Articles Posted in healthcare

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Recently one of my uninsured disability clients told me she was receiving healthcare at Wal-mart.  When I looked it up, incredulously, it turns out Wal-mart is in the healthcare business.  Wal-mart has 4000 stores located in medically underserved communities.  Recently, the retail giant sought to address the needs of those communities’ access to healthcare.

Wal-mart expanded into clinical care by opening centers in Georgia and Texas in 2019.  In September 2019, Wal-mart launched its first clinic, Wal-mart Health in Dallas, Georgia.  Customers who are uninsured pay a flat fee of around $50.  A variety of health care professionals allow patients to bundle services at one time.   Wal-mart Health provides primary care, dental exams, X-rays, hearing services, mental health counseling, pharmacies and optical centers.  Wal-mart Health now has locations in Newnan, Fayetteville, McDonough, Cartersville, Marietta and Woodstock.

In May Wal-mart acquired a telemedicine company MeMD.  Last year, it acquired digital medical management company CareZone.  Wal-mart contends it is focused on “value-based” care.   This week Wal-mart and United Health Group announced a joint program to provide preventative healthcare for millions over age 65.  Fifteen locations will open in Georgia and Florida next year.  The plan is to provide seniors with healthcare through Medicare Advantage plans.

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As 2021 draws to a close, Georgia ranked 50th this year, ahead of only Oklahoma and Mississippi in health care.  The Medicare Guide on senior health care analyzed prescription drug prices, the number of physicians in relation to the state’s population and life expectancy.  Georgia ranked 51st in access to care. One problem with access to care is that many rural counties lack physicians.  Nine of the 159 counties have no doctors.  Seventy-six counties have no OB/GYNs and sixty counties have no pediatrician.  In health outcomes, Georgia ranks 47th, particularly due to infant and maternal mortality rates.  Inequities in care and access to care impact the low numbers on health outcomes.
Georgia Demographics

As of 2021 Georgia had a population of 10,830,007 citizens.  This increased 18.3 % from the 2010 census.  Georgia has the 10th fastest growth rate.  Although all of Georgia is not growing.  The counties with the highest growth rates are grouped together along the southeastern border and along the northern border in and around the capital of Atlanta.  However, there are declining populations from the southwestern border through middle Georgia to the mid-eastern border of Georgia.  Georgia has a 15% poverty rate.   As of 2021, Georgia’s population under 18 is 23.6%; the population over sixty-five is 14.3%.  Eight percent of Georgians under age 65 are disabled.

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Vaccinations are critical to maintaining a healthy population and have saved millions of lives. Their immediate benefits include providing long-term protection against some infectious diseases. They train the body how to identify pathogens they may come in contact with and fight against them by creating antibodies. Vaccinations directly protect against diseases that were once deadly, including polio, measles, tetanus, and whooping cough. For individuals who do not get vaccinated, they put themselves or their children at risk of developing a severe illness. Every year, thousands of individuals in the US are hospitalized due to severe illnesses that vaccinations can help prevent. By vaccinating yourself and your children, you minimize the risk of unnecessary suffering. For a list of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended vaccinations by age, click here.

Vaccinations also protect individuals from diseases they may be exposed to in areas they travel to in other regions. For example, the yellow fever vaccine is required for travelers to certain areas of South America and Africa, due to the risk of contracting the illness while traveling to these destinations.

Vaccinations are not only critical for the individual receiving the shots but society at large. When a very high percentage of a population is vaccinated, herd immunity makes it more difficult for germs to spread from person to person. This, in turn, makes the entire community less likely to contract the disease. This is especially important for individuals unable to vaccinate, including those with cancer, HIV, type I diabetes, or other health conditions that weaken one’s immune system.

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Today the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the controversial Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) also referred to as “Obamacare.” In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court justices upheld the majority of the law. Today was a good day for uninsured Americans. Today was also a good day for Americans with disabilities.

Persons with disabilities will benefit from the ACA because it:

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