 a yr or extra; the state type doesn’t disclose another cost degree. A Florida firm pays lower than $10,000, the report reveals.

Veazey’s 5 bigger shoppers this yr embrace MillerCoors LLC; Atlanta Motor Speedway; and Georgia Association of Nurse Anesthetists, in response to Veazey’s lobbyist disclosure listing.


David PenderedDavid Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with greater than 30 years expertise reporting on the area’s city affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and suggested on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent greater than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and received awards for his protection of faculties and concrete improvement. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

Tags: Health care, reform, certificates of want

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