Category Archives: Health

Carter Introduces Legislation To Ensure Patients Have Access To Most Affordable Prescription Options

WASHINGTON – Congressman Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-Ga.) introduced bipartisan legislation today to ensure pharmacists are able to advise patients when there may be a better, more affordable out-of-pocket alternative to what is covered by their insurance plan.

Currently, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM) are able to include requirements in contracts that prevent pharmacists from providing advice to their patients on the best and cheapest out-of-pocket alternatives to medications covered under insurance. This is commonly known as a gag clause.  Pharmacists can be legally penalized, or barred, from PBM contracts because they have notified their patients of cheaper out-of-pocket alternatives.

Carter’s legislation, the Prescription Transparency Act, nullifies and prohibits these gag clause provisions. This will allow pharmacists to properly advise their patients and help guide them to the most affordable and best option.

“As a pharmacist for more than 30 years, there were many times when I was prevented from telling my patients that there was a cheaper option because of a gag clause,” said Carter. “There is no reason pharmacists should not be able to talk to patients about what is best for them. Many times, my patients were senior citizens who had to choose between groceries and their prescription. These patients need and deserve the most affordable options. I introduced this legislation today to help make sure pharmacists are able to make that happen. This is an important step in our mission to lower prescription drug prices for Americans.”

“We salute Representatives Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) for their efforts to help patients get the best price for their prescription drugs,” said National Community Pharmacists Association CEO B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA. “Clearly, pharmacists should be able to advise patients about the lowest-cost ways to access their medications. The Prescription Transparency Act of 2018 will assure that they can.”

“APhA appreciates bringing forth this legislation to empower pharmacists to increase patients’ access to more affordable and cost-effective medicines,” said the American Pharmacists Association. “For years pharmacists have been frustrated by policies that restrict their inability to help their patients lower their medication costs.”

Original cosponsors include: Representatives Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wa.), and Austin Scott (R-Ga.).

Columbus Regional Health becomes Piedmont Columbus Regional

Columbus, Ga. (March 1, 2018) – Columbus Regional Health is officially Piedmont Columbus Regional, growing Piedmont Healthcare to a 10-hospital system. In May 2017, Piedmont announced it signed a letter of intent with Columbus Regional Health that proposed an affiliation between the two health systems. On March 1, 2018, community members, board members, leadership and employees of both Piedmont and Columbus Regional publically celebrated the partnership. Leaders cut a ceremonial ribbon and a new Piedmont Columbus Regional marquee was unveiled.

Piedmont Columbus Regional Ribbon Cutting
Kevin Brown, CEO Piedmont Healthcare; Dr. Harry McFarling, Chairman of Piedmont Healthcare Board of Directors; Scott Hill, CEO Piedmont Columbus Regional; Warren Steele, Chairman of the Piedmont Columbus Regional Board of Directors.

“When Columbus Regional began looking for a partner, we were immediately interested because we saw the same dedication to high-quality, patient-centered care that Piedmont prides itself in,” said Kevin Brown, CEO of Piedmont Healthcare. “Over the last few months of planning for this integration, we’ve worked closely with the leadership at Columbus Regional and felt the affirmation that this is a great collaboration – for Piedmont, for Columbus Regional and the communities it serves. It is nice to celebrate making it official today.”

Founded in 1836, Piedmont Columbus Regional is a leading healthcare provider in west Georgia serving the Columbus, Ga. area with a network of health and medical services through its two hospital campuses. Piedmont is committed to reinforcing the efforts already in place to provide high-quality, patient-centered care – close to home.

“Today, we celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Columbus Regional Health,” said Scott Hill, CEO of Piedmont Columbus Regional. “We are excited about the many possibilities and new opportunities the partnership with Piedmont will bring to our patients, our employees, our medical staff partners and our community as a whole.  We have worked hard to put our patients and our employees first over the past number of years, in addition to positioning our organization for growth and improvement.

“Being a clinical hub within Piedmont will make that a reality for us in many ways,” continued Hill. “We know Piedmont is the right partner for not only Columbus Regional Health, but for the entire Chattahoochee Valley Region. Today is a great celebration of this partnership”

As Flu-Related Deaths Rise, North Georgians Still Urged to Get No-Cost Shot

North GA – Nearly 1,100 north Georgians have been vaccinated against the flu since early February when health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties began providing flu vaccinations at no cost to clients. Now that the Georgia Department of Public Health reported the number of flu-related deaths in Georgia has risen to 98, local health officials are urgently encouraging anyone who has not yet been vaccinated to do so as quickly as possible. The virus continues to be widespread.

No-cost flu vaccine is still available at the north Georgia county health departments, including high dose flu vaccine for people ages 65 and older. Healthcare plans are billed for clients who have coverage and there is no charge to anyone who is not insured. No appointment is necessary – “Walk-ins” are welcome. Addresses and phone numbers for the participating health departments are as follows:

Cherokee County Health Department: 1219 Univeter Road, Canton, GA 30115, (770) 345-7371 and 7545 North Main Street, Suite 100, Woodstock, GA 30188, (770) 928-0133

Fannin County Health Department: 95 Ouida Street, Blue Ridge, GA 30513, (706) 632-3023

Gilmer County Health Department: 28 Southside Church Street, Ellijay, GA 30540, (706) 635-4363

Murray County Health Department: 709 Old Dalton-Ellijay Road, Chatsworth, GA 30705, (706) 695-4585

Pickens County Health Department:  60 Health Way, Jasper, GA 30143, (706) 253-2821

Whitfield County Health Department: 800 Professional Boulevard, Dalton, GA 30720, (706) 226-2621

More information about preventing the spread of flu, such as frequent handwashing and covering coughs and sneezes, is on the North Georgia Health District website at