Archive for the ‘GAFP Membership News’ Category

Contract Negotiations for Employed Family Physicians – Key Tips from a Lawyer

Contract Negotiations for Employed Family Physicians – Key Tips from a Lawyer

Thursday, September 29 – 6:00 pm (Eastern Time)
Ericka L. Adler
Shareholder – Roetzel & Andress
Health Law Group Practice Leader
Chicago, IL

Ericka Adler, JD, LLM, is a lawyer specializing in regulatory and transactional health care law. Ericka devotes a large portion of her practice to advising professionals and practices about contracts and compensation arrangements. She received her Juris Doctor and Master of Law from DePaul University College of Law. Advising professionals and practices on their contracts and compensation arrangements is a major area of Ericka’s practice. Recently, she worked with the AAFP to develop “A Family Physician Guide to Employment Contracts,” which is available for free to members. 

Handling Negotiations Professionally Including Key Goals:

  • Call
  • Location
  • Schedule
  • Duties
  • Patient Allocation/Volume
  • Benefits
  • Salaries

You must be an AAFP or GAFP member and register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Please send any of your critical employment questions no later than Thursday, September 22nd so that we can cover as many topics as possible.  Email your questions to Fay Fulton (Georgia Academy’s Executive Vice President at

Georgia Healthy Family Alliance Launches Caduceus Diamond Giving Level

In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians, the Georgia Healthy Family Alliance has launched the Caduceus Diamond giving level.

During the August 2022 Trustee meeting, the Georgia Healthy Family Alliance Board members noted that many members were nearing the end of their original pledge for the Your Giving is Great Medicine capital campaign. The highest level of giving was the Caduceus Level – $10,000 to $24,999 with the ability to give over several years. The Trustees enthusiastically voted to add the Caduceus Diamond level, a giving level ranging between $25,000 to $49,999. 

GHFA Executive Director Fay Fulton asked for it to be noted that she wished to be the first official Caduceus Diamond level giver in memory of her mother, Mrs. Leo B. Fulton.

“My Mom loved her family physician, and the many GAFP members who were also consulted about her medical condition over the last few years, said Fulton. It is an honor and a pleasure to continue my giving to support family medicine and support the many Georgia communities that the Alliance is helping in these urgent times when so many need so much.”

In addition, Dr. Eddie Richardson – the current President of the Georgia Healthy Family Alliance Board of Trustees – also joined the Caduceus Diamond level immediately after it was voted and approved by the Trustees.

When asked why he donated Dr. Richard stated, “I have seen firsthand the marvelous heart and life-touching work that the GHFA Community Health Grant recipients have done. And I am 110% behind furthering the mission!”

The Georgia Healthy Family Alliance is also fortunate to have two of its former board presidents already giving at the Caduceus Diamond level even before it was considered an official level. At this moment, we would like to acknowledge and thank two of GHFA’s most distinguished givers – Dr. Loy “Chip” Cowart and Dr. Patrick “PJ” Lynn. Not only are they both selfless with their treasure, both give their time, talent and connections in order to further the GHFA mission.

“I’ve been a faithful supporter of the Georgia Healthy Family Alliance with my money, time, and energy for several years. Nothing is more rewarding than hearing the stories of family doctors serving their communities through our grant programs. Additionally, the growth and innovation with Tar Wars that we have pressed for has been a resounding success, and I am excited to see how many kids we are reaching with our message,” stated Dr. Lynn.

Dr. Cowart expressed a similar sentiment about donating to the Alliance, “Donating to GHFA is a way to help current citizens in Georgia with the health care needs as well as educating students on healthy lifestyle choices. It is a small gesture that can make a big difference for other people.”

Throughout history, diamonds have symbolized strength, love, health and long life. They are regarded as a sign of distinction and often mark the 75th anniversary.

If you are interested in learning more about the various Alliance giving levels and finding a level that fits with your current lifestyle, then contact Alexis Klima at or 478-714-3760.

