The Pulse

An open letter to the people of Ware and surrounding counties…

A week ago, Mayo Clinic announced it was ending its relationship with Satilla Health Services in Waycross. (Here is a link to a GHN article

The following is written by a Satilla nurse, Jordan Strickland:

I was sick all last weekend after receiving news that Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, would be returning our Waycross, Georgia, hospital to local control. When I received the news last Friday, I was heartbroken. I worked for the hospital when it was Satilla Regional Medical Center and I worked for, and continue to work for, the hospital as Mayo Clinic Health System in Waycross.

Jordan Strickland

Jordan Strickland

I was excited with the direction in which our hospital was headed. I can remember being extremely scared, sad and anxious when Mayo Clinic took over. What changes would come? Who would have to leave … who would stay? As I sat there thinking at my desk on Friday of what Waycross would do now, a thought came to me.

I have worked in the Emergency Room in Waycross for almost five years. I started as a transporter for the ER and then worked my way up to nurse after receiving my LPN license through Altamaha Technical College in Jesup. About a year ago, I accepted a position as patient care coordinator for the Senior Behavioral Center, allowing new opportunities for myself and my family. After thinking about how I got to the seat I was sitting in, I asked myself, “Why are you in Waycross?” The words “teamwork,” “compassion,” and “dedication” came to mind.

Mayo Clinic did not make me a nurse. It did not instill in me at a young age the desire to love and care for others at all cost. Mayo Clinic did not wake me up every morning to walk into an ER full of the unknown, and the people at Mayo did not make me go back day after day. Mayo Clinic also did not make me choose to stay in Waycross. I did. I made these decisions myself, and I made them for many different reasons. full story

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 pointed out last year.

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

Consumer Corner

Facts (and fictions) about flu shots

Every year before flu arrives, misinformation about the flu vaccine begins circulating.

Around the State

Prime ups offer for hospital

Prime Healthcare has increased its offer to buy Hutcheson Medical Center in Fort Oglethorpe.

Read the full article:
Walker County Messenger

Suburbs’ rising need for food

As many prepare for Thursday’s Thanksgiving meal, the number of people without enough to eat in metro Atlanta is growing.

Read the full article:

Equine therapy for addiction

Equine therapy has been credited for helping improve the functioning of children with autism spectrum disorder, and more recently it is added at various treatment centers for addiction.

Read the full article:
Augusta Chronicle

No plans for cutbacks

The CEO of LifePoint Health, which is on the verge of acquiring St. Francis Hospital, said his company has no intention of reducing the level of staffing or the number of lines of services provided.

Read the full article:
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Battling cancer at mission

Kevin Peters, 45,  lives at the Rescue Mission of Middle Georgia after years of alcohol, drugs, jail and, most recently, a cancer diagnosis.

Read the full article:
Macon Telegraph


University of Georgia College of Public Health Logo

(Click on the logo for more information about our sponsors.)

Foundation Support for GHN:

Healthcare Georgia Foundation
Kaiser Permanente
Ford Foundation
Georgia Health Foundation