5 Health Events in Georgia Worth Watching in 2023 – WABE

Well being points are large information in Georgia in 2022. This development is prone to proceed in 2023, together with on the Golden Dome in the course of the subsequent legislative session. You will be following WABE to learn how all of it is finished and the way it can influence communities throughout Atlanta and past. Listed here are just some of the matters 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 companies and a scarcity of service suppliers. In 2022, the Basic Meeting handed the Psychological Well being Parity Act, which requires medical insurance firms in Georgia to cowl psychological and behavioral well being situations on a par with bodily well being situations. It additionally offers 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 often known as Home Invoice 1013 and supply extra funding for community-based dependancy and psychological well being prevention, therapy and restoration companies.

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 are usually not over but. Home Invoice 481 went into impact a month after the US Supreme Court docket’s determination 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 Middle within the Previous Fourth Ward, citing mounting monetary losses. The choice to shut the Degree 1 Trauma Middle sparked outcry over the lack of entry to medical care in a scenario with vital well being disparities. It additionally raised concern in regards to the influence of the closure on close by hospitals, particularly Grady Memorial Hospital, which is the town’s solely different Degree 1 trauma heart. Grady officers informed WABE that the hospital has seen almost 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 assist the struggling hospital system. They need Georgia to totally develop Medicaid, which Gov. Brian Kemp opposes, to cowl extra Georgians and increase reimbursement to hospitals.

4. Dependancy and restoration

The drug overdose disaster escalated in the course of the epidemic. The US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention reported 107,622 drug overdose deaths in 2021 — a report 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 applications led immediately by folks in restoration, and for extra hurt prevention and schooling sources to advertise consciousness of reversing naloxone overdose. The coalition can also be searching for to present folks affected by dependancy and overdoses a larger say in how the state allocates a whole lot of thousands and thousands of {dollars} from the latest $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 reminiscent of on public transportation and for folks at excessive danger of extreme an infection. Whereas the nationwide spike for coronavirus stays beneath final winter’s ranges, Georgia has seen a spike in reported circumstances 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 present the company extra energy, together with the power to power information sharing between the federal, state and native ranges. She says the broader authority may 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” sequence. Click on right here to see what information tales WABE reporters are watching to their beat—together with arts and tradition, prison justice, schooling, the surroundings, housing, immigration, and politics—so you will pay attention to what the 12 months would possibly carry.

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