Together we a making a difference in Georgia – one patient, student, community, and inspiring donor at a time.

GAFP 2022 Congress of Delegates: Call for Resolutions, Deadline September 9

The Georgia Academy of Family Physicians is seeking resolutions for the 2022 Congress of Delegates (COD) meeting. Last year, the COD tackled issues such as prior authorization, setting policy on contributions for state legislators who sponsor legislation that criminalizes medical care, and providing pandemic-related resources for our members.

What is the Congress of Delegates, you ask? The GAFP Congress of Delegates is a governing body of the Academy that can set policy. It meets annually at the GAFP Annual Meeting to vote on and ratify decisions that are made by the Board all year, as well as to hear and vote on resolutions from all members.

We are soliciting your ideas and leadership in proposing resolutions for this year’s Congress of Delegates, the first session will be a live webinar open for all members to attend on Thursday, October 20 at this link:

The final session will meet on Saturday, November 12 in person beginning at 1:00 PM in conjunction with the Annual Meeting held at the Marriott Northwest in Atlanta.

Staff and Speaker Monica Newton, DO and Vice Speaker Ellie Daniels, MD are available to assist you; contact Alesa McArthur at or 800.392.3841. You can submit your resolution online.

We now have added resources on our website for tips on writing resolutions located at this link:

The deadline to submit resolutions is Friday, September 9.

Join us as a delegate! If you are interested in serving your district by being elected as a COD delegate for your district, please reach out to Alesa McArthur and she will confirm your district number, then send you a survey to complete to nominate yourself and others from your district.

GHFA Awards Immediate Needs Grant to Northeast Georgia Family Resource Center To Provide Infant Formula For Families In Need

In response to the ongoing infant formula shortage in Georgia and across the nation, the Georgia Healthy Family Alliance (GHFA) has awarded the Family Resource Center of Northeast Georgia an Immediate Needs Grant to ensure families have access to baby formula. Georgia Academy of Family Physicians member, Dr. Donald Fordham of Demorest, applied for this funding on their behalf.

 The infant formula shortage began last Fall due to supply chain issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. It was exacerbated in February 2022, when manufacturer Abbott Nutrition recalled powdered formula made in its Michigan plant and temporarily shut down plant operations. These two factors resulted in bare grocery shelves in both urban and rural areas across the state. (see photo)

The $1,000 Immediate Needs Grant from GHFA will allow Family Resource Center of Northeast Georgia to source and purchase hard to find infant formula (including soy) at cost and ensure that families in Northeast Georgia who have the greatest need are able to access it.  Many clients of the Center are rural and lack transportation or funds to travel to nearby communities in search of infant formula.

“We have had many desperate calls from families looking for specialized formula,” said Linda Johnson, Executive Director of the Family Resource Center of Northeast Georgia.   “Thank you to GHFA for helping us obtain this formula for our local families in need,” she added.

As the philanthropic arm of the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians (GAFP), GHFA launched the Immediate Needs Grant Program in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to address GAFP member-identified urgent health needs in Georgia communities. To learn more about the 50 Immediate Needs Grants GHFA has awarded to date or to make a donation to support future grants, please visit or email


GAFP PAC Donor Event – Georgia Elections – What do Family Physicians Need to Know About our Looming Statewide Elections?

The GAFP PAC Board is hosting an “Inside Georgia Politics” zoom discussion with our GAFP legislative consultant, Chuck McMullen, and Atlanta Journal Constitution political reporter Greg Bluestein. McMullen and Bluestein will discuss Georgia federal and state races and make a few predictions about the November elections and the 2023 legislative session.

Please donate to receive your insider link to register for this event on Tuesday, August 23 at 6:00 pm.

