Checking Up On Health: July 19, 2021

Medical Monday: A weekly post of healthcare- and technology-related policy news, views and commentaries. Just when you thought it was almost over, COVID-19 rears its ugly head again. For the children? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended today that all students older than 2 years old wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status, when schools reopen in the fall. The leading pediatrics organization called for universal masking, noting that most school-aged children are not yet eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and many schools are not tracking the vaccination status of … Continue Reading →

Checking Up On Health: June 28, 2021

Medical Monday: A weekly post of healthcare- and technology-related policy news, views and commentaries. Earlier this month, on June 14, Dutch company Philips announced a U.S. recall of CPAP machines. Millions of them. It’s interesting how few people know what a CPAP machine is, and how many people actually use them. Until you know someone who uses one. Then, suddenly, you notice them everywhere. Stand in an airport and you’ll watch scores of people carrying this essential little case onto their flight, most of them men. This is considered a medical … Continue Reading →

Checking Up On Health: June 14, 2021

Medical Monday: A (mostly) weekly post of healthcare- and technology-related policy news, views and commentaries. At a conference last week in Idaho, we had some down time and took a shuttle boat from the lakeside hotel to lunch at a nearby restaurant. The return trip included a group from a fly-fishing class, and I eavesdropped as the conversation turned to the upcoming Independence Day holiday and fireworks. One described how a relative, former military, loaded up on fireworks for his display, spending up to $5,000 for a couple of pallets of … Continue Reading →

CON Game

Certificate of Need Laws Hurt GA Healthcare Costs, Choice

Checking Up On Health: May 24, 2021

Medical Monday: A weekly post of healthcare- and technology-related policy news, views and commentaries. A mantra you’ll hear from policy research groups is that healthcare reform in Georgia and many other states can’t take place without Certificate of Need reform. And  just as certain as that is true is that the average Georgian has no idea what they’re talking about. What’s a Certificate of Need? To personalize it: Imagine, if you will, a subdivision in which you want to buy a fancy new grill for the patio in your backyard. You … Continue Reading →

Checking Up On Health: May 10, 2021

Nonprofit vs. for-profit hospitals. Which would you prefer? Do you even know the difference? Let’s test your knowledge. A hospital system’s reports gross earnings of more than $3.3 billion. Its president earned more than $4.8 million. For-profit or non-profit? In fact, it’s Northside Hospital, a nonprofit hospital whose IRS 990 form from 2017 notes: “In furtherance of its charitable mission, Northside invested in the continued growth, expansion, and increased access to these vital program services.” Let’s look at another. This hospital reported gross earnings of $1.3 billion and paid its … Continue Reading →

Checking Up On Health: May 3, 2021

Medical Monday: A weekly post of healthcare- and technology-related policy news, views and commentaries. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A man goes to the doctor and says, “Doctor, wherever I touch, it hurts.” The doctor asks, “What do you mean?” The man says, “When I touch my shoulder, it really hurts. If I touch my knee – OUCH! When I touch my forehead, it really, really hurts.” The doctor says, “I know what’s wrong with you. You’ve broken your finger!” I share that to share this: Vitiligo is … Continue Reading →

Checking Up On Health: April 26, 2021

Medical Monday: A weekly post of healthcare- and technology-related policy news, views and commentaries. In February 2021, Scott W. Atlas of the Hoover Institution spoke at a Hillsdale College event. Here’s an excerpt of his speech, from Hillsdale’s Imprimis publication: The COVID pandemic has been a tragedy, no doubt. But it has exposed profound issues in America that threaten the principles of freedom and order that we Americans often take for granted. First, I have been shocked at the unprecedented exertion of power by the government since last March – issuing … Continue Reading →

Checking Up On Health: April 19, 2021

Medical Monday: A weekly post of healthcare- and technology-related policy news, views and commentaries. Cat Stevens first sang, “The First Cut is the Deepest.” But last week’s second COVID-19 vaccination suggested the first shot’s not the hardest. In fact, as it did many other Americans, the second Moderna shot knocked me for a loop. It’s not just Moderna that has such an effect, of course. Others have been hit hard by the Pfizer vaccine. Both shots, as I have mentioned in an earlier post, are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. A Sacramento … Continue Reading →

Checking Up On Health: April 12, 2021

Medical Monday: A weekly post of healthcare- and technology-related policy news, views and commentaries. Now that the Trump administration is gone, it seems it’s once again OK to mention COVID-19 and China in the same breath. You may recall the virus outbreak began in Wuhan, China, and spread across the world. According to Worldometer, more than 137 million people have been infected by COVID-19 since it was first reported by China in December 2019; the death toll is closing in on 3 million. Mainland China has reported just 4,636 deaths among … Continue Reading →

