About the Issue

We Have a Problem.

The unintended consequences of a specific set of cancer care statutes within Georgia's Certificate of Need (CON) laws need to be addressed. The statutes in question not only limit patient choice, they threaten the health and well-being of Georgians seeking access to quality cancer care close to home. Because of legal restrictions put on a Destination Cancer Hospital, would-be patients who live in Georgia are left with fewer cancer care options, forcing them to seek treatment elsewhere, away from their friends, family, loved ones, churches and other support systems. Georgia residents battling cancer should have the freedom to choose cancer treatment close to home.

What Happened?

In the 1970s, Certificate of Need laws were created to determine if new or expanded health care services or facilities were needed in Georgia. These complex laws were written to ensure the availability of adequate health care services for Georgians. Certificate of Need laws were meant to safeguard against the unnecessary duplication of services, which could inflate health care costs. However, in the 2008 legislative session, major reforms to Georgia’s Health Planning Statute (O.C.G.A. Title 31, Chapter 6) were enacted through a Senate Bill (SB433) that ultimately compromised patient choice.

Under that statute, Destination Cancer Hospitals in Georgia (a legal designation for hospitals that offer diagnostic, therapeutic treatment and rehabilitative care to cancer patients) are heavily restricted. Specifically, they are legally obligated to restrict the number of in-state patients to just 35 percent of their total patient base, compared to 65 percent from out-of-state. On top of that, a Destination Cancer Hospital is restricted to an arbitrary 50 in-patient bed limit. Georgia law, in-effect, creates a situation where its own residents are afforded fewer choices.

Can you imagine being diagnosed with cancer and then being told that you can’t receive care or treatment at your local hospital?

It’s Time to Speak Now.

The law must be changed to give Georgians access to quality cancer care at the facility of their choosing close to friends, family and loved ones.

Through the efforts of our advocates, Cancer Fighters, legislative partners and supporters across the state, the Speak Now Georgia campaign was able to bring this issue of patient choice in cancer care to the front steps of the Georgia State Capitol during the 2017 Legislative Session.

This session marked a significant turning point for our campaign. We saw more progress this year than ever before and were able to raise statewide awareness for this important issue. During a short, 4-month span, nearly 2,000 individuals across Georgia joined our fight and became Speak Now Georgia advocates.

Our supporters were able to send nearly 3,000 emails to state legislators urging them to take action and change certain statutes within Georgia’s Certificate of Need law that currently limit where Georgia cancer patients can seek medical treatment.

Their calls, emails, and social media posts were instrumental in persuading legislators to file both Senate Bill 123 and House Bill 464 to revise Certificate of Need laws.

Even though neither bill made it through committee this session, this is a two-year legislative process. Speak Now Georgia made significant progress in the first half of our campaign and we are in a strong position to go even further in the second half.

We will keep our supporters updated on any upcoming initiatives or campaign movement.

BUT, WE NEED YOUR HELP TO URGE LEGISLATORS TO TAKE ACTION! Be part of our movement by joining Speak Now Georgia––a patient-driven, grassroots movement whose mission is to drive public awareness around, and organize action against, statutes within state cancer care laws that stifle a patient’s right to choose a Destination Cancer Hospital and burden Georgians fighting for their lives.

Click below to join our Advocacy Network. Once you enter your email address you have access to all the latest legislative updates, news, and posts on our progress. Most importantly, you can identify and contact your state legislators and urge them to take action.

Speak Now. Start Here.