MAG Alliance receives national award
The Medical Association of Georgia Alliance (MAG Alliance) – which is a network of physicians' spouses who volunteer to improve the health of all Georgians – was honored with the American Medical Association Alliance LEAP Award for its grassroots efforts to pass the Georgia Lactation Consultant Practice Act (H.B. 649) in 2016.
“Many mothers receive breastfeeding help while they are in the hospital, but for most the challenges occur after they are discharged – when expert care is no longer available,” MAG Alliance President Merrilee Gober, explained when she accepted the award during a ceremony that took place in Chicago on June 12. “The MAG Alliance was, therefore, grateful for the opportunity to be an advocate for Georgia's mothers and babies to ensure greater access to this important and much-needed health care service.”
According to Gober, H.B. 649 will establish a lactation consultant advisory committee that will advise the Georgia Secretary of State, who will license the qualified individuals who want to be lactation consultants.
Keeping in mind that Georgia has less than 30 percent of the lactation consultants it needs, Gober also pointed out that, “Physicians, particularly pediatricians and family medicine physicians, would like to hire lactation consultants to be part of their office staff, but they can't unless the insurance companies will reimburse them for the service — which requires that lactation consultants be licensed. Georgia's licensure will now draw people into the profession to fill the needs.”
Gober stressed that, “The Georgia legislation would have never passed without the strong support of the Medical Association of Georgia, the Georgia Composite Medical Board, and other medical specialty societies in the state.”
In another development, Gober announced that MAG Alliance member Dave Street has been elected to serve as a member of the AMA Alliance Development Committee.
The MAG Alliance supports a number of important initiatives – including the MAG Foundation’s ‘Think About It’ campaign to reduce prescription drug abuse and the Georgia Department of Public Health's ‘SHAPE’ program to promote youth fitness. Every Georgia physician's spouse can currently join the MAG Alliance for free. Go to magalliance.org for additional information on the MAG Alliance.
From the left are MAG Alliance Immediate Past President Miriam Eve Tidwell, AMA Alliance President Julie Newman, MAG Alliance President Merrilee Gober, and MAG Alliance Past President Dave Street.