November 2016 Newsletter

Highlights from MAG’s recent BOD, HOD meetings

The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) recently held two key leadership meetings in Savannah, including its Board of Directors (BOD) on October 14 and its House of Delegates (HOD) on October 15-16. The following is a summary of some of the important developments that took place during those meetings.


– Voted to support Georgia’s participation in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.

– Approved MAG’s 2017 budget, MAG’s financial statements for the month ending August 31, and MAG’s strategic plan for 2020.

– Ratified three appointments to GAMPAC’s Board of Directors, including Tom Bat, M.D., Sid Moore Jr., M.D., and Fonda Mitchell, M.D.

– Ratified the members of the HealtheParadigm Advisory Group, including Chair Steve Walsh, M.D., Frank McDonald, M.D., Tom Bat, M.D., Joe Stubbs, M.D., Doug Patten, M.D., and MAG Executive Director Donald J. Palmisano Jr.

– Approved the constitution and bylaws for two new medical societies in the state, including the North Georgia Mountains Medical Society and the Rome Area Medical Society.

– Approved a new, four-year marketing agreement with MAG Mutual Insurance Company.

– Approved a recommendation to hold MAG’s 2017 ‘Legislative Education Seminar’ at the Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris on June 23-24.

– Decided to keep the existing Physicians Institute for Excellence in Medicine’s Board of Directors in place until it appoints a new slate of officers.

– Elected Rutledge Forney, M.D., and Fred Flandry, M.D., to serve as its chair and vice chair for the next year.

– Appointed five members to MAG’s Finance Committee (with terms ending in 2018), including Michael Dougherty, M.D., William Silver, M.D., Karunaker Sripathi, M.D., Leiv Takle, M.D., and Arthur Torsiglieri, M.D.

– Appointed the Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia’s Editorial Board for 2017, including Editor Stanley Sherman, M.D., Jay Coffsky, M.D., Mark Hanly, M.D., Barry Silverman, M.D., Joseph Wilson Jr., M.D., and Michael Zoller, M.D.

It is also worth noting that Dr. Forney announced her plans to run for the office of president-elect in 2017.

Contact MAG Executive Director Donald J. Palmisano Jr. at with questions related to the BOD meeting.

Key Resolutions

The HOD considered more than 70 items of business, including resolutions that called for MAG to…

Support efforts to allow intranasal naloxone to be dispensed on an over-the-counter basis using standing orders or collaborative practice agreements to be used in a manner consistent with state law (607S.16). Adopted.

Encourage policymakers to pursue the extensive application of needle and syringe exchange and distribution programs and the modification of restrictive laws and regulations that are related to the sale and possession of needles and syringes to maximize the availability of sterile syringes and needles while ensuring that physicians continue to be reimbursed for medically necessary needles and syringes (608S.16). Adopted.

Support the introduction and adoption of legislation that prohibits the use of Maintenance of Certification (MOC) as a condition of medical licensure or as a prerequisite for hospital or staff privileges, employment in state medical facilities, reimbursement from third parties, or malpractice insurance.  (303C.16). Adopted.

Work with the Specialty Tiers Coalition of Georgia (STCGA) to develop Step Therapy Legislation (309C.16). Adopted.

Support a Medicaid waiver to close the health insurance coverage gap in Georgia in a fiscally responsible and sustainable way (312C.16). Adopted.

Allow international medical school graduates who are not included in the statutes of the Georgia Composite Medical Board to apply for an unrestricted medical license following the completion of the second year of their residency program. (101A.16). Adopted.

Continue to support the American Medical Association (AMA) in its advocacy efforts on behalf of physicians that are related to MACRA with the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services and continue to convey information, education, educational and technical support opportunities to its members in a timely and regular fashion. (105A.16). Adopted.

Encourage AMA to develop model legislation to limit cell phone use to hands-free while driving and establish a public safety awareness initiative and enter into partnerships with community organizations to better educate the public on the pitfalls of distracted driving. (106A.16). Adopted.

Submit a resolution to AMA that calls for it to: investigate the purchasing of medications from outside the U.S. with FDA guidance on a temporary basis until availability in the U.S. improves; advocate to permit temporary compounding with FDA’s guidance until medications are available; advocate to allow increased competition in the marketing of medications; advocate for participative pricing; advocate for accountability for outcomes; and advocate for increased regulation of the generic drug market. (107A.16). Adopted.

Submit a resolution to AMA urging it to call for legislation that would eliminate physician costs associated with recovering patient health care records from a previous EMR vendor. (112A.16). Adopted.

