Governor Deal Signs Legislation to Combat “Pill Mills” in Georgia

ATLANTA (May 2, 2013) – Today, Governor Nathan Deal signed House Bill 178 into law. Sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Renee Unterman (R- Buford), this legislation would require pain management clinics “pill mills” to be licensed by the Georgia Composite Medical Board.

“I would like to thank Governor Deal for signing this legislation into law today,” said Sen. Unterman. “Thanks to the dedication of my colleagues in the General Assembly and interested stakeholders, we are now one step closer to curtailing the spread of unscrupulous “pill mills” and preventing prescription drug abuse in communities across the state.

“These “pill mills” operate under the guise of pain management clinics and were previously unregulated in Georgia. Under this legislation, pain management clinics will now be accountable for their actions and the likelihood of over-prescribing highly-addictive pain killers will be greatly reduced.”

According to House Bill 178, all pain management clinics will now be required to obtain licensure from the Georgia Composite Medical Board. Georgia Pain Management Clinics must be operated by a licensed physician and meet certain requirements for prescribing medicine and pain management services. Before a new applicant can receive a license, the Georgia Composite Medical Board will conduct a thorough investigation, which includes a criminal background check.

This legislation also enables the Georgia Composite Medical Board to establish its own set of standards for continuing medical education and training. These standards apply to pain management clinic owners as well as health care professionals who practice pain management at a Georgia clinic.  However, hospital-owned clinics are exempt from these licensure requirements, with the exception of hospital outpatient clinics that treat more than 50 percent of their patients for nonterminal conditions that result in chronic pain.

In addition to licensure requirements and continuing education, this legislation gives the board the authority to create standards for prescribing medications for chronic pain management.

This legislation will go into effect on July 1, 2013 and require clinics to renew their license every two years.

For Immediate Release:
May 2, 2013

For Information Contact:
Jennifer Yarber, Interim Director
Shawna Mercer, Sr. Communications Specialist