January 31, 2008 - The Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health is pleased to announce that the prevalence of smoking in Georgia decreased by 10 percent in 2006. According to data from the state's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), the average rate of smoking among Georgia's adults was 19.9 percent in 2006, compared to 22.1 percent in 2005. Tobacco use remains a leading preventable cause of death and disease in Georgia and claims more than 10,000 adult lives each year. The use of tobacco in Georgia also costs the state approximately $5 billion in direct adult and infant medical expenditures and productivity losses each year.
January 28, 2008 - January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month and the Department of Human Resources Division of Aging Services (DAS) is helping raise awareness of the disease by urging mid-life and older Georgians to get regular eye examinations to preserve their vision.
January 25, 2008 - A recent study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology advises pregnant women to reduce their caffeine intake or cut it out entirely as it may increase the risk of miscarriage. The study shows that pregnant women who consume 200 milligrams or more of caffeine a day, 10 ounces of coffee or 25 ounces of tea, may double their risk of miscarriage. Caffeine use also impacts birth outcomes and the overall health of unborn children. The Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health, Office of Birth Outcomes encourages mothers-to-be to adopt behaviors and practices, such as limiting their caffeine intake, that benefit the health of their children.
January 22, 2008 - The Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health, Office of Vital Records has implemented a new system that will significantly reduce the length of time it takes Georgians to obtain official copies of birth and death certificates. The Vital Events Information System (VEIS) is an electronic registration system of vital records that now allows constituents to receive copies of their vital events within a few days compared to weeks with the old paper-based system. The system also improves the quality and accuracy of vital events data as well.
January 18, 2008 – The Department of Human Resources today announced $1.6 million in emergency contingency funds to help low-income families meet home energy costs. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds will provide households across the state with heating assistance for the winter months ahead. The federally funded program helps more than 80,000 eligible Georgia families with heating and cooling assistance each year.
January 18, 2008 - As temperatures dip below freezing, the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Aging Services (DAS) urges older adults and families to practice safety tips such as keeping electric and kerosene heaters away from flammable materials, checking smoke alarm batteries, and looking for signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, which include symptoms such as headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that can cause loss of consciousness and death. It is found in fumes from stoves, burning wood, gas ranges and other heating sources.
January 15, 2008 - The Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) is pleased to announce the completion of their statewide rollout of Rapid Process Improvement (RPI). RPI was created after OCSS reviewed its current processes and determined the best method of service delivery would be to decrease the amount of time it takes to establish a child support order. As a result, OCSS has improved its services to the community by reducing client wait time from as long as eight weeks to a single day and now offers same day service. With same day service, OCSS will be able to effectively save money and time for both employees and customers. RPI revitalizes the way current services are being delivered and allows OCSS to serve the public more effectively and efficiently.
January 15, 2008 - Over the past year, the Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) collected and distributed $650,855,820 in child support. OCSS is a primary financial resource for single parent families and serves nearly 400,000 parents. OCSS collects child support from non custodial parents and sends the money directly to custodial parents in an effort to help families remain self sufficient.
January 14, 2008 - The Board of Human Resources will hold its official monthly meeting at 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, January 16, in room 29.250, Two Peachtree Street N.W. in Atlanta, immediately following a review of the morning committee meetings.
January 10, 2008 - The open enrollment period for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans is between January 1 and March 31, 2008. MA plans are health plan options that are approved by Medicare and run by private companies. They are part of the Medicare program and are sometimes called "Part C." Medicare beneficiaries can make one change in enrollment during this period. They can enroll in a new plan, change plans or cancel a plan, but they cannot join or drop Medicare drug coverage during this time. Although legitimate MA plans can be of benefit to some, there is the potential for fraud during open enrollment. The Georgia Department of Human Resources Division of Aging Services (DAS) is encouraging Georgians to use caution, make informed healthcare decisions, and use the resources of DAS GeorgiaCares SMP, which provides community education, counseling and referrals relating to Medicare and Medicaid error, fraud and abuse. To report a MA complaint, call GeorgiaCares SMP at 1-800-669-8387.
January 4, 2008 – As the cold winter season brings low temperatures, older adults and families look for ways to stay warm and cut heating costs. The Department of Human Resources, Division of Aging Services (DAS) is urging them to practice safety when heating their homes. Some tips include checking smoke alarm batteries, keeping electric and kerosene heaters away from flammable materials, and looking for signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, a colorless and odorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death.
January 3, 2008 – In an effort to improve the care of persons admitted into Georgia’s statewide psychiatric hospitals, the Department of Human Resources (DHR) has implemented uniformed medical care policies and procedures. More than 200,000 people are served by state hospitals each year - many of whom suffer from debilitating mental illnesses in addition to acute physical conditions resulting in the need for better coordinated psychiatric and medical support.