A recent audit gave the state Department of Community Health a “clean report’’ but also found that the agency overspent its Medicaid budget by $32 million in fiscal 2012.
The audit findings were discussed at an agency board meeting Thursday. Board Chairman Norm Boyd said that though the amount of money appears large, it represents just one day of Medicaid spending in Georgia.
The budgetary control problem was the one “significant’’ finding in an audit assessment that otherwise showed improvement in the agency, said Boyd, who was elected chairman at the meeting Thursday.
DCH Commissioner David Cook said the overspending won’t happen again. He said the agency currently has ‘‘zero money’’ for Medicaid reserves, and that the Medicaid program is already underfunded by $1.2 million under the current House budget. full story
The rate of suicide has risen 25 percent in the U.S. over the last decade. The recent debate over gun control has drawn attention to the fact that suicides by firearm outnumber homicides by firearm in most years.
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for college students, and third for all 15- to 24-year-olds, so it’s more important than ever for physicians to be able to assess the suicide risk in young patients.
“Denise’’ may help young doctors do just that.
Created at the University of Florida, Denise is a “virtual patient’’ who is seeking care for a mood disorder.
A Medical College of Georgia study of second-year medical students is helping determine if the opportunity to ask tough questions about suicide risk to a virtual patient can help real families avoid this tragedy. Researchers hypothesize that students who interact with Denise will be better able to assess suicide risk in real patients
“We hope this approach will help future practitioners deal with really difficult issues such as suicide, psychosis, anxiety and depression,” says Dr. Adriana Foster, psychiatrist at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University in Augusta.
Here is a GHN video interview, courtesy of GRU, with Foster, who discusses suicide prevalence, the warning signs of suicide, and the experiment with Denise.
After reviewing the evidence, the American Academy of Pediatrics last year revised its policy on circumcision.
The pediatricians’ group now takes the position that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks.
But the statement it released last year stopped short of recommending circumcision for all males, leaving it to the parents to weigh the risks and benefits.
Dr. Robert Wiskind, a leading Atlanta pediatrician, discusses the health benefits of the procedure in a new Doctor’s Corner column.
Here’s a link to Wiskind’s column.
Georgia’s telemedicine network is a jewel in the state’s health care infrastructure.
It’s delivering medical care in rural areas, using high-definition cameras to illuminate problem areas and transmit them to a doctor hours away with clear pictures. The examinations can range from skin problems to behavioral health issues.
And telemedicine is working for stroke victims as well, delivering rapid diagnosis and treatment for patients.
It also can be a revenue generator for participating hospitals, says Dr. Jeffrey Switzer, stroke specialist at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Health Sciences University.
Switzer is corresponding author on a study that uses five years of patient and hospital data from telestroke networks at GHSU and the Mayo Clinic.
Here’s a GHN video interview with Switzer, courtesy of GHSU:
A federal agency on Thursday announced 106 new health organizations that will participate in a special Medicare “shared savings’’ program, and nine of them will serve Georgians.
The groups are called “accountable care organizations’’ (ACOs), networks of physicians and other medical providers that seek to improve patient care and contain costs.
ACOs get paid more for keeping their Medicare patients healthy, and out of the hospital, under the federal Shared Savings Program. full story