5 Health Events in Georgia Worth Watching in 2023 – WABE

Well being points are large information in Georgia in 2022. This pattern is more likely to proceed in 2023, together with on the Golden Dome through the subsequent legislative session. You will be following WABE to learn the way all of it is completed and the way it can impression communities throughout Atlanta and past. Listed here are only a few of the subjects the newsroom watches.

1. Entry to psychological well being care in Georgia

The nation grapples with persistent gaps in entry to psychological well being and substance abuse providers and a scarcity of service suppliers. In 2022, the Basic Meeting handed the Psychological Well being Parity Act, which requires medical health insurance corporations in Georgia to cowl psychological and behavioral well being situations on a par with bodily well being situations. It additionally supplies incentives for the event of Georgia’s resourceful workforce and requires the state to trace compliance with the regulation. Within the subsequent legislative session starting Jan. 9, psychological well being advocates will push lawmakers to construct on provisions within the regulation also referred to as Home Invoice 1013 and supply extra funding for community-based dependancy and psychological well being prevention, therapy and restoration providers.

2. Abortion rights

The previous 12 months has seen months of authorized battles over a Georgia regulation that bans abortions after about six weeks, when cardiac exercise is detected within the womb and earlier than many ladies know they’re pregnant. The battles will not be over but. Home Invoice 481 went into impact a month after the US Supreme Court docket’s resolution in June to strike down abortion ensures in Roe v. Wade. A coalition of abortion rights advocates and medical suppliers has sued to dam the regulation on constitutional grounds. After a two-day trial in Fulton County Superior Court docket, the case is now headed to Georgia Supreme Court docket. Judges there’ll determine whether or not abortion restrictions can stay in impact in Georgia. It isn’t clear when the courtroom will hear the case.

3. Georgia Well being Care Community

In November, Wellstar Well being System closed its century-old Atlanta Medical Heart within the Previous Fourth Ward, citing mounting monetary losses. The choice to shut the Stage 1 Trauma Heart sparked outcry over the lack of entry to medical care in a state of affairs with vital well being disparities. It additionally raised concern in regards to the impression of the closure on close by hospitals, particularly Grady Memorial Hospital, which is town’s solely different Stage 1 trauma heart. Grady officers advised WABE that the hospital has seen practically 30% of trauma sufferers drop since AMC closed. This previous spring, Wellstar additionally closed AMC South, Fulton County’s solely full-service emergency division south of I-20. Well being advocates say the state must do extra to help the struggling hospital system. They need Georgia to completely increase Medicaid, which Gov. Brian Kemp opposes, to cowl extra Georgians and enhance reimbursement to hospitals.

4. Habit and restoration

The drug overdose disaster escalated through the epidemic. The US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention reported 107,622 drug overdose deaths in 2021 — a file quantity — most of them associated to opioids. These deaths have additionally skyrocketed in Georgia. Among the many Georgia Council on Restoration’s priorities for 2023 are extra state and federal funding for community-based therapy and restoration packages led instantly by individuals in restoration, and for extra hurt prevention and training sources to advertise consciousness of reversing naloxone overdose. The coalition can be in search of to offer individuals affected by dependancy and overdoses a larger say in how the state allocates lots of of thousands and thousands of {dollars} from the current $26 billion opioid settlement.

5. Public Well being and COVID-19

Three years into the pandemic, public well being officers are once more recommending masking indoors in areas with excessive neighborhood ranges of COVID-19, in crowded areas resembling on public transportation and for individuals at excessive threat of extreme an infection. Whereas the nationwide spike for coronavirus stays beneath final winter’s ranges, Georgia has seen a spike in reported instances and COVID-19 hospitalizations since Thanksgiving, simply as flu and RSV exercise have picked up as effectively. Director of the Facilities for Illness Management, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, is urgent federal lawmakers to offer the company extra energy, together with the flexibility to drive information sharing between the federal, state and native ranges. She says the broader authority might assist the Atlanta-based company reply higher throughout public well being emergencies. The CDC has come beneath fireplace for its dealing with of the epidemic, smallpox outbreaks, and different well being crises.

That is a part of WABE’s “Storylines To Watch In 2023” collection. Click on right here to see what information tales WABE reporters are watching to their beat—together with arts and tradition, felony justice, training, the setting, housing, immigration, and politics—so you may pay attention to what the 12 months may carry.

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