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DeKalb Medical names new CEO

DeKalb Medical names new CEO

DECATUR, Ga. -- John Shelton has been appointed president and CEO of DeKalb Medical.

Shelton, the former COO, left DeKalb Medical last winter to accept a position at Mobile Infirmary, Alabama's largest not-for-profit hospital.

He was instrumental in DeKalb Medical's revitalization during the past several years, including the opening of DeKalb Medical at Hillandale and the addition of a patient tower for maternity and surgical services at the North Dectaur Road campus.

Shelton replaces Eric Norwood, who resigned as CEO in September.

DeKalb Medical includes three hospitals -- North Decatur, Downtown Decatur and Hillandale -- in addition to the DeKalb Medical Physicians Group.

Check your child's car seat to ensure safety

Check your child's car seat to ensure safety

DORAVILLE, Ga. -- It's National Child Passenger Safety Week, and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta is doing its part to minimize the chance of Georgia children getting hurt in car accidents.

On Thursday, Sept. 22, CHOA, in conjunction with Safe Kids DeKalb County and the Department of Public Health's Maternal and Child Health program, will provide free car seat checks from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

LOCAL PROFILE: Sawanda Spinks, President of Georgia Pediatric Hydrocephalus Foundation

LOCAL PROFILE: Sawanda Spinks, President of Georgia Pediatric Hydrocephalus Foundation

ATLANTA – Sawanda Spinks was eight-months-pregnant when she learned her first child would be born with hydrocephalus.

“I had never heard of it; I didn’t know what it was but when I heard the risks, I started crying; I couldn’t take listening to that”, she said.

Spinks had gone into the emergency room for a pulled muscle but when she left her life was changed, forever.

Hydrocephalus is a condition that affects 1-in-500 infants. The condition, also known as having “water on the brain”, happens when fluid accumulates on the brain and in the skull cavities.

As any first-time parent would Spinks visited countless specialists, searching for good news, before she would give birth to her son a month later; she heard none.

“Doctors didn’t give us much hope but they were doing their job, they’re supposed to tell you the worst case scenario”.   

“We heard it all.

Future of State Health Benefit Plan to be secured

Future of State Health Benefit Plan to be secured

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Department of Community Health has adopted a proposal to secure the future of the State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP).

The initiative introduces a new consumer-directed wellness plan, improves plan administration, eliminates the SHBP's projected deficit for this year and substantially reduces future deficits.

"The board is pleased to endorse this thoughtful and responsible plan that is not afraid to tackle the big issues," said DCH board chairman Ross Mason. "This is a forward-looking plan that provides real bottom line-driven solutions."

SHBP is facing a projected deficit of slightly more than $800 million during the next two years.

"Our major concern is the continued delivery of quality health care services at an affordable cost," said DCH commissioner David Cook.

Regents vote to hike health costs for employees

Regents vote to hike health costs for employees

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Board of Regents is raising health insurance premiums for employees and cutting coverage for about 700 workers.

The board voted Tuesday to hike rates by 5.2 percent. The university system will save $30 million by limiting access to certain doctors and hospitals.

University system workers, like all state employees, received no pay increase this year.

The board also voted to cut insurance for about 700 part-time employees by raising the minimum number of hours they have to work to qualify for coverage from 20 to 30 per week. The change will save about $1.5 million.

This is the first time since 2008 that insurance premiums have increased.

The DeKalb County Board of Health Expands Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy Treatment

The DeKalb County Board of Health Expands Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy Treatment

Decatur – Do you smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco?  Have you thought about quitting, or tried to quit?  The good news is that among current adult smokers in the United States, approximately 70 percent report that they want to quit completely and have attempted to quit. In DeKalb County, two out of every five deaths are tobacco related.

To improve the health of DeKalb families, free tobacco cessation medication support is being offered.  The DeKalb County Board of Health is excited about intensifying efforts to support Georgia families.

GBI: Prescription drug overdoses rise

GBI: Prescription drug overdoses rise

DECATUR, Ga. -- An analysis of autopsies by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has found a 10 percent increase in the number of prescription overdose deaths in 2010 compared to 2009.

The analysis shows that the number of drug overdose deaths involving only prescription drugs jumped from 508 in 2009 to 560 in 2010. It also showed that 68 other deaths were attributed to a combination of prescription and illicit drugs.

In all, there were 729 drug overdose deaths in 2010. Most of those deaths were found to be accidental, but about nine percent were determined to be suicides.

The analysis of the GBI Medical Examiner's drug overdose autopsies involves 152 counties. The study does not include several Metro Atlanta counties, including Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett and DeKalb.