Chuck McMullen
GAFP Legislative Consultant/Lobbyist
Co-Lead Atlanta Office – Parker Poe Consulting

Chuck has more than 20 years of experience managing government relations for public and private sector clients in the pharmaceutical, health care provider, food and beverage, and energy infrastructure industries. He has leveraged his relationships and public policy experience to provide clients with legislative results at the local, regional, and national levels.

Prior to joining Parker Poe Consulting, Chuck was a senior director in Atlanta for two international law firms, serving as the state government affairs team lead and practice group leader, respectively. He has served in various leadership positions with law and public affairs firms for more than 15 years. He also worked in Washington, D.C., as a regional political director for the American Medical Association responsible for 127 congressional districts in the Southeast and Southwest. In addition, he served as chief of staff to former congressman and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price when he was Georgia’s first Republican majority leader of the state Senate.

Greg Bluestein
Politics/government reporter

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter and author who covers the governor’s office and Georgia politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He writes for the front-page of the AJC, contributes to the Political Insider blog and morning Jolt newsletter, hosts the Politically Georgia podcast and is a frequent guest on local and national TV and radio programs. He’s an MSNBC and NBC News contributor and the author of “Flipped,” a book on Georgia’s epic 2020 election. He’s a proud graduate of the University of Georgia with degrees in journalism and political science and lives with his wife and two daughters in Dunwoody. Order his book at:


Georgia Academy Supporting MAG Survey Research Project


Physician-reported End-of-life Decision Preferences Survey

Dear Colleague, 

The Medical Association of Georgia is collaborating with universities and physician organizations across Europe, North America and Australia on a research study entitled “Physician Reported End-of-life Decision Preferences: a multinational cross-sectional survey study” (PROPEL).  We are seeking input from: general practitioners, cardiologists, gastroenterologists, geriatricians, intensive care, oncologists, nephrologists, neurologists, gynecologists, pulmonologists, and palliative care physicians.       

The aim of the study is to gain insights: 

– into physicians’ personal preferences related to end-of-life decisions  
– into the influences on those preferences 
– into the connection between personal preferences and clinical practice

We would like to invite you to take part in this study by completing an online questionnaire.

Your participation in this study is highly important to achieve meaningful scientific results. Participation in can be completed through the link below. It will take approximately 10-15 minutes and can be started then finished later.  


For questions or concerns please contact:

Sarah Mroz, MPH, MSc 
Executive researcher, End-of-Life Care Research Group, VUB & UGent  

Bethany Sherrer, JD, MBA, MHA 
Director of Government Relations & General Counsel, Medical Association of Georgia 

Thank you in advance for your participation.  


Anna Skold, MD, MPH
Chief of Palliative Care and Physician Lead for Medical Ethics at the Permanente Medical Group

Medicaid Update: Coverage of Medically Necessary Donor Human Breast Milk

Effective July 1, 2022, for claims with dates of service beginning July 1, 2022 and after, Donor Human Breast Milk is covered for Medicaid and CHIP members, ages 0-6 months, in the inpatient hospital setting.  Providers must bill for Donor Human Breast Milk utilizing CPT code T2101.  The reimbursement rate is $4.89 per ounce/unit.  The maximum number of allowable ounces/units is 15 ounces/units per day. The maximum allowable units per member, per lifetime is 1,260 units.

Should you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the Gainwell Technologies Call Center at 770-325-9600 or 1-800-766-4456 or contact us at


Georgia’s LIFE Act Is Now Enforceable

In an ongoing effort to keep our members informed on compliance issues related to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade, the Georgia Academy has engaged the Georgia law firm, Hall, Booth, Smith, to offer ongoing education and information to keep current on Georgia law related to this issue.

Georgia’s LIFE Act is now in effect and enforceable. The law, which was passed in May 2019 and imposed new and various regulations on abortion, had been enjoined by a federal district court since October 2019 as being unconstitutional under federal law. On July 20, 2022, however, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective v. Kemp—the appeal from the lower court’s decision declaring the law unconstitutional. Ultimately, the Eleventh Circuit reversed the district court and upheld the constitutionality of the law, and, by separate order entered later that day, the Eleventh Circuit stayed the district court’s injunction so that the law could take immediate effect.