Contact MAG Kimberly Ramseur at with questions related to HOD resolutions.

Click for all 2016 HOD resolutions

Election Results

The following officers were elected for 2016-2017…

President Steven M. Walsh, M.D., Roswell, anesthesiology

President-elect Frank McDonald Jr., M.D., Gainesville, neurology

First Vice President S. Mark Huffman, M.D., Marietta, anesthesiology

Second Vice President Lisa Perry-Gilkes, M.D., Atlanta, ENT

Speaker Edmund R. Donoghue Jr., M.D., Savannah, forensic pathology

Vice Speaker James A. Barber, M.D., Douglas, orthopedic surgery

AMA Delegate Joy A. Maxey, M.D., Atlanta, pediatrics

AMA Alternate Delegate John S. Antalis, M.D., Dalton, family medicine

AMA Alternate Delegate Jack M. Chapman Jr., M.D., Gainesville, ophthalmology

Judicial Council member Faria Khan, M.D., Marietta, allergy/immunology

The physicians who were elected to the BOD at the district and county levels included…


Aaron H. Davidson, M.D. (Director, 1)

Michelle R. Zeanah, M.D. (Alternate, 1)

G. Ashley Register, M.D. (Director, 2)

Barbara H. McCollum, M.D. (Alternate, 2)

Santanu Das, M.D. (Director, 3)

W. Steven Wilson, M.D. (Alternate, 3)

Leiv M. Takle, M.D. (Director, 6)

William D. Lazenby, M.D. (Alternate, 6)

John S. Antalis, M.D. (Director, 7)

David C. Bosshardt, M.D. (Alternate, 7)

Keith R. Johnson, M.D. (Director, 8)

Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, M.D. (Alternate, 8)

Richard A. Wherry, M.D. (Director, 9)

Stephen Jarrard, M.D. (Alternate, 9)

Arthur J. Torsiglieri, M.D. (Director, 10)

John O. Bowden, M.D. (Alternate, 10)


William P. Brooks, M.D. (Director, Bibb)

Madalyn Davidoff, M.D. (Alternate, Bibb)

Despina D. Dalton, M.D. (Director, Cobb)

Jeffrey L. Tharp, M.D. (Director, Cobb)

Anthony Musarra II, M.D. (Alternate, Cobb)

Nydia Bladuell, M.D. (Alternate, Cobb)

Andrew H. Herrin, M.D. (Director, Crawford W. Long)

Ryan M. Katz, M.D. (Alternate, Crawford W. Long)

Stanley W. Sherman, M.D. (Director, DeKalb)

Andrea Juliao, M.D. (Director, DeKalb)

Brian Levitt, M.D. (Alternate, DeKalb)

Kathryn C. Elmore, M.D. (Alternate, DeKalb)

Timothy S. Trulock, M.D. (Director, Dougherty)

Michael D. Daugherty, M.D. (Alternate, Dougherty)

David S. Oliver, M.D. (Director, GMS)

Kelly A. Erola, M.D. (Alternate, GMS)

John Y. Shih, M.D. (Director, Gwinnett-Forsyth)

James L. Smith Jr., M.D. (Alternate, Gwinnett-Forsyth)

Karl D. Schultz Jr., M.D. (Director, Hall)

Abhishek Gaur, M.D. (Alternate, Hall)

Rutledge Forney, M.D. (Director, Atlanta)

Michael C. Hilton, M.D. (Director, Atlanta)

Lisa Perry-Gilkes, M.D. (Director, Atlanta)

Quentin R. Pirkle Jr., M.D. (Director, Atlanta)

Brian E. Hill, M.D. (Alternate, Atlanta)

Fonda A. Mitchell, M.D. (Alternate, Atlanta)

Thomas E. Bat, M.D. (Alternate, Atlanta)

Charles I. Wilmer, M.D. (Alternate, Atlanta)

Frederick C. Flandry, M.D. (Director, Muscogee)

W. Frank Willett III, M.D. (Alternate, Muscogee)

Karunakar Sripathi, M.D. (Director, Peachbelt)

T. G. Sekhar, M.D. (Alternate, Peachbelt)

Michael J. Cohen, M.D. (Director, Richmond)

Jill P. Hauenstein, M.D. (Alternate, Richmond)

John F. Salazar, M.D. (Director, Richmond)

Donnie P. Dunagan, M.D. (Alternate, Richmond)

Resident Section

Shoheb Ali, M.D. (Chair)

