Editorial Roundup: Georgia

Valdosta Daily Times. November 29, 2022.

Editorial: Not too late for flu shot

It is not too late to get a flu shot.

The stress on the health care system by a very active flu season, persistent COVID-19 and an increase in RSV patients is palpable but the biggest concern is your health and well being.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says September and October are generally the best times to take the flu vaccine, it is not too late to get one now, and if you got a flu shot early in the season, you might want to talk to your health care provider about a second flu shot.

Here are the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control for flu shots:

— CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.

— While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggests will be most common.

— Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.

— Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year before flu activity begins in their community. Health experts also recommend getting vaccinated early this year.

— Vaccination of high-risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.

— People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease, and people 65 years and older.

— Vaccination also is important for health care workers and other people who live with or care for high-risk people to keep from spreading flu to them.

— Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for infants should be vaccinated instead.

Both for those who have and those who have not gotten the flu vaccine this season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these recommendations to reduce your chances of getting sick and to manage your sickness if you do:

— Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

— While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

— If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)

— Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

— Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

— Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

— Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs such as the flu.

It should also be remembered that the hospital emergency room is not the first line of defense for battling the flu.

A visit to a primary health care physician or after-hours clinic may be necessary if symptoms warrant but the emergency room should be reserved for emergencies.

Fortunately, many of the same practices we have had to get used to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 will also help prevent the spread of the flu — that is if we simply follow the guidelines. If you have not been vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19, please do so, also don’t forget your flu shot.

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Brunswick News. November 29, 2022.

Editorial: Legislators must address state healthcare needs

Is there a doctor in the house? The state’s health care system is in need of a thorough examination and course of treatment.

For some hospitals, it is too late. They have closed their doors to patients. Others are in desperate need of a transfusion, a property tax transfusion.

Another hospital in Georgia is having to lean on the taxpayers of the community it serves. The Macon-Bibb Hospital Authority is asking the local government for a chunk of property tax collections.

Like so many other hospitals in the Peach State, Atrium Health Navicent, the hospital the authority oversees, must have tax revenue to defray the rising cost of indigent care. Too many people are unable to pay for the treatment they receive either because they are uninsured or simply too poor.

Tossing a siphoning hose into the local tax base is getting to be a trend in Georgia. If Macon-Bibb County consents to the request, it will become the 14th county in the state to do so. To date, 13 of Georgia’s 159 counties have been asked to contribute to the local health care system.

Georgia allows hospitals to dip into the local tax structure. According to state law, counties can provide up to 7 mills in revenue to the hospital serving the general public.

Fulton and DeKalb counties are an example of this. Both monetarily support Grady Hospital in Atlanta, the sole top-level trauma center in the heavily populated metro area. With the closure of Wellstar Health System, which also served the area, Grady will need more assistance from the two counties. Medical cases that might have been referred to Wellstar now go to Grady. This includes patients who are unable to pay for services rendered.

In this day and age, any hospital is apt to find itself in the same predicament of requiring the assistance of taxpayers to maintain a healthy heartbeat. Costly to property owners, yes, but it beats the alternative. Just like Wellstar, a number have opted to step off that financial tightrope and have shut down all operations.

Georgia can ill-afford to lose more of its hospitals, especially top-level trauma centers like Atrium Health Navicent.

We continue to urge legislators to look into the situation and see what can be done to keep hospitals open and solvent in this state.

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