Patient Information

Health Information for the Whole Family from the AAFP
Spanish: Información en español de la Academia Americana de Médicos de Familia:

Heat Related Illness – A Resource from CDC

As school sports begin their practices, there is great concern for the athletes' health due to the extreme heat of this summer. Family physicians are a key element to keeping Georgia's youth safe from heat related illnesses. The CDC is offering a web-based course on this very topic, to reinforce awareness of heat-related illness in order to promote the development and implementation of guidelines including an emergency plan by coaches, athletic trainers, students, school nurses, parents and teachers. Family physicians are often the resource for their community to provide health related information.

The course has been assigned Continuing Education credit, Continuing Nursing Education credit, and Continuing Education Contact Hours for Certified Health Education Specialists. To view the course visit:

September 15, 2011

Pre-Existing Conditions and Insurance Options for Patients

Patients with pre-existing conditions that have been turned down for insurance, coverage may now be eligible for a new program created by the Affordable Care Act - the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan.

This transitional program is available for children and adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia who have been locked out of the health insurance market because of a pre-existing condition. In 2014, Americans—regardless of their health status—will have access to affordable health insurance when the nation transitions to a new marketplace.

To be eligible, a person must:

  • Be a US citizen or legal resident;
  • Have been without health insurance for at least six (6) months; and
  • Have a pre-existing condition or have been denied health coverage because of a health condition.

Georgians for a Healthy Future has released a new fact sheet that provides an overview of sources of health insurance in Georgia, along with pertinent contact information. This was designed to be an easy-to-use starting point for consumers looking for health insurance. The fact sheet is available here.

August 8th, 2011

Georgia's Physical Activity Requirements for School Children

The GAFP Public Health Committee recently discussed concerns over the amount (or lack) of physical activity children are permitted while in school in Georgia. So what are the current standards for physical activity in Georgia?

The Committee researched Georgia's physical activity standards in Georgia and according to Therese McGuire, a Program Specialist with Health and Physical Education, Georgia Department of Education, the previous standards (prior to fall 2011) were:

  • Each school containing any grade K-5 shall provide a minimum of 90 contact hours of instruction at each grade level K-5 in health and physical education.
  • Each school containing any grade 6-12 shall make available instruction in health and physical education.
  • Each school containing any grade K- 12 shall provide alcohol and other drug use education on an annual basis at each grade level.

However, the physical education standards are changing at the beginning of the new school year (Fall 2011). According to the Georgia Department of Education website, there are new Georgia Performance Standards that were unanimously approved by the State Board of Education in 2009. These standards will replace the Quality Core Curriculum (QCC) and can be found on the Georgia Standards website.

On a related topic, Governor Perdue signed HB 229 (Student Health and Physical Education Act - SHAPE) on April 28, 2009. This act requires all students enrolled in a physical education course in grades one to 12 have an annual fitness assessment beginning the 2011-2012 school year. The fitness assessment and data collection procedures will be the responsibility of the Department of Education. A Fitness Assessment Committee was created to help determine the methods to be used for assessment.

What can family physicians do to influence decisions being made affecting our children? Start by getting involved with your local school board! The Public Health Committee will continue to monitor the new standards as they are implemented and keep GAFP members informed of these policy changes.

August 8, 2011

Metro Atlanta Scholarships for Diabetes Prevention Available for Seniors 65+

Are you looking for solutions to help your older adult patients prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes? Now, for a limited time, physicians in the Atlanta metro area can refer at-risk patients to an evidence-based diabetes prevention program. For the first 200 patients aged 65+ to enroll, participation is free.

The YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program is based on the landmark NIH Diabetes Prevention Program randomized clinical trial for adults with pre-diabetes, which showed that older adults can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 71 percent by participating in lifestyle modification programs that help participants lose weight and increase physical activity.

Through the YMCA'S Diabetes Prevention Program, your Medicare beneficiaries can participate in a 16-session lifestyle intervention program that has been proven to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. In a classroom setting, a trained lifestyle coach will help older adults change their habits by learning about healthier eating, simple ways to increase physical activity and other changes that can lead to a healthier lifestyle.

Scholarships valued at approximately $325 each are available for the first 200 participants thanks to a grant from Novo Nordisk, a co-chair along with the American Diabetes Association and Healthcare Leadership Council in the Medicare Diabetes Screening Project (MDSP), an ongoing project to increase awareness and use of Medicare's benefit for diabetes screening. Get a Jump on Diabetes: A Game Plan for Older Adults to Prevent Diabetes is a new campaign of the MDSP, the Atlanta Regional Commission Area Agency on Aging, and the YMCA to offer the YMCA'S Diabetes Prevention Program to help older adults (65+) reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes.

For patients to qualify for one of the YMCA'S Diabetes Prevention Program scholarships, your patients must be enrolled in Medicare, have a diagnosis of pre-diabetes and be overweight.

