Category Archives: Health

Deal: Handshake Agreement Between Piedmont Healthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia Made

The governor’s office released the following statement regarding the ongoing contract dispute between Piedmont Healthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia:

“A handshake agreement between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia and Piedmont Healthcare was made in the governor’s office late this afternoon. Announcement of an agreement in the form of a contract will be made by the contracting parties as soon as possible. This deal ensures no interruption of coverage for Georgians using Piedmont Healthcare as a provider during the contract dispute.”

Carter, Bustos Introduce Legislation To Increase Access to Opioid Addiction Treatment

WASHINGTON – Representatives Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-Ga.) and Cheri Bustos (D-Il.) introduced legislation today to increase access to treatment for those suffering from opioid and other addictions.

Currently, federal law prohibits a medical practitioner from dispensing controlled substances through the internet without first evaluating the patient in-person. This legislation, the Special Registration for Telemedicine Clarification Act, instructs the Attorney General to take the necessary steps to allow for the prescription of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and other controlled substances via telemedicine. It requires a special registration to connect patients with the treatment they need without risking important safeguards to prevent misuse or diversion.

“Millions of Americans across the country are currently addicted to opioids and we’re losing 115 people every day,”
said Congressman Carter. “No community is safe, especially rural communities where many do not have access to the treatment they need in close proximity. I am proud to introduce this legislation today to ensure those who do not have access to an in-person specialist are able to get the help they need through telemedicine without risking important safeguards to prevent misuse. As the only pharmacist in Congress, I believe we must use every tool available to combat the opioid crisis. Telemedicine technology has evolved tremendously and it should absolutely be used in this fight.”

“The opioid epidemic has claimed too many lives across our nation, and I am told time and time again that access to treatment remains one of the largest barriers to recovery in small towns and rural communities across America,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “This is why I’m proud to help introduce the Special Registration for Telemedicine Clarification Act, which will help bring more treatment options to underserved communities through telemedicine. Saving our sons and daughters from the opioid epidemic is a bipartisan priority and we’re all committed to addressing this crisis as quickly and effectively as possible.”

“The National Council for Behavioral Health is pleased to support Representatives Carter and Bustos’ legislation requiring the Drug Enforcement Administration to issue a special registration process for practitioners of telemedicine,” said National Council for Behavioral Health President and CEO, Linda Rosenberg. “Due to a gap in federal law, legitimate practitioners like community addiction and mental health treatment clinics have been blocked from obtaining DEA registration that would allow them to prescribe lifesaving medications to patients with addition or mental illness via telemedicine. A special registration process can be used to permit these clinics and other treatment providers to be registered and overseen by DEA.”

Background:

In 2008, Congress strengthened prohibitions against distributing and dispensing controlled substances by passing the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 110-425). The Ryan Haight Act made it illegal for a practitioner to dispense controlled substances through the internet without at least one in-person patient evaluation. The legislation included the ability for the Attorney General to issue a special registration to health care providers to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine in legitimate emergency situations, such as a lack of access to an in-person specialist. However, the waiver process has never been implemented through regulation, and thus some patients still do not have the emergency access to care they need.

The Special Registration for Telemedicine Clarification Act, introduced by Carter and Bustos today, will allow physicians to prescribe medication-assisted treatment (MAT) via telemedicine.

Northside Offers Free Heart and Vascular Screening April 14

CUMMING, Ga. — Northside Hospital’s Heart and Vascular Institute will offer a free screening to determine your risk for heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease, or CVD.

CVD remains the No. 1 killer of Americans, according to the American Heart Association.

There are a range of factors that raise your risk of developing CVD and having a heart attack or stroke. The more factors you have, the greater your risk. It is essential to find out your risk for CVD and make a plan to prevent it.

The free screening takes place:

When: 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 14

Where: Northside Hospital Forsyth

1200 Northside Forsyth Drive

Cumming, Ga. 30041

Education Center, Third Floor

Free parking available.

This comprehensive screening is administered by health care professionals and will include a one-on-one consultation, risk assessment, blood pressure reading, total cholesterol (HDL, ratio of TC/HDL) as well as glucose testing and body mass index (BMI) analysis.

The screening is free, but registration is required. Call 404-851-6550 to secure your spot and schedule an appointment.