The Pulse

Giving thanks — and timely advice

Thanksgiving makes me think of my wonderful family and friends.

deep-fry-turkey602x4041Being thankful for them, and for all GHN colleagues, readers and supporters.

It’s also a time for many Georgians to think about safety when it comes to cooking.

That means those of us who break out the turkey-frying equipment need to take extra care about safety. Georgia ranks seventh in the nation in Thanksgiving Day cooking fires, as Jim Thompson of the Athens Banner-Herald points out.

His article gives tips for holiday cooks on how to fry a turkey safely. Here’s the link.

And Happy Thanksgiving!

Georgia stresses treatment for pregnant drug users

Law enforcement officers in the South made 445,928 drug arrests in 2014.

Georgia is keeping pace with its neighbors, with more than 42,000 drug arrests in that period, but it’s taking a markedly more compassionate stance than neighboring states when the drug user is a pregnant woman.

The court-appointed special advocates for children program in Athens-Oconee.

The court-appointed special advocates for children program’s building in Athens-Oconee.

Four years ago, Georgia lawmakers rejected a bill that would have made it possible to file criminal charges against pregnant women who used drugs and later miscarried.

Women’s rights advocates said the bill’s vague wording that criminalized “human involvement” of any sort in miscarriages was a step toward establishing more fetal rights in Georgia law. Fetal rights are a controversial subject that go beyond disputes over abortion. (Some states, for instance, file feticide charges when an attack on a pregnant woman causes an end to her pregnancy, while other states do not.)  full story

Shock as Mayo Clinic cuts loose Waycross hospital

Mayo Clinic’s startling decision to pull out of its “integration agreement’’ with Satilla Health Services has left the South Georgia hospital with an uncertain future.

Officials with Mayo’s Florida operation said Friday that they ended the deal with Satilla in Waycross to focus on expanding specialty care for people with complex medical needs.

Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville

Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville

Mayo said it will concentrate on building relationships with other providers through affiliation models, rather than acquisitions.

The Mayo pullout will return Satilla Regional Medical Center to the status of a standalone hospital at the very time when consolidation of health care facilities is accelerating, propelled partly by changes created under the Affordable Care Act.  full story

Blue Cross keeps big edge in state benefit plan

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia will again have a dominant share of members and dependents in Georgia’s state employee and teacher health plan in 2016.

clipboardThe state’s largest health insurer will serve more than 75 percent of State Health Benefit Plan members next year with its various health plans.

This year, Blue Cross also served three in four members.

The State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) covers more than 630,000 state employees, teachers, other school personnel, retirees and dependents. full story

Letter to the Editor: The importance of rural health

Nov. 19 is National Rural Health Day, an opportunity to celebrate the “can do” spirit of our rural communities. On this day, we honor the unselfish, community-minded determination of our rural healthcare providers. This day is also an opportunity to focus on these communities and the unique challenges they face – finding ways to take care of their own, dealing with hospital and clinic closures, a dwindling healthcare workforce, and declining revenues.

Gary Nelson

Gary Nelson

And despite challenges in rural infrastructure, poverty, unemployment, education, transportation, and a changing demography, those who deliver rural healthcare in our state demonstrate what is possible through collaboration, professional dedication, entrepreneurship, and volunteerism. Georgia’s rural healthcare workforce has become the great equalizer when facing the persistent inequities in health that penalize rural Georgians. Every day, their heroic efforts demonstrate the delicate relationship between the health of one and health of all.

At Healthcare Georgia Foundation, we firmly believe that one’s health should not be determined by the person’s place of residence or ZIP code. Rural Georgians, on average, are older, sicker, and poorer than urban residents and find themselves each day relying on a severely compromised healthcare system. If ignored, Georgia’s healthcare delivery system is at risk of collapsing on the shoulders of frail rural communities. full story

Consumer Corner

NFL players talk openly on mental illness

Arian Foster has joined Brandon Marshall‘s PROJECT 375, aiming to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illnesses.

Around the State

Minimum wage for home care

The state Supreme Court declared that in-home care providers who are hired by a third-party company are not exempt from minimum wage protections under state law.

Read the full article:

Final order on new hospital

The commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Health signed the final order allowing Georgia Regents Medical Center to build a hospital near Grovetown.

Read the full article:
Augusta Chronicle

Hearing on St. Francis

The Georgia Attorney General’s office is holding a public hearing on the sale of St. Francis to LifePoint.

Read the full article:
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

AIDS Memorial Quilt

The 10 sections of the AIDS Memorial Quilt hanging at the Rome-Floyd County Library celebrate the lives of men, women and children who have died of the immune system disease.

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Rome News-Tribune

Paired kidney exchange

The story of Jackie Sitkowski and Jay Matuska and the most precious wedding gift of all — a paired kidney exchange.

Read the full article:
Macon Telegraph


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