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
Calculating the cost to taxpayers, a new study released Thursday says Georgia could see a net loss of $2.9 billion in the year 2022 if it continues to reject Medicaid expansion.
That’s because Georgia taxpayers would be paying for expansion of Medicaid in other states, while not getting anything in return, said the Commonwealth Fund study. Additional federal funds go to states that expand Medicaid.
The Supreme Court made expansion optional for states.
Only Texas and Florida would have net losses higher than Georgia among 20 states that have opted not to expand Medicaid, said the study, conducted by Sherry Glied and Stephanie Ma of New York University.
Georgia would see a net loss of $2.86 billion in 2022 if it were the only state remaining that did not increase its Medicaid program to cover more low-income adults, said the study, which takes into account the federal taxes paid by state residents for other states’ expansions.
“The Medicaid expansion presents an opportunity for states to bring in new federal dollars, in addition to providing critical health coverage for their low-income residents,” said Glied in a statement. “No state that declines to expand the program is going to be fiscally better off because of it. Their tax dollars will be used to support a program from which nobody in their state will benefit.” full story
The nation’s rate of maternal mortality has been steadily rising, and nowhere is that increase more evident than in Georgia.
Georgia has the highest rate of maternal deaths among the 50 states, according to public health officials here.
The Georgia estimate of 35 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2011 has risen from 20.5 from the period 2001 to 2006.
That increase has kept the state “at the bottom of the pile when it comes to maternal mortality,’’ said Dr. Seema Csukas, director of the Maternal and Child Health Section for the state Department of Public Health.
Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald
Maternal mortality, or “pregnancy-related death,” is defined by the CDC as the death of a woman while pregnant or within one year of pregnancy termination from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management.
The nation as a whole has seen its maternal mortality rate rise from 13.3 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2006 to a currently estimated mortality rate of about 21 per 100,000 live births in 2010.
The Department of Public Health said Tuesday that it has been conducting an analysis of maternal deaths in Georgia. The agency is also partnering with the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) and Merck for Mothers in a project to reduce the number of women who bleed to death during or after pregnancy. full story
Devastating. Catastrophic. A disaster.
That’s how patient advocates and providers describe the effects of the possible loss of Grady Health System’s mental health program.
The mental health program, nevertheless, could be on the chopping block as the Atlanta safety net provider confronts nearly $100 million in funding cuts.
Grady CEO John Haupert
“Mental health is one [area] that would be looked at,’’ CEO John Haupert told GHN recently. The program loses $6 million annually, he said.
Grady is the second-biggest provider of mental health services in the state, behind the prison system, Haupert told a Rotary Club audience in Atlanta last month.
“We can’t be all things to all people,’’ he said. “We don’t have to be in the mental health business, [but] we need to be in the mental health business.’’
Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta is facing up to $24 million in Medicaid funding reductions, plus an eventual annual hit of $45 million from a federal cut in money for hospitals that serve a high number of low-income patients. full story
What happens when a rural community loses a hospital?
Jobs disappear. Hopes for economic development fade. Residents look for a new route to the nearest hospital.
Georgia has seen three rural hospitals close this year: Charlton Memorial Hospital in Folkston; Stewart-Webster Hospital in Richland; and Calhoun Memorial in Arlington.
A fourth, Flint River Hospital in Montezuma, closed its emergency room.
Stewart Webster Hospital closed earlier this year.
Officials with the hospitals said financial pressures forced them to go through with the closures. All were in areas that have struggled economically. But in a sad irony, the loss of a hospital usually weakens the economy of an area even further.
The consequences for patients and potential patients are grim when a hospital disappears.
The Florida Times-Union on Saturday published a harrowing account of what happened to Pam Renshaw, who rolled her four-wheeler over and landed in a bonfire in October in Charlton County, where the hospital had recently closed. full story