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Georgia Health

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Apple cider vinegar – is it a cure-all? Well, nothing’s as miraculous as the marketing for apple cider vinegar makes it out to be, but as you’ll hear in this “Medical Minute,” vinegar has accepted medical uses, and there’s a growing evidence base that a little vinegar, probably tastiest on a salad, can help tamp down blood sugar after a meal. And the salad doesn’t hurt, either.

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Where Are The Most Georgians Uninsured?

Jun 6, 2017

Keith Srakocic / Associated Press

In this “Medical Minute” segment, senior reporter Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox talk about a surprising new finding that activity, not rest, may be called for after a concussion.

This new research conflicts with the advice most doctors are comfortable giving, but it supports a growing viewpoint among brain injury specialists.

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In a Friday, May 6, 2016 photo, LSU medical student Felicia Venable, left, examines a patient as fellow students and medical residents observe during daily rounds at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, La.
Gerald Herbert / Associated Press

Starting in July, health insurance provider Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia will stop covering emergency room visits it deems unnecessary.

And doctors and analysts have a lot to say about it. 

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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia is enacting this policy because it doesn't want people to use the emergency room as their primary health care.  

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Think twice before going gluten-free – that’s the message of this "Medical Minute" with reporter Jim Burress and Dr. Ford Vox.

The gluten-free diet that’s necessary for people living with celiac disease or those with a clear gluten intolerance has spread well beyond those populations into the health-conscious world at large. In fact, up to one-third of Americans now say they’re trying to limit their gluten intake.

Tune in to this "Medical Minute" and find out what you’re missing when you go gluten-free.

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Jaime Henry-White / Associated Press

Childhood obesity is a growing problem nationally, and here in Georgia a third of children are either overweight or obese.

It’s actually a bit tricky though for pediatricians to measure a child’s obesity, the BMI calculation that generally works in adults falls apart with growing children.

In this "Medical Minute," senior reporter Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox talk about the “new BMI” for children – the TMI, which stands for tri-ponderal mass index, highlighting new research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Scott Applewhite / AP

An estimated 720,000 Georgians could lose health insurance over the next 10 years under the revised Republican health care proposal that passed the U.S. House this month, according to an analysis of the Congressional Budget Office report.

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Bill Custer, a professor at Georgia State University, calculated the figures from the CBO report’s estimates. He said the CBO estimate is based on how states would react to the reduction in federal funding for Medicaid.

Ga. Insurer Files Statewide Plans For Obamacare Exchange

May 19, 2017
A pedestrian walks past the corporate headquarters of health insurer Anthem, formerly known as Wellpoint, on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014 in Indianapolis. The Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer sells insurance in several states under the Anthem brand, which was th
Darron Cummings / Associated Press

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia has taken the first step to continue participation in the Obamacare insurance exchange, by filing proposed plans with the state insurance commissioner.

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The company, which is owned by the health insurance firm Anthem, says it has filed plans for all regions of the state, including the 96 counties where it is the only provider in the marketplace.

Division of Family and Children Services case managers, like Michelle Doris and Zenique Johnson, will receive training from Georgia State University to identify and treat secondary traumatic stress.
Elly Yu / WABE

Working with children who have been abused and neglected can be stressful.

The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services said it’s one reason employees leave. DFCS has asked Georgia State University to help case workers cope.

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State Rep. Allen Peake speaks on behalf of his bill that would legalize medical marijuana in Georgia for patients with certain illnesses earlier this year.
David Goldman / Associated Press

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation Tuesday that would allow more people to be eligible for treatment under Georgia’s medical cannabis program.

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The bill, SB 16, adds six medical conditions to be covered under the program, which allows people with approved conditions to legally possess a certain amount of cannabis oil. Two of the new conditions are autism and Alzheimer's Disease.  

Evan Nodvin
Elly Yu / WABE

House Republicans in Washington are planning to vote Thursday on a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Pre-existing conditions have ruled the headlines this week, but the bill still includes big changes to Medicaid.

Potential cuts to the Medicaid program have worried people with disabilities and advocates in Georgia, including 38-year-old Evan Nodvin.

Elly Yu / WABE

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a $25 billion state budget this week, which includes slight raises for teachers and other state workers. But child welfare workers will get a salary boost of 19 percent, meant to cut high turnover rates within the agency.  

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Danielle McFarlane

If you're a recent transplant to Atlanta with medical records from another state, you may have had to deal with filling out lengthy medical history forms at the doctor's office.

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One Atlanta health care technology startup, Patientory, wants to make it easier for patients to access and share their electronic medical records using technology known as blockchain, which is behind the digital currency Bitcoin.

Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.,  July 23, 2013.
Charles Dharapak / Associated Press

The federal government is giving states $500 million to combat the nation's opioid abuse epidemic. 

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U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price made the announcement Wednesday at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in downtown Atlanta, where thousands gathered. The funds will come from the 21st Century Cures Act, he said, which passed Congress last year and was signed by President Barack Obama. 

Katja Ridderbusch

It's a normal day for Harry Wood, a hairdresser at Van Michael Salon in Buckhead, as he casually discusses his client's styling routine.

