Georgia Governor Signs Health Care Legislation

Georgia Governor Signs Health Care Legislation
Governor Brian Kemp

Today, Governor Brian P. Kemp, alongside First Lady Marty Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones, and various state and local leaders, enacted a comprehensive set of laws aimed at enhancing access to quality and affordable health care. The signing ceremony, held in Athens, marked a significant step toward addressing critical health care needs, particularly in rural and underserved communities across Georgia.

The legislation package encompasses several key measures, including expansions of tax credits, loan forgiveness programs, and revisions to health care processes. Among the notable provisions are:

  • Expansion of Rural Physician Tax Credit: The legislation broadens the Rural Physician Tax Credit to include dentists, offering up to $5,000 in tax credits annually for eligible health care professionals working in rural areas.
  • Inclusion of Dental Students in Loan Forgiveness Program: Dental students committing to practice in rural regions will now qualify for service-cancelable loans under the revised legislation.
  • Revision of Certificate of Need Process: Amendments to the Certificate of Need process introduce exemptions for various health care services, such as psychiatric and substance abuse programs, perinatal services, and birthing centers in rural counties. Additionally, the total limit on tax credits for donations to rural hospital organizations is raised to $100 million.
  • Reorganization of County Boards of Public Health: The legislation reorganizes county boards of public health and expands qualifications for the chief executive officer position to include individuals with a background in medicine or public health.
  • Definition of Qualified Residential Treatment Programs (QRTP): Legislation aligns the definition of QRTP with federal law standards.
  • Establishment of Student Loan Repayment Program: A new student loan repayment initiative is established to support mental health and substance use professionals serving underserved youth and communities disproportionately affected by health disparities.

Governor Kemp expressed his commitment to fulfilling his promise of enhancing health care accessibility, particularly in rural areas, emphasizing the importance of collaboration with the General Assembly in achieving these goals. The signing of six pieces of legislation represents a significant milestone in advancing health care equity and quality across Georgia.