The Pulse

The limits of physical evidence in sex abuse cases

Historically, the hymen, a thin piece of skin-like tissue that stretches partly across the opening of the vagina, has been known as the “virginity shield.”

It’s commonly believed that if the hymen is undamaged, sexual penetration has not occurred, particularly in the case of a child.

But this idea is false. Sometimes, a woman may have an intact hymen and show no signs of physical damage even after having been sexually assaulted. And the same is true of a little girl.

Gail Hornor, a pediatric nurse practitioner and child maltreatment researcher at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, says the myth about the hymen has been around forever and comes up often in her work. People find it especially hard to believe that a sexually abused child would not show some physical evidence of what happened.  full story

Report: State lags in public health spending

Georgia ranks 37th among states in per capita spending on public health, according to a newly released report.

Healthcare CostThe $18.48 that Georgia spent per capita on public health in fiscal years 2013 and 2014 is less than half the funding in some other Southeastern states, such as $59.22 in Alabama, $47.94 in Arkansas and $43.97 in Tennessee.

The Georgia public health budget did exceed those in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina, said the report, released this week by the Trust for America’s Health.

Georgia’s per capita amount increased from the $18.08 per capita amount spent in 2012-2013. full story

Chief of nursing home group steps down

Jon Howell has resigned as president and CEO of the state’s powerful nursing home association, the group announced Thursday.

Jon Howell

Jon Howell

The Georgia Health Care Association said Howell offered his resignation “to preserve the unity of the statewide association.”

“The board accepted it with regret,’’ said the statement from William Davis, chair of GHCA’s board.

Davis’ statement did not explain the nature of the discord within the trade group. full story

Medicaid care coordination put back on hold

The state has shelved its attempt to coordinate care of Medicaid beneficiaries who are elderly or disabled.

Photo of the Georgia Capitol BuildingThe Georgia Department of Community Health said Tuesday that it was not proceeding “at this time’’ with soliciting bids from potential vendors to operate the program.

The agency’s statement, made in an email to GHN, follows the General Assembly’s removal of $12 million in state funds, intended for the startup of the program, from the fiscal 2016 budget proposed by Gov. Nathan Deal.

Community Health, though, denied that the removal of startup funds drove its decision to halt the contracting process. full story

2 more hospitals closing baby delivery units

Dr. Roslyn Banks-Jackson worries about what will happen to many women of Emanuel County when the local hospital shuts its labor and delivery unit.

Dr. Roslyn Banks-Jackson

Dr. Roslyn Banks-Jackson

She’s the only ob/gyn currently practicing in the east-central Georgia county. And the practice, Emanuel OB/GYN Clinic, owned by the hospital, will soon be closing as well.

Many of her low-income patients have no transportation, and they either walk or have to get rides from friends or relatives to get to their appointments.

When the closures come, those of Banks-Jackson’s patients who do have cars will be driving 30 to 40 minutes to other counties to deliver their babies, said her office manager, Ashley Williamson. Some patients may wind up delivering in the local emergency room, Williamson added.

Emanuel Medical Center, citing high costs and low reimbursements, decided last month to close the hospital’s obstetrical program June 30.

“I’m 100 percent positive we’ll have worsening [patient] outcomes as a county,’’ Banks-Jackson said Monday. For patients without a car, “I seriously doubt they’ll get prenatal care.’’

The shuttering of the labor and delivery unit follows similar actions by other hospitals across the state. The obstetrical closures have hit especially hard in rural Georgia, where health care has been imperiled by doctor shortages and shaky hospital finances. full story

Consumer Corner

Fighting the stigma of herpes

About 17 percent of Americans 14 to 49 have genital herpes caused by the HSV-2 infection.

Around the State

Tornado watch issued

Most of metro Atlanta is under a tornado watch through 3 p.m. Sunday.

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Prepaid card scams

Sheriff’s offices have received a growing number of complaints about fraudulent Green Dot cards,  likely the result of a recent Blue Cross and Blue Shield cyber attack.

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Rockdale Citizen

Atlanta: Biotech summit

Hundreds of experts in the sciences and in the field of ethics are expected to attend a biotech summit next month in Atlanta.

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Families get cannabis cards

To help families who received cannabis oil in other states, Gov. Nathan Deal is  issuing temporary cards that will give them immunity to possess up to 20 ounces of the oil.

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Augusta Chronicle

Eye doctor settlement

A Doraville eye doctor paid $790,000 to the Department of Community Health to settle allegations he billed Georgia Medicaid for medically unnecessary procedures.

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Atlanta Business Chronicle


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