Here is GHN’s list of the Top 10 Georgia health care stories of 2011:
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law’s requirement for individuals to buy insurance, though it upheld the rest of the law. This decision virtually assured that the U.S. Supreme Court would have to rule on the Affordable Care Act, and the high court has since agreed to do so in 2012.
The Georgia Department of Public Health was created by the Legislature and opened in July under Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald, and a board was appointed.
The local hospital authority withstood fierce legal opposition by the Federal Trade Commission and won the right to purchase Palmyra Medical Center from HCA, cementing control over the hospital market in the city.
The legislation that would have set up the mechanism for a state health insurance exchange died amid unexpected opposition from Tea Party members. Gov. Nathan Deal then appointed an advisory panel that recommended proceeding with the idea for small businesses.
Besides the Albany merger, other acquisitions and partnerships occurred in Valdosta, Greensboro, Fort Valley, and in metro Atlanta, driven by partnerships between Emory and St. Joseph’s and Piedmont and Henry Medical.
The legislation — designed to help residents of assisted living facilities remain in place and not be forced to enter nursing homes — had been sought for a long time.
The saga of immigrant health care heated up before Grady Memorial Hospital and Fresenius Medical Care reached an agreement on providing dialysis services for 21 patients whose regular treatment had ended a week before.
It started as a local feud, with anonymous faxes ridiculing Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. But it could wind up setting a legal precedent for criminal investigations nationwide. The justices will decide whether prosecutorial investigators have total immunity from being sued for giving false testimony before a grand jury.
The two powerful hospital systems, vying for patients, waged a protracted fight in the state regulatory system over licenses for facilities in the Atlanta suburbs.
The federal government, at the state’s request, gave Georgia health insurers permission to gradually meet new restrictions on how they spend premium dollars under the health care reform law.
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