The Pulse

Unsuccessful bidders protest state health contract

Three losing bidders have filed a protest over the state’s selection of vendors for a multibillion-dollar Medicaid and PeachCare contract.

Healthcare CostLast month, four companies – Amerigroup, Peach State, WellCare and CareSource — were picked as winners of the contract to serve lower-income adults and children in Georgia.

The contract for the “Care Management Organizations’’ is worth an estimated $4 billion over six years. The launch date for the new contract is July 1.

But unsuccessful bidders Americhoice (a unit of UnitedHealthcare), Humana and AmeriHealth Caritas have appealed that decision by the Department of Administrative Services, which handles contracting in Georgia. full story

Commentary: A threat to men’s lives

For men over the age of 50, prostate cancer is a real danger.


Dr. Vahan Kassabian

Yet it doesn’t receive the attention it deserves, according to a new GHN Commentary.

Atlanta physicians Vahan Kassabian, Bradley Carthon  and Peter Rossi write that “except for skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most prevalent malignancy among men.”

They give guidance on what men should know about the disease – the risk factors and early detection.

Here’s a link to their Commentary.

Georgia Health News welcomes Commentary submissions. If you would like to propose a Commentary piece for Georgia Health News, please email Andy Miller, editor of GHN, at

Grady jumps into bidding for Southern Regional

Acting just before a looming deadline, Grady Memorial Hospital Corp. has launched a surprise bid to acquire financially ailing Southern Regional Medical Center, Clayton County’s sole hospital.

Southern Regional Medical Center

Southern Regional Medical Center

The Grady proposal, valued at more than $20 million, sets up a bidding war between Grady and Prime Healthcare Foundation for the 331-bed Riverdale hospital and related assets.

California-based Prime signed a letter of intent in July to purchase the hospital, and that agreement was followed by the owner of Southern Regional filing for Chapter 11 reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Grady submitted its bid for Southern Regional on Friday, the last possible day for additional offers to be made. A bankruptcy court Wednesday moved the date of an auction for Southern Regional to next Wednesday, allowing the Grady bid to move forward.

Grady still needs approval of its corporate board in a vote that will take place Tuesday, in order for its bid to go to auction. full story

Suwanee medical school starting PA program

The Georgia campus of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has been approved to launch a physician assistant program.

GAPCOM-logo (2)The two-year master’s degree program will begin next June, with 20 students in the first class. The Georgia campus of PCOM is in Suwanee, a northeastern suburb of Atlanta.

Physician assistants practice medicine with supervision by licensed physicians, delivering a range of medical services in a variety of settings.

The number of PAs in Georgia has increased by 67 percent over the past 10 years, now surpassing 3,000. Still, experts say there’s a shortage of them in the state. full story

State: Can’t confirm cancer cluster in Waycross area

State public health officials said Monday that based on their initial analysis, unusual childhood cancer cases in the Waycross area do not constitute a cancer cluster.

Ware County

Ware County

Relatives and community members in the southeast corner of Georgia have reported three childhood sarcoma cases in Ware County and one in a neighboring county that were diagnosed within two months of one another this summer.

The cancers revived fears in the community that there is a connection to where they live, and raised fears of a link to industrial contamination in the Waycross area.  (Here’s a link to a recent GHN story on the cancers.)

Cherie Drenzek, the state epidemiologist, said in a conference call with community members Monday that the four cases were confirmed as cancers, but that because they were in different counties, they were not geographically clustered together.

“None of the four cancers have known environmental causes,’’ Drenzek said, adding that not all four were the same type of cancer. One of them, Drenzek added, was diagnosed a year ago. full story

Consumer Corner

‘Drugged driving’ on the rise

More Americans are under the influence of drugs while they drive, even as drunk driving rates decline.

Around the State

Piedmont Newton finalized

Newton Medical’s affiliation with Piedmont Healthcare System was formalized and new signage bearing the Piedmont name was unveiled.

Read the full article:
Rockdale Citizen

Hospice company acquired

LHC Group Inc., a Louisiana-based home health and hospice company, will acquire Georgia-based Halcyon Hospice LLC and its 16 facilities for $58.5 million in cash.

Read the full article:
Associated Press

Atlanta’s inequality

A recent Brookings Institution report found Atlanta’s top earners make nearly 20 times more than those at the very bottom.

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Newnan: ER overcrowding

Piedmont Newnan officials say there are no plans to build a Piedmont-Newnan urgent care facility to alleviate emergency room overcrowding.

Read the full article:
Newnan Times-Herald

Rockdale: Infection rate

Rockdale Medical Center officials are hitting hard against news naming the hospital as having one of the highest rates of infection in the nation.

Read the full article:
Rockdale Citizen


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