The problem? Georgia residents with cancer can be denied access and treatment simply because of their zip codes.

That is NOT OK.

A specific set of cancer care statutes within Georgia’s Certificate of Need (CON) laws limit patient choice and potentially threaten the health and well-being of cancer-fighting residents. That means the number of in-state residents seeking cancer treatment at a certain facility is capped at 35 percent, while the remaining 65 percent are out-of-state patients. On top of that, a Destination Cancer Hospital is restricted to a 50 inpatient bed limit.

Due to legal restrictions put on a Destination Cancer Hospital, many Georgia cancer patients are being denied local access, often forcing them to seek out-of-state treatment away from their loved ones and their homes.

“The evidence is clear that certificate-of-need laws are harming, not helping. Patients want local, innovative and affordable health care – and only open competition, not government-mandated scarcity, can deliver.”

The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 11, 2016

How Exactly Did This Harmful Situation Happen?

In the 1970s, CON 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. 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 unintentionally compromised patient choice.

The Law Must Be Changed to Give Georgians Choice and Access.

Georgians have taken key steps in getting the law changed. Advocates, cancer fighters, survivors, legislative partners and supporters across the state came together to bring this issue to the Georgia State Capitol during the 2017 legislative session.

This session marked a significant turning point. Supporters were able to send nearly 3,000 emails to state legislators urging them to take action and change certain statutes within Georgia’s CON laws.

Their calls, emails and social media posts were instrumental in inspiring legislators to introduce new legislation to revise these laws.

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

But We Need You to Get Involved Today to Ensure These Unjust Laws Are Changed in 2018!

In Georgia’s 2018 legislative session, we’ll have the opportunity to reform these unjust laws.

Can you imagine being diagnosed with cancer and then being told that you can’t receive care at your local hospital? The law MUST be changed to give Georgians choice and access to quality cancer care.

Cancer patients throughout Georgia are counting on you to take action. Please take the time to sign the petition, join Speak Now Georgia’s advocacy network, stay informed and be ready to engage your legislators during the 2018 legislative session.