Nothing was normal for Susan Webster 13 years ago, when she sat in the same salon chair and told Wood, her longtime hairdresser and friend, the sad news. She had just been diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer and was about to lose her hair. The two immediately went together to pick out a wig.

A few weeks later, as she stood in front of her bathroom mirror one morning, Webster held a clump of hair in her hands.

David Goldman / Associated Press

Tuesday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

Brenna Beech / WABE

The final day of the Georgia General Assembly brought last-minute approval of some health care bills Thursday -- along with disappointment over pieces of legislation that didn’t pass.

The failures included the high-profile effort to halt “surprise’’ medical bills, and a proposal to require Georgia schools and day care centers to test their drinking fountains and sinks for lead contamination in the water.

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Georgia’s suburbs continue to dominate the rankings of the state’s healthiest counties.

Forsyth County, northeast of Atlanta, is the healthiest in Georgia for the fifth straight year, according to the 2017 County Health Rankings. The list was released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal speaks during a press conference to announce he has vetoed legislation allowing clergy to refuse performing gay marriage and protecting people who refuse to attend the ceremonies Monday, March 28, 2016, in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

As the U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote Thursday on the healthcare bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, leaders in Georgia have expressed mixed views about the plan. 

So far, many of Georgia's Republican members in the U.S. House appear to support the bill. But Wednesday, a spokesperson for Congressman Jody Hice, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, said Hice was opposed to the measure.  

Georgia's Health System Score Just Went Up

Mar 22, 2017
Gerald Herbert / Associated Press

Georgia’s ranking on a health system scorecard has improved from 46th in the nation to 41st.

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The Commonwealth Fund’s 2017 scorecard ranked the 50 states and the District of Columbia on the most recent data available in five areas: health care access, quality, avoidable hospital use and costs, health outcomes, and health care equity.

AP File

Georgia lawmakers have reached a compromise on a bill that would require doctors to log into a pill-tracking database before prescribing painkillers and other high-risk drugs. The goal is to curtail the overprescribing of opioids.

But critics say loopholes written into the proposal would create a false sense of accomplishment while leaving patients exposed to harm. Physician groups counter that the exceptions are necessary to reduce the burden on already strained doctors.


The House Insurance Committee on Monday passed revamped legislation to reduce “surprise billing,’’ in which patients using hospitals in their insurance network may still get unexpected bills from doctors who are not in the network.

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Don Heupel / AP

A state Senate health committee Thursday approved a bill to offer optional testing of Georgia newborns for Krabbe disease, a rare genetic disorder.

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The form of Krabbe that strikes newborns is caused by a change, or mutation, in the gene that carries the blueprints for an enzyme called galactosylceramidase, which is crucial to wrapping protective insulation called myelin around nerves. Without it, the brain and nerves deteriorate.

Mobile Apps Aimed At Helping Fill Sex Education Gaps

Mar 15, 2017
Paul Sakuma / AP File

It’s a rite of passage. Crowded onto the bleachers in the Clarke Central High School gym, ninth-grade students sit down for the start of a two-week health class. It’s their only such class in four years of high school.

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That’s where Katy Mayfield found herself as a 14-year-old freshman.

Denis O'Hayer / WABE

More than 120 Georgians died last year in domestic violence incidents, and one-third of those deaths were murder-suicides. Those findings are from a new report by the Georgia Fatality Review Project.


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The report looked at more than 100 separate incidents of homicides involving domestic violence and also noted that in nearly 40 percent of those cases, the perpetrators had threatened or attempted suicide.

Northbound traffic on I75-I85 headed Downtown
Alison Guillory / WABE

Georgia Tech researchers have found it's not just car emissions sending people to emergency rooms in Atlanta, but all that dust coming off brakepads and tires.

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Last year, researchers suspended monitors near I-75 in Atlanta to measure air pollution including the acidity in the air.

Elly YU / WABE

Some of the state's top Republican leaders said they have concerns about the Republican health care bill moving through Congress, and in particular a funding plan for Medicaid.

Under the Congressional Republican plan, states after 2020 would get a capped amount of federal funding based on how much a state spends per person on Medicaid. The Medicaid program insures low-income people and those with disabilities.


On a recent afternoon, the emergency room at Irwin County Hospital is empty except for one patient. He’s propped up on a bed and strapped to a machine that monitors his heart rate. Nurse Jason Baxley works the shift.  

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“Our ER is not very large. It’s only four exam rooms, a cardiac room and trauma room,” Baxley said.

David Goldman / Associated Press

Older Georgians would get hit with higher costs under the new Republican health care plan, especially those in rural areas, according to some health care analysts.

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Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can charge older Americans only three times as much as they would younger Americans. Under the new plan, companies could charge five times as much.

M. Spencer Green / associated press file

A new study finds fewer overweight Americans have been trying to lose weight in recent years. Researchers wonder if fat acceptance could be among the reasons.

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The trend over nearly two decades could also reflect people giving up after repeated failed dieting attempts. It happened as U.S. obesity rates climbed.