Telehealth is booming in Georgia. But even with all the advances, the spread of technology for patients who are poor or older or housebound is slow. Outdated connectivity issues and the Medicare health payment system are obstacles.
Authorities say the Medical Center of Central Georgia has agreed to pay $20 million to settle claims that it billed Medicare for services that were more expensive than what the hospital should have been billing for between 2004 and 2008.
The Georgia Federation of Democratic Women is conducting a letter-writing campaign trying to convince Governor Nathan Deal to expand Medicaid in the state. They say accepting $40.5 billion from the federal government will help hundreds of thousands of Georgians without healthcare and could generate 70 thousand jobs. Federation President Gail Buckner says too many poor people in Georgia have no health insurance. She says they wait until they are really sick, then go to the emergency room, which puts pressure on hospitals who provide care with no reimbursement.
New efforts to improve care coordination among hospitals, nursing homes and other providers are succeeding in reducing readmission rates, experts say. Georgia’s nursing homes and hospitals are collaborating more than ever to reduce readmissions, say officials with Georgia’s Quality Improvement Organization , a state-based group funded by Medicare to review medical care.
Recent problems with the Affordable Care Act--a poorly functioning insurance exchange website and an uproar over canceled policies--have dominated headlines and reignited political debates. But Jonathan Blum has a positive message to deliver about the ACA and its effect on the Medicare program, which covers about 1.4 million Georgians.
Millions of older adults are unable to get the dental services they need because it’s often not covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the VA. Among Georgians 65 years and older, almost one in four have lost all their teeth, according to the CDC’s State Oral Health Profile. And Georgia has no dentist in 24 of its 159 counties.
Phoebe Putney Health System said Thursday that it is cutting 127 jobs as part of an organizational restructuring. These reductions come on top of the 33 “leadership’’ positions eliminated earlier this month by Phoebe Putney, the dominant hospital system in southwest Georgia. The Albany-based system said the job reduction would lower operating costs by $10 million. Similar staffing cuts are occurring elsewhere in the state and nation.
A new report ranks Georgia 45th on how well the state’s health care system works for low-income families. For people with low incomes, Georgia ranked 46th in health care access and affordability, 47th in performance and treatment, 34th in potentially avoidable hospital use, and 35th in healthy lives, according to the report.
Federal prosecutors say Emory University has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle claims that billed Medicare and Medicaid for services not allowed by the rules of programs. A statement released Wednesday says the U.S. attorney's office in Atlanta and Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens reached the settlement with Emory.