A summary of the Eleventh Circuit’s decision follows along with some prospective thoughts about the law moving forward. At bottom, the law is now fully effective and enforceable. Therefore, every medical professional should become immediately knowledgeable about the law and how it may affect one’s practice.

           A. The Eleventh Circuit’s Decision

            The timing and substance of the Eleventh Circuit’s decision did not come as much of a surprise. After the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Dobbs, the challengers to the law were left with few arguments. In less than three pages, the Eleventh Circuit quickly dispatched with the law’s constitutionality in a post-Dobbs world. The Eleventh Circuit cited Dobbs and explained that the law’s regulation on abortion was rationally related to the State’s interest in providing full recognition to the life of an “unborn child.” In fact, the challengers to the law largely conceded this part of their argument, given the Supreme Court’s reasoning in Dobbs.

            The Eleventh Circuit spent most of its discussion analyzing the void-for-vagueness issues. This was the alternative basis upon which the district court held the law unconstitutional. The Eleventh Circuit quickly explained that the law was not void on its face based on the re-definition of the term “natural person”  throughout Georgia’s code so as to include an “unborn child.” The Eleventh Circuit reasoned that this argument was also foreclosed after Dobbs and concluded that the challengers could not mount a facial challenge, which would have completely barred the law in all its potential applications. Any argument that specific code sections were rendered unconstitutionally vague, the Eleventh Circuit explained, must be brought in separate proceedings challenging those particular applications of the law.

            In a somewhat surprising move, the Eleventh Circuit entered an order later that day making the law fully enforceable. Typically, there is a brief gap between the issuance of an appellate decision and the effective date of the decision; however, the Eleventh Circuit’s decision left nothing else for the district court to do on the merits other than to formally dissolve the injunction. Thus, while a bit out of the ordinary the move was not necessarily unprecedented. And given the exceedingly complex questions surrounding the potential liability for violations of a once-enjoined law, the Eleventh Circuit’s decision arguably provides at least some clarity and notice to all that their conduct should immediately conform with the law.

          B. What to Expect Moving Forward

            Federal litigation surrounding the constitutionality of the LIFE Act is largely over. The challengers in the case do have the ability to appeal the Eleventh Circuit’s decision to the Supreme Court of the United States; however, the law would almost certainly remain in effect during that time, and it is unlikely that the Supreme Court would consider the case, given the decision in Dobbs. But this does not mean that constitutional challenges to the law are over.

            It is important to understand that the federal litigation challenging the law was based on federal law. Often, many forget that states have their own constitutions, which provide different constitutional rules than the U.S. Constitution does. Recently, the Supreme Court of Georgia has issued several decisions reiterating that the Georgia Constitution provides greater protection for certain rights than do analogous provisions in the U.S. Constitution. Some lawyers and professors have argued that, despite the law’s validity under the U.S. Constitution, the law still violates certain provisions of the Georgia Constitution, including what appears to be a much broader understanding of the right to privacy. Thus, state-court litigation challenging the law under the Georgia Constitution may soon arise, and the law could be declared unconstitutional on this separate and independent basis.

            Other forms of litigation may also arise in federal or state court beyond challenges to the law’s constitutionality, including litigation over other laws in different states that may impact Georgia’s law. For example, just a few weeks after Dobbs, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued specific guidance interpreting the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) as preempting state law that directly conflicts with EMTALA’s mandates in the context of emergency medical care for pregnant women. The Food and Drug Administration has also taken steps to provide clarity with respect to Mifepristone. Thus, further litigation in these areas is expected, and even if not directly related to the LIFE Act this could still have downstream effects impacting the law in Georgia.

