(The Center Square) — A leading Georgia lawmaker supports a recommendation that state lawmakers “adequately” fund the Georgia Composite Medical Board.
The Georgia Senate Study Committee on Occupational Licensing included the medical board funding guidance in recommendations it compiled for state lawmakers to consider during the upcoming legislative session.
The move follows a Center Square analysis that revealed the agency dismisses many of the complaints it receives, but unreliable data makes it difficult to say precisely how many. In response, the head of the Medical Association of Georgia told The Center Square lawmakers should properly fund the board, saying the underfunding of the agency doesn’t benefit Georgians.
“The Composite Medical Board definitely needs more funding to be sure that licenses and renewals are processed in a timely way and to give their investigators what they need to do their jobs,” state Sen Kay Kirkpatrick, R-Marietta, told The Center Square via email.
“The investigators are POST-certified law enforcement officers that do an important job in protecting the public,” Kirkpatrick added. “They need more staff, an increase in pay to keep up with other law enforcement officers, and reliable vehicles. I am in full support of increasing the budget for this important agency.”
How the agency might spend the funding is unclear.
The “line items in the budget have a description for how appropriated funds should be spent, so any increases in our budget would be spent in accordance with whatever the line items state,” Daniel R. Dorsey, executive director of the Georgia Composite Medical Board, told The Center Square via email.
The agency did not respond to a follow-up to confirm how much funding the state should provide to meet the adequate threshold.
State lawmakers included an additional $431,836 in the fiscal 2024 budget “for personnel to support increased licensure application volume.” At the time, agency officials said the money could help address the findings of an audit last year that found the agency had addressed some of the shortcomings identified in a November 2020 audit but had not progressed on others.