The Top 10 Georgia health care stories of 2021

Linda Rider

Close to 20,000 new Covid scenarios (such as positives from antigen tests) had been claimed in Georgia on the very last Wednesday of 2021, as new day by day point out information are being established. On the point out virus map, metro Atlanta was lined by a deep, harmful crimson colour, signifying significant costs of an infection. Individuals were being scrambling to get Covid checks, and lots of were forced to rethink their New Year’s strategies. 6 healthcare facility systems in the metro Atlanta area jointly declared Wednesday that have experienced 100 to 200 p.c increases in Covid hospitalizations in the earlier 8 days, with the extensive majority of inpatients remaining unvaccinated.

Pretty much two many years into the pandemic, Covid continued to dominate headlines . . . and it dominates our checklist of the Major 10 Georgia health treatment tales of 2021.


Vaccines grew to become a crucial weapon. Matching the startling velocity of Covid vaccine development, drug makers manufactured and shipped millions of doses to the country in 2021. Georgians from the outset commenced acquiring in line for photographs, and investigate showed that vaccinated folks experienced a considerably greater possibility of escaping hospitalization and demise. Still at the finish of the year, just hardly in excess of 50 p.c of Georgians ended up completely vaccinated, even as booster shots have been remaining presented to maximize immunity.


Point out map of Covid scenarios Dec. 29.

The virus adapted. Right after the initially months of the pandemic, variants of Covid began to arise, highlighting the disease’s complexity. Ga experienced this year via a deadly surge pushed by the Delta variant. As that subsided, a new variant, Omicron, emerged toward the close of the yr. Omicron assisted fuel a every day document of Covid conditions staying documented, equally in the U.S. and in Ga. Hospitals all over again had been seeing their selection of virus individuals increase.


Covid made extra wellbeing employee shortages. Nursing staffs in hospitals shrank as RNs still left for fewer perilous perform environments and even retired. Hospitals started presenting unparalleled bonuses to entice nurses. Covid also compelled shortages of caregivers for persons with disabilities finding house care. And condition-run psychiatric hospitals faced alarming shortages of staff.


Kemp waivers ran into issues. Immediately after the Biden administration took office environment, the federal Facilities for Medicare and Medicaid Companies commenced questioning the function requirements in Gov. Brian Kemp’s proposal for growing Medicaid enrollment in Ga. Then, shortly just before Xmas, the agency turned down individuals eligibility restrictions. Meanwhile, CMS also questioned tough questions about the GOP governor’s other waiver ask for, to change health with an insurance coverage portal privately operate by insurers and brokers.


ACA marketplace enrollment soared. Federal wellbeing officers introduced file enrollment in federal government-affiliated marketplaces that let individuals acquire overall health protection. That high mark that was partly fueled by jumps in indicator-ups in Ga and the 11 other states that had not expanded Medicaid underneath the Reasonably priced Treatment Act. Ga described a history 653,000 enrollees, as the number of insurance options improved, buttressed by much more support from ACA counselors (“navigators”) and increased discounts for some marketplace clients.


Abrams entered gubernatorial race. Democrat Stacey Abrams, who narrowly misplaced to Republican Brian Kemp in 2018, declared she was running for governor again in 2022. With Abrams’ advocacy of Medicaid growth and other insurance policies that Gov. Kemp and his GOP allies have rejected, this signaled that health and fitness treatment could be a pivotal problem in the contest.


Expired contracts and disappointed prospects. More contracts concerning huge insurers and hospital devices nationally were currently being severed with no a renewal agreement, and individuals disruptions performed out in Georgia as effectively. Wellstar’s agreement with UnitedHealthcare ended in Oct, and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield was heading for a Jan. 1 breakup with Northside Hospital.


The former Stewart Webster Healthcare facility


Rural health and fitness troubles persisted. Extra Covid funding served stave off closures of rural hospitals across the country, but there were quite a few pockets in Ga exactly where health-related services remained scarce. Some communities began hunting to establish stand-by itself rural emergency hospitals to fill the holes still left by shuttered hospitals.

Floyd Health care Centre

Clinic consolidation resumed. Piedmont Health care extra 4 Georgia hospitals, acquiring them from HCA. Piedmont also began closing in on University Healthcare facility in Augusta. Meanwhile, in Rome, Atrium Wellness took over Floyd Health care Center, even though AdventHealth obtained Redmond Regional Medical Center. This sort of moves included bargaining clout to healthcare facility programs seeking better reimbursements from well being insurers.


Pieces of slag made up of guide in westside Atlanta yard


EPA widened probe of direct in Atlanta soil. The federal EPA expanded its investigation of a big swath of the reduced-earnings English Avenue community for lead in the soil. Meanwhile, a Georgia Home analyze committee manufactured a series of suggestions to beef up state law aimed at protecting persons from direct poisoning.


Monkeypox scare strike Ga. Public Wellbeing officers documented that 43 men and women in Ga were monitored in July for monkeypox. They had been exposed to an air traveler infected with the unusual condition whilst the man or woman was flying from Nigeria to Atlanta and then to Dallas. None of the Georgians turned out to be infected. Monkeypox originates in a variety of wild animals, not only monkeys, and can be transmitted if a particular person comes into get hold of with the virus from an infected animal, an contaminated particular person or contaminated components.

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