Dr. Andrew Reisman, a Longstreet Clinic physician, is the new president of the Medical Association of Georgia, putting him at the forefront of policy issues ahead of the 2020 legislative session.
Reisman is a family medicine physician in Oakwood and has been with the Longstreet Clinic since 1996.
MAG sets legislative priorities for each Georgia General Assembly and advocates for physicians in a variety of specialties. About 8,000 Georgia physicians are members.
Reisman took on the new role in October and will serve until October 2020.
One issue the association hopes to address is “surprise billing,” Reisman said.
“A physician renders care to a patient who is not a contracted physician in the patient’s insurance network. For instance, you maybe get in a car accident and you need emergency services at a hospital,” Reisman said. “The hospital is in network, the surgeon is in network, but the anesthesiologist is not. Then you get a large bill from the anesthesiologist.”
Reisman said that leaves both patients and providers in a difficult position.
“Then you have two issues, either a patient getting stuck with a huge bill or an anesthesiologist who provided you the care leaves themselves open for being named in a lawsuit … and may not get paid,” he said.
MAG also wants to address tort reform, and Reisman said he has seen an increase in judgments against physicians and businesses, including payouts by companies for issues that occurred off premises or after hours. He said reform can make the state more attractive for businesses and physicians.
“It kind of makes it hard to be the No. 1 state for business in the country and have a state where those kind of ridiculous things occur,” he said.
Reisman said he would also like to see more transparency in health insurance.
“One of the strategies they use to keep the costs down is they find a very narrow network, so they may go and contract with only 10% of physicians in an area. That leaves (patients) extremely restricted,” he said.
Another goal of MAG is to increase access to care, Reisman said.
“We support federal dollars to insure patients with private insurance. We think that’s ideal. I think private business can often do it better than the government can,” Reisman said. “We’re looking for all kinds of solutions that are possible to provide more Georgians with affordable care and access to high quality care.”
Reisman is the third-ever doctor from the Gainesville and Hall County area to serve as MAG president, following Gainesville ophthalmologist Dr. Jack M. Chapman Jr., in 2007 and 2008 and retired Longstreet Clinic neurologist Dr. E. Frank McDonald Jr., who served in the role in 2017 and 2018.
He earned his medical degree from the University of Miami and completed his residency at the University of Maryland. He lives in Gainesville with his wife, Hall County Magistrate Court Judge Elizabeth Reisman, and their children Robert, Charlie and Caroline.