            In sum, Georgia’s LIFE Act is now in effect and fully enforceable. Many have noted the law is extraordinarily vague in important respects and therefore does not provide sufficient guidance on what is or is not permitted. These are valid concerns. Unfortunately, greater clarity will not be achieved immediately. As briefly noted above, the law (in Georgia and across the country) is in a state of flux and will remain in a state of flux for some time. Medical professionals should continue adhering to the standard of care in their treatment of patients, and they should remain up-to-date on specific medical and legal guidance.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice and is for informational purposes only. Neither the author nor the author’s law firm represents you, unless a specific engagement between you and the lawyer/firm has been consummated and only then to the extent of such engagement. The information provided herein may no longer be accurate following publication.


Degree of Fellow Convocation Ceremony at the GAFP Annual Meeting

Did you complete your Fellows Application…but you haven’t taken the oath?


Would you like to become a Fellow?

Come and Join Us in November!

The Georgia Academy of Family Physicians (GAFP) will hold a Convocation Ceremony at the Annual Meeting, Saturday, November 12, 2022 at the Marriott NW, for members eligible to receive their Degree of Fellow. The deadline to apply for the Degree of Fellow for 2022 is Friday, September 23. All approved 2022 applicants will be eligible to take their oath and receive their degree of Fellow at the 2022 GAFP Annual Meeting.

Interested? Contact Alesa McArthur, GAFP Deputy EVP, at

Application Requirements:

Any Active, Life or Inactive member, with dues and re-elections in good standing, may, upon application to the American Academy of Family Physicians, be elected to receive the Degree of Fellow upon fulfilling the following requirements:

1.Member must have held Active membership for six years or held a combination of Resident and Active membership for a total of six years.

2.Accrue a grand total of 100 points as defined by this application. Cite experiences and activities in the following areas: Life-Long Learning, Practice Quality and Improvement, Volunteer Teaching, Public Service, Publishing and Research, and Service to the Specialty.

3.Submit a one-time fee of $210. (Note: Credit card will be charged at the time the application is submitted. If the application is rejected, a full refund will be issued.)

To submit online go to, click on the Member Services tab at the bottom and click “learn more” under Degree of Fellow. If you need assistance, please contact the AAFP Fellowship Coordinator, Heather Ynda, at 1‐800‐274‐2237, ext. 6821 or email

Georgia Academy Provides Information for Members following Supreme Court Reversal of Roe v. Wade

Following the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the Georgia Academy issued the following statement:

The ruling by the US Supreme Court related to Roe V. Wade will undoubtedly cause confusion and concern for many Georgians and family physicians. While it will take time to fully understand how this ruling and existing Georgia laws will ultimately affect patient care, we know our members will continue counseling their patients to make medical decisions together about what care is best for them.

The Georgia Academy has a long-standing policy to oppose any legislation or rule that would criminalize care.  We will keep you informed about the potential changing Georgia healthcare landscape with the SCOTUS ruling.  The GAFP will continue to monitor and provide education for our members if the SCOTUS ruling changes the current legal practice of medicine in Georgia.

The American Academy also issued a statement and posted additional information to members which can be found here:

To offer ongoing education, the GAFP engaged the Georgia law firm, Hall, Booth, and Smith and held a Question-and-Answer Session on Legal Implications of the reversal in Georgia.  This webinar was held for over 70 members on Tuesday, June 29th.  Pearson Cunningham, associate with Hall, Booth, and Smith developed an overview of the Supreme Court Ruling and pending litigation in Georgia.  

Additional information will be provided to our members as changes in Georgia health law occurs.


The Supreme Court’s Decision in Dobbs and Georgia’s LIFE Act

On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Whole Women’s Health Org. The decision will bring major changes to the law surrounding regulations on abortions in Georgia and across the country. The Supreme Court’s decision and the current status of Georgia’s “LIFE Act” is summarized below.

