Calculating the cost to taxpayers, a new study released Thursday says Georgia could see a net loss of $2.9 billion in the year 2022 if it continues to reject Medicaid expansion.
That’s because Georgia taxpayers would be paying for expansion of Medicaid in other states, while not getting anything in return, said the Commonwealth Fund study. Additional federal funds go to states that expand Medicaid.
The Supreme Court made expansion optional for states.
Only Texas and Florida would have net losses higher than Georgia among 20 states that have opted not to expand Medicaid, said the study, conducted by Sherry Glied and Stephanie Ma of New York University.
Georgia would see a net loss of $2.86 billion in 2022 if it were the only state remaining that did not increase its Medicaid program to cover more low-income adults, said the study, which takes into account the federal taxes paid by state residents for other states’ expansions.
“The Medicaid expansion presents an opportunity for states to bring in new federal dollars, in addition to providing critical health coverage for their low-income residents,” said Glied in a statement. “No state that declines to expand the program is going to be fiscally better off because of it. Their tax dollars will be used to support a program from which nobody in their state will benefit.” full story
The nation’s rate of maternal mortality has been steadily rising, and nowhere is that increase more evident than in Georgia.
Georgia has the highest rate of maternal deaths among the 50 states, according to public health officials here.
The Georgia estimate of 35 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2011 has risen from 20.5 from the period 2001 to 2006.
That increase has kept the state “at the bottom of the pile when it comes to maternal mortality,’’ said Dr. Seema Csukas, director of the Maternal and Child Health Section for the state Department of Public Health.
Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald
Maternal mortality, or “pregnancy-related death,” is defined by the CDC as the death of a woman while pregnant or within one year of pregnancy termination from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management.
The nation as a whole has seen its maternal mortality rate rise from 13.3 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2006 to a currently estimated mortality rate of about 21 per 100,000 live births in 2010.
The Department of Public Health said Tuesday that it has been conducting an analysis of maternal deaths in Georgia. The agency is also partnering with the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) and Merck for Mothers in a project to reduce the number of women who bleed to death during or after pregnancy. full story
Hospital readmissions are bad for everyone.
They’re obviously bad for discharged patients. No one wants to leave the hospital, get worse instead of better and then have to be hospitalized again.
Readmissions are also bad for the hospitals involved, because they can be penalized by Medicare for a high readmission rate within 30 days of discharge.
In turn, readmissions are bad for nursing homes that have to send patients back to the hospital. Given their incentive to reduce readmissions, hospitals may not want to steer people to nursing homes that send back too many recently discharged patients.
But new efforts to improve care coordination among hospitals, nursing homes and other providers are succeeding in reducing readmission rates, experts say.
Georgia’s nursing homes and hospitals are collaborating more than ever to reduce readmissions, say officials with Georgia’s Quality Improvement Organization (QIO), a state-based group funded by Medicare to review medical care.
A big driver in this change has been the readmission penalties that hospitals now face. These penalties were created by the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
Jonathan Blum, deputy administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told GHN recently that the penalties have forced hospitals and nursing homes to improve their coordination. full story
When Athens resident Ruthann Lariscy’s joints began to ache last spring, she assumed it was simply because she was growing older.
But when the pain persisted and interfered with activities like gardening or cooking, she talked to her primary care doctor. He took the situation seriously and referred Lariscy to Dr. Will Chafin, a rheumatologist.
Chafin came to Athens just over a year ago with the Arthritis Center of North Georgia, a group practice that began more than 50 miles away in Gainesville. Before the center opened its Athens office, doctors in the group drove to the city once a week to see patients.
The center branched out to the historic university town because the demand there was overwhelming. Before Chafin and his partners set up shop in Athens, there were no practices specializing exclusively in rheumatology.
Chafin diagnosed Lariscy with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease. Though it often appears or worsens as people grow older, rheumatoid arthritis cannot be shrugged off as simply a byproduct of aging. It requires treatment with individually tailored medication and therapy.
Being able to obtain specialized care so close to home is a comfort to Lariscy and helps make a painful disease more tolerable. full story
Devastating. Catastrophic. A disaster.
That’s how patient advocates and providers describe the effects of the possible loss of Grady Health System’s mental health program.
The mental health program, nevertheless, could be on the chopping block as the Atlanta safety net provider confronts nearly $100 million in funding cuts.
Grady CEO John Haupert
“Mental health is one [area] that would be looked at,’’ CEO John Haupert told GHN recently. The program loses $6 million annually, he said.
Grady is the second-biggest provider of mental health services in the state, behind the prison system, Haupert told a Rotary Club audience in Atlanta last month.
“We can’t be all things to all people,’’ he said. “We don’t have to be in the mental health business, [but] we need to be in the mental health business.’’
Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta is facing up to $24 million in Medicaid funding reductions, plus an eventual annual hit of $45 million from a federal cut in money for hospitals that serve a high number of low-income patients. full story