Maegan Lockhart, M.D. (Vice Chair)

International Medical Graduate Section

Deepti Bhasin, M.D. (Chair)

Masoumeh Ghaffari, M.D. (Vice Chair)

Young Physician Section

Vinaya Puppala, M.D. (MAG Director)

Edward Marchan, M.D. (MAG Alternate Director)

Medical Student Section

Ebony Caldwell, MCG/AU (Chair & MAG Director)

Brian Wright, Mercer (Vice Chair & MAG Alternate Director)


The dignitaries who attended the 2016 HOD included U.S. Rep. Tom Price, M.D., and U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter from Georgia, U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D., from Texas, U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, M.D., from Tennessee, Georgia Sen. Dean Burke, M.D., from Bainbridge, Georgia Rep. Betty Price, M.D., from Roswell, Georgia Rep.-elect Mark Newton, M.D., from Augusta, Georgia Sen. Lester Jackson, from Savannah, and Stephen Imbeau, M.D., who is a member of AMPAC’s Board of Directors.

Lois Margaret Nora, M.D., the president and chief executive officer of the American Board of Medical Specialties, gave a talk on maintenance of certification during the BOD meeting on October 14.

Alan Lembitz, M.D., the chief medical officer for COPIC, gave a presentation on ‘The Journey from Risk Management to Patient Safety’ as the keynote speaker for the lunch that MAG Mutual Insurance Company hosted for delegates on October 15.


GAMPAC raised more than $100,000 to elect pro-physician candidates during the HOD meeting. It also hosted an exclusive lunch for its members that included a health care panel that featured Reps. Price, Carter, Burgess and Roe.

Contact Bethany Sherrer at or 678.303.9273 or go to affiliates/gampac/ to join GAMPAC.


MAG’s HOD sponsors and exhibitors for 2016 included MAG Mutual Insurance Company, Angel Flight Soars, SunTrust Medical Specialty Group, Atlanta Capital Group, Georgia Health Information Network (GaHIN), HealtheParadigm, Georgia Drug Card, MAG Medical Reserve Corp, Medical College of Georgia Alumni Association, Peach State Health Plan, and Privia Medical Group of Georgia.

Click for details on MAG’s HOD sponsors


MAG award winners for 2016 include…

J. Patrick O’Neal, M.D. –
Lamartine Hardman Cup

S. William Clark III, M.D. –
Joseph P. Bailey Jr., M.D., Physician’s Distinguished Service Award

Charles B. Gillespie, M.D. –
Physician’s Award for Community Service

The late J. Harold Harrison, M.D. –
Jack A. Raines, M.D., Humanitarian Award

Marcus Downs – 
Donna Glass Non-Physician Distinguished Service Award

Richmond County Medical Society –
John B. Rabun Award


Nearly 60 physicians took advantage of a free CME activity that the Medical College of Georgia Alumni Association sponsored that featured Daniel Albo, M.D., with Augusta University. He addressed ‘Multidisciplinary Management Strategies for Colorectal Cancer Liver Metastases: The Case for a Cancer Service Line Model.’

Contact MAG Director of Education Andrew Baumann at with any questions related to CME.

Medical Student Abstract Competition

MAG hosted an abstract competition for member students during this year’s HOD meeting. The winners included…

Brooke Schirmerhorn (MCG/AU)
Case Report

Haadia Hassan (MCG/AU at UGA)
Basic Science

Alexandra Vagasi (MCG/AU at UGA)
Clinical Science

Brittany Truitt (MCG/AU)
Public Health

Sehrish Viqar and Mohit Shiv Agarwal (MCG/AU)
Best Pitch

Delegate Meeting/Venue Survey Results

In a survey that was sent to HOD delegates after the meeting…

69% rated the meeting as excellent, while 31% said it was good

95% said there was a good mix of meetings and free/social time

84% felt the meeting was “just right” when it came to its duration, while 13% said it was too short

85% said the meeting was interesting and informative, while 15% said it was informative but boring

97% believe “everyone had an opportunity to express their opinion”

38% rated the Hyatt Regency Savannah as excellent as a venue, while 41% said it was good

21% would like to see future HOD meetings take place in Savannah. That was followed by Chateau Elan at 18% and Atlanta at 15%

85% liked MAG’s new HOD meeting app, while 13% said they did not use it

100% said they had enough information and staff support

Click for 2016 HOD meeting photo gallery

Go to events/house-of-delegates/ for additional information on the 2016 HOD meeting, including the final reports and resolutions.