A. The Dobbs Decision

In Dobbs v. Jackson Whole Women’s Health Org., the Supreme Court voted 6-3 to uphold the constitutionality of the State of Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act, and by a vote of 5-4, the Court overruled Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

The majority opinion was authored by Justice Samuel Alito and joined by Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barret. Chief Justice Roberts wrote an opinion concurring in the judgment but disapproving of the Court’s overruling of Roe and Casey. Justices Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor wrote a joint dissent.

In Roe, the Supreme Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process clause protects a women’s right to obtain an abortion prior to fetal viability. In Casey, the Supreme Court reaffirmed what it called Roe’s central holding and established that abortion restrictions may not impose an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to obtain an abortion prior to viability. The decision in Dobbs overrules those decisions and others.

Moving forward, a state’s regulation of abortion will pass constitutional muster (as a matter of federal law) so long as it is rationally related to a legitimate state interest. Such laws, the Court explained in Dobbs, will be “entitled to a strong presumption of validity.” This “rational basis” test, which the Court announced as the new framework for analyzing constitutional challenges to abortion laws, is almost always satisfied in favor of the state regulation. In other words, courts have rarely found a law to be unconstitutional under the rational basis test, in other contexts. This is why the opinion has been described as “returning the issue” to the “states.”

This is not to say that abortion regulations will necessarily be found valid in every circumstance. Other, independent reasons may exist for a certain law to be found invalid. For example, a criminal prohibition on abortion may be found invalid on the grounds that the criminal prohibition itself is unconstitutional vague. Generally speaking, though, Dobbs means that states will have broad latitude when legislating on the subject.

B. Georgia HB 481 (the “LIFE Act’)

 In 2019, the Georgia General Assembly passed HB 481 (the “LIFE Act”), which was enacted into law by Governor Brian Kemp on May 7, 2019. See 2019 Ga. Laws 711. The Act amends numerous provisions of Georgia Code on various topics, but importantly, the Act limits abortions performed in Georgia after the point in which a heartbeat is detectable. The Act imposes criminal and civil liability to enforce its provisions. Licensed medical professionals can also face professional discipline for failures to adhere to the Act.

The Act defines “abortion” broadly as “the act of using, prescribing, or administering any instrument, substance, device or other means with the purpose to terminate a pregnancy with knowledge that termination will, with reasonable likelihood, cause the death of an unborn child.” The Act specifies, however, that an “abortion” does not include procedures performed for the purpose of “[r]emoving a dead unborn child caused by spontaneous abortion,” a term the Act specifically defines, or procedures performed for the purpose of “[r]emoving an ectopic pregnancy.”

The Act provides three exceptions to what would otherwise be a prohibited “abortion.” Those exceptions are as follows:

(1) when a “physician determines, in reasonable medical judgment, that a medical emergency exists”;

(2) in cases of rape or incest so long as (a) the “probable gestational age” (as that term is defined in O.C.G.A. §  31-9B-1) of the unborn child is 20 weeks or less, and (b) “an official police report has been filed alleging the offense of rape or incest”; or

(3) when a “physician determines, in reasonable medical judgment, that the pregnancy is medically futile.”

The Act specifically defines the terms “medical emergency” and “medically futile.”

A violation of the Act is punishable by imprisonment of one to ten years. Regarding a criminal prosecution, the Act provides an affirmative defense to a medical professional where the medical treatment provided resulted in the accidental or unintentional injury or death to the “unborn child,” and it provides an affirmative defense to the woman seeking the abortion where she reasonably believed the procedure was the only way to prevent a medical emergency.

Other sections of the Act amend Georgia’s informed consent and reporting statutes in various ways to include additional materials and information that must be provided prior to the procedure being performed. And the Act contains further requirements and conditions on performing abortions in Georgia.

Regarding civil liability, the Act provides that a woman upon whom an abortion is performed in violation of the Act shall be entitled to institute a civil action against the person who engaged in such violation.

