The Pulse

On World AIDS Day, a grim reality in Atlanta

Grady Health System physicians and officials say the HIV crisis continues to grow in metro Atlanta, with young black men in poverty at the highest risk for infection.

The Grady staff outlined the extent of the problem in a meeting with U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) on Monday, the day before World AIDS Day. The annual day of commemoration, held every Dec. 1 since 1988, is a way of raising awareness of HIV and AIDS and mourning those who have died from the virus.

Congressman John Lewis greets patients Monday at Grady's Ponce de Leon Center.

Congressman John Lewis greets patients Monday at Grady’s Ponce de Leon Center.

The public sense of urgency about AIDS may have lessened in recent years because prescription drugs have sharply reduced the fatality rate. But it is still a serious disease. And many people continue to become infected although safe personal practices can prevent the spread of the virus. (It is not transmitted through casual contact.)

The Ponce de Leon Center, run by Grady, is seeing more demand for services every year, said Dr. Wendy Armstrong, medical director of the center. “We’re seeing 5,800 patients with HIV annually,’’ she said. “It has gone up by 100 to 150 every year.”

Atlanta is No. 5 among U.S. metro areas for new HIV diagnoses, and Georgia is a leading state for those new infections, she added. full story

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

Consumer Corner

Price-shopping for health care

Patients want to price-shop for health care services, but online tools are unreliable.


Around the State

Senator works on health bills

Several of Sen. Chuck Hufstetler’s health-related bills are expected to move when the Georgia General Assembly reconvenes in January.

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Rome News-Tribune

Firm opens Atlanta hub

One of the world’s largest manufacturers of cancer treatment devices and software, Palo Alto-based Varian Medical Systems, opened its East Coast hub in Atlanta.

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Coke-funded group disbanded

A nonprofit funded by Coca-Cola that caught heat after suggesting Americans are overly fixated on calories and not paying enough attention to exercise is disbanding.

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Atlanta Business Chronicle

ER visits linked to ‘Spice’

The emergence of “Spice” has prompted a rise in emergency room visits across the country, and even death in some cases.

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Newnan Times-Herald

Lawrenceville: Rare disease

A Lawrenceville woman has endured a confusing and frightening ordeal after discovering that she has syringomyelia, a little-known and rare condition that erodes the spinal cord.

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Gwinnett Daily Post


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