If you have patients aged 65 and older, that qualify and you wish to refer them to the YMCA'S Diabetes Prevention Program, please have them contact Linda Vaughn at the Metro Atlanta YMCA at 404-527-7690 or For more information, visit

August 8, 2011

Help the Uninsured Get a Quick Start on Rx Savings
With the quick start savings card from Together Rx Access, individuals who lack prescription drug coverage and are not eligible for Medicare don’t have to wait to start saving on the medicines they need. To date, Together RX Access has 22,182 enrollees from Georgia, out of 589,784. Georgia is the 4th highest state in terms of enrollment.

Individuals and families can determine if they qualify for the quick start savings card by calling 1-800-250-2839. If eligible, the card can be used at the pharmacy counter that day.

Most cardholders save 25 percent to 40 percent on brand-name prescription drugs and products with the free-to-get and free-to-use Card. The program includes more than 300 brand-name medicines and products, prescribed to treat diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, allergy, asthma, arthritis, and depression, and other common conditions. Savings on a range of generic medicines are also available.

Email Amy Niles at to request a supply of quick start cards that you can distribute to those who may be eligible.

October 9, 2006

Rise of children and adolescents who are overweight

The percentage of children and adolescents who are overweight in the United States and Georgia continues to rise. Federal data indicates that, in 2003-2004, 17.1% of US children and adolescents (2-19 years) were overweight. In Georgia, overweight is impacting 12% of children aged 2-4 in the WIC program; 14% middle school students; and 11% of high school students. (References: Ogden CL, Carroll MD, et. al. JAMA. 2006 Apr 5;295(13):1549-55. 2003 Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System. 2003 Georgia Student Health Survey.)

Georgia's family physicians are encouraged to take immediate action to prevent and manage pediatric overweight. Two Georgia-specific fact sheets have been developed to assist clinicians with this effort. These fact sheets were created by the ILSI Research Foundation/Center for Health Promotion via a grant from Healthcare Georgia Foundation with guidance from the Obesity Action Network. The fact sheets may be printed, reproduced and distributed by interested organizations.

Prevention - Fact sheet 1: focuses on the prevention of pediatric overweight including assessment and medical management guidance.

Clinical Action - Fact sheet 2: provides specific tips for action in the clinical setting including information about reimbursement and behavior counseling

October 3, 2006

Partnership For Prescription Assistance Still Going Strong

In April 2005, America’s pharmaceutical research companies joined forces with prominent health care, physician and patient-advocacy organizations to launch the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, the largest private-sector effort to help low-income, uninsured and underinsured patients obtain prescription medicines. The PPA is a single point of access to more than 475 patient-assistance programs, including 180 offered by pharmaceutical companies. The Georgia Academy of Family Physicians is proud to be a partner in this important effort to help patients get the medicines they need.

In just over a year, the PPA has helped more than 2.5 million Americans, including more than 140,000 in Georgia. Much of the success is a result of the support and commitment of the 1,300 national and local health care, physician and patient-advocacy organizations, which include more than 50 in Georgia, that have partnered with the PPA to help spread the word.

The PPA recently unveiled an exciting new feature to the program. Information on free health clinics is now available to patients who call the toll-free number or use the Web site. Research indicates that many patients may be eligible for a patient-assistance program but do not complete the application process because they lack access to a physician. The PPA is working with health clinics to help address the problem and ensure that people in need have access to medical care.

Helping the uninsured continues to be a top priority for the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians. We hope you can join in our efforts to spread the word about the PPA. To learn more about the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, help is just a toll-free phone call away at (888) 4PPA-NOW. You also can visit the user-friendly Web site at

September 8, 2006

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Recommendations for the Prevention of Perinatal and Childhood Hepatitis B Virus Transmission

Committee Favors Hepatitis B Vaccine for High-Risk Adults

By Diana Gaskins, BSN, MSN, Nurse Consultant
Georgia Immunization Program

After nearly 15 years, we are accustomed to hearing about hepatitis B vaccination for infants and children. Less emphasis has been put on the need for this vaccine series in adult populations, but that is changing. At the October 2005 meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the committee voted strongly in favor of a recommendation for susceptible adults in high-risk groups to be vaccinated against hepatitis B disease. These groups include individuals with multiple partners; men who have sex with men; illegal drug users or those in treatment facilities; clients presenting for STD/HIV testing or treatment; and inmates in correctional facilities. Clients who seek family planning services may be considered at potential risk for contracting hepatitis B and should be offered the vaccine.

Acute hepatitis B disease can have an incubation of from six weeks to six months. Symptoms may include malaise, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, skin rashes, dark urine and jaundice, but 50 percent of adult infections are asymptomatic. Symptoms in adults may persist for weeks or months, and about 10 percent of infections progress to the chronic disease state. These persons have increased risk of cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma and liver failure.

Provisional data show the national rate for hepatitis B disease is 2.3 cases/100,000 population. Georgia had 5.3 cases/100,000 in 2004, second in the nation for new infections. Since routine childhood vaccination against hepatitis B was started in 1991, the current numbers represent mostly adult infections. Are you immunizing adults in your practice against hepatitis B? An excellent questionnaire to help you screen for this important vaccine series can be found at For further information, contact the Georgia Immunization Program at (404) 657-3158.

February 21, 2006