C. Status of Litigation over the LIFE Act

Prior to the Act’s effective date, various organizations sued to enjoin enforcement of the Act in June 2019. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia preliminarily enjoined the Act on October 1, 2019. In July 2020, the district court permanently enjoined the Act. The State appealed the decision to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Litigation progressed at the Eleventh Circuit through fall 2021; however, on September 27, 2021, the Eleventh Circuit stayed the case pending the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs.

The case has remained stayed, and thus, the injunction in place, since. Recently, however, the Eleventh Circuit ordered the parties to file supplemental briefs (due on or before July 15, 2022) addressing the effect of the Dobbs decision on the case. A decision from the Eleventh Circuit is not expected before the parties’ deadline to file the supplemental briefs, but it is impossible to know for certain when a decision will be issued.

D. Dobbs, the LIFE Act, and the state of the law moving forward

Technically, the LIFE Act took effect on January 1, 2020; however, the Act has been enjoined since before then, and it remains enjoined at the present time, until the Eleventh Circuit issues a decision or otherwise alters the status quo.

What this means is that the specific parties against whom the injunction has been issued (various state and local officials) may not presently enforce the Act. The injunction is still in place at the present time with respect to those parties. This does not mean that such officials would be prohibited from enforcing the Act as soon as the injunction is lifted—including for conduct occurring in the interim. Whether liability can be validly imposed under such circumstances is a very difficult question of law, for which there are not clear and direct answers. Therefore, medical professionals in Georgia should become immediately familiar with the Act; how it affects their practice; and all should remain up-to-date on specific medical and legal guidance.

While the Eleventh Circuit’s decision can be expected soon, it is impossible to know what the decision will say with respect to the validity of the Act moving forward. The district court’s decision declaring the LIFE Act unconstitutional was premised on two distinct holdings: (1) that the law infringed on the now-overturned liberty interest in obtaining an abortion; and (2) that the law was unconstitutionally vague with respect to how it re-defined the term “person” throughout the Georgia Code so as to include an “unborn child.”

The decision in Dobbs means that the Eleventh Circuit will very likely reverse the district court on the first point. The second point, however, was not at issue in Dobbs, and thus, the Eleventh Circuit must still address this in its forthcoming decision. Furthermore, Dobbs is a decision about federal constitutional law. Dobbs says nothing about the constitutionality of abortion regulations under state constitutional law. Thus, despite the decision in Dobbs (and whatever the  Eleventh Circuit ultimately concludes), future litigation in state court will likely arise under Georgia’s constitution.

Unfortunately, the law will likely remain in a state of flux for some time. Over time, these issues will hopefully be resolved, and there will be greater clarity for all. Medical professionals should continue adhering to the standard of care in their treatment of patients, and they should remain up-to-date on specific medical and legal guidance.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice and is for informational purposes only. Neither the author nor the author’s law firm represents you, unless a specific engagement between you and the lawyer/firm has been consummated and only then to the extent of such engagement. The information provided herein may no longer be accurate following publication.

Dr. George Shannon: Our Bold and Boisterous Past GAFP President and AAFP Board Member

GAFP leader and Past GAFP and Georgia Healthy Family Alliance President, George Shannon, MD, FAAFP passed away in June surrounded by his family. Dr. Shannon was a vibrant force and leader in the Georgia Academy for decades.  Part of his obituary captured some of his family medicine career which includes the following:

After completing his training, he served two years in the U.S. Public Health Service in Parsons, Tennessee. Following his service, Dr. Shannon moved to Jackson, Tennessee to become the founding director of medical education at the University of Tennessee Family Medicine Residency Program until 1982 when he then moved to Columbus, Georgia to accept the position of director of medical education at The Medical Center. Dr. Shannon also served as an associate dean at Emory University and the Medical College of Georgia during this time.

In 1988, he left that position to enter private practice and was a founding member of the Horizons Physician Network/Horizons Diagnostics Group. In addition to his clinical practice and service as medical director, Dr. Shannon was an associate and assistant clinical professor at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Gwinnett Georgia campus, and University of Tennessee respectively.

