The state is delaying its move to put 27,000 kids in child welfare programs into a managed care plan.
The Georgia Department of Community Health told GHN on Friday that the managed care program requires more time to launch. It will begin March 3, instead of the originally planned Jan. 1, an agency spokeswoman said in an email.
The move of foster care children and those in adoption assistance and in the juvenile justice system will result in improved coordination of care, state officials say. The new program is also expected to save Medicaid millions of dollars by emphasizing prevention and keeping the children healthier.
The Community Health spokeswoman, Lisa Marie Shekell, said in an email that the agency “remains committed to this transition because of the improvements in care and health outcomes that the children and youth impacted by transitioning into a managed care environment will experience.” full story
The percentage of Georgia children who are uninsured has declined, but the state still has the fourth-highest number of kids without coverage, according to a report released Wednesday.
In raw numbers, Georgia has nearly 220,000 children who are uninsured, trailing only Texas, California and Florida, said the report from Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families. All three of those states have much higher populations than Georgia.
Just six states — the four previously mentioned plus Arizona and North Carolina — are home to half of the 5.3 million uninsured children in the United States.
The report, “Children’s Health Coverage on the Eve of the Affordable Care Act,” found the number of uninsured kids nationally has continued to decline. Joan Alker of Georgetown told reporters Wednesday that the decrease is largely due to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Nationally, the uninsured rate of adults — 20.6 percent — far exceeds that of kids, at 7.2 percent. full story
A ‘‘C’’ grade sounds pretty average, at best.
But Georgia’s ‘‘C’’ on a newly released report card on premature births represents significant improvement on a statistic that can be a matter of life and death.
Georgia lowered its preterm birth rate to 12.7 percent from 13.2 percent, according to the March of Dimes 2013 Premature Birth Report Card.
The ‘‘C’’ is the highest grade given to Georgia in the six years of March of Dimes report cards.
Georgia is part of a national trend toward improved preterm birth rates. Between 2011 and 2012, 31 states saw improvement. The nation as a whole scored a “C” grade on this year’s report card, which reflects 2012 data.
Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, commissioner of the state Department of Public Health, told GHN on Friday that Georgia’s progress on preterm births “is very exciting.” She added that the agency’s own updated statistics for 2012 show an even lower rate for the state – 10.9 percent.
Three Southeastern states — Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana — each received an “F’’ on the report card. Alaska, California, Oregon, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine earned “A’’ grades. full story
The horrors of bullying burst into the news again this week with the report of an 8-year-old Carroll County girl having her hair pulled so hard that her scalp ripped.
Third-grader Aolani Dunbar was bullied so severely that she had to be taken to a hospital emergency room, her Roopville family said. Aolani’s family said her schoolmates picked on her for two weeks because she got hair extensions.
Also this month, two girls were arrested in central Florida in the wake of the suicide of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick, who allegedly had been bullied online and at school.
(The sheriff in the Florida case said last week that bullying by peers may not have been the sole factor in Rebecca’s death, and that he was looking into her troubled home life.)
Bullying has always been a major problem, but its prevalence appears to have increased with the growth of social media sites and the Internet, experts say.
“The advent of technology took bullying out of schoolyards and into your homes,’’ Stephanie Woodard, Hall County solicitor general, said at an Atlanta forum on bullying on Tuesday. “I do believe [bullying] is a public health problem.’’
It has not been an easy problem to solve, said experts at the forum, sponsored by Voices for Georgia’s Children and Georgia Children’s Advocacy Network. full story
Millions of Americans play “fantasy football,” with NFL players’ points and yardage producing a fantasy team’s weekly score.
An online website exclusively for physicians, meanwhile, features a different type of football contest.
Sermo, which has more than 100,000 doctor members, is offering prizes in its “Pro Football Injury Challenge.” One of the questions is for doctors to guess how many concussions will occur in the NFL this season.
Dr. Mark Ebell, a Georgia physician, said he’s appalled by the contest. Ebell pointed out the Sermo question on concussions to Georgia Health News.
“They are making fun of a very serious and potentially life-altering injury,’’ said Ebell, an associate professor of epidemiology in the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health. “I found it appalling.”
Sermo says the contest is intended to raise awareness of the need to address concussions.
Jonathan Michaeli of WorldOne, which operates Sermo, said in an email to GHN this week that the concussion issue was “taken out of context” in a reporter’s query. full story