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Commentary: This shouldn’t happen to women

A northwest Georgia hospital, in financial peril, shut down its labor and delivery services this week.

Dr. Carla Roberts

Dr. Carla Roberts

Hutcheson Medical Center in Fort Oglethorpe joined many other Georgia hospitals that have given up obstetrical services, citing costs.

In a new GHN Commentary, Dr. Carla Roberts, a founding partner of Reproductive Surgical Specialists at Northside Forsyth Hospital, argues that these obstetrics closures, coupled with a high maternal mortality rate, constitute a “war on women.’’ She doesn’t use this controversial term to make a partisan point, but she doesn’t use it lightly, either.

“Good prenatal care requires 10 prenatal visits,” Roberts writes. “Georgia Medicaid currently reimburses each physician $300 in toto for these 10 visits. That is $30 per visit.” And malpractice insurance remains expensive, she says.

Roberts calls for a legislative solution to these problems.

Here’s a link to her 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


Deal shows clout of Georgia health IT

MEA|NEA, a health IT company based in the Atlanta suburb of Norcross, announced Tuesday that it has acquired another company in the industry, the White Stone Group.

Stethoscope on a computer keyboardThe combined company has more than 1 million customers in the medical and dental markets.

MEA|NEA said it will form two complementary business units — one focused on providers, patients and insurers in dental care, and the other focused on medical care.

A private company, MEA|NEA will maintain operations in Norcross and in Knoxville, Tenn. full story

Pediatricians, facing new realities, form network

More than 1,100 Georgia pediatricians have joined a new physician-led network that aims to improve quality of care and eventually contract for payments from insurers.

The sign-ups so far represent roughly one-third of the total number of pediatricians practicing in the state.

Dr. Bob Wiskind

Dr. Robert Wiskind

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta helped create the nonprofit entity, called the Children’s Care Network.

Dr. Robert Wiskind, an Atlanta pediatrician who is the network’s board chairman, told GHN recently that members will share  national “best practices’’ of medical care, such as identifying which children with concussions need to get a CT scan.

The doctors, who practice in the Atlanta region, will also share data on how the care they each give to kids compares with the care given by their peers.

The creation of the Children’s Care Network comes at a time of dramatic change in the way medical providers are paid for their services. full story

Milestone: 50 years of Medicare and Medicaid

When signing the bill creating Medicare and Medicaid 50 years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson held the ceremony in Independence, Missouri, where former President Harry Truman lived.

Truman, who had pushed unsuccessfully for national health insurance during his own presidency, was at LBJ’s side during the signing. (And in one of those of odd coincidences of U.S. political history, the two presidents from different eras would die less than a month apart in the early 1970s.)


President Lyndon Johnson signs the Medicare bill into law while former President Harry Truman (seated) looks on.

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Medicare bill into law while Harry Truman (seated) looks on.

The decades-long push to create the two health insurance programs was like “a long-distance run,’’ said Dr. David Satcher, a former U.S. surgeon general, at a Carter Center forum Wednesday.

Satcher added that it was also “like a relay race,’’ noting that Truman handed off the “baton’’ of national insurance to LBJ.

This week, federal officials along with many health care and community organizations are marking the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, created July 30, 1965.   full story

Doctors’ suit aims to topple state’s CON rules

Two Cartersville ob/gyns filed suit Tuesday to overturn the state’s health care regulatory process, saying it restricts competition and is unconstitutional.

iStock_000023217379LargeDrs. Hugo Ribot and Malcolm Barfield are challenging the Georgia certificate-of-need program, a complex set of regulations governing the creation and expansion of medical facilities.

The CON process has long been controversial because hospitals often use it to challenge competitors’ proposed projects. It has also pitted doctors against hospitals in battles over building surgery centers.

The physicians’ lawsuit asserts that Georgia’s CON laws “are a restraint on competition, economic liberty, and consumer choice.”

The CON regulations “encourage and facilitate state-granted monopolies and have the effect of restricting competition in the provision of health care services,” the lawsuit says. full story

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