He retired from his practice in 2015 to spend more time with family and friends, to enjoy the peace and serenity of his house on Lake Martin in Alabama, and to follow his beloved Auburn Tigers.

Among his extensive volunteer experience, Dr. Shannon served multiple roles in the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians, including Chairman of the Board, and the American Academy of Family Physicians, including member of the Board of Directors. In recognition of his service, he was a two-time recipient of the President’s Award of the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians. He was also recognized as the Family Physician of the Year in 1998 by the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians and Medical Association of Georgia.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be sent to the Georgia Healthy Family Alliance, the foundation of Georgia’s family physicians, which supports local community healthcare needs and the education of young people about the harms of tobacco and vaping:  To date over $2,000 has been donated in his memory, and we have let the family know of these individual donations, including a $500 memorial gift from the GAFP Board of Directors.


Join Health Equity and Social Justice Discussion Club – Upcoming Sessions

The Ohio Chapter of the AAFP invites all AAFP members to participate in their discussion club and upcoming events in July, September, and November.  GAFP’s Public Health Committee encourages all Georgia Academy members to review this offering:

The Health Equity & Social Justice Discussion Club will alternate between traditional books and a curated collection of virtual content.

This club is a safe and respectful virtual space to discuss important literature on topics of social justice and health equity all from the comfort of your home or office. Guided conversations will provide unique opportunities for insightful reflection and open-minded sharing with your peers. Each session will take place via Zoom under the guidance of a physician moderator.

Members participating in the Health Equity & Social Justice Discussion Club can submit a Continuing Medical Education (CME) Reporting Form to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) member resource center to claim CME credit as a professional enrichment activity. Credit may be claimed, commensurate with participation, for partaking in other medical educational experiences and activities, such as informal self-learning activities. These activities may or may not be documented, and are not certified by the AAFP, AMA, AOA, but are of a nature of professional enrichment to the family physician.

Financial support for this program was provided by the AAFP Foundation to the Family Medicine Philanthropic Consortium (FMPC) and is funded by members like you! Help programs like this continue to support family medicine by giving to the AAFP Foundation. Select “Chapter Grants” when making your gift online. Thank you!

Thursday, July 21, @ 7:30 p.m. Discussion Registration Discussion Resources | Moderator: Mary Krebs, MD, FAAFP
  Providing Compassionate Care to Survivors of Domestic Violence

Participants will review a selection of virtual content including videos, articles, and blogs to inform their discussion.

Wednesday, September 21, @ 7:30 p.m. Discussion Registration | Moderator: Roxanne Cech, MD, FAAFP
  Canary in the Coal Mine: A Forgotten Rural Community: A Hidden Epidemic, and a Lone Doctor Battling for the Life, Health and Soul of the People

When author and family physician Will Cooke, MD, an idealistic young physician just out of medical training, set up practice in the small rural community of Austin, IN, he had no idea that much of the town was being torn apart by poverty, addiction, and life-threatening illnesses. But he soon found himself at the crossroads of two unprecedented healthcare disasters: a national opioid epidemic and the worst drug-fueled HIV outbreak ever seen in rural America.

Confronted with Austin’s hidden secrets, Dr. Cooke decided he had to do something about them. In taking up the fight for Austin’s people; however, he would have to battle some unanticipated foes: prejudice, political resistance, an entrenched bureaucracy―and the dark despair that threatened to overwhelm his own soul. Canary in the Coal Mine is a gripping account of the transformation of a man and his adopted community, a compelling and ultimately hopeful read in the vein of Hillbilly ElegyDreamland, and Educated.

Tuesday, November 29, @ 7:30 p.m. Discussion Registration | Moderator: Dana Vallangeon, MD
  Health Equity for Marginalized Populations Struggling with Homelessness, Mental Health, and Substance Use Disorder

Participants will review a selection of virtual content including videos, articles, and blogs to inform their discussion.