Checking Up On Health: April 5, 2021

Medical Monday: A weekly post of healthcare- and technology-related policy news, views and commentaries. Thundering herd immunity: A single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna vaccine reduced the risk of COVID-19 infection by 80% while the full, two-dose regimen reduced the risk of infection by 90%, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For comparison, the effectiveness of the annual influenza vaccine in preventing infection ranges between 10-60%, according to a 2019 influenza report from the Council of Economic Advisors. The study “raises the … Continue Reading →

Checking Up On Health: March 29, 2021

Medical Monday: A weekly post of healthcare- and technology-related policy news, views and commentaries. Monday: Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a press briefing today she has a “recurring feeling” of “impending doom” as new daily cases of the coronavirus are rising and the nation approaches 550,000 COVID deaths among 30.2 million cases. According to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 tracking dashboard, the United States has reported more than 549,350 deaths among more than 30.2 million cases and leads the world in cases and … Continue Reading →

Checking Up On Health: March 22, 2021

Medical Monday: A weekly post of healthcare- and technology-related policy news, views and commentaries. Calling the shots: The COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech are made with messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, which teaches cells how to make protein that triggers an immune response and produce antibodies without using or injecting the live virus. A drawback of these vaccines is that booster shots may be necessary. In contrast, Johnson &Johnson, China’s CanSino Biologics and AstraZeneca are “viral vector” vaccines: made with a harmless cold virus that acts like a Trojan horse to … Continue Reading →

Checking Up On Health: March 15, 2020

Medical Monday: A weekly post of healthcare- and technology-related policy news, views and commentaries. One concern amid COVID-19 lockdowns, shutdowns, mandates, sheltering at home, isolation and telemedicine is the dangerous decline in routine vaccinations among children. As communities open up again, increasing socialization and interactions, many children – and the vulnerable adults around them – may be susceptible to childhood illnesses such as measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox, and there is an opportunity for dangerous outbreaks and rapid spread of such ailments. In a January article in the journal Pediatrics, … Continue Reading →

Preparing for a Return to “Normal”

By Kyle Wingfield To look back at my calendar this time a year ago is to relive another era. I’d just returned from a three-day conference with peers from around the country. I had three dinner parties on tap, a full slate of lunch meetings, baseball games and scout meetings for the kids, a weekend in Athens my wife and I ultimately decided to skip. Things made their way to the cliff’s edge one by one. A phone call to go over details with the speakers for a March 18 … Continue Reading →

Checking Up On Health: March 8, 2021

Medical Monday: A weekly post of healthcare- and technology-related policy news, views and commentaries. When I was young, a primary goal of mothers in my community back in South Africa was to ensure that we girls contracted German measles before we were of child-bearing age. If it got around that a young friend with German measles, we were encouraged to hang out with them so we could “get it out of the way.” And we had to stay away from pregnant women if there was any sign of infection. Why? … Continue Reading →

Checking Up On Health: March 1, 2021

Medical Monday: A weekly post of healthcare- and technology-related policy news, views and commentaries. States have waiting for Georgia’s innovative Medicaid 1115 waiver to take effect and lead the exodus from ObamaCare. But there’s a new pharaoh in town, and he’s changed his mind about letting Georgia’s people go: Suddenly the thoughtful flexibility Gov. Brian Kemp believed was a done deal to give more low-income Georgians Medicaid coverage is no longer good enough. Yep. The waiver approved by the Trump administration’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in October … Continue Reading →

Unhealthy Blockage Constricts Certificate-of-Need Relief

By Chris Denson On March 20, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order relaxing many restrictions on healthcare providers. It included the suspension of the state’s certificate-of-need (CON) law. When hospitals suspended elective surgeries to preserve resources and focus personnel on COVID-19, many patients were forced to postpone often vital surgical procedures. As Johns Hopkins Medicine notes, “An elective surgery does not always mean it is optional. It simply means that the surgery can be scheduled in advance.” Some Georgians with heart … Continue Reading →

Checking Up On Health: January 18, 2021

Life after COVID-19 for ‘long-haulers’ Medical Monday: A weekly post of healthcare- and technology-related policy news, views and commentaries. By Benita M. Dodd A dear young friend and colleague tested for COVID-19 around Thanksgiving and, after quarantining and treatment, he recovered from his mild symptoms. As too many Americans are discovering post-COVID, however,  recovering from the novel coronavirus doesn’t mean their health issues are over. Under the impression his acquired immunity and return to health meant all was well,  when he started feeling unwell early this year, he thought he … Continue Reading →

Checking Up On Health: January 11, 2021

Medical Monday: A weekly post of healthcare- and technology-related policy news, views and commentaries. Mutating virus: The first case of the U.K. coronavirus variant has been reported in Georgia, an 18-year-old man with no travel history, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported January 5. The state became the fifth to report a case of the variant, following New York, California, Florida and Colorado.   Resistant COVID-19: The lead researcher in Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine trials in South Africa told CBS that country has seen more than 13 coronavirus variants since the start of the … Continue Reading →