Keeping Members Informed

Through long-standing relationships with the community and media, GHA works to tell the story of hospitals and the important role they play in their communities. Our staff also works to keep our members informed of current events in health care at the state and federal level. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Flu Statement from GHA and Children's Hospital of Georgia

Last year’s flu season proved to be one of the worst in almost a decade. Hospital emergency rooms (ER) were inundated and handled the influx of patients by adding extra staff and resources, including a mobile ER at Grady Health System.

GHA is working closely with state agencies and hospitals to prepare for the upcoming flu season, which is October through May,” said GHA President Earl Rogers. “Flu shots are already available and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October. Not only does it protect you, it helps stop the spread of the virus and protects seniors and infants who are highly vulnerable to the flu.”

Augusta University Medical Center and its Children’s Hospital of Georgia – the state’s public academic health system – saw an increase of as many as 100 patients a day in the ER with flu or flu-like symptoms during the peak of the 2017-18 season.

James Wilde, M.D., an Augusta-based emergency physician and infectious disease specialist at Children’s Hospital of Georgia, says getting the flu vaccine is the first line of defense. Other precautionary measures, such as staying away from sick people, frequent hand-washing and covering coughs, can help stop the spread of flu.


Though hospitalizations were up last year, most healthy people do not require a visit to the doctor for the flu, Wilde points out.

 

“A few days of bed rest accompanied by lots of fluid and Tylenol or Motrin should suffice. Unless you have underlying conditions or are over age 65, you just have to let it run its course.

 

“Another key point for the public to understand is that antibiotics kill bacteria but will do nothing for the flu and, potentially, could make things worse,” says Wilde. “The flu is a virus, and even antivirals, like Tamiflu, may only shorten symtoms by a day or two. That diference may be important for people with underlying medical conditions but is hard to justify in the healthy.”

 

Individuals who think they may have the flu should follow the recommendations of the CDC for when to go to the hospital. According to the CDC, symptoms in adults that warrant an emergency room visit include trouble breathing, chest pain, and persistent vomiting. Those who do not have the flu, but go to the ER, risk catching it from those who do. However, anyone who is concerned about a serious or life-threatening illness should go to the ER.

Flu activity in the U.S. is low now, but it is expected to pick up in the Fall. Once that happens, hospitals statewide will begin implementing policies to safeguard visitors, including preventing children under the age of 12 from visiting loved ones who are patients.

 

GHA Press Release: Georgia Hands-Free Act

NEWS RELEASE

June 28, 2018


CONTACTS:

Erin Stewart                

770-249-4513                                                                              

estewart@gha.org              

@GaHospitalAssoc


Jeff Sunderland

770-249-4534

jsunderland@gha.org



Keeping Georgia’s Motorists Safe: Georgia Hands-Free Act


On July 1, drivers in Georgia will see a new law enacted that was passed by the Georgia General Assembly in the hope of saving lives and eliminating senseless vehicle accidents.


House Bill 673, signed into law by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal in May, requires the use of hands-free technology and prohibits motorists from handling their cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. Additionally, headsets and earpieces will be allowed for communication purposes only and cannot be used for listening to music. Reading and sending text messages is also prohibited. The complete law can be found on the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety website and highlights of the bill can be found on the Heads UP Georgia website.


“We are especially pleased with this legislation and anticipate that this law will prevent tragic vehicle accidents, saving many lives,” said Georgia Hospital Association (GHA) President Earl Rogers. “GHA testified in support of this bill during Georgia’s 2018 legislative session because distracted driving is the cause of hundreds of avoidable motor vehicle accidents and the loss of precious lives. Our hospitals have treated thousands of patients from vehicle accidents that could have been prevented. We sincerely thank Rep. John Carson and salute all the legislative sponsors and supporters of this bill for their efforts in protecting Georgia’s motorists.”


According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, 674 fatalities have already occurred this year on Georgia roadways. Last year, 1,549 fatalities were reported.


Vehicle accidents have put a severe strain on hospitals and are the second leading cause for emergency room visits.


“As a Level I trauma center in Georgia, we see an extremely high amount of vehicle crash victims. Our emergency room personnel have treated far too many injuries caused by distracted drivers,” said Grady Memorial Hospital CEO and GHA Chair-Elect John Haupert. “I applaud our state lawmakers for their efforts in making our roadways safer and protecting families from losing their loved ones.”



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