PeachCare and Trauma Centers

Funding for Georgia health care is about to change. Money is tight. Every where. Especially at the state and federal level although you would not know Washington has gone beyond their last dime based on how they have spent money they don't have over the last 6 months or so.

But that is another story.

Let's talk about Georgia.

Even with Santa Claus handing out bags full of money from Washington via the Spendulus bill, Georgia is still coming up short on funding for PeachCare. And eventually even the idiots in Washington will realize they can't keep funding projects when they can't balance their checkbook. So Georgia is going to have to address funding for all programs, including entitlement's, on their own.

Trauma networks have received some press, but not enough. The Guv wants to establish a statewide network of level 1 and level 2 trauma centers but those plans have been put on hold until tax revenues improve. One recent suggestion was to impose a $200 additional fine on "super speeders", those going 20+ over the posted speed limit.

The Georgia House passed the bill and it is headed to the Senate for a vote. If it becomes law it is expected to raise an additional $30 million for Georgia trauma care.

My calculator says that is 150,000 super speeders.

That's pretty frightening unless you have driven on 285 or 400 then you realize they could probably catch that many in a week without really trying.

No doubt, trauma centers save lives and are needed.

There are only four level 1 trauma centers in the state and only seven level 2 centers. Level 1 centers are in Macon, Savannah, Augusta and Atlanta. Level 2 centers are in Rome, Roswell, Columbus, Atlanta, Dalton, Lawrenceville and Thomasville.

All four level 1 centers have pediatric facilities and there are two level 1 pediatric trauma centers in Atlanta. Both are CHOA hospitals.

In some parts of Georgia patients could be 90 minutes or more away from a trauma center. Even then, the center may not be able to accommodate their needs.

The need for additional trauma centers, and more funding is critical. The super speeder tax will help but is it enough?

Even if the number and quality of trauma centers improves there is still the issue of how Georgia residents will pay the bills associated with trauma care.

And what about PeachCare?

Georgia PeachCare is the SCHIP program designed to cover children of families earning less than 235% of the FPL (federal poverty level). That is roughly $49,800 for a family of four.

With the recession going full bore and no signs of ending, I have families who are moving their children off their health insurance plan and on to PeachCare.

We will explore the PeachCare issues in a later post.

To be continued . . .

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