Health

State Senate push for cigarette tax hike aims to cushion spending cuts

BY: - June 23, 2020

A late-session push in the Senate would raise the state’s cigarette tax and stick a tax on vape products, which has so far eluded legislators. The Republican-led effort would raise the state’s current 37-cent per pack rate up to $1.35, which rivals what Florida charges its smokers. People would pay $1.25 per fluid milliliter or […]

At last, legislation to curb surprise billing headed to governor’s desk

BY: - June 18, 2020

After several years of false starts, state lawmakers Wednesday sent legislation to the governor designed to rein in the unexpected medical bills that Georgians sometimes get after a hospital visit. Gov. Brian Kemp is expected to sign the bill after naming surprise billing reform as one of his top priorities for the 2020 session. The […]

CDC warns pandemic risk remains as Georgia permits bigger gatherings

BY: - June 12, 2020

As restrictions meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 continue to ease here and elsewhere, some of the country’s leading public health officials have issued a gentle reminder: It ain’t over. “I know that people are eager to return to normal activities and ways of life,” Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for […]

Past errors might cause state to delay COVID-19 data release for fact-check

BY: - May 21, 2020

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp acknowledged recent errors in the state’s public health data reporting but asked for the public’s understanding at a press briefing held Thursday at the state Capitol. The state Department of Public Health said in a tweet earlier this week that, due to a processing error, it had inadvertently included 231 serologic test results […]

Commenters pan Kemp’s Medicaid expansion plan as too limited

BY: - May 14, 2020

New analysis of the thousands of comments submitted during the public airing of Gov. Brian Kemp’s Medicaid waivers found most people who took the time to weigh in oppose the plans. Georgians for a Healthy Future and Cover Georgia – which are two groups that advocate for full Medicaid expansion – combed through more than […]

Contact tracing, nursing home tests next front in state COVID-19 reponse

BY: - May 13, 2020

The Georgia Department of Public Health plans to quadruple the people performing contact tracing in the state, from 250 to 1,000 by June 23, Gov. Brian Kemp said Tuesday. The governor also announced at a Capitol press conference Tuesday he will extend restrictions on bars and nightclubs, will renew an effort to safeguard residents in […]

Contact tracing next attack in battle against new coronavirus

BY: - May 11, 2020

A steady stream of cars moved in and out of Gwinnett County’s Infinite Energy Center’s parking deck late last week as people answered the call of state officials urging them to find out whether they are carrying COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.  It’s the fourth time the East Metro Health District held […]

Trump’s critics warn his order to keep meat plants open imperils workers

BY: - May 5, 2020

WASHINGTON — Democratic senators are accusing President Donald Trump of putting workers at risk by ordering meat and poultry processors to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Senate Democrats are asking Trump to amend an executive order he signed last week, which declared meat plants to be “critical infrastructure” and ordered his administration to ensure that they […]

Dem state lawmaker urges Kemp to expand Medicaid to fight COVID-19

BY: - April 30, 2020

A top Georgia Democrat says COVID-19’s stress on the health care system underscores the need to expand the state’s insurance program for the poor and disabled. House Minority Leader Bob Trammell, a Luthersville Democrat, urged Gov. Brian Kemp to use his increased public health emergency powers to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. And […]

Elective surgeries could start slowly after Georgia’s coronavirus shutdown

BY: - April 23, 2020

Dermatologist Rutledge Forney said her five metro Atlanta locations won’t reopen for in-person visits until June despite Gov. Brian Kemp’s green light to open as soon as they can operate safely. “The governor can do anything he wants to do, but we feel that it’s very important to maintain an extensive social distancing,” she said. […]

COMMENTARY

Increase COVID-19 transparency in Georgia while still respecting privacy

BY: - April 7, 2020

Narrow restriction of local information about confirmed cases of COVID-19 begs the question: What is the appropriate balance between protecting an individual’s identity and the public’s right to information during a public health crisis? The Georgia Department of Public Health — like many state health departments — provides daily updates on confirmed COVID cases, broken […]

Telemedicine moves into mainstream as doctors treat patients from afar

BY: - April 1, 2020

Jacob Sutton of Monroe County is set to virtually meet with his doctor today as part of the 10-year-old’s routine checkup for his autism. Jacob’s distant check-in with his pediatrician is part of the race to telemedicine as a means to treat patients in the wake of relaxed federal regulations and mandates to allow people […]