More than 100 patients at Gwinnett Medical Center are being urged to get screened for tuberculosis after potentially being exposed to a hospital employee with an active case of the disease.
Officials at the Lawrenceville hospital said Tuesday that 133 patients were certain or likely to have had contact with the employee from Feb. 1 through May 10.
The patients have been sent letters urging them to contact the county health department to have a free skin test to determine whether they are at risk of developing TB.
“We want to emphasize that the risk of contracting TB from casual exposure is low, but it is important to do everything possible to rule out the possibility that any individual may have had a significant exposure,’’ Dr. Alan Bier, Gwinnett Medical Center’s chief medical officer, told a news conference at the hospital.
The hospital employee was diagnosed with active TB in May. The worker had previously tested negative for the disease during regular hospital testing in 2011 and 2012. The hospital, citing privacy concerns, did not identify the employee nor the unit where that person worked.
Gwinnett Medical said that since the TB was discovered, a number of other employees have been tested, and that all those tests so far have been negative. full story
The current average age for a child being diagnosed with autism is about 4 years old.
Emory University researchers are joining other clinical trial centers to evaluate a blood test that could help make diagnoses much earlier – and begin earlier treatment of the condition.
Autism affects about one in 50 U.S. children aged 6 to 17.
In this video GHN interview, courtesy of Emory University, Michael Morrier, assistant director of the Emory Autism Center, discusses the clinical trial and the importance of diagnosing autism as soon as possible for children.
Georgia officials are raising the employer contribution rates for school districts and state agencies to cover employees in the State Health Benefit Plan.
Those employees also may face premium increases for 2014, though their rates won’t be announced until later this summer. This year, teachers, other school personnel, state employees and retirees in the state’s benefit plan had an average increase in their health insurance premiums of 9.5 percent.
In recent years, the SHBP has shrunk a deficit of more than $800 million. Part of the reduction has come from charging school systems more to cover their non-certificate personnel — administrative assistants, custodians, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and the like.
State officials also said Thursday that they plan to announce next month the winning vendor or vendors of the coveted contract to deliver medical care in the SHBP, which covers more than 650,000 state employees, teachers, school personnel, retirees and dependents. full story
(Editor’s Note: This is the sixth in a series of articles on the Athens uninsured initiative, produced by graduate students in the Health and Medical Journalism Program at the University of Georgia. Visit the previous articles by clicking on the red button to the left.)
When Alvin Dye Jr. of Athens has a health problem, and over-the-counter treatments don’t help, he doesn’t make an appointment with a doctor. He heads for the nearest hospital emergency room.
“A regular doctor visit for me was probably about 10 years ago,” says Dye, 35.