Medical Association of Georgia | WABE 90.1 FM

Medical Association of Georgia

Toby Talbot / Associated Press

To help stem the opioid epidemic, all Georgia doctors will be required to get training on prescribing opioids under a new rule the state medical board approved last week.

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"The medical board felt that it was a situation where it was time that we needed to take some affirmative act in trying to assist with stemming the problem that we're currently facing," said Dr. Dan DeLoach, chairman of the Georgia Composite Medical Board and a plastic surgeon in Savannah.

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Georgia's largest health insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, has started a new rule:  it will deny coverage to individual policyholders for emergency room visits the company deems to be unnecessary.  

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The idea is to address the soaring costs that are racked up when patients go to the ER for problems that should be handled in a doctor's office or a clinic.

A salesman at Stoddard's Range and Guns shows off a pistol's safety features.
Lisa Hagen / WABE

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which covers districts in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, ruled Thursday against a Florida law banning doctors from asking patients about guns. 

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In Georgia, doctors can ask if you own a gun and provide safety tips. Jerry Henry, executive director of Georgia Carry, a gun rights advocacy group, said he doesn’t think they should.

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The Food and Drug Administration is about to ask the nation’s medical community a question: How influential is pharmaceutical marketing from physicians’ standpoints?  

Pharmaceutical companies spend billions a year to promote their products.

But the FDA wants to know if marketing is getting in the way of physicians’ work.

“Pharma has every right to market their products to doctors," says Todd Williamson, M.D.

Two hundred physicians attending the Medical Association of Georgia's annual meeting in Savannah last weekend drafted MAG's official position on expanding Medicaid.  

Executive Director Donald Palmisano, Jr. says after much debate, attendees came down neither firmly “for” nor “against” expansion.

“Our physicians wanted to see more information on what impact this large number of individuals that would come into the system be," says Palmisano. "Additionally, they wanted to see changes in